#IGave8: Antony Chesworth

Antony Chesworth owner and founder of www.ekmPowershop.com the UK’s most popular ecommerce platform with over over £1.1m worth of transactions per day, shares 8 things you need to know about ecommerce for #MicroBizMattersDay #IGave8

1 – If you are serious about having an ecommerce website then one that is built by a friend of a friend will no longer cut it, you will face stiff competition from day one and so need a ecommerce website that can cut it and stand shoulder to shoulder with the ecommerce giants.

2 – Use an ecommerce platform that is constantly evolving meaning your site is always upto date with the latest technologies. It also means you won’t need to pay additional costs to add new features and functionality.

3 – There is no such thing as a free ecommerce system. People assume that freely available open source platforms are free, they are anything but free as you have to sort out your own web hosting, updates and learn a technically advanced system, plus you will need to fix any bugs or issues as they arise.  If you take all this into account they end up costing you considerably more than even the most expensive hosted ecommerce systems.  

4 – Ensure you have full control over your ecommerce website’s content. If you need to make a change to your products pricing you want to be able to do this quickly and easily yourself, if there’s a hot product you have just got hold of that no one else has you want to be able to add it to your site now, not tomorrow or when someone else eventually gets round to it.

5 – A mobile optimised site is essential for online sales, google gives priority rankings to sites that are optimised for mobile. Over 50% of search is conducted using smartphones and other devices when compared to desktops. People are now using and buying with a mobile, tablet or other device, in fact you are probably reading this article with one now!

6 – Simplify the checkout process and get more sales, don’t ask people to login or create user accounts it’s another distraction from completing the checkout process. Keep it simple.

7 –  Discount codes are another distraction often taking customers off your website and onto Google to look for them when they see the discount code box on your website. If they don’t find one it can leave a bad taste because the customer knows someone else is getting a better deal than them.

8 – Use internet optimised payment gateways such as PayPal, Klarna and Amazon Payments that don’t require people to have the hassle and inconvenience of finding and then entering lengthy credit card forms, 3d secure and more password checks.  

About ekmPowershop.com and why Antony Chesworth owner and founder is supporting #Microbizdaymatters.

Antony Chesworth is the owner and founder of ekmPowershop.com which has grown to become the UK’s largest hosted ecommerce platform.

With a shop turnover of £1.1m per day (almost half a billion pounds per year) ekmPowershop.com has helped over 45,000 businesses to set up and run their own successful online shops.

Clients include familiar names such as Lotus Cars, O2, Michelin Tyres, Future Publishing, Madame Tussauds, The NHS, ITV, The BBC as well as tens of thousands of SMEs and Micro Businesses.

I’m supporting #microbizdaymatters as I owe a lot of my success to micro businesses and they all deserve recognition and acknowledgement, as owning and running your own business isn’t easy.

As a young 22 year old with a start up company, I was told countless times how my business wouldn’t work and built up masses of credit card debt eventually ending up on the dole,  if it wasn’t for Micro Businesses using ekmPowershop.com and supporting me I wouldn’t be where I am today, they are at the core of what we do and they deserve to be celebrated

Micro businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and they don’t get the recognition that they deserve here in the UK it’s time that we shouted about all these amazing businesses and the people and stories behind them.

Twitter: @antonychesworth  

#IGave8: Gary King

Supporting #MicroBizMattersDay

Today marks a global campaign to support micro businesses and I am proud to join one million business owners as part of #MicroBizMattersDay #IGave8 campaign to help microbusinesses grow.

Throughout the day I will be following conversations on Twitter to answer questions and offer advice and support to make sure businesses get off to a successful 2016.

Tendo are advocates of supporting entrepreneurs to “do more of what you want” so here are our top eight do’s for you to avoid business failure…

1 Have a plan & ensure you share it

A business plan is the most fundamental building block for success. It needs to be agile, dynamic, used frequently, contain detailed strategies & hold you accountable for success. There are an infinite number of formulae for the perfect business plan, but we know that one built from the firm foundations of the reason why you’re in business and the vision for where you’re going are the best for your business.

Which leads us on to tip two.

2 Clearly define your purpose… and your vision

Maybe you didn’t elicit why you wanted your own business at the start as you were too busy getting going and starting to make money. But remembering why you started your business is a key step in making it successful.

Why? Because knowing your purpose – whether it be to offer a better service than your competitors, to make money from doing something you love, or to have the lifestyle you always dreamed of – and building your business around that is the quickest way to you feeling successful.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there?

Worse, if your team don’t know where they’re going, how will they help you?

Your vision articulates the place you see your business, and yourself, in the future. Whether that’s working in it fulltime or building a business that makes money without you so that you can follow your passion, you need to define your vision in order that your business can deliver it for you.

3 Re-discover your mojo

There’s nothing more rewarding than doing something you love. It’s even better if you can make money from it.

When you remember why you started your business and clearly define where you’re going and how to get there, you’ll reconnect with that missing mojo ensuring life and business will be enjoyable again. Your renewed energy will pay dividends in the success of your business. It’s a win-win.

4 Success measures & accountability

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. A bit like not knowing your destination, if you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know you’ve achieved it?

And yet defining your success measures – Business Growth Indicators looking forward and Key Performance Indicators looking back – isn’t the end of it. You have to be accountable to someone for delivering them, or it’s too easy to let yourself off, and that’s when growth stalls.

5 Knowledge & experience

If you’re operating in a new industry or at a new level, you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to be smart enough to identify where your gaps are – or those of your team – and ensure you fill them. You can do this with permanent hires, external experts or by investing in your team to increase their skills and knowledge. The smart move is to know when and where that’s necessary.

A strong & flexible team builds your business and reduces the need for you to be there.

6 Invest in yourself… and in high quality people

Having invested in your team, you also need to invest in yourself. Whether it’s your leadership skills, grasp of your numbers or specialist knowledge of a new industry, make sure you don’t neglect yourself while you are busy running your business. Always be learning and have an expert you can bounce ideas off.

The cost of a bad hire can be many times that person’s salary in lost time and opportunity. Think carefully about what you recruit for and how your recruit. Recruit based on values and fit with your team and teach them the technical skills they need.

7 Listen to customers… and learn to sell

Customers should be your biggest source of learning. Listen, develop and refine your proposition based on what they tell you and ask for. If you find out what your customers want and sell that to them, you’ll be infinitely more successful that trying to find a customer for your product.

Ensure you have a clear plan including ideal customers, pricing, profits and volumes for each of your products. Do your market research to develop the plan and ensure you have the processes and sales skills to deliver it. Sales is a skill that needs to be learned and constantly developed.

8 Never stand still

Be paranoid and ensure you keep improving, innovating, up-skilling your team and updating your business plan.

Your customers and your competitors are, so you need to stay in the game.

Here are some quotes from leading entrepreneurs which explains just this:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple

“Success breeds complacency, complacency breeds failure, only the paranoid survive.” – Andrew Grove, Businessman & Author

“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.” – Zig Ziglar, Motivational Speaker & Author

“I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.” – Henry Ford, Founder Ford Motor Co.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else..” – Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

Micro businesses are a fundamental linchpin to the global, national and local economy. However, many of these business owners have little, if any, experience running a business and often don’t know what they need to be a successful entrepreneur.  Unfortunately, 50% of businesses in the UK do not make it to the five-year mark.

It is therefore imperative that an environment is generated to enable these business owners to prosper. They require minimum legislation and taxation alongside expert advice and support.

Enterprise Rockers was co-founded by Tina Boden and Tony Robinson OBE in 2012 to make life in micro business better. In January 2015 the first annual #MicroBizMattersDay was held to ensure recognition, action and learning for those that employ 0 to 9 people. A date for 2017 is already confirmed and 10 million people are expected to support the campaign globally.

Tina commented:

“When Tony and I tested the concept of Enterprise Rockers, a free, indie, self help, network of networks the hashtag #MicroBizMatters had the most traction with business owners everywhere. We decided therefore we needed a day where micro business matters can be discussed and we could show Government, large organisations and consumers why micro business matters.

It is great to have people like Gary who have so much business knowledge and experience sharing his expertise for free as part of the #IGave8 campaign linked to #MicroBizMattersDay. It shows how those running the smallest of businesses are keen to help each other survive and thrive”

The volume of micro business owners has significantly increased in recent years with more than 95% of the 5.4M UK private sector businesses now classified as micro.

#MicroBizMattersDay provides a unique opportunity for thousands of experienced entrepreneurs and advisers to pass on expert tips and answer key questions, supporting the needs of the global, national and local micro business owners.

To get involved in the campaign visit http://microbizmattersday.rocks and follow the conversations on Twitter using the hashtags #MicroBizMattersDay and #IGave8.