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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly community roundup.
In UKBF Stories this week, smallclaimsassistance outlined the new Pre-Action Protocol for business debt and UKBF editor Chris looked at HMRC's revised plans for Making Tax Digital. On the forums, marketing debates dominated, from the rise of video to the value of product placements.
Here are my top picks for this week:
Mattr888, Sales, Marketing & PR
Looking at marketing options for his new smoothie business, mattr888 is considering venturing down the product placement route within blogs and vlogs.
fisicx: Your marketing needs to be properly tailored to the product. If I can only buy it in your local farmers market, then promoting on a blog may be pointless.
Nochexman: Like any product, maybe the first thing to do is to work out why anyone might buy your drink or smoothie, rather than the zillions of other drinks or smoothies that already exist in the market and take it from there. Seeing it in a vlog or a blog might be a factor, but there are probably more likely reasons for them to choose it.
David White: Get your product out on the streets and get some feedback before investing time and money into advertising it. You need to get some brutally honest feedback and find out what your best sellers are.
JpeeL, General Business
After working in his dad’s restaurant for a number of years, JpeeL’s been thrown in at the deep end since his dad was taken ill. His dad has “stubbornly run the restaurant his own way” since the eighties, and now JpeeL’s been placed in charge.
The restaurant, JpeeL says, is very dated and the menu and décor desperately need a revamp: “Is it just trial and error, or can anyone recommend some fool proof options to start out with?”
Lpbusiness: Visit similar restaurants locally – or go further afield if needs be – and see what they stock. Honestly, your best bet is to carry out some market research. Why don't you ask your customers for some feedback too? See what they would like to see on the menu or what they enjoy.
Newchodge: If it is still getting regulars, they need to be your first port of call. Ask what they would like to see changed. It is pointless developing a new menu and drinks list if the result is that your regulars all leave and you attract 5 new clients!
Mark T Jones: So, you have a mammoth task ahead of you. From experience, the first thing you need to do is speak with your Father and be sure that he will 100% back the changes you intend to make. Not to be alarmist, but in a family business this is essential.
Handmade Sneakers, General Business
Handmade Sneakers started a business with a friend to design and produce – wait for it – handmade sneakers. They believe their online shop works well and that their product is high quality, but they’re struggling to attract customers. Their Facebook ads aren’t drawing any results and visitors to their site aren’t converting.
“Should I be patient and slowly build my brand name,” Handmade Sneakers asks, “or should I use a giveaway style competition to draw in customers?”
Mark_Taylor_: The Norwegian Top level domain won't help international ranking. Also, you need to use SEO friendly urls like /mens/shoes, rather than the structure you use now, which is index.php ?id_category=15&controller=category&id_lang=1.
Mcmm: Your .com has no content, just a simple redirect and that is why you have no ranking there. If you are looking to trade internationally then I would switch things around and have your content on the .com, or at the very least a direct up-to-date duplicate of .no with relevant SEO.
Nick Grogan: Who are your customers? Why would they buy your trainers? Where would they buy your trainers? How often would they buy your trainers? Would they recommend your trainers? You need to know this before you can do any marketing, and a website isn't the answer to any of the above.
hazmog, Employment & HR
hazmog keeps a record of good and bad behaviour from employees, saying he finds it insightful and useful to have on record. However, he’s now wondering what the process would be for an employee who’s been particularly disruptive.
“I’ve reprimanded them verbally,” hazmog says, “but do I need to email them a copy so it’s officially recorded? I’ll need to justify ceasing their employment should things not improve.”
Newchodge: I would leave it for now. There is no way you can move from an informal discussion to a dismissal, so if things continue to go wrong there will be opportunities to document each stage.
Mcmm: There are also Data Protection Issues here. Do your employees know you have a (detailed) record of their behaviour? Do you have the relevant polices in place, documented and read by employees to protect you and them from abuse?There was a Data Protection case with a builder keeping a log of tradesmen and noting down personal impressions – derogatory or otherwise – of them and using this information for the basis of hiring in the future. As you can imagine, it did not end well.
Susanhiggscreative: Legally, if you want to fire someone you have to go through the correct procedures or they can sue you. This involves official warnings that are documented and witnessed.
Ashley_Price, Time Out
A thought-provoking topic to end on this week – how do you program morality? The responses have been fascinating, so have a read and get involved here.
Have a great weekend everyone!