Have You Enacted Your Anti-Recession Strategy?
September 12, 2015

Source: Scott Thomson

Business Tips – April 2013 (Vol. 2, Issue 5)
In this article we provide some more recession-busting tips that you can deploy within your business, and add to some of those already covered.

• Focus on Sales – One of the first signs that your company is affected by the recession is a decrease in sales. Naturally, with the economy in strife, people and businesses have less funds, and cut backs are made. In response to this, we advise that you maintain a degree of focus on ensuring that you have a sustainable stream of revenue from new/existing customers. The following points will outline some aspects you could consider, in respect of maintaining sales.

• Don’t pull the marketing budget! – Your company’s advertising and promotional activities are essential to keeping new customers coming through your door. Rather than simply reducing your marketing efforts to save money, you need to work out where your customers/clients are coming from – how do they find you, and how have they heard about you. From this information, you may find that there are certain promotional channels that aren’t delivering enough ROI (return on investment), and should be cut. For example, over the last couple of years, we’ve spoken to many of our clients that have used newspaper advertising, and upon evaluation, most decided to stop this form of promotion completely, as it has failed to deliver a substantial amount of new custom.

• Change your channels and approaches – What used to work before the recession will not necessarily work now, and you may have been subjecting your company to under-performing sales results, whilst you have continued to use methods that aren’t relevant enough in today’s economy. You need to look at the wider picture – because there are 101 ways to promote your business, and many of them are fairly inexpensive. Try a different promotional approach that you haven’t tried before, e.g. put aside a budget for some SEO for your web site, or attend some networking events (when you do this, give it enough time to properly test new approaches). Furthermore, you may want to continue some techniques that have brought positive results, where you could alter the approach slightly. For instance, if you’ve been networking for years and this has brought you some success, maybe invest in yourself to learn how to improve your approach to networking even more.

• People buy from people – Customer relations is becoming such an important facet to the marketing strategies of SME’s, with the digital age rendering communication as fast and effortless. Make sure you have a complete system and procedure in place to build relationships with your customers. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is all about loyalty – and when your customers need your services, you need them to think of you first, regardless of what they’ve been offered elsewhere. Develop a structure for all your staff and yourself to use, which encompasses following up after meetings, initial sales conversations, networking, etc. And procedures in place to keep in regularised contact with your customers in a way which is meaningful and personal to them. Many firms utilise CRM software for this, which can be very useful indeed. Additionally, you may have the names and details of customers that have bought from your company in the past – this is a list of qualified leads who may be interested in buying from you again.

• Be customer orientated – No business can afford to stock its shelves with products that customers have no interest in buying – nor is it sensible to offer obsolete services. Your customers’ needs change year-on-year, and to stay in business you need to track your market’s tastes, likes, and dislikes consistently. Sometimes, it doesn’t even make sense to you why customers aren’t buying a product or service you personally have faith in, or on the other hand they are buying something you didn’t expect to sell! When you speak to your clients/customers, ask them what they want to see in your shop, or ask what you could do to better serve their requirements. Gradually, you will build up a picture of what the market wants from your business, and change your offerings accordingly.

• Strategic partnerships – Usually a term coined for large organisations, however SME’s are using this technique expertly these days. Look out for opportunities to partner up with companies offering products/services that complement what you do. Make sure your offering is mutually beneficial to the other partner. This could be as simple as a collaboration on projects, or where the partner business refers customers to you on a commission basis.

• Keep your head about you – This recession is testing SME’s to the outer limits of all tolerance, and it is easy to get into the way of constantly questioning yourself, and asking if you’re doing the right things for your business. Don’t ever make important decisions when you can’t think clearly, even if this means take extra time to come to a measured and considered decision. Days may go by where you can’t gather your thoughts – we’ve all been there! Wait until you can sit down and weigh things up in your mind with the cool light of day. The business relies on you, and the course and direction of the firm is dependent on your ability to take the correct actions.

• Inner Discipline – We find this to be extremely important, and it is widely asserted that discipline is key to succeeding. Be disciplined in your work, and ensure that between 9-5pm, you work all the time you are working. Be productive, don’t waste time, and everything you do must contribute value to your business. Not only that, be steadfast in your vision towards your business objectives, and keep these at the top of your thoughts – never lose sight of them.

“I’ve never known a man worth his salt who, in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline” – Vincent Lombardi

Networking Naturally

Networking has become a great way to grow a business and it is great for women who work from home or are alone most of the time.

Your business will grow from networking not only because you are getting known but also because you are having a great time with other women who are in the same position as you, which is inspiring and refreshing. On the other hand, networking can also be intimidating and even overwhelming at first, so before you fall into bad networking habits, here are a few valuable tips.

Be You
The fear of being judged or being caught ‘faking it’ is common amongst women in business. But honestly, does it really matter what anyone else thinks? You need to like yourself and to be comfortable with who you are and then to network from that foundation of being at peace from within. You are who you are, some people will like you and others won’t like you. It will ALWAYS be like this, you will NEVER please everyone so STOP wearing yourself out by trying. Let go and just be you. It will be better for ‘them’ and for you. Most importantly, remember that most of the women at the network event have been in exactly the same position as you so they really do understand how you feel.
Be comfortable in the clothes that you wear

Your clothes can be a reflection of who you are and if you are dressing to impress rather than dressing to express then the message you will be sending out won’t be a good one. Also, be comfortable with what you have to say rather than sounding like you have a well rehearsed pitch prepared. Try telling them a story from your week, tell how your business impacted someone rather or tell them what you love about what you do. Chat naturally like you would to an old friend rather than reciting your pitch to them – that way you will both feel a little bit more relaxed and less like you are both trying to sell to each other.
Be Honest
There is nothing worse than realising that you have been lied to. Sadly, people do tell lies. They call them white lies to justify them but any form of lie is a lack of integrity. Natural networking requires integrity. People can sense when something is not right. Even if they can’t put their finger on it, they will automatically resist you when this happens. Using manipulation or making your offer more attractive with a little white lie will only cost you in the long run. Integrity is more than honesty; it is the combination of honesty with strong moral principles.
Be Interested
It’s not all about you – be interested in what they have to say too. Take time to care about what they have to say rather than mentally scan the conversation to find a gap to sell something to them. Of course, if you have something that could solve their problem then by all means share it with them. Don’t go to networking events to sell, sell, and sell! Networking events are designed to connect people and you are more likely to grow your business by connecting with people than you will by trying to sell to every person you meet. Not everyone needs what you have to offer believe it or not! People buy into people. If you made them feel good the chances are they will want to hear from you again.
Be Prepared
Yes the old Boy Scout motto still stands. I only realised that I really needed business cards after going to my first networking event. In fact I made every single mistake at this event and was not prepared at all – but I did have a collection of my books to sell 😉 Prepare yourself for networking by going prepared with:
Get some stylish business cards printed and take them with you wherever you go. Your business card says a lot about you and your business so don’t rush into getting just anything printed.
Your pitch is your verbal business card and you should put as much into crafting your pitch as you do into designing your business cards. More often than not you get about sixty seconds to pitch to the group. It’s not a lot of time but if you have planned well it is the perfect amount of time to get people interested in what you do. You pitch should be passionate, positive and show your personality – so just be you! Hook them early because 80% of your success will depend on the first words that come out of your mouth. This is what your pitch should contain:
- A greeting and your name (Hello I am...) - Who you are (I am a.....) - What you do and how you can help (I offer.....) - Why you do it (My passion is....) - A call to action (Watch my latest clips on YouTube) Practice makes perfect so practice by saying it out loud a few times. Pay attention to the tone of your voice, your body language and smile 🙂 Afterwards ask friends for feedback so you can get better each time.
Be Happy
Happy people are attractive and no one likes being around a Sad Sack. Happiness is a choice, you can choose your perceptive on anything and if you do not feel happy try get a new angle on what is making you sad. It’s not that you have to be fake or pretend that you have no problems, but there is a time and a place for everything so try be a happy natural networker!

Angela De Souza is a passionate woman, the mother of four beautiful children, speaker, author, business woman and song writer. Born in Crawley, England, she spent all of her childhood in South Africa and now lives in Cheltenham with her Brazilian husband, Eric. Together, Eric and Angela are Senior Pastors of D7 Church. Angela has a deep desire to see women reach their full potential in every area of life. She has published many books in her quest to help people and also writes a Blog. Women in Business is one of the main focuses of King’s Daughters where she equips women to rise up and be the women in business that they have the potential to be because as you know – most women hold themselves back! The King’s Daughters Conference is an annual UK women’s conference where she continues to explore the theme of being all your can be!
More info at www.kingsdaughters.co.uk

Increasing Your Personal Efficiency

Being a manager/owner and running a business has its own stresses and strains, but sooner or later you may find yourself running on fumes ? especially with Christmas just around the corner. Here are some tips you can use to ensure you don’t fall behind:

The Urgency Trick - When was the last time you were late for work? Or late for a meeting? You may remember that when you realised you were late, you started to move quicker than you ever had before! This is because your mind felt the urgency of the situation, and your mind moved to solely focus on getting to work ASAP. You can in fact use this mode to your own advantage. Effectively, you can trick yourself into believing that you are in an urgent situation, such as temporarily fooling yourself into believing there will be repercussions for not finishing the task quick enough. This will inevitably begin to make you move faster. However, this is best used for tasks which don’t require too much thought. This is because when you are in this frame of mind, you will notice that you stop thinking, and the subconscious takes over. Thus, if a task requires that you think carefully, keep this one in the bag for later!

Breaks are Not Just for Lightweights - Make sure you do take breaks throughout your working day. During breaks, don’t do anything that looks like work, or even work-related reading ? it is always best to take your mind away from work completely, so that your mind can refresh. Furthermore, it is advisable to take at least one day or more off per week. This is an important part of your cycle and work-life balance. When taking days off, you need to discipline yourself to ensure that you don’t work whatsoever, and throughout the day remind yourself that this is your day off, and you need to enjoy it whilst you can. Towards the end of that day, build yourself up for the next day by thinking about how much you look forward to getting stuck into the tasks at hand. Taking time off also ensures that you work harder at the right times.

Mental Triggers - It is not uncommon to feel low on energy from time-to-time, or feel like you would rather be doing something else (or if you’re waiting for the end of the day so you can go home!). Set yourself a mental trigger. This can be a word or a phrase, such as “pump it up”, or “go” (whatever suits). When you say this word/phrase in your mind (with enthusiasm), and click your fingers at the same time, force yourself to get moving and take your energy level up a notch. Sooner or later, every time you repeat this mental trigger your mind will kick into another gear.

The End Objective is More Important than the Work - All of the greatest achievements in life have come about because someone had an objective. You’ve probably heard so many writers talk endlessly about objectives, but think about what you are working towards, or what you will have achieved once you are finished the task you’re about to embark upon. By doing this you will make yourself more eager to get on with the work, as you will be visualising the goal, and not the tiresome journey needed to get you there.

There’s a Time and a Place - I call this the “Time Basis for Realisation” – (I’m not sure if it is known by another name elsewhere). You always work better on a task when you are in the right frame of mind for it. Sometimes when you have set aside time for a task, and you come to do it, you don’t feel up to it, or aren’t in the right frame of mind. Some make the mistake of thinking that this is a form of laziness, but it’s absolutely not. You will find that if you leave the task, and come back to it when you are ready, you will perform much better. This idea doesn’t work for daily routine tasks, or matters that are urgent and must be attended to right away, but for the letter you have to write to your suppliers, or the blog article you want to put together – this should work.

On the back of this, you may recall a BBC news report that was about the Cambridge University study, which demonstrated that musicians are more creative when they are away from their instrument, or away from practice sessions (you know, tapping, drumming, whistling, humming, composing, when they are supposed to be doing other things). What does this tell us about ourselves as business-people? It means that your best ideas on how to solve a problem, complete a task, write a letter, etc. will come to you when you are not sitting at your desk trying to do it. Therefore, keep a notepad in your bag, download a voice recorder app to your phone, because when you get an idea or think of how you want to word something, you’ll need to capture it there and then. This practice of capturing the ideas you have about your work, will save you lots of time when you come to complete the task at hand.

Source: G7 Design Business Tips

How is your social media strategy working out?
social media

Are you the type of company or organisation that has just got over the fact that social media marketing is actually here to stay? Or maybe you have grudgingly accepted that social media isn’t actually “all about people eating their breakfast”?

Perhaps you’ve even whispered to some folk on your team “We need to set ourselves up on social media?”

I can tell you straight up where your next social media strategy mistakes are going to be. Ready for the big list of chronic misadventures in the life of the reluctant entrepreneur with their social media strategy?

1. Friends and Family
You ask your friends and family – all those that seem to ‘get it’ – to find out what all this social media milarkey is all about.
Bad, bad idea! They don’t know anything about your clients needs and how to shape your message around their questions on the right platforms using the right tools. And let’s not even start with a social media strategy fit for purpose!
2. Interns
WRONG! Interns know as much about social media MARKETING and nurturing relationships with your target audiences as you do about Snapchatting with your bomas.
Let’s be honest here, if you wouldn’t send your intern out to network on your company’s behalf, why let them loose on your online brand reputation? They may very well be good at ‘chatting’ with their mates on a variety of platforms but I can promise you they know NOTHING about conversion rates and the buyer journey.
3. Generic Social Media Strategy Workshops
Now, there’s nothing wrong with generic workshops per se. You can pick up a fair few tips and tricks to grow your business online. In fact, I have been known to offer a fair few in my time. Still do, in fact.
However, what’s good for the goose, ain’t necessarily good for the gander!
The strategy for a hotel is completely different to a law firm, which is completely different to an online estate agency or a pizza franchise.
General rules and tips about social media will get you not truly get you much closer to building a robust social media strategy, that’s perfectly tailored for your business objectives.
4. Social Media ‘Experts’
Well, without wanting to diss anyone in particular … (wait for it …), taking lessons about Facebook or Twitter marketing from people who patently have few followers, reach, community, brand or engagement has got to be one of the worst business moves in the universe!
Since there are no barriers to entry, everyone and their grannie is able to set themselves up as social media experts. You will only get good results from companies with a decent track record in engagement and have built an active community around them. Not to mention track record in your sector, testimonials, blah, blah, blah.
5. Making It Up As You Go Along
Cheap, yes. But doomed to failure.
Making up certain things as you go along will only take you so far. Doing your own accounts, legal documents, marketing, administration, events management and social media will burn out your resources pretty quickly.
And let’s not even talk about some rogue troll messing with your carefully constructed reputation. Do you know how to manage negative comment? Or a story about your company that’s going viral in the negative direction? Can you handle all the content demands that the various platforms require? Can you measure the impact accurately?
The best businesses survive on focusing on their core strengths and outsourcing all the rest. Fools rush in to social media strategy and marketing where angels fear to tread. Rushing in to do social media marketing without a plan, a strategy and some skilful execution is tantamount to walking to Paris without a map. Or building a skyscraper without a plan. Or making a chocolate eclair without a recipe.
How To Get Your Social Media Strategy Right Every Time

The only way to get your social media strategy to work effectively for you is to follow these simple steps:

Consultant / Consultancy: Pull in a brilliant social media strategist (again, no names, lol) with a proven track record in delivering results
In-House Workshops: Work hard together during a full-day / 4-day workshop to uncover a plan that meets and compliments your business objectives both on and offline
Marketing KPIs: Develop a strategy and target KPIs that are easy to implement in terms of the company resources: people, budgets, communities and content assets.
Technical Training: Get trained up on the key platforms that work for your target audience groups (journalists, prospects, donors, existing customers, etc)
Coaching: Get follow-up coaching on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure all skills and resources are optimised with new developments in the sector, new resources, new staff, new platforms, etc.
Over To YOU
What’s your preferred method of approach to your company’s social media strategy?
Do you generally wing it?
Has your organisation got any more wacky approaches to their social media marketing?
Have you heard of ingenious ways companies are coming up with their strategies?
I’d love to hear some fun stories on how folks are getting it sooo wrong. Give us all a laugh!
For more information on Content Marketing Workshops tailored to your company’s business objectives, get in touch! [email protected]

Setting goals that WORK for you and your business
business goals

Setting goals and objectives is a practice that has been around for some time.

We’ve all heard of SMART goals which were first introduced in 1981, but do they really work? Why do objectives fail to motivate in so many instances? The answer is simple - they are not compelling for the individual. For goals to work, they need to be more than Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely….they need to be attractive to the person trying to achieve them.

High achievers and really successful people don’t ponder over whether their goals are SMART….they believe in them even when others think they are unbelievable.

Setting Compelling Outcomes:
Invariably we often find ourselves setting goals that reflect what others want, not what we as individuals want. This is not only true of the objectives given to us by our employers, which are driven by what the company wants or needs, but can be true within our personal lives as well. Family and peer pressure often drive the goals we set ourselves, as does the fear of what we don’t want to lose. Consequently, we often fail to really understand or believe in the goal, setting ourselves up for failure before we even start.

Compelling outcomes work at all levels, in large organisations, small businesses and for individual goal setting. Whether it is achieving a personal goal such as losing weight or starting your own business, without a compelling outcome your chance of success is severely limited.

So what’s the difference between a SMART outcome and a compelling one? A compelling outcome needs to appeal psychologically and emotionally to the recipient and must be robust enough to remain in place even during times of continuous change.

Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the creators of Neuro Linguistic Programming, studied and modelled numerous individuals who were known as high achievers and excellent in their chosen field. From their work they identified nine key steps to achieving a compelling outcome.

You’re only nine steps away from making your goals real and achievable – read more to find out what these simple but effective steps are.

More info: http://www.nlptherapyedinburgh.co.uk/articles/how-to-create-compelling-goals-outcomes.php

Employing a member of staff for the first time…What should I do?

If your business is expanding and extra support is required, important points to consider are ‘What am I prepared to delegate?’ and ‘What will I trust someone else to do in my business?’ Once you have answered these questions you are prepared to move forward.

The role...
Preparation is key, before you advertise; prepare a job specification (a list of all day to day responsibilities, tasks and objectives). This information will determine whether full time or part time support is needed.

In addition, set a budget for salary and overheads, this may include work space, furniture, tools or technology.
You need to register as an employer with the HMRC. You will need to pay tax and NI on behalf of your new employee
How will they be paid? PAYE or cash? A payroll facility must be set up before the employee starts, this will generate itemised pay notes, P60’s (year end document) and P11d’s (benefits) if required. You can receive support from your bank or your accountants.

Employer’s liability insurance must be taken with an authorised insurer; it must cover £5 million as a minimum.
Salary and benefits – what will you offer? Remember to check out the minimum wage rates, they can change annually.
Advertising and interviewing...
With a clear idea of what the job entails and how your business operates you will think about the best form of advertising for the role. This may include use of local press, radio, social media, or verbal.
I would always recommend carrying out the interview yourself. Do this in an environment similar to where they would work; it will create the right image for you and your business.
Decide on a short list of questions to ensure consistency with the interviews, responses from candidates will be easier to compare.
Very important from my perspective, if someone has taken the time to come for an interview, always inform them of the outcome of the interview and if the answer is no give them constructive feedback as to where they could improve their skills.
Once you have identified the person for the role...
Ensure your potential new employee has a legal right to work in the UK, anyone subject to immigration control must have a work permit prior to commencing work. Passports are a must to ensure you comply with UK law on immigration.
Contracts of employment are a legal obligation to give to your employee. This must be done within 2 months of commencing employment. Contracts must include, salary, hours, holiday entitlement (28 days a year, including statutory bank holidays), notice period and other terms and conditions you feel are applicable to the role. I would highly recommend a probationary period, this protects you as an employer, you can terminate the employment with a week’s notice if the arrangement does not work out.
Health and safety....
It is essential to carry out risk assessments on the tasks your employees will be undertaking. This will help to protect you and any claims that may be made against you or your business, ensure you check out your terms of employer’s liability insurance.
Remember throughout the process you are demonstrating your company image it is important to get it right with a positive experience. It will help set the culture of your business and your employer - employee relationship.

The Age of the Entrepreneur

Source: Brand Fast Trackers

Read on, and you will get some lessons from Richard Branson!

Employees, Entrepreneurs & Intrapreneurs
One of the key tenets of this podcast is entrepreneurship or how do I go from being an employee to an entrepreneur? We have certainly have had many entrepreneurs on this show, and have also recognized the growing trend of intrapreneurship. Today speaking with today’s guest made perfect sense.

Julie Cottineau has a long history in the agency world at Grey and Interbrand and spent almost 5 years as the VP of Brands for Virgin. I don’t know about you, but when I think about famous entrepreneurs, Richard Branson certainly comes to mind. Now Julie oversees her own brand consultancy and uses lateral, out-of-category thinking to help agencies and entrepreneurs innovate through BrandTwist and BrandSchool.

More info: http://www.brandfasttrackers.com/2013/06/26/brand-fast-trackers-212-the-age-of-the-entrepreneur/

Email is part of SME business life.
April 25, 2015

As this imaginative, witty and informative article points out “Email is one of those things that's just a part of your life, period."

Given the importance we all attach to e-mails, underpinning most SME's businesses, it's surprising how little we do to ensure its ongoing availability - i.e. that we don't lose it.
There are many email backup programs available but in the companies we visit I don't think any of them use one. Many small companies with perhaps 1 - 5 PCs still use POP3 email accounts where the incoming email ends up only on the user's PC - and there it often remains until they purchase a new PC - unless of course there is a disaster, corruption, theft etc...when unfortunately all the email might be lost.

For some people that is not too much of a problem, but for others, who perhaps often search through and refer to old emails, this can be business-threatening.
We believe one of the most attractive e-mail solutions for the smaller SME, providing an alternative to basic POP3 email, is a "Hosted e-mail service that replicates".
What does this mean?

a) Your domain's email (e.g. mygreatcompany.com) is hosted in the cloud by a specialist provider. This does not have to be the same place that hosts your website.They will backup your email automatically and often allow you to restore old email in case you accidentally delete some.
b) The email client on your PC synchronizes with the cloud and your PC receives a copy of all e-mail. You can install the email client for each email account on multiple PCs/laptops (e.g. home and office) at no extra charge and each one will get a physical copy of the email – thus each one is automatically acting as a separate backup in a different location. A copy of each email also remains hosted in the cloud.
c) Everything synchronizes everywhere. If you send an e-mail from your IPhone when you get to the office and open your email client that email also automatically appears in the PC’s ‘sent mail’.
d) Since your email is hosted centrally in the cloud you will often also get facilities such as shared calendars.... no need for servers in your office running Microsoft Exchange for example.
If you are not sure where to start try www.zimbra.com .
And remember too that even if you are a sole proprietor it’s a good idea to have your own domain. If you still use an account such as [email protected] then if you choose to move from AOL as your internet service provider (ISP) you will eventually lose your email address too. If instead you have a domain and create email addresses at that domain e.g. [email protected] your email address need never change, even if or when you move from one ISP to another.

Starting a small business? – don’t obsess about SEO

If you are starting out in business you will undoubtedly want or already have a website, probably with a domain name that relates to your business, or is memorable, or both.

However you may have been advised that a very high ranking on Google is essential and that, therefore, you will need to get started immediately ‘optimising your website’ so that you appear high in Google when relevant keywords are entered into Google e.g. ‘plumber Leith’ or ‘florist Perth’. As you may not possess those skills yourself you may be persuaded to part with precious initial business funds to have that service carried out for you. All very well...who can argue with a good ranking in Google?

However when I reflect on a number of businesses I know, their approach to both websites and SEO varies enormously . Here are some examples.
We know a company which has successfully grown a ‘swimming teaching’ business over a period of 5 years. They rely heavily on their website and a high ranking in Google and have dedicated many man hours to repeatedly ‘tweeking’ their website themselves to see what works in search engine rankings and what doesn’t.

We know both a Martial Arts School and an Agricultural supplier who both rely heavily on their websites to generate business. Both have very high Google rankings but neither had carried out much specific SEO at all...they just built the websites they wanted and the rankings gradually improved all by themselves. It’s business you want and having a good search engine ranking, though desirable, is far from the whole story.

Our accountant has a small attractive website (not much SEO), only average rankings in search engines, but is overrun with business. By comparison I know a business consultant in Edinburgh who started about a year ago, has a very nice website and has invested quite a lot in SEO. They appear quite high in Google for relevant keywords and yet they are not yet achieving adequate levels of business.
So if you are starting out don’t be obsessive about SEO or recent Google updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird etc.) unless you have a very good reason..... and remember there can be a considerable delay between SEO changes you apply to a website and their effects in the rankings.

Build a visually attractive website with very relevant content. You are unlikely to want to keep changing the core content so consider adding a blog where you can add more content as and when you want.
• Make it personal with client stories and testimonials.
• Offer business tips on the website via a PDF download.
• Try to get links back to your website from high-quality websites in your industry
• Try an advert on Google Adwords – they often have special offers and the costs are controllable.
• Follow @ReallySimpleSEO on Twitter and purchase their SEO tips for £9.99
• See how your SEO efforts are working by using www.sheerseo.com (some free options)
• The world is going mobile so if you have business premises get it listed in Google Places.
• Make sure you website looks OK on Smartphones i.e. is responsive

Also :- Get business networking Consider a simple Vehicle sign including your website address Put your website and e-mail address on all documentation. Some additional SEO resources for you to refer to yourself:

• Google's Starter Guide
• SEO Fundamentals with David Booth

However if you are sure you need to get high in the search engine rankings as quickly as possible you will probably require the services of a specialist SEO company.

Getting Ahead of the Competition

Source: G7 Design Business Tips Blog

Business Tips - Vol. 1, Issue 5
One of the keys to success in business is being able to attain the edge over competitors. We’ve done our research, and have compiled a summary of elements you may be able to implement within your own firm towards achieving competitive advantage:

•Differentiation – In a situation where a potential customer/client has a choice between your firm and your competitor – why should they choose you? What can you do, that your competitors can’t? In every industry or market, there is a threshold of abilities a company should have, in order to fulfil a basic service or product, (for example G7 Design must be able to design and implement modern web solutions for its clients). To differentiate your offerings, and hence ensure that you stand out from competition, you must look at ways you can do more than other companies in your industry, and surpass the threshold. This may include innovation, such as to use methods other firms can’t use (or can’t afford to use), or even to include small extras with your products/services. If you can introduce a new working method or approach not widely used, ensure you include that as a feature of your product/service when advertising.
•Lower Costs – Typically used by larger organisations, cost leadership can be utilised to win customers over. In a similar situation as above where your customers have a choice between you and your competitor, if the product/service features are like-for-like, they will usually decide upon price. Nevertheless, it is advised that prices are only lowered when you can assure that demand is in place for your products/services, and of-course, that you can actually afford to pursue this strategy by lowering your own internal costs first. It is also recommended that a move in this direction is gradual.
•Keep Changing – It is very important to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in your market. Industries change almost constantly, with new working methods, techniques and technological applications. Commit some time each week to reading up on your industry through magazines, trade or online journals, which will invariably keep you informed on the latest developments within your industry. As such you will be in a position to employ the latest approaches used by market leaders.
•Review the Competition – Awareness of both local competitors and market-leading players will provide you with insight as to the operations of other firms offering the same products/services as you. For local companies, it is useful to review their portfolios, and analyse any ways they may be offering more than you, or better value. You may want to consider ways you can match or surpass this. For market leaders, there are of-course a number of reasons that they are the leaders – if there is a way you can mimic elements of their approach to business, it may be worth your time.
Build a Loyal Customer Base – Loyalty is extremely valuable in business. By retaining customers, this will protect your position and hopefully prevent customers from buying your products/services from other firms. Furthermore, with a strong customer base, this can provide you with a sound foundation for reaching new clients. The obvious solutions to building a customer base are by offering discounts, and/or rigorous client relationship management.
•Survey Customers – Any time your customers are in contact with your company is an opportunity to survey them. Create a short list of questions to find out what is important to your customers, and once you have a substantial number of surveys completed, review the responses given to each question. This is one sure method of gleaning direct information on what exactly existing and potential customers are looking for, and it allows you to develop better customer orientation.