Ordering your first stock can be a nerve-racking experience. When I spoke to my first supplier I had no experience in this field and would have killed for some advice.

Now I’ve got more experience and have negotiated my fare share of deals, I wanted to pass on the tips, tricks and tactics I use when negotiating.

I recommend considering the following:

  • Who are they?
  • Who is their competition?
  • Set a budget
  • Stay Calm – Remember your the customer!
  • Keep them talking and ask the right questions
  • Ask for a discount
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When you first start out its tempting to not invest too much money in stock. You haven’t proved your concept yet and you might be concerned about everything going wrong. I was like this when I started my first online store. I didn’t want to invest thousands just to see it all go to waste.

Some would say that I didn’t have confidence in my idea. Not true, I thought my idea was great and I had done some market research to make sure it wasn’t just me! The feedback was positive.

The Terms and Conditions of a website essentially sets out a contract between the website and its visitors. They are there to protect your visitors but more importantly, to protect you.

What type of websites need terms and condition statements?

If your running a business website, I would definitely recommend that you have a terms and conditions statement. This is especially true if your selling a product or service on your site.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a subject in itself. I’m not an expert but I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to it here. I’ll go into more depth in future posts.

In essence, SEO is the process of improving your position in search results. It’s getting to that number one spot. There are many different strategies that are employed to do this and I’ll run through some of the more well known ones:

1. Content – Words on the page

The most important factor when looking optimise your website for search engines is content. Spend most of your time writing quality content for your website and your job’s almost done.

It’s sometimes hard to come up with a good business idea. Many people I speak to are raring to go with an online business but just haven’t found the right idea yet. That’s why I’ve put together this list of resources you can use to help find that perfect idea.

Online

  • Check Google Trends and Google Hot Trends to see what people are searching for.
  • Look at forums your interested in. Browse twitter and keep up-to-date with facebook to see what people are talking about.
  • Check out whats popular in the blogosphere with sites such as BlogCatalog and Technorati.

You may be asking yourself:  “Why should I have an online business.” Or “What benefits would a website bring to my business.”

Both are very good question, and ones I get asked all the time. So, I’ll set out the main reasons I went online and the ones I most regularly pass on to others:

1. Increasing revenue

In almost all cases, the fundamental reason for having an online presence is that you want to make more money!

That said, a website can help even if you don’t sell online. See point four, “Building your branding and improving credibility”.

A Privacy Policy is a vital element of any website that collects visitor information.

It should set out how you intend to respect your visitors privacy.  It also explains how you will gather information, how it is used and kept secure. Key elements of any Privacy Policy should be:

  • What information is collected.
  • What the information is used for.
  • An assurance the information is kept  secure.
  • How visitors can control the information that’s collected.
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Starting a new business is an exciting thing and you don’t always get time to think about the paperwork. One thing that I would urge you to do as soon as possible is register yourself as self-employed. If you work ether part or full time for yourself you’re considered self-employed.

In the UK, HM Revenue & Customs requires you to register with them so they can badger you for Income Tax and National Insurance. Unlike when working for an employer, these Taxes aren’t automatically deducted.

IMPORTANT: Register within the first three months of starting up, or you risk a £100 fine!

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If you’re not online yet, now is the time! Google have teamed up with other partners to offer UK small businesses a free website! Included is a free domain name and hosting.

Find out more and sign up on the gbbo website.

Tracking the number of page views and unique visitors your site receives is very important. It gives you an idea of how successful your website is.

They can also show you how popular your website has become! It is a huge boost to morale when you see people are visiting your site.

Another useful bit of information statistical programs offer is the search terms used to find your site. So if someone types “Pauls Plumbing Services” into Google and they click on your websites link, it will show up on the stats. This gives you an insight into how people are finding out about you.