How Can Your Business Beat the Competition in 2016?

When you look back at the past year, what do you see? Did your business grow or did revenue and earnings fall back? Sure, the economy was not that great, but that’s been true of the past several years too.

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Here are some ideas to help improve your business to be better equipped to beat your business competition next year.

Use Collaborative Tools

Making the communication better between employees is important. Beyond using email to send messages, task managers can help to organize the tasks associated with a project with managers able to distribute the tasks to the appropriate personnel. Todoist and Remember the Milk are ideal tools for managing multiple lists and accessing these lists from mobile devices, directly on the web, or through web browsers.

Spreadsheets and word processing documents can be shared, using Google Docs, between multiple users who can each update different parts of the spreadsheet or document in real-time for the ultimate in collaborative efficiency.

Survey Your Customers

Communicate directly with your customers on social media channels, or via a blog post to survey what products they would like to see developed next or what features should be added to existing products. It is quite likely that the staff will be surprised at the responses which could differ markedly from what they planned to do next.

Be aware that what customers say they want and what they will actually spend money on when the product becomes available are two different things entirely. If at all possible, announce a product shortly after the survey, price it, and offer it for pre-sale to gauge a real sense of customer take-up. Then, build the product.

Be Open to Flexi-time and Working from Home

Whilst many employees will be happy to have an office to go to for their work and to separate their working life from their personal life, other employees would prefer more solitude and to cut out the long daily commute.

Offering flexi-time or working from home arrangements could be beneficial for some employees and certain positions that do not require a physical presence in the office 5 days a week at fixed times each day. Employees who get to switch to flexi-time or working from home will likely stay more loyal partly because of the difficulty of creating the same arrangement with a new employer. Improved employee retention saves money on employee turnover, reduces business disruption when someone leaves the company, and cuts training costs for new hires.

Keep the Business Fleet Running Optimally

Any business that has one or more vehicles available for staff to use will need to keep some body shop tools available. Someone handy with the tools can make minor fixes to the vehicles to keep them out of the hands of a mechanic for days at a time. Employees who need to make a small adjustment to their own vehicles before setting off home after work can also make use of the tools too.

Beating the competition is about working smarter, not necessarily harder, in key areas that can make a big difference at the end of each month. Focusing on the employees is key because they’re the engine that pushes the business along.

Top tips for building a travel website

There are a number of essential factors to consider when you want to build a travel website. Although you will be hiring a designer to carry out the actual work, it is worth keeping the following issues in mind to ensure you and your designer are on the same page from the start.

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Make it responsive

Responsive design is a special type of web design that has become increasingly important as the popularity of the mobile web continues to grow.

It essentially involves designing websites that change depending on the type of device being used to view them. So while people viewing your site on desktops will see one version of the site, people viewing it on mobile devices will see another.

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Many people now use their mobiles to view websites, especially when it comes to travel sites, so you want to provide them with a good experience on your site.

If your site is not mobile friendly, it is also unlikely to show up in the mobile search results, which could affect your visitor numbers.

So when you are considering hiring a travel website designer, always ask them about their experience with responsive design.

Choose a suitable CMS

The platform that you use will also be an important decision. Designers use a range of platforms to create websites, so it is worth knowing a bit about these before making your decision.

One option that many companies now prefer is a CMS (content management system).

These are platforms that allow you to create pages, edit content, add images and add new features to your site without having to worry about coding. They are very user friendly, and they essentially provide you with more control over your website.

WordPress is the most well-known CMS, but another popular choice is Umbraco. Many travel website designers use these to create professional websites that look great and are easy to use, so it is well worth considering.

Take advantage of specialist tools

There are a number of specialist tools that you may want to use when building your website to add greater functionality.

For example, you may want to use a dynamic packaging engine. These are often used in travel sites to enable you to provide more competitive prices, upload stock, provide reporting and pick suppliers for travel packages, so you may want to ensure your site has one built in.

Use large, high-quality images

Don’t forget about the importance of images when you design your website. An experienced travel designer will know all about how crucial it is to bring your website to life using images, and this is another factor to make sure you consider.

You can use images to inspire your visitors and encourage them to spend more time on your site.

So make sure you find some stunning images to place on your home page and other pages of your site, and work with your designer to ensure they look amazing for all of your visitors (and don’t forget to optimise them for SEO)

Consider all of these factors

Your travel website is so important to your business, and it is essential that you get the website you are hoping for. All of these factors will play a large role in the design of your site, so make sure you choose a designer who understands your concerns. That way, you will be far more likely to end up with the travel site you are hoping for.

The Best Ways to Present Your Web Design Portfolio to Clients

Presenting your web design portfolio to clients is one of the most important activities you undertake as a web designer. Clients want to see proof of your previous work. Once they have this proof they can make a more informed decision about whether or not to hire you. Your portfolio sells your services. The examples you show are as powerful as any sale pitch. This means you have to put a lot of thought and effort into the ways you present your portfolio to clients. These are some of the best ways to do this.

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Physical Copy

Today’s web designers have a wide range of professional printing options available. You can really impress potential clients by showcasing your work in magazine quality, high-resolution brochures that display previous work in the best possible light. Impressing clients by presenting a professional looking, physical portfolio will often set you apart from the completion and increase your chance of gaining a long term customer.

This approach is particularly effective if you will be having a face-to-face meeting with your client. If they need to consult with other people later, they can show them the physical copy of your portfolio too. If you regularly print physical copies of your portfolio make sure you install and replace HP fuser and maintenance kits on a regular basis.

Portfolio Section on Your Website

In many situations websites and blogs have replaced printed products. Websites and blogs are the perfect places to list and display your previous web design projects. Many businesses create a website solely for this purpose. The technology available to create online portfolios keeps improving. You simply create a clean and current portfolio of your products on your website and share the link to this webpage. This is particularly effective for long distance clients and clients who prefer to view content on their laptop, tablet or mobile device.

Social Media

Social media has become an important tool for modern businesses. Social media websites like Facebook and Pinterest are the perfect places to add examples of your previous web design work. The interactive nature of these websites gives your work valuable social proof. If people are commenting positively about your work and you’re responding, it can be a powerful way to impress clients who visit your social media pages.

Package Your Portfolio

If you want to give your clients more options when they view your portfolio, consider packaging examples of your previous work in .PDF files, Power Point Presentations or other software applications. This achieves two things. It’s easy to share these files and they can be viewed in digital or physical formats if your client decides to print them.

It’s never been as easy for web designers to showcase their work. However, different clients expect different types of service. This is particularly true when you’re displaying a portfolio of previous work. Some clients are happy to look at a portfolio page on a website, while others prefer to have a physical paper copy which includes images of your work. The points above give a greater insight into the options available so that you can cater for the needs of different clients.