How do you go from startup to selling a product every 12 minutes?

going from startup to successful business

The dream for many entrepreneurs is to come up with a great new product, find the funding to develop it and then for it to fly off the shelves.

The reality for most is different, but when this does happen it’s worth finding out how this success was achieved because the lessons we learn can help us to replicate the achievements for our own business.

Yuu is one such success, so we asked co-founders, Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes to share their story with us; (more…)

How the lines between online and offline retail are blurring, and how to capitalise on this trend

Let’s start with a sobering statistic: Retailers opened the lowest number of new stores in the last 5 years in the first half of 2016. What’s more, 15 stores pulled down their shutters for the last time every day. Altogether, that means nearly 2000 more stores were closed than opened in that six-month period.

Today, as bricks and mortar shops seem to struggle more than ever before, embracing online has become all the more important. Even retail giant IKEA, who for a long time stuck to their bricks and mortar roots and resisted expanding its online presence for years, has recently announced that they will be launching a Click & Collect solution.

So how can smaller retailers take advantage of the changing ways we shop? (more…)

5 Ways data analytics can help you generate more leads and get the most out of your marketing spend

Lead generation is absolutely crucial to identifying potential customers that are interested in you business’s products and services.

With online leads coming from various sources such as search engines, email marketing, banner advertising and social media, you need to take an informed approach so you can reduce waste and focus your marketing budget on the sources that are driving the most high-quality leads.

Not only this but they need to prove the return on investment (ROI) from marketing to justify the budget in the first place.

So how can companies use data to identify exactly what drives lead generation, isolate the ultimate source of leads and streamline their marketing strategies? We asked Daniel Reilly, director at Ruler Analytics, to explain; (more…)

10 Top tips for small businesses starting out with social media

We’ve all heard it; “You just have to be using social media marketing.”

And the response from many business owners is; “I’m keen to try using social media to promote my small business but I’m not sure where to start.”

If this sounds like you, here are ten simple but effective tips that will help any business starting out with social media, no matter how big or small your budget.

Ecommerce trends: What does 2016 have in store for e-tailers?

Ecommerce enjoyed a big year in 2015, with figures indicating that online retail sales in the UK topped £60 billion over the 12 months.

As consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing a wide range of products and services online, and with smartphone-based shopping expected to surge, the coming years are looking even brighter for e-tailers.

But, what does 2016 have in store for B2C ecommerce?

Following on from last year’s very popular 5 e-Commerce trend predictions for 2015 we’ve asked Ian Gordon of iWeb to take a look at the trends that will define the year ahead, and the opportunities that online retailers simply can’t afford to miss.


Securing your e-commerce website in 2015

2014 was a huge year for privacy and security on the Internet.

There were several high profile security issues which were serious enough to make the leap from technical news sites to the mainstream press, and ongoing revelations about how easily everyone’s connections can be spied on have made the major players in the web industry take action.

If you have an e-commerce website, given all the coverage around SSL and website security, now is a good time to check the security of your site, or to consider getting a site certificate if you don’t already have one. This guide explains all.

10 steps to increasing your website sales

So you’ve got your website up and running and it’s looking fantastic. You’ve sourced a great range of products that people definitely want, you’ve got new unique photos, good descriptions, and a fulfilment system that’s capable of handling a thousand orders a day.

Well done. Now, what’s missing… oh… it’s people buying the products.

Turn your website into a deadly selling tool

The code that effectively created the world wide web, was put into the public domain by the Cern physics lab, based near Geneva back in 1993.

Its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, believes that the web is still in its infancy. That seems very true – but what a difference it has made to the way businesses market themselves. For someone starting a new business in the 21st Century, it’s hard to work out how firms reached customers efficiently in 1993.

Every business needs a website. And not just for the sake of having one. With a little investment of time and energy you can turn your website into a deadly selling tool, no matter what kind of business you have.

Bytestart has a series of suggestions to help you think differently about your website. And that’s followed with a checklist of five things your website must have.

Think sales sales sales

Too many business owners fail to realise that their website is as much a marketing tool as the brochures they spend thousands on, and must be cared for and measured accordingly. No business would put up with spelling errors and incorrect prices on printed brochures. Yet some let their website fester for years, full of mistakes and broken pages.

When getting a website built and putting systems in place to maintain it, you must treat it as a sales tool. Decide what the objective of the site it before it is built. Do you want to educate prospective customers and get them to pick up the phone? Or perhaps increase your client retention rate by using it as a customer support tool?

Work on it weekly

The biggest website crime is getting one set up and then abandoning it. You must spend time on your website weekly to get the most out of it. It doesn’t have to be long, but an hour a week will make a huge difference. Turn it into a habit by making it a Friday morning job, and keep a checklist of things that need to be changed. For most websites, continual tweaking of content will bring better results than huge “we must change everything” revamp projects.

When you get a website built ensure that you have the ability to update and change pages yourself. Your website company will need to give you a Content Management System (CMS) to do this. It could increase the price of your website build, but will prove most cost effective in the long-term than paying the company every time you want a change (and waiting a couple of days).

The devil’s in the detail

Web companies tend to be good at getting the big things right, such as the number of pages, design, accessibility etc – but really the most important part of a website is the detail. This means ensuring price lists are always 100% up-to-date, you remove or update information as it changes – not three months later – and ensure all contact details are up to date.

If you give free information on your website review it regularly to check it is still correct. You see your website every day and might become complacent with it. But prospective customers are seeing it for the first time every day and will form an opinion on your business from their experience with your website.

Easy interaction

The web is a one on one media, meaning you have an individual conversation with one person at a time. Your website must take advantage of this by making it easy for a visitor to interact the way they want to.

If they want to call, give them a phone number (if you run the business part-time get a call answering service to take messages). If they want to email or instant message make it easy. Hell, let them contact you by Facebook if that’s what they prefer. When you force potential customers down one route only (such as having to fill out a form) you could lose leads.

Track performance

You must be aware of how many people are visiting your website, where they come from, what they do while they’re there, and where they go next. If 50 per cent of people who land on your home page click off, ask yourself why. Are you successfully grabbing their attention in just a few seconds. Don’t pay for this information, Google Analytics is powerful and free.

Improve conversion rates

Once you know what visitors are doing, try some tweaks to see what happens. The key is to test and measure. Do little things, give them a week and then use analytics to see what impact they had.

Websites are quite predictable – if 10 per cent of all people who get to your products page will contact you, then increasing the number of visitors to that page by 1,000 will give you 100 new leads.

5 things your website must have

Finally, here’s a handy Bytestart checklist for the 5 essentials every website must have:

  1. A great domain name – preferably your business name, but “” can also work
  2. A focus on your customer and their needs, rather than your product or service
  3. Easy site navigation
  4. Fresh content added regularly. Free information, articles or a blog are all good
  5. A way for customers to contact you easily