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Tips & Advice

Useful advice, tips and business news.

October 14, 2022
October 14, 2022


Why You Need a Viable Product (and/or Prototype) Before Launching a Startup Business

Building a prototype is very important prior to launching your startup business because it can help you impress your investors and make them want to invest in your business.

New startups pop up almost on a daily basis nowadays and it’s not hard to see why. More and more people have a disruptive, innovative idea of how to solve issues. But an idea is just an idea until you can prove that your idea works and then get funding for the big leagues! But what is it that you need to impress your potential investors to pour money into your idea? Why, a prototype, of course.

Today we will discuss how to make a product prototype for venture funding.

Table of Contents

• Prototype Concept and Benefits

• Why You Should Start Prototyping

• What are the Fundamental Principles to Build a Prototype for Funding?

Prototype Concept and Benefits

What is a prototype? A prototype is a physical example of a planned product for mass production and sale that has the approximation of all the functions and features of the matter in question that would be developed in the future. To put it simply, a prototype can include a powerpoint slide presentation that demonstrate the interaction between the user and the product, and a real life example that can be used to demonstrate how it actually works and how people can benefit from it.

The visual presentation of your prototype is meant for the conference rooms, where you explain the mechanics of your soon-to-be developed product in order to make an impression on them. But you will still need to build the bolts & nuts actualized version of it – depending on its size – you may need a warehouse, hangar or an open field to do the actual tests to demonstrate its capabilities to the investors.

As a result, you get a chance to deliver a viable and proper product that fits your target market.

Why You Should Start Prototyping

Before we dive into the details about the principles of prototyping, let us first learn about the critical benefits that it brings for both startupers and investors.

The first reason is that it enhances your business idea and design validation. You still have time to change and improve your business offering while your prototype is still in the factory being built. Plus you’ll also get an additional benefit of giving your design team enough time to run tests and determine the most workable user flows and design as a whole.

The second reason is that it reduces costs and time to market. Having a working prototype will help you unnecessary costs in changing the specs or features of it while in the design and building process, which also advances the release date of the product. The IBM report about programming development is on point and they determined that it cost them 6 times more when they attempted to fix the bugs during product release than fixing them during the design phase.

Reason number 3 is that your team is on the same page. Prototypes serves as reference points for designers, it gives them a clear knowledge on every detail on the product operability. They can provide you the information you need to make presentations about product concepts and you avoid any miscommunicating them to your investors. Fewer meetings means more money saved and more products sold.

Reason number 4 is you will get earlier feedback. Usually, in the design phase your team will bring in random people to test the product and give their feedback. This feedback can help designers tweak the product and improve it before building the final product for launch.

The final reason is it gives you a solid way of investor engagement. The prototype is actually your ticket to success and a way to the pockets of investors. Leverage on the features and benefits of your product and show investors your vision for your company and you’ll get their attention real quick.

What are the Fundamental Principles to Build a Prototype for Funding?

You must first learn some of the basic principles and best practices of prototyping before going into the design process. Below are some of the important principles in designing and building a prototype.

1) Define your Target Users and Intent

The first thing to do is to clearly define what the goal of your prototype is, who is it for, and what problems will it solve. Take note of this because these are the things that investors want to know about your prototype. Once you’ve considered all of this, then make the presentation to the investors and get that much needed funding.

2) Start with Paper for the Very First Iteration

Bringing your ideas to life should be done as cheap and as fast as possible, and using paper or cardboards just to rough out the basic principles on how your prototype will work is the best way to do about it. Paper prototyping also allows you to quickly modify your design and features without all the hassles of something made of denser materials, which can be expensive and takes a longer time to assemble.

3) Prioritize Product Features and Ditch the Details

Your design team should focus on the product features more than the aesthetics of it (which can be worked on a later time once all the features are incorporated into teh design). Remember, people will only buy your product if it does a significant deal to ease up or improve their lifestyle, anything less than that will not sell at all. Your prototype itself is your business pitch, so eliminate color, typography, and other design elements. Test your ideas through the process of elimination. Keep what works and do away with the rest.

4) Use the Right Tools

Your prototype is only as good as its designers and your design team are only as good as the tools that they’re working with. So provide them with the best tools available in the market in order for them to build you a kick-ass prototype. You may want to consider the 2019 Design Tools Survey, as they mention some of the best tools for prototyping.

September 27, 2022
September 27, 2022


5 Realistic Tips to Build a Successful Startup

Want to know how to build a successful startup business? Read this article now!

Starting your own business is never an easy task and even with all the information and technology available to us now (that would make someone from 20 years ago exclaim with glee had they had access to these things in order to create a business back then), it’s still not enough to keep you competitive without a solid plan. Of course, you’d want your company to be the best place to work in the world but that’s easier said than done. Building a reputation online is not only necessary to have a fan base, but it’s also like a double-edged sword where online users on social media can criticize you for any reason and you have to protect yourself from defamation.

As if that’s not complicated enough, the need to constantly increase the value of your sales will definitely challenge your knowledge and skills, as you seek to ensure that you can accumulate the funds needed to expand your business and go global in the next 5 years or so. This may seem overwhelming to you, but there’s always a silver lining in your grey skies and here are some tips to start a small business successfully.

Table of Contents

• Start with a Solid Plan

• Begin Networking as Soon as Possible

• Surround Yourself with the Right People

• Stay Ahead of Everyone Else

• Maintain a Balance Between Work and Life

• How to Avoid Startup Failure

1. Start with a Solid Plan

Nobody goes into war without a plan and starting a business and war is similar according to the author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu. You have to craft a business strategy and write it down to something called a business plan. It basically details how you’re going to run the business and make a profit in a given amount of time. You need to lay out the short and longterm goals for your business and it involves how you’ll start the business (i.e. who will be in your team, where you’ll borrow capital, what will your product/service be, your target demographics, how you’re going to get sales – the short term goals).

On the other hand, your longterm goals will include how you’re going to grow, expand and scale up your business. For example, if you started out in Liverpool, then make sure that 5 years later you’re ready to do business worldwide! Keep in mind that you can always make adjustments with the business plan in order to keep up with the trend.

2. Begin Networking as Soon as Possible

Today it’s business suicide to not build a professional network. There’s hardly a modern business that doesn’t do networking. Networking enables your business reach new heights unlike companies that have existed prior to the internet and social media (with a few exceptions like the Dutch East India Company). Word-of-mouth marketing has never been stronger.

With former company insiders and very diligent researchers exposing some scandalous work of companies over the years, 88% of people today trust reviews from online consumers more than official statements from companies or the government. It is the same when family and friends recommend to them which brands to buy or news media to watch. You have all the right reasons to start networking now.

Networking will also increase your chances to connect with highly talented individuals, which can be very beneficial to you in the long run. Large corporations tend to have the best inhouse talent and that’s because they jealously guard it like a big secret or something. Often times these talent never see the light of day in the open market, because the big companies only headhunt them, then keep them shelved until they have some use for them.

So where do you actually begin?

Well, LinkedIn would be the best place to start networking with professionals and join groups there. In case there are some local dedicated networking events happening, then that’s also a good chance to do networking.

3. Surround Yourself with the Right People

In battle it is the general who commands his army and the same is true for you and your company. Your role is to lead and you need smart and competent people around you to translate your orders into actionable goals. You’ll also need mentors and strategic partners as you grow in the first 5 years in the business (this is why many companies fail, because their leaders didn’t undergo mentorship training). Gather your lieutenants (supervisors) and make sure each soldier (employee) are competent enough to complete basic tasks.

Hire the right people, fire people who do not contribute, reshuffle your organization to achieve better results and learn the art of shifting your business strategy to meet new challenges.

4. Stay Ahead of Everyone Else

The second best always tries hard to catch up with the winner, so do not be the second best guy in the business. Watch out for and keep up with the latest trends in order to stay in the lead. If necessary, appoint a special team to do this specific task and then have them meet with you and your marketing team to plan your next move to leverage from the new trend. This way you will always outpace your competitors and leave them chasing you and not the other way around.

5. Maintain a Balance Between Work and Life

Never kill yourself for profits, if you still don’t get why it’s very important to have a work-life balance, then you haven’t been paying attention on how some people lost the love of their loved ones because they preferred to make money than spent time with them. It’s good to see your dreams come true when it comes to personal success and financial security, but do not forego your family, friends and co-workers – they are an essential part of your life and you need them. So build meaningful relationships and be a leader with a heart to them.

How to Avoid Startup Failure

It’s a known fact that 90% of startups fail within the first 5 years of their business operation, so it may be a good thing to plan ahead and anticipate hurdles that would lead you to failure in order to avoid them promptly. While you can use these tips we’ve presented here in this article as your guide to success, remember that there are no guarantees to success. In fact, you may wish, pray or hope to get lucky because that’s some form of guarantee; however, the best thing that you can do is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. With time you will also gain experience plus the mentorship you’re receiving will be a big help in your business’ survival.

September 11, 2022
September 11, 2022


10 Proven Techniques to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

If you desire to improve on your sales and profits, then create more repeat customers.

In terms of creating consistent profits or scaling them up to new levels, where do you invest your business resources and time on? Acquiring new customers or retaining the ones who already buys from you? While customer acquisition can increase your revenue and brand awareness, the results are not that significant when compared to customer retention. Repeat customers add more value to your business than new customers because their purchasing behavior is more accurate and predictable, and therefore will bring more profits to your business. New research suggests that almost 80% of your future profits might come from the top 20 percent of your repeat customers than from any other groups.

Small businesses in a post-COVID world are struggling to attract and retain loyal customers in an incredibly transient and competitive marketplace. Gas prices are £6 per gallon on a national average, cost of living has sky rocketed since the 1st quarter of 2022 and another economic recession is on the horizon. All this is reason for concern among Britons that it had heavily affected their purchasing behavior. How then, in all of this uncertainty and competition, can small businesses stand out from the crowd and build a base of loyal customers?

In uncertain times such as this, it is crucial for businesses to start focusing their efforts more towards retaining existing customers, turning them into loyal customers, and increasing their lifetime business value. But before we study the profitability of repeat customers, first we must understand what a repeat customer is.

Table of Contents

• What is Repeat Business and Why is it Important?

• Here are Top 10 Ways to Create Repeat Loyal Customers

• Deliver Excellent Customer Service

• Automated Customer Conversations

• Extensive Education about Products

• Create Customer Loyalty Programs

• Offer Discounts and Incentives to Repeat Customers

• Collect Feedback and Update your Products

• Add Value Through Email Marketing

• Grow your Customer Base Through Referral Programs

• Improve Customer Retention with VIP Programs

• Never Ignore Customer Complaints

• Repeat Customers are Vital for Every Business

What is Repeat Business and Why is it Important?

The term ‘repeat business’ means that a customer (or a group of customers) keeps coming back to shop for products you offer. Alternatively, repeat customer is also the other side of this coin. In some cases, these customers will grow to love your products so much that they become loyal supporters of the brand and regularly shop with you over time.

Below are some of the things that Constant Contact pointed out regarding repeat business and they actually make sense:

• Businesses thrive with customer retention - Indeed the saying that says ‘the customers are the life blood of a business’ is at the core reason why repeat business also exist.

• Word-of-mouth promotion - It is the most common human trait to talk about things that they like and you can tell that you’re lucky when customers like your products, because they will talk about it to their family and friends eventually. And what do you get out of it? Why more sales and profits, of course!

• More money - Customers are more likely to spend more money at businesses they feel they can trust and rely on.

• Eager customers - Repeat customers are actually eager to see new product offerings from your business, because they already trust your brand. Therefore, it’s also easier to sell to them.

• New customer costs - Spending money for advertising on existing loyal customers is cheaper and has better results than spending it to acquire new customers.

Here are Top 10 Ways to Create Repeat Loyal Customers

1. Deliver Excellent Customer Service

As an entrepreneur, your main goal is to keep the income flowing in order for your business to not just survive but also survive in highly competitive industry. The best way to do that is to create a loyal customer base who will support your business by making consistent purchases of your products or service. All you have to do is provide excellent customer service to achieve this goal.

Here are a few tips on how to deliver excellent customer service.

• Offer live demos and training - We’ve talked to some people about their experience with learning and adjusting to the new products they’ve purchased and they all say that the user’s manual is either too technical, too lengthy or too complicated to understand. They would often go to YouTube to find video tutorials on how to use the products effectively. Why let other people demonstrate to your customers how your products work when you can meet them halfway yourself? Create your own live demos and training and interact with your customers in real time and help make them comfortable with your products.

• Live chat - In Forbes 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement Study that interviewed over a thousand people revealed that 96% of customers will leave you for bad service. This should be a wakeup call to all entrepreneurs and allocate time, resources and effort to avoid bad customer services – you can start by adding a live chat feature on all your channels.

• Resolving problems through co-browsing - Sometimes customers encounter obstacles in your business that just can’t be solved through videos and instructions. Take for instance, signing up to create a customer profile on your site. Despite your best efforts to make the entire process seamless and simple, some of them are going to find some areas to fill up difficult. For such scenarios, co-browsing can come extremely handy.

2. Automated Customer Conversations

Autoresponders and AI customer service chat bots can help your business a lot, especially if you serve customers from all over the world. Obviously, you’ll have customers joining from different time zones at different hours of the day, and they’ll expect to talk or chat with someone ASAP.

Here are some ways bots can help with your customer service.

• Chat bots makes your customer service run 24/7 addressing customer concerns with impeccable responses. This gives you a higher probability of customer retention and prevent them from switching over to your competitors due to delayed responses or bad customer service experience.

• The best thing about AI-powered chatbots is that they’re self-learning software and today they are even sold to businesses that need such a program to help with their customer service department handle inbound calls from customers. Freshworks offers various plans and pricing for AI-powered chatbots to help resolve customer issues in real time. Find a plan that suits your business now!

• An improved customer service experience means you’ll have a higher customer retention, low churn rate, more repeat customers and higher profits.

3. Extensive Education about Products

Any customer feels empowered and confident about products only when they understand the entire features and benefits of it. Hence, without timely customer education and training, your customers are likely to be lost and confused about how to get the maximum value out of your products.

If you focus on providing high-quality comprehensive customer education, then your customers will be highly satisfied with your brand and will stick around for much longer.

Here are a few ways in which you can educate your customers.

• Make the best possible first impression through a comprehensive onboarding process for all your products and services.

• Utilize all kinds of communication channels such as blogs, social media, one-to-one live chats, video sessions, and chatbots to be available for your customers for every hurdle that they gave during their customer journey.

• Offer high-quality video tutorials and demonstrations so that your customer gets highly accustomed to your products.

• Frequently initiate conversations and connect with your customers to let them know that you are always available to educate them through their journey with your brand.

4. Create Customer Loyalty Programs

A successful customer loyalty program can contribute heavily towards retaining your customers and turning them into repeat customers. In fact, a customer who is a part of your loyalty program is 47% more likely to make another purchase from you when compared to other customers.

Tips on how to use customer loyalty programs to increase repeat customers.

• Offer attractive rewards - It is now widely known that the striatum (the reward center of the brain) can cause a person to be addicted to certain things and if you play it right, offering valuable rewards in your loyalty programs to your customers can make your customers feel they get more for their money’s worth and will make them buy from you again and again.

• Give customers a head start - Offer your customers a 50% bonus rebate or points to make them feel that they only need to make a few more purchases to complete the other 50% of the points/rebates to get the discount or freebie advertised on your loyalty program.

• Provide welcome points for new customers - Giving welcome points on top of your other rewards for your customer loyalty program incentivizes your customers and nudges them to come back for more. In fact, the most successful customer loyalty programs starts off with giving something of value to their customers for absolutely free.

• Make it interesting and creative - Don’t just offer rewards bluntly. Make the reward a secret surprise or put a twist to the prize money or item that you’ll give your customers once they’ve reached a certain threshold. You could, say, give them an expensive watch once they reach 100 loyalty points on their account, but add a secret surprise once they claim the reward and tell them that they’ll also get a lifetime gift on their birthday!

5. Offer Discounts and Incentives to Repeat Customers

A little bit goes a long long way, isn’t that what they always say? Well, did you know that it applies to customer retention as well? Everybody loves something either free or half the price, heck these days they’ll even want it for 15% off! So what does this tell you? That’s right! Offer discounts on your products and services to give your customers an incentive and make them buy from you more and more.

Below are some tips on how to give discounts and incentives to your customers.

• Provide onboarding offers - First impressions, lasts. The same is true when onboarding new customers and just by simply giving them offers like free shipping or some exclusive discount codes will make them think that you’re the greatest company in the world!

• Offers after first purchase - Make their subsequent purchases count by giving them discounts and price cuts. They’ll think they’re getting the same products for half the price which will not only make them happy, but will also make them share the experience with their family and friends, which can be your future potential customers as well.

• Keep experimenting - If you love what you do, then it won’t feel like you’re working or stressing out to make profits. You’re going to be very creative in your own right and come up with amazing ideas that will resonate with your customers and in turn keep them happy and buying from you. But if you really need to, then hire a creative team to help you brainstorm ideas.

6. Collect Feedback and Update your Products

Since you may not be able to talk to your customers like you can talk to your close friends, you need to know what they want and what they think about your business. You do this by collecting customer feedback via surveys, social media comments, reactions and direct messages. You can also find out what your customers are saying about your business through the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or forums and discussion boards talk specifically talk about products similar to what you’re offering.

Here is how collecting feedback can impact your recurring customers.

• Proactive customer communication - Utilize all the tools available to you to get customer feedback like automated chatbots, in-app messaging, and live-chat sessions.

• Observe common patterns - Sift through the feedback information that you got from your customers and start analyzing them to look for patterns, which are potential problems that needs your attention. It can be anything from, for example, 70% of your customers complain about certain features of your product or the lack thereof. By simply addressing such concerns, you not only will boost sales but get more repeat buys from your loyal customer base.

• Upgrade your products - Listen to what your customers want about your products or services and make the necessary corrections or upgrades in order to please them. Remember, a happy customer will always come back for more!

• Inform your customers - Create new ads to showcase the new upgrades and features you’ve included in your products, so your customers will know that you heard their feedback and actually done something about it. The second they’ll know that you care about what they think, you can bet they’ll be back at your store and make more purchases.

7. Add Value Through Email Marketing

According to LinkedIn email marketing drives 3.5 times more conversions than just doing the basic across-the-board marketing. Sending out those weekly and/or monthly newsletters to your subscribers actually improves your overall sales and profits.

Here’s what you can do with your email marketing campaigns to see improvement.

• Change your order confirmation email - The probability of turning a new customer into a repeat customer is high if you do these things: sending information about related products, special offers, and discount coupons to your customers with the order confirmation email of their first purchase

• Send follow-up emails - If the new customer has agreed to share their personal information including their email and they have opted to receive newsletters from you, then send them follow-up emails to let them know that you value their business. Make your emails personalized and proactively invite the customer to interact with your customer service agents who can assist them with any queries that they may have about your company.

• Add immense value - Don’t just firebomb your customers with sales emails. Anyone can tell you that such action is annoying and will easily get old, instead add value to your content. You can include personal testimonies from other customers who have used your products or services and they explain how it had a positive effect on their lives. This way your email newsletters will have more depth and people will actually want to read it.

• Keep your customers updated - Include updates on your products or services in your email newsletter that you’ll send out to your customers. You never know some of your customers are on the look out for new product releases from your company and are interested to make a purchase.

8. Grow your Customer Base Through Referral Programs

A lot of businesses capitalize on referral programs for a good reason and that reason is because it drives sales. Create a referral program of your own and reap the benefits in sales and profits! This also has a sort of a double-edged sword benefit to it, where if you reward your customers who refers their friend to your company, you not only gain new customers but also keep your current customers loyal to you.

9. Improve Customer Retention with VIP Programs

VIP programs essentially makes the customer sign a long-term agreement with you. This means a steady sales year after year, albeit limited to the top 10 percent of your customer base. Still, it beats spending a gazillion ton of money to gain new customers and get a meager amount of profits from it. There are customers who have more money than they can spend who also want to be first in line on getting your latest products and they want to maintain their elite status with your brand. Give them privileges such as invitations to special events, quick access to your new products, or sales days that they can choose for themselves.

10. Never Ignore Customer Complaints

Keep in mind one very important thing – your customers are not children and so if you hear them complain about your products or company, do not treat it as a child throwing tantrums. Instead, do the sensible thing and listen and then help them resolve the issue so everybody can be happy. You must also understand that your relationship with your customers helps drive sales and boost profits. You basically asked them to trust you and your products indirectly and they in turn agreed. That trust can be destroyed in a matter of seconds through some misunderstanding or bad customer service. Resolve whatever concern they may have about your business to prevent it from going out of control due to your negligence, be it unintended or deliberate.

Some mind-blowing statistics related to repeat customers:

• Repeat customers tend to spend 300% more on your products/services compared to new customers.

• You will spend 5 times more in acquiring new customers than to keep repeat customers.

• Repeat customers are 67% more likely to purchase new products from you than new customers would.

• The amount of money you need to spend to encourage a new customer to spend as much as your repeat customers is 16 times higher.

• Just a mere 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 75% increased profitability for your business.

• It’s estimated that a repeat customer is worth 10 times more compared to the average first time customer.

• About 44% of companies today blindly spend more on customer acquisition, while only 18% of companies work on customer retention, which causes the disparity in profitability.

• Approximately 62% of customers have a common negative belief that the brands they are most loyal to are not doing enough to reward them for their loyalty.

Repeat Customers are Vital for Every Business

From what we’ve learned above about repeat customers, we can surmise that these small part of your customer population have a vital role for any business, be it B2B or B2C. If you’ll divide your resources to a 50-50 setup where half of it goes to customer acquisition and the other half is used for customer retention strategies, you can scale up the profits of your business consistently. And when it comes to retention, engagement is still the best solution.

June 21, 2022
September 11, 2022


How to Register a Dormant Company

When registering a dormant company, you will want to know all the necessary requirements that's attached to it, as well as other related information.

Table of Contents

• How to register a Dormant Company

• What Is a Dormant Company?

• What are Dormant Company Filing requirements?

• Starting a New Dormant Company

• Dormant Company Checklist

• Alternatives to Registering a Dormant Company

• Sole Trader Business

• Limiting Reputational Damage

• Protect your Business by Buying a Company and Keeping it Dormant

• Preserving your Limited Company

• Closing Notes

How to Register a Dormant Company

Making your company dormant is very similar to registering any limited company to Companies House. The same required formalities that you needed when you setup your company when you started trading will be required of you again. Among what’s required in switching your company’s status from ‘active’ to ‘dormant’ involves selecting an "SIC code" for your company. A unique SIC code is given to every dormant company.

This becomes apparent when you enter an SIC code "99999" in the registration form from Companies House that you intend to keep your company dormant until you are ready to trade again. Once your company has been registered as ‘dormant’ in Companies House, your company’s registered the SIC code will be publicly available.

What Is a Dormant Company?

A dormant company is a limited company that has been incorporated and is registered with Companies House, but its owners/board of directors have decided to keep it inactive and not trade. Normally, the reason why companies choose this option is to prevent other businesses to use their legally registered name, or perhaps they only want to get a legal business name quickly, but they intend to trade at a later time.

A Dormant Company will have no "significant accounting transactions" and as such will not pay any taxes or engage in any business activity.

What are Dormant Company Filing requirements?

Companies House requires dormant companies to continue filing annual accounts and a confirmation statement every fiscal year. The dormant companies accounts will show up on the filing history of the company in Companies House, which auditors and other interested parties can access.

Starting a New Dormant Company

If you wish to start a new dormant company (a company which has been incorporated, but has never traded or has no intention to trade), then include your company legal name, as well as your preferred suffix (e.g. “Limited” or “Ltd.”) in the Companies House page dedicated to making companies dormant and hit “enter.” Don’t forget to also include the domain name, which you’ve purchased from a hosting site for your company, because you will need it once you resume trading operations.

Dormant Company Checklist:

1. Carry out a company name search.

2. Register your limited company name.

3. Inform HMRC of your intention to keep the company dormant

4. Submit dormant company accounts and confirmation statements where necessary

5. Then when you're ready – start trading

6. (Don't forget to inform HMRC when you do).

7. Start trading and engage in business activities

Once you’ve registered your company as dormant or inactive in the Companies House database, it will remain that way for only 1 year. If you want to keep your company dormant for a certain period of time until you’re ready to trade again, then you must file company dormant accounts and annual confirmation statements every year. You’ll also need to inform the HMRC that you’re putting your company in dormant mode and you do this by getting a copy of their CT41G form after you’ve informed them of your intent to make your company dormant.

Alternatives to Registering a Dormant Company

You can also go to a third party company that assist other companies in processing their businesses in order to make them dormant like Companies Made Simple, and of course, us Your Virtual Office London. You’ll get the added benefit of gaining a better credit rating and find it easier to acquire investment. People will also have a higher trust rating towards you because you’ve partnered with a trustworthy company like us.

The benefits of owning a dormant limited company are:

1. Your interests are protected – no one can use your legal business name and having the ability to take time to craft a business strategy and financing before resuming trading.

2. Preserving your limited company including all of its related legal rights, while allowing you to prepare years in advance before you resume trading.

Alternatively, you can also make your company dormant with the intent of having it hold assets such as real estate or a freehold property. However this purpose is of limited relevance to small business owners, so it will not be covered in this guide.

Sole Trader Business

Perhaps the most common reason why business owners make their companies dormant is to protect their businesses when they’re operating as a sole trader (sole proprietorship in the US, or also commonly referred to as being self-employed). Operating your business as a sole trader gives you more advantages as a small business owner than registering your business as a limited company. Overall it’s also cheaper and simpler to run your business as a sole trader, it’s the reason why there are so many SMEs (small business enterprise) and start-ups opt for this type of business than the more complicated ones.

But there is one drawback to this option also, and it’s when you failed to trademark your business name, it gives other people freedom to register your business name as their own, as you have no legal grounds to prevent them from doing so.

You may also be interested to read Who Can Be A Company Director?

Limiting Reputational Damage

Through the power of social media, any kind of news (good or bad) can go viral and reach global proportions in minutes and can damage your company’s reputation with little to no warning. It’s even worse if another company has a nearly identical business name as you have, (i.e. Domnio XL Consultancy Services vs. Domnio XL Consultancy Services LLC), then several customers had a bad experience with your competitor, but when they left reviews online it was your company was tagged, or was tagged along with the culprit. In order to protect your company’s reputation, you register it as dormant which will prevent other people from registering with your company name and avoid the problem in the first place.

Protect your Business by Buying a Company and Keeping it Dormant

It’s a common practice in the UK for business owners and a company’s board of directors to unilaterally decide to put their company in dormant mode. This business tactic is important because it helps protect their business from being exploited by potential competitors (e.g. the copycat company registering a new business under the same name, which can cause serious problems for the original company). The formations process of making your company dormant and allowing it to trade once more is the same and it is done through Companies House. Pay £12.95 to have your company registered as dormant in the Companies House database and submit company dormant accounts and annual confirmation statements yearly to keep your company in dormant mode.

Preserving your Limited Company

Another scenario where a dormant company can be beneficial to you is when your limited company has been around for a certain period of time now, but you encounter an unexpected emergency and you need to put it on hold. It could be that you need to go abroad for some important work to do that’s not connected with your business, or from which your business depends a lot on and you’ve considered the costs of keeping it running vs. making it dormant, and the second option seems more reasonable.

The problem with keeping your company running is that you are required by the UK’s Companies House to file full company accounts and pay corporate taxes year after year. You will obviously need to hire an accountant to produce and submit these accounts, which will cost a significant amount. But even more problematic is if you’ll have to hire a temporary manager to help you manage your business too! This person will also charge you an insane amount of money, especially if they know how important your business is to the area where it’s operating and to you personally.

By making your limited company dormant, you can avoid much of the cost of maintaining your company, and you won’t need to go through the administrative process of closing down your limited company.

Closing Notes

Opting to put your company on hold or making it dormant may not always be your first choice when faced with a certain obstacle in your business operations, but it is worth knowing about it when the time will come that this is the best and only option you have in protecting your limited company and its interests. Be sure to talk to your company accountant about registering your limited company as dormant in Companies House before considering doing it. You can also talk to us and get free consultations.

March 1, 2021
May 5, 2021


All You Need to Know About Limited Company Shares

Before you begin working via your prestigious registered office address, take note of the following information about limited company shares and more.

--If you’re set to launch a company limited by shares, it’s important for you to understand all there is to know about these limited company shares and what they mean for your business. Before you begin working via your prestigious registered office address, take note of the following information about limited company shares and be well prepared to own and overcome all of their implications.

The Definition of Shares

Shares represent a portion of a company that is limited by shares. They’re a divided-up unit of a company’s value whereby each share is a certain percentage of the whole business. “Shareholders” or “members” are those individuals who own limited company shares.

The number of shares that a company member holds reflects the “amount” a company is owned or controlled by that company member. It is typical for shareholders to receive a percentage of the trading profits in relation to the shares they own.

Issuing Limited Company Shares

A company may issue a minimum of one (1) share. This is common when a limited company is set up by an individual and he/she is the sole owner and company director. There is no maximum number to issuing limited company shares and therefore, as a company owner, you can issue as many shares as you wish during the process of company incorporation.

Here are some clear, demonstrable examples of popular share structures:

  • One issued share = 100% company ownership.
  • Two of equal value = 50% ownership per share.
  • 10 of equal value = 10% ownership per share.
  • 100 of equal value = 1% ownership per share.

If a business is worth £100 million, and there are 50 million shares, then each share is worth £2 (typically listed as 200p). The value of such shares may fluctuate for various reasons.

Limited company shares may be issued by companies in order to raise finances. Investors will consider purchasing limited company shares in the belief that the company in which they have invested will become a profitable enterprise, thereby gaining their portion of the success.

What Is the Nominal Value of a Share?

A share’s nominal value represents the monetary figure that a member has paid (or agreed to pay) for their fraction of the company. The nominal value reflects how much a member is legally expected to pay towards the debts of a company or if/when the company endures a winding up order. Therefore, the limited liability of company owners is represented by the nominal value of limited company shares.

What Is the Market Value of a Share?

The market value of a share is quite simply the amount that a share is worth at the point it is sold. For example, if a limited company share is sold for £1, then the market value of this share is £1.

What Types of Shares Can Be Issued by a Company?

There are a number of different types or “classes” of limited company shares, including:

  • Ordinary shares:

A standard type of share with no unique rights or restrictions.

  • Preference shares

When dividends are paid out, preference shares carry a right to preferential treatment.

  • Cumulative preference shares

Cumulative preference shares hold the right that unpaid dividends from one year may be carried forward to subsequent years.

  • Non-voting shares

Non-voting shares carry no rights to vote at general meetings. Companies will normally issue such shares to employees so that some of their earnings can be paid as dividends.

  • Redeemable shares

Redeemable shares can be bought back/redeemed at some point in the future, either on a pre-fixed date or in response to a particular event.

  • Alphabet shares

Alphabet shares permit companies to assign their shareholders with shares in different classes, and these distinct share classes are identifiable by a specific letter (hence the term “Alphabet Shares”).

  • Management shares

Management shares hold additional voting rights, such as 10 votes per share. Management shares are generally held by subscribers, thereby permitting them to retain more power and control than other members.

Ordinary shares often suffice for small companies as they are the most popular shares class, hence you needn’t be too concerned about all of the above types of limited company shares.

Who Can Become a Shareholder?

Any of the following may become shareholders:

  • Individual member
  • A number of individuals/groups
  • Partnerships
  • Another company/organisation/corporate body

Although shareholders have the final say and authority concerning integral business decisions, they are not allowed to be involved in the day-to-day management and running of money matters as this falls within the role of the company director.

Notably, limited company shareholders may appoint themselves as company directors. This means that they can create a limited company as they desire and take on the roles of both shareholder and director. This is a fairly normal practice in small companies.

Stock Exchange Implications

Prospective shareholders may only purchase shares in your company if your company is listed on a stock exchange. This occurs when an Initial Public Offering has been completed (for example, on the London Stock Exchange). In this process, you transform from being a private company to a public company, thereby permitting members of the public to ultimately buy shares when needed.


There are very specific implications of limited company shares of which new company owners must be aware. However, it’s worth noting that companies limited by guarantee have guarantors and a “guaranteed amount”, instead of shareholders and shares.

To find out more about limited company shares, or for more information about obtaining a registered office address, contact Your Virtual Office London, today.

August 24, 2019
May 5, 2021


How To Become Mega-Productive with your Work Time

Take a look at some of the amazing strategies that we have picked up to help you become mega-productive with your work time and work more efficiently.

PRODUCTIVITY. This has to be one of the most talked-about buzz-words of the 21st Century. There seems to always be a steady stream of great productivity strategies out there that people simply cannot get enough of.However, what tips work for one person may not work for the next. So you mustn't stress yourself out when you try some new productivity strategies that just don't seem to work for you.The best way forward is to create your own set of effective strategies that work for you and stick with them until they become second nature. Many people say that to form a new habit can take up to 2-weeks of constant practice.You should focus on finding the productivity techniques that work best for you and repeat them until they stick. Always remember to allow yourself enough time for them to work effectively and become routine. Some techniques will stick, others, not so much.If your workload is becoming a bit too much for you to cope with, take a look at some of these strategies we have picked up along the way to improve your work time.

1: Make a morning to-do list

This isn't a list to make in the morning when you start work. You will have far too many distractions happening to make this happen.Instead, you need to make your morning to-do list last thing at the end of every day. Summarise what you want to achieve the next day and prioritise any jobs at the top of your list that you didn't manage to get completed today.Cross off each task on your list with a big red marker pen. This way you have a visual record of your achievements for the day that you can be proud of!

2: Cut your procrastination time

You know those horrible or very boring tasks that you know need doing, but you don't want to do? Yes, those tasks that you end up talking yourself out of doing each day.If you actually stopped procrastinating about them and used your time to get them done instead, you will be far more productive with your time.When faced with one of these dreadful tasks, give yourself 3 seconds to cut your procrastination. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Count down from 3, 2, 1, open your eyes and do it!This 3-second countdown will effectively cut your procrastination time to zero and will deliver you with more time to focus on other tasks on your list.

3: Do your hardest task first

You will have a few tasks to complete on your to-do list, but it is wise to schedule your most difficult tasks at the top. This is because you will be able to tackle these tasks when you are fresh and well-rested with plenty of energy and concentration.Getting these more tricky tasks out of the way first will be much more effective than leaving them until the end of the day when your energy and concentration levels may be flagging.

4: Cut large tasks into bite-sized pieces

There can be nothing more exhausting or energy-draining that trying to tackle a huge task head-on. Biting off more than you can chew at once will simply result in your struggling to make any effective headway.This can lead to you dithering around with little enthusiasm to get the task finished. By dividing up the work into smaller bite-sized tasks you will be able to set yourself small and more achievable goals to finish step-by-step. Taking regular breaks after each small step will give you the energy to get through to the end of a gargantuan task.

5: Verbalise your problems

You know when you are working out a problem in your head and then something happens that breaks your train of thought? Yes? Annoying, isn't it.Working out difficult problems that require a lot of thought can be better beaten out if you get those thoughts out of your head. A good way to do this is to verbalise your thoughts.You can do this by discussing the problem with someone else, maybe a work colleague for example. However, if you work alone you can record your conversation and play it back to yourself.Verbalising a problem can work very well to fix something that needs a lot of thought. Try it the next time you need to chew something over.

6: The post-it notes trick

Using post-it notes, an ideas whiteboard or an online tool such as Trello to note down your thoughts and possible solutions is a great way to get things out of your head into something visible for you to focus on. This can serve as a memory aid.You can do this with new tasks as they pop into your head or appear in emails. At the end of the day, you can look at all of your notes and rearrange them into a priority list that will form tomorrow's to-do list. It is a great way to de-clutter your mind.

7: Ditch the guilt

Although this post is all about improving your productivity, you simply cannot be expected to perform at 100% efficiency all of the time.Don't expect perfection all of the time. Give yourself some wiggle-room. Shelve that guilty feeling because you failed to finish everything on today's to-do list. We know you may feel a sense of failure to be hitting your goals, but no one is setting those goals for you.You are setting your own goals, so if you physically and mentally cannot manage your present workload then this can lead to you worrying and fretting about it so much that it can affect your mood, your ability to recharge and re-energise and to sleep.Look at what you have achieved today and be proud of your accomplishments. Shrug off those tasks still outstanding from your list and simply move them on to your list for tomorrow.They will get done eventually – and done well as long as you allow yourself to switch off the guilt and recharge your batteries enough for the next day's challenges.

8: Get adequate rest

Don't neglect your downtime in favour of completing more work. Too many people will get up earlier in the morning so they can get an extra hour or two of work done before the rest of their work colleagues even arrive.While you may feel good about how much work you can achieve by giving yourself more time, you will be losing it from somewhere else in your life. This usually means less sleep, rushed meal times or forgoing coffee breaks.The problem with doing this is that when you return to your normal schedule, your productivity levels will fall. You will then feel compelled to keep cutting into your rest time to increase your productivity once again.A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs will substitute sleep for work, but will quickly find themselves burning out and being unable to function well.If you need 8 hours of solid sleep, don't try to get by on just 6. What will happen over time is that you will not be on-the-ball for most of the day. This can negatively affect your productivity levels because you won't have the energy to focus and complete your tasks effectively.

9: Set up a self-care routine

One of the most effective ways to keep up your productivity levels while at the same time giving you time to recharge your batteries and clear your mind throughout the day is to use a Pomodoro timer.This handy time management tool will schedule regular 25 minute sessions for you to concentrate on your work followed by a short break. You should take these break times away from your work to give your body and mind time to recharge.Shake off tired and cramped muscles by taking a five-minute walk around your building, go outside for some fresh air or perform 5-minute mini-workouts to save some gym time. Go and make yourself a coffee, chat with a colleague, practice some deep breathing or meditation in a quiet corner away from your workstation.Your break time action doesn't have to be huge or profound. Just focus them on a few minutes of self-care to clear your mind and stretch your muscles. Making it deliberate and forming a routine will help you to re-focus your mind when you return to working on your task.

10: Allocate a time slot for social media

Everyone knows what a time-drain social media platforms can be. It can be so tempting to check your Facebook feeds or to catch up with your tweets only to find yourself fully absorbed in your feed with precious work time ticking away.Consign your social media catch-up to a specific time of day and resist the temptation to quickly check throughout the day. This can mean switching off alerts on your phone and locking your phone away in a desk drawer during working hours.


Try out these productivity tips to see which ones work for you and adopt them for at least two weeks to make sure that they stick and become part of your working routine.You will see your productivity increase and your procrastinating reduce, as well as giving your well-being a boost at the same time!You can also save yourself a lot of time by outsourcing your everyday admin tasks. This will free up your precious time to dedicate to more important tasks that you need to get done.Make good use of virtual services such as professional call answering, mail sorting and forwarding or complete virtual office service that incorporates everything you need.

August 10, 2019
May 5, 2021


Top Tips For eBay and Amazon Online Sellers

On the internet, you need to be aware of the given tips to become savvy about what you choose to sell, especially via online sellers such as eBay or Amazon.

There is no denying that the invention of the internet has changed the face of work for the better. No longer do people need to be an employee and have to commute to a place of work every day to earn their living.Being a solo-entrepreneur and trading online can give an individual the freedom they desire from the shackles of a traditional 9 to 5 job where you are working to line the pockets of others.Long gone are the days when the whole purpose of starting up a business was to keep growing it until it reaches the size of some giant monolith to completely dominate a business sector.These days more individuals are choosing to become solo-entrepreneurs to provide themselves with a comfortable living to equal that of a regular day job.One of the most popular home-based choices is to work in e-commerce selling goods, services, information or unique products that people can create themselves.

The need to be a savvy entrepreneur

There is also no doubt that if you want to succeed in the world of online selling that you need to be savvy about what you choose to sell, especially on selling platforms such as eBay, Amazon or via your own online shop.For those who buy in products to sell online, you need to have more than a gut feeling that something you buy to sell on for a profit is going to work. This is where you should make good use of free product research tools to spot the latest trend and jump onboard.

Product research tools for spotting trends

One of the best tools for seeing what is trending on eBay is HERE. You can use this tool to spot the current 'hot products' that people cannot get enough of, but also what products are on the rise that can be your next lucrative best seller.This tool will also help you to see what products are taking a nose-dive, so if you are currently stocking items that are falling in popularity, you can decide to jump ship to a trending product to ride that wave instead.Researching what products are hot can give you some inspiration on what to sell if you are starting from scratch and have no idea where to start.Another very useful tool is the eBay Most Popular Tool. You can look at potential new markets to enter that you have an interest in or some background knowledge about. Use this tool like a search engine for eBay. Key in your search terms and the tool will generate a list of current auctions.Not only will you be able to see specific auctions that match your search terms but you will also see which auctions have the most bids and watchers. You will quickly get an idea just how popular a certain niche is that you may want to enter.

Don't put all of your eggs into one basket!

While the above research tools are very handy, try not to get stuck into the mindset of only selling on eBay to make a profit.

There is a potentially better way to use the data that you can glean from these research tools:

1: Find out what is trending2: Source them at the best possible price3: Sell these products elsewhereFor example, instead of buying in a trending stock to list on eBay, look at selling on Amazon, other online auction sites, through your own Shopify store or even via Facebook.By doing this you will be selling hot products that are in demand but via different media channels that may not be nearly as saturated a marketplace like eBay.

eBay vs Facebook marketplace

eBay has been around for a few years now and it has become the 'go-to' place for selling off the junk from your attic, your old baby clothes and second-hand goods that you no longer want.However, the savvy entrepreneur saw a lucrative opening here to source new and second-hand goods to sell on for a tidy profit very early on in the auction site's history.Now over 4 million people are selling on eBay in the UK alone, with an estimated 190,000+ registered businesses trading on the selling platform.This can feel a little overwhelming to a sole trader trying to establish a niche on eBay. It can be a very saturated marketplace where competition is high.However, a great alternative to eBay can be Facebook. There are not only local selling groups on the network but the Facebook Marketplace is now positioned itself to be hot on the heels of eBay and a genuine competitor for those looking to sell products online.

It's all about the fees

What is great about selling on Facebook is the fact that there are ZERO fees. This means you get to keep all of your profit from the sale. With eBay, you will have to pay selling fees which cut into your profits.You need to weigh up your options here because you do get a wider audience with eBay so if you are selling something small, lightweight and easy to post, you may be better off paying the fees to reach a wider audience.eBay will take 10% of the total sale price including postage when your items sell. Factor in your PayPal fees on top of this and what you are left with isn't so appealing.Most of Facebook's sales happen at the local level through local selling groups. This is a great option if you have something to sell that your local community will be interested in.In a test conducted by a team from Money Saving Expert where they sold 20 various items on eBay and Facebook, they found that 14 out of the 20 items sold for more on Facebook after fees were taken into consideration.Facebook is all about connecting with people and supporting your local community, so people are now looking to harness the power of Facebook to sell their goods to the local community through local selling groups for free.

How do you sell on Facebook?

So, let's say, for example, that you have sourced a job lot of t-shirts. You simply post an ad on Facebook advertising your shirts, and interested buyers will contact you.From here you can arrange for them to drop in to look at your shirts and pay you cash for one or more if they are happy with them. It is a bit like a modern take on the old newspaper classified ads.Again, if you try to diversify your selling through various sites and platforms such as eBay, Amazon, other auction sites and Facebook, you will reach a wider audience than simply sticking to eBay.However, one surprising fact that the Money Saving Team discovered while testing both sites was they found it quicker to shift things on local groups that remained unsold on eBay. Something to think about if you are carrying a lot of dead-stock that is listed on eBay!

The downside to selling on Facebook

No selling platform is going to be perfect and with Facebook, you do have to factor in that their local selling groups are run by volunteers.This means that Facebook won't get involved in the transactions between you and your customer. But it also means that there is very little comeback if you experience problems with your customers.If you run your business from home and your Facebook customers drop in to pick up their good from you, then any unhappy or disgruntled customer will know where you live.This can be a worry if you have young children or elderly relatives living with you that you will want to protect. So this needs to be weighed up before you decide to invite strangers around to your house.

How to protect your home address when you have a home-based business

One of the main worries for entrepreneurs running a business from home is how to keep your private home address off the public record to help keep your family safe.The last thing you want is for an unhappy customer to be banging aggressively on your front door and upsetting your family members.There is a very professional way around this problem that many thousands of solo-entrepreneurs use to keep their personal address private. This solution also offers the extra benefit of giving your small business a more businesslike image.What we are talking about here is using a business office address service such as our London Office Address and Mail Forwarding package.By using our service you can give your home-based business a professional image with a highly prestigious London business address. Your company address would be based in the heart of London's business district at:Your business or personal nameKemp House152 – 160 City RoadLondon, EC1V 2NXBut it is not only having a highly prestigious company address that you can benefit from. Our in-built mail forwarding service is also included in this package.This means that we will receive your business letters, parcels and signed-for documentation at our London based offices and you can then choose what you want to do with your mail.You could choose to have all of your mail forwarded to your home address, scanned and emailed to you, or if you are local you can call in and collect your post in person – keeping your private residential address off the Public Register of Businesses kept at Companies House.Our London address and mail forwarding services are trusted by thousands of small businesses that want to keep their home address private to protect their family and property.This is an instant service that once set up can be used immediately. You even get the free use of a modern, well equipped London based business meeting room.Overall you get to protect your home address, keep your family life and business life separate and also impress your customers with prestigious London-based bricks and mortar business address.Give our friendly team a call for more information on +44 (0) 207 5663939 or email us at office@capital-office.co.uk if you need more help.

June 7, 2019
May 5, 2021


Why Content is More Than King for Small Business Owners

Content is king when it comes to marketing your business, but to small business owners content is more than King – it is the heart of your operation.

Most of us have heard the saying that 'content is king' when it comes to marketing your business, but to small business owners content is more than King – it is the heart and soul of your operation.Now, more than ever, a small business owner needs to create and share very worthy content as part of your business marketing strategy. Without good quality content, no-one is going to be aware of your business and what you have to offer.

The importance of relevant content for the small operator

For the solo-entrepreneur, single info-entrepreneur and digital marketers, it is even more critical to make content the very base foundation of your business services that everything else can be built from.No matter where you look for marketing help these days, the advice is always the same – produce unique, highly targeted and good quality content.Your content needs to be authentic and should be able to solve a problem that your target audience has, or helps to educate them further about a particular topic, or alternatively outright entertains them!It is important that you cast your content net as far and as wide as possible, so this means building a well-structured website with solid pages that provide evergreen information and then backing up your website with a blog.You should make a point of updating your blog with fresh information on a regular basis, especially when you start to build a list of followers who will be expecting you to post regularly.Link in your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) and if possible include things such as videos, live webinar chats, podcasts that will engage with your audience and deliver plenty of useful information.

The Heart and Soul of Small Business

As a small business owner or solo-entrepreneur, your content is a reflection of you. You should put yourself into your content and believe in what you create. By producing genuine content you will build a lot of trust in your target audience.What will keep them coming back for more and eventually convince them to buy from you is your sincerity, believability and the passion you put into your content – your very heart and soul.This is especially true for any infopreneurs that are selling informational products. What you sell needs to be believable and genuinely useful to your end customer. Your content and your branding are interlinked and are presented as a package to your target audience.If your customers believe in one they will believe in the other. So if you win their trust by providing them with high-quality content they will learn to trust your brand and will be open to reading the offerings that you send out in the future.

Temper your content well

When you create your content you do not want to just present dry facts and boring information. You need to make your content sound human and very conversational.Think along the lines of sitting down with a friend and having a conversation with them. Offer thought-provoking information and insights that will raise their curiosity and desire to find out more.Opening a dialogue with your audience works really well for customer engagement. It makes your company look and feel more human, approachable and open to a two-way conversation.Making a share-worthy blog where a reader will consume your content and will want to share it with their family or friends will result in your content being actively passed around long after you have posted it.This is the power of using your content wisely on social media platforms where your target audience can read your content then will “Like,” “comment” and “Share” to their own timeline or newsfeed.

Online conversations are free!

One of the greatest things about engaging with your readers on social media platforms is that you will be taking part in online conversations, which is the new medium for marketing your product and services. And what's more your content will be spread around and shared for free!This can be a real bonus for small business owners or sole traders working with very limited marketing budgets.Remember that online engagement and activity is the next big thing in marketing and is on a par with word of mouth marketing where your customers will be recommending your products or services to their peers.By making your content share-worthy your target audience will read your posts and then instantly share it with their friends and family, and most likely a lot of their peers will fit your ideal customer demographic, so you will be reaching out to more people who will like and follow you on social media.

Finding the time to create quality content

The whole point here is to create as much high-quality content as you can and publish it on your blog and across your social media accounts. Even if your content doesn't get shared much it will still count as valuable in the eyes of the major search engines.Google, Bing and other search engines value websites and blogs that contain great content. They will more likely rank you higher in search engine results for your chosen keywords when you are seen to be an active contributor with a good library of published information and someone who posts fresh content on a regular basis.This is why it is important to find a good balance of creating quality content and posting it regularly enough to make a difference.However, if you are a solo-entrepreneur or a small business where you don't have the available staff free to dedicate their time to produce great content on a regular basis, then you could look at outsourcing either your content writing or some of your everyday office tasks.If you have a flair for writing and want to produce your own content, then you can really dedicate your time into pouring your heart and soul into creating rich and vibrant content to share.If you are not very good at writing, on the other hand, it would be worth looking to hire a freelance content creator to do this work for you.Should you want to create your own content, then look at outsourcing your other office-based day to day tasks that will enable you to work undisturbed in peace and quiet to draw up your content.

Outsourcing your essential office tasks

Imagine being left in peace to work on writing your blog posts, creating an infographic or filming an informational video for your business without being disturbed by your ringing phone.You can have your business telephone calls answered in a professional manner by using our Professional Unlimited Call Handling services.Our call answering service is an affordable yet professional service designed to help a variety of clients to manage their incoming calls. With our call answering service, our PA’s answer your phone calls allowing you have peace of mind that you haven’t missed an important call as you were unavailable.Having a professional Virtual PA to answer your calls can add thousand to your business. You can impress your new and existing clients with our professional call handling service. Our team of professional PA’s will personally greet your clients and handle your call with the greatest of care.You can choose to have messages taken or important calls transferred live through to you if you need to speak to any important clients. Our service is flexible and adaptive, designed to add real value to your business. Don’t waste another call, have your calls handled expertly by trained assistants today.We also offer Complete Virtual Office services should you really want your business to be taken seriously and to project a professional image.If you would like to speak to one of our friendly team about how we can help your business to succeed then give us a call on 0207 5663939 or email us at office@capital-office.co.uk

May 1, 2019
May 5, 2021


Why Solving Problems is Good for Business

Solving problems is good for business because it helps you connect with your customer on an emotional level by giving your customer something tactile to connect.

Our human brains are designed to worry and look out for danger – our brains are very good at it too!Leading psychologists have often concluded that humans were not built to be happy, but were built to survive. This strong desire to survive is driven by us looking for potential risks and problems and working out how to overcome them, should they ever occur.It is our cognitive features that have helped us evolve so successfully. From discovering and controlling fire to inventing the wheel, we were driven to develop such things out of fear or to solve a problem.

  • Fear of starvation = hunting tools and later agriculture
  • Fear of death = medicines and medical treatments
  • Fear of threat = organisation of communities and the formation of armies

And the list goes on....Our brains are built to determine the next thing to fix or improve in our lives and this is why sales and marketing techniques aimed at solving human problems and providing solutions to issues are so effective.

Appealing to our restless minds

There are not many people who are in the fortunate position to be able to sit back, relax and be content with their lot. Even those millionaires who appear to have everything at their feet still worry about how they are going to keep their wealth protected and their lifestyles maintained and improved.Instead of our brains being content with our surroundings and how the world is making us feel right now, we will constantly focus on how we can create or fix any problems we have or worrying about what may be on the horizon.Our human brains don't sit comfortably for long wondering, “What can I enjoy today?” But, rather, “What problems can I fix today?”

Making obstacles into business opportunities

Some common human obstacles can become business opportunities if you know how to solve them, or at least provide some temporary relief for a little while.This is exactly how the holiday industry works. You have a stressed out and exhausted worker looking for a solution for their woes. You own a seaside hotel with a pool and spa where people can take a well-earned break away from their busy lives.Your hotel guests get a chance to escape the 9-5 grind and their long and tedious commute to work and back each day. Win-win all round!The skill here is to keep your hotel guest coming back for more. You can do this by keeping in regular contact with them and providing them with exciting news updates and beautiful photographs of your spectacular sea-views, comfortable hotel rooms or tempting new menu.By doing this you are connecting with your customers on an emotional level and you are reminding them that the perfect solution to their problems (overwork and exhaustion) is right here waiting for their return.

Creating a vision for your customers

Everyone is creative – even if you believe otherwise. You are creating new thoughts as you read this. You can help solve your target customer’s problems by creating a positive vision of your solution in their minds.By truly understanding your ideal customer inside out you will know what concerns or issues they will worry about. It is your job to create a vision of their perfect solution and deliver it on a plate directly to them.When you take the time to analyse your target audience and get inside their collective heads you will start to see what things feel good to their senses and things that don't.This way you can avoid switching off your target audience with the wrong message or creating the wrong image of your product or service in their mind.You need to be discerning about their discomfort. The idea and vision you want to create for your product or service is something that is positive and worthwhile. Show them that having what you are providing will enable them to better cope with whatever problems they are experiencing.

Tactile marketing techniques

Despite to huge rise in digital sales over the internet we still have a human need to touch something. This is most common with physical products such as shoes and clothes. We will have a desire to identify the most comfortable texture or the best fit.There is still a huge demand for real books that you can hold and read despite the popularity and convenience of having a digital version to download and read instantly. This is why for self-published authors it can be a good move to offer your book as a digital version on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords and other digital platforms but also offer your book through a print-on-demand service for those who prefer reading physical copies or would like to buy your book to give as a gift.

Emotional marketing with physical materials

As you want to be solving a problem with your product or service you need to connect with your customer on an emotional level. Giving your customer something tactile to connect with can often outstrip digital marketing efforts for gaining sales.A recent study conducted by Millward Brown for Royal Mail found that “this research strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than the virtual.”Offering your prospective customers a gift or free sample will act to leave a much deeper impression on the brain. This causes your product or service to be better remembered and a positive physical experience will help to build trust in your brand and a stronger desire and motivation to buy from you.

Tactile marketing can be along the lines of these examples:

  • Offering free samples of your cookies if you own a bakery shop or market stall
  • A free 5-minute hand massage if you are promoting your beauty salon at a local community event
  • Hosting a free cheese and wine taster evening if you own a deli or restaurant
  • A free sauna or workout session at your gym

Solving problems of your own

While the main focus of your business activities should be towards finding solutions to your customer’s problems, don't forget that there are also great solutions to help you solve your own business problems and issues too!One of the biggest issues a sole trader, solo entrepreneur or small business owner faces is the lack of available time to dedicate to developing their business and making it run more efficiently.As a business owner, you will have problems of your own to solve. So why not consider freeing up more of your time and giving yourself a break by using any of the following tips:

1: Cut down on your time reading and responding to email

Did you know that nearly one-third of an average working day involves dealing with your inbox? Set yourself a rule to only read and respond to emails twice per day. You can set yourself a time limit of half an hour in the morning and the same in the afternoon, for example at 10 am and 3.30 pm.Don't look at your email at other times and only respond to those that you need to. Email can eat up a huge chunk of your day and sending more emails out will only act to increase what comes in.

2: Use productivity apps

There are many free business apps that have been created to help you to better organise your day. Google Calendar, for example, can help to remind you of appointments and important events.Look at using a free Pomodoro timer to help with your concentration and to give you regular short breaks throughout the day to refresh and re-energise your mind.

3: Build an email list

Capture the contact details of your website visitors and build an email list for a low-cost solution to engage with your customers and interested prospect. MailChimp is great for organising your mailing lists and handy for running split-marketing campaigns.

4: Manage your Social Media

We have all fallen into that trap of opening Facebook and then boom! Half the day has gone. Try to curb the time you spend on social media by using a management tool such as HootSuite or outsourcing its management to an outside expert.

5: Outsource your admin tasks

As mentioned above with handing over the management of your social media to an outside expert, you should also look at freeing up your time from other business admin tasks that are just as time-consuming.While essential tasks for the success of your business, admin task are a big time-drain and they are unproductive in the sense that they don't generate any money for your business. Yes, they are necessary, but your time would be better spent focused on other aspects of your business, such as your customer research and marketing plans.Look at freeing up your precious time with services such as those offered by Capital Office London:

  • Call Answering: Impress clients with a London telephone number and a team of professional PAs who will personally greet your client and handle your business calls.
  • Virtual Office: Our complete virtual office combines our prestigious London virtual address with our leading professional call answering service. Our virtual office is designed to help you convey a professional image whilst ensuring you maximise your productivity.

6: Organise your to-do list

Obey the 2-minute rule where if you have a task will take less than two minutes to complete, do it right away. Getting these little tasks done and crossed off your list will make your to-do list look far less intimidating and you will be encouraged to power through the rest of your tasks with greater energy.


In summary, look at the many ways your product or service can help to solve a particular customer problem. Identify your target audience and work out their likes and dislikes and find where they hang out so you can better reach them with your solution.Don't forget to solve your own problems along the way by making good use of the tools and services that are available to you, from free apps to outsourcing time-draining tasks.With all this extra time you can save yourself, you can better focus your efforts to define your business goals and also give yourself a well-deserved break once in a while.

March 20, 2019
May 5, 2021


Why Start-Up Businesses Need to Establish Good Cash Flow

What makes or breaks new start-up businesses, regardless of size or how many people are involved, is their ability to generate and maintain a stable cash flow.

According to figures collected by the Federation of Small Business, there were 5.6 million small businesses at the start of 2018 in the UK. Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector start-up businesses at the start of 2018 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).There were 1.4 million employing businesses and 4.3 million non-employing businesses. Therefore, 75% of businesses did not employ anyone aside from the owner(s).What makes or breaks a new start-up business, regardless of size or how many people are involved, is their ability to generate and maintain a stable cash flow. One of the main reasons why a small business will fail in its first couple of years of operation is through having a poor cash flow where a good balance of money is flowing into your business at a greater level than what flows out in overheads, such as for staff wages, supplies, business expenses, rent and utility charges etc.

Why your invoicing schedule is important

Believe it or not, there are lots of small business owners that don't actually invoice their clients each week – or even each month!A lot of small business owners are sole traders or solo-entrepreneurs that operate a 'single-person' business where the responsibility of invoicing falls onto the shoulders of the sole owner, as well as every other business-related and administrative task, needed to run their company.The lack of available time to keep up with a regular customer invoicing system is one reason why a small business owner can fail to maintain good cash flow. When you are the person that is doing all of the work, then your financial and administrative tasks will take a back seat should an urgent order come in from a customer that needs your attention.In some cases, business owners are not invoicing until three or four months later after they have completed their work or delivered on the customer order. This can be a fatal mistake to make when trying to run a business.

Invoice management

To establish and maintain a healthy cash flow for your business you need to be invoicing promptly while offering reasonable payment deadlines. You then need to ensure that you chase up any outstanding invoices as quickly as possible once their payment deadline has lapsed.Admittedly, this can be a mammoth task to perform and manage for a single-person business, especially when you cannot afford to turn down work or new customers coming in to be able to fit in managing your invoices.

Tips on invoicing your customers

There are a number of ways to try to keep your cash flow steady when it comes to invoicing your clients or customers. Sending prompt invoices is a good start, so send them immediately as soon as you have dispatched a customer order or completed a job of work that you have been hired to perform.Depending on the nature of your work, you could look at ways to secure payment upfront, or at least a deposit or part-payment. Doing this will mean that you will have some cash reserves to purchase the stock or materials you need to start.For example, if you offer a service that may take some weeks to complete, you can ask for an upfront deposit to retain your services. Halfway through your contract, you could seek a further part-payment that will see you comfortably through to the completion of your project.

Offer monthly payment plan options

Again, depending on the nature of your business, you could look at the possibility of setting up a monthly or even quarterly payment plan for your services, or for a regular supply of stock or product that you sell all-year-round.There can be some comfort in knowing that there will be some regular payments flowing into your businesses coming from a monthly or quarterly payment plan that your customers have signed up for in advance.Payment plans or business subscriptions are also a great way for other small business owners to buy your products or services in small, regular payments without it drastically affecting their own cash flow or completely draining their cash reserves.

Discounted prices for annual purchases

Taking the time to sit and invoice each and every customer you have on your books each week or month can be a tiresome task. If your business attracts customers that will be repeat buyers or needs a consistent supply of goods and services throughout the year, rather than invoicing them each month, it may be more viable to offer them a tempting upfront offer instead!Offering larger companies that have a healthy cash flow system an annual payment option, with a tempting price reduction or discounted rate, can be more advantageous than individual monthly invoicing.The company will be tempted in by a reduced price when compared to the monthly price for your services, plus you will get an up-front cash injection that could provide a very good boost to your business cash reserves.Plus the fact that having annually renewing customers means that you will only have to invoice once per year per client! That is better than trying to find the time to invoice each customer twelve times per year.

How to avoid bad debts

The only way your business can avoid bad debts is to keep a positive cash flow. Having a negative cash flow can do serious harm to your business, especially in situations where you will struggle to pay for essential supplies that you need for your business to operate.If you fail to pay the suppliers that you rely on, as well as a failure to pay your utility bills that are essential for your business to function, you will see your business crumble in the long run.

Let's look at some ways to improve your business cash flow and to avoid bad debts:

  • Prompt invoicing
  • Taking upfront deposits
  • Taking payment part way through your work
  • Chasing up outstanding invoices quickly
  • Adding a late-payment interest charge to outstanding invoices
  • Offering monthly, quarterly or annual payment plans
  • Setting up different payment options: PayPal, card payments, bank transfers

Other ways to improve your business cash flow

To make sure that you can dip into some emergency cash during times of need, you can talk to your bank about setting up flexible overdraft options.You could also look at freeing up your time to dedicate towards better management of your invoicing system:

  • You can simplify your invoicing by using online accounting tools such as QuickBooks for example. They offer online bookkeeping and accounting services for small business owners and the self-employed.
  • Free yourself from your most time-consuming administrative tasks such as answering your business phone and sorting out your business post by outsourcing these tasks to Capital Office London. You can choose from a Complete Virtual Office service to individual virtual services such as Unlimited Call Answering or mail forwarding options at very cost-effective prices to help free up your time.

Remember, this is your own business – your pride and joy! You have worked hard to build this from the ground up, so don’t be negligent when it comes to managing your business cash flow.

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