Today #HASHTAGS are everywhere. The concept may have originated on Twitter, but more recently we see the hashtag trend has gone viral as it has spread right across the Internet and now hashtags are frequently used in real life as well. You can see them on TV, magazines, stickers, and in business establishments everywhere. However, what do these hashtags mean and how can you use them? They seem to serve different purposes in different social media networks, so it’s important that you understand how they work so you can use them properly.
Here’s a brief guide on how #hashtags work to help you out:
This is where it all started back in 2007 as the very first hashtag EVER was #barcamp by Chris Messina. Due to this initial successful tryout (against the Twitter boss‘s wishes) we now see hashtags as the first place to find information on the latest news and events on a global scale. Hashtags made a great way to connect all conversations on the same topic under one location. So a person could #StarTrekBeyond to get in all on conversations about the movie that feature this hashtag. You can include more than one hashtag in a Tweet and have letters, numbers, and underscores in them. You cannot include characters like +, !, $, %, -, ^, &, * . These are best used in Twitter chats, live events, and conferences. You can create an official hashtag so people know which one to use to get in on the conversation.
Instagram and Twitter use hashtags in the same way in most cases. You can include up to 30 tags in every photograph and like Twitter, characters like +, !, $, %, -, ^, &, and * are not permitted. You can include letters, numbers, and underscores in the tag, just like you can on Twitter. Experts recommend location-specific hashtags because they work best for Instagram. You can also create hashtag games related to your industry to get customer engagement.
Google Plus looks beyond personal organisation and monitoring when it comes to use of hashtags. In fact, the network automatically creates hashtags for every update you upload after the topics are clear to them. Google Plus hashtags exposes your content to a wider audience, even those that aren’t connected to you in anyway. You can use any number of hashtags in your content. You also need to make sure your tag has no space but other than that, you’re free to add anything.
This platform does not offer as much comprehensive support to hashtags as other platforms do. While the word after the tag is clickable and you can search them, the results aren’t refined by hashtags. You can only use it as a cross-promotional and branding tool.
Hashtags in Flickr work similarly to Instagram and help you organise and monitor your pictures. When you click on the tag following the hashtag, you’re directed to a search page and if you click on the hashtag, it directs you to an explore page where you can explore pictures with related tags.
You can use hashtags on Facebook and Tumblr as well, but they don’t seem to have much of an impact on marketing.
If you want to know more about #HASHTAGS in social media or marketing, please do not hesitate to contact us. We Can Build Your Business #smallbusinesssupport in Manchester can offer solid advice to small businesses. We are happy to help you as we have a team of professional partners on hand who can make a difference to your business success.
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CRM stands for #CustomerRelationshipManagement and as the name suggests, this system helps you manage customer date and maintain a good relationship with them. Good #CRM software will make it easier for you to keep track of your customer’s behaviour, preferences, and activity. At We Can Build Your Business, we believe that every business should use CRM software. Here are some ways in which this system can be used to improve sales and profit:
1.Information and Tracking
The CRM system doesn’t require much human input but it automatically collects data from customer activities and keeps track of all transactions. You will know how many people purchased your product, what were the preferred items of your high-value customers, which products had the most sales, etc. This information can help you build better marketing campaigns, develop good sales strategies, and improve the quality of your products and services.
2.Segmenting Will Help
If you have a large customer base, you shouldn’t treat it as one entity. If you do so, you’ll risk alienating a section of future prospects by ignoring them in your marketing campaign. If you segment your customers into different categories, you will be able to create customized marketing campaigns and sales strategies for them, and that will help with the conversions. Segmented customers are also easier to manage and keep track of because you have fewer people to track at once.
3.Automated Acknowledgment of Customer Action
CRM systems allow you to automate response to customer actions. For example, if a customer makes a purchase, the system doesn’t just send an acknowledgement email with purchase information, but also suggests connected products. This response is essential to increase customer confidence in your brand and keep their focus on you.
Even converted, high-value customers can easily forget about you and your products if you don’t engage them regularly. The CRM system can send your customers regular emails with sales, mentions of products they might be interested in, articles and content, etc. These emails keep your brand visible and prominent. The products and sales will also tempt your customers to make a purchase once again and that will help you earn more revenue.
5.Choose the Right CRM
The right CRM system will efficiently manage all of your customer information and provide a number of benefits like reporting, analysis, automation, etc. We usually recommend #ZOHO to our clients because it has delivered reliable performance. There are several other options available in the market as well. Be sure to research the popular CRMs and assess their performance before you chose one platform. Some CRM systems are too complicated and cumbersome to use in small businesses.
If you want to know more about improving your sales and profit through CRM, please do not hesitate to contact us. We Can Build Your Business #smallbusinesssupport in Manchester can offer solid advice to small businesses. We are happy to help you as we have a team of professional partners on hand who can make a difference to your business success.
#ZOHO CRM From £10 Per Month
#ZOHO Specialist Support – £18 Per Hour
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Wishing all our customers a very Happy #Valentines2017
A special day to celebrate and PUT YOURSELF AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITORS with SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
The team at “WE CAN BUILD YOUR BUSINESS” can make life so much easier for you.
We have an online hub packed with business tips, advice and the latest products and services; your own ‘Virtual Business Builder’. With just a few clicks you can access business forms, templates and many competitively priced business solutions. We have teamed up with a number of trusted professional partners; all highly regarded, highly recommended and highly experienced in their fields giving you PEACE OF MIND.
- Monthly Plan Websites From £25 Per Month
- Branding & Graphic Design From £15 Per Hour
- Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing From £15 Per Hour
- Online Accountancy Packages with Off Line Support From £59 Per Month
- Empresa HR – A Powerful HR software solution. More than a Product, a true Partnership. with low set up costs. Includes hosting, support and upgrades. – From £25 per month
& Much More…………..
If you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We Can Build Your Business #smallbusinesssupport in Manchester can offer solid advice to help grow your business. We are happy to assist you as we have a team of professional partners on hand who can make a difference to your business success.
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SEO is one of the best ways to draw organic audiences to your website and improve your rankings on search engines. It’s an essential strategy that should be included in all marketing campaigns. In 2017, you need to up the ante if you want to stay ahead of the game and here are some New Year Resolutions that can help.
1.Optimize User Interaction and Experience For Mobile
It is vital to shift your focus from desktop to mobile in 2017 if you haven’t already. This might sound repetitive, but search engines like Google have shifted their focus almost completely to the mobile platform. The company released another mobile-friendly update to its algorithm in 2016 and that trend is set to continue in 2017 as well.
It is not enough to just optimize your website for mobile platforms or to introduce an app. You need to engage and interact with your target audiences on this platform. This will help you connect with your customers easily and gain attention from increasingly tech-savvy millennials.
2. Focus on Long-Form Content
A few years ago, marketers could get away with small blog posts with the same topics and little information. That’s no longer the case as the world of content marketing has become very competitive as well. You need to produce high-quality, well-researched long-form content with around 1,000 words or more.
Content creators need to invest effort into every piece they write to ensure it is informative and can retain audience attention. The average attention span of people online is around 3 seconds, so only really interesting pieces of content can keep them engaged for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you are invested in marketing, you have probably heard about Google’s Knowledge Graph. It’s a pocket of data that appears at the top of the search engine results page and provides a snippet of information to the search engine user. This snippet is taken from third-party websites that use microformatting and arrange their content in a specific format.
If you successfully implement microformatting in your content, your website link would appear at the top of the SERP. That’s prime real estate and will immediately garner attention.
4.Analyse Data More Thoroughly
Businesses have access to ample data, both from their website and from third-party sources. It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to study all of this information and create a marketing campaign that works. If you want to stay ahead of the game, it’s vital to truly understand what the data is trying to tell you. You don’t just need to study the information, but also draw accurate and actionable conclusions from the data. This will allow you to create more insightful and efficient marketing campaigns.
If you want to know more about using SEO, please do not hesitate to contact us. We Can Build Your Business #smallbusinesssupport in Manchester can offer solid advice to small businesses. We are happy to help you as we have a team of professional partners on hand who can make a difference to your business success.
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Starting a business can be one of the most daunting, life changing decisions a new entrepreneur can make and may also be one of the toughest robust challenges they may encounter. It will require lots of hard work, determination, dedication and total commitment. Despite this, we are seeing more and more people emerging all over the country with new ideas and ventures. Whether it is someone starting out on their own from their bedroom or a group of friends creating a business after University, there are definitely more of us choosing to make this unnerving, unpredictable journey. So with this in mind, here are some fundamental steps that are proven to help you when Starting a New Business.
- Know Your Market This may sound obvious but how well do you know your market? You need to research thoroughly to ensure that there is a space in the market for your product or service and that people will come to you for what you have to offer. As well as this you need dig even deeper, it’s great to see that there is a gap in the market for you, but who is going to buy it ? What is your demographic? Are you targeting males or females, teenagers or adults, young professionals or senior executives? Knowing your audience is vital as then you are able to target them directly when implementing your marketing and sales strategies.
- Write A Business Plan A solid Business Plan is essential and a tool you will need when starting your new business. A business plan acts as your blue prints for everything you will need – not only detailing how you plan on starting, but forecasting how the future will go for you too.#Businessplans should incorporate every aspect of your company; your growth strategy; your marketing plan; financial planning; branding; mission statements; social responsibility. Everything that goes into the running of a business should be chronicled in your plan beforehand so you can follow your guidelines. You can use your business plan after 1 year, 3 years and 5 years as a benchmark of how successful you are compared on how successful you forecasted you will be. Your Business Plan should be your “road map to success.” Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Get Funding Making a new business costs money – If you do not have a large pot of savings to use towards everything you will need, then you will have to consider where you are going to source your finance from. You can always go to the bank and apply for a loan (a well written business plan will help you greatly with this application), but there are other many other methods of raising funds. There are a number of government funding opportunities such as grants, or Business Start-Up Loans also known as Soft Loans because they give you access to funding pots with attractive interest rates, and more flexible terms. You will also have access to a mentor who will work closely with you to grow your business. Another of the latest vogue trends in the business funding circles is ‘Kickstarter’, where you can audition your business and product online and ask people all over the globe to help fund the launch of your product – it’s a quirky trend that has been successful for plenty of businesses. Additionally you can even try your luck at being a semi-celebrity and applying to appear on Dragons’ Den and trying your luck there!
- Find Your Location Location is a very important aspect to consider. You need to place yourself where you will be easily found and easily accessed. You need to do a bit of research here, so you know that you are in an area where there isn’t too much competition, but is in a vibrant enough area for you to get a regular flow of customers through your doors. Similarly, if you are an online business instead of a traditional shop you still need to make yourself available to the masses. Google ranking and social channels are vitally important for businesses who are solely online, so you need to ensure that you utilise social media and SEO campaigns so online users can flock to your website easily. Social Media tools such as Hootesuite or Sprout Social are a great way to get your message to out to the masses.
- Use The Right People It is very important and that you are working with the right third party companies who have your best interest at heart and will work hard to help your company become a success – for instance employing the branding company, virtual assistants, accountants, HR adviser and so on. Having third party professionals on board who can share their expertise with you will greatly enhance your chances of success. The other people you have to ensure are right for you are your employees. If you are in the position of needing staff when you start up then you have to ensure that they buy into your ideologies and work ethic – do they have the same drive as you in order to make this venture a success? Do they have the right experience? Do they have good organisational skills? What is their customer service like? Getting the right staff on board will be a significant boost to your business.
We Can Build Your Business Manchester love to work with new #start-ups and help and support them to explore different ways in which they can grow their business. We have an online hub packed with business tips, advice and the latest products and services; your own ‘Virtual Business Builder’. With just a few clicks, you can access business forms, templates and many competitively priced business solutions. We have teamed up with a number of trusted professional partners; all highly regarded, trusted and experienced experts recommended in their fields – who can apply their proven know how to your business.
Contact us today for FREE friendly advice….
National insurance contributions (NICs) is a substantial cost for today’s employers, and a significant tax burden for many employees. While reducing your national insurance payments may be limited, there are nevertheless some key strategies which may help to save employer and/or employee NICs.
CONSIDER A DIVIDEND
Where directors receive a salary or bonus, on which NICs are payable, it may be more tax-efficient and cost effective for part of the payment to be made as a dividend.
The decision on whether or not to pay a dividend can sometimes be a difficult choice as paying a dividend may influence the value of the company’s shares and therefore increase the potential future liability to capital gains tax and inheritance tax. There is also a maximum amount that can be paid, based on the company’s results. Please note that special rules apply for some companies providing personal services.
You should also think about the timing of dividend payments as it is important to consider the wider implications for both you and the company. Please speak to your accountant before taking action.
SALARY SACRIFICE AND TAX-FREE BENEFITS
A salary sacrifice arrangement related to tax-free benefits in kind, such as the provision of childcare, could result in a saving for both the employer and the employee.
If you swap cash salary for childcare vouchers, the employee can save both tax and NICs. The employer also saves employer (secondary) Class 1 contributions. However, think carefully and take advice before entering a salary sacrifice arrangement as you could reduce the cash salary to below the lower earnings limit for NI purposes (£109 per week for 2013/14) as this may adversely affect entitlement to statutory payments.
You should also ensure that the reduced salary does not fall below the level of the national minimum wage.
Employer contributions to company pension schemes are free of tax and NICs for the employee. Any increase in employer pension contributions could therefore result in a bigger NIC saving for the employee, whilst boosting the value of their retirement income.
Be careful and ensure you keep an eye on the annual allowance – pension inputs exceeding the allowance (£50,000 for policy years ending in 2013/14) may be subject to a tax charge.
SHARE INCENTIVE PLANS
Share incentive plans (shares bought out of pre-tax and pre-NIC income) can be an effective way of reducing employee NICs. Employees who receive shares under a Share Incentive Plan and keep them in the plan for five years will not have to pay income tax or NICs on their value when they acquire them. However, the employee will be liable to income tax and NICs if they choose to take shares out of the Share Incentive Plan early (the amount payable will depend on when the shares are taken out).
MORE THAN ONE JOB?
If you are receiving an income from more than one job, or if you have self-employment income as well as income from a salary, you should ensure that you do not pay more in NICs than you need to.
The prescribed annual maximum normal contribution for an individual is 53 weeks at the standard primary (employee) Class 1 contribution rate between the earnings threshold and the upper earnings limit. For 2013/14 this works out at £4,121.28 plus an additional 2% payable on earnings in excess of the upper earnings limit.
If you think there is a chance that you will exceed this limit, you can apply for deferment of contributions on the ‘surplus’ employments and/or self-employment – please speak to your accountant or contact us for more information.
We can advise on strategies to help keep your tax liability to a minimum wherever possible – please contact us for advice tailored to your circumstances.
LOOKING AHEAD: THE NEW NATIONAL INSURANCE EMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCE
As announced in the 2013 Budget, a new Employment Allowance of £2,000 per year will be available for businesses and charities from April 2014.
Employers will need to confirm their eligibility through their regular payroll process. This confirmation will ensure that up to £2,000 will be deducted from their employers’ NICs liability over the course of the year’s PAYE payments.
IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS FURTHER THEN PLEASE TALK TO US NOW!
T. 0330 133 0092
Cloud technology has been gathering lots of pace over the last few years, and we are seeing more and more businesses embrace the cloud each and every day – to great success too. A recent Google report tells us that small to medium sized businesses that use cloud based services are actually 21% more profitable than businesses that don’t. The report also found that organisations using the cloud grow at a 26% faster rate too.
Looking at these statistics, it is probably a good time to evaluate if your business could benefit from using cloud based solutions. With the rate at which cloud based services are growing if you don’t consider using them soon, you may be left behind. Your competitors who have already done so may get a head start on you!
WITH THIS IN MIND, HERE ARE 10 SIGNS TO SHOW THAT YOUR BUSINESS IS READY FOR THE CLOUD:
If the industry you work in is fast paced and requires to you to be flexible to meet customer demands. If this applies to your business, then cloud technology can help you enormously as it is adaptable, flexible and responsive; allowing you to stay on top of the wants and needs of your customers.
If your company is expanding and you have lots of remote based workers who need to all access your server. This can be a difficult situation for lots of companies as you will not want your remote staff to miss out on key information or not have access to the right system. A cloud based CRM system, like Salesforce or Zoho, can solve your problem as each of your remote workers can use an active login to access all the relevant data anywhere, anytime with an internet connection.
If you don’t have the capacity to expand your IT department to meet growing demands. With cloud technology your existing IT team can implement the relevant software and future updates, or backups etc are automatically taken care of externally.
If your business needs to save costs. This can come across a multitude of departments for businesses. You may need to reduce you hardware and updating costs – the cloud can do this by giving you smaller monthly costs instead of big upfront fees. You may also feel services such as your accountants are becoming too expensive for the little work that they do; you can now find online accountants which are a cheaper through cloud based technology.
Consider what is your contingency plan if you suffered an enormous disaster? Let’s say for example if there was an accident that significantly damaged your property – would all your data be secure? If not, you should look into cloud hosted solutions as they will store all of private and confidential data remotely and back it up; so you never have to worry about losing any of it.
If you need to offer something that your competitors don’t. Each company needs a USP and with more and more people having access to mobile devices, now is the perfect time to offer customers and potential customers a package they can use on the go. ( DOWNLOAD How to define your USP)
I you are running out of storage space for the thousands of boxes you have filled with important documentation? With cloud solutions you can scan in or a take a photo of important paperwork and upload it to your server; claiming back hundreds of squared feet for your business.
If you want to grow your business but need a cost effective platform to help you meet new demand.
SAVE Time. Cloud systems can improve time efficiency across a host of platforms; for instance KashFlow, a cloud based accountancy system, saves you up to 75 hours of work time per employee per month!
If you don’t want to let your competitors get ahead of you. The cloud obviously helps all types of businesses, from streamlining their processes, improving their communication to saving costs. Sooner or later your competitors will see they need to embrace the cloud in order to grow – you don’t want them to do this before you do you?
We find cloud technology brilliant. It is ever improving and has given us a real chance at differentiating ourselves from the plethora of accountants there are up and down the country. If you feel it would be wise to make the first steps of moving toward the cloud for your business, then please contact us today and we will be happy to assist you.
Doing business online is becoming a more popular option allowing niche markets to grow while reducing business costs, more people are choosing to go freelance. Working freelance requires setting up a business and if you’re one of those about to take the plunge you’ll need to decide whether to be a sole trader or operate through a limited company. The choice will depend on factors unique to your own business situation, such as the type of work you do, who you intend to trade with and what your future business plans are. Let’s look at some of the main differences and how they’re likely to affect your new business.
REGISTERING AS A SOLE TRADER
One of the main advantages of being a sole trader is simplicity. It’s the most straightforward way to operate a business and there’s less paperwork involved in setting up, allowing you to get on with the doing what you need to do to grow your business.
You need to contact HMRC as soon as you start trading and register for Class 2 National Insurance and self-assessment, a process that can be done online via the HMRC website.
If your turnover is below the VAT threshold (£81,000 from 1 April 2014) you can use the cash basis of accounting and claim simplified expenses, but remember you must keep full and accurate records of your income. HMRC can levy a penalty for not taking reasonable care with records and tax returns so it is important you get proper advice from the start.
Every year you need to complete a self-assessment tax return and it is often simpler to prepare your accounts to 31 March to link in with the tax year. The return needs to be submitted by 31 January following, so for example the tax return for the year ended 5 April 2014 must be submitted by 31 January 2015.
When you start in business there can be a long delay before you pay any tax so it is important you budget for this and have the money put away. If you start in business in April 2014 your first accounts will be to 31 March 2015 and your first tax payment will be on 31 January 2016, nearly two years later!
If you take on any employees you will also need to register for PAYE and if your turnover goes above the VAT threshold you will have to register for VAT.
SETTING UP AS A LIMITED COMPANY
If you want to operate as a limited company you’ll need to register with Companies House, after which you’ll receive a certificate of incorporation showing the date your company was formed and your company number.
You will also need to open a bank account in the name of the company and this can often take several weeks so you must plan ahead.
A company must keep proper accounting records and as with a sole trader, HMRC can levy a penalty for not taking reasonable care with records and tax returns.
As a director of the company you are classed as an employee and therefore you must register with HMRC for PAYE. Payroll returns have to be made each month before you pay yourself under the RTI system.
The VAT considerations for a company are the same as for a sole trader.
The paperwork required for limited companies is more complicated than for sole traders but shouldn’t be particularly onerous. The company accounts have to be filed at Companies House within nine months of the year end but can you can file abbreviated accounts which don’t show your profit. You also have to file an annual return listing the company’s directors and shareholders together with a £13 filing fee. These documents are on public view and copies can be obtained by anyone.
In addition, the company will have to complete a tax return for the purpose of paying corporation tax and you as an individual will have to complete a personal self-assessment tax return. Corporation tax is payable nine months after the company year end.
As a sole trader you will be liable to tax and national insurance on your profits. If you have a limited company the company pays corporation tax on its profits and you are liable to income tax on any money taken out of the company. The table below looks at earnings of £40,000 and as you can see there is a vast difference in the tax payable.
Salary (7,956) 7,956
Corporation tax (6,409)
Dividend (25,635) 25,635
Retained profit 0 33,591
Profits 40,000 40,000
Personal allowance (10,000)
Tax (6,000) (6,000)
National insurance (2,884) (2,884)
The figures are based on the tax rates for 2014/2015 and it may be possible to reduce the tax further in the limited company scenario by utilising the employment allowance.
The term ‘limited company’ refers to the limited liability directors and shareholders of a company enjoy. This is because, legally speaking, a limited company is completely separate from those who form it. If your business fails as a sole trader, personal assets such as your house or car could potentially be repossessed in order to pay outstanding creditors. This is not the case with limited companies, provided they are operated according to the law.
The risks involved with freelancing will depend on the type of work being carried out, but if your projects involve sensitive and potentially costly information or there would be significant financial costs involved should errors occur, it’s important to ensure you’re not held personally liable when a client passes responsibility on to your business.
HOW YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE RECEIVED
A large number of freelancers choose to register as a limited company simply because their clients won’t do business with them otherwise. This is especially true of larger companies. Clients tend to feel more confident dealing with a limited company than a sole trader, and the same is true of lenders, should the business require additional funding at some point.
The choice of registering your freelance business as a sole trader or a limited company will affect your tax position, your rights and responsibilities as a legal entity and how you’re regarded by those you do business with – Therefore it is important to consider this carefully before choosing. However, you can always change your mind at a later date if your circumstances change and the initial decision is no longer the best for your business needs.
IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS FURTHER THEN PLEASE TALK TO US NOW
We Can Build Your Business
T: 0330 133 0092