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Embracing New Media To Help The High Street

The next time you take a walk down your locak High Street it’s worth recognising the fact that you are witnessing something of a miracle.

In these difficult times for “brick and mortar” businesses the continued existence of city and town centres as vibrant shopping areas owes much to tbe tenacity, drive, enthusiasm and sheer doggedness of the business owners involved.

Town centres are just shopping and retail areas, they form a vital hub in the lives of our towns and a living link with the past, to an era when there wasn’t much choice, long before mass ownership of private vehicles and the term of “out of town” mean the countryside, not a large cinema and retail park!

But even the most committed of “real” businesses nowadays need to embrace the digital world and utilise and leverage the marketing benefits it can bring.

From the local grovery store who offers online delivery to the hairdresser who promotes her special offers via facebook, the good news is that business owners are fighting back and claiming their space in the online world.

One such is Mark Davies, of Chiropractors Rayleigh in Essex who has found that having a strong online presence has been vital to his business. “I know myself that when I’m looking for something the first thing I do is get my phone out and serach Google, ” says Mark. “There cama a point when I had a lightbulb moment and realised that I needed to be at the top of those searches.

Putting flyers through doors, or having ads in thge local paper were producing miniumal returns, and I was fed up with a “throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will stick” approach to marketing.

“Entering the online world was a bit like taking my car to the garage – your feel out of your area of expertise and are almost anticipating the sharp intake of breath and being told that it will cost more than you had thought. The truth is that there are good companies out there to help local businesses like mine, including government initiatives, it just takes a bit of sifting to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

After the post credit-crash dip in local retail there has been something of a “tentative” revival, and for local businesses to thrive they need to embrace all marketing avenues, particularly those that are low cost with possible high returns.

A business can build a website cheaply by using services provided by companies such as weebly or godaddy. A Facebook page can be constructed in less than an hour and can pay huge dividends, particularly if your business targets younger, mobile and internet savvy customers.

Google and Facebook both offer online help to enable you to start advertising with them, and a quick search online will reveal the source of vouchers which enable you receive a free advertising allownace on both of these platforms.

The High Street may be changing, and operators there may have many challenges, but by utilising mobile and internet marketing they can demonstrate that there is still life in the old, (and beloved), dog yet.

Useful Resources: BBC News – Running A Business



Keeping Your Workspace Fit For Business

“A tidy office is a sign of a tidy mind,” one of my business mentors once said. He was obsessive in his crusade against clutter, convinced that it was a drain on efficiency and also signalled to anyone who saw your workspace that you were not in control.

Over the years I have been in business I have learned that there is more than a grain of truth in his advice.

I have three criteria that are important to my ability to focus and my efficiency.

  • I am well groomed and wearing business atire (even if I am working from home)
  • My desk and immediate workspace is tidy and uncluttered
  • My wider workspace is professional and condusive to business

“Clothes maketh the man,” goes the quote, and I agree that it is true. If I wear a T shirt and jeans then I am in a T shirt and jeans frame of mind. By wearing business attire I am sending a signal to my brain that I am ready to work, and that I am taking my projects seriously.

You need to find the level of attire that is appropriate for your business. Sir Richard Branson may be able to get away with wearing jeans and a jacket, but if you are financial consultant it may not be what your clients expect you to wear.

Stobbart Transport in the UK are a famous haulage company whose trucks can be seen driving up and down the length of the country. One of the features of their service is that their lorry drivers all wear a shirt and tie. That signals a  high level of professionalism and respect for the service they provide, and for their customers.

typing on a computerKeeping your immediate workspace neat is important in helping your mind to focus on the task at hand. Few of perform well when we are distracted, and in my own experience my work day can quickly become occupied with “stuff”ather than important tasks unless I stay one-pointed in my priorities. A clear desk helps with this.

Focus On One Task Until Completion” is a worthwhile motto.

Maintaining a clean a tidy workplace or office is important. It sinals to your staff and to your visitors that you care about the details. Mark Thornton of Clean Direct carpet cleaners, Milton Keynes says that clients are often surprised just how much of a contrast their is when they get their office shampooed.

Dirt builds up slowly, so slowly that the people working their don’t even notice it.” he says. “Yet when people walk in for the first time they see the dirty office carpets that the people there have been accustomed too – you never get another chance to make a first impression. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend our customers set up a regular schedule of cleaning so it never gets that bad again.”

What impression do you give clients / customers who visit you? Would you like to visit your workspace in its current condition. If not, then it is time to spruce things up.

The good news is that by raising the standard of your personal attire, your immediate space and your wider worker environment you can quickly increase productivity levels – and that translates to more money in the bank.