Great care should be taken when creating your business cards. When the networking event is over, or when your client meeting is over, what your potential client is left with is your business card, so make sure it gives the right impression of you & your business.
Is your business card professional? Does it convey the best image for your business? A potential customer, who has your business card, will be deciding on whether or not to contact you â and in part this will be based on how clear, easy and professional your details on your business card are.
Follow the tips below, which will help you and your business give the best impression from the very start:
1. Have a professional design
If you donât have a high level of design skills then consider enlisting the help of a design professional. Your business card will be a part of your brand image so it needs to be of a high standard. Alternatively, some business card providers such as Moo.com offer business card templates, which enable you to get a professional looking design â however, thereâs always the risk that one of your competitors is using the same template as you.
Obviously include the basics such as your name, title, email address, website address, contact number, address.
A professional looking email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org is vital. Having an unprofessional email address such as a yahoo.co.uk or Hotmail.com email address on you card screams “AMATEUR” and you will not be taken seriously. An unprofessional email address will make potential clients think your business is unprofessional. So make sure you have registered your domain name for your business – to use both for your email address and your website.
A website address on the card is also a must, even if you donât sell directly via your website. Having a chat at a networking event or business conference and handing over your business card to a prospect is a good start, but nowadays many people like to go online and checkout your business further, before making a decision â even if itâs just to give them some added reassurance. For example, they may want to see some further background info on your product/services or see some client testimonials. If you donât have a website, then odds are your competitors will. Getting a website for your business has never been easier, especially with tools such as website builders with which you can get a website up & running in minutes.
Donât forget to include your phone number. While some people like to email, many prefer a chat over the phone. Also, if your position in the business is Sales, then having your mobile number on the cardÂ as well is highly recommended. Nowadays, many potential clients will expect to be able to get in touch with you, even if youâre out of the office, so make it easy for people to be able to speak to you, so they can place their order.
3. Design Style
Clean and minimal design is best. Your card is to promote your business brand identity. It should not be confused with advertising, so donât plaster it with sales & marketing info.
Many prefer to have a blank back to their business card, where people you give your card to can jot down some notes after you have given your card to them. While you can include some info on the back of the card i.e. bullet points of the key services you offer, at the very least just make sure your leave some clear space where people can write some notes on your card.
With this in mind, make sure that itâs possible for people to actually be able to write on your card. Donât make it difficult for people to add a simple note on your card because it has a plastic sheen to it.
4. Card size
Stick with the standard business card size of 3.5 x 2 inches. While having an unusual business card such as one in the shape of a circle or a star, etc. is eye catching, the fact is they donât fit into binders. Many people use business card binders to keep cards they have received – if your card doesnât fit, then donât be surprised if it ends up lost, or in the bin.
5. Tag line about what you do
Too many cards donât include any information on what either you or your business does. If youâre Richard Branson then you can get away with that, but for most people you wonât get away with it. For example, 6 months after you handed out your business card at a networking event, will I remember what you do if itâs not mentioned on your card? Why would I phone or email you if I canât remember what you do? Donât make people have to remember what you do â instead state it on your card.
Lastly, always carry a couple of business cards with you â you never know when or where youâll have the opportunity to help make a sale.
Weâre Giving Away Free Kits for Youth Basketball and Football Teams
For all you Easyspace customers who run sports businesses or are involved in football or basketball, weâve got exciting news to share…
Our parent company iomart Group has launched its annual sports campaign and get this – weâre giving away some of the coolest sports kit around.
The initiative is called Host Your Kit and itâs a competition where youth football and basketball teams can win a brand new team strip. The winning football teams get the latest adidas kit for 14 players and a goalkeeper, while basketball teams win a new Spalding kit for 12 players.
All you need to do to enter is go to www.hostyourkit.com and tell us in 300 words or make a video no longer than 2 minutes explaining why your youth team deserves a new kit. The best submissions win a new team kit â simple!
Weâve got a host of basketball and football stars supporting the campaign â check out the launch video:
Carrie Green started her first online business, Easy Mobile Unlock, at the age of 20 whilst studying Law at the University of Birmingham. Within a few years she had taken it global, selling throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe and receiving over 100,000 hits on the website every month.
After feeling isolated running her business she wanted to connect with women who were going through or had gone through similar experiences. This led her in 2011 to start the Female Entrepreneur Association, which helps women interested in business to keep motivated and overcome challenges. It has thousands of members from all over the world.
Easyspace were delighted to interview Carrie:
Q1. Carrie, you graduated from university with a Law degree. Please tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to becoming an entrepreneur instead of a lawyer.
I started my first business, a mobile phone unlocking company, in the summer of 2005 in between my first and second year of studying Law at the University of Birmingham. I’d used up my student loan from my first year and needed to find a way to make some money â I had a look around for jobs, but found nothing I liked and then I spotted an opportunity to start an online mobile phone unlocking business. I knew nothing about mobile phone unlocking and nothing about starting a business, but I thought it would be fun and I had nothing to lose.
I really had no clue about getting started, so my only option was to ask for help! Within a few weeks I’d created a website (which was awful, but got me started) and I set up a Google Adwords account to drive traffic to my site and with a credit card and a spending limit of ÂŁ30 per day my business was officially up and running. When I wasn’t in lectures I was learning how to grow the business â reading books, listening to audio programmes, going to night school. By the time I graduated, the business was going really well! I was confused about whether or not to carrying on with Law, so I got some work experience at Warner Bros. working in with their in-house legal team. It was an amazing experience, but I loved building my own business. I loved the freedom of it, I loved coming up with my own ideas and turning them into a reality, so I decided to cancel my place to do the Law Practitioners Course and I set my sights on taking my business global.
Q2. Why did you setup the Female Entrepreneur Association?
I set the Female Entrepreneur Association up in 2011 because I felt isolated running my online business. I used to work day in day out from the office in my apartment and ultimately it became lonely. When times were challenging I felt like I was going through it alone, none of my friends understood my problems, but I knew there must be lots of like-minded women out there and I wanted to find them.
Another big reason why I set it up was because I’d started to feel really unfulfilled running the mobile phone unlocking company. I read the E-myth by Michael Gerber and in it he says imagine walking into a room, sat down in the room are your friends and family. As you begin to walk towards the front of the room you see a box, and as you get closer you realise that you’re in the box â it’s your funeral. He asks, “what kind of things would you want people to be saying about the kind of life you lived, about the kind of person you were, about the kind of things you achieved?” It made me realise that I didn’t want to be known as the person that ran a mobile phone unlocking company!!! Yes it provided me with financial freedom and it was a great experience, but mobile phone unlocking was not my dream or my passion. I realised that I wanted to do something that made a difference, something that was about helping others.
So in 2011 I launched the Female Entrepreneur Association, an online platform where women from around the world can share their stories, experiences and advice about building their business in the hope that it inspires and empowers other women. We also publish a free, digital magazine once a month called This Girl Means Business, which features how-tos, interviews, inspiration and strategies for building a successful business.
Q3. What was involved in setting up your website?
I built the website myself using WordPress. It’s so easy and you can find so many amazing themes from places like themeforest.net! Choosing a name was tough â to be honest there’s been about 4 different names! I think that sometimes people put their business idea on hold because they don’t know what the best name for their business is. I honestly think the best thing is to get started â you can always change it later on.
Whenever I can’t do something on my website I just google it or watch videos on YouTube and normally I figure it out â if I can’t then I use elance.com to find a developer who can help me.
Q4. Of all the female entrepreneurs you have met & interviewed â who is your favourite & why?
Lara Morgan, the founder of Company Shortcuts. She started her first business at the age of 23 and then sold her majority share 17 years later for ÂŁ20 million. In interviews she’s so open and honest about how she managed to do it, which is refreshing. She’s down to earth and inspires people to believe that if she can build a successful business then anyone can.
Q5. How did you market your Female Entrepreneur Association website/magazine when you first started and how do you promote it now?
At the beginning I spent a lot of time networking offline and raising awareness of it through meeting people at events and then I started leveraging the power of LinkedIn. I set up a group on LinkedIn for female entrepreneurs and then invited all the women I’d networked with to join it. I also joined other groups for female entrepreneurs and posted out messages asking if anyone wanted to share their story on the website. I was inundated with stories! I also set up google alerts for the keyword ‘female entrepreneur’ and when relevant articles popped up I would get in touch with the journalist (sometimes I had to guess their email address!) and share my thoughts. That led to me being featured in newspapers like the Telegraph.
Nowadays I do a lot of marketing on Facebook â I have over 52,000 fans and it’s an amazing platform for engaging with people who are interested in what I’m doing. I also network like crazy offline and online â I’m very clear about the people I want to meet (people who I’d love to ask advice from and people who I’d love to do business with) and I make it my mission to get to know them. I think the key with this is to do something for others unconditionally. Be prepared to give and ask for nothing in return in order to build your relationships with people. Think about how you can help others, before thinking about how to help yourself. I truly believe in the Law of Reciprocity.
Q6. How do you create the magazine â whatâs involved in producing the final product?
I publish the magazine every month, so my main focus is finding good content, amazing people to interview and companies that would like to advertise and reach thousands of women.
Once I have the content ready for an issue I send it on to my designer, who then creates the layout and makes it all look good. Once it’s all ready to go, it’s uploaded to Issuu and from there I embed it on my website and then share it with my network (email and social media).
Q7. How do you make money from your website / online magazine?
At the moment we generate revenue through sponsorship, advertisement and masterclasses.
Q8. You include on your website YouTube videos. Why did you do this and how do you create them i.e. editing software, equipment, lighting, scripting, etc? Any advice on how businesses can use video to promote themselves?
I’ve found that making videos is a brilliant way to engage and build trust with my network. It makes it all more personal when you can see someone talking about something. I publish a new video each week â they’re generally a 5-10 minute how-to video. I share things that have really helped me throughout my business journey â from how to handle isolation, to strategies for getting more out of your time.
When I first started creating them I used my laptop to film and I didn’t write a script â I just went with the flow. As things developed I learnt more about creating videos and invested in some good equipment â a good camera, a tripod, lighting (this makes so much difference!) and I script all my videos.
I think video is such a great way to connect with your audience â video has much more of an impact and there are so many ways you could use videoâŚ how-to videos, demonstrations, answering popular FAQsâŚ I could go on!
Q9. How do you use Facebook and other social media e.g. Twitter, to promote your website/magazine? How successful has it been for you?
Social media has been unbelievably effective for me. Facebook alone drives thousands and thousands of visitors to my website every day and enables me to reach out to people in such a powerful way. At the moment I have been focusing on developing my fan page, because it’s been so effective, I try and post out at least 3 times a day if not more. I’ve managed to build a following of over 52,000 fans within about a year and I can tell you for sure that it was worth the effort.
Q10. If you had the chance to start Female Entrepreneur Association all over again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would do anything differently. It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve learnt so much and I think everything has happened in the right way, at the right time.
Q11. Which entrepreneur/person has inspired you the most & why?
My dad. He built a company when I was child, which was incredibly successful and I’ve learnt so much from him. He’s always taught me that anything is possible and encouraged me to be the best I can be. When I was little my parents put a picture on my wall of a soaring eagle and underneath the words read, “your attitude determines your altitude in life”. Since I was a teenager my dad has been buying me business books and personal development books, like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I feel privileged to have such amazing parents who have always believed in me and encouraged me.
Q12. Whatâs it like managing your business? Do you have any staff or do you outsource tasks? Describe your typical day.
I mainly outsource tasks as I like knowing that I can work from anywhere that has an internet connection â something I wouldn’t be able to do if I worked from an office and employed people.
A typical day includes writing content or organising content for the website and magazine. Share content on social media â although I do like to schedule posts in advance. I travel to London almost every week for meetings and I spend quite a lot of time chatting on Skype with people in the States â making time to build great relationships and expand my network has been so important. I also spend a lot of time marketing â whether it’s creating a campaign for a new masterclass or maybe the launch of a new guide.
Q13. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own business?
Dream big! Don’t let your doubts and worries hold you back. You only get one life, so go for it.
Get really clear about what you want to achieve. Write it down, set a deadline and create a plan.
Take action! Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is a habit not an act.” you have to discipline yourself to take action and to do the things you have to do in order to reach your goals.
Never give up on yourself. Building a business is not going to be a walk in the park, there will probably be times when you feel confused, times when you haven’t got a clue and times when you feel like it’s hopeless. But you’ve got to remember that the ones who make are the ones who hang on when everyone else has let go.
Q14. What are your future plans for Female Entrepreneur Association?
To build the best online support platform for female entrepreneurs all over the world. I want to help inspire and empower women to believe in themselves, to believe that they can turn their ideas into a successful reality and to give them the support they need to do it.
Has Carrieâs online activities inspired you to start your own online business venture? If it has, then start off by registering the domain name you want for your business. Then get your website set up. With this in mind, Easyspace has created EasySiteLive PRO â a website builder product, to help get your website up and running in no time. Click here to try our new EasySiteLive PRO website builder for 21 Days Free of charge.
Over the years thousands of people have set up a blog via Easyspace. Years ago many did this through Blogger.com, but nowadays WordPress is the most popular amongst our customers for setting up their blogs.
Blogs, or weblogs as they used to be called are written for a huge number of reasons, whether it’s for online diaries, daily news digests, documenting weight-loss, documenting travels, etc, etc.
There are millions of people around the world usingÂ blogs. Blogging has come a long way since the Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized blog as a word in 1994. Moo.com have put together an infographic on the rise of blogging:
If you’re looking to create a blog that you can update easily, allow users to post stories, news content, add pictures and functions, etc then we recommend WordPress which is currently the most popular platform for running a blog. All of Easyspace’s Web Hosting packages are WordPress ready, making it quick & easy for you to set up your own blog – whether its for a personal blog or your business website.
Having a website is a vital asset for a business, even if they donât sell anything online. While having an online shop can help generate revenue for a business, the fact is just having a website on its own will help give you credibility with potential customers. May people will want to research your business online before they make a decision on whether to do business with you are not. If a business does not have a website, then itâs guaranteed they will lose business to a competitor who does.
The .CO Internet registry have released new research covering small businesses owners and domain names. Its main findings reveal:
Nearly Half of Small Business Owners donât have an online presence – 45% of small business owners do not have a website or blog for their business, and 55% do
49% of Small Business Owners with a Website or Blog are not completely satisfied with their current domain name
55% of the Small Business Owners with a website or blog believe they have lost business or customers as a result of not getting their first choice domain name
49% of Small Business Owners had to try 2 or more domain names before settling on the name for their website or blog
52% of Small Business Owners with a website or blog would change their domain name if they had the opportunity to do so
When choosing a domain name 63% of Small Business Owners fail to consider the domain extension (or whatâs to the âright of the dotâ)
29% of Small Business Owners say they donât know what a âDomain Extensionâ isâŚ and of the 71% who say they do know â 2 in 5 are actually wrong
When choosing a domain name 63% of Small Business Owners fail to consider the length of the name. The average number of characters in the domain names of SBOâs , across all domain extensions is 15
85% of Small Business Owners do not consider ease of access via mobile devices when choosing a domain name
81% of Small Business Owners do not consider social media when choosing a domain name
57% of Small Business Owners with a website or blog say that finding a good domain name for their business was just as difficult, or more difficult, than naming their baby!
If youâre looking to register a domain name for your new or existing business then choosing one with a .CO domain extension is worth considering. The .CO domains are a popular choice for many businesses, due to not only it being memorable, but also because .CO is recognized world-wide as the abbreviation for Company, Corporation and more!
Some small business owners can feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting their business online. However, this should not be the case, since it is increasingly easy to get online. For example, many new businesses use âwebsite buildersâ systems to create & manage their website. This is not only a much cheaper way to get online, compared to the expense of hiring a web designer, etc, but it is often a quicker way to getting online, since you have full control over how your website looks and what content is included.
Thanks to Easyspace many businesses are getting online using our website builder EasySiteLive PRO. We provide a free 21 day trial, so if you need a website then whatâs stopping you?
An increasingly common site on the streets of the UK is to see people dressed up in animal costumes – particularly on a Friday or Saturday night. If you have seen anyone wearing such an outfit, then there’s a good chance they purchased it from Kigu.co.uk. The word âKiguâ is short for âkigurumiâ, which literally translates as âcostumed animal characterâ in Japanese. Kigurumi are already hugely popular in Japan, where they are worn as both streetwear and pyjamas, but theyâve never been sold outside Asia before. Kigu was the first company to bring these amazing animal suits to Europe.
Easyspace recently interviewed Kigu.co.uk founder Tom Cohn:
Q1. Tom, tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to becoming an entrepreneur and setting up Kigu.co.uk.
I’m 27 years old and grew up in Alexandra Palace in North London. Growing up I was obsessed with skateboarding, music and partying. I went to Sussex University where I studied Geography with Management Studies and as part of the course we had to write a business plan. I had been introduced to kigurumi (Japanese animal onesies) by some friends who had brought them back from a trip to Japan. So decided to use the idea of importing, rebranding and selling kigurumi to the UK festival market as my business plan idea.
Following graduation I couldn’t find a job and I’d always wanted to be self-employed, so I decided to put the business plan I’d devised at university into action. Together with my best friend Nick, we pooled together ÂŁ4,000, built a quick and easy website and bought 300 kigurumi from Japan to the UK to sell to friends and other like-minded people.
Q2. What was involved in setting up Kigu i.e. choosing a domain name, website, ecommerce system, premises, staff, securing suppliers, etc? Did you follow a business plan and how difficult was it getting the business established in the early days?
Cost dictated every choice we made. We used whatever was free or very cheaply available. We used Big Cartel as our ecommerce platform because it was very cheap and we only took payments through PayPal. We had a close friend build our website in a day. Another friend knocked up a logo. There was no money for staff or premises, we just did everything ourselves and worked from home, storing our stock in my parents’ attic. We didn’t follow a business plan as such. We just did all we could to get our brand out there!
Established the company was easier than I thought. Staying in stock was the problem. As cashflow was so tight, we couldn’t afford to buy more Kigus until we had sold our current batch. We’d then have to wait 6 weeks for the next delivery to arrive from Japan. This led to us being sold out for long periods, which was painful. But in the end I think that helped our cause. It made Kigus really hard to get hold of which seemed to boost demand even further.
Q3. How did you market your business when you first started and how do you promote it now?
At first we promoted our business through word of mouth. We got all of our friends to wear Kigus when they went to festivals and out clubbing and it started to catch on. Soon celebrities like Lily Allen, Florence and the Machine and Alex Turner were spotted wearing our stuff, which caused a snowball effect in terms of demand. Social media was a vital, free way of getting word to spread about what we were doing.
On Kigu’s first anniversary we decided to throw a party, with the help of Diesel UK. We gave away 100 Flying Squirrel Kigus to guests and offered a free bar. Unsurprisingly, tickets sold out in a matter of minutes and the event was featured on a number of high profile blogs and websites. Since then we’ve run about 4 big events a year, from a Guinness World Record breaking piggy back race to a party in a container in Shoreditch. If we can build our brand by doing things that are fun for us personally, then all the better!
Q4. How do you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, to promote your businesses? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how businesses can use social media to promote themselves?
Facebook is the social media channel that we concentrate on most. We use it to post things we think our fans would find interesting, update people of new products and events and ask people for feedback on new products and ideas we’re bringing out. We try and be as responsive as possible. People like to feel that they’re involved in the direction of the brand. And we want them to be! We’ve never paid for any Facebook ads or promoted posts so our following isn’t as big as we’d like it to be. But the level of engagement is outstanding. We’ve started having a more focused approach to Twitter recently which has seen our number of followers grow by a thousand or so in the last couple of months.
I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice in this area, but I believe social media is used most effectively to start conversations between brands and their fans. If you’re simply updating your followers on company developments, opening times, best sellers etc then don’t be surprised if you’re engagement is low. Also, it’s a good idea to make the most of the great social media apps out there which can make life a lot easier. We use TweetDeck, Topsy, TwitterCounter, N0tice and check our Facebook insights in depth on a weekly basis.
Q5. You originally went out to Japan to source suppliers of Onesies. How easy was it dealing with Japanese companies? Do you continue dealing with your original suppliers?
Dealing with Japanese suppliers is fantastic. They’re extremely polite, loyal, honest and a pleasure to do business with. We’re still using the same supplier that we have had since day 1 and we’ll continue to do so, simply because they make the best product on the market in terms of both design and quality. When we go on trips to Japan they give us a great welcome and really look after us. There are a couple of rituals you have to observe when dealing with the Japanese. It’s important to recognise the relatively strict company hierarchy they have in place and the old “always give and receive a business card with two hands and a bow” is still very true today. One thing I have noticed though that, largely out of politeness, the Japanese never like to say “no” to anything. This can make them hard to read. So you’re never quite as sure of where you stand on certain things as you would be with the Chinese, say. But maybe that’s just my personal experience.
Q6.Have you had any problems dealing with suppliers, and have you considered manufacturing them yourself?
The only problems have arisen from demand outstripping supply which has happened on a number of occasions. When we first started dealing with our supplier they had never exported outside Asia before. So we had to grow together. We have considered manufacturing ourselves and have done so with additional product lines, but for animal onesies, nothing less than a Japanese one will do for Kigu. There’s just too many other, inferior products about to get greedy.
Q7. You are a co-founder of Kigu with your business partner Nick Harriman. What advantages/disadvantages are there in having a business partner, as opposed to starting up on your own?
There are lots of advantages. Splitting the risk and startup costs is one thing. But the thing I most enjoy about working with a partner is having someone to share the ups and downs with. When you’re doing well, you can go out and have a drink together to celebrate. And when things go wrong, at least you know you’re not the only one suffering! Nick and I have known each other since we were about 3 years old. We grew up on the same road. So we know each other incredibly well and efficiently as a team. Our skills (or lack of them) compliment each others’ and we always come up with the strongest ideas when working together. The only real disadvantage is that decisions can take much longer to make when they have to be OK’d by two people. Having one person in charge can certainly streamline processes.
Q8. Whatâs it like managing your business? Do you have any staff or do you outsource tasks? Describe your typical day.
Managing my business is a lot of fun and hard work. We have one full time Business Manager, Katia, who takes charge of pretty much everything from social media to wholesale and customer service. She’s fantastic. IT, graphic design, fulfilment etc we outsource and everything else I do myself. My typical day consists of answering an endless pile of emails, updating a number of spreadsheets to ensure everything’s running smoothly, meeting with potential retailers or collaborators and going through samples for new and exciting products we can add to the range. I usually work from 10am to 7.30pm.
Q9. You currently sell via your online shop, but have you tried or considered setting up a highstreet shop or partnering with one?
Most of our sales come through our website, but we do sell products to a couple of other retailers like Urban Outfitters. We’ve run pop up shops before which have been really successful. But I still think our products are a bit niche for our own high street shop. Selling online is much more efficient and allows us more time to spend on product development.
Q10. How do your Onesies match up against your competitors and how do you stay competitive?
I honestly believe that you won’t find a better animal onesie anywhere else in the world. But they’re not the cheapest. Ours are ÂŁ40, while you can find an inferior onesie (and sometimes a complete knock off of one our designs!!) for around ÂŁ30 or less in shops like Primark. We stay competitive by ensuring ours are the best quality and coming up with new ideas for products people love. We try, as much as possible, to be proactive when coming up with new ideas rather than reacting to what other people are doing.
Q11. If you had the chance to start Kigu all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have protected our IP on a global scale from the outset. I would have launched Kigu Kids more quickly (we only did this at the end of 2012 and it’s already doing so well). And I would have invested in a better website sooner too. We’re building a new one now, but we could have done with it about 9 months ago.
Q12. Which entrepreneur/person has inspired you the most & why?
As an avid skateboard fan I’d have to say either Tony Hawk or Rick Howard (who owns Girl Skateboards). I like it when people are able to run a successful company that incorporates things they actually enjoy. It’s not all about the money.
Q13. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own business?
My advice would be to get some support. We wouldn’t have been able to get Kigu to where it is today without the help of two fantastic mentors, which we got through the Bright Ideas Trust. There are a lot of extremely successful people out there with lots of time on their hands, desperate to invest their wisdom into developing new businesses. If you’re under 30, these people are even easier to find. So don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself because you don’t.
Q14. What are your future plans for Kigu?
At the moment we’re all about new products. We’re working extremely hard to develop new animal onesies and come out with some different, but complimentary product ranges. We’re hoping to have one new range out by Christmas 2013 and another out by Spring 2014. Both have never been done before, so I’m excited to see if people actually like them as much as we do, or not!
Thanks Tom, from everyone at Easyspace.
To find out more about Tom and his business please visit his website www.Kigu.co.uk
Build a website with Easyspace today !
Has Tomâs online activities inspired you to start your own online business venture? If it has, then start off by registering the domain name you want for your business. Then get your website set up. With this in mind, Easyspace has created EasySiteLive PRO â a website builder product, to help get your website up and running in no time. Click here to try our new EasySiteLive PRO website builder for 21 Days Free of charge.
Easyspace are delighted to announce a special offer on the .xxx domain name extension.
For a limited time only, .xxx domain name registrations will be available for just ÂŁ12.80 (first year registration only), lowering the standard price by more than 78% throughout May 2013.
So, who should you register .xxx web address?
The issue of trademark protection and brand identity is critical in the modern business world – particularly on the Internet. Securing your web address with an .xxx extensions is vital for your brand and reputation. Register your version and stop others for using your valuable brand name in conjunction with an .xxx extension.
What happens when I register an xxx extension?
If you register yourname.xxx you can make sure that your domain name will not point (resolve) to an adult site (for as long as you are the registrant), thus protecting your brand. All resolving sites with the .xxx domain extensions will be displayed with adult content.
Here at Easyspace, we understand the importance of brand protection and we strongly recommend taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity to protect your businesses name from being associated with adult material.
To register your .xxx domain name today, simply visit our .xxx domain name pages or call our sales team on 0370 755 5088 to discuss your options.
You may know Claire Young from the hit TV show, The Apprentice where she reached the final in 2008. Since then Claire has been actively working on several projects which are designed to empower and enable young people in enterprise. As a businesswoman, Claire now works with School Speakers, which she founded – a business providing quality motivational speakers, for schools, colleges and universities. Claire also writes for a number of publications, co-hosts a weekly BBC radio show and makes guest contributions to various TV shows & radio channels.
Easyspace were delighted to interview Claire recently:
Q1. Claire, tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to becoming an entrepreneur.
I went to an all-girls academic school, studied Medicine and Equine Science at university before entering the world of business. I applied for graduate roles and spent 7 years working in the Health and Beauty industry before applying for The Apprentice. I worked for L’Oreal, Colgate Palmolive and Superdrug. I took part in The Apprentice and left the experience wanting to be my own boss and the rest is history. I now own an agency called School Speakers placing people into schools to do talks and workshops for students.
Q2. Youâre most well-known from your time on the BBCâs Apprentice, in which you were a finalist. What was it like taking part in the show, and howâs does it compare with life as an entrepreneur now?
The Apprentice really is the business bootcamp from hell! It is exhausting, exhilarating and life changing! You work relentless hour, work with people you don’t know, to tight timescales and have to continually come up with new ideas. That is pretty much what life is like as an entrepreneur!
Q3. What did you do after the Apprentice?
I set up School Speakers which I have previously mentioned, am a co-founder of a social enterprise called Girls Out Loud and work with a number of government groups helping young people be more enterprising – and start new businesses. I desperately enjoy what I do and get great satisfaction from making a difference. The UK needs more business start-ups and young people need opportunities, the two go hand in hand.
Q4. What was involved in setting up SchoolSpeakers i.e. website, recruiting speakers, contacting schools, etc? Did you follow a business plan and how difficult was it getting the business established in the early days?
Within 3 weeks of the idea of School; Speakers coming to me we have a live website, recruited speakers and started promoted ourselves to schools. The business was born out of demand from teachers so we grew from day one through word of mouth. Be warned, starting a new business is hard work and there are never enough hours in the day!
Q5. How did you market your business School Speakers when you first started and how do you promote it now?
Social media, word of mouth, contacting schools directly, cold calling, writing letters, emails, offering competitions and being a walking talking PR machine. You have to be unashamed and promote your business as no one else will. We now work with nearly every large campaign across the school year and have a number of collaborative partners.
Q6. How do you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, to promote your businesses? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how businesses can use social media to promote themselves?
Yes we use social media every day for brand awareness reach new people and gain information. It has been very successful! My advice to people is you just have to take the plunge and go for it – you have to commit. What you put into social media is what you get out.
Q7. If you had the chance to start SchoolSpeakers all over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, it’s all been a solid learning curve.
Q8. You also offer mentoring to business start-ups. From your experience what are the most common problems people face when starting their business, and what are the possible solutions?
Keeping their positivity as life as an entrepreneur can be lonely and very challenging. Join a network, get out to events, speak up and find a mentor!
Q9. Which entrepreneur/person has inspired you the most & why?
Alan Sugar. He has made his success (and fortune), is an OAP and could retire but he is still grafting away. I admire his drive, energy and sense of humour.
Q11. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own business?
Do your research on the market, product/service, target consumer and competition before you spend any money!
Q12. What are your future business plans?
I’d like to move into politics one day.
Thanks Claire, from everyone at Easyspace. Good luck with your business projects.
To find out more about Claire Young and School Speakers visit her websites below:
Has Claireâs online activities inspired you to start your own online business venture? If it has, then start off by registering the domain name you want for your business. Then get your website set up. With this in mind, Easyspace has created EasySiteLive PRO â a website builder product, to help get your website up and running in no time. Click here to try our new EasySiteLive PRO website builder for 21 Days Free of charge.
When choosing a domain name you will have to decide whether you want a domain that leans towards potentially being brandable â i.e. something that is hopefully short and memorable such as Twitter, Nike, Pepsi, etc, but on the surface does not immediately suggest what the site is about OR a domain which leans towards being an Exact Match Domain name i.e. its keywords describe what the site will be about e.g. SportsShoes.com.
Exact Match Domain names have always been popular, with many believing having one gives you an advantage not only with search engine rankings, but gives many side benefits such as receiving type in traffic – i.e. visitors landing on your website by simply entering a keyword or phrase in their web browser’s address bar and e.g. adding .com or any other gTLD (generic top-level domain) or ccTLD extension (country code top-level domain); rather than following a hyperlink from another web page.
Search Engine Rankings
The domain name you choose can have an effect on your SEO results, and if it’s a new website, especially a new online business, your search engine rankings will be very important to you, as it will effect the number of sales/leads you generate. This is why you need to give some thought when you register a domain name.
While having a brandable domain name has advantages, the fact is it will be a lot harder, and potentially more expensive to create & develop a popular brand name, that people will recognise. As a result, many people prefer to register an Exact Match Domain Name as they think it will be easier for them to achieve a higher ranking on search engines such as google.
Matt Cutts Video
In March 2011 Matt Cutts of Google released the video below, comparing brand domains vs Exact Match Domain Names:
Since Google frequently change their algorithm, which determines how well a website ranks on their search engine, theories of what is the best way to achieve high rankings are not all set in stone. You have to react to Googles algorithm changes as best you can, and itâs not always clear cut what is the best strategy to take to get to the top of Google.
Advantage or Disadvantage?
There has been a lot of debate regarding how Google ranks Exact Match Domain Names, sometimes known as Keyword Domains. Following the âGoogle Panda Update 20âł which took place from September 27th through the first week of October, 2012, some have claimed that having an Exact Match Domain no longer gives you an advantage, or worse might even be penalised. However, if you have an Exact Match Domain (EMD) or are planning on registering one, then you have nothing to worry about.
According to Google Webmaster Helpâs Matt Cutts, there was an adjustment in the algorithm so that EMDs would not have a preference over domains without keywords UNLESS they earned their ranking by meeting the same relative positive engagement metrics that other sites used.
The fact is achieving a good search engine ranking position for your website has never relied 100% on your domain name â that is only a part of it. Following good SEO practice such as meeting engagement metrics is a major factor. These metrics can include:
Length of visit (how long do visitors stay on your website for?)
Number of different page views (how many other pages did your visitors click through to?)
Bounce rate (are your visitors quickly clicking away from your website soon after arriving?)
Returning visitors (how often do visitor return to your website?)
If you have an Exact Match Domain and your website scores lowly on the above metrics, then odds are Google will penalise you. Having an EMD on its own will not be enough to keep you in the number one position. The âGoogle Panda Update 20âł amongst other things penalised websites that had EMDâs and low engagement metrics. So if your website has an EMD and positive engagement metrics (which you should have had in the first place) then you have nothing to worry about.
Registering an Exact Match Domain Name is still a good choice, as long as you follow Googleâs SEO guidelines and provide positive engagement metrics. Even better, if your website meets those guidelines & metrics PLUS has an Exact Match Domain Name then you will have an advantage.
For example, if you had two websites with exactly the same content, the one which has an Exact Match Domain Name is more likely to rank higher on search engines.
Social Media Benefits
Even better, itâs not just your search engine rankings that could benefit by having an Exact Match Domain Name â you will also benefit when it comes to social media. Unlike a brandable domain name such as Amazon.com, having an Exact Match Domain name e.g. HotelsInLondon.com, helps suggest what your website is about. Every time somebody mentions your website in Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook, etc then search engines will pay attention. It is must easier and natural for users to mention and share an Exact Match Domain Name â thereby helping to not only increase your search engine rankings further, but it will result in free advertising for you.
Unless you have lots of money to spend on marketing your potentially brandable domain name, and lots of time and resources to develop it into a brand, then you may struggle to get it noticed above the competition. With this in mind, itâs no surprise that an Exact Match Domain Name remains popular and is likely to for a long time to come. Everything else being equal an Exact Match Domain Name is the better choice.
Is there a domain name you’ve been thinking of registering? Search and register your domain name with Easyspace today, before somebody else does.
Fraser Doherty, now 24, set up SuperJam at 14, using his Gran’s jam recipes. After selling his produce at farmers’ markets and to delicatessens, he developed a method of producing jam 100% from fruit. After setting up production, creating a brand and perfecting his recipes, Fraser became the youngest ever supplier to a major supermarket chain when Waitrose launched the range in March 2007. SuperJam now supplies over 2,000 supermarkets around the world (incl. Tesco, Asda Wal-Mart, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose) in countries including Australia, Russia, Denmark, Finland and Ireland.
Easyspace recently caught up with Fraser for an interview:
Q1. Fraser, tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to becoming an entrepreneur and setting up SuperJam.
I was always interested in starting my own business ever since I was eight years old. My first business idea involved baking cakes and selling them at school to raise money for Greenpeace. By the time I was 14 I took an interest in my grandmothers secret jam recipes and asked her to teach me how to make jam.Â We spent an afternoon making jam together and I soon started selling it to the neighbours at farmers markets and to small shops. Soon I was cooking 1000 jars of Jam a week from my parents tiny kitchen and I soon realised that I would have to come up with some kind of big idea to move production into a factory. After doing a lot of research I came up with a way of making jam 100% from fruit. I called it SuperJam and pitched it to Waitrose when I was 16 years old. They later lunched SuperJam in all of their stores around the UK and we have since gone on to sell millions of jars around the world.
Q2. Itâs a big leap going from a successful, but small jam seller at farmers markets, to where you are now â with your jam being sold in major supermarkets, not just in the UK, but overseas too. Many people, especially a teenager would have been happy with your success at farmers markets â but you took it to the next level. Why & how did you make that leap?
I got my big break when I was 16 and I got my chance to pitch my ideas out at a ‘meet the buyer’ day to Waitrose one of the big supermarkets in the UK. I like to describe ‘meet the buyer’ days as the X-factor of selling groceries to supermarkets.
I turned up at the meeting wearing my Dad’s suit; it was probably two sizes too big for me! The buyer listened to my idea and give me some advice.Â A year later I had developed a product that they were willing to put on their shelves, after convincing a factory to work with me and creating a brand.
Q3. Originally you made the jam yourself in your parents kitchen, but as the business grew you had to upscale. Tell us about how you expanded the manufacturing process, to what you now have?
Obviously as a 16-year-old I wasn’t really in a position to build my own jam factory. I was going to have to convince an existing jam manufacturer to work with me to produce my recipes on a big scale. And so I travelled around the country, from the tiny little islands in Scotland to the big cities in England, trying to find somebody who would be willing to work with me to make my SuperJam. As I am sure you can imagine most of these hundred year old factories Where a bit sceptical of a teenager turning up with no money and no experience. But eventually I found one factory who were willing to give my idea a shot, we figured out how to produce my recipes on a big scale we were soon ready to start supplying supermarkets!
Q4. Did you follow a business plan and how difficult was it getting the business established in the early days?
Of course, because I was so young, I didn’t really know anything about supplying supermarkets or how factories work. But something that I have been amazed by on my whole journey has been how willing other entrepreneurs are to share what they have learned with me.
When I was 15 I met a local entrepreneur called Kevin, who became my mentor. He shared lessons with me about mistakes he had made, people he had met and lessons he had learnt. With his help and help of others I was able to overcome most problems that came my way.
Q5. How difficult was it getting your jam on supermarket shelves? Did you face any setbacks in dealing with supermarkets before achieving this?
When I pitched my idea to Waitrose, they explained that, although it was a very good idea, there would be a long way to go until I would have a product that could sit on the shelves of a supermarket. I would have to set up production in a factory, create a brand and do a lot more work on my recipes before they would be happy.
The branding was one of the main challenges because at the beginning I thought that packaging should make people laugh and if you could make them laugh enough then maybe they were buy your product.
So I first created the brand around at comic book idea-we had a lot of fun writing jokes on the labels and even spoke about making a superhero costume for me, the ‘jam boy’ to wear at the launch of SuperJam!
But when I pitched this idea to the supermarket, they explained that packaging is not there to make people laugh, it is there to get the message across. So after they said no to my idea I had to throw everything in the bin and startÂ all over again.
Second time around, we created a brand that was a lot more simple and that did a far better job of getting our message of ’100% Fruit’ across.
Q6. How did you fund your business, particularly its expansion?
A lot of the time, people imagine that starting a business has to involve borrowing money and taking on investment. But in my experience, it is possible to start something on a very small scale and with a lot of hard work, grow it organically, staying independent all the time. In my case, I started up by making 12 jars of jam, which I sold to the neighbours. I then had enough money to make 20 jars and then 40 and so on, until we wound up making millions of jars – never having to borrow any money along the way.
Q7. How did you market your business when you first started and how do you promote it now?
When I first started I had very little money for marketing and so I had to literally stand in the supermarket stores handing out samples and telling people about my products all by myself. But now we have more budget for advertising, giving away free samples and promoting the business online.
Q8. Was there a âtipping pointâ to your businessâs success?
When SuperJam launched in Waitrose, there was a huge amount of media coverage. I had no idea that this was going to happen but when did I found myself been written about the newspapers and magazines, interviewed on TV and on radio. Because of this media coverage, sales went through the roof and we very quickly launched in thousands more stores. In fact on the first day in one store in Edinburgh, where I come from, they sold more than 1,500 jars of SuperJam in one day, which was more jam than they would normally sell in a whole month!
Q9. Do you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, to promote your businesses? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how businesses can use social media to promote themselves?
For my business, the most successful types of promotion have been off-line; handing out samples in stores, money off promotions in supermarkets and conventional PR. However, I have always kept a blog, Facebook and twitter and I love hearing directly from people who buy our products – what they do with them and what they think we should do differently. I think the only piece of advice I have for brands is not to waste their customers time with inane drivel on social media.
Q10. How does your jam match up against your competitors and how do you stay competitive?
Most jam brands have been around for at least 100 years, which means that it is not the most innovative or exciting category in the world. SuperJam stays competitive by offering something new, innovative and fun in the category that is dominated by very old, boring, traditional brands.
Q11. If you had the chance to start SuperJam all over again, what would you do differently?
I have definitely made a lot of mistakes on my journey! I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that everything takes a lot longer than you first imagine so you should not beat yourself up about it.
I would have tried to come up with one clear reason for why someone should buy my product right from day one, and then just put all of my energy into trying to get that across – rather than trying to make people laugh or trying to give them ten reasons why they should buy my product.
Q12. Which entrepreneur/person has inspired you the most & why?
My heroes in business are people like Anita Roddick, the late founder of The Body Shop. I am inspired by business people who use their business to do more than just make money, who use it to do good.
Q13. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own business?
1) don’t be afraid, you have nothing to lose.
2) start small, you don’t have to jump in at the deep end.
3) ask for help – people will more often than not be willing to give it to you.
Q14. What are your future plans for SuperJam?
We are getting ready to launch in the US, which is really exciting.Â I’m also ambitious for the growth of our charity, The SuperJam Tea Parties, which runs hundreds of free tea parties for elderly people.
Thanks Fraser, from everyone at Easyspace. Good luck with your future plans.
Has Fraserâs online activities inspired you to start your own online business venture? If it has, then start off by registering the domain name you want for your business. Then get your website set up. With this in mind, Easyspace has created EasySiteLive PRO â a website builder product, to help get your website up and running in no time. Click here to try our new EasySiteLive PRO website builder for 21 Days Free of charge.