5 Tips to Avoid These Common Courier Errors

Courier companies nowadays are better equipped to adapt to the changing times – some have completely automated their services to cater to the highly digital world we are living in and some have innovative customer services that are truly dedicated to maximizing client experience. Courier companies like these are clearly at the top of their game when it comes to giving their customers the highest quality service possible. The good news is that many companies that offer courier service in Sydney have caught on to the trend of excellence and innovation like Couriers by Demand Express.

However, no matter how innovative a courier company might be, there are still some unforeseen circumstances that are simply out of the customer and the courier company’s control. These are things like bad weather conditions, heavy traffic, and others. These inevitable situations can lead to delivery mishaps like late deliveries and damaged goods.

There are times when mishaps happen due to some degree of negligence on the courier company’s part. As a customer, we understand how alarming and discouraging this can be. By following the right countermeasures, however, you can avoid these common courier errors and spare yourself from the inconvenience that they bring. This article lists 5 helpful tips on how to avoid the most common courier errors that still happen today. Read on to learn more about these precautionary measures:

Delayed Parcel Deliveries

A delayed delivery is a nightmare to both the receiver and the sender. The parcel might be an important item that both the receiver and sender value and not receiving it on time might harm their convenience. This is especially true when your business involves delivering products to customers. The customers who are expecting to receive your parcel on a certain time and date might be deterred to order again if the delivery is late or worse, if it never came to their doorstep.

The last thing you want is to be on both ends of a delayed parcel delivery. To avoid this, here is what you can do:

The Solution:

If the problem arose due to legitimately inevitable circumstances like weather or traffic, the best you can hope for is that your parcel gets delivered as soon as those hurdles are over. Most courier companies are bound to notify their customers once delivery delays become apparent.

On the other hand, you can also avoid experiencing this by doing a thorough research into the courier’s history. Read reviews online, ask friends about their experiences, and check out their relationship with customers before jumping into the decision to work with them. It is best to find a courier with consistent positive reviews from clients regarding their timeliness to guarantee that your delivery arrives on time.

Receiving Goods in Poor Condition

Another common courier error is delivering goods in poor condition. We have all felt the sinking feeling when all that pent up excitement upon receiving your parcel boil down to nothing as we discover that the goods are damaged, and worse, no longer usable. If you are the sender, this situation can be just as disappointing.

Running a business that relies on the safe delivery of products and goods should not feel like a risk. Having to send a replacement stock can affect your sales, so make sure that you do whatever you can to avoid finding yourself in this situation.

The Solution:

Work with a reputable company. Working with a reputable company might mean you have to shell out a little more than the average cost but it also guarantees that you would not lose a lot on replacing damaged goods. You are paying for the guarantee that your parcel gets to its destination safe and intact after all. The investment is worth it.

So, find the most reputable courier service Sydney has to offer. Ask around, read blogs, and scour the internet. Whatever you do, remember to do your own research.

Overpriced vs Bargain Prices

Courier companies that offer services that are too good to be true probably are, while companies that charge too much for subpar services are also the other side of the spectrum that you have to look out for. Services that are too cheap might give you poor services, but expensive ones are just not worth it as well. How can you strike a balance?

The Solution:

Find courier that offers personalized solutions. This means that they don’t charge for services that you don’t even need in the first place. Companies like Couriers by Demand Express design services based on a client’s specific requirements. This option allows you to tweak the service to your needs so you avoid wasting money and increase your efficiency in one go.

Questionable Customer Service

An excellent customer service is one of the factors that make or break the relationships of businesses and their client base. Rude, unhelpful, and unapproachable customer service staff are some of the traits that deter clients from continuing to build a relationship with a business. It is not surprising to hear stories about customers switching to a different company despite having adequate services purely because of poor customer service.

In the case of courier services, you need people who are level-headed and can maintain a level of composure in heated situations. A delivery service who handles their customers poorly can be disastrous to your business.

The Solution:

Be vigilant. During your initial contact with a courier, you can already gauge if they have good customer service or not. Do they use respectful language? Do they accommodate your requests and enquiries? Are they helpful and willing to assist? If you cannot find a review that says otherwise, the next best option is to experience it for yourself through a call or face-to-face interaction.

Inconvenient Service Issues

Inaccurate quotations, delivery being sent out to the wrong address, untimely pickup – these are just some of the things that can happen when a courier service company pays little attention to detail. If this happens frequently, this can disrupt your operations and may even hurt your reputation.

The Solution:

Find companies with courier service in Sydney that keep up with the latest technology in the industry. These include systems like intelligent route planning and drivers who have adequate training to smartly navigate through those routes.

Choose the Best Courier Service Has to Offer!

To avoid the common courier errors mentioned above, the best solution you can have is to work with a reputable company in your area. If you live in Sydney, then you are in luck since there are lots of courier service company in Sydney..

Common Surety Bonds You Ought To Know

A surety bond can be defined as contract between three parties guaranteeing that a job will be completed in accordance to the contract terms. The three are the project owner who is the obligee, contractor who is the principal and the surety who ensures the task at hand is completed as per the agreement terms. Surety bonds are more financial related and even though they are very common in the construction industry, they come in different types touching on different areas of agreement. Below are some of the most common that can make a difference for businesses.

1. Contract – They are the ones contractor need especially when bidding on large projects. They go to show that the organization has the capacity and financial ability necessary to manage and complete the projects at hand. It is not always that the bonds are required for contractors but they may be required to present them when bidding on government projects, big projects or when requested by customers to do so. Bonded contractors have better chances of nailing large projects. They include bid bond, performance bind and payment bond which together cover the entire project as appropriate.

2. Business – They differ from place to place and ensure businesses are responsible in fulfilling duties promised or offered to clients and also to the government through payment of bills and taxes. Different business categories need the bonds to show that their operations are trustworthy and financially responsible.

3. Court – In the legal industry, surety bonds also come into place. The most common are those that individuals with court cases require to ensure defendants show up in court or to ensure payment as directed. In some other legal instances, legal clients may need bonds to perform different functions line becoming estate executors. The most common are appeal bonds, estate bonds, injunction binds and guardian bonds.

4. Permit and license – They basically go to show that business owners and workers will abide by local regulations set for the field they are involved in. For instance plumbers need to abide by plumbing codes and regulations within their localities and a license bond works as assurance that they will perform their duties as expected.

5. Commercial – These include different kinds of bonds that are not under construction and court surety bonds. The most common include business service bonds, lease deposit bonds and commercial contract bonds among others.

They do come with lots of benefits depending on the field they are designed for. Bonded companies often gain a good reputation and are more likely to be trusted with projects compared to companies that are not bonded. If you are a contractor you must of course choose a surety bond provider that you can trust so the terms you abide by are easy for you to keep up with. The above are the most common but there are so many other types of surety bonds coming up with every passing day.

Common Mistakes When Planning Your Medical Spa

Everything starts with a business plan: If you don’t have one. Write it. A good business plan will help you get a handle on all of the things that get glossed over in the excitement of starting a new business. It’s also a usual requirement for getting financing.

Remember that this is a medical business and comes with special requirements. Non-physicians can not employ physicians, medical oversight, HIPPA compliance, and a host of other regulatory issues need to be addressed. Play fast and loose with these rules and you’re asking for trouble. (One of our local competitors in Utah was not providing adequate physician oversight. The state walked in one day, confiscated all of their technology and patient records and closed them down.) All lenders want to know how you’re going to handle these issues. ADVERTISEMENT

Financing is easy. Financing smart is hard: Speak the words “medical spa” as a physician and you’re everyone’s best friend. Banks, lenders, technology companies will all have big smiles on their faces and papers in their hands, ready to lend money or finance everything you need. If you’re not a physician it’s going to be harder.

If you need money or a line of credit for needs other than technology, a bank will probably be your first stop. Banks will provide the best rates but are the most rigorous in investigating borrowers and have the least tolerance for risk. Banks will require that you have spotless credit and that the entire loan is secured. In most cases, everyone who owns 10% or more of the business will be personally responsible for the loan and have to provide two or more years of tax returns. Be prepared for a blizzard of paperwork. Banks will want to see financial statements, cash flow, a business plan (although they don’t read it), and have a little visit.

The bank is going to want to know what the funds are intended to be used for. They want to see tangible assets that have a market and can be sold if the business fails or you can’t make the payments. They don’t want to hear that you need more money for marketing and advertising or salaries that don’t have any resale value.

The money that banks will lend you will take the form of a loan, or a line of credit. Loans have a set schedule and payments. A line of credit is somewhat different. The idea is that the bank extends a line of credit that you may draw on. Interest is paid only on the amount of money that is used. However, banks usually require that the entire balance is paid off and unused for one month every year to ensure that the business is liquid. If you can’t meet this requirement, the entire line reverts to a loan.

Some bankers are helpful and some are not. In one instance a branch manager told one of our accountants that wanted some information that “he didn’t need our business and we could just live with that”. Avoid these types if you can. A friendly banker can go a long way in securing loans and providing a little flexibility if things don’t go exactly as you planned. If you find a great banker, send him a Christmas card and some cookies once in a while.

If you are in the fringe of what a bank can tolerate risk wise, they will often suggest or apply on your behalf for an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan that’s partially guaranteed by the government. (sba.gov/financing)

Half of something is better than all of nothing: If you’re going to need more money than you have in assets, you still have a couple of options. These involve partnerships, joint-ventures, venture loans or equity.

Most start-ups involve some form of equity trade. Partnerships are a good example. Sweat equity in the early stages provides ownership in lieu of payment or salary. It’s very common for entrepreneurs to take little or no money, sometimes for years, until the business is on its legs. Sweat equity at this stage usually extends only to the founders but may extend to badly needed partners. When we started Surface, I took more than an 80% reduction in income.

Equity: The simple rule is; the more money you need and risk you entail, the more equity you’re going to give up.

Angels: This is the first stop for most entrepreneurs. Angel financing (also called seed money), is usually raised from friends and family or “high net-worth” individuals. In some cases you may find “Angel Groups” that meet together and look for investments. Angels are usually found a the early stages of a business and are often bought out when larger investors come in.

Venture Debt: A recent surge in venture debt has made its way into the market and is worth discussing. Venture debt is basically a venture loan. The lender charges a higher interest rate than banks are allowed to (often around 14%) and accepts more risk in return. In addition, you will have to give up a small percentage of your company in what are called warrants. This small percentage (usually less than 5%) allows the lender to share in any potential upside. Venture debt is worth considering if you’re sure of success and you don’t want or need to give up a large equity position in you company. But you’ll still be personally responsible.

Venture Capital: When most people think of raising large amounts of money, they’re thinking of venture capital. For most start ups, venture capital is not an option. VC money has some downsides though. It is hard to get and extremely expensive. When you add up the entire enchilada, you’re looking at about 80% compounding interest each year in return for that money. VC’s are looking for an investment term of three to five years and a ROI (return on investment) of 700% or more. Whew. You’re also going to loose complete control of your company and have someone constantly looking over your shoulder. There are cases where this actually makes sense. Many VC are extremely well connected and bring these resources to the table.

So, now you’ve got the money you need. What are you going to do with it?

Most medical spas have grown out of an existing physician practice. The idea of having technicians producing revenue, low additional overhead, increased patient flow, and the feel that “I could do that” is attractive to a large number of doctors who are tired of the grind of medicine. (We’ve been approached by a surprising diversity of physicians looking to enter this market including; anesthesiologists, cardio-thoracic surgeons, and even podiatrists.)

Multiple Locations: After some initial success, many physicians and MedSpa owners attempt to open additional locations. (For some reason, these second-clinic startups are often opened by a relative, usually a wife or daughter.) These second locations never achieve the success of the first clinic for a very simple reason; their a completely different animal. If you’re thinking of opening multiple locations you’re work load just tripled. Multiple location sites are outside the abilities of most physicians and involve a much greater financial risk. Staffing and human resources, legal issues, medical oversight… most fail within the first year.

Successful multi-location practices are built around systems. If your first clinic doesn’t run without you there, you’re not ready for a second. Expanding to fast is a sure why to overextend your resources. Then you’re in big trouble. If you’ve closed a second clinic, lenders are going to be very wary of lending you money.

The Turn Key Solution: Franchises and consultants love to drop this phrase. The idea is an attractive one. Experts will guide your steps to financial glory. Marketing, financing, training, everything will be delivered in a nice little box with a bow on top. But, knowing a number of franchise owners and the problems they’ve encountered, I would give this advice; beware.

The current crop of franchises have a lot of problems. (One of them in California was shut down for selling medical practices to non-physicians. They’ve since reopened and are among the most aggressive advertisers.) Franchises are attractive because they claim to have all the answers. If you’ll just write the checks all of your troubles will be over. Not so fast. What you’ll really get are some manuals, pre-written scripts for sales, and bad ad-slicks. You’ll also get: locked into specific technologies that might be second-tier (the franchise gets kick-backs), spend money you could use elsewhere, and pay royalties on all of your income. (The franchises that offer a flat fee are an even worse idea. They have absolutely no motivation to help you.)

Big dogs eat little dogs. The next five years will see dramatic and disruptive changes in this marketplace. Large, well-financed medical businesses with smart physicians and high-quality care are going to open up next door to you. (You’re the corner store, they’re Wal-Mart) These businesses will be category killers and if you’re not well established with a broad market presence and multiple revenue streams, you’ll be gone.

The $80,000 towel dryers. Choosing the right technology is one of the things that will let you move ahead a step, or put you in cement boots where you stand. I always think of the way one physician described the pair of IPLs [Intense Pulsed Light devices] that he’d bought; as $80,000 towel dryers. Before you decide on which system to buy you’re going to need to crunch the numbers. How many shots will the IPL heads last for until they need to be rebuilt? How much support is included? What kind of training is provided? Does the device work better than its competitors? Before you sign your next few house payments away, make sure of your technology decisions.

Buy or lease. Leasing is the best way to go if you want to pay for your equipment as you use it while preserving your capital. Many of the technology companies have delayed payment plans as long as six months. Buying used equipment is often the best way to save money if cash flow is not an issue. (We purchase used medical lasers and IPLs online from a broker we trust and sometimes negotiate with our buying power for other physicians.) You can often save up to 40% off the price of a new machine if you have the cash on hand.

Don’t guild the lily: Cash flow is a problem many start-up medical spas face. Revenues and growth projections are commonly exaggerated in the excitement of a new business. Before you invest in embroidered leather treatment tables, make sure you can pay your bills. One medical spa startup spent $350,000 on build out and didn’t have any money left to attract patients. They were out of business in four months.

A few simple finance rules:

o The Golden Rule is actually translated as: He with the gold makes the rules.

o You will end up being personally responsible for the money: Physicians sometimes think that they can use equity in their medical practice or future earnings as security. Nope.

o Be frugal: Take only the amount of money you need. It’s tempting to take as much money as you can get. Don’t. All the money you take will come with strings attached.

o Take enough money: Lenders hate it when you need additional money. They worry something’s going wrong in the original plan.

o Sometimes you can’t get there from here: Competition is fierce. If your market is already “owned” by a competitor, think carefully before going into debt to compete in a market you can’t win.

Tighten your belt: Financing is like anything else. In order to really find the best solutions you’re going to need to do some research. Find a mentor, someone who’s done it before and knows what to avoid. And remember, the most common reason that businesses fail is not lack of capital, its poor decision making.

Resource links for all of the businesses and information discussed in this article are available online at MedicalSpaMD.com

Common Types of Participative Meetings

There are many types of meetings. Most meetings fall into the non-participatory category, where attendees are briefed on new information rather than asked to participate in the meeting process. The best meetings are highly participative, where everyone in the meeting contributes to the purpose of having the meeting. When scheduling a meeting, ask “What type of meeting or approach best fits the purpose and meeting attendees?” This will help in determining if more than one type of meeting needs to be held or if a combination of meeting types is possible. Consider the definition and common uses for the different types of participative meetings; such as decision-making, list generation, problem solving, project planning, or strategic planning. Then determine which best fits the purpose and participative needs of upcoming meetings during the planning stage.

Decision-making meetings review different alternatives and decide on best alternatives to select for implementation by a specified deadline. This type of meeting requires that key decision makers attend and should be held if the group is required to make and then support or carry out the decision. The tool used most often in decision making is a Pro/Con list. However for a highly complicated or technical decision a criteria grid may yield a better result.

List Generation meetings will create a list of ideas, alternatives, solutions, issues, etc. for discussion. After creating the list, a discussion to narrow the list may follow in the same meeting, prioritizing or voting on the list of items may occur, the list may go to someone else to work with, or planning of another type of meeting may follow for utilizing the list. Brainstorming is the easiest and more popular tool used for list generation. Diagramming tools such as mind mapping or fishbone may also be used as they use specific categories to focus the list generation.

Problem Solving meetings are used to resolve business and process problems or to determine potential issues and how to handle them. These problems could reference production, quality, services, or other things. In order for problem solving to work, those closest to the problem must participate, in other words representatives of each area affected by the problem should agree that a problem exists and be involved in finding the solution. This is seldom a single meeting as it typically takes a series of meetings to move through the process that includes problem definition, research, analysis, solution selection, testing, and implementation. Problem solving requires a defined process and method to root out the true problem and then find the best solution. Many great tools exist for this purpose under the topic of quality improvement.

Project Planning meetings are specialized to a certain task, job, or project and extend through planning and implementing the project from opening until end of project. These meetings work best when they consist of project team members, leaders, and sponsors or customers. Additional project related meetings may be for project plan updates, solving problems, reviewing budget, celebrating accomplished milestones, and evaluating risks. The tools used in project meetings will include the project schedule listing phases and milestones, as well as many of the same tools typically used in list generation, problem solving, and decision making.

Strategic Planning meetings are typically held annually to determine the strategy of a group or organization. The results of such meetings are usually vision, mission, goals, business ventures, and future direction. The strategic planning meeting may be one long meeting or several meetings spread out over a specified period. After defining the strategy, then a communication plan or deployment plan is developed. Future meetings are typically status of plan accomplishment, problem solving, or other needed revisions to the strategy and therefore no longer called strategic planning but instead change management. A tool often found useful in this type of meeting is a SWOT Analysis regarding the business efforts, products, or services of the group or organization. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

With an understanding of the definition and common uses for different types of participative meetings, it should be easier to determine which best fits the purpose and participative needs of upcoming meetings. It is important to remember that the best meetings are highly participative, where everyone in the meeting contributes to the purpose of holding the meeting. Therefore, always before scheduling a meeting, ask “What type of meeting or approach best fits the purpose and meeting attendees?” Determine if the meeting purpose is decision-making, list generation, problem solving, project planning, or strategic planning and then select the meeting type and the best tool to use to accomplish the meeting purpose.

NOTE: The types of meeting listed in this article and their definition are adapted from the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach.”

Common Entrepreneurial Problems

Are you an entrepreneur, investor, entrepreneurship student, enterprise consultant, business educator, regulator, entrepreneurial policy advocate and developer? If your answer is yes then this subject may be of interest to you. What really are the common entrepreneurial problems? Certainly one can come out with a long list. However, some of the problems tend to be minor and also differ with factors such as geographical locations, the nature of business, the level of investment and several other factors. Nevertheless there are common problems that seem to cut across the board. These have been highlighted below.

I. Knowledge and skills deficiency. Most entrepreneurs lack proper knowledge and skills in enterprise management. This deficiency encompasses various aspects of business management. Leadership and managerial limitations fall under this category. Lack of costing knowledge for example, can cause underpricing. Poor understanding of costs of operation may lead to budget deficits and operational challenges. Poor people skills may mean high staff turnover. Bad procurement skills may make your enterprise lose valuable time and money. Poor market research may affect business feasibility. These deficiencies also generate some of the problems indicated below indirectly including inability to learn from mistakes and setbacks. Poor decision-making and implementation result from these drawbacks.

II. Planning and organizational problems. These include lack of strategies, plans, organized systems etc. Processes, procedures, policies are non-existent or are disorganized. Operations may be done haphazardly. This also negatively affects growth and expansion of the business. Lack of record keeping is also organizational. Planning problems also manifest in inability to manage change, such as changing too slowly, failure to consolidate change, etc. Poor accountability, lack of process standardization etc also arise from the above.

III. People problems including hiring incapable staffs such as friends and relatives, hiring the wrong people, inability to attract and retain skilled manpower due to financial and other limitations, inability to place key people in critical positions, difficulty in building teams, hesitation by potential staffs, and others. Reluctance to train and develop staffs also falls under this.

IV. Attitudinal problems such as the craving to do everything without delegation, resulting in burnout, are common. You may also micromanage. Closely connected to this is entrepreneur’s dilemma – the inability to let go because you started the whole thing and feel no other person can take over. The know-it-all attitude may also exist, where you don’t consult, share experience etc. You don’t see value in using experts such as consultants, mentors and coaches. These problems also hinder the entrepreneur from handing over the enterprise to a team of people to manage on his behalf. The enterprise thus remains dependent on the initiator for too long.

V. Money related problems comprising under-capitalization of the enterprise, inability to access funds from other sources, financial indiscipline hence mismanagement of cash, and lack of financial intelligence are common. Additionally, some entrepreneurs are greedy and are too much in a hurry to make money. This is manifested through quick-fix approaches to making money, lack of patience, cheating people and the like.

VI. Personality problems, additional to the attitudinal ones mentioned above, are also common in entrepreneurs. These comprise negative thoughts, too much hence disorganizing fears of uncertainties and failure, lack of self-control, hopelessness, inability to detect and avoid bad advice, lack of critical and analytical thinking, poor stress management, false comfort, taking long but scenic routes to success and being dazed by too many opportunities. Indecision, procrastination and lack of focus also occur. Some entrepreneurs also have the luck mentality and make big business gambles. With false comfort, for example, an entrepreneur may think that if he attains a certain level of sales or profits then his problems are over.

VII. Ethical and regulatory problems. These include challenges in complying with required statutory and regulatory matters, unethical practices by the entrepreneur, reluctance to comply, lack of regulatory and government support etc.

VIII. Poor succession planning is also a major problem with many entrepreneurs. This explains why many enterprises perish after the demise of their originators.

Some startups may also have problems such as poor business model, product quality problems at time of market entry, and other similar challenges. It is important to note here that different stages of an enterprise manifest different problems. The listing of common entrepreneurial problems therefore cannot be complete. I do hope I have provided a good guide, haven’t I?

In subsequent articles we shall be tackling how to overcome some of the above problems.

Should you desire to sharpen your skills in enterprise management, check out Clayton’s book entitled The Wise Entrepreneur at Amazon.


Clayton Mwaka

Integrative Business Planning – 10 Tips On Common Pitfalls To Avoid

Business Planning, whether at the start-up of a new venture or during its growth, requires an integrative approach. It is important that all crucial aspects are addressed and balanced. The following tips show some of the common pitfalls that should be avoided in the business planning process:

  1. Certain aspects of a detailed and integrated business plan are ignored. A typical example would be market research. This is often due to the cost and time involved, lack of know-how or ignorance of the importance thereof.
  2. The different aspects of the business are not match. It is for instance important that there is a good fit between the team and the opportunity.
  3. Over-optimistic projections are used. Sales and market share projections are quite often not realistic.
  4. Assumptions are not tested and adjusted where necessary. An example would be where it is assumed that $x of marketing will result in $y of sales.
  5. Not enough time is allowed for the business planning process. The importance of proper planning is often negated in favour of execution.
  6. The reverse of tip number 5 also occurs regularly. Especially new entrepreneurs tend to fall in the trap of over-planning and almost seeing the business plan as an end in itself. A fine balance should exist between planning and execution.
  7. The use of resources is underestimated. More people, time and materials are normally needed than anticipated. This cause budgets of capital and cashflow to be insufficient with potential grave consequences.
  8. Critical obstacles and even fatal risks are ignored. It is important to work through and resolve any potential problems and not to turn a blind eye.
  9. Measurable and achievable goals and mileposts are not set.
  10. A big problem, of adhering to the requirements of integrated business planning, is that entrepreneurs often have preconceived ideas that they don’t budge from. This can be due to a lack of knowledge combined with specific personality profiles. It is extremely important to be flexible, acknowledge when you are wrong and to get assistance when needed.

Copyright© 2008 – Wim Venter

Common Small Business Web Design Mistakes to Avoid

As a small business owner, you probably already know that your website is a very important tool for marketing your brand and reaching your target audience. Ensuring your website design is attractive and functional to your audience is also necessary for success. Unfortunately, there are quite a few small business web design mistakes that are all too common. Sometimes this occurs when small business owners hire a cheap designer and believe they’re getting a value, although sometimes it’s mistakes the website operator makes by excluding certain important information.

To make sure you maximise the potential of your business website, keep these pitfalls in mind and avoid them.

Mistake 1: Not Building Trust

Building trust with your audience is arguably the most important thing any small business web design should do. There are actually some really easy and quick ways to build trust, as well as improve your conversion rate. Start my making sure your full address, company name and phone number is included on every page, preferably the footer. If you have an e-commerce storefront, make sure you are displaying badges like your SSL certificates and sitelock. After all, most people are not going to want to place an order if they doubt the professionalism and security of your website.

If you are a very small business or a freelancer, it also helps to add a picture of yourself to your “About Us” page along with a personal quote. Be prepared to be very transparent about your services and offer as much detail as possible, including any return policy or guarantees you provide. You should also have a privacy policy on your website, which tells your visitors what you will and will not do with their personal information that’s collected.

Finally, consider adding the rel=”publisher” link to your homepage, which points to your business’s Google+ page. This way, the image used on your Google+ profile will be displayed alongside your website on Google search results.

Mistake 2: Website is Too Flashy

It’s not uncommon for business owners to get a little carried away with the content and design of their website, requesting flashy graphics and bold colours that detract, not add value. To effectively market your brand and improve visibility, you want a clean and minimalist interface that impresses customers but makes it easy for them to find what they are looking for.

Content should be straight-forward and relevant, not a long rambling monologue or an excuse to stuff in keywords unnaturally. Users should come away with a good experience and feel like they found exactly what they were looking for.

Mistake 3: No Call to Action Buttons

Call to action buttons are important because they funnel your visitors further into your site. By keeping website users on your website for a longer amount of time, you’ll lower your bounce rate and increase the chance of a conversion. It also improves user experience by directing users exactly where they want to go, assuming it isn’t overdone. If you sell insurance, for example, you would have a call to action button encouraging users to request a quote. If you sell products online, you would have a call to action button for users to “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart.”

Mistake 4: Not Using the Rel=”Nofollow” Tag on Outbound Links

Finally, a really common small business web design mistake is not using the rel=”nofollow” tag on outbound links away from the website. While it may not seem like a big issue, it actually allows you to control the “link juice” of your website, which gets leeched out to all of your “dofollow” outbound links. Only links going to your internal pages should be “dofollow,” which means they pass along this link juice.

It’s also important to avoid linking to a lot of low authority or low quality websites, especially if you do not have a great deal of inbound links to your website.

Unfortunately, these mistakes are all too common, but very easy to fix, for the most part. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the best option is avoiding these mistakes in the first place by working with an experienced individual who can create a custom web design for your business.

5 Most Common App Development Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Having a mobile application has become imperative for every business today right from startups to SMEs and enterprises. Mobile apps have made life easier and faster than ever before. And today almost every smartphone user prefers using an app for almost everything they need right from buying their daily grocery items to other essentials, garments, booking tickets for movies, planning trips, reading news, playing games, and more. And it’s because an app can be opened and used with just a tap on the device. This increasing use of mobile applications has also made millions of businesses have an app on one or more platforms. As per Statista,

  • More than 5 million applications are already there on the App stores serving the users in different ways.
  • The Google Play Store has over 3 million apps today, and
  • The Apple App Store has more than 2 million applications.

This huge number of applications already existing on the App stores has already increased the level of competition. Having a flawless and user-driven app is important today to stay ahead with the maximum number of users. And for this, it is essential to create completely bug-free and high-performing apps overcoming all the challenges and complexities and avoiding all common mistakes during the app development process.

Here are the most common mistakes app developers need to avoid to end up with an ROI-driven and user-friendly mobile application.

Avoiding these following mistakes can help developers create a device compatible, user-friendly, secure, and competitive application keeping the business requirements, target users and the current market demands in mind.

Not doing proper market research:

Doing proper market research is important before getting started with app development. The App Stores are over-flooded with different types of applications. And staying above the competitors is not that easy. Doing thorough market research can help you to get an idea of what are the strong and weak points of the similar competitive applications already existing on the App Stores. And knowing what the competitors lack and what they have can help you to include better features and functionalities in your app keeping the current market demands in mind. And this can ensure more user retention and user acquisition of your application.

Overloading the application with too many features:

Many of you may think that adding too many features can make your application more detailed and powerful. But this is not the fact actually. Adding too many unnecessary features can simply make your application heavy, slow down the loading speed and can deteriorate its performance at the same time. Keeping minimal features can make the app look cleaner, clearer, lightweight, and can enhance its performance and loading speed as well. Also, the fewer the features, the less confusing it will be and the less the chances will be to install it.

Building the app without considering the target audience:

One of the most vital factors you need to consider before getting started with the process is to know for whom you are building the application or who are the target audiences, what are their tastes and preferences. One of the primary objectives to build and launch an application is to gain the maximum user engagement and this makes it essential to consider the target users and their needs and expectations first.

Not considering the OS and device compatibility:

No matter you are creating the application for iOS, Android, Windows, or for all, you need to ensure that the application offers the same look and feel on all devices. This means you have to build a device compatible application considering the OS on which the application will be launched. You need to be aware of the market fragmentation of the Operating System and then create the application for all the devices supported by that OS. This will increase the user base and will ensure a great user experience irrespective of the device one is using.

Not paying attention to the current updates:

The process of application development does not come to an end once the application is launched. Regularly updating the application is also important. New technologies keep on emerging in the app market and staying updated with these is crucial to stay ahead on the App Stores and to ensure your application is always up to date.

Developers need to consider several factors in mind to give a competitive edge to their applications like application performance, the mobile application design, app optimisation, troubleshooting, proper testing of the application, the app icon, bug fixes, user engagement, user experience, security of the application, etc. Building a successful mobile application is not that easy today and this makes it important to consider these factors and identify and avoid all these above-mentioned mistakes during app development.

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