In a world of Fake News, online shopping and Social Media can you really trust your search engine?
Do they really give you honest answers to your searches?
How do you know if your top search answer really is the best one?
Is the information you searched for genuine or is it sponsored by someone standing to make a lot of money?
The truth is you cant be sure entirely, so you should never completely trust any search engine. Don’t assume they will give you honest, unbiased, information without hidden agenda’s. But maybe you are all worn down by it and googled out? Maybe you don’t care anymore?
What can you do
We recommend that you start making changes to counter this kind of browser espionage and start implementing your own counter measures.
The first thing to do is to change your Search engine. Find a search engine which Does not track your movements.
Secondly find a search engine that does not present you with search answers from its own Subsidiaries or partners to try and trap you in their web of profit making.
We recommend you change your search engine to DuckDuckGo on all your devices They don’t track you and they won’t present their own interests to you but give unbiased answers
Here is a great article that explains in more details by Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder of DuckDuckgo.
And yes we did start this article by saying don’t trust anyone entirely but in our experience, DuckDuckGo lives up to its pledges.
When it comes to IT services in Essex, Over the last week we have had conversations with the owners of pubs, restaurants, commercial and residential builders. We’ve also spoken to sole traders, charity, not for profit, manufacturers, doctors and learning centres.
Where else would you get the opportunity to discuss how IT can improve business outcomes other than with the amazing small and medium businesses and charities that operate in the UK? I am loving what we are doing, we are on an amazing journey with our customers.
How Saint IT can help
At Saint IT we believe IT systems and solutions should seamlessly support the operation of our customers business. We care about your success. That’s why we strive to offer the best IT services in Essex
Our company principal of customer first drives our determination to understand the business of our customers and how IT can solve challenges and support future growth. We equally understand that our customers need a cost-effective solution appropriate for the size of their business. Saint IT believes that we can achieve these results for you.
When creating and growing your small business, there are many things to consider. One important aspect is design. Design covers many areas including visual appeal and ease of use. For example, you must design marketing material to promote your business. This is often an area that people fall short, but we have provided three simple tips below that will help improve your design!
Design is important for all aspects of your business
Many people may think that design simply applies to marketing material. However, it must be considered for many more aspects of your small business. These include your website, your emails, your physical marketing, and your social media profiles and posts.
For example, your business website must have a great design. It must be able to attract customers, but also be easy to use. Similarly, your email newsletters and even your standard emails must have design considerations. For example, you should create an email signature that promotes your business in a positive manner, and that contains important contact information.
Think about different aspects of your business, and how design can affect them.
There are many free, easy-to-use design resources online
As a small business owner, you may think that you have to outsource design work, marketing, and promotions to third-party companies. However, that is not the case today! Providing you have a rudimentary understanding of business and marketing, you can easily use a plethora of free online resources for design.
Examples include Logo Creator, GIMP, and Canva. Logo Creator is a free app for logo design. It has a simple interface and tools that anyone can learn. You can create a custom logo from scratch, and also import existing files. Also, you can use a variety of professional templates for inspiration or use them as the basis for your logo.
GIMP is an open-source graphics design tool. This software has similar features to Adobe Photoshop and is free to use. Using GIMP, you can edit photos, and create marketing material for your business. GIMP also has a large community and a huge repository of guides, tutorials, and resources.
Lastly, Canva is an online platform to create social media marketing. You can use this platform for free to create things for your business like Facebook headers, YouTube thumbnails, and Instagram infographics.
Always design with the end-user in mind and their experience
A main component of the design is to think of your customers and/or end-users. Oftentimes we simply design things that look great and are impactful. While this is important, things you create must also offer a great user experience, have a clear purpose, and be effective.
For example, let’s say you are creating a new marketing campaign for your small business. A primary aim is to make your products/services look great and attractive to the customers. However, you should also consider the design of the marketing and how customers will use it. This includes things like calls to action, use of persuasive colors, and use of certain design elements to draw the customer’s attention to specific areas of the marketing.
Don’t simply think of design as a stylistic thing. Design also includes usability and customer interactions. You must consider how design affects your customer’s experience with your business. Always strive to give them a positive experience, and use design to enhance the things you create.
We hope you have found this article beneficial. It is important to look at the design and incorporate these three simple tips when creating and managing your small business and its marketing.
Websites are often the front door to your business. have you asked yourself recently “How’s your online presence?”
We all make decisions based on what we see online, it is a key part of choosing who to do business with, eat or drink in a particular place or find out information.
The results that our customers achieve by having a well designed, content rich and relevant web presence is exciting to see. Our unique cross platform joint marketing puts Saint IT at the heart of our customers business. Its important to ask yourself regularly “How’s your online presence?”
How we can help
Saint IT provides services to Small and Medium business, being an SME ourselves we understand what it takes to get your company, products and services showcased in the best way.
At Saint IT we believe IT systems and solutions should seamlessly support the operation of our customers business, we care about your success.
Our company principal of customer first drives our determination to understand the business of our customers and how IT can solve business challenges and support future growth. We equally understand that our customers need a cost-effective solution appropriate for the size of business. Saint IT believes that we can achieve these results for you.
Find out more
We are a proud supporter of local charities and NFP organisations. To find our more drop us a line
OVID-19: Do you worry about safety for your employees and visitors?
Saint IT have a range of technology which helps keep employees and visitors safe, our entry systems come in three different sizes to suit any size of business or venue;
COVID-19: Do you worry about safety for your employees and visitors?
Here we are, after almost 2 years and Covid 19 is still with us and looks to follow us into 2022.
Yet again we’re being told of new variants and compulsory mask wearing.
You may wonder like us if it will ever go away completely or if we are to live with it for a very long time.
maybe its time to invest in technology to safeguard us against viruses like Covid-19
Saint IT have a range of technologies which helps keep employees and visitors safe, our entry systems come in three different sizes to suit any size of business or venue;
Covid-19: How do you improve safety measures:
– Temperature check – Sanitiser dispenser, Model A – Mask check (on or off) – Facial recognition of registered individuals – Can be integrated into door or barrier access systems – Wifi or LAN connected – Indicator lights – Installation and support services
Restaurants, pubs, offices, manufacturing, retail outlets and venues are all seeing the benefit of this technology
This is part of a range of technology which Saint IT can provide to help combat covid-19 and keep our businesses and economy moving.
Make the most of your 365 with premium Office apps, extra cloud storage, advanced security, and more. Microsoft 365 has everything you need to help organize your life.
With your mail, calendar, and file access in one secure app, you can manage your daily activities in one view with Outlook. The simple, intelligent design helps you read through your emails faster, and sort through emails quickly.
Access your files with the new Office mobile app for Android and iOS, that combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one single app. Focus on what matters withOutlook mobileapp, and create files anywhere with OneDrive mobile app.
Use Azure Active Directory Domain Services to join Azure virtual machines to a domain, Take advantage of Azure Active Directory Domain Services Take advantage of Azure Active Directory Domain Services features like domain join, LDAP, NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and Kerberos authentication, which are widely used in enterprises. Migrate legacy directory-aware applications running on-premises to Azure, without having to worry about identity requirements.
Easily deploy line-of-business applications on Linux and Windows Server virtual machines on Azure. You don’t have to deploy domain controllers as Azure virtual machines or use a VPN connection back to your identity infrastructure.
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). You control how your organization’s devices are used, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
You can also configure specific policies to control applications. For example, you can prevent emails from being sent to people outside your organization. Intune also allows people in your organization to use their personal devices for school or work. On personal devices, Intune helps make sure your organization’s data stays protected and can isolate organization data from personal data.
A complete unified communications experience for your business
“The pressure is on for businesses to appear always available to their customers and the technology provided to employees can make all the difference. Saint IT Horizon Collaborate has bridged the gap”
Improve the workplace experience
Employee engagement and satisfaction are vital parts of the employee experience. It will have a knock-on effect to the customer. Saint IT Horizon Collaborate works equally well on desktops as well as mobiles or tablets. Users will have their business communication system available wherever they are.
Streamline IT operations with Horizon Collaborate
Horizon Collaborate provides a range of business communication and collaboration tools, with an emphasis on control and administration through the portal removing the burden from the IT team.
Administrators can quickly configure the system according to the organisation’s changing requirements. Meanwhile employees can manage their communication environment easily through the desktop client and mobile app.
Business Benefits of Horizon Collaborate
Instant messaging – Online chat between users, reducing email inefficiencies.
Presence – This shows your personal status such as: ‘available’, ‘busy’, ‘in a meeting’, ‘away’. This helps determine the best way to communicate with someone.
Hosted PBX features – The full telephony feature set and service including bundled minutes.
Video Calling – Create a stronger collaborative experience using visual communication from mobile or desktop app.
Ad-hoc and planned conferencing – Quick and easy multi-party collaboration using My Room. A personal and fully managed conferencing space for voice, video and sharing.
Many small business owners will spend between 10 to 14 hours a day sitting at their desk. Working all day in their home office, often all the attention is focused on growing the business, generating new sales, finding new customers, promoting products or services. All of these things are crucially important but it’s all to easy to neglect your own welfare. You must take time and spend money to look after your physical and mental health. Here are 5 tips for your small business home office, in no particular order. These will help you maintain your busy schedule and long hours stuck in your office whilst staying healthy and happy.
Why you should take your Home Office environment serious?
Maybe you previously worked for a large organisation? Maybe you didn’t need to look after your wellbeing so much because someone else was looking out for you. Did you ever get that email from HR, saying they’re coming round to do a “Workstation Assessment”? you probably thought, “I don’t have time for this”, but you went along with it anyway and before you realised, a new keyboard arrived on your desk, or a different chair suddenly appeared. All because your Workstation Assessment uncovered the fact you needed an ergonomic keyboard or lumber adjustment chair which was more suited to prevent that backache you sometimes get or prevent that RSI in your right hand.
Well, now you are your own boss and nobody else is going to look after you or your health. So take some time and consider your office environment, because now, more then ever, you can ill-afford to take time off work for health reasons.
Tip 1 – Spend some money
It seems obvious but spend a bit of money on good quality equipment!
All to often small business owners are trying to save money and minimise what they spend, but the result is they work in a damp basement office with poor ventilation or they are sitting on kitchen chairs for hours on end, or maybe they’re working on that 10 year old laptop with poor screen resolution because ” it still does the job”. Start with a decent quality desk chair which has more levers and buttons then a jumbo Jet to make sure you can get your sitting position just right. Forget popping into a high street store and pick up a nice looking, but utterly inadequate home study chair.
Go to the professionals and let them advise you on what a good quality chair looks like. We bought our chair from https://www.2ndhnd.com/ A great company that offer refurbished office chairs. We did some research and we opted for a Steelcase Lets B Hi-Back Task Chair with New Black Leather for £149. It has all the adjustments I need to sit properly, its comfortable and looks great too.
Tip 2 – Don’t stare at your tiny 13″ laptop screen all day
Lightweight compact laptops are great… for resting on your lap…. whilst working on the train or in a hotel room. They are not designed for staring at for 12 hours a day whilst sitting in your office! that’s why they’re called “Laptops”. But you don’t need to spend a fortune on buying a new Desktop Computer. Just get a good quality additional screen (or even a 3rd screen). Make sure it is as least 24″ with a minimum resolution of 1920×1080. We bought this basic DELL E2416H Screen, for less then £120. Its a few years old now but its clear, sharp image and screen size means I’m never straining to read anything on the display.
You can set up your windows environment so that you can extend your desktop to this second screen (hit Windows+ P on your keyboard). Now you can utilise all the available space for the hundreds of windows you have open at any one time (if you’re anything like me). Just check what connection you have on your laptop to make sure you buy a screen with a compatible connector. (I.e. HDMI, DVI, VGA or DisplayPort) adapters do exist from one type to another but they’re not always that great!
We’re using a laptop stand to bring the laptop up to correct height as well.
Tip 3 – Have some good quality entertainment available.
Newsflash! You are your own boss now! You want to watch a bit of TV whilst you’re doing some light admin work? Maybe you fancy blasting your favourite tune on Radio 1? Nobody is going to stop you. Remember you will probably be in this same position in another 10 hours from now. So if you can’t take a break let the break come to you right at your desk. We bought this Panasonic TX-24J330B HD Ready TV with Freeview HD , Black for £149. Now I’m in my happy place watching the Netherlands work their way to the finals in the Euro 2020/2021 whilst I’m working. Although to be honest I might have to move over to the lounge for the big screen for that.
And when I’m not watching the footy? The screen comes with a HDMI port so I can make great use it for my 3rd screen when I’m doing development work and just need another screen to lay things side by side.
They come as single or double arms and can work well with different sizes and makes of screens. Our workstation looks cool and with all the screens neatly aligned next to each other despite them being slightly different sizes and they are all at the correct eye level to spare my back and neck. In addition because I’m also utilising the laptop as a screen We’re using a laptop stand to bring the laptop up to correct height as well. Here’s a great example of a stylish but cost effective laptop stand https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07P6X63SD/.
And by the way another important benefit of getting a laptop stand and 2nd screen is so that you can stop using that tiny laptop keyboard and mouse pad and get a proper full size keyboard shaped exactly to your hand positions if you need and as a proper mouse. the choices are endless, just try a few and see which are most comfortable for you. RSI is no joke and once you start having problems they’re not always easy to cure.
We bought these highly versatile HUANUO Dual Monitor Stand for 13 to 27 inch Screens, Gas Spring Monitor Arm for Curved Flat Screens, Monitor Mount Support VESA 75/100 mm for just £41.66.
Tip 5 – Make your life simple
So now you’ve got a few gadgets to make your day more enjoyable and keep you in the tip top shape that you are. There is a few things we added to our home office station to finish it off. We now have multiple screens, radio , TV and a Boom Mic for our virtual conferences I needed a simple method of managing all these audio devices. So we bought this very simple Premium 12 Input 2 Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps/Compressors/British EQs/24 Bit Multi FX Processor and USB/Audio Interfacehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008O51872/ for only £72.50.
Now, if the phone rings and the TV is on or the radio in on, there is no mad rush to grab the mouse and mute my audio or find the remote to turn the TV Off, just a quick slide of the main mix slider and everything goes quiet. If we’re in a Teams meeting with a client we can adjust the sound quality, the microphone levels and even the EQ without ever needing to touch the PC.
I know this is a bit overkill for some people. But the point is this; invest in your Home Office so that your time spent in there, which is extensive, keeps you fit and healthy and is enjoyable and fun. We could go on about all the other gadgets we have brought into our home office. From the books on the desk, which I can pick up and read without ever leaving my desk. Or the foot stool under the desk which helps with my posture again. Or even my special VDU varifocal glasses, (bet you didn’t even know they existed? – But ask your Optician). The list goes just goes on and on.
But Don’t forget…
No matter how nice your Home office is now, its important to make sure you do take time away too. Get some fresh air, go for a walk, have your lunch in the garden. Maybe meet a friend for a coffee. A change of scenery does you a world of good.
If you’ve enjoyed this article “5 tips for your small business home office” then leave us a comment below. If you need any help in finding the right equipment for you then just drop us an email at [email protected] Our helpful sales team will be only too pleased to assist you.
Here are 5 tips for your small business home office.
If you’ve decided to revisit and improve your Home office too then send us a pic and leave us a comment below.
We might even send you a prize for the best Home Office kit-out we have found!
If you need any help in finding the right equipment for you then just drop us an email at [email protected] Our helpful sales team will be only too pleased to assist you.
Its time to broaden your horizon with Saint IT and put your business back on top.
These days it is all too easy to get a website that looks the same and says the same as everyone else’s, why not let Saint IT help you to get back on top with a fresh website that tells your target market who you are and what you can do for them.
We also offer web hosting to help you to keep your website up to date and in-line with any changes that happen along the way.