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3 Ways To Develop And Manage Your Growing Custom Jewellery Business

Ask any business ‘guru’ and they will tell you that satisfied customers are the key to success for any jewellery retailer. Unhappy customers will stop buying even the finest gemstone jewellery  and can even give you a bad reputation. The very best way to effectively ensure positive reviews is, as you might imagine, to  give the very best possible customer service. To keep your present customer happy, and bring in new ones, its important that you follow this simple advice….

Only if a shop (or indeed and business) provides the very best products and quality services will it become profitable. When you offer products and services beyond those of your competitors, you will see a spike in sales and your jewellery business will grow quickly.

Customers will be more likely to refer your business if you provide them with the best possible experience so work hard at this aspect of your business. Success comes when you work hard and are determined to be the very best in your industry. Brainstorming with your employees is a great strategy and one that will help make decision making a lot less stressful. Making a list of pros and cons can you help to streamline the planning process and you can then clearly see which options are best for your jewellery business when you’re taking the time to organize your thoughts. Talking with a fellow jeweller  about your next move will always be a great idea to consider. The industry insight can often prove invaluable. In order for a jewellery retailer to survive, they have to have a large network of loyal customers. A great concept for new, upcoming businesses to grasp is that one of the most common traits of successful businesses that are in a position to span across multi-generations is that all of them are inclined to treat their customers like part of their family and, in turn, the customers are much more likely to return to that shop. Your online reputation can be severely impacted by a single negative review so keep a close eye on online review sites such as Yelp and Google+.

To reverse the impact of a negative review, you should use some of the web reputation management tools that are on the market – or, better still, seek out the help of an experienced professional. New employees will usually want to change your jewellery store when they arrive, so make sure that you offer positions to those who will have a positive impact on your business. Prior to a new staff member joining the business, make sure that he or she has the proper skill set to carry out the responsibilities required of them and ensure that they hold any required certifications. Take time to ensure that new employees are fully trained to be successful at their job and you will be rewarded with loyalty and, ultimately a better customer experience. For your jewellery business to take its place at the top of its industry, make an effort to employ highly motivated and content employees who have the distinct advantage of full training.

So, there you are, some simple but highly effective advice for helping to ensure you keep customers and expand your jewellery business. To see a great example of this in action, I recommend that you pop into Just Gems, a leading Aberdeen jeweller specializing in custom gemstones and high-end designer pieces.


A Wedding Planning Guide to Help Change your Mind

Winter somehow seem to be the time when marriage proposals get made. Valentine’s Day is, of course, the grand finale of the season: and its no surprise, therefore that diamond rings sell like crazy throughout the winter months. Couples who get engaged in the winter usually choose to get married sometime in the summer. That’s quite a crush of people deciding to get married at about the same time. A couple certainly has to plan ahead to engage the services of all the professionals who will be contributing to the wedding. If they leave that off for later, they’ll find that it is very hard to get anyone to agree to the dates they have in mind. What they need is a wedding planning guide. Even the most uncomplicated wedding arrangements involve a lot of planning if there are to be any more than a handful of guests. You have to choose who wears what, you have to choose where the wedding will be, the attendance, the invitations, the food transportation, the entertainment – the list can frankly be a source of anxiety and can alarm anyone. Your first instinct in all of this should be hiring a wedding planner.

It will be easy for you to see how much sense this makes when you go through the list of everything you are responsible for if you undertake to do it on your own. Not only does it take time to arrange for everything, it can cost you a lot of money. Sometimes, a DIY wedding may actually end up costing more than a wedding planner would charge. You’re likely to make mistakes, or overpay when you’re buying goods and services you have no experience buying. The stress of keeping up with all that goes into the making of a successful wedding itself can cost you an emotional price that’s just not worth it.

Perhaps, you’re telling yourself, that you don’t really have to have a wedding like they seem to show in those bridal magazines and in the movies. You don’t want your wedding to be a Hollywood movie set – although having a professional wedding video made is a sensible option if you can afford it. You don’t want flowers everywhere. But if you do want at least a couple of things that could count as luxuries – a location that’s kind of difficult to hire out, a cake that’s kind of unusual, or perhaps a string quartet – if you have any kind of special ideas in mind, to get a wedding planner would surely be the best advice you could be given.

Here’s a little something that no wedding planning guide will tell you – most brides experience a sense of anticlimax – a letdown after the excitement of the wedding. That’s just the way excitement of such intensity works. With an entire wedding’s worth of stuff to handle – things to clean, things to return, people to pay – that letdown is going to get worse. The best wedding planning advice you could ever receive would be to hire a professional planner. It could be the best investment you ever made in your sanity.

Graphic Design

The HP L26500 Large Format Printing Machine

My name is Robin Martins, and I’m a director in one of the largest print supply companies in Scotland – Ashgrove Trading. We are one of the top companies in the Peterhead area and we’ve been in business for over 25 years, serving the print, architectural, oil and gas and sign manufacturing industries. When I was contacted by HP to see if I would like to be part of their distributor program, I said, “Of course” . We own four HP Latex large format printing machines, so I was very happy to see what the new technology is going to be able to do for us and how it is developing to help our business. The L26500 is all about achieving a better quality print finish. It has enabled us to be more profitable, because we can print banners faster, we can print murals bigger and better quality than before, and with enhanced clarity, because of the quality that these machines can achieve is superb versus other machines on the market. We received the machine in January, and since then, we’ve started working with the machine and we’ve been really impressed with its double-sided capability, the vibrant colours and richer blacks which enable us to produce better quality products than ever before. For us to achieve a double-sided banner, in the past we were printing two banners and we were then attaching those two banners together to form a double-sided banner. With this machine , we now have the ability to print double-sided   banners without any extra work which is going to be very profitable for us, mainly because we’re going to be saving time and media costs. We were able to see not only the quality of the product that the Latex Technology can output, but also how   reliable the equipment is. We had a large print job recently; we did work for the local football stadium. We were running the machine 24/7 for about two months and, believe it or not, the machine was running every single day and night of those two months without any downtime at all. We’ve been working with HP, I would say, for about 15 years now , and we believe in HP. What we like about the company is that they keep improving their products, the technology keeps changing, and HP is doing their part in helping us to achieve   what our customers are demanding.

Web Development

How To Find The Right Dedicated Server

Types of Web Hosting There are many types of web hosting designed for websites in the internet. Depending on which kind of business or website which you have will determine the kind of web hosting that you’ll need. Web hosting options come as follows: Free Server There are various websites that offer free webpages or sites for individuals. They often offer a web page or two with an capability to post photos. Some are free or near free. Also, they are very user friendly. There is no need to become a computer genius to make use of one of these servers. Look at a website like WordPress. You may get a website there that is totally free. You can add photographs, blogs, messages, video clips and actually music. The stipulation is definitely that this is for social purposes only, or is supposed to be. This is a good example of a free website. In the meantime, you are limited to space and what type of content material you can post. The website does not belong to you, but rather to WordPress. Now suppose you would like to sell products online. You can use a cheap shared server that offers you an opportunity to setup your website for free. They may actually provide templates. You will have to get a domain name, such as In the case of a free shared server, you will be sharing your website with other websites. You’ll be limited to space in addition to bandwidth. You cannot have a large number of people go to your site within an hour as it will need up too very much bandwidth. This could be ideal for small company that sells hardly any products online. For the time being, your website will most likely have a number of advertisements that are placed on the website by the company to earn the revenue had a need to maintain your site. Shared Server A shared server can be like a free server just you have to pay a little bit each month to maintain your website. You will still have to come up with a domain name. Dedicated Server A dedicated server hosts only your website and no others. You have all the space you have to make your website as large as you need. You have enough bandwidth to accommodate all the traffic you will get. You have total control over the ads that you place on your website. You may also have several little affiliate marketer websites to create up for the difference in cost. A dedicated server may be the ultimate in internet hosting. You are in fact hosting your own internet site. You have got space, bandwidth and freedom from what you want. A separate server, while costing additional money to use, could possibly end up helping you save money, or increasing your revenue, if used properly.


Simple Ways To Speed Up Your Internet Connection

There are literally dozens of factors that can affect your Internet connection an prevent it from performing at its optimum level, and, at the same time, these factors can cause the person using the connection to have a poor experience while using the Internet. It mostly happens that the Internet always becomes harder to get access to due to the fact the; there are no useful Internet services that could help the surfer to have good experience of the Internet.
As an Aberdeen based IT engineer have been using the Internet for the past few years now, and I can say of what I’ve experienced myself over the years. Surfing the net isn’t that easy with a slow speed Internet connection unless the person using that connection knows how to manipulate, and tweak the connection for better experience.

In this article, I shall be sharing with you some of the basic things you are required to do in order to increase your Internet connection performance almost overnight with little or no effort.

Make Use Of Fast Web Browsers

One thing I’ve come to understand over the years when it comes to having good Internet experience is for websites to loads faster. Nothing will make me feel okay when I stayed in front of a computer for more than 5 seconds for a page to popup, that’s very bad experience of the Internet.

In most cases, what normally caused it originates from the type of Internet browser that you are using. If you make use of the wrong browser, chances are that you might not have good Internet experience.
Web browsers such as Mozilla, Chrome and Opera are the perfect match for someone who wants to experience the Internet better these days. These browsers are faster in downloading files and opening web pages than the old-fashioned IE (Internet Explorer and some others).

Install Good Antivirus

Install good antivirus software on your computer for security reasons. If your computer is free from spywares and malwares, your chances of getting good internet access will become a reality. But, failure to secure your computer could cause your bandwidth to be wasted by these dangerous things.

Browse When It Is Right For You

Don’t browse the Internet when you are not in the mood to. Browsing the Internet at the right time is the best practice for someone who needs to be productive at all times. Browse when necessary and save your Internet bandwidth for other days.

Visit Less Trafficked Site

Some websites on the Internet experienced high amount of traffic on daily basis, websites such as Yahoo and Google do experienced high traffic but, they are well optimized for larger amount of daily visits. I didn’t mean you shouldn’t visit these two websites. But what I’m trying to say is that some websites are out there that have low traffic capacity with higher visitors on daily basis, and if you visit those websites; chances are that you might end up, not achieving your aim of going there, and that means, you have wasted your bandwidth for visiting such site.

Improve Your Computer’s Performance

Another thing you need to take note of is your computer memory. If your PC is having low memory, you must change it or increase it to be able to work with the recent requirements for browsing the Internet. Browsing the Internet with a slow computer would certainly results into a slow Internet experience.

Graphic Design

Make Sure You Use a Good Photo on Your Website

It took a long time before people finally started putting their own photo on their sites. Today, however, you frequently see a mugshot of the site’s owner either on the home page or on the about page, or in the case of blogs like this one on EVERY page.

Now, in my poinion, that’s a very good thing. Your photo humanizes you for your visitors. People feel like they know you. Your words mean more to readers when they can see a photo of the person the words are coming from.

I recently saw some advice from a major web marketing firm who advised it is more important for your photos to make the site look good than for your photo to mean anything. That firm would rather see slick stock photos of models bumping fists.

Oh contraire! I would MUCH rather see the real photos of the real people on your staff doing what they really do during a normal day. That would stand out from all the fake stock photos we see on the vast majority of sites.

* Have a photo of you working, even if it is just sitting at a computer

* Do you interact with customers in person, on the phone, or on Facebook? Show a photo of that.

* Show your location, even if it is your home.

* Is there a pet where you work — for crying out loud show the pet! You’ll have people buying just because of the pet photo.

Ten years ago when I had a bunch of employees working in a highrise office, we had a web cam posted on our site that showed writers pounding the keyboards in our “control room.”

If you have lots of customers coming to your location, a web cam can have people being recognized by friends. That can be a very good thing, or bad depending on who recognizes them.

Today it is very easy to use your camera to make a little video you can load up on Youtube. Then post it on your site. Walk around your office or workplace and talk about what you do. Boring? Maybe, but many people will find it refreshingly fascinating. These days people are used to home-made videos, so your production quality does not have to be high.

Come to think of it. I’m writing this on a laptop next to a wood stove in my country home in New England on a cold day with the cat napping next to me. Wouldn’t that make a relaxing web site photo!


Why Your Customers Need Internet Marketing

This post has been written by Andrew Scott – an IT consultant from Inverness and it explains the reasons why you should be looking at internet marketing, even if you arent an online company.

Internet marketing is a trend that is on the rise and is being used by many business owners. This is because this type of marketing is beneficial due to it being cheap and convenient to use. It not only has benefits to a business but also to a customer as it is cheap and convenient to use than other forms of advertising.

There are days when you want to buy something from a shop and you are not able to do so as you find it closed and return home feeling disappointed .However this is not the case with internet marketing as you are able to shop at any time of the day due to there being no time restrictions. This means that you can shop anywhere and at any time of the day as long as you can access the internet. Advertising online for businesses does not require too much money compared to advertising in the electronic media, as all you may only need to do is create a web page. This is advantageous as they can use this money to ensure that their customer service is very good by training their employees to offer better service to their customers. It is also cheap for customers to shop online as they do not incur some expenses such as transportation costs.

When clients use online advertising they are able to stay updated. This is because they are frequently alerted on the deals and new products that are coming up the next season. They are also sent for via email or websites the prices of the new products that are on stock. This enables the customers to prepare themselves financially to be able to purchase these products. Another benefit of a customer using this type of advertising is that they can compare the services or products that they want to buy. This saves them transportation costs; time and energy as they do not have to visit different retail outlets. This is because all they have to do is open different window tabs and compare the features and prices of these products or services that they wish to purchase.

Most websites ensure that for them to get to their target audience they give a clear description of the services or products they offer. They also ensure that they give a clear pricing of the products or services they can give to the customers. This prevents cases of misinterpretation or one using a product inappropriately as they also give you the directions of using the product. It is very convenient and easy for customers to research for a product online than visiting a shop physically. Online advertising saves one time and energy as you do not have to search all over a shop to get a product but rather you can use search engines from the internet to find a particular product. This time and energy saved can then be utilized to do other more important activities.

Internet marketing is advantageous not only to businesses but also to customers. This is because it is easy and more convenient for customers to utilize. Therefore, it is advisable for companies to utilize internet marketing.


The Hazards of Being a High Voltage Engineer

The residents of Phoenix, Arizona count on a reliable source of energy to sustain their daily activities and keep cool during the hot Arizona summers. The transmission of energy from power lines to our homes is not something we worry about, but an elite team of SRP linemen does. They’re a team of 10 highly trained experts who work on live power lines transmitting up to 500,000 volts. This is their story and, hopefully it highlights some of the extreme challenged my colleagues face as high voltage engineers.

Remember, they’re trying to do this with direct physical contact from electricity running through their bodies. They call this the bare hand method and what they do, nobody else in SRP does.  They are a specialized group and they can can do anything else the journeymen lineman does at SRP, but they cannot do what we do. This method is critical in allowing linemen to work on high-voltage transmission lines without taking those lines out of service  or causing power outages.

MIKE: “We do what we do, and we try and do it in this manner to keep things in service. If we lose one of these 500 lines, you could potentially have a whole city out of power.”

Because the lines are energized,  linemen must carefully coordinate their every move while they’re still on the ground. Once their plan is in place, they put on a special, stainless steel fabric suit with flame-resistant coating. The suit protects them by causing  the electricity to flow around their bodies. Then, they climb. Once they reach the power lines, the men remain isolated within the 500,000 volt phase. That means they have to stay on the line and no further than about 11 feet from it. Outside this parameter, they risk electrocution.  In essence, they’re like birds landing on a line. By remaining away from any ground potential, they don’t complete a circuit and avoid electrocution.

ROBERT: “It feels like something’s calling all over you. If you don’t have your hood on,  it feels like your hair’s calling everywhere.  If you stick your hand out, you can feel it;  you can feel the electricity escaping. The wire has a corona around it,  and if you go outside that corona, actually, the electricity will shoot out  of your fingers, away, and they’ll hurt. At 500,000 volts, you can hear the generator  at the power plant when you have your hood on. It’s that powerful.”

The bare hand method is used  to maintain transmission lines and make a number of  different types of repairs. By having hands-on contact with the power lines,  repairs are easier and quicker.

MIKE: “With the bare hand method,  you get to go right on the wire, energize yourself to the same potential as the line and do the work right there with your hands right in front of you. So it makes things much, much easier. There’s a multitude of things that could happen. We can change a string of insulators with the line still energized, we can take care things like gunshot conductors  or damage from most anything  that would damage the conductors. You can do this and still have the line energized, so we can — with no disruption in service —  we can take care of these jobs.”

The transmission tower located  just outside of Gold Canyon is over 150 feet high. The extreme height and high voltage means every team member must maintain  a high level of concentration and there’s no room for error.

ROBERT: “We have to depend on each other.  We cannot just come in and change our patterns;  we have a set pattern on everything we do.  We have one mistake out there,  and something drastic will happen.”

The stakes are high in this line of work, and trust is critical. They rely on each other to maintain safety and get the job done. This specialized group of linemen travels together  around the Valley and beyond and can sometimes work around the clock to make critical repairs. They know each other well,  respect each other like family, and have a unique kinship.

ROBERT: “We spend 10, 12, 14 hours a day together. Sometimes we spend weeks together out of town. I spend more time with these guys  than I do with my own family.  They are my family.”

The transmission of energy  from power lines to our homes is something we can take for granted every day, and this team of SRP linemen goes through  great lengths to make sure it stays that way.

cloud computing

How To Set Up A Cloud Server Using Google Compute Engine

This is a guest post from Bruce Skinner of who wants to tell us how to set up a virtual server using Google’s Compute Engine – take it away Bruce.

Now that Compute Engine is open for everyone to use, I thought it’d be fun to do a demo of using Compute Engine to set up a cloud-based web server. That way you can see the process and then try it out for yourself.

Ok, let’s get started by pointing a browser to When you first come to the cloud console, you’ll be prompted to create a new project. We’re creating a test web server, so we’ll call it Web Server Project. Lets change the suggested project ID as well and then click Create. That will start the creation process.

Now that the project’s been created, we’ll have access to all of Google Cloud Platform’s services. Compute Engine is a paid service, so the first thing we’ll need to do is set up our billing information. You’ll be surprised at how affordable experimenting with Compute Engine can be. Next, go ahead and fill in the billing details and, after we’ve entered our billing information, we’ll navigate to the Google Compute Engine Instances page, where we’ll see a list of virtual machines that we’ve created. We don’t currently have any, so let’s add one. We’re going to create an instance called Test Web Server.

Start by clicking the New Instance button at the top of the page. Specify the name as Test Web Server. For the zone, select US Central 1B. For machine type, since this is a test, select the smallest one available, the F1 micro with one virtual CPU and just over a half a gig of RAM. And we’ll go with the suggested default image, which is Debian. Our instance is almost ready. Some final health checks are being run, which is the last step before the server is ready to use. After a few moments our instance has been created.

By default, Google Compute Engine blocks all connections to an instance from the internet. Since we want to serve web pages from our instance, we’ll need to set up a firewall to specify that incoming HTTP traffic is allowed on the network where our newly created virtual machine resides. We’ll do that by clicking Networks. Select a default network, which is where we created our virtual machine. Click the new link that appears at the top of the firewall section. Name the firewall http1. In the Protocol and Ports field, enter TCP 80. Click the Create button to complete the creation of the firewall. Once this process completes, we should see the new firewall appear in the firewalls list.

Now that the network where the virtual machine instance resides has a firewall configured to allow internet access, let’s install a web server on our virtual machine. In order to make changes like installing software on our Compute Engine virtual machine, we need to remotely access the machine. The Google Compute Engine team has created a great tool for doing this called gcutil, which is included in the Google Cloud SDK. The instructions for downloading and installing Google Cloud SDK can be found at You’ll essentially download it as a file, extract it, and run an install script. Then run an authentication script and grant the tool access. I’ll go ahead and finish speeding through this process now. The authentication command here is what grants the SDK access to work with your project. An OAuth2 token is being issued and stored. We’re now set up to use gcutil. Once gcutil is installed on our machine, we can use it to remotely access the instance we created. There’s a quick way to do this if you go to the Instance Details page. On the side, there’s an SSH link. Copy the SSH command that’s provided there. Open a Terminal Window and paste the SSH command into it. You’re prompted for a pass phrase. Enter something you can remember for SSH keys. Here we are in the command line of our virtual machine instance.

Next, let’s install some software, specifically some web server software. The web server software we’re going to install is Apache. A standard command used on Linux to install software is apt-get. We’ll use that. So we’re going to type sudo to run the command as a super user, apt-get install apache2. It’s going to ask us to confirm that we want to install it. Hit y and type Enter. The installation process has started. And now Apache has been installed. As part of the installation process, Apache creates a default web page. We can try unloading that default web page in a web browser to confirm that we’re actually serving web pages. So let’s jump back to a browser to test is we can load the default web page that Apache has created. Now, to find our default page, we need to know the internet address of our server. We’ll get that on the VM Instances page of the Cloud Console. We can see our external IP address here. Open a new tab and type the IP address. And here we have the default Apache web page. Great, our test web server is serving up pages. Now to prove that this is our web server, let’s modify the default web page. We’ll start typing sudo to run the command as a super user, then nano, which is a text editor we’ll use, and then the location of the Apache default web page, which is var/www/index.html. When we run that, it opens up the index. file and the nano text editor. We’ll remove the default text that’s there. And then we’ll paste in an image, so that we can easily tell the page has been modified. We’ll save the page in nano by pressing the Command key and the X key at the same time. And then type y to save the file and close nano. Back in the browser, we should be able to Refresh the page. And there’s our new custom default web page. Now, I would call this test a success.

The final thing we need to do to wrap up our test is to delete the virtual machine and persistent disk we created. As I do that, let’s make a calculation about how much this whole test cost. So to delete the virtual machine and persistent disk, first we’ll select our test web server VM. Then scroll down and click the Delete Disk Instance button. We’ll check the option for deleting the boot disk as well. And then click OK. Our deletion process has started. The current virtual machine price for the type we use is 1.9 cents per hour. We ran our server for around 10 minutes. So our virtual machine usage cost comes in at just under a third of a cent. And there we go. The virtual machine has just been deleted. Now, back to pricing. The persistent disk pricing is $0.04 per gigabyte per month. So that roughly comes to just under half a cent for a 500 gigabyte boot disk, the default. So everything we just did on Compute Engine, we did for less than $0.01. Now, it’s your turn. Go try creating your own cloud-based web server on Compute Engine.


Building a Business Website That Works

The following article is by Ian Lackie of BusinessPort Ltd, based in Aberdeen, Scotland,. They specialise in business management consultancy and Shrepoint development. Please take some time to visit their website for more information. Today, Ian is going to be discussing the options when it comes to developing a business class website.

Most business owners understand the value of a good business website. However, as you plan and start developing a world class business website, your process needs to be a little more involved than just finding a local web designer, and then letting them do their job. Of course, its always a good idea to hire a competent web design team but you need to give them guidance and, like most thing business you really should try and have a backup plan. Knowing what kind of content management system you would like for your business would be one way to start. In fact, you shoudl look at this even if your business already has a website.

If your current website is difficult to manage, then I recommend that you consider a free, open-source content management system likeWordPress.

Lets look at a quick example of how things pan out for businesses that get stuck with an inflexible content management system that everyone in the company finds difficult to use. Axis Bank, a major bank in India, used a CMS that was developed in-house and was deeply featured, but was almost impossible to use. When the bank needed to make a simple change – say to amend a product – in one case they  decided to withdraw a credit card that they offered – then the employees found it very complicated to actually go in and simply delete the card. Eventually, the bank’s IT staff were able to go in and make a brief note on how the product was currently withdrawn – bit it was hardly an elegant solution to a simple problem. And from a customer usability standpoint it was, shall we say, less than ideal. Wiht a vast range of cards on offer, customers had look carefully at the card they were selecting in case thery went through the application process only to discover the card had been withdrawn. Ouch!.

Difficulties of this kind are all too commonplace when using content management systems that are not designed to be user-friendly. If you really want the best business website for your needs, then you should aim for something that really easy to go in and make edits to.

Luckily, there are a number of amazing and free web publishing platforms out there that you can use to build a world class business website. There’s WordPress of course. But there is also Tumbler, Blogger, Movable Type and TypePad, among many others. In fact, with recent advances in the platform you could even consider Facebook to be a blogging platform worth considering.

Other than WordPress though, these options don’t really work well for business. They all have some limitation or another – such as being proprietary and expensive, or having limited feature sets. WordPress, on the other hand, is free, and it doesn’t hold yoou back with a a limited feature set. It can be easily used to help you build the business website that you dream of, and also the best business blog.

The WordPress platform is perfect for business for a number of reasons. The platform is very well set up for easy SEO. There’s built-in commenting, everything is easy to update, there are plug-ins by the hundred to help you achieve nearly anything you want, and you can find support all around in a very WordPress robust community.