Your offline business needs a website for these five reasons

The internet has become progressively integrated with our daily lives over the last 25 years, with the development of affordable smartphones and increasingly positive mobile browsing experiences ensuring the number of internet users is only going to increase.

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Over 30 per cent of all small- and medium-sized businesses are operating without a website, with around one in five doing so deliberately because they simply are not familiar with the plethora of opportunities the digital sphere provides. This is a great way to share your image, your ethos and spread the word about what you do. To get expert advice on just how important your image is contact a Gloucestershire Branding Agency such as Really Helpful Marketing and they will be able to give you expert advice.

It is not complicated

Registering a domain and launching a basic website can take as little as a few days. If you want to invest in something a little more complex, you could still be live and beginning to see the benefits of having your own site within just a few months.

It does not have to cost the earth

You can secure a domain for as little as a few pounds a year. Although web design is likely to be your largest investment, working with an agency with a comprehensive skillset, will always provide solid value for money.

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In addition to securing a professional digital storefront and creating a positive first impression amongst your visitors, the skills and knowledge that you will benefit from by hiring an experienced team specialising in web design and development in London will be invaluable for your business.

You are always open

Constructing a central resource your potential customers can visit to locate important pieces of information, even outside normal business hours, could be the difference between them choosing you and deciding to go to with one of your closest competitors. This could include your location and reviews or testimonials from previous customers.

Measurable metrics and adaptability

Understanding your audience is imperative. Data gathered through the successful integration of a tool such as Google Analytics within your website can provide you with invaluable metrics that you can use to inform your sales strategy and other key decisions as your business grows.

Increase your reach and stay competitive

Your physical premises may be stationary; however, a website will allow you to compete on a national and even a global level. Even if you are newly-established business, a professional website and a smart digital strategy will help you to compete in a busy marketplace and with some of the world’s biggest corporations.

 

Buy-to-Let Lenders Crack Down on Landlords Suspected of Tax Avoidance

With the latest government tightening of tax rules for buy-to-let investors, it is surprising that there are still people willing to put their money into real estate. In the tax year 2019/20, mortgage interest payments relief against rental income had been reduced to 25%. Come 2020/21, that relief disappears and will be replaced by a 20% tax credit which may adversely affect profits of many landlords.

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The Bug-Bear for Mortgage Lenders

There’s general talk in the industry of mortgage lenders declining loans to landlords who could be breaking HMRC’s anti-avoidance rules. The problem starts when a landlord decides that to make the most of his investment he should transfer ownership of his buy-to-let into a limited company. The advantage of rental income earned by a company is immediate. All mortgage interest, repairs, and maintenance, managing agent fees and outlay for property inventory software are tax deductible in one form or another. However, mortgage lenders, despite charging higher fees and interest rates on buy-to-let mortgages, regard these beneficial interest mortgages with alarm – basically because most prefer dealing with individuals who they can see rather than a company with shareholders who have the advantage of hiding behind the corporate veil.

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Negotiating the Mechanics of a Transfer

This is a minefield and not for the faint-hearted. Professional tax/legal advisers must be consulted. We’re talking here of possible Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Corporation Tax, Income Tax, and even National Insurance if you make yourself an employee. At first, glance, applying for and obtaining a Capital Gains Tax rollover relief when transferring the property into a company would be the ideal. However, get it wrong and you might end up fighting your case in court.

Business Tools to Manage Your Portfolio

As with any well-run business, investing in property investment software is vital to keep track of everything you own. If you think this is a step too far for you, consider which businesses would use property inventory software and the benefits thereof. Tenants, lease records, contracts, communication history, repairs and maintenance requests, late-payment records, inventories with photos and on-site property inspection records can all be updated and accessed at the click of a button.

At the end of the day, the decision to incorporate is all down to careful tax planning – not tax avoidance.

Is your business equipped for out-of-hours telecoms?

To be competitive in the current market, businesses need to be at the forefront where technology is concerned. VoIP has numerous benefits, but it can also support your out-of-hours needs to keep your business productive and running seamlessly.

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The need for out-of-hours contact

Consumer need is evolving, and expectations are growing higher. The users of services and buyers of products expect they can interface with businesses anywhere, any time. Companies have to be able to respond flexibly and give consumers consistent support.

With ISDN and PTSN are being phased out as BT aims to switch their network off by 2025, businesses will have to find an IP alternative. It’s estimated that those using VoIP will reach 204.8 billion by 2020, and the benefits of such digital technology, including its use for out-of-hours support, makes it a popular choice for successful businesses.

How VoIP makes it possible

With VoIP systems, the staff is able to work more flexible, allowing them to access the system and work from any location at any time.

Enabling out-of-hours telecoms doesn’t need to come with a huge expense, either. VoIP is more cost-effective both in terms of initial set-up and maintenance, and when it comes to local and international call costs. Choose a reliable wholesale VoIP termination provider, like https://www.idtexpress.com/, to ensure you get full support and the best quality communications.

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VoIP systems have a range of versatile features, many of which can help when it comes to out-of-hours communications. You can set up out-of-hours routing for times when the business is closed, whether that’s regular weekends or ad-hoc closures for public holidays. This can allow you to set up greetings to advise customers of your regular opening times, or set up a voice mailbox to take messages; you can give a professional edge to the service with pre-recorded greetings, or add a personal touch with custom audio. Alternatively, there are instant messages or chatbot services to provide support to consumers, or calls can be diverted to groups, mobiles or extensions to allow staff to pick up from another location.

Setting up an out-of-hours schedule is straightforward with VoIP, and the aforementioned options can ensure that the business runs smoothly, customers feel informed and valued, and no important communications are lost.

How to Lay Out Your Shop Floor in Easy Steps

Carefully considering your store layout can increase revenue by boosting efficiency, organization and strategically directing your customers towards higher-priority products.

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These seven tips will help you to create a shop floor to increase sales and enhance customers’ experience.

1. Choose a Floor Plan

Most retail stores use one of three store layouts: a grid layout (commonly used by grocery stores); a loop layout, which maximizes wall space and leads customers along a path; and free-flow plans, which are often seen in upscale stores. Choice of layout can depend on the shape and size of your store, the products you sell and your target customers.

2. Create a Blueprint

Before implementing your store layout, creating a blueprint allows you to get a clearer picture and identify potential problems. You may be able to work from an existing blueprint or draw your own schematic using grid paper or online tool. Sketching out different floor plans will help you establish what works best for your space.

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3. Consider Traffic Flow

It is important to keep traffic flow in mind when arranging your store’s aisles, paths, and displays. Having a ‘decompression zone’ is important in creating a transition space for customers entering the store, whilst personal space is also essential to avoid crowding.

4. Choosing a Checkout Area

According to DeAnna Radaj, an expert in retail feng shui, the front left is a good position for the checkout, due to customers usually turning right when entering stores before completing a loop. Therefore, the front left is on customers’ natural exit path.

5. Product Mapping

Product mapping refers to the process of deciding where to feature all of your products. It is important to ensure the most suitable fixtures are chosen, whilst flexibility in display areas is crucial for accommodating seasonal products.

6. Accessories and Amenities

Adding the finishing touches to your store is essential for creating an enjoyable customer experience, such as seating areas and dressing rooms. Retail signage is also a decorative and practical addition, such as retail signage from Mood Media, which includes digital retail signage and promotion boards.

7. Fixtures and Displays

After choosing your store layout and product mapping, it is important to consider your permanent fixtures, such as lighting, shelving, and counters, as well as movable displays, including gondolas, modular units and clothing racks.