Hot on the heels of the Grand Depart, four Plusnet staff set off from our Sheffield office on a gruelling cycling challenge, riding from our offices in Sheffield all the way to Paris. The route had them covering the 500 mile journey in just five tough days.
Paul Summers, Andy Moores, Katy Stallabrass and Luke Allen set out early on a Tuesday morning and cycled 100 miles each day, finishing at the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.
All of the team are cycling enthusiasts but none had taken on anything like this before. They’ve all been training hard over the last few months to make sure they made it to the finish line. The 500 mile route wasn’t going to let them off easy, with Andy suffering a crash partway through the challenge. After some running repairs, to himself and the bike, he was soon back in the saddle peddling towards Paris.
Andy Moores, Quality and Technical Training Manager commented:
“The ride was the hardest challenge I have ever done, the torrential rain was especially bad but knowing that everyone was behind us and that the money we were raising was going to such a great cause kept us going. On a couple of days we didn’t finish riding until 9pm but was all worth it when we got to the Eiffel Tower at 6pm on the Saturday night. We all agree it’s been an honour being able to raise money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal……and we’d do it again!”
The Jane Tomlinson Appeal was chosen by Plusnet staff as their charity of the year for 2014 and we’ve been raising funds throughout the year with a mixture of different fundraising activities.
The route the team followed can be seen below:
Here at Plusnet we’re proud of our Yorkshire roots, so it’ll be no surprise that we’re excited to join in on the Yorkshire Day fun. Not only that, but we’re also celebrating reaching 1000 current staff members.
The staff at Plusnet have always been the key to our success, helping us to win awards over the years and to continue to do this we need to carry on expanding the Plusnet family.
Over the last 12 months we’ve added 150 staff to the Plusnet family and we’re still recruiting so we can continue to grow. Since 2011 we’ve doubled the workforce here at Plusnet, including the introduction of our new site over in Leeds.
We’ve continued to raise money for our charity of the year, the Jane Tomlinson appeal along with enjoying some of Yorkshires finest delicacies, Yorkshire Puddings and Henderson’s Relish!
Are you from Yorkshire and if so, how are you going to celebrate Yorkshire Day?
In the past, if you wanted to sell something, car boot sales, markets and message boards in shops were your only option. This has all changed though with the increasing reliance on a digital and mobile which has seen the likes of eBay change the buying and selling landscape. This is great if you are looking to have a clear out but what about sole traders looking to build more of a livelihood? The ecommerce site has enabled them to target a wider market at the click of a button.
So, is this something you could do yourself? Plusnet takes a look…
Statistics in a report by the Resolution Foundation show that 320,000 people now combine a job with a second self-employed role.
Websites like Etsy and Not on The High Street – platforms that allow you to sell items online without the need for a website – have flourished. Etsy claim they now have 1 million active shops; a 25% increase on a BBC report from 2011 in just three years.
Kate Sproston recently made the switch from employed to self-employed. She ran her embroidered-textiles business, Kate Sproston Design, on evenings and weekends before taking the plunge to go full-time fourteen months ago.
“Before that I was a pattern cutter in a lingerie company. I worked four days a week at my day job, and ran my business in the evenings and weekends,” she explains.
So why do people take this plunge?
“There are a lot of people who would like to escape from the 9-5 whether times are good or bad. Running a successful online business can give people the freedom to run their lives the way that they have always dreamed of,” says Simon Leigh, Managing Director of shopping cart solution company RomanCart Ltd
You don’t have to be a computer whizz to set up your own site, as there are many platforms out there that enable you to build your site and host it all in one go.
Kate explains that she struggled at first:
“As I am not very savvy when it comes to technology, I started by purchasing a computer program to help me create a simple website. This was adequate at first to give me at least some internet presence, but there were a lot of restrictions.
“For example, my site was not mobile or tablet friendly, meaning potential customers struggled to view it on these devices and did not stay on the site long enough to look at my products.
“Having your own website adds credibility to your company, and gives people confidence to buy from you. I feel that if you are looking to grow your business and establish your presence within your chosen market, a personal website is a must. It is a virtual shop front showcasing only your items, and a customer’s direct link to you.”
If you’re considering starting your own website but aren’t sure where to start, there are a few things to consider:
The first task of creating a website is to register the address you want people to visit. Domain names can be anything you want, although the best are usually:
Check to see if your domain name is available on any domain selling website. Look for websites where you can amend the domain nameserver (DNS) settings easily, as this could be important when looking to build your website.
Many ecommerce websites offer pre-created shop front template designs for you to choose from for your website. Remember that people also look towards the left and in ‘f patterns’ first, as this article shows, so take this into consideration when visualising your website and its structure.
Mobile phones and tablets are becoming more widely-used and so look for companies that offer mobile commerce too. The customer is most important so think of their journey and how easy it is to go through from viewing to buying. People like convenience so the quicker their journey is, the better chance you have of converting their interest into sales.
“Every click that a customer has to make will result in a percentage of website visitors leaving. Customers need to be able to purchase your items with the minimum of clicks,” explains Simon.
Shopping Cart Solutions
The use of photography on a website is important to show off products and make them appeal to customers. A survey conducted by Eposure showed that 91% of people said that images were important to them when shopping online and 84% had decided not to purchase something online due to poor photography. Shopify have put together an excellent guide on product photography for anyone looking to start selling online.
Social media can also help in terms of brand promotion. Not only does it help people to find you and talk to you, but it also offers you a platform to share information, check out the latest trends and market yourself.
“We mainly use social media for marketing, with each channel offering different strengths and opening up new audiences,” explains Kate.
Simon adds: “Social media is a great way of generating a buzz about your products. It makes it really easy for people to spread the word about what you are offering and how great your products are.”
“Well-marketed third party platforms are a great way to reach large volumes of potential customers who would be very expensive to target through other means,” explains Simon.
“However it’s also a good idea to encourage them to visit your website to see what else you have on offer. This increases the chance of long term customer relationships and eliminates the competition”
Kate offers some final advice for anyone considering stepping into online selling:
“Be involved as much as possible to create a deeper understanding of how and why it works, and if it attracts the right potential customers. Read books on improving your site and using social media.
“Keep testing your site on as many people as you can. The least computer literate are the most useful for spotting problems and pitfalls!”
Ecommerce is growing, so why not put your brand online and see if you can increase your income from your creative spark!
Do you own your own website? What are your experiences of selling items online? Let us know below
We’re delighted to announce that our phone and broadband customer service is now Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended.
An incredible 91% of surveyed readers who have a Plusnet phone and broadband package felt that the package represented good value for money, with 82% saying that they would definitely or probably recommend Plusnet to a friend.
A questionnaire developed by the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute, was sent to the readers asking them to comment on their package in four main areas. Performance, overall acceptability, propensity to purchase and whether they’d recommend the service were the areas queried.
The results showed that 88% of GH readers agreed that the initial set up information gave them everything required to get started and the router was dispatched quickly. 71% felt the speed of their connection was satisfactory and 79% were happy with the reliability of their connection.
Additionally, 87% of surveyed customers said they are likely to remain with Plusnet once their current contract expires.
Plusnet are the first broadband company to gain this recommendation and you can see more information on the Good Housekeeping website.
*Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended 2014 Trial, 126 GH Readers, June 2014.
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