Get ahead of the competition

If you own a business, you’ll often run into competition. There will be other businesses trying to be better than you. You can’t let this happen. If you’re falling behind your rivals, you’ll struggle to be successful. In this article, I’ll tell you how you can get ahead of the competition.
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By Svilen.milev (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL ], via Wikimedia Commons

Outsource Some Jobs

Outsourcing is a very clever thing for your business to take advantage of. The benefit of outsourcing some work is that it saves you lots of money. You don’t have to take on the burden of monthly employee payments; you pay people as and when they do the work you need. Plus, you won’t have to hire lots of people, so you don’t need a big office. Your business can work out of a small office, which saves you money. But, you’re still getting lots of work done and can outsource huge jobs that make your business grow bigger. For example, you can hire a digital agency to take care of all your marketing work. They’ll promote your business and help it expand. You’re also able to outsource customer service to a much bigger company. Your business will then be able to provide around the clock customer service, which helps you grow. Outsourcing saves money and helps to grow your business. You’ll soon find your business leaving the competition behind.

Analyse Your Competition

If you want to get ahead of your competition, you have to keep a close eye on them. Make sure you know who your competition is and analyse everything they do. Take a look at what they’re doing that’s making them successful. Talk to their customers and find out what they like about the business. Doing this can help you understand what you need to do differently. Find out what makes the competition successful, and then implement it in your business. But, do it even better than them. Take the things they do and make them better! I’m not saying you steal all their products and ideas, that’s illegal. I’m saying look at their marketing or sales strategy and then make yours better than theirs. It’s easier to get ahead of the competition if you keep a close eye on what they’re doing.

Dare To Be Different

Although you can learn a lot from your competitors, you don’t want to be the same as them. You can find success if your business dares to be different. Take risks and do things that other businesses aren’t doing. Be the first business to do something, and then watch as people copy you. Think outside the box

Competition is a natural part of life, let alone business. Instead of taking competition negatively, you should use it as motivation. Be motivated to make your business better than the rest. If you use these tips, you’ll be ahead of the competition, fast.

How to choose the right colours for your brand

still-life-838336_640As En Vogue rightly stated back in the early 90s, there’s nothing wrong with being colour blind. But when it comes to branding, a little attention paid to colours goes a long way. Why so? Simply, colour matters for brands. A lot. Are you ready? Here comes the science bit…

Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%, according to one study by the University of Loyola. In other research, it was demonstrated that people make subconscious judgements about products within a minute-and-a-half of first seeing them, and that up to 90% of that is based only on the colour. Visual factors are far and away the most important when making a decision to purchase a product.

Sight is usually the first way we interact with something – a product, a person, an environment, and therefore it is naturally the sense that influences us most. It has an emotional resonance that has a powerful effect on our internal decision-making processes. Creating a professional website has never been easier or less expensive thanks to WordPress hosting from UK2 and others, but while factors from bandwidth to security to the type of server to host the site are incredibly important, you should never neglect the colours that are being used, because they can make all the difference.

Colour is contextual. It can make your product stand out from a crowded supermarket shelf, or disappear. It can make visitors to your website warm to your brand instantly, or feel repelled by it, purely on a sensory basis. Example? Think of the colour blue. Blue triggers connotations of purity and cleanliness, meaning it’s great for toothpaste packaging. You might want your new brand of toothpaste to be distinctive though, and package it in a brown and orange-striped box. Hard to miss, but very unlikely to sell in great quantities.

Blue is also said to connote trust and reliability, which, given they collect so much of your personal data, may be why so many social networks (here’s looking at you, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) choose to use it in their branding. Barclays and the NHS, two other organisations where trust is all-important, also use blue prominently.

So if you’re in the process of creating a brand, what colours should you be looking at? It depends on what you want to convey to people:

Red – Being the colour of blood and fire, red conveys warmth, passion, energy, strength and courage. One of the best-known brands to make use of red is of course Ferrari. They’re passionate about making powerful, fast cars.

Green – Green is a peaceful, natural colour. Companies with an ethical or environmental message to impart uniformly gravitate towards it. It can symbolise purity, but we also associate dark-green with money. Harrods has a dark-green logo that one unmistakably associates with premium products and high-expenditure.

White – The colour of snow, white implies purity, cleanliness, and safety (reliability). It also conveys a sense of simplicity. Famous brands that use white include Apple, which is lauded for its uncluttered, smooth designs and the safety of its technology from hacks (until recently anyway), and Danone, whose plain yoghurt is made from all-natural ingredients.

Purple – Purple, combining blue and red, takes something from both colours – the power and passion of red, the depth, cleanliness and trustworthiness of blue. It is commonly associated with royalty, especially with purple velvet in crowns and robes. Cadbury’s uses purple in its branding, giving a sense that when you bite into one of their bars, you’re experiencing a luxury, an extravagance. In fact such is the resonance that Cadbury’s most famous advert, the high-concept and frankly awesome drumming gorilla from 2007, was able to remove the brand name from the ad almost entirely, relying on the colour purple to trigger a clear association with Cadbury’s from viewers.

When it comes to selecting colours, simplicity rules, usually. Many branding experts suggest sticking with one or two colours, or risk the branding looking messy and confusing. Although Google and eBay may beg to disagree.

6 workplace health and safety laws you probably aren’t aware of

safetyHealth and safety laws can save your life, protect your wellbeing at work and haven’t just been instituted at the whim of a bored bureaucrat. Here are six laws that you might not be aware of:

  1. Lead based paint 

If you’ve ever admired the beautiful Nash designed buildings surrounding Regent’s Park, you probably aren’t aware that their immaculate cream coloured frontages are protected by lead based paint. In the UK, only specialist firms, including rawlinspaints.com are allowed to sell these types of products. The reason is simple – lead is a poison, and domestic DIY practitioners aren’t allowed to buy this material. If you want advice on how to remove lead paint from your home, then have a look at the government website.

  1. Gardening can be dangerous

 Health and safety laws protect the self-employed as well as those working as employees. Power tools are dangerous and independent landscape gardeners should be aware that it’s against the law to remove any safety covers on lawn mowers or guards on drills and electric saws drills. Make sure that the tools you use are covered by the European CE verification code. Always store your gear safely, if you run a commercial business you could be fined if you don’t follow these laws.

  1. Employers have to carry out regular risk assessments

 The 1999 Health and Safety at Work regulations demand that employers carry out regular risk assessments. These will ensure that all who work within a building are protected from fire, accident and health hazards. Although many employers complain that these practices are unnecessary, without them a company might have to cope with hefty insurance claims, or illness among staff.

  1. Many complaints about health and safety law aren’t backed up by legislation

 Bizarre stories in the press relating to so-called health and safety legislation reveal a catalogue of myths. These include stories about dangerous daffodils and the banning of custard pie fights. A report on the UK government website makes amusing reading. The website also highlights the fact that many use, ‘health and safety… as a smokescreen, to hide poor customer relations.’

  1. Pregnant relief

While this doesn’t strictly come under the umbrella of health and safety, pregnant women do often suffer from an unbearable urge to urinate. It is legal for a woman in this condition to urinate in public should the need arise. Policemen’s helmets have been mentioned as useful alternative lavatories.

  1. Change is afoot

The whole of the UK’s healthy and safety legislation is currently under review.

The days of banning children’s sack races as a result of safety concerns, or kite flying in east Yorkshire will no longer be able to be offered as an excuse to stop people enjoying themselves. Reporting accidents in the workplace will be simplified according to the Health and Safety Executive. Perhaps after years of being the butt of so many jokes, health and safety laws will be simpler and easier to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

Ever thought of a new career in finance?

ways_to_make_moneyWe’ve been feeling the global financial crisis for over five years now and although there are signs of recovery, we’re not likely to be out of the woods for a while yet.

Although it has not affected the United Kingdom as much as other countries in Europe, the global financial crisis is still a problem that concerns many British people. The upsurge in self-employment in the last few years has been caused, partly at least, but the fact people haven’t been able to find jobs. So although I hope that you’re making a personal choice to grow a business around young children, the fact is that some of us don’t have much choice but to be self employed for the time being.

If you’re thinking of retraining, either to run your own business or to start a new career once your children are at school, a finance qualification might be a good idea to consider. Economics, business, administration, management and leading teams are careers that companies need right now, especially since the financial crisis.

There are other good reasons to go into finance, too. Firstly, the United Kingdom’s finance sector is  still enormous, despite the financial crisis. So, there are many opportunities and there’s a good chance of finding work if you have the right skills and qualifications. The finance world is very competitive sector too, which means it’s great if you’re looking to grow your experience and level of responsibility.

With higher than average salaries and lots of opportunity for progression, a career in finance could be a a good move.

Nowadays, it is easy to retrain and learn new skills to get into the world of finance, Whether you are student and you are beginning your studies on this field or you are working in another, totally different sector and you just want to make a change, there are a range of financial courses are offered in the market, for example:

  • ACCA
  • CIMA
  • AAT

You can find a list of all the different financial qualifications available and their providers in this document:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/smallfirms/your_firm_type/financial/pdf/rdr_quals.pdf