Category Archives: Blog

How you can lose business from your website

By Darren Langley

It seems like anyone can be a web designer these days.

With the advent of WordPress and other easy to use Content Management Systems, it can be straightforward to pick a template, read through a few tutorials and then set up a basic site.

That’s fine if you are creating a blog or a personal website. It’s great that websites are so easy to set up now without having to go through lines and lines of code.

However, if you are setting up a business website and one that you want to make money from then you need an expert to help.

Not having a website costs you money

It is important to have a specialist build and design your business site. Going the other way and not having a website at all can be as bad if not worse than having a poorly made website.

94% of people search for local businesses online.

Simply having social media profiles isn’t enough even for a small businesses. Having your own site, domain, email and Google My Business listing adds credibility to your venture. Businesses without a website (even if it is just for information purposes rather than selling anything online) do worse than those that have one.

Web design is a complex field

So, why do you need an experienced web designer to create your business site?

Web design isn’t easy. Even after you take into account building a custom site from scratch it needs to be tailored to you.

WordPress templates and other site builders can be very constricting in that they have predefined layouts with images and text in specific places. Even using friends or people you know won’t give you a truly customer designed site that is specifically personalised to what your business needs.

SEO requires expert knowledge

Search Engine Optimisation is still highly relevant. Even though many businesses are focusing on social media, SEO provides a long term marketing strategy.

By using an expert web design service, your site will be optimised and ready to be found online.

A website that doesn’t employ good and effective SEO practices will be lost in the sea of other websites that haven’t implemented SEO either. By hiring a web designer to not only build your website but also integrate SEO then it will not only look good, work effectively but people will actually find your business online too.

How you can lose business from your website

Investing in your business website can be the different between success and failure.

Too many small businesses and freelancers neglect their site. They try to have it built on the cheap, get a friend with some web design skills to do it or don’t have a website at all.

Using an experienced web designer not only means having a website that is customised to your needs but it’ll also incorporate good SEO practices too.

A bad website will lose business but a good website will do wonders for online sales and ultimately growth.


About Darren Langley
Darren is the founder and creative director of Darren Langley Web Design – the best web design Birmingham has to offer according to recent polls in The Drum Magazine. Darren has over 20 years’ experience working for the likes of Sky TV before starting his own web design consultancy in 2008, with clients including The Ritz London.

 

Be more Kate

From humble beginnings

Kate is an ambitious small business owner based in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. She started her business 4 years ago (2014) having previously worked in design agencies. As a mum of two young girls with many pressures on her time and resources she started her own design business from humble beginnings (in the back bedroom!) accompanied with similar modest thoughts around how she would develop the business.

Kate embarked on business networking and soon found small business design contracts coming her way, feeding her desires for even more ambitious and exciting projects. With Kate’s expertise being fully immersed within creativity and design and minimal knowledge (at that time) about business development and how to attract bigger clients, Kate felt it time to work with a Business Coach to help to move her business forward:

“I wanted to map out all my business processes for my customer journey, create a series of packages to fulfil my ideal customers needs and resources to improve the processes and outcomes within my business and have much more confidence around what I can deliver and to whom…” Kate, The Curry Design Studio

Get serious about your business – invest in yourself.

It was important for Kate to recognise her strengths; all the stuff she was great at, rather than the business development activities she still needed to master. After all it was her design and creativity that her clients were buying in to. Once we focused in on her values (her rules for why and how she delivered to her clients) putting together her packages for the services she would sell was more simple.

The more Kate understood what she was delivering and the clearer she was on who she was delivering the packages to…the easier it was to sell them and the more her confidence grew. Which meant the better her designs were received by her new target market. It was a big, beautiful circle of confidence, self-belief and reward for all parties involved.

Kate was developing a truly successful small business.

Fast forward 12 months (yes, only, 12 months!) and Kate has moved out of her back bedroom and is now in shared office space with a fellow small business owner in a similar creative field and they have now just hired their first team member – a 1st degree graduate about to embark on working alongside Kate to deliver imaginative and innovative design.


Inspired by Kate’s story?

Feel like 2019 is YOUR year?

Invest in yourself, you are worth it.

You can join Clare on Tuesday 22nd January for a free Business Booster Online Session.

Tired of not being taken seriously?

This year we celebrated 100 years since suffrage. Since women were granted the right to vote. This wasn’t all women. After 50 years of campaigning, in 1918 it was granted to 8.4 million, women over 30 – if they were married, occupiers of property… (At this point men were granted universal suffrage).

A landmark nonetheless.

We have come such a long way since 1918. We still have a way to go, the world still needs to catch up in many ways.

For now, let’s talk business… Creating the right space for women to grow their business.

Overall it’s a fact that men are twice more likely to be in business as women. However, according a recent survey by Aston University:

‘…comparing 2003-6 and 2013-16, the number of women set up their own business rose by 45 per cent, compared to just 27 per cent among men.’

We are on our way! And great news for the West Midlands we are the region closest to gender parity, with 74 new female entrepreneurs for every 100 male ones.

Talking on Radio WM (listen to the interview here) being asked some excellent questions around women in business by fellow business owner, Vital on The Source. Vital asked are we playing on a level playing field?

Unfortunately, there are STILL women who run their own small business who are being held back by their other halves. Partners who are not taking them seriously, who see them as ‘playing’ at being self-employed.

Many women start up in business after having children, lured by the flexibility. In many households women are still the main carers for their shared children; responsible for the school pick ups and drop offs, if the child is off sick – generally bearing the load of the day to day caring of children and the household, thus many women are being held back from the outset in truly growing their confidence, self-belief that they can run a successful and thriving business. Uncomfortable reading, I know, but it happens.

The early days of getting a small business off the ground, can mean early morning or evening networking meetings, showing up consistently and constantly and a high level of commitment and focus – all of which can be greatly hindered by the constant juggling of not one, but 3 jobs. Mother, Wife, Business Owner…

Many women in small business could be achieving bigger and better results for themselves and their business sooner if their counterparts took their shared responsibility more seriously. Many husbands are using the fact they earn more money as a reason to not fulfilling their share in household chores.

Are there any brave men reading this? Would it help our case if I told you couples where the man does his fair share of the housework are likely to have a better bedroom life!? These are not my facts…

So, come on girls stand your ground and speak-up, ask for support. And, boys – step up – it’s your family too and you may end up being able to retire early!


Clare Whalley celebrated 10 years in business in 2017. A great milestone to achieve. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

Clare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business book in for a free one hour business strategy session

Friday Tip – When Overwhelm Kicks In

#Fridaytip

As December knocks on the door you may find feelings of overwhelm and stress kick in.

Rationally you know it’s all going to get done, and like all others I things in life and business the to do list is always there.

Time to take charge of the situation.

Here’s a simple strategy to keep us all sane 🙂

Clare

Friday Tip – Time to get vulnerable

#Fridaytip

Time to get vulnerable! How do you manage your confidence? As ambitious business owners we (and I!) are always stepping outside of our comfort zones; doing things we’ve never done before, working with people, businesses and industries we’ve never worked with and generally putting ourselves in positions where we don’t know the outcome.

This can bring on an irrational mindset, imposter syndrome and so on. Want to combat this inner turmoil and negativity? Like all good habits it takes practice, but take a look closely at what happens to my face during this video…

Clare

Friday Tip – Emotions and Feelings

#Fridaytip

Emotions and feelings – for whatever reason can be absent from many businesses and their messages. We buy based on trust, which comes from gut instinct; where our feelings and emotions lie. If you’re not already, time to get back in touch with how you make your ideal clients feel.

Here’s how… Clare

Dear Business Coaching Cynic…

…You don’t know what you don’t know…

‘The unknown unknown as opposed to the known knowns are the most difficult category to fathom.’ Donald Rumsfield

To comprehend that something may help you achieve, feel or do for you if you’ve never experienced it before will create the tendency to  shut it out completely. I get it. Confession, I felt like this about my business coach before I started working with her many years ago.

We all know humans are creatures of habit. On the whole we are risk averse. We want to know,  “what difference will doing this have on my life?” before we will even venture into finding out a little more. To buy completely into something that we’ve not done before (that has no previous results or yard stick to go by) means we either hover in procrastination or remain firmly in the it-won’t-work-for-me camp…

I’ve experienced business coaching but it didn’t work for me…

Business Coaching, like Business Coaches, comes in all shapes and sizes. For you to achieve the best results coaching should be clearly aligned with your desired world as a small business owner. It should have a plan of action, clear outcomes and objectives and be always working with you towards making your personal and professional life easier and more fun, doing the things you love.

Even with an initial chat you should feel like a weight has been lifted and that the results you are seeking are not too far away.

I can’t achieve any more in my business

“I can’t earn any more money.” “I’m only able to work a certain amount of hours in a day, week, month…”, is a common misconception and one that negatively impacts on the running of small businesses, keeping the owner feeling restricted, overworked, underpaid and stressed and often delivering a service that is starting to feel unfulfilling.

Encouraging more innovation and openness to new ideas and arriving at the best solutions more easily is a skill a good business coach will enable you to do quite quickly. There are always answers to every challenge and these are more accessible through talking, with the right guidance and having the luxury of space and time to think more clearly.

What do they know that I don’t!?

In agree with this one completely, after all anyone can set up as a Business Coach – there are no credentials, qualifications, success record or industry memberships required. Hopefully this will change in time.

For now, do your due diligence. Follow a few business coaches on social media, book in and have a strategy session or consultation, whichever is offered for free and look around their About Me and LinkedIn pages to understand their experience, successes and qualifications in the industry. Speak with people they have worked with in the past and present. Ultimately like anything that holds risk the best judge is your gut instinct – dig in and trust it.

With best wishes for a more positive and in control you,


Clare Whalley celebrated 10 years in business in 2017. A great milestone to achieve. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

Clare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business book in for a free one hour business strategy session

Friday Tip – Start Recording

#FridayTip

Ready to do something a little bit different in marketing your business? Follow what you’re interested in, you’re passionate about and the results will come to you.

Here’s how to make a start / take a first step in that new marketing avenue…

Have a great weekend,

Clare

Friday Tip – Selling the Feeling

#FridayTip

If you’re in business it’s likely you sell your product or service, right? Why wouldn’t you after all!? Here’s why. Try using this technique instead, a lot more powerful. I’ve been playing about with this in my head, on paper, this week and the words you use can be interchangeable 🙂

Happy weekend,

Clare

Why you need a branding specialist

My business doesn’t need a rebrand!

Often, businesses can get in a rut with this mentality. Your business may appear to be ticking along OK, without having to invest much time and money in developing your company’s image. But for how long? And what opportunities could you be missing, while your brand stagnates?

In today’s busy world, just being a great business delivering a great service is not enough. Relying on your reputation alone to generate sales will eventually become a problem, particularly if your competitors are getting ahead of the game and investing in their own brands.

Keeping your finger on the pulse with your customers, staff and suppliers, their needs and wants, and ensuring your company has the right image to reflect this, is essential in maintaining your business growth and building those relationships.

The worst outcome would be that your brand is actually working AGAINST you – putting out mixed messages can really turn potential customers off. After all, if your brand messaging is unprofessional and incoherent, someone who doesn’t know you would assume that your business is too.

A good analogy here is to think of a successful pop band. Their image is carefully crafted with their target audience in mind, from the way they dress, the way they behave, their logo and artwork for their album covers and merchandise. Image is everything, and it all has to work together to represent their core product – their music. The bands who get it right are the ones headed for stardom.

I can just do it myself, can’t I?

To an extent – but are you putting the right message out there? Are you crafting your marketing material to truly reflect your company, and how you do business? Do you understand who you are selling to, and how to create a visual identity that can really hook the right people in?

This is the time to get a branding specialist involved in your business, who can help you find the answers to these questions. With a good brand strategy in place, you can create an image for your business that is unique to you, but strategic in it’s approach to enabling your business to grow.

Isn’t it expensive?

It really doesn’t need to be. Larger corporations can spend millions on creating and developing their brand, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Using a small, local design agency means you can achieve your dream brand without having to break the bank. And, when you consider the potential uplift in your company profile, sales and profits as a result – you will very likely consider the investment a absolute bargain.

I’m anxious about making big changes

This is quite normal, and just human nature. Life is busy, and often business owners can feel that addressing their tired brand is another stress they just don’t need, or see the value in. The whole process may feel quite alien to you too, and therefore something to avoid. However, a company that can adapt and evolve will grow more successfully than one that doesn’t.

A good branding specialist will support your through the journey – one step at a time.  From understanding the character of your company and establishing your aspirations for it, to creating your ‘perfect customer’ avatar – you may be surprised by the things you discover about your own business. Using an experienced, creative agency ensures that the end result will be something that will make you feel proud, excited and confident – and you will wonder why you ever felt nervous.

What difference will it make?

Marketing your business with a unique, truly reflective brand will position you ahead of your competitors, even as the market leaders, it will attract the right kind of customers, change the way people perceive you, and it will effectively communicate what your business is all about. But more than that, it gives you, your staff and your customers something solid to buy into. Putting the vision for your business into a visual identity produces real, measurable results for businesses that take the plunge with their rebrand. As an essential ingredient for the success of a growing business wanting to move to the next level, the question is, can you afford not to?


Clare at Meta4 partners with Kate and Curry Design Studio to offer Utopia + ‘A Business in a Box’ which provides ambitious business owners a coaching programme that comes complete with a branding expert, a web designer and a virtual assistant, to turn your ideas into a fully functioning business. If you would like to book in for a strategy session to turn your dream of running a business into a reality book in here.

Three things you didn’t know about running a small business

Is this what it really takes?

For those considering embarking on being the proud owner of a small business. I know you’ve been thinking and dreaming about it for some time now. The prospect of being your own boss. Answering to no one, being able to come and go as you please, no more office politics and to top it all off – earning more money – the kind of money you know you deserve.

Whilst this is all completely true, only business owners truly understand what it takes to get a small business to this place of utopia. As an ex employee myself with a self-employed husband it wasn’t until I was in the same position did I understand the challenges, and then the mindset required to overcome them.

Here is the truth, look away if you wish to remain ignorant of the facts:

#1 You will not achieve your dream small business on your own.

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

Running a small business requires so many different skills; marketing, copywriting, administration, accounting, PR, sales, people development, not to mention the actual delivery of the product or service your business is seeking to share with the world. Attempting to do all of this on your own would be like trying to fly a plane with no training. You are setting yourself up to crash and burn.

Seek out the right help from the outset, you will not only be saving yourself money in lost income (the income you’re not earning as you don’t know where to start first) but gaining invaluable skills and knowledge in an otherwise enormous learning curve and your first customers.

#2 Reaching your goals will always take longer than you plan for.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

This is from someone who knows – Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the lightbulb – seemingly then, to others, a completely impossible and ludicrous task.

I’m not saying it will take you this long! But don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get there straight away.

Be as clear as you can on what it is you are attempting to achieve and be doggedly passionate about getting there. With the right people surrounding you means that when you do get there (because you will!) it will be worth every ounce of sweat it took from you – you just don’t know it yet.

#3 You WILL be able to achieve so much more than you ever thought possible.

From the outside (full time employment – desperate to get out) you may feel you can’t write a blog post – you wouldn’t know where to start… you can’t go along to networking meetings – the thought may fill you with absolute horror… you can’t records Vlogs – maybe you don’t even know what they are!

Self-employment and running your own small successful business is 100% about putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, on a regular basis. This is where having your hand held, figuratively speaking, is invaluable to your personal and business development. Invest in you and your new business – whatever that looks like to you – a business coach, a marketing coach, a PR expert. Someone who will have your back and be able to give you the right guidance for building your new, amazing future.

Clare Whalley has just published her first book  ‘Do.It.Now! A practical workbook to let your business work hard, not you!’ You can purchase it here to get you and your business on the right track.

I found the book to be so comprehensive, clear, straightforward and user friendly, it covered everything and I was excited!! I am in the early stages of starting my business but I know with the help of this book I will be able to shape my business step by step, whilst ensuring I build it on a solid foundation.  I trust this book and it’s made me believe in the process, every time I pick it up I’m motivated to do something which is quite something for someone who had procrastination down to an art form.

Kiran Thiara


Clare Whalley celebrated 10 years in business in 2017. A great milestone to achieve. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

Clare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business book in for a free one hour business strategy session

Friday Tip – Keep going

For the Greatest Showman and a Million Dreams fans the underlying message is right here for us business owners to take on board too.

We start out with big goals which can get dampened along the way.

Here to tell you to do this instead!

Have a great weekend,

Clare