6 Ideas For Business Growth On A Shoestring Budget 2022

Date: Sat Apr 30 Author: LowCost LetterBox

Millions of workers across the UK have quit their jobs in the last year. A poll conducted at the turn of the year reveals that millions more could follow in 2022. A whopping 63% of dissatisfied employees in London said they are looking to quit their job this year.


It’s clear that people are becoming disillusioned with the corporate world and yearn for a better work-life balance. It is anticipated that a sizeable portion of workers quitting in the ‘Great Resignation’ will launch their own business. 


Unless you are fortunate enough to have a deep treasure trove to start up a new business, you need a strategy to grow your business on a shoestring. Whenever venture capitalists take over a merger, the first thing they do is cut costs.


Cutting costs is a good strategy for start-ups and small businesses that have been struggling to establish themselves for several years. The less you spend on overhead, the more cash flow you have to invest in other areas of your business.


Sign Up For A Low-Cost PO Box Address in London


If your business headquarters can be run from your garage or back bedroom at home, you will save a substantial sum of money by avoiding office rental costs.


And there’s no shame running a business in your pyjamas – on days that you don’t have clients to meet of course. Let’s not forget that some of the world’s most profitable companies today started as work-from-home ventures.


Having said that, credibility is a key factor and brand image plays a huge role in the success of a business. How consumers perceive a company will influence their purchasing decisions.


Moreover, consumers are highly distrustful of companies they find on the internet that they’ve never heard of. Today’s consumers are also very good at researching and technology allows them to visit a business virtually using Google Earth.


If your registered address is your home address, customers will not be encouraged by the sight of a three-bedroomed semi in Barrow.


There’s one other issue with registering your home residence as your business address that is worth considering. It will be accessible to the general public.


This poses businesses with two potential problems. The first one is unavoidable. You will be inundated with junk mail from B2B companies in your locale.


The second one is less likely but far more problematic if it were to arise. It’s not unheard of for disgruntled customers to turn up at a business to demand their money back. You don’t want angry customers banging on your front door…whilst you’re working in your pyjamas.


A PO Box in London, or virtual mailbox, provides you with a prestigious address and a physical location in London. With Low-Cost Letterbox, you can also use our mailing service to receive post and parcels and our telephone answering service to handle your calls and forward them to you.


Furthermore, our virtual mailbox service doesn’t announce that you are using a PO Box as the post office does.


Your official registered address will read:


Your Business Name Ltd
95 Mortimer Street
London
W1W 7ST


The benefit of hiring a low-cost PO Box in London is all about perception. London is recognised all over the world as a business and financial centre and anybody running a business in central London must be pretty successful.


Businesses are successful because they are good at what they do. A PO Box address in central London can elevate your business.


Register Your Business With A Virtual Office Address


Officially registering your business with a local authority legalises your company and gives consumers more confidence that you are a legitimate business. But as mentioned above, you ideally want to avoid registering your business using your residential address. 


The best solution is to register your address using the company formation services offered by a virtual office provider. This gives you the legal right to publish a physical address on your website, marketing material, letterheads and invoices etc.


For all intents and purposes, your business will appear as though it’s based in Oxford Circus, central London. In reality, you have the freedom to work from anywhere. This service is ideal for digital nomads and anybody else with an overseas company that wants to register their business in the UK.


The experienced professionals at Low-Cost Letterbox can register your business with Companies House on your behalf. You can even use a virtual address as your director’s address and avoid disclosing your private residency in the public domain.


Take Advantage of Virtual Office Meeting Rooms and Facilities 


Virtual offices can provide you with much more than a PO Box and a registered address. Many of them offer co-working spaces which enable you to hire hot desks, private offices and meeting rooms.


We can’t speak for every virtual office provider, but we are confident that the majority will offer fully-functioning offices. Co-working spaces and serviced offices, therefore, give you access to office space as and when you need it. And all without heavy overheads. 


What this essentially means is that you can spend a day or two in an office environment with access to printers, photocopiers, scanners and other office facilities. If you hire any staff, a virtual office is a good place to meet up to work together and discuss your next move.


Virtual offices also typically have meeting rooms which come in very useful for meeting clients. We can erect signs with your business name and logo on them to keep up the appearance that your business is doing well. Then it’s over to you to impress your client with your knowledge.


The business model we have at Low-Cost Letter Box is designed to help start-ups and small businesses operate on a shoestring business by giving you access to all the facilities you need without overspending.


Whereas most virtual office providers tie you into monthly or long-term contracts, we offer a pay-as-you-go solution. This means you have more control over your spending and can channel your resources to other areas of your business.


You may also want to take advantage of our telephone answering service. This gives you access to a professional receptionist who will be responsible for fielding your calls and forwarding them to you.


We give you a private hotline which is answered using your business name. The receptionists will take the details of the caller and contact you on the number you provide us. If you are available and willing to take the call, our receptionists put the caller through. If you are not available, we will take a message and forward it to you via email.


Use Contractors To Build An Affordable Website


The internet has revolutionised the way businesses interact with consumers. In 2022, it’s practically impossible to grow your business in you don’t have a website.


According to Forrester, 71 per cent of customer journeys start with a search engine. This means if you’re not online, you missing almost three-quarters of your potential audience.


What’s more, they’ll go to your competitors. 


It’s understandable that the thought of investing in digital marketing is enough to fill a start-up business owner with dread – especially if you’ve been sourcing quotes from English web design companies. They’re expensive because we live in an expensive country.


The technology that web developers use to build websites is all the same. That means you can find qualified and talented web designers for a fraction of the cost overseas. A fully-functional website tailored to your business brand gives you more credibility, and authenticity and serves as your shop window to the world.


The cost of a website obviously varies from one business to the next. Web designers typically charge by page plus additional costs for complex solutions such as a database.


Websites for professionals only need a basic number of pages explaining your services and a blog. If you’re selling products through your website, you can get free eCommerce plugins – although many have limitations.


The cost of building a website depends on what you need to do rather than what you would like to happen. The good news is that what you need to do can be achieved for a minimal cost.


Use Free Marketing Tools


To grow your business in 2022 and beyond, you need to establish an online presence. Although the internet seems a daunting place, digital marketing is not all that difficult. 


Whilst some professional digital marketers may be able to help leverage your online presence, outsourcing your marketing will be expensive. You can save a significant amount of your budget by creating your marketing content yourself through blogs, videos and social media marketing.


For some small business owners, social media is the most cost-effective channel to promote your business. Social platforms are free to use – unless you opt-in for their marketing program. Even then, social media marketing is not that expensive. Splashing £10 a month on Instagram, for example, can draw in hundreds of new followers.


Being active on social media also shows customers that you are a legitimate business and not another internet scammer trying to defraud consumers. Social platforms are also brilliant to use as your soapbox to share your knowledge and demonstrate your expertise. (More on that later).


The key to growing your business through social platforms is to join groups in which you are most likely to find members of your target audience. Although self-promotion is usually discouraged, you can reach out and answer questions that have been left by other users.


This has two advantages. The first benefit is that all the comments you leave on various social feeds are seen by hundreds if not thousands of people. Comments are also highlighted on your own account.


Perhaps just as importantly, the more consumers have contact with a brand the more it stands out in their memory so make sure you use your brand logo as your social media vector. 


Blogging is another inexpensive means of demonstrating your authority in your chosen field. Written content can also be used to promote your services in greater depth and provide your audience with insightful tips about how your products and service will benefit them.


Keeping a blog also plays a critical role in helping your website to be visible in search engines. In truth, if you don’t have a blog, you’ve pretty much wasted the investment you spent on building a website.


You need to add blogs on a regular schedule and share your content on your social media account. At least one a week is enough, but if you have time to write more, you will achieve search engine visibility faster.


Offering a free downloadable pdf with relevant information that offers value is also a good way of getting access to potential customers. If visitors want to download the pdf, they have to enter their email – which gives you the opportunity to reach them with targeted offers via email.


Create Homemade YouTube Videos


Running a successful business – especially online – is impossible if you cannot demonstrate trust and authority. As I briefly mentioned above, two ways to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise are through your blog and social media accounts.


However, there is no better medium to build trust and authority than video. There are several reasons for that: 


  • Customers get to know you and we all like to put a face to a (company) name.
  • Online users consume video more than any other digital media (78% watch online videos every week).
  • You can probably explain the benefits of your services better through talking than you can in words
  • You can physically demonstrate how your product works better on video and customers can actually see how it works and the results it delivers (89% of YouTube creators give the best information about products).


The power of video cannot be understated. And making videos doesn’t have to be expensive – although it can be time-consuming. But plenty of successful small business owners are making great content and posting it on YouTube. All you need is a smartphone, a script and a video editor.


Are you looking for ways to grow your business on a shoestring budget? Low-Cost Letterbox can help by enabling you to use our address as your registered office, collect and forward your mail and phone calls and, when needed, provide access to fully-functioning office space and meeting rooms.  

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Virtual Offices in London Gives You The Space To Grow

Date: Fri Apr 8 Author: LowCost LetterBox

London, the illustrious home to creative and innovative entrepreneurs, heavyweights in the tech space, media behemoths and a highly skilled workforce. 


Or is it? 


This is all hush-hush, but the capital has witnessed an Exodus in recent years. Young professionals and start-ups have relocated to less expensive regions of the UK.


Although London is a hotspot for pulling in revenue, the cost of renting or buying office space is pricing business start-ups and SMEs out of the city.


The average cost to rent office space in London is a budget-busting £50+ per square metre. 


However, statistics also show that people look favourably at businesses based in London. The fact that the government published a 64-page report detailing the “global importance” of the capital says it all. The report notes:


“London holds a significant market share in most of the key internationally traded financial services and is home to the world’s international bond market and the London insurance market.”


Let’s make no bones about this: London is highly investable.


As a matter a fact, London and Partners report that tech firms in the English capital received more funding from Venture Capital firms than Paris, Berlin and Stockholm combined.


Can a virtual office in London boost your business? 

Just to make it clear, a virtual office in London may not be the best strategy for every business.


On the other hand, if you’re a company that needs to attract investors, partners and lucrative contracts, advertising a premium London address on your website, legal documents, letterheads and emails projects a positive image of your business.


With a virtual office in central London, you have the privilege of showcasing a prestigious address in Oxford Circus – a W1 postcode.


Because the cost of running a business in London is so high, an address in W1 is synonymous with success. Only the best companies are successful – so a business address in central London plays into the trust factor that is so important for today’s businesses.


Cut Business Costs and Boost Profits

Virtual offices in London not only provide you with a prestigious address. We also run a mail handling service and telephone answering service. You basically get your own hotline.


We direct calls directly to your mobile or a dedicated hotline. We can also scan and send your post to your smartphone so you can send and receive mail from a remote location – anywhere in the world. 


When you rent a virtual office in London with us you essentially have access to a fully-functioning office with no heavy overheads associated with running a London-based business. 


With all the cost-saving you can reinvest money into other areas of your business and grow your revenue by taking advantage of the magical draw London has on investors.


Renting a virtual office in London is the smart way for start-ups and small businesses to cut the running costs of your business whilst taking advantage of all the facilities you need to boost your revenue. 

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A Virtual Office In London Makes Good Business Sense

Date: Fri Apr 8 Author: LowCost LetterBox

The coronavirus crisis may have been a distraction for many, but more than half a million bright sparks in the UK saw an opportunity to start a business. 


The Centre for Entrepreneurs recorded a whopping 575,882 start-ups register in 2020.


Work-from-home businesses can be difficult to grow though. You’re mostly reliant on online platforms – most of which work in your favour if you have a physical business address. Hello Google My Business


Virtual offices have proven to be a fruitful fallback option. They give back bedroom businesses a physical address to send and receive posts and meet clients whilst minimising the cost of maintaining a dedicated office space.


Whilst virtual offices nationwide provide businesses with multiple benefits, virtual offices in London can leverage your business more than anywhere in the UK. 


As a matter of fact, there are few locations in the world that can leverage your business better than a virtual office in London.

But why a virtual office in London?

London is an established financial hub. Its reputation as a commercial heavyweight is so huge that people flutter their eyelids at businesses with offices in England’s capital.


One mention of ‘your London office’ and people immediately prick up their ears and pay attention. London is synonymous with success and success is synonymous with businesses that know what they’re doing.


In other words, a London-based business leverages that trusty trust factor. 


However, there is one slight snag. 


Cost.

According to Oktra, office rentals in central London are through the roof. If you’re a start-up or in the process of growing a small business, your heart falls to the floor when you get quoted figures of between £65-95 per sq. ft for Grade A properties and £55-£65 per sq. ft for Grade B.


Oomph!


So you can see why it makes sense to take advantage of a virtual office address in London without such high costs?


So what do you get?

Premium virtual office addresses in London

For a nominal fee, you have access to a premium business address in central London.


How does a W1 postcode in Mayfair or Oxford Circus sound?


You can use a virtual office address on your website, letterheads, marketing material, invoices and legal documents etc. We can even register your business with Company House using your postal address as a certified business address.


It’s perfectly legal to do that.


Also, if you do need to meet clients, partners or potential investors in person, we have fully-equipped meeting rooms and private offices that you can rent out by the hour on a pay-as-you-go basis. 


We can even put signs up with your business name and logo to create the impression that you are based in the office full-time. 


In addition, we can provide 24-hour call handling services and manage your mail for you. If you don’t live in London, we can send your mail straight to your smartphone. 


Essentially, a virtual office in London gives you all the benefits of a fully-functional office for a cost that enables you to grow. 


That’s why a virtual office in London makes perfect business sense for start-ups and growing businesses. 

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The Benefits of a Virtual Office in London

Date: Fri Apr 8 Author: LowCost LetterBox

If your business is ringing the changes and adopting a “new normal” approach to work-life, mailbox located at a physical address is invaluable for receiving business mail.

How London Can Boost Your Business

Credibility is a key factor behind the success of a business. Without the trust of consumers, partners and investors, there is no company in the world that will get off the ground. 


But growing a reputation as a London-based business comes at a cost. A hefty cost that will hurt the budget of most companies.


Neon light, pulsating venues and abundant business opportunities may call you, but the bloated rental costs for office space will push you away. 


Don’t let the lure of neon force you to return home to your parents with your tail between your legs, business-less. 


Research shows that 60% of small businesses fail in their first year. Statistics published by the Office of National Statistics tell a different story. London has had the lowest five-year survival rate year-on-years since records started began in 2009.


For the sake of balance, London does also boast the highest number of successful businesses in the UK as well. You will need some financial clout behind you for that though. Spend v income in the early days of running a business in London also eats into the amount of time you have to make your business successful. 


The financial commitment required to live and work in the capital is jaw-dropping and heart-pumping. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and paying for a place to live and a place to work significantly drains your income.


So if you do decide to move to London, a virtual office will free up a significant slice of your budget to invest in other areas of your business.


If your company has a significant turnover to swallow the costs, a physical business address in London’s prestigious W1 certainly helps to leverage how your company looks in the eyes of investors and customers. 


But if the costs are more likely to kill your potential for growth, the alternative option is to rent virtual office space.


Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of renting a virtual office address in London. 

  1. Premium Business Address without the Cost

Having already established the steeeeep costs to rent office space in London, a virtual office with a London postcode can work wonders for remote businesses. 


Essentially, you get access to an address in central London together with other services that create a fully-functioning office (more about that below).


Here’s the thing; perception is everything.


The brand image you project into the public space influences the purchasing decisions of consumers and investors. Moreover, people are quick to make a first impression.


And you know what they say about first impressions. 


Yep, they can be changed. 


The important point to make here is that London-based businesses are perceived as successful. You have to be successful (or affluent) to afford to run a business in London. 


The concept of “fake it till you make it” doesn’t exist in the capital because most start-ups are more likely to run out of money before you make it.

 

Yet London has a global perception that can elevate your business – regardless of where you are actually running your business from.


It’s perfectly legal to register your business in the UK with a London W1 postcode whilst running your business from a straw hut in the mountains of Timbuktu.


Advertising a prestigious address in Mayfair or Oxford Circus on your website, letterheads and other marketing material projects a positive image of a successful business. 


And people trust successful businesses because successful businesses prove year on year that they are good at what they do. 


So running a business from London may not help you fake it till you make it, but advertising that your company is based in a prestigious London district can.


Wink. 

A virtual office address in London projects the same professional image of your business as actually owning a physical space – but without the cost. 


Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look at the costs involved to rent office space in London.

2.Virtual Offices are Cost-Effective 

We’ve highlighted that most businesses will find London an overwhelmingly expensive hub. 


So let’s take a look at how expensive it is to rent and maintain an office in the capital. 


Having scouted a few office comparison websites, we learned the cost of renting business premises in our hood – Oxford Street – started at £65 per square metre. The most sought-after offices in W1 will probably set you back by £85 sq. m. 


I know, I blew my cheeks out as well!

As you can see, the cost of business premises is calculated on the amount of space you need. The more employees you have, the more space you need. 


For the sake of argument, let’s say you have a small team and are happy to work in a small office of 40 sq. m. That’s not very big for office space. At the lowest rate, you’re looking at £2600 a month in rent alone.


You then have building maintenance costs and utility bills on top. 


If we look at an example that is probably more realistic, the average office space occupied by businesses in London is closer to 400 sq. m – which bumps your rental costs up to an eye-watering £26,000 a month. 


The cost of a virtual office in London that you can use as your professional trading address starts at £34 a month. At RealisUK, this price also includes our mailing service and telephone answering service.


The premium service is £55 a month which gives you scanning and mail forwarding to your mobile phone.


Even when you compare our highest fee with the lowest cost of a physical office in London, you will save over £2500. Moreover, you will receive all the services you can expect from a fully-functioning office.


You could argue that the only thing you don’t benefit from is working with your team on a day-to-day basis. However, we can even provide you with meeting rooms and office space for when you do need to work with your team in person.


The cost for renting office space will obviously cost more than £55, but our pay-as-you-go model means you only pay for space when you use it. Our charges are based on hours, nit square metres. You certainly won’t be slicing off more than £2500 from your budget.

3.Increase Your Availability

A virtual office can offer a helping hand to solopreneurs and SME business owners that need to invest time to grow their business. 


We offer a 24/7 telephone answering service that is manned by a professional receptionist who will receive your calls and pass them on to you.


We have a couple of ways to do this. In the first instance, we will forward the call immediately whilst the caller is waiting. You can either choose to forward calls to a dedicated landline or directly to your mobile. This gives you the option to take the call or phone them back later.


If you choose the latter option, or if our receptionist cannot get through to you, we will take the caller’s contact details and the beef of the message and alert you via email. 


This means you never miss a call and don’t have to worry about taking every call as it comes through. If you’re in a meeting or ‘in the zone’ and don’t want to be interrupted, you won’t be disturbed or miss a business opportunity. It’s a win-win solution.


Not only that but you are given your own private line and calls are answered using your business name. This helps to leverage the reputation you are building by having a business postcode in a prestigious location in central London. 


Speaking of which….

4.Project an Image of Success

The location of a business can lend itself to how other people perceive your company image. London has a reputation as a world leader in commerce and finance – which is subsequently reflected in businesses based in the capital. 


Businesses that appear to be operating from a prestigious address project a positive image that suggests you are a successful outfit. Successful businesses give people the confidence to invest in your company. 


In today’s digital world, there is an added importance to fostering trust in your company. Businesses with a physical location can pin your office address on Google My Business which helps to leverage visibility in search engines. 

5.Access to Modern Office Space and Meeting Rooms

If you live in London, or within reaching distance, you also have the option to take advantage of meeting rooms and private office space. Therefore, if you’re meeting with a client or investor, you can rent whatever office space you need to create the impression you are based here full-time. 

We can arrange to install signs on the doors and walls that include your company logo and give you access to a member of our team that will act as your personal assistance. We’ll even provide refreshments.


As mentioned above, you can hire office space with us by the hour so you can manage your budget and only pay for the time you book.

6.There Are No Long-Term Commitments

Being tied into long-term contracts can hamstring SMEs and startups. First of all, you pay for office space even when you’re not using it. When you rent a physical property, you typically have to commit to a six months tenancy at least.


Secondly, being tied to a contract doesn’t give you the flexibility to move to other offices if you need to upsize of downsize. What would happen if three months into your lease deal you receive a significant investment but need to increase the size of your team?

7.Fosters Remote Working Models

The benefits of a virtual office also give all the benefits of working from home or abroad. A virtual office address in London has been a godsend for digital nomads that are travelling but needed somewhere they could receive posts for their business.


Our virtual office services include scanning and mail forwarding. This means you can receive your post directly to your smartphone or email – anywhere in the world.


If your company is moving out of London and and pivoting to remote working, you can still receive posts to a physical address in London. Likewise, you can either have your mail sent to you electronically or collect it in person from one of our five locations in London

8.Create a UK-based Company From Anywhere

You don’t have to be a UK resident to register a private limited company in the UK. However, because you have to navigate a government website, setting up a limited company in the UK can be time-consuming and frustrating.


Our company formation services eliminate that burden and do everything for you. Our staff has performed company formation service dozens of times so know that steps to take to get you registered promptly. 

We handle all the registration formalities on your behalf, submit your application to Companies House and forward the official documents to you electronically.


You’re also entitled to use our virtual office address in London as your official registered address. It is perfectly legal to do so and is a popular choice for businesses that use the address of their solicitor or accountant as their registered address.


The difference is, we charge far less than legal and financial firms in the UK. 


In addition, when you register a limited company in the UK, directors are obligated to provide a service address where they can be reached. Service addresses are available online and readily available to the general public.


This enables you to avoid using your home address as your office address which means you won’t be inundated with junk mail, cold calls or even a disgruntled client turning up on your doorstep.


Find out how a virtual office in London can benefit your business by getting in touch with a friendly member of our team today. 

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Why is a Wimbledon Mailbox good for your business?

Date: Wed Mar 24 Author: LowCost LetterBox

There are many reasons for a business to choose a business mailbox or a virtual office, but what makes Wimbledon such a popular choice for these services?

We all know Wimbledon for its obvious tennis association as the world famous championships are an incredibly popular event attracting the gaze of the world’s media every year.

But Wimbledon is also a thriving business centre and being close to the centre of London with an excellent reputation and perception in business, all powerful associations for your brand, whether you’re an existing and trading business or a start-up.

A business mailbox in Wimbledon gives your business kudos and credibility, setting your trading address in Wimbledon positions your business in a professional light to your prospective clients and customers.

What kind of mailbox service is best for your business? Well, there are many considerations as to the type of business mailbox you will choose.

If you are within a reasonable distance to Wimbledon, then a ‘Collect’ plan would be the cheapest option for you and your business.

Collect means that your mail is securely stored and then you can collect at your own convenience, At LowCost LetterBox, we handle thousands or items of post every week, so the team are very well versed in maintaining strict codes of security and privacy.

A Collect Business Mailbox in Wimbledon means that you can promote your Wimbledon business address wherever you like, giving your clients and suppliers that essential first impression.

Seeing that your business is based in Wimbledon is a very positive association that positions your business as being established and professional, whatever your business sector.

It’s also possible to have a personal mailbox in Wimbledon. With a personal mailbox, you can collect your mail and parcels as you wish. It’s a great idea if you wish to maintain highest levels of personal privacy and you will be notified by email if there is mail to be collected.

A ‘Forward’ mailbox  plan is a mailbox service, where rather than you collecting your mail, our team will forward, by post, your mail or parcels to wherever you choose.

All your forwarding is carried out swiftly and professionally, so your mail is expedited to you with the minimum of fuss or involvement on your side.

Our Forward mailbox service in Wimbledon is one of our most popular plans and represents great value for any small business, or even to larger business requirements.

Our team at LowCost LetterBox take care to forward your mail accurately and speedily, so you can open and reply to your mail from wherever you are.

Lastly, our ‘Scan’ package gives the greatest flexibility as we open & scan your mail and store in our secured servers so you are able to access and respond to any of your correspondence quickly and easily.

Our scanning is very high quality so you can easily read and digest your mail, and view it on your PC, mobile or tablet wherever you are in the world.

If you’re the kind of business owner who’s always on the move, then our Scan mailbox service in Wimbledon will be a very good choice for you.

If you want to further augment your business perception and communications with customers, then a Wimbledon Virtual Office may be the ideal solution.

A Wimbledon Virtual Office means that you have the additional benefit of call handling with a live receptionist taking your calls, exactly as if it’s your business. It makes for an excellent perception and first response to clients, without you having to be there at all.

Wimbledon is the best of all worlds for your business. A thriving community with great business connections and the association of a global sporting institution.

When this is backed up with a professional service providing Wimbledon Mailboxes and Virtual Office services, it’s a very strong choice for any business.  

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Is your address legging up your business?

Date: Tue Sep 15 Author: LowCost LetterBox

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there are far more of us working from home and if you have a small business, or even a larger one, you may have decided to work from a home office, or benefit from the many flexible workspace opportunities available.

In these situations, it’s very easy to default to using your home address across your website and your social media accounts, but could this decision be ultimately costing you business and new clients?

In the current climate of businesses closing in high numbers, as a direct result of the Covid crisis, people making business decisions are naturally doing more research into the businesses they trust to partner with.

Many of these searches involve a scan of the postcode, to take a look at where the business is located.

So quite literally, with Google Street View, you have a prospective client looking through your front window into your home and up and down your street!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is not good for business, on some occasions, you can actually see home occupants in the windows or in the garden – not exactly a very professional look.

If this due diligence is present, and only going to increase in the future, as decision makers want to grasp a better understanding of who they are choosing to do business with, surely it makes sense to box off a suitable and appropriate business address?

A London business mailbox is a smart move for many businesses.

Firstly, London is the major hub of business and industry in the UK, so your address in this location, shows that you have good connections to the city, where may of your prospective clients are likely to be located.

But more than that is the address itself. A premium address in the right location, associates your brand as being prestigious and projects exactly the right image for your business.

With a London PO box, your business can direct mail to this new address, which can be set up as your legal trading address. The service includes the scanning and forwarding of mail to wherever you are, either within, or outside the UK.

You can imagine that when a prospective client now searches for your office address on Street View, the result is far more impressive than them looking at your domestic dwelling.

A London Virtual Office, is another popular alternative, where you have greater admin support to help you run your business, through to enhanced services like a virtual receptionist, representing your business and taking calls professionally in your business name.

In the current times, businesses have to pay more attention to their brand and the message that they are portraying to potential clients.

Although working from a home office has seen a massive increase in recent months, with businesses cancelling longer term office rents in favour of home-based addresses, it’s important not to compromise on the brand message an address creates.

The additional good news, is that the cost of a London business mailbox, or a London virtual office is extremely good value with some extremely attractive offers currently available.

If you think your business could benefit from a London business mailbox or London virtual office, click here to find out more and get in touch.

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Are Virtual Offices the way forward?

Date: Thu Jul 16 Author: LowCost LetterBox

Most business people are familiar with the concept of the Virtual Office and of having the facility to direct mail and calls to a nominated office address.

But what’s the future for the popular service in light of Covid-19, lockdown and increased home and remote working?

A Virtual Office effectively acts as a one-stop location, with modern business facilities to handle communications, leaving the business-person or employee to run things without the hassle of managing premises and employing an admin team.

In recent months, as more and more people were forced by lockdown to work from home and not commute into the office, many considered the longer term scenario and how they would manage the ‘new normal’.

Part of this consideration revolved around communications and maintaining a decent presence and the illusion of normality to customers during very unusual times.

With head-offices closed, and home working the norm, the actual physical location of the business became less important, so naturally demand for Virtual Offices have increased in recent days for business continuity.

Part of this has been to do with issues around privacy, as now communications, such as letters, packages and calls have had to be to worker’s home addresses.

The setting up of a Virtual Office means that the personal privacy of the user is not compromised as mail goes to a PO Box without the need for the person to divulge their personal information and risk it getting into the wrong hands.

One of the additional benefits that companies have seen in using the Virtual Office in this time, is an actual increase in orders and enquiries, as their calls are answered when they are unavailable without the risk of being missed.

Add to this the convenience of having mail forwarded to them, wherever they are, or it being scanned and emailed, many have seen their productivity increase due to the Virtual Office taking some of the administrative strain.

This particularly applies to owners of smaller businesses and sole entrepreneurs. That said, even teams within larger companies have reported their productivity increasing as less time has been required for admin and post duties.

With the current considerable measures in place to deal with the control of the spread of Covid-19, the reduction in close proximity contact with others that is afforded by choosing a Virtual Office has obvious benefits for hygiene.

If mail and other items are in contact with fewer hands and there is not the passing of germs caused by these items changing several hands, then risk of infection is greatly reduced.

It’s very likely that in the future, the ‘new normal’ will look like a gradual increase in the remote working model, where hubs of business will be more virtual, rather than swathes of offices with hundreds of people at desks.

Therefore, it’s also likely that the Virtual Office service will adapt and grow to fill this space, to adequately cover the demands of a much more mobile and flexible workforce.

It’s up to the Virtual Office sector to now raise up to the new requirements that are very much still evolving, but the foreseeable future looks to be one of both confidence and growth.

An increase in technology communications, Artificial Intelligence, online conferencing, telecoms will all play their part in making the Virtual Office a go-to for almost all businesses, to some degree or another in light of the Covid-19 aftermath.

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PO Box In London: How Does It Make A Good Business Impression

Date: Tue Jan 29 Author: LowCost LetterBox

A London address can do wonders for a business. And affording one is much more cost-effective than you might imagine. And no, you don’t have to buy business property in London. You just rent a PO Box in London.

We’re not talking about a PO Box that you get from the post office – you know the ones that make it obvious the address is a PO Box! We’re talking about a real office address where you can have your mail sent to and forwarded on to you – regardless of where you are based around the globe. You can even hire office space by the hour and hold meetings with your clients in our London offices.

If you want your business to create a good impression without having to foot the hefty costs of owning a business location in London, a virtual office address is an ideal solution.

Addressed to Impress

Businessman taking business card

An actual business address makes your business appear professional and credible. A PO Box in London will earn you even more kudos with potential clients.

First impressions go beyond initial talks, they are the foundation stone of how a person perceives your company.

A London address creates the impression of a thriving and successful business. Your business could be thriving anywhere in the world but for all intents and purposes, a PO Box address suggests you are based in London.

And this is a key factor for many of today’s entrepreneurs and sole traders. Whether you work from a home office or travel and work online for a living, a PO Box in London can establish you as a credible business.

Premium PO Box in London

Having a PO Box in London is one thing, but a business address in central London is another lever that notches up a client’s impression of your business.

Image plays a major part in the business world, and central London is a hub with masses of influence. Why settle for any old virtual address in London when you can get a premium address in the centre.

We have fulfilment centres in Oxford Circus and Baker Street – a W1 postcode that has the X-factor to give your business an A1 image!

You can see all our London Centre locations here. And the address you see on our website is the address that will appear on your business card, stationery and website.

Google Map Pin

Tablet with map on screen and red pin isolated

For businesses to flourish these days, you have to be online. And without a physical business address, Google, or search engine users do not trust you are an authentic business.

To really take advantage of search engines, you need to be leveraging your credibility in Google My Business. One of the key ingredients that enables you to stand out and make an impression on Google Maps is an address with a pin in it.

A PO Box in London not only enables you to create a good impression for your business, you also have a personal mailing assistant. And we can reach you in any part of the world!

LowCost LetterBox is a fulfilment centre with plush office space – so we can handle all your mail and provide you with office space whenever you need to entertain your guests in person.

Like this post? Feel free to share. See our most popular posts below.

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5 Essential Services You Need: To Keep Your Business Healthy (Updated For 2018)

Date: Fri Dec 15 Author: LowCost LetterBox

When starting a business it’s important to have an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

The reality is that starting a business can be very costly, as there are a number of services and systems that you may require to keep your business and yourself in check.

Making the right decision and knowing what you will need to purchase for new business will go a long way towards keeping your startup lean and healthy.

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Get set up with a payroll system

Get an accountant

Invest in client relationship management

Use a project management tool

Make use of professional business service

Get set up with a payroll system

Generating your employees pay can often be a nightmare to manage. However, if you are going to employ people to work for you, it’s important that they are well looked after. Payroll can often be outsourced to an accountant.

However, it may be best to enroll your business with a payroll system. Some systems such as Payroo’s payroll system, can be used to manage a number of legalities surrounding pay ethic. This service links to HMRC for RTI submissions, Nest Pensions for your employee pensions and it allows up to 10 free users to access its features. Your employees can also check their pay slips and manage there taxes, P60s and P45s.

Get an accountant

Hiring an account can be considered a necessity for your business. They can help with a bunch of different things that may otherwise be difficult to do by yourself. They can help with loan applications, government audits, payroll and general bookkeeping.

You won’t always need to hire an account full time, you can hire one on a pay-as-you-go basis and just use them for the tasks you deem most fundamental to managing your business.

Hiring a professional to look after some of your business practices makes serious sense. You’ll have the reassurance that a professional is looking out for you and your businesses legalities.

You may need an accountant to help with;

Writing a business plan

Advice about legal structure

Help with managing your business’s finances

Audits & Pension Schemes

Xero.com is great accounting service provider and may be a good place to start looking.

In a recent article, Xero stated that it may take you up to 10 hours to do your taxes, if your time is worth its weight in gold, outsourcing this particular task to an accountant could prove to be a win win scenario.

healthy-business-person

Invest in client relationship management (CRM)

There may be a time when your business is starting to kick-off. When your startup really gets started you will need a platform from which to manage your clients and customers.

A CRM is also used to manage the data associated with those customers. As your customers use your site and its popularity increases, making sure you maintain the profile, accounts and data of your customers will become increasingly prevalent for your business.

Every time someone at your company picks up the phone to talk to a customer, a vast amount of information is shared and exchanged.

Without a CRM or some basic data recording you will miss out on a potential truck load of information you can keep on your consumers. Everything you find out about them can be recorded in a CRM. If a customer calls or makes an input on your website you will need to be there to capture their data.

Every inkling of information you can get on your customers will go along way towards converting those leads into sales.

By making sure you invest in good quality CRM you can keep a closer eye on your customer base and tailor your products, sales and marketing techniques accordingly.

CRM tools are plentiful but again, shop around and make sure you find the best deal. The services can vary greatly in what they offer and some are more tailored to specific business types so bare that in mind when you come to make a decision.

CRM or customer relationship management will be essential for any B2B or B2C based business.

A more detailed article here.

Use a project management tool

No matter where you work in business, it’s quite likely that you will have a vast number of tasks to do on a daily basis. It can be easy to keep track of these task by simply creating a list or by creating a sheet in Excel or Google sheets.

However, most businesses that have 5 or more employees with a busy workload will need a centralised and preferably cloud based, project management tool.

Tools like Dapulse, can help you to keep track of your tasks with all the benefits and requirements that are desired by professional project managers.

Most project management tools use online cloud based systems that allow multiple users to login from varied locations.

A project management tool may include;

Projects & Tasks – List based input with schedules and deadlines

Contact Management – Simple CRM

Real-time – KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Quoting and Invoicing

Team collaboration – Tasks to be tracked and scheduled by multiple team members

Online Team Discussion and Live Chats – For real-time collaborative work

Reporting and Tracking – For large projects with multiple inputs from team members

Task delegation – for project managers and team leaders

Message Boards – For project discussion

Email and desktop notifications

This list includes just some of the many technicalities and good project management tool can offer.

Basecamp, Dapulse and ProofHub are good places to start looking for project management tools.

Make use of professional business services

Last but certainly not least. Professional business service are a must for most new businesses. They can be useful, especially if you are not fortunate to have an official office location. A professional business service is an essential service to keep your business healthy.

Often a professional business service comes in the form of virtual services. The professional business provider can give you mailing addresses and phone lines that do not exist in your office. Instead they are managed from the physical location of the provider’s own space.

For example, a virtual mailing address would be suitable for business owners who do not have a physical office address themselves. By signing up for a virtual office a new business owner can find a cheap solution for the management of their business and personal mail. You can also get packages and parcels signed for and kept securely.

This is certainly useful if you are out of office or a busy entrepreneur. You can rest assured that a team of professionals will be there to answer your business enquiries. A provider will sort through all of your physical mail. Most will even notify you via your preferred contact method to let you know that you have received mail.

Employees from a professional service provider can even open letters and parcels for you in your absence. As a business owner you will never miss an important letter from the bank or delivery of goods whilst at work.

In addition, most virtual office and virtual mailing address services will forward your mail to you. Here at LowCost LetterBox we can even scan all of your letters to be sent directly to your electronic inbox (email).

Virtual address services will be essential if you live in temporary accommodation or if you are a serial entrepreneur.

We hope you found these tips useful.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our latest posts.

All the best,

The LCLB Team

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Outsourcing: The Advantages And Disadvantages (For New Business)

Date: Tue Dec 12 Author: LowCost LetterBox
If you’re working in a new niche you may be under threat from similar startups who have also gained an understanding of your new niche. They may be outsourcing some of their tasks to speed up their development.

If you are thinking about starting your own business or you have a business already it may be that you want to work quickly and spend a little extra cash to get those difficult to do tasks completed with efficiency and professionalism. More often than not your business will require speedy completion of tasks to get ahead of competing businesses and outsourcing could be the solution.

It may be that you are willing to do the same. If so, here are some tips on how to outsource efficiently, as well as some examples of businesses that have succeeded through making use of outsourced services.

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What is outsourcing?

What sort of funding do you have?

How long can you take to get your product or service launched?

What do you want to achieve?

What types of services can be outsourced?

Are there any disadvantages to outsourcing?

An introduction to outsourcing

When you are first starting out, you will want to hire talented individuals with expertise in their required fields. It would normally be considered more efficient to hire an individual and to train them. Allowing them to grow along with your business will mean that they will gain a better understanding of their role and the wider goals of the business. Resulting in a more efficient situation for both the employee and the employer.

However, it’s not always that easy. Hiring talent is very expensive and the more specialist and experienced an individual is, the more that they will cost to maintain. You should always look after your employees if you want the best out of them. In reality we can’t always hire who we want, sometimes the talent isn’t available and as aforementioned it can often be expensive. So what should be done instead to get specialist work done without hiring? The answer may be outsourcing.

Outsourcing constitutes the purchasing of external services from a third party, to aid with business growth and practice. This is often an alternative to hiring talent directly under the employment of a business.

Although often shrouded by controversy, it’s important to understand that almost every business will need to outsource services at some point in its lifespan. There are efficient ways of doing so. I can’t talk too much about specific services as every business varies but there are a number of services out there that are required by almost every operating business.

Before you can decide whether or not your business needs to outsource talent ask yourself the following questions;

What sort of funding do you have?

Will you have issues with cash flow if you outsource specialist services? You may need to asses you finances to see if outsourcing is the right option for you. Most services will charge on a monthly basis, whether that is a quarter or half term the reality is that paying for a great external service may require paying out large sums. Running into issues with cash flow can cripple your business and leave you, your employees and customers in a bad way.

outsourcing-service-user

On the other hand consider if you have enough cash to hire the services via an internal employee. Essentially, try to understand if you can save time and effort by hiring directly rather than using an outsourced service. If you do decide to outsource, let’s say a developer for example, you will have to understand that they don’t work for you directly. Asking them to work like they do will not be possible, as they will have to spend time with their other clients too.

Once you are happy with their work it may be that you hire an internal developer to continue where they left off. If that is the case, remember that it will take them time to transition between the work that was done by the external developer. The type of work you outsource and its immediate relationship with your business should be a factor in deciding how you hire the related services.

More often than not an outsourced service will be cheaper but try to hire these specialists for one off tasks. Maintaining use of an outsourced serviced will not be beneficial in the long run. If you are going to need a job doing for an extended amount of time it’s usually recommended to invest in your own people.

How long can you take to get to your product or service launched?

Often times running a business can be demanding, none more so than when going out alone. If you have researched your niche and are working to build a business in an untapped or emerging market place it’s more than likely that you will run into direct competition and speedy development could become the fundamental factor that determines your success.

If that is the case outsourcing could be extremely beneficial.

Many successful businesses have be launched on the back of outsourcing. Slack, a business recently valued at $3 million, initially grew their business off the back of a outsourced service.

If you find yourself in a race consider that you may need to get to market first. You will be beaten out if your competitors outsource and you don’t. It can be crucial to determining your success.

In a previous article Top 5 business tips (for Startups),  I highlighted a company called Eve Sleep. A brand new business developing comfortable mattresses. Their CEO, Jas Bagniewieski faces a tough competition with a number of new mattress brands appearing since his initial success. A perfect example of a niche business sector currently undergoing a race for expansion.

Getting setup quickly and using your funding to power through the competition is great if you can afford it, and doing so you will most likely find benefits to outsourcing in that case.

What do you want to achieve?

Consider your niche market.

If you are building a brand new app that’s never been done before, the chances are that outsourcing programmers will not be an option for you. Keeping your idea safe will be a top priority and the type of application you develop may require ground-breaking design in which case you will need to hire someone you trust and keep them working for you internally.

Outsourcing-agreement

It’s important to consider what type of business you are running and unloading the right tasks in the right places should be something that you consider very carefully.

What types of services and can be outsourced?

Again it’s important to note that every business is different but there are number of services that are going to be a mandatory requirement for a new or established business.

If you are running an online business you will need;

A Web-hosting service
An Inbound Mail-server
Outbound and Mail Outreach services
Mailing Automation
Developers
Graphic Designers
Social Media Marketing
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Paid Click Specialists (Pay-per-click | PPC)

outsourcing-get-what-you-pay-for

Regardless of whether or not your business is based online you will require;

A mailbox or mailing address to get post sent to
A company formation service to get your new business set up with companies house
Internet
Phonelines
Printing
Analytics Softwares
Payment Systems
Office Space & Meeting Rooms
Security Softwares for both websites and computers
Accounting
Administration
Secretarial Services
Booking Platforms

These are just some of the services you may end up outsourcing. However, it’s very likely that you require these and more. So consider which of these tasks can be handled by yourself or by your team, for how long and for how much. If you can’t complete these tasks then look to outsourcing but shop around and find the best service you can, that is both well priced and trustworthy.

If you require repeat work, taking the time to consider your options will pay off in the future as there can be devastating setbacks if you hire the wrong company to aid your business.

Are there any disadvantages to outsourcing?

Outsourcing is usually a very strategic and considered decision by business owners. Taking the option to outsource needs to be a carefully considered decision because there are often risks associated with choosing to do so. A business usually makes use of outsourcing when the resources and skills aren’t available internally. Nearly all businesses will need to consider outsourcing at some point during their operations.

The risks involved can include the following;

A loss of control. You may need a specific task outsourced whilst you build the funds to hire internally. This may include administrative tasks, such as telephone answering or you may need design work and web-development, if you run your business from an online platform.

Most of these tasks are on-going and you risk losing control over these specifics if you choose to outsource. A common example is when a business hires a coder, or developer to maintain a website of application. You may be able to make use of an external business to handle that side of the development, knowing that you will require additional work in the future means that the company you choose to outsource to will need to be trustworthy. More often than not a development company may move there efforts to aid another client and leave you in dust with no help to develop or maintain your service.

If this happens you can see a loss of productivity and you may have issues with the platform that require immediate attention. You could be left to find a new outsourced service or to hire internally at which point you will need to train the new employee and give them time to catch up on the existing work. This type of sudden change can be devastating in the early start of a business and this type of issue is more common than you might expect.

Its these sorts of issues that have lead to a distrust of outsourcing and why most companies take the time to carefully consider whether outsourcing is the right option. Examples of where outsourcing may be useful could be on-going services like a virtual office or mail forwarding service, these tasks can be outsourced cheaply and free you your time to manage your business without the need to sort your mail or wait around for deliveries. You may also require on off design work for a specific campaign that you are running, another example of where outsourcing could be a better option than hiring internally.

In conclusion

Whether your business is still an acorn of an idea or a fully functional organisation, the need for businesses to make use of outsourcing will not diminish anytime soon. You may be able to take advantage of experts who work virtually or be lucky enough to have the funds to hire talent. Outsourcing though, will never be outdone for the cash it can potentially save a business owner. Not only will you be able to keep costs down but the need to train and spend time with those individuals, you would have otherwise employed, will be drastically reduced. Meaning you will have more time to work on the important things your business requires from the day-to-day.

We hope you find these tips useful.

Read our previous article, How A Virtual Office Can Help You (Run Your Business From Home).

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5 Of The Best Bootstrapped Business Ideas [In 2018]

Date: Wed Dec 6 Author: LowCost LetterBox
In business terms, bootstrapping refers to starting a business without external aid from others, from both a personal and financial perspective. It’s a good thing the technique exists, as so many of us have the desire to start our own businesses but have very little capital on which to draw from. I have been in business with brand new startup owners and I have learnt that it’s far, far easier to spend money, than to make it. There are ways however, of starting a business on next to no budget.

Skip to:

Stick to what you know

Planning for spending

Getting set up with a physical address

Crowdfunding

Partner up

Most of us have dreamt of starting our own business. You may well know the requirements of starting up but fear the next steps. Getting investors on board can seem like a mountain to climb. Especially if you do not have close friends or family with the means to back you up. For anyone who has started their own business the difficulties involved with getting interest and more importantly, investment, are more often beyond that of which, we as normal human-beings can manage. Bootstrapping a business can take away the stress of getting investors on board, by managing everything yourself and limiting your spending you may be able to kick-start your new business, stay lean and ultimately succeed all by yourself.

“Most of us have dreamt of starting our own business. You may well know the requirements of starting up but fear the next steps. Getting investors on board can seem like a mountain to climb.”

We wanted to shed some light on how and where you can gain traction for your new business. At very little or no cost to you. So without further explanation, here are our tips.

Don’t go in blind, stick to what you know.

For those who have experience working in startups, it’s often advised that budding entrepreneurs work in an industry that they already know. Familiarity with a niche domain, and by that I mean your specific business sector, is considered obligatory.

We wrote about this in an earlier article this year, our Top 5 Tips For Startups, but it’s important to reiterate this point. Starting a business without specific industry experience can be a killer from the get go.

Attempt to learn your craft first. Working in your chosen industry can give you the relevant experience and an in depth understanding of its prerequisites. Starting your business without first hand industry experience can be considered detrimental to your future success. By working within your industry, not only will you become more knowledgeable about industry trends, but you will build up insight concerning your competitors and you will have the chance to build relationships with key individuals. Individuals who may be able to give you a leg up when you need it most.

If you are reading this, it’s most likely that you have already started your business or are on the verge of doing so. Being told to get a job in your chosen industry may seem like a taking a step back, or at least a distraction from your own business venture. However, you can gain industry insight in a number of ways.

We are lucky today in that we have access to unlimited resource from the internet and most online social communities are incredibly friendly and willing to help. So get on Reddit, get in Facebook groups and get on Twitter to shout for help. Some experts may even be willing to lend you their time face-to-face.

You could also join a co-working space like central-working. You may find yourself surrounded by entrepreneurs who have the same difficulties as you or even those who have learnt to surpass them. Don’t go in blind and certainly not alone.

Planning for spending

O.K, so I have just spoken about how Bootstrapping your business can be beneficial as it usually means no cost. The reality is that there is no such thing as a purely bootstrapped business. The aim here would be to limit your spending as much as possible. Stay lean.

Gain a considered understanding of what your costs might be. The services you require, advertising, labour and design. If you’re manufacturing, what costs might you be subject to? Consider any penalties or administrative costs as well. It’s best to overestimate here. Once you know what you might be spending on you will be able to go through your ‘shopping list’ and determine which services you may be able to negotiate on and which individuals may be able to help you with either free help or significantly reduced costing. Taking steps like this is great business practise. You can download a free business plan template from the princess trust. Use it to form your business practices and get an idea of what your costs might be. If you have a friend who works in finance, now would be the time to communicate with them.

Getting set up with a physical address

You may have the urge to get set-up with a physical office location. Having a place to work outside of your home can be really tempting when you first start out. There are certainly advantages to renting an office. You can make use of printers, phones, computers and have a clean and neat environment which ultimately might help you to stay focused. Not to mention the additional space for a studio or simply your new employees.

BUT..

And it’s a big BUT. The cost of a physical office can be huge. Paying rent and office admin fees may take away all of your profit and if you are first starting out, the last thing you want to do is to spend your hard earned cash on assets that do not bring immediate return to your business. If you are still determined to get an office make sure you have customers first, running into problems with cash flow early on can paralyse your business and may end up leaving it dead in the water.

However, there are always alternatives to renting an office. You may already be aware but if you aren’t, it’s important to know that most services you expect from a rented office can be hired at a significantly reduced fee. Instead of renting an office with a physical location you can use the service provided by a virtual office provider.

A virtual office includes;

A Trading Address. This is used for trading purposes, you can send and receive mail with this address.

This means any spam mail can be filtered here and important mail won’t go missing as you can get your provider to notify you about certain letters you may be expecting.

You will also get that mail forwarded to an address of your choice.

Some services allow for email and text notifications when you receive new mail.

Any mail you do receive can get sent to your home computer or mobile phone. Your provider can open your mail with your consent and proceed with making a digital scan which can be sent to your electronic devices.

A virtual office may also include a telephone landline with a telephone answering service. Also known as a virtual assistant.

An address in a prime location may be used to represent your business and can often impress clients.

Remember when trying to bootstrap your business you must always consider options that can cut costs.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be a great way to kick-start your business. It’s the practice of funding a project or new business venture by raising small amounts of money from a large amount of people. Crowdfunding can be achieved in a number of ways, through mail-order subscriptions or benefit events but the term usually refers to a method via internet related registries. Crowdfunding has been popular for a number of years and has contributed to the rise of a number of amazing projects that otherwise couldn’t have been possible without it.

There are a number of crowdfunding platforms available today. Some include;

Funding Circle

GoFundMe

CrowdFunder

Kickstarter

Some of the most successful businesses in the past few years have been a result of crowdfunding. One project, a crowdfunded video game called Star Citizen created by Wing Commander boss Chris Roberts, made history by becoming one of the largest crowdfunding projects to date raising $163 million. This meant that funding had surpassed that of most triple A video games from larger studios. Star Citizen began its funding on KickStarter. More recently a digital currency by the name of Filecoin, a blockchain virtual currency from the Ethereum platform, became the largest ever crowdfunded project, raising over $257 million dollars!

Crowdfunding has proved itself as a viable method of lean business design. However, if you are going to get people to buy into your business you must make sure you deliver on your promise, failure to do so will result in disaster and a collection of angry customers.

Partner-up

Find a co-founder. You can’t undertake this journey alone. Having an extra pair of hands to help you out, with an extra set of eyes to watch over you can be extremely valuable when you are first starting out. If you are bootstrapping your business, most of your work will be done internally. Your co-founder should bring additional funding but your skill sets should also compliment each other. If you can cover a broad range of skills between the two of you, you will have less chance of needing to outsource those projects to external specialist which will prove costly. Maintain the philosophy of low-spending.

Bonus

Focused on yourself as well as your business.

Ask yourself these questions;

Are you hiring the right people? Are you being efficient with your spending? Could you learn skills that you need rather than outsourcing them? Remember, nothing is impossible to learn, if you can manage your time you may well be able to add to your skill set and save some serious cash.

We hope you found these tips helpful and we wish you the best of luck in your new venture!

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A New Series: Get Interviewed And Share Your Business Story

Date: Fri Dec 1 Author: LowCost LetterBox

We’re inviting you to share your business stories with us!

Due to the nature of our business we work closely with young startups and small businesses from the day to day.

We thought it would be interesting to hear your business stories and give you the chance to promote your business from our platform.

Doing interviews is a great way to promote yourself and by answering our questions we in turn can provide you with a valuable link back to your website.

As part of our new blog series we are interviewing small business and startup owners!


How does it work?

E-mail us at info@lowcostletterbox.com

or contact me directly via Facebook.

Answer the following five interview questions in any way you like.

Provide a photo of yourself and any other photos owned by you that relate to your business.

We will link to your business from our site and promote the interview on social media.

It won’t cost you anything!

If you would like to be part of the series please don’t hesitate to get in touch! It’s a great way to promote your business!


The Questions

  1. Please introduce yourself and your business.
  2. Why did you start your business?
  3. What is your background as an entrepreneur?
  4. What is the most difficult part of running your business?
  5. What would you like to achieve in the near and distant future?

We hope you have fun answering the questions and we can’t wait to hear your responses!

All the best,

Tristan

DM @LCLB

 

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How A Virtual Office Can Help You (Run Your Business From Home)

Date: Mon Nov 27 Author: LowCost LetterBox

Running any business is time consuming and from here in London, running a business can be extremely expensive. You may need space to work, store your files, computers and any other necessary equipment that ensures the day-to-day running of your business and for that you will require a virtual office.


Skip forwards to:

Mail Handling and Letters

Registered Address

Mail Forwarding

Mail Scanning

Notifications

Time to collect


I currently have a friend who is in the beginning stages or starting his own business. Like many of us, he has a dream to be his own boss and to run his project with efficiency and minor costs. We would all like to run our business with a few costs as possible but bootstrapping a business isn’t always an option.

There are usually costs involved with most businesses, however you may already be in a position where you have managed to negate some of the costs of starting up. Perhaps you were given essential equipment by a friend or have decided to make your hobby your profession. The reality though, is at some point you will require the paperwork of a business and the use of additional services to help you manage your accounts, mail or phone calls. Administration services can be expensive and more often than not, you will need to employ someone to help take calls and to deal with your clients and customers by the day-to-day.

Most of us, no matter how hard we work, will need some help from an extra pair of hands but you need not employ someone straight away. More often than not you can outsource your administrative tasks to a professional business service company.

Most professional business services come in the form of a virtual office. A virtual office can come in many shapes and sizes but usually acts as an address service. A fee is paid to the provider and in return they will sign for your mail, file it and often forward the mail to your desired address. A virtual office differs from a serviced office or executive offices in that it represents a non-physical address and cannot be used by a client or customer as a traditional office space in which to work.

The following are some services you may expect to outsource as a self starter who is working from home.

1. Mail Handling & Letters

A virtual office will usually include mail-handling. This means letters and parcels will be signed for. If you are out of your own office, whether that’s at home or a rented office, a virtual office provider can be there when you aren’t. It’s their job to sign for parcels and to deal with the postman. Letter sized mail usually makes up the majority of sent mail handled by postal services. Documents are normally printed on A4 paper (210x297mm) or a letter size (215x280mm). Although electronic mail is most popular for written correspondence and is usually the most efficient method, you may still receive mail concerning your business in the form of bills and new credit/debit cards as well as letters from your bank. Usually most written content that contains sensitive information is sent via physical mail to lessen the chances of that sensitive information being intercepted. In the United States of America it is considered a strict violation of the law for anyone other than the named addressee and government staff to open a mail not sent directly to them. However, in the UK and other countries you may request that an individual access the contents of an important letter on your behalf. A service that most virtual offices providers will happily oblige by.

Our top tip: When using your national post service to send mail (Royal Mail UK), it’s best to send your mail as registered mail. This allows the location and correct address of the mail to be tracked by you and by the mail provider. It’s usually more expensive but is generally recommended when sending and receiving important letters and parcels. Registered or recorded mail requires that an individual signs for the item upon receiving it. This method of sending is protected by The Recorded Delivery Services Act 1962.

2. Registered Addresses

Having someone to sign for your letters and handle them safely may prove beneficial to the daily running of your business but first you will require a registered address. Again, a registered address can come in different forms. Usually a provider will allow you to open two main account types.

A personal mailing address to be used by an individual for non-business purposes. This means letters must be directed to you as an individual, that’s by your own name. The address can not be used on websites, business cards or on any other form where it is showing as an address associated with your own business.

If you require the address for your business practices, usually an additional cost will ensue, but as this is the most popular use for a virtual address you will find that most services are setup to handle business mail. Additionally an individual can use a business account to receive mail addressed to their business, this also allow an individual to use the address of their virtual office as there own, for placement on business cards and daily correspondence.

The specific requirements of your business will vary but some may require that your business is associated with a prestigious address. To find out more about registered office addresses click here.

3. Mail Forwarding

Having an address to receive your correspondence, in the form of letters and parcels is great but you may also require that your mail is then forwarded to your personal address or a custom address that you have provided. A virtual office may include a mail-forwarding service. This means that you can get those important letters and parcels signed for and then sent to you, wherever you may be.

Most postal services have a mail-forwarding service although the cost and any additional forwarding fees will vary from provider to provider. Low Cost Letterbox has some of the most reasonable pricing for these services requirements.

Top Tip: It’s important to note that most providers will have a maximum size for parcels, usually a large parcel is up to 30x30x30cm or 5kg. This means that anything exceeding this size will require an additional fee to be both received and forwarded and may include additional charges

4. Mail-Scanning

Mail-scanning involves physical mail and the process of scanning the item via a scanner, to be consumed and mailed via a new electronic form, usually e-mail or via cloud services. Not all providers will include this type of service so watch out for additional charges from providers who include this service as an add on. Most of us deal with electronic paperwork on a daily basis and it may be that you prefer this type of forwarding over the traditional paper format. If this is the case look for a virtual office that includes this in their package types.

5. Notifications

So you have you virtual office up and running? Whilst your letters and parcels are being received and looked after, it then becomes no use to you if you don’t know what you have received and when. A virtual office provider will usually have a system for notifying you when you receive mail. This may be by text, by e-mail, a phone call or a notification by an app but most providers will be inclined to notify you that your mailbox has taken deliveries. Some clients may also require additional security, in which case a provider may be able to offer you alternative methods of notification.

6. Time to collect

Once you know you have mail you will need access to it. If mail-forwarding isn’t included in your plan you may need access to a nearby depot where your mail is being stored.

Top Tip: Make sure your virtual offices provider has an address close to your home or somewhere that you don’t mind commuting to collect. You will also need to bare in mind that your provider may not be open at early or late hours, beyond normal business hours, so keep an eye our for virtual office providers that have depots open 24 hours or on weekends.

Remote work and the use of virtual offices is on the rise. With an increase in rent and a decline in affordability, the most efficient and manageable system for handling your business administration may be through a virtual office provider. To find out more about our virtual offices, click here.

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We Invite You To Review Us On Google!

Date: Tue Nov 21 Author: LowCost LetterBox

We invite you to review us on Google!

If you can help us out we can give you money off on your next renewal!

If you are an existing customer and have made use of services in recent months, you may have noticed we have been making changes to our site to offer you the best possible service we can provide.

Part of those changes mean that we would like to build trust in our services by posting reviews for new customers to see. However, we need your help, as an existing customer, if we are to achieve this!

We would love you to leave a review, it can be positive or negative, we will still reward you regardless!

 


If you would like to help us follow these short instructions;

How does it work?

1. Click on the link down below

Review us here by clicking here.

2. Give us a star rating

3. Tell us what you think

4. Tell us that you have reviewed us or leave your name on the review and we will reward you with £10 pounds off your next renewal!

That’s it, thank you so much!

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User Experience In 2018 (5 Of The Best User Experiences)

Date: Mon Nov 20 Author: LowCost LetterBox
As a digital marketer I often spend my day wondering how I can improve my website to make it the best experience for my users. I’m still a junior and have encountered a hard learning curve when it comes to converting my leads into sales.

At times it can feel frustrating that so much effort is put into optimising my site for search engines, only to find that my customers aren’t using my site in a way that I would like. The new reality is that putting effort into search-engine-optimisation, social media and pay-per-click advertising are only some of the first steps to converting customer interest.

As the primary source for my traffic, Google is essential to my businesses well-being. With more and more regular updates from Google, the Hummingbird algorithm and the rolling out of Rankbrain, we can see the increasing importance of user experience design. Consistent specialist insight from the likes of Rand Fishkin at Moz, make it clear that there is continued focus, from search engines, on user experience through optimised user interfaces. And thus, everyday user experience is becoming increasingly prevalent in my work as a digital marketer.

I grew up playing video games from an early age and as such I have been exposed to digital user interfaces all my life. Some of the best and most refined user interfaces are from the makers of video games. With an increased complexity in video game manufacture, the menus that we use to navigate such programs require significant planning and thoroughly considered design. Intelligent design and the ease of use for customers can often make or break a video game. Confusing menus are to be avoided at all costs.

There is increasing evidence out there that suggests digital interfacing can benefit from a technique coined as gamification. Gamification in UX is nothing new and you don’t have to be making a video game to make use of it’s techniques.

I recently finished reading a great article by UX Planet that outlines how user engagement can benefit from gamification. But, what is gamification? According to the article, gamification can be roughly defined as, “the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment”. This can cover anything from fancy graphical integrations to animation reward based interactions. Web-designers and user interface designers make use of the techniques of gamification to make their application more fun to use. Simply put; their efforts are to make the user experience more enjoyable for a customer by enticing them with game-like mechanics.

The article goes on to explain which techniques of gamification can be exploited to better a user experience for customers. It used to be that designers would refine their designs through simplification. This technique still rings true in many cases but is often outweighed by adding techniques from the game world. Whilst making an application or website more simple to use, designers in addition, challenge their customers and attempt to retain their usage via reward based interactions.

The primary goal here, in my opinion, is to focus on user retention. If a customer enjoys using a service or interface then they are much more likely to return and consequently make a purchase. Jeffrey Humble defines user retention as “the activity that a selling organization undertakes to reduce customer defections”. According to Dynaware only 16% of users will return to an app that has crashed twice. With 25% of the world’s economy being attributed to digital business (Source: Accenture, Technology vision), the innovation required for a better user experience is reinforced and can’t be ignored.

If you are a digital marketer you will be used to being pushed around by search engines and forced to alter the way you present your business online, for both the customer and the engine. I want to talk about the best techniques being applied by companies that are ahead of the curve when it comes to user experience. Some of which, make use of gamification.

Although gamification and VR technologies may be the latest additions to user experience. It’s some of the most successful internet companies today that had to pioneer their own techniques to best their competition.


Amazon

As part of my learning, I have been paying considerable attention to some of the most successful consumer sites on the internet. No other site on the internet is as critically acclaimed as Amazon when it comes to being on top of the e-commerce game. When designing a user interface it’s important not to overwhelm your customer with endless features. Amazon are champions of customer experience. They make use of countless techniques, many of which I will have overlooked and/or will fail to understand. However, I wanted to focus on one feature that I, and many others, think make Amazon the superstar service it is today.

Amazon-shop-front
Credit Source: Wikipedia

It concerns Amazon’s use of ratings. They first introduced their product review system in 1995 and it wasn’t very popular among experts. However, the so called experts were soon proved wrong. In actuality, the introduction of a ratings system proved to be a success. By the turn of the millennium the internet was quickly becoming one of the most used and trusted sources for product research by consumers. Amazon recognised this early on. By 2008 up to 70% of Americans said that they consulted product reviews and consumer ratings before making a purchase (Source: Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates). It’s this fundamental statistic that had drawn our attention towards customer views in the world of web-retail.

Ebay/PayPal

As far as online auctions go, Ebay is one the best. It’s right there as one of the most popular millionaire making sites on the internet. Ebay was launched in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar. Originally the site was set up as Auction Web, only a small part of a larger personal site. It had been set up to sell Pez dispensers and additional kinds of collectables. In 2002, Ebay became the market leader in electronic commerce. Ebay, like Amazon, defined their profit margins by taking a fee from transactions, rather than stocking or selling the products themselves.

ebay, paypal exhibition stand

Ebay relies on a number of core features. Feedback, a section on the site allowing customers and clients to give feedback to one another and to give feedback on the products that are being sold and bought. The feedback system is centred around a star rating, again much like Amazon.

Part of Ebay’s initial success depended on having a great payment system that would make their business of profiting from transactions, far easier to implement and manage by both their clients and themselves . PayPal also offers buyer protection, with a shield cover of up to $500. Ebay also offers their own protection, for buyers who are not using PayPal, with cover of up to $200. Ebay had previously built their own payment system called Billpoint. However, in 2002, Ebay acquired PayPal from inventors whom (included Elon Musk) for $1.5 billion.

In my opinion, it was the acquisition of PayPal that had set Ebay apart from it’s competitors. PayPal could offer its users a safer transaction, with built in fraud protection. After years of trialling payment systems, Ebay had finally found the perfect fit, although at a cost.

By 2007 PayPal had announced that they would partner with MasterCard to develop and launch the PayPal Secure Card service. An unrivalled service that meant customers could make use of PayPal on sites that did not accept PayPal Directly. Prior to this however, Ebay had stood alone in offering the most secure and efficient payment system in e-commerce. A triumph to better their customers experience. They would go on to profit themselves and their customers until present day.

Facebook

A lot has been said about the success of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. I have previously spoken about Zuckerberg as an entrepreneur in my article, Top 10 Startup Gurus.

Facebook, originally called the Facebook, was developed under creative, black hat methods in order to undermine its competition. Zuckerberg had taken the hacker mentality and applied it to his development in Facebook. He took the idea that all information is free and should be shared freely. By extension Zuckerberg believes that through this rapid sharing of information, we should all become better connected and better off socially as a result. Whether or not this type of thinking will work or indeed has worked is yet to be determined but it has been this application of thinking that has brought Facebook to the forefront of social technologies.

facebook
Facebook
Credit Source: Pixbay

Over the years, Zuckerberg and his team have been able to maintain key philosophies that have been consistent throughout Facebook’s lifespan. One of those being its design element. Users have never been and never will be subject to online adverts in the traditional sense. Facebook profits from ads but the philosophy of a simple and clean design that does not distract the user from a clean and efficient usage has been maintained and protected throughout Facebook’s development.

Although at times surrounded by controversy concerning the protection and/or profiting off of user data. Facebook has been able to sustain its high usage via regular updates to its intelligent design and user interface.

Tinder

Tinder may not have been the first dating application built for mobile but it is certainly the most well known. Tinder allows for communication between mutually interested users. By simply swiping right or left, an individual can indicate an interest for another.

tinder-app
Tinder App

Dating apps and websites have been around for as long as the internet has been. So why has Tinder has so much success?

Well I think it again comes down to the user experience. Tinder makes use of gamification by giving users a playful mechanic in the form of the swipe! On top of this, Tinders design allows users to feel rewarded for their use of the application. Getting matches can be considered as point based. The allocation of points that fulfil a reward based mechanic allow an individual to gain satisfaction and to track their status as a desired individual.

You can sign up for twitter via spotify and Facebook, this allows users to sign up very quickly, with very little effort and with most of their core profile data fully formed. This has meant that Tinder has become very popular among young individuals looking to form relationships.

This year (2017) Tinder has released a desktop version of the app.

Playstation

I started this rant by talking about video game design so it seems right to end with it! The battle of the consoles or, entertainment systems if you prefer, is a topic that you may have read into. Even as non-gamer you will most certainly have heard of this intense rivalry. The competition between technology giants Microsoft and Sony has lead to some of the best innovations we have seen in user interface design over the past two decades!

playstation-controller-being-held
A Playstation 4 controller
Credit Source: Max Pixel

This vying for position has reached a pinnacle with the introduction of the latest generation of this type of consumer electronic. The recent efforts of both companies to gain top spot has lead their latest devices to be practically identical in internal capability, with almost equal power and practically identical parts. With each device’s physical presence having nothing to set one apart from the other, it has come down to the software and ultimately the user interface of each console that is set to define their success in the consumer market. Since the consoles have had time to settle in the marketplace it’s become clear that there is only one winner of this excessive battling. Playstation.


I strongly believe that Playstation’s success in beating out Microsoft’s Xbox is to be awarded to its user interface that greets it’s players on start up. A simple design that allows user to manage their game library and watch TV in an uninhibited manner. A cleaner and ultimately more efficient design has won Playstation fans and newcomers alike.

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Top 5 Reasons To Use a Virtual Office in 2017 (An Info-graphic)

Date: Wed Nov 8 Author: LowCost LetterBox
Whilst more and more businesses call for adaptable work hours, the virtual office makes an open door for individuals to work at whatever point they like from wherever they are.

Skip to;

Info-graphic

Additional Information

Updated for 2017.

What is a Virtual Office?

A virtual office is typically defined as a location that does not exist in reality. A non physical address typically used by small companies who would like their mail and sometimes calls directed to.

A virtual office can provide businesses with an address that they can use to handle their general office admin. They are often sold within prestigious business locations such as a city’s commercial and downtown districts.

Consider drive time, low to no commute expenses and lower overhead expenses, having commuters travel less, builds efficiency, and allows those who work remotely to get a little extra out of their day.

In 2017 Jesse Cooper, took her London-based communications firm virtual. She saved money by not paying rent on downtime for her company building. For her, what was supposed to be a temporary cash saving method, ended up becoming a permanent situation. Jesse saved money, her productivity increased and her employees became far happier!

She was able to employ a plethora of talented individuals, all of whom were happier to work from home and non required the costs to relocate.

So why choose a virtual office?

1. Little to no commute time.

Many of us live close to our place of work, but for those of us who don’t, working remotely can offer an individual more time to sleep and work. This means less time wasted and more time spent being productive.

2. Your employees have more energy for the important things.

Although rather morbid, there are studies that suggest sitting at a desk for more than 11 hours a day can increase your risk of death by more than 40% in the next 3 years. Allowing yourself and your employees the freedom to move about will not only help to keep them energised but will also be beneficial to their well-being.

3. There are no limits on who you can employ with a virtual office.

So you’ve taken your business virtual? Well now you can employ anyone from anywhere! Say you need to be overseas every week, why not hire someone from the country you commute to instead? They can deal with the overseas clients and you won’t have to board a plane.

4. Save money.

Let’s be honest, most of us are in business to make money and the best of us know how to save it. Switching to a virtual office can save you money on utilities, office leasing and necessary hardware. Not to mention the costs of travel, if you commute to London like I do, saving money by staying at home could be a deciding factor when it come to choosing a virtual office.

5. You’ll gain in productivity.

As business owners we know that keeping our employees happy is fundamental to their productivity and in turn, the productivity of our business. You lose the stress of getting people together all in one room and instead you’ll replace it with a satisfying feeling, knowing that you can rely on a number of conference call technologies to handle the meeting for you.

Virtual offices have a number of benefits for business – more than this list entails. With better technologies for keeping people connected the traditional office is becoming outdated and uncomfortable.

If you would like to find out more about setting up a virtual office, visit our product page Virtual Office.

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Self-employment & Remote Work for the UK Labour force (An Infographic)

Date: Thu Nov 2 Author: LowCost LetterBox
I recently took the time to form this info-graphic from recent data shared via the Office for National Statistics. I hope you enjoy reading this info-graphic and feel free to share it.
Updated for: 02/11/2017

We have decided to put together an info-graphic, made up of collated statistics from the Office for National Statistics. The report is formed from facts and figures of different studies and surveys concerning the UK labour force from 2008 – 2017.

The virtual office can be a place of great benefit to those who are unable to make use of a physical office addresses.

Although services can vary the virtual office is usually aimed at the young entrepreneur, a startup or simply a freelancer who needs an office address for business use.

Remote workers can make use of virtual office services and as home-working is on the rise, now has never been a better time to sign-up.

Remote-work-infographic-2017

If you would like to use this info-graphic, please contact, info@lowcostletterbox.com

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5 Brilliant Startups (from the UK in 2017)

Date: Thu Nov 2 Author: LowCost LetterBox
I’ve just finished writing my first list, ranking startup gurus and why they are successful. However, most of those creative entrepreneurs who appeared in the list such as Mark Zuckerberg and Andy Rubin, are actually no longer owners of startups and stand behind some of the biggest corporate powerhouses in the world.
I work for a UK based startup and I thought it would be great if I covered some of the more recent companies that have been formed in the UK, specifically focused on those businesses that are performing beyond expectation in 2017.
Updated For: 01/11/17

Cornerstone (formed 2014)

Founder: Oliver Bridge.

Website: www.cornerstone.co.uk

Cornerstone was ranked number 10 this year in Startups top 100 list. There are a ton of other startups I could have picked for this number five position but I have to include Cornerstone in my top 5 based on the brilliant premise of Oliver Bridge’s business.

Oliver set out in 2014 with very particular goal in mind. He realised that the male grooming market was dominated by ‘ineffective and expensive’ products. So he created Cornerstone, an online subscription service made up of own-brand, quality shaving products for men.

Cornerstones 24 person unit, has over 110’000 customers in the UK, a figure that has doubled in only a year – and it’s no wonder why. Having almost given up on clean shaving, I find Oliver and his two year old startup not only beneficial to me personally but also satisfying from a business perspective.

Ever since I shed my adolescence and started shaving I have been faced with a choice of two brands (that will remain unnamed). Both of which, have become increasingly overpriced, leaving many men ,including myself, with scruffy unshaven beards. In fact, this uncomfortable way of living has becoming so common that beards have become fashionable. Either that, or beards are simply cheaper to maintain.

Oliver said he ‘wants to completely destroy the men’s aisle at Boots and have every man in the UK getting their toiletries from Cornerstone’.

By growing his product line, Bridge wants to go on to sell his business for £100 million pounds by 2020. At the moment, he seems very much on track to do so.

Housekeep (formed 2014)

Founder: Avin Rabheru

Website: www.housekeep.com

Avin Rabheru, Housekeep’s founder and chief, first launched his Uber-esc house cleaning service back in 2014. Since then Housekeep has gained over 20’000 loyal customers with 1000 of those signed up for recurring subscriptions.

House keep was named by Startups Awards as Service Business of the Year in 2016 and they show no sign of slowing down with aims to increase their subscription customers to 10’000 over the next 12 months.

Housekeep currently operates within zones 1 -4 of the Greater London metropolis but Avin claims that there is every intent to take the company global.

Eve Sleep (Formed 2015)

Founders: Jas Bagniewieski, Kuba Wieczorek, Felix Lobkowicz, James Fryer, Abid Ismail

Website: www.evemattress.co.uk

In just two years Jas Bagniewieski and his team have launched six products in 12 countries. In May of this year, Eve announced its first IPO on the London Stock Exchange. A phenomenal indication of growth and potential for investors. Customers can see the benefit too, with more efficient advertising and faster delivery times, Jas and his company are surely on a path for further success.

Although inundated with an influx of competing brands, it’s stands as a testament to these creative entrepreneurs, that they have been able to brush aside competition and come out on top with increased revenues of up to 355%. They went from an initial £2.6 million investment in 2015 to now showing capital of over £12 million.

The team said it took great branding, a great team and a great product but most importantly, a little bit of luck.

Perkbox (Formed 2012)

Founders: Saurav Chopra and Chieu Cao

Website: https://www.perkbox.com/uk/

According to the Perkbox website, ‘Perkbox helps business become happier by creating more inspiring places to work – through incentives known as perks, in order to provide financial, emotional and physical well being’.

Perkbox incentivises companies to sign up for it’s service by building tailor made perk plans for a company’s employee workforce. These perks can include supermarket savings, high street savings, gym discounts and free phone insurance as well as cycle2work schemes.

They have also teamed up with a number of well know brands such as M&S, Argos and Odeon. Companies with a subscription service can allow their employees to make use of these perk schemes with the idea being to improve productivity among the workforce. As smart idea from two genius, creative entrepreneurs.

Laundrapp (founded 2014)

Founder: Edward Relf

Website: https://www.laundrapp.com/

Laundrapp is another Uber-esc business. An app that allows its customers to have their washing picked up, cleaned and then dropped off at their desired location.

I was fortunate enough to meet the founder and CEO of Laundrapp, Edward Relf at his Covent Garden based offices. Although it was little known to the public at the time, Edward has just secured a deal to launch Laundrapp in 15 countries by the end of 2017. The idea was to license it’s logistics technology to laundry franchises across the globe.

Currently the service is available in 100 towns and cities across the UK and the app has been downloaded over a quarter of a million times since launch.

Despite not yet being a profitable business, it’s Edwards clear goals to expand that land him the number one spot on my list.

We hope you enjoyed our article be sure to comment and like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Check out my previous article on Startup Gurus here.

Part two now available.

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Top 10 startup gurus (and why they’re successful | part 2)

Date: Mon Oct 30 Author: LowCost LetterBox
A guru, from the Sanskrit, ‘master, teacher, and expert’.
We’ve been in business for over five years but we still call ourselves a startup. We take a great interest in the business of all types and thought now would be a great time to share our interest in some of the most exciting startup entrepreneurs of 2017. So without further explanation, this is our list of startup gurus.
Updated: 30/10/2017

Part one here.

5. Andy Rubin

Andy-Rubin

Founder and CEO of Essential, formerly of Google, Apple Inc and Danger Inc. Andy left Google in 2014 and later launched his startup, Essential, a competitive smartphone company backed by a $330 million dollar investment. The phone, simply named the ‘Essential’ phone has been designed by Rubin and co to undermine the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy.

The Essential phone is the first step towards a larger goal of Rubin’s. Rubin has said he wants to launch multiple products in direct competition with some of the most hardcore tech companies in the world. The next product of the Essential Products line is rumoured to be a smart home-hub, similar to Google’s home and Amazon’s Alexa.

It may seem like a monumental task in today’s competitive market but Rubin is well qualified for the task. In 1989 he was nicknamed ‘Android’ by his co-workers at Apple due to his love for robotics. Android stuck and it became the apt name of his open-source operating system, a name that has now become synonymous with the smart-gadget industry.

After leaving Google’s Android program in 2014, Rubin focused much of his time on his startup incubator program, Playground Global, which he launched in 2015 with Peter Barrett. A tech-focused incubator that provides mentor-ship and funding via Redpoint Ventures, Rubin’s venture capital firm. The program is specifically focused around furthering developments in artificial intelligence (AI).

Despite Rubin’s rich tech background the competition he faces from the likes of his former employers at Google and Apple is overwhelming. However, he is determined to succeed. He claims via the Essential Phone website that he wants to take a simpler and more elegant smartphone to the market. He’s brought hangups about innate design flaws of Android to his engineers, with an aim to focus on craftsmanship and simplicity, that he believes the likes of Android and IOS have so far failed to do. Rubin has real doubts about closed ecosystems, like Apple’s IOS. He maintains that Essential’s OS will ‘play well with others’ and will aim to be open-source.

Rubin clearly has chip on his shoulder when it comes to innovative tech and he shows no sign of slowing down either. Thus he has made my list at number five.

4. Shradha Agarwal

Co-founder of Outcome Health. A startup focused on helping patients with chronic diseases. Outcome makes use of the latest innovations in tech to help doctors deliver the best treatment for their patients.

The company is helmed by CEO Rishi Shah and together with Shradha they have managed to bring in $500 million dollars with a valuation of more than $5 billion dollars. According to Fortune, Outcome has already fitted over 40’000 doctor’s offices with touch screen and tablets that aid doctors with their workflow and help to deliver valuable insight to patients.

Outcome claim to bring health intelligence to more than half a billion patients and just under a quarter of a billion health care professionals each year in the US. Since launching in 2006, Shradha and Shah have managed to get their technology into almost 20% of doctors offices in the country.

This work is somewhat pioneering. Their aim is to further digitalise the way we treat health problems and in doing so to provide healthcare professionals with insight that they have previously been unable to make use of.

However, upon increased investigation into their website it becomes clear that Outcome’s goals are less to do with health information and more closely related to advertising. There tech not only aids doctors and patients, but it also sells to them and this is the crux of Shah and Shradha’s business plan.

Despite these entrepreneurs clearly prioritising money making above techy health benefits they are still contributing to humble cause and succeed where many greedy startups fail, which is why they have made this list at number four.

Check out this video of Outcome Health.

3. Brian Chesky

brian-chesky

Co-founder at AirBnb. Ranked number 4 this year on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list. Brian Chesky and his co-founders, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia, have been navigating their fly-by bookings platform Airbnb through one of its most turbulent years yet.

Brian has already come a long way. He previously worked as an industrial designer and was born into a poor family. His list of accolades, however is still growing and in 2015 he was named by President Obama as an Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship.

A grand title for a young man who was once quoted in his school yearbook as saying “I’m sure I’ll amount to nothing”.

Chesky graduated from RISD and shortly thereafter moved to San Francisco with his to be co-founder, Gebbia. They attended a design conference there and found that all the hotels in town were fully booked. It was that same year in 2007 when Gebbia pitched Chesky the idea to rent space for people who couldn’t find a place to stay and thus Airbnb was born (initially Airbedandbreakfast.com).

The founders joined by Nathan Blecharczyk, have since shortened the name and have expanded into more than 34,000 cities. The company is current the second-highest valued startup in the US, valued at $31 billion dollars as of March 2017. That’s almost twice the value of the Hilton empire.

Brian, having been named in Time’s ‘100 most influential people of 2015’, has since been working hard to expand his business into China, under a new company name.

In January this year Brian tweeted that Airbnb would be giving free housing to refugees and any others who have not been allowed into the US as a response to President Trump’s Executive Order earlier this year.

The company is expanding rapidly and since becoming a profitable business in 2016 their revenue has grown by 80%. Chesky and his team have gone about acquiring multiple business in their niche, including a booking app, Resy, and a Canadian-based villa rental company named Luxury Retreats International.

Brian’s humble beginnings means he has come a lot further than most of the other entrepreneurs on this list and that’s why he claims the number three spot.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

mark-zuckerberg

Co-founder and CEO of Facebook Inc (worth $71.5 billion as of September 2017 – Forbes). Love him or loathe him, Zuckerberg’s name is as famous as his creation. Previously known as TheFacebook, Mark’s social network has become one of the highest valued ($500 billion dollars) and most certainly one of, if not the most influential media sites in the world.

I had just finished reading ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ by Ben Mezrich when the film ‘the Social Network’ hit cinemas. A creation adapted from Ben’s book, concerning the life and rise of Mark Zuckerberg, the now infamous creator of Facebook Inc. Infamous because Mark is often portrayed as the bad guy, a typically ruthless entrepreneur with a sharp eye for predicting trends. He is well known for making use of the latest psycho-analytical techniques to further the development of his renowned and vastly ‘liked’ (pun intended) social media site.

The story of Facebook is well documented but if you don’t know the rough details of how it came to be then make sure to check out ‘The Social Network’ starring Jesse Eisenberg as the bright college dropout.

It’s hard to talk about Zuckerberg without harping on about Facebook, but it’s not actually Facebook that ranks Zuckerberg so highly on my list. Much like Bill Gates and his spouse, Zuckerberg and his partner, Priscilla Chan, are dedicated to benefiting the world on humanitarian grounds. In 2015 the pair announced that around 99% of their shares in Facebook would be donated to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – a limited company set up to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy”.

Original article here.

But it’s not just this initiative that makes Zuckerberg so influential. He is now consistently ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world. My studies of Zuckerberg have lead me to believe that power is something he values highly. This control over Facebook gives him the power to determine the success of people’s businesses, influence elections and completely undermine well established news networks. However, despite Zuckerberg’s enormous power and combined wealth, it stands as a testimony to his character that he maintains his humanitarian beliefs. A belief system that so far, has kept his potential abuse of power in check.

  1. Jeff Bezos

    jeff-bezos

CEO, Amazon. According to Money this July (27th), Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $90 billion dollars. This July he surpassed his residential neighbour, Bill Gates.

O.K, this is post about startups and Amazon has far surpassed its humble beginnings as an online book store 23 years ago. But I wanted to mention Jeff and Amazon because of their consistent ability to innovate. Together Jeff and his team are surely one of the most interesting companies to watch in the near/distant future because of this.

Amazon is currently the world’s largest internet sales company and it’s closest competitor, isn’t really close at all (Alphabet Inc, almost $45 billion dollars behind in revenue). In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the US.

There is plethora of information on the internet concerning this retail giant but it’s certainly the past couple of years where we have seen Amazon fulfil its market potential. In June this year, Amazon broke the news that they would be acquiring Whole Foods, a high-end supermarket chain and therefore provided a confirmation that Amazon is no longer an online only business empire.

With consistent innovation and expansion, such as Amazon prime and Amazon’s drone based delivery service, Amazon now owns over 40 subsidiaries. And that’s why I had to absolutely put Jeff and his business empire at the top of this list.

If you made it this far thanks for reading and be sure to check out part one if you haven’t already.

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Top 10 Startup Gurus (and why they’re successful | part 1)

Date: Wed Oct 25 Author: LowCost LetterBox
A guru, from the Sanskrit, ‘master, teacher, and expert’.
We’ve been in business for over five years but we still call ourselves a startup. We take a great interest in the business of all types and thought now would be a great time to share our interest in some of the most exciting startup entrepreneurs of 2017. So without further explanation, this is our list of startup gurus.
Updated for: 25/10/17

10. Justin Rosenstein, Co-Founder of Asana.

Justin’s startup is Asana, a project management tool used by businesses to plan and track their work. It was launched in 2008 and is now valued at over $280 million dollars.

Having previously worked at Google, it was when Justin was working at Facebook that he met Dustin Moskovitz, one of Zuckerberg’s famous co-founders. He left Facebook with shares worth over $730 million, which he deposited into a trust.

Rosenstein now leads product and design at Asana and along with Dustin they have recently celebrated reaching a milestone of over one billion users since launch. An impressive feat for any business.

“Success is a long series of problems” – Says Justin. He believes that CEOs are always working on problem solving. Call it what you want, solutioneering is what Justin has become master at managing. He says the path to success is a series of problem of solving tasks that get more and more difficult to manage as a company or business grows in size.

“It’s hard to maintain your focus on one thing at a time”. Justin tries his hardest to work with his team and uses a buddy system in his workplace to optimise the speed at which tasks can be completed.

Tips from Justin – clarity of purpose, clarity of plan. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed, maintain a large perspective and take each problem as it comes.

9. Elon Musk, PayPals creator, Co-Founder/Founder of Space-X, Hyperloop and Tesla motors.

Elon is one of my favourite CEOs of all time. Fearless, determined and passionate. Elon has been told no a million times, yet he always gets up and gets on with it.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago since Tesla motors, Musk’s electric car company, was receiving a bad wrap from a number of influential people in the automotive and energy industries. The same is currently happening for his Space-X program, with many claiming that Musk is either delusional or simply mad to perceive that we may be landing commercial spacecraft on our desolate red neighbour, Mars in the next 20 years.

I however, maintain support for Elon on his quest to better humanity. I often think I’m mad to be in support of his commercial space program when so many disagree, usually with the claim that ‘it’s a waste of money’ and that we should be focusing our efforts on the maintenance of this planet rather than trying to expand into the interstellar nether.

However, no matter what you think of Elon and Space-X it’s not so much his goals with the company that are worth debate, whilst his mission to better humanity in someway or the other is fundamentally his biggest win. By embarking on that fantastical and improbable mission, Elon inspires us all to reach for the stars.

His ethos is surely backed up by his venture into electric vehicles. This year Tesla skyrocketed in value, with wall street ramping up the value of shares within the company. Musk claimed that he believes that value to be higher than Tesla deserves. Modest he may be, but Tesla shows signs of picking up the pace. With a manufacturing deal outside the US, Elon will see his cars produced in Shanghai, China. The first factory of its kind outside the US.

Despite continued scrutiny, Elon Musk’s companies continue to thrive and inspire. That is why he has made our list at number nine.

8. James Heller – Co-Founder, Wrapify.

James is one of those talented individuals who sees the world from a lateral perspective. His company, Wrapify, makes use of one of the last frontiers of ad space. Automobiles. Obsessed with cars from a young age, James managed to find $2.9 million dollar investment to start his car wrapping company. Drivers are paid, on average, $350 dollars a month to wrap their cars in clients adverts.

Yes, O.K, we have seen adverts on cars before but not quite in the way that James and his team have engineered. Wrapify is fundamentally a digital company and has only been around since 2015, it sits in a market worth over $7.5 billion dollars.

“Their app automatically alerts drivers to new ad campaigns and provides brands with a dashboard that tracks how many people in real-time are seeing the ads”. – Forbes

Wrapify gives customers the chance to choose the advertiser and then have influence over the look of the advert, after all they are the ones who have to drive about with them.

At only 30, James has made Forbes 30 under 30 list. A decadent accolade to add to his success and a great reason for him to be on this list at number eight.

7. Jas Bagniewski – one of 5 Co-Founders at Eve Sleep.

Eve has recently turned 3 years old and although still a young startup it shines as one of the most promising hailing from the United Kingdom in recent years.

Jas, having studied an MBA at Cambridge University, went on to work for Rocket Internet, based in Berlin and it now has several thousand employees compared with the 40 odd before Jas joined. Having launched a successful price comparison website in Poland which he sold to Groupon, Jas has become a guru of the startup.

Specifically, Jas has become a master at efficiency. When he founded Eve, he realised that the mattress industry as a whole was deeply inefficient and so went about designing an up to date and streamlined business plan based around what he had learnt from his previous businesses.

In just two years Jas and his team have launched six products in 12 countries. In May of this year, Eve announced its first IPO on the London Stock Exchange. A phenomenal indication of growth and potential for investors. Customers can see the benefit too, with more efficient advertising and faster delivery times, Jas and his company are surely on a path for further success.

Although inundated with an influx of competing brands, it’s stands as a testament to the Eve team that they have been able to brush aside competition and come out on top with increased revenues of up to 355%. They went from an initial £2.6 million investment in 2015 to now showing capital of over £12 million.

The team said it took great branding, a great team, a great product but most importantly, a little bit of luck.

6. Emily Weiss – Founder and CEO of Glossier

Emily started Glossier via her blog ‘Into the Gloss’ a beauty blog that she launched in 2010. Into the Gloss became very popular and Emily worked hard to build a following of avid readers. The blog quickly grew into a huge internet community.

Just four years after starting her blog Emily had launched her campaign into the world of fashion. She now employs over 45 individuals from all over the world and resides in NYC where she spends her time trawling social media for inspiration.

Emily still promotes her business via her blog and content marketing. With interviews from the likes of Kelly Rowland and open thread discussions, Emily closes the gap between her business and her customers. Furthermore, she allows her customers to influence the products she develops and promotes.

“Glossier is a new way of thinking about (and shopping for) beauty products” – Glossier website

Through years of reviews and product testing, Emily and her team have become experts on beauty products and thus have built their brand through their own material learning. They claim that there top shelf products are ‘distilled’ from years of recommendations. It’s this ingenuity and unique approach to marketing that lands Emily at number six in my list.

Thank you for taking the time to read our list of Top 10 Startup Gurus

Part 2 (5 -1) to come soon..

In the meantime check out our Top 5 Business Tips for Startups here.

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