Thursday, October 30, 2014

title pic Don’t be Blindsided: The Business Guide to Buying Blinds

Posted by Joanne Dewberry on October 21, 2014

When someone meets you for the first time, it takes around three seconds for them to determine whether they like you and, in business situations, whether they want to work with you in the future. In business, as in social situations, making a good first impression is crucial, and it’s not only yourself that must make that first great impact, your business needs to follow suit.

Aside from representing your core values, your business premises also needs to be clean, tidy and presentable, from your furniture to your design choices, you need to create a professional, efficient and creative environment.

Office Blind

This post, written by the experts at Swanmac Blinds, will talk you through the most suitable blinds for your business:

Offices and Meeting Rooms
Offices need to be bright and airy places, with big windows offering plenty of natural light to combat the artificial light coming from computer displays and interior lights, however you’ll also need to be able to block the brightness out on occasion.

Early morning sun can be a real problem, creating glare on screens and shining in people’s faces. The staple corporate blind is the vertical blind; offering a clean look, they can be pulled right back so they don’t obstruct the windows. Another option is the venetian blind, these will completely stop sun from sneaking through which is essential in meeting rooms and large offices where wall displays and projectors are used during presentations, training, client meetings and so on.

Schools and Nurseries
Many schools now come equipped with electronic white boards and projection walls, so again, it’s important you can keep the glare of the sun away when necessary. Vertical blinds are commonplace in schools and nurseries however you don’t have the option to completely lift them out of reach of small children. Roller blinds allow you to pull the blinds up as far as you like – and high enough so that they’re not in reach of small hands! In schools and nurseries in particular anti-ligature blinds are crucial to ensure maximum health and safety levels.

Hotels and B&Bs
Great design and stylish furniture is a must in the hospitality sector, but making sure your customers get a great night’s sleep is equally important – with this in mind blackout blinds could be the perfect option for your rooms. However, if you did want to add a little style you could look for venetian blinds, available in a huge range of colours and materials, you’re sure to find one that perfectly complements your interior design.

Salons and Beauty Clinics
Venetian blinds made from aluminium slats are a clear winner in both salons and beauty clinics. With a large amount of products being used inside the rooms, combined with a lot of loose hair, you need a blind that is easy to clean. Venetian blinds can simply be dusted and wiped clean unlike fabric blinds that could stain or start to look dull after a period of time. Another benefit of venetian blinds is they provide a degree of privacy for your customers while they’re in the treatment rooms as well as allowing you to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Cafés and Coffee shops
Roller blinds, custom designed sporting your logo or your brands colours are the perfect choice for coffee shops. Not only do the look great, you can also lower them slightly in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun is low without blocking out all the light and putting off potential customers. Exterior blinds are also something to consider; stylish awnings that can be rolled out to cover the front of your shop can provide much needed shade or just offer a little protection for your outdoor seating areas.

When finding the ideal blinds for your property, whatever your business may entail, the most important thing to remember is that you need to combine practicality with panache; your blinds need to provide a purpose as well as harmoniously fitting in with the current style of your business.

This guest post complies with my Disclosure Policy.

title pic Crowdfunding Hints and Tips

Posted by Joanne Dewberry on October 20, 2014

Crowdfunding seems to be increasing in popularity and more and more businesses are using this route to source much needed funds to start up or grow their small business.

What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding enables businesses and projects to raise money by inviting people to pledge or invest small amounts, usually online. Using a crowdfunding website a business can invite/advertise to potential investors who then choose whether to pledge money, how much, and the return (if any) they expect.  All this is done without the use of traditional banks.

Local Bournemouth based small business el RHEY have just completed a crowdfunding campaign so I asked them a few key questions.

crowdfunding

Why did you decide to use crowdfunding?
ColourMe Wellies have been in development for over two years. From initial concept in 2012 el RHEY have been on a journey of challenges. After hundreds designs and prototypes from across the world, we finally have a product we are proud of and one we want to share with little artists everywhere.

We have now reached the point of ordering our stock however we need your help. Our in-house capabilities may include cutting edge fashion design but they do not include web development. We are raising funds to improve our website and develop an e-commerce platform that will allow our customer base and brand to grow.

Our target is to raise £5000 to professionally develop an e-commerce shop that matches the innovation of our children’s fashion line. Should we exceed this target the additional funds will be invested in future product development and expanding the el RHEY line.

What research did you do in terms of crowdfunding?
We analysed several different campaigns on crowdfunding platforms that had been successful in raising the funding they had requested. Many aspect was researched, from copy, approach, type of rewards, multimedia content in order to determine what attracted, convinced and above all, made pledgers believe in the project.

Apart from that, we also researched on blogs, online crowdfunding communities to look at what approaches worked for other and which ones did not.

What are the pros?
Firstly, we had lots of fun planning and developing our campaign. We also managed to develop some great content, copy, video and overall, the crowdfunding campaign generated some amazing PR and brand awareness!

I think this is a key point here that crowdfunded projects get a lot of attention via social media which helps to develop brand awareness and gather a customer following.  Customers also like businesses they can feel part of and have a relationship with – crowdfunding makes this possible.

What are the cons?
Since we didnt reach our target funding, our pledgers are going to have to wait slightly longer for their reward (Only very slightly though) Since we only gave our campaign 2 weeks, the time constraint played a big role in ColourMe Wellies not reaching the funding target. We also now have to find alternative funding routes for launching our e-commerce platform!

Overall, even though we didnt reach our target funding, we have received some very valuable feedback, brand recognition, PR and interest in our ColourMe Wellies! Am amazing experience all together! 

Using crowdfunding sites can also mean that you put an idea out into the open that ultimately you can’t afford to fund – which can open your business up to copy cats.  You also hold yourself accountable to actually taking action!

For further information PremierLine Direct have helped produce a guide for SME’s – Everything SME’s need to know about crowdfunding. If you are considering using this form of funding for your small business then it is definitely worth a read.

This post complies with my Disclosure Policy.