Tag Archives: online

Google’s Digital Garage

6 Apr

When starting a business, the internet can be your biggest tool especially Google. Google can help you in more ways than you think, and have created a branch of their empire that teaches valuable digital skills – Digital Garage.

Digital Garage is aimed at small businesses and people who want to grow their business, career or digital confidence. The site is free to join and will create a unique learning plan for you based on what your aims are and you are able to explore a range of topics including ‘Get noticed with social media’ and ‘Get started with analytics’.

You can track your progress through modules and when you’ve completed one you will gain a badge; when you’ve completed all of the topics you’ll get a certificate!

If you’re starting a business, want to expand online or learn new digital skills then register now and have a world of wisdom at your fingertips.

https://digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/

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Work Bites

24 Apr

Whether you are considering starting your own business, want to get ahead in your career, or just need to improve your work-life balance, we offer a range of FREE “Work Bites” – short courses to introduce you to distance learning and give you the skills you need to get started.

Simply choose from the course below, and email work@opsw.co.uk letting us know which course you’re interested in. We will send you a quick and easy registration card to get you started. The courses come in one or two emails, with optional assignments for you to complete to receive feedback from our tutors.

Choose from…

– Customer Service
– Facebook for Business
– Blogging for Beginners
– Creative a CV
– Time Management
– Goal Setting

Mr P Desk

Distance learning allows you to study at your own pace and when it is convenient for you, meaning you can fit it in around work or family commitments. However, it can take time to get to grips with learning at home and by yourself. These helpful tips will ensure you make the most of your distance learning experience:

1) Create a study area for yourself. Get everything you need ready and remove anything that’s not related to your course and could cause a distraction.

2) Set yourself targets and reward yourself when you meet them. It might just be treating yourself to a cup of tea once you’ve finished a difficult question, or it could be booking a meal at your favourite restaurant after you’ve completed a tricky assignment.

3) Create a study planner – set yourself proper times for study (including breaks) and give yourself specific, achievable tasks to do each time you study.

Hair and Beauty

9 Apr

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Our beauty courses offer a convenient blend of studying from home and class based learning, to give you the best of both worlds. Study the theory at home using digital course books and e-tutorials and then complete on-line work books to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the topics. Then attend a practical assessment day at one of our friendly centres to hone your skills.

No experience is required, and you can study for pleasure or take your first step in a career in beauty. You could also team one of these up with our Start Your Own Business course and you’ll be up and running in no time!


Upcoming courses:

Nail Art Application

Nail art provides a range of business and employment opportunities, from setting up a mobile service, to working in one of the popular nail bars springing up across our high streets.

Our next Nail Art course starts on the 21st of April with a one day practical skills session on the 8th of May.


Basic Make-up

Whether you are considering a career in the beauty industry or just want to pick up some tips for your own beauty regime, this Level 1 course will help you develop a range of techniques and help you to perfect your make-up application skills for special occasions.

Our next Basic Make-up course starts on the 28th of April with a one day practical skills session on the 15th of May.


Spray Tanning

Are you looking for a quick and easy business to set up which requires limited training and low start up costs? Well this course could be just what you need to be up and running in weeks.

Our next Spray Tanning course starts on the 2nd of June with a one day practical skills session on the 26th of June.


Themed Face Painting 

Creating bright and colourful face painted creations is always a highlight at events and parties for children, but increasingly popular with adults too.  With hundreds of themes to choose from, Face Painting makes an ideal activity at any fun event to keep guests or visitors entertained.

Our next Themed Face Painting course starts on the 5th of May with a one day practical skills session on the 20th of May.


For more information about any of our courses please email info@opsw.co.uk or call 0800 243 2440.

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Jessica Scullion

Jessica is our Senior Beauty Tutor and Assessor with nearly 10 years’ experience in the industry. She has worked in a variety of settings, including hotels, college, freelance and cruise ships, which has led her to pursue a career in teaching to share her knowledge with others. She enjoys updating her skills within beauty therapy, with its fast growing treatments and products and would recommend anyone to dive into an industry that offers a million opportunities!

 

OPSW Enterprise

2 Apr

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James, Omniture CEO

Did You Know?

  • The South West ranks 2nd for the highest amount of self-employed workers.
  • 57,000 people in Devon are self-employed.
  • Nearly two-thirds of small business owners have no business or management experience.

Registering as a sole trader

Many of our customers ask how to register as a sole trader once they have decided to take the plunge and start their business.  This is done online here.  HMRC have a range of useful “webinars” available to teach you about a range of topics to do with tax, national insurance and Self Assessment.  You can even watch them live and ask questions.

Business Insurance

When you start trading, you will usually need some sort of business insurance, and if you are working from home or using your car, your house and car insurance may be affected too.  Simply Business is a good place to start, to find out exactly what insurance you will need and how much it will cost you. Call them on 0845 071 0270.

Start Your Own Business

We now run a range of Accredited Start Your Own Business courses at Level 1 and 2.  Visit www.opportunityplus.org.uk or call 0800 043 2440 for more information.

Case Study

Carole started a cupcake business, which she ran for four years on a mobile basis.  Following the success of the mobile business, she decided to open a cake shop in her home town of Teignmouth, allowing customers to see and sample her cakes.  She still caters for weddings and other events too.  Find out more at www.carolescupcakes.moonfruit.com

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Level 1 Award in Nail Art Application

27 Mar

Nail Art

Do you want to learn a new skill? Develop an interest? Build your confidence? Our level one accredited nail art application course is perfect!

The course includes a blended learning mix of online workbooks, tutor support and 1 day practical in our Newton Abbot beauty room.

The course covers:

  • Preparation of the nail
  • Nail rhinestones/gems
  • Nail glitter/dust
  • Freehand nail painting/paint effects – marbling
  • Striping tape/dotting tools/nail brushes
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Health & safety
  • Consultation techniques
  • Contra-indication & contra-actions
  • Aftercare advice

SPECIAL OFFER: 

The price of this course has been reduced from £120 to £60. This includes all materials on the day and your level one accreditation certificate.

The practical day for this course is on the 8th of May and the course begins with online workbooks on the 21st of April.

To book a place or for more information please email rebecca@opsw.co.uk or call 0800 042 2440.

Social Media and Personal Branding

23 Mar

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Many employers will search for you on the internet before they even interview you. Here are some top tips for making a good first impression through your online profiles.

–       Facebook Privacy settings

You probably don’t want employers looking at your embarrassing photos from last weekend or those status updates about what you ate for dinner last night. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly by following this quick guide.

–       Websites, blogs and Twitter

Websites, blogs and Twitter are a great way to build your online presence. Your online profiles are an opportunity to make a good first impression and employers will often make assumptions about you based on your profile picture, choice of background and the things you post.

Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want an employer to see and make sure to check through your old posts for anything which might harm your chances of getting a job.

–       Email addresses.

Make sure your email address sounds professional. Employers will often make assumptions about a person based on their choice of email so the safest bet is to stick to your real name or a combination of initials and surname. Professional sounding addresses will go largely unnoticed but a silly or complicated email will stick out like a sore thumb!

–       LinkedIn.

If you don’t already have one you might want to consider starting a LinkedIn page.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site which allows you to build an online CV which employers can look at.

Getting more visitors to your website – Search Engine Optimisation

4 Feb

Tim from Weboptimists.co.uk has kindly shared his top ten tips for Search Engine Optimisation – a term that most of us have heard of, and know we need to use to increase our website traffic, but don’t know where to start to improve it!  These useful tips should help you get your website coming up on Google searches and getting more visitors to your website.

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is essentially how you get to the top spots when people search for what you offer on the internet. A website can look amazing, it can have the best deals in the world, it can provide invaluable advice, but the people searching for these things need to be able to find it.

So, what can you do to ensure your site turns up higher on the search engines?

Here are some easy steps:

1. Think like a customer. Ask yourself what your ideal customer would type when they’re looking for what you offer. Don’t call a website ‘The Amazing Emporium’ if what you actually sell is ironmongery!

2. Check what people are actually searching for. Check the Google Keyword Tool for how many people use certain search terms. (No-one searches for ‘The Amazing Emporium’, but over 22000 people searched for ‘Ironmongers’.) If you have a well recognised brand, use it, but otherwise concentrate on informing people of what you do.

3. To do this, your website needs to reflect what you do accurately. The title of each page needs to be descriptive. Calling your home page ‘Home’ doesn’t help anyone, nor does calling inside pages ‘page 2’ or similar. Let’s say you call your site ‘Architectural Ironmongery from Dorothy Jenkins Torquay’. This gets the people searching for your company name if they know it, what you do and, especially when combined with a region, you should start to turn up on Google for a good combination of searches which are relevant to your customers.

4. Aside from the title, you also have Heading tags. These are like headlines and sub-headlines in newspapers and can be used to further describe what you offer. Your H1 tag is the most important, so maybe ‘South Devon’s Premiere Architectural Ironmongers’. An H2 tag, or sub- headline could be ‘Door handles, knobs and letterboxes from Dorothy Jenkins’. You’ve now just expanded your search terms!

5. You will also need what is known as ‘body’ text to describe exactly what you sell. Ideally this will be around 300 words or so, accurately explaining what products you sell and what services you offer. Don’t try to stuff this with keywords, but do at least mention the things that you expect people to search for in this text. Keep it natural, try to engage with customers. Remember the marketing formula of AIDA – gain Attention, grab Interest, encourage a Decision and then suggest an Action they can take.

6. People love pictures. Unfortunately search engines don’t! So, include pictures for the people but, for the search engines, you have to make sure that the code they read is also descriptive. Instead of having ‘website picture 2.jpg’ call it ‘Quality brass door handles and Ironmongery’. You also get the chance to give it an alternative text tag, or ‘alt-tag’, which is the text that shows up when you hover your mouse over the picture. This can be a touch longer than the title but, again, should be descriptive and include likely search terms, like ‘Brass door furniture from Dorothy Jenkins – Torquay’.

7. Once your site is set up, make sure that you can use it. You should be able to get to every page on the site with no more than two clicks from the homepage. Interlink pages that are relevant to each other ‘So now you’ve seen our hinges, why not also look at our <locks and escutcheons> page!’

8. If you are happy with your site, go live! Submit your site to Google, as well as ‘pinning’ yourselves on Google maps. Also submit to Bing, as many companies have this as their default search engine. Finally, find an appropriate category in Dmoz to submit yourselves to, preferably within a region you cover, as their human editors may decide you’re being overambitious with your new site!

9. Tell everyone, especially those online. Ask them to share your homepage address on Facebook and Twitter. Search engines love to see a website which is engaged with its users and online social media links are their way of scoring your site for this.

10. Finally, start to create backlinks from other sites to yours. This could be by listing your site on the website of your trade body, or by developing links with other companies, whose services complement your own. For example, Dorothy Jenkins may decide to exchange links with a local door carpentry company and a fitting service. However, these links must be relevant – don’t be tempted to swap links with a site which is completely unrelated to yours. Many people will try to sell you links but this should be avoided: often search engines will penalise your site for trying to buy your way to the top. If you want to spend money – give it directly to one of the search engines, through a scheme such as Google Adwords, but read their guidelines first – a badly designed advert could be costly and ineffective.

Once you’ve done all of this, you should be well on your way to turning up in searches that your customers use. Aim for page one, as it is rare that people look beyond this, unless it is for something incredibly specific.

There is one thing you should continue to do – blog. Google loves a website which is updated regularly and a weekly or monthly blog will show that you are constantly refreshing your site. It also gives you a chance to showcase new products, introduce new staff, or talk authoritatively on a subject your company has expertise in. Publicise this regularly through your company Facebook page and Twitter feed. If your blog is interesting, funny, or of genuine interest, people will share the link to it, or even ask you to write for their websites on your specialist subject which may provide a link back to your own. And so the whole thing evolves!

Enjoy. Don’t get obsessed (that’s our job!). Write good content and offer a good service. Everything else will fall into place in time.

Website advice from the Weboptimists.co.uk

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