Micro-business Websites Need to Comply with New Consumer Contracts Regulations

Written by Alex Barrett on .

On June 13th 2014 the rules regarding selling goods online, through catalogues, off-premises and door-to-door are changing in order to comply with the implementation of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 SI 2013 No. 3134.

Many micro-business owners use at least one of these methods to sell goods and services and we all need to be sure that we are complying fully with the new rules. The Regulations extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The regulations also extend to services so those of us who do not necessarily sell tangible items cannot ignore them; they also apply to digital downloads such as software and e-books or music and video.

Why Search Engine Optimisation is Still Needed for Micro-Business Websites

Written by Alex Barrett on .

A couple of weeks ago, over lunch in York, I was asked by the micro-business advocate and popular speaker Tony Robinson whether I think that SEO (search engine optimisation) is dead.

Caught off guard, I fear my answer was a little unclear so I have been considering the issue in order to clarify why SEO is still a very important consideration for website owners, particularly those of us who have micro-business enterprises.

Over the past decade and more, Search Engine Optimisers have earned a bad name as the trade has attracted a large number of cowboys. For years we found the front pages of our search results full of rubbish and nonsense as these tricksters and cheaters plied their trade.

Lately though, the major providers of search have considerably improved their techniques of interpreting web content and ranking it appropriately for its usefulness to readers. One might think that a website that is full of relevant and valuable information will naturally rise to the top of the list.

Sadly, this is still not entirely the way things work. The answer to the question “Is SEO dead?” is "No", but SEO alchemy is definitely losing the battle with the search engines.

Micro-Business Success Depends on Providing Good Service

Written by Alex Barrett on .

On February 19th the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest labour force survey results.

The numbers were heralded as good news across the political spectrum as they indicated that even more people are now in productive employment and fewer unemployed.

Looking through the tables, though, it is clear that pay levels for those in employment continue to lag behind inflation.

Another interesting point is that while the year on year increase for those in employment is up by just 1.2%, split fairly evenly across both genders, the increase in those going into self-employment is up by 3.8%, most of whom are women.

What is So Different About Micro-Business?

Written by Alex Barrett on .

Recently I have been trawling academic literature and other research papers to discover whether there any fundamental basic principles that work for micro-business enterprise.

I am not on a quest for the holy grail of business success, which I very much doubt exists, by the way. I am looking at a long term project on a related but different subject – diverse local businesses building a coherent brand.

Due to my own businesses location and that many local independent businesses are rurally based with the unique challenges that this presents, a report dedicated to the success and failure of small business in rural areas particularly drew my attention.

The Micro-Business Outlook for 2014

Written by Alex Barrett on .

Welcome to 2014.

The time has come for me to dust off my crystal ball and gaze into its depths to predict the highs and lows for micro-business enterprise in the coming year.

This will be my third shot at looking forward to how things will develop. Before I reveal my predictions, it is only fair to see how well I did in my article this time last year.

We were all worried about the fiscal cliff that I predicted would be less a crisis than the media hoped. It was. Who remembers it now?

Sadly, I was also right that the introduction of Universal Credits would go askew. It has.

Continental Europe has performed better than both the United States and the United Kingdom with the Euro holding up against both the Dollar and Sterling. Its good to be wrong sometimes.