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When it comes to running a successful business, finding ways to save both time and money can help you to reach your goals, and make a fantastic profit. However, when running a company itself uses so many of your resources, it can be difficult to find the opportunity to consider what changes could be made.

Here, we share some great ways to save time and money when running a business which we hope you can use to help you to hit your targets.

Save money on advertising

A lot of businesses spend a large amount of their budget on advertising, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessary. For example, instead of splashing the cash on a number of Google Ad campaigns, you could try to optimise your website for organic search instead. By creating well written, engaging, and informative content for your company’s website, you can hit the top of the search rankings without spending a penny. Plus, organic search results tend to be more appealing to consumers than paid ads anyway, so you could benefit from some really pivotal web traffic increases.

Another way to get your business in front of customers without spending is by putting yourself out there as an industry expert. By using the passion that you have for the sector that you work in, you can find publications, websites, and social channels that will happily quote you on what you have to say about what is happening in your industry. This could lead to backlinks from high-quality websites, mentions in popular publications or a place in your target market’s social media feeds.

Invest in bespoke software

Investing in bespoke software that fits your business needs is one of the best ways to save time and money. Although software that you buy straight off the shelf can be cheaper, in the long run, you’ll end up spending money on unnecessary updates and maintenance that won’t benefit you at all. Through choosing bespoke software, you can ensure that it meets all of your business requirements and makes your processes simpler. This means less paperwork and admin for you and your employees, resulting in more time to get on with your day-to-day tasks.

Another way that bespoke software can save your company money is that you only need to pay for the features that you require. If you don’t think that it’ll make you or your employees more efficient, you don’t have to include it in your package. In addition to this, the people within your business will experience higher morale due to being provided with software that helps them to do their jobs more effectively. Bespoke software is always created to be intuitive and user-friendly, so you don’t need to worry about employees wasting time trying to work out how to use it, and can simply enjoy the rewards created from a happier workforce.

Be environmentally friendly

Running an environmentally friendly business won’t only help the planet, but can save your company money too. By encouraging employees to switch off their computers at the end of the day, making sure that all printers are set to print both sides, ensuring that excess water isn’t used when cleaning or washing up, and finding any other possible way to reduce energy use, you will find that you end up spending less on both electricity bills and other resources.

You’ll also find that changing any paper-based processes within your business to electronic processes will save money on the amount of paper you’re buying, and will probably enable your workforce to complete these processes quicker too. Anything that you can do to make processes easier for employees will mean that they have more time to spend on the tasks that are making your company money. Innovative bespoke software can help you to achieve this, as all of your projects and processes can be streamlined and organised electronically. This also means that you’ll be less likely to miss or lose details as the process is carried out, which can help to avoid disputes or confusion further down the line.

These ways to save time and money when running a business are very easy to put into practice, and you’ll start seeing the benefits within no time at all. If you choose to invest in bespoke software for your company, please do contact us to discuss your requirements, we’d be happy to use our experience to help you.

Since its invention in 1886 by Colonel John Pemberton as a cure for his morphine addiction, the Coca-Cola logo has become a familiar sight globally.  Although the coca was removed in 1903, the recipe has remained unchanged all these years.  Even today, the name Coca-Cola is synonymous with its iconic glass bottle.

bottles

After nearly a century in existence, Coca-Cola created its first brand extension in 1982 with the launch of Diet Coke which was then swiftly followed by Cherry Coke and trials of Lemon and Vanilla flavours.  More recently we’ve seen the launch of Coca-Cola Zero.  What’s been consistent with each new flavour is the familiar red and white branding.

all 

But hold onto your hats because a radical change has happened.  Coca-Cola Life, sweetened with stevia rather than aspartame, has been launched in a green can; is such a major shift in iconography a risky branding move?

Coke-Life

Coke Life will be hitting UK supermarket shelves in the autumn.  What do you think of the new design?

I get to see a fair few business cards when I’m out and about.

Many are absolutely fine, some are tacky, some flashy, some are even whole little booklets (which I will probably never read). The problem I have, and I am sure I am not alone, is that when I am going through them later (sometimes a lot later) can I remember where I met this person?

Taragh's card

If I have time just after, or even when, I get given a card I do make notes on it, but I was impressed by Taragh Bissett‘s card when she gave it to me.

It actually takes into account that you want to remember these things! And as she stands there filling in the details it makes you feel that the card’s worth having – and is one you’ll keep.

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of thought.

 

 

logo-evolution-1While we were building the new website I came across our original brochure which was written in the early 1990s (I’d been prompted to do this by something said at a recent conference) and was surprised at how little had really changed. Yes the technology has moved on a bit and we are using a lot more of it, a lot more, in a lot more places. But the underlying principles haven’t changed, especially here at SMXi.

So I thought I’d add it to the website exactly as written (except phone numbers, because that would just be really confusing) and you can see it here.

Caught with your pants downBought a pair of trousers the other day – nothing strange about that. In fact they are the same trousers I have been buying for quite a few years (different colours of course). But what struck me was that the price hadn’t changed much over the years, if at all.

What has changed are little things. The number of pockets has gone from 4 to 3; the pockets have got slightly smaller year by year – this year though that stood out as I can’t quite do the button up on the back pocket once my wallet is in (and before you mention it, it hasn’t got fatter unfortunately) and I now have to take care that my phone doesn’t fall out of the front pocket.

The prices might not show inflation, but it’s there – if you get less for the money you spend, then prices have gone up. We’ve seen it in the supermarket less grams in a packet but the same price, but it is happening everywhere.

Any unexpected places you have seen this?

A desk in an office.Image via Wikipedia

2011 has been a difficult year for arts organisations. Early this year 206 organisations found out they had had their applications for funding rejected by the Arts Council.

The impact of these funding cuts will depend to some extent on the size of the arts organisation you work in. If you are a larger organisation, you may have other sources of revenue and therefore be able to withstand the worst of harsh cuts. If you are a smaller organisation or have been heavily or entirely dependent on Arts Council funding you may suddenly find yourself in the position of trying to find a viable way forward.

So now is the time the way you deal with your customers becomes incredibly important. It’s the one thing that can make the difference between your future security or disappearing off the arts scene forever. You need to explore how you currently manage your customer relationships – do you have a reliable customer relationship management system that can give you the information you need on customers and patrons at the click of a button? Do you know what marketing campaigns you are running and if they are working? Do you have good mailing lists that you can quickly target if you need to promote an event (and bring sales in)? If the answer is no then now is definitely the time to invest more in your customer relationship marketing (CRM) system.

It might seem counterintuitive to invest in a software system when you are facing funding cuts. But that’s exactly the reason you need to do it now. If there is a chance your sources of revenue are going to dry up then you need new ways to bring money into your organisation. And that money comes from customers. If you aren’t talking and marketing to them effectively then you are missing out on the chance to sell to them. A good customer relationship management tool will allow you to:

  • control communication with your customers at both an individual and campaign level
  • pull all your lists and databases together in one place
  • update information for everyone in one place
  • manage memberships, collect donations, produce targeted mail shots and email newsletter
  • take bookings and sell merchandise.

Start by looking for a CRM system that integrates with your existing website, this will give you customers a simple way to interact with you and easily make purchases. Masque is designed specifically to work with your website to provide a seamless experience from sending a letter to a customer to them purchasing their ticket.

If you’d like to know more about CRM systems for your arts organisation call Masque Arts on +44 (0)20 7100 6010 or email us for further information.

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You probably already have a website. You might quite like your website. It looks nice and you seem to get plenty of visitors. So it’s doing its job, right?

When you first had your website built did you have a clear objective, did you know what you wanted to achieve once the website was up and running? Maybe you wanted more customers to buy tickets online? Maybe you wanted more membership sign ups? Maybe you didn’t even think about it.

And if you didn’t think about it you wouldn’t be alone. Lots of organisations set up their website without any clear idea of why they are doing it and it ends up costing them money rather than doing what it should be doing, which is making them money.

Stop and think about your website.

  • What does it do for your organisation?
  • Does it make your organisation more profitable?
  • How are you measuring the success of your website?
  • Is your website vital to how profitable your organisation is?
  • Is your website effective?
  • Does it work for your target market?

Can you answer each of these questions? You should be able to and it should be easy to see whether your website is as effective as it should be. If you can’t answer these questions or it becomes clear that your website isn’t working as hard as it should then it’s time to change the status quo.

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