Top Tips For Choosing A Web Design Agency

When it comes to choosing a web design agency to design and develop your business’ website, be it a fairly basic portfolio site or a complex e-commerce system, there’s a few basic things which you need to consider when considering who is most suitable. We spoke with leading design agency, Identify Web Design ( to put together a number of top tips for choosing a web designer or developer to handle your business’ site project.

First things first; take a look at sites which you like the look of. Whether they’re competitors sites or simply those which you’ve visited and like the look of; it’s always the best place to start your research. By taking a look at sites you like, you’ll often find a footer link or credit to the design agency and, from there, you can contact them and have a chat about your needs and requirements. This always comes as the first suggestion in terms of finding a design agency as, in doing so, you’re already ticking off the box of whether or not you like a companies previous design and development projects.

Another option for choosing a suitable agency is to go through a company such as Approved Index who will get you quotes from a range of trusted and approved web designers. From here, you’ll be contacted by a number of agencies (often 4 – 6) who will pitch to you and offer you proposals for your project. The beauty of this is that you have to do very little work and simply by filling one form out, you’ll receive anything up to 6 proposals. If you really aren’t sure of where to start, this makes absolute sense and, especially for those businesses in a rush, it’s often the best option.

All in all, it can be a difficult task choosing a web designer, however by taking time to either use a company who will source quotes for you or by looking at sites you like the look of, it hopefully shouldn’t be too difficult a task!

Top Tips For Planning The Entertainment For Your Next Corporate Event

To be chosen to organise your company’s next corporate event is really quite an honour. People must have great faith in you if they think you can pull it off, so you will want to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day. Now that takes an awful lot of planning and researching, but if you approach it in a methodical way then there is every reason that it will be a success.

One of the first things that will need booking is the venue. Get it booked as early as possible to ensure you get the date you want, making sure it’s in a location that is easy to travel to both by car and public transport.

Organise any catering you require in good time too as top quality caterers often get snapped up many months in advance. In terms of menu, take the caterers advice on what types of food are popular bearing in mind that people will be networking and socialising whilst eating so won’t want anything to large or too messy to contend with.

Have a good think about the kind of entertainment you would like on the day. To ensure it’s a success, why not make your booking through a music agency who will have a large number of different live bands, solo acts or DJs to choose from. They will be able to give advice on what has worked well for previous clients and will oversee the booking from start to finish leaving you free to get on with other things.

Tribute bands always go down well at these types of events and can be hugely popular with all ages, or as an alternative, why not choose a band that plays cover versions from different eras.

One thing which we’ve seen become popular in recent years is to add that extra special touch to events in a way which many never thought previously possible! We suggest you take a look at the range of luxury toilets available for hire from Regency Toilets, one which we think you’ll fall in love with! Why settle for standard portaloos when you can give your guests the luxury experience they deserve with toilets such as these? It’ll certainly be a talking point and that’s never a bad thing!

If you take things slowly and carefully, working through a check list as you go, then there’s no reason why the event shouldn’t be a great success.

Festive Payday Loans To The Rescue

It’s at this time of year when the panic starts to set in. No matter how good your intentions were, once again you are rapidly running out of money. Your youngest child, although they’ve only just started high school wants the latest mobile phone to keep up with their friends, your eldest wants the latest iPad, your husband would love some new golf clubs. None of these things come cheap. You can’t possibly economise on Christmas food and drink because that would disappoint everyone, so what do you do? Well if we were ten years further back in time you wouldn’t have a lot of choice. You could approach your bank for either an overdraft or a personal loan – both of which would take some time to get an agreement, or just fail to provide the Christmas that your family expect.

You only really need tiding over until the next pay day, because with all the overtime you have coming up in the next few weeks it’s not going to be a problem paying it all back. What better solution than a pay day loan? Over the last few years these types of loan are becoming much more popular as an easy way to a temporary cash flow problem. They come with no hidden surprises and you know just exactly how much it will cost when you do come to pay it off. Far better than having the worry of a debt hanging over you for the next few months.

Loans provided by companies such as are also ideal for anyone who hasn’t got a faultless credit score. You may have temporarily gone through financial hardship and missed a payment on a credit agreement, and before you know it, you can be classed as a risk by the traditional finance companies who will need some persuading that this is not the case. The speed and efficiency of the pay day loan companies also make these types of loan so convenient.

From filling in the application online or by telephone, to the money transferring into your bank account will only take a day and in some cases it can be as little as one hour. That’s not something that you would get from your bank. It’s easy to see how the finance world has been transformed by the sheer convenience of the pay day loan and although they may not be the solution to everyone’s problem, they can be the solution for some and are well worth considering.

Choosing The Right EPoS System For Your Business

It’s a simple fact that every retail business needs to invest in an EPoS (electronic point of sale) system, however unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply deciding you’re going to select any old system and make do. Each and every EPoS system out there has it’s own unique set of features, some of which are likely to be more relevant to your business than others and, as such, when it comes to purchasing either your first EPoS system or a replacement for an outdated system, there’s numerous things which you need to consider. As such, we’ve teamed up with UK based EPoS system suppliers, CyberTill, to take a look at just a few core things which you need to take into consideration when shopping around for EPoS systems.

Is It In The Cloud?
If you’re shopping for an EPoS system in 2014, you absolutely must ensure that it’s cloud based. For those of you not familiar with what that means, in short it means it can be accessed from absolutely anywhere with an internet connection. No longer do you have to be in your store to be able to check sales and stock data, meaning you can keep an eye on how your business is performing from almost anywhere at all.

Does It Integrate With Your E-Commerce Website?
With many businesses now running online stores as well as high street ones, having an integrated EPoS system which integrates seamlessly between your website and store can save an awful lot of time. You’ll only have to input new products once, you’ll only have one stock control system and you’ll be able to pull off reports and see an overview as the business as a whole rather than having to piece together reports from online and offline. As a business owner, this is vital information and something which is strongly suggested you opt for if at all possible.

Does It Contain All The Features You Need?
Whilst the features of a particular system are generally unique in some instances, you absolutely must take time to double check that everything you need (and can see yourself needing going forwards) is in place. Carry out a comparison between a number of systems if needs be and always have a trial of the software to ensure you’re comfortable using it.

Above all, choose the right EPoS system and it’ll inevitably transform your retail business. Choose the wrong system, however, and you’ll see little benefit and added hassle. With this in mind, we strongly recommend that you take your time choosing a system and spend as much time as possible researching the options available prior to making a decision on which is most suited to the needs of your business.

Building A Business On Exceptional Customer Service

When it comes to running a business, you ultimately need to ensure that you have something which sets you strongly apart from your competitors. In the business world, this is know as your unique selling point (or USP) and is generally one or more things which makes your business attractive to potential customers and clients when compared with the offerings of your competitors. Common unique selling points include the likes of differentiated products, low prices or exceptional customer service and in this post, we are going to take a look into that last point in a little more depth and take a look at just how strong a business can become when it strongly engrains high quality customer service in everything which it does.

First things first, it’s important to understand just why customer service is important for any business. It’s all too easy to think that people will just buy from you, however with the UK having had significant economic issue in recent years, the majority of people now think twice before parting with their hard earned cash. As such, unless you really work for their money and offer nothing but the highest level of customer service, there’s a very good chance you’ll lose that customer to a competitor. Why? Because if you’re not offering superior customer service, someone else probably will be doing!

Customer service can make or break any business and one such business which attributes it’s success to a high level of service is Edwardes electrical wholesalers. These London based electrical supplies wholesalers almost exclusively attribute their continued success to offering nothing short of the very best service at all times and they’re a strong example of why it pays to look after your customers! When speaking with them they stated, ‘to us, service is everything! We’ve managed to build up a fantastic reputation over the years and we strongly believe that it’s down to our continued dedication to our customers. We don’t take anyone for granted and will always go that extra mile to help out.’

Above all, customer service is possibly the most important thing to get right in business and, if you do, you’re instantly setting yourself apart from your competitors!

Top Tips To Help You Expand Your Business

Those businesses that have survived the economic downturn may now find themselves in a position where they would like to expand. If that person is you, then how do you go about it without putting yourself at a financial risk?

Think carefully before signing up to any long term financial commitment. Remember its early days and although business is picking up, we’re not in the middle of a business boom just yet. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take any risk at all; without a certain amount of risk taking you don’t stand much chance of expanding, but just be very thorough with your research and eliminate as much as possible.

Have you considered diversifying? Spreading the risk across a number of different products or services reduces the chance of failure unless all happen to fail at the same time.

Do you need the help of another member of staff? Until you get a better idea of the work load it may be better to hire someone on a freelance basis for the time being.

Make sure you undertake sufficient marketing, particularly if it’s a new product you are offering. People need to be aware of your product or service to be able to buy it and ensure its success.

Do you have enough storage space to accommodate the extra products? This can be a problem for many small businesses and can slow down any potential growth. Naturally you won’t want to take on a much larger building just yet, so using a self storage facility instead will allow you extra space without a long term commitment. We caught up with The Self Storage Warehouse who offer fantastic self storage in Preston who stated, “there are many different sizes on offer and talking to your local self storage company will help you get the best sized unit for your needs. Some will even offer to collect and dispatch parcels for you making them a real asset to your business. Your stock will be stored in clean secure conditions and can be accessed whenever you need making it a highly convenient addition to your company.”

What Is A Chartered Financial Planner?

When it comes to choosing a financial planner to manage and oversee either your personal or business finances, you’ll always be faced with a number of different options. The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you opt to go with the services of an independent financial advisor or a restricted advisor (an IFA can advise you on the most suitable product for you from any provider whilst a restricted advisor can only advise you from within a selection of products), however with any luck, you’ll have already made the decision to go with an IFA. Of course, that’s not to say that restricted advisors (usually tied to banks and other financial institutions) won’t advise you properly, simply that they aren’t able to offer the same range of products and solutions as an IFA can.

The next option you may have to consider is whether or not to employ the services of a chartered financial planner, however you could be forgiven for not knowing what exactly that means and entails. As such, we’ve decided to take a look into the ins and outs of a chartered financial planner and whether or not there’s any benefit in opting for a financial planner who’s achieved this status.

First things first, what exactly is a chartered financial planner? In short, it’s the most widely accepted ‘gold standard’ qualification which is available to financial planners and advisors under the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute). It essentially means that your chosen financial planner has achieved the highest level of qualification within the industry and ultimately has the skills required to give you the best possible financial advice.

In order to achieve ‘chartered’ status, an individual financial planner must sit and pass 14 exams, with a total of 290 credits required to attain the qualification. As such, it’s not something which can be achieved over night and generally takes years to obtain. In addition, it is required that all chartered financial planners have at least five years experience within the profession and demonstrate on-going development by completing a specific level of CPD (continued professional development) each year as well as being a member of the personal finance society.

In addition to individuals being able to hold a chartered status, it is also possible for firms to hold a chartered status and obtain a ‘Chartered Financial Planners’ status.

All in all, by employing the services of a chartered financial planner or team of chartered financial planners (such as our local’s Questa Chartered who offer financial planning in Blackpool and Lytham), you’ll ultimately receive the reassurance that you’re employing the services of an individual or team who have passed rigorous examinations within their field. If you ultimately want the best level of advice, you’ll only get this from the most qualified planners and that just happens to be ones who are chartered.

When it comes to choosing the right financial planner either for your business or to look after your personal finances, it makes sense to go with a chartered advisor if at all possible. You’ll ultimately ensure and reassure yourself this way that you’re receiving the very best level of advice and that your finances are in safe hands.

What Is Regarded As The Optimal Size Of Leaflets And Flyers?

Leaflets and flyers have been an effective way of marketing businesses and events for many years. They are a way of getting a message across to a large number of people by either distributing them through the post or displaying them in a public place for a variety of different people to see. They can be used to promote a service, send a message as in a political campaign or advertise an event such as a music gig and are a relatively cheap way of doing so.

Leaflets and flyers typically come in a number of different sizes such as A4 the standard letter size, A5 half the standard letter size, DL which is compliment slip size or A6 which is post card size, but how do you choose the best size for your advert or event?

Think about how you are going to be using the leaflets. If you are going to be handing them out in the street then it’s a waste of time having them printed in A4 size. Anyone taking a leaflet will want it to be small enough to fit into their pocket or handbag otherwise they may just throw it into the nearest bin. Far better to use either A5 or DL for that purpose. However, if you plan on using them as posters then they need to be large enough to be seen from a distance, so in that case then an A4 may work best. If you are going to be placing them on the bar in a pub for example then the smaller A6 size may work best for you as they won’t take up too much space.

So, the optimal size of leaflet will be different for each company or event. Just pick the size that suits your purpose most effectively.

This guest post was supplied to us very kindly by the team over at Circle Services UK, an Essex based printing company who have over 60 years experience in the industry.

The Importance Of Businessmen Having A Luxury Break This Winter

As a businessmen, you’ve no doubt worked hard for the past twelve moths across all areas of your business, from recruitment and human resources to sales and marketing! With this in mind, as we approach the end of the year, we are encouraging all businessmen and women to take a step back, take a look at what they’ve achieved this year and give themselves the break which they deserve! It’s not uncommon for business owners to never take a holiday throughout the year through concerns that they simply cannot dedicate the time or be away for more than a day and, as far as we are concerned, this isn’t fair! Everyone needs a holiday and especially businessmen and women who spend the whole year working extremely hard and making a success of their business!

With this in mind, we’ve been chatting with a number of business associates of ours and are going to take a quick look at just exactly what is the perfect winter break for business owners? Of course, there’s many options and these can include getting away from the cold to warmer climates, however what we believe to be the perfect winter getaway for businessmen and women is to keep the cold and book a break in one of Europe’s many luxury ski chalets!

With luxury chalets available in resorts ranging from Morzine and Zermatt through to Charmonix, Verbier and many more, there’s simply no chance of you not finding something which perfectly suits your personal needs and requirements and, through companies such as our favourites White Blancmange, you’ll find some simply stunning chalets available to book!

Whatever your successes as a business have been this year, we strongly suggest you take a moment to look back on what you’ve achieved and get yourself a luxury break booked this winter! We know you deserve it and you know you deserve it so what are you waiting for?

Three Ways To Ensure You’re Properly Prepared For Your Business Trip

When it comes to preparing for your business trip, there are a few clear things which can be done to ensure things run as smoothly as possible and that you don’t experience any stress or delays caused by a mistake of your own. Business trips can often be run to very tight schedules and, as such, every little thing which you can do in advance to help you prepare will ensure you have an easier time and that things go to plan. Here, we’ve teamed up with one of the UK’s leading providers of airport parking and airport hotels, Book FHR, to bring you three top tips for ensuring you’re fully prepared for your next business trip!

1) First things first, make sure you’ve booked your airport parking before you leave home! Leaving it until arrival to pay for parking will not only see you paying well over the odds (FHR suggest that most people can save 60% when booking in advance) but will often see you delayed. It makes far more sense to book in advance from both aspects and, above all, it will give you chance to ensure you know which car park you’re heading towards before you even leave home, whereas if you were to pay on the day, you may end up in a car park different to that which you actually need.

2) Secondly, we cannot stress enough the importance of booking an airport hotel the night before a morning flight. Imagine having to leave home at 3am to ensure you arrive in time, especially if you’re travelling on a long flight. Wouldn’t it be far more convenient if you were already at the airport and, on some flights, if you could check in the night before? Virgin have recently introduced ‘twilight check in‘ which will allow you to do just this, however in order for it to make sense; you need to ensure you’ve booked a suitable airport hotel! These don’t have to break the bank and trust us when we say that you’ll be glad you did the morning of your flight.

3) Lastly, but my no means least, underestimate the importance of putting together a detailed itinerary before you head off on your trip. It’s all too easy, when busy in meetings and the like, to get caught up in where you need to be when and, as such, lose track of time and the like. By taking an afternoon out to put together a detailed list which includes all requirements for your trip, from the hotels you’re staying in to the places you’ve got meetings; you’ll significantly reduce the stress associated with such trips and ensure everything goes smoothly. Simply a bit of time spent planning can save many a headache when you’re away!

In short, a successful and productive business trip all comes down to planning! If you take the time to plan and consider all potential necessities before you go, you’re far more likely to have a trip which is not only productive but enjoyable as well! Business trips don’t need to be stressful and if you plan ahead, they won’t be!