Get Ahead VA Blog

Celebrate Small Business Saturday

If you’re a small business owner, then you should know that there’s an important event coming up for your calendar. No, it’s not Christmas – it’s Small Business Saturday!

Every year, on the first Saturday of December, this not-for-profit campaign encourages consumers to support small businesses in their area, whether that’s by visiting independent shops or buying locally online. In 2017, £748 million was spent on Small Business Saturday, so if you want to get involved this year, here’s what you can do.

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Meet the Regional Director: Karen McCulloch

Here at Get Ahead VA, our people are everything. We’re dedicated to growing our business all over the country, so our customers can access a wide range of highly skilled professionals wherever they are. We currently have regional offices in Leeds, Reading and Bristol, and we’re pleased to announce our latest addition: Newcastle.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our new Regional Directors, Karen McCulloch, who is working alongside fellow Regional Director Allison Wood to bring Get Ahead VA to Newcastle.

Name: Karen McCulloch

Area(s) of expertise: 20 years’ experience working as an Executive Assistant at a senior level, managing multiple priorities and working across a range of tasks. Being able to work creatively and analytically, as well as maintaining confidentiality and discretion.

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Black Friday for small businesses

Black Friday – a day on which retailers offer huge discounts to their customers – has been around for decades. It originated in America in the 1920s, and by the 1980s it had become one of the most important shopping days of the year. In 2010 the phenomenon crossed the pond, and in the last few years it has well and truly made its mark in the UK. In 2017, we spent £1.4 billion* in online Black Friday sales alone.

This year, Black Friday will happen on Friday 23rd November, and it is expected to be as significant as ever. But is this an event for big retailers only, or can everybody get involved? Read on to find out whether running a Black Friday promotion is right for your small business.

Should I take part?

There are plenty of good reasons to take part in this seasonal shopping bonanza. On Black Friday, shoppers will be ready to spend and actively looking for deals, so you might find it easier than ever to draw in new customers. It’s also a great excuse to clear out surplus stock, and it means you can boost your sales before the busy Christmas period.

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Service Spotlight: Email Marketing

Get Ahead VA offers a wide range of business and marketing services. In our Service Spotlight, we take a closer look at one of these, and show you how our virtual assistants can help you and your business. This month we’re looking at email marketing.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is the use of emails to promote products and services to, or to build a relationship with, current or potential customers. Email marketing has lots of advantages over traditional direct-mail marketing: it’s cheaper, you can reach a wider audience, and you can more easily track data to help you refine you marketing efforts. Email marketing is one of the most powerful online marketing techniques out there – according to some research, every £1 spent on email marketing can provide an average return of £38.

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Prepare your business for Christmas

Christmas is one of the most important times of year for any business, and it’s especially important for SMEs because seasonal spending can provide such a valuable boost in sales. Last year, the UK spent more than £78 billion on Christmas, and this festive shopping spree starts early, with more than 50% of people planning to do most of their shopping before December.

It can pay, then, to start thinking about Christmas now. Not sure where to begin? Here are some of the key ways you can prepare your business for the most wonderful time of the year.

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Introducing LinkedIn SlideShare

LinkedIn SlideShare is “the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content” online. It has 80 million users and it has been around for a number of years, but it is still only used by 17% of B2B marketers. That’s a huge missed opportunity for businesses looking to promote themselves online.

If you’re a business owner and you want to know more about how SlideShare can help you, look no further! Let us give you the lowdown.

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Service Spotlight: Website Development

Get Ahead VA offers a wide range of business and marketing services. In our Service Spotlight we take a closer look at one of these, and show you how our virtual assistants can help you and your business. This month we’re looking at website development.

What is website development?

Website development is everything to do with creating and maintaining a website. This includes designing, building and hosting – basically, everything that makes a website look good and run well. Web development is usually divided into the ‘front end’ (e.g. design, usability), which the customers will see, and the ‘back end’ (e.g. coding, hosting), which only the website’s owners will see.

Having a good website is one of the most important elements of modern business, even if you operate your company out of a physical office or a brick-and-mortar store. Studies have shown that 88% of consumers will research a product online before making a purchase, so having a website is essential for boosting your credibility and your sales. Having an online presence is also crucial for marketing – creating a mailing list, engaging with customers on social media, and finding new customers through online search all require a strong, well-designed website to be effective.

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A Soundtrack for Work

The benefits of freelancing or running a business from home are numerous, and worthy of a blog post of their own.  However, for many freelancers and business owners, there are two key challenges that come with working alone in the same space in which they live.  The first is the loneliness and isolation that comes with working solo, and the other is making the separation between home and work when they’re both conducted under the same roof.

The sound of loneliness can be deafening

 

Loneliness

If you’re someone who thrives on spending time with others, the absence of sound other than the ticking of a clock can have you counting down the minutes until the grocery delivery arrives for a brief moment of human interaction.  Also, for me, having lived with severe tinnitus for as long as I can remember, being anywhere without background noise means all I hear is the intense ringing in my ears, so I’ll do anything to fill the void of silence.

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5 Halloween marketing ideas for your business

‘Tis the season of ghosts, ghouls and all things ghastly. That’s right, Halloween is just around the corner (31st October) and many of us are already getting ready for the spooky celebrations.

No wonder, then, that Halloween is big business in the UK. In 2016, consumers spent around £310 million on Halloween goodies: mainly sweets and fancy dress. But Halloween isn’t just a good business opportunity for confectionary and clothing shops; anybody can take part in the celebrations.

If you want to get involved in Halloween this year, here are 5 marketing ideas you can use, whatever your business.

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4 apps for scheduling social media posts

Managing your business’ social media can be a full-time job. If you want to stay on trend, connect with your audience and post regularly, you could easily spend all day doing it – never mind running your business!

This is where scheduling comes in. Rather than creating posts as you need them, there are apps that will let you schedule your posts ahead of time. This means you can create a batch of posts and release them when the time is right – even during unsociable hours.

To help you get started, here are 4 of the best apps for scheduling social media posts, and some advice about the best times to post your content.

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