Category: Blog

Best productivity software 2021

Read to the end for an exciting freebie! 

Written by Trisha Bhullar

Author @ Timeqube | January 13, 2021

2021 is here and chances are, you’re already back to work! Why not start your working year off on the right foot? This guide will cover some of the best productivity software for 2021 to help you up your efficiency game.

#1 Slack

If you haven’t heard of Slack yet, you must have slept through the entire of 2020! Slack is one of the most prominent project management apps out there which aids internal communications. You can have multiple groups for different teams, works vs play chats and even send fun emojis to make those “Happy Monday” posts more exciting. If Slack isn’t your cup of tea, you can try a similar project management app like Microsoft Teams to aid your internal communications. These apps not only keep you in touch with your colleagues, but also reduces the chances of time-wasting miscommunications.

#2 Evernote

Having trouble sharing slides or meeting minutes? Evernote could be a great help to you and your team. You can take pictures, save notes, scan texts, and share these pages with your crew. This way, you’ll have a centralised means of note-taking and keeping track of important ideas. Also, it’s a great way to keep everyone in the team up-to-speed on the latest company developments. If you work in a firm with international colleagues, this is another handy tool to keep your peers in the loop when they can’t attend meetings due to time zone differences. It’s only when everyone’s on the same page that you can be the most productive at work!

#3 Trello

Trello is a project management app that helps your team conceptualise, plan, and execute a project together even if you’re working remotely. This software allows you to create a customised board where you can create checklists, add attachments, note down tasks, assign cards, and more. Touted as one of the best tools for creative collaboration, Trello will come in especially handy for teams with multiple members working on the same task together. This way, you won’t be hindered by technology when you try to organise and embark on a new project at work.

#4 Timeqube

Nothing screams productivity like a good timer software. Regardless of how seamlessly your team works together, your productivity can still be best boosted with good old time management. Whether you’re using the Pomodoro or Two Minute Rule, time management methods help you stay on top of your tasks. Timeqube offers a software to help you utilise whichever time management technique you want. It’s a colorful cube that sits at the bottom of your desktop, changing colors to indicate the passing of time. Instead of blaring alarms or stressful countdowns, you’ll be unobtrusively reminded of the change in time. Timeqube therefore not only helps you stay productive, but also does so in a mindful, calming manner. And hey, being calm is a whole other productivity perk in itself.

If software and apps aren’t your thing, you could also opt for a physical Timeqube. It works just as an online Timeqube does. This means you get to enjoy an additional benefit—besides having a more productive 2021, you’ll have a fun new piece of office furniture sitting on your desk, being both calming, visually-appealing, and a fun conversation starter. Now, that’s a good way to kick off a new year at work!

Before you go we have something exciting for you! If you let timeqube know that you visited their website through our page, you will get a free, 6 month access to the Time Qube online pro version! Just email and let them know! 

Startup struggles and simple solutions.

Hi! It’s Raji here again writing yet another blog for you all. What did you think of my last blog on why you don’t need branding and website development from a branding perspective? I hope you gained some perspective. I like to make it clear that I am not here to say what is right or wrong and anyone who tells you how to run your business without knowing your business is just trying to make profit, if you’re chasing profit it’s going to be a long bumpy ride. I am here to purely provide perspective, my perspective. Our perspective is based on our experiences in business in the market we choose to dive into, and also our life experiences made up of interactions, engagements, education and probably more. 

Startup struggles and simple solutions. Part 1

The first struggle I am going to talk about is what I mentioned above, chasing profit, the priority for your business Im assuming is to grow, you need revenue to invest back into the business, and the way to make revenue is sales and the way to make sales is by offering a product or services to people who need and want them. The way to make sales is by not to focus on sales. Sounds crazy right? When I started my business, coming from a sales background and doing well I assumed the best way was to focus on selling to people and therefore I wasn’t focusing on providing a service to the people who need it. How can you do this when you are not an expert in your field, but more importantly when you are an expert, people don’t know you’re an expert in your field. Get good at understanding your product or service and market rather than focusing on selling to everyone and anyone. An example of this is reducing your prices, we rarely reduce prices because we think it’s great for our business, we do it because we think we’ll make more sales. Stop chasing the sale, understand the market this is how you will build revenue. 

Let’s break down how to understand the market, there are many ways to do this and people are talking about it all the time, I will keep it simple, understand your product, speak to people and figure out what the problems are and how you are solving them. This process takes time but in that process you will make sales anyway, those sales will teach you about your market but the sales you don’t make will teach you even more,like who your target market actually is vs who you think it is, which in my opinion is even more valuable. The broader you begin the harder the job is going to be, the harder the job is the more resilience you need, which is why so many people give up. Is everyone really your market? Water is drunk by millions of people yet every water brand has its own market of people. The power of branding, you can let the market choose you or you can choose your market, or at least begin to try. 

Whether you think it or not, whether your product or service is unique or not, you already have a brand. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new innovation or a take away shop, you already have a brand. Now I am meeting business owners face to face again (obviously with covid measures) and what surprises me when I meet awesome people, is that their brand does not represent them. Each person is unique, each business is unique, so shouldn’t your brand represent this? People buy from brands, because they trust them. 

Remember before they try your product or service they need to trust you, how do you trust someone you don’t know? How do you trust a business you don’t know?  Simple answer to that is you don’t, but you can begin to try, by diving deep into your business, understanding your market and relating to them, through your look and feel to begin with and then with each and every interaction with your brand. Simple steps, start with basic branding, make sales, build revenue and then reinvest into every aspect of your business because there is no hiding in today’s world. The world is becoming more connected and more online savvy, are you moving with it? Work smarter, start by building your brand. 

In reality we are trying to do so much when we start a business, how on earth do you prioritise in a world where posting on your social media is just as important as handling invoices. Find the answer to this and more in startup struggles and simple solutions part 2.  

In the meantime if you’re in the midlands and run a small business come and join our community, on this link

If you’re passionate about helping us make a difference for small businesses then help us out by contributing to our mission on the link .

Wish you lots of success till we talk again.

Why you don’t need branding?

You’re right, you don’t need it, you can carry on exactly how you are however have you ever heard anyone say I eat everyday and I don’t need my food to look good? Or I am going on a date, I do not care if the other person hasn’t made an effort? I find it difficult to believe that the blood sweat and tears we put into building our business, leads us to not caring how our business looks to others.

Think of things you love. Food? Cars? Your kids? Your partners, most importantly yourself ?
Would you care if these crucial parts of our day to day lives, consistently didn’t look good?
Would you make 0 effort to sort it out if they didn’t? Please don’t take this in a shallow way, it’s simply facts in my opinion. I find it hard to believe because we definitely care about the way that we present the things we love, or the way they are presented to us. Most importantly the way we look is the way we feel so how about your business ? How do you want your business to look and how do you want to feel about it? How do you want others to see your business and how do you want them to feel about it? Hopefully good enough to trust, recommend and buy.

Why you don't need branding?

Branding is more than just getting more sales, in fact when I hear that someone is booked all year I actually want to ask them did you run a business to be doing jobs all year? I understand work hard but we are so fortunate in today’s era we can achieve more in life by working smarter. How smart is it to spend no time with your kids? Spend no time with your family and friends, being an entrepreneurs shouldnt be a punishment, it should be rewarding when things are done correctly.

Picture this, you have a cleaning business, you have 100 jobs booked, you are getting paid on average £300 per job, that’s £30,000 which isn’t bad, it’s a salary, but you’re working long hours and in your spare time, you’re working on getting more customers and dealing with enquiries, marketing, advertising and many many other things. Let’s say you invest £10,000 pounds into your branding, (average U.K. market price) all of a sudden you are getting bigger jobs!! You have 30 jobs that you gained at £1000 each, you work less hours, make the same money, and get to spend your time more efficiently, or you work the same hours and make way more money, Which option would you choose?

‘Raji I don’t want to make more money’ do you want to work less hours? Do you want to have more time, do you want to be paid more for doing less? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then seriously think about your branding. What’s the goal? Work forever? I would rather work a 9-5 and earn £30,000 a year than spend silly hours getting customers and doing jobs and the same cycle over and over again to earn exactly the same. Are you seriously telling me you would choose to make your life harder ?

It goes back to what I say about how much you really care about your business. It’s not just about ‘ having a fancy website’ your brand says everything about you. Going back to the start of the article, why do I want to spend money on food that doesn’t look good? Why do I want to go on a date and spend money (for my independent women) with someone else who doesn’t make an effort on how they look?, why do I want to spend my hard earned money on a company who doesn’t even care how they look? Why would I?

If you don’t want better for your business why would anyone else ?

So do you need branding?

Book Free Audit

Website development from a branding perspective

I speak to just under a hundred of people on a monthly basis (sometimes more, sometimes less) and honestly it so beautiful when I hear about their achievements and what they have put in to their business in order to grow and win sales, no honestly I almost feel embarrassed at how I approach them thinking they are so new and just starting out when in actual fact they may have had interactions with extremely well known people. Why did I think they were just starting out or very new to the game? Their website. It’s simple, have you heard of that phrase you are what you eat? Well you’re business is what people see.

If you’ve read my blogs before you know I like to help you visualise, so visualise this, a food business, let’s call it raji eats, the business sells indian cuisine, now let’s say you check out my website, and it looks very basic, I’m using a couple of colours on there for no reason but because I like them and tbh you can tell i’ve used wordpress, now imagine my images are from google, actually I have taken a few which you can find on my Instagram. What is your opinion of me? Have a think. Now my competitor called James eats who sells a completely different cuisine to me but is getting more customers, now his website looks a lot fancier than mine, he has done market research so he know his target market, the branding fits in so perfectly and he even passed me a beautifully branded business card when I ordered from his website. Who would you buy from?

Website development from a branding perspective

I spoke to a woman the other day in the free branding workshops that we do to help educate businesses on branding, and she had a pet shop. Her regular buyers in the store were lawyers, nurses and working professionals, covid happened so she had to sell online. She wasn’t growing or making money, she said its because she didn’t have enough people to her website, we checked her SEO (search engine optimisation) it was fine, she actually had more than most people visiting her website, I asked her why she thinks she wasn’t growing, she said it was because of covid, the more we digged deeper, the more she realised what the issue was, when they were going to the website, something was stopping them from contacting her. Her target market was working professionals but the website said far from this. People really think about things before they part with their money, the more they spend the more they trust you.

Website development is not just about SEO, or putting a few features and sections in place, it’s not just about popping a few images on there, and it’s really sad when I hear ‘my website is just there to show we exist’, if that resonates with you then branding isn’t for you, i’ll be honest, this is for those of you who want to grow. The best coding is nothing without a strong visual identity. Website development when done correctly can bring huge success to your business and its growth. Just like a car, imagine a car with 4 wheels, and all the relevant parts but the outside looked awful, would you try it out? Would you show it to people and would you be proud of it?

Before you try a product or service, you can only see it, before you try, you buy, but a big part of what makes consumers buy is what you look like. Trust. Professionalism. Relatability. Story, Does your website tell a story? Would I spend my hard earned cash on your product or service before I have even tried it? Go have a look, from a fresh perspective and let me know.

Change branding – building a better you, builds a better us. Bringing big life to your small business.

What the hell is branding?

The most common question small businesses in Birmingham asked me is…

What the hell is branding?

Picture this, you have a beautiful 5 bedroom house, few nice bedrooms, nice kitchen, bathroom, who knows maybe an indoor gym, now imagine you wanted someone to design your house. After the job is done each room looks completely different, the colours shades are different and your house doesn’t represent you at all? Of course it would annoy you, now let’s go into exactly what would annoy you? The fact that it looks nothing like you wanted to or the fact that you spent money on each part of the house?

Now answer this, would you get the same person to design your house? Or a different person to do each part? Probably the same person to design your house, yes? Why? Well you’ll save time for starters, you will also only have to explain what you want once and having something designed by one person, keeps the design consistent.

Now comes quality, would you let your mate design your dream house? Would you let someone who didn’t understand your vision design your house? Probably not, because your dream house means a lot. So why don’t we think the same about our brand? As new small businesses, we put a lot of thought into designing websites, logos, our social media etc but if they are not designed properly and kept consistent across all areas of your business, then it will not be efficient. Like rooms in a house, these elements speak everything about you and your business, and the same way the look and feel of your house determines how many people want to come inside, the look and feel of your brand determines how people want to interact with your business.

Jeff Bezos said ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room’ Although I entirely agree with this, because we can’t see what they are saying when they are not in the room, we create our own perceptions of what they’re saying, sometimes fooling ones, maybe overly optimistic views. Every sale is important but what about the sales that aren’t happening? Why aren’t they happening? What does someone think when they go to my website? What do they think about me? Most importantly what do they think about my service or product before they’ve tried it? I know it may seem impossible to know that, but by thinking about these things you can begin to try.

The point is what’s the goal? I’m talking to you guys who have a great idea, a motivation to grow, to make a level of influence as a business, if this isn’t you then hopefully you learnt something from the above, and for those of you who that does apply to, when has doing a quick, shabby job ever benefited your business? If there has been a time that pops into your mind please email it over to me. I would love to be proved wrong. If you are creating your brand yourself then dive into every part of your business and think about what your target market is thinking, or more importantly what they are not thinking.

If branding is done correctly, everything they feel and think leads the right people into your community, your real, authentic, loyal community. This is how sales happen, repeated sales.

Think of your favorite football team, you go watch them live, there’s hundreds of you all together cheering and singing. Now picture another smaller football team, who have supporters but are not really that loyal or committed, they are just there to watch a great sport. The side that looks like they are having more fun will be noticed a lot more than the side who have people there for no reason. So why do we not create this same support for our business? Imagine selling a ManUtd Shirt to an Arsenal supporter? You’re laughing right, but this really happens in business, why do we pay zero attention to our target market?

What the hell is branding? It’s more than a logo, it’s more than a website, it’s more than your social media accounts, it is the way your customers perceive you. It’s your reputation, your business reputation. So why do so many small businesses in Birmingham ask me what it is, why do so many small business owners neglect such a crucial part of their business?

The truth is a brand will never just happen, as much as you like or want it to, it’s a well thought out strategic plan. Change branding help small businesses with their strategic plan to ensure they get the best out of their brand and help grow their business.

Logo Design

What you want vs what you need.

It really makes me so sad at how the importance of a logo has increasingly become non-existent by the looks of it. When we get ill we go to the doctors, when we need a tattoo we go to a tattoo artist, and when we suck at the gym we go to a personal trainer, so I just can not understand why when created a new small business, we do not think we can do it all ourselves. We spend hours starting up our business, spending time and energy and treating our business with care and pride, like a newborn baby. Your business is your baby. So I understand why it is scary to trust someone else helping take care of it. But you would not want to dress your baby in uncomfortable, and inappropriate clothes, so why dress your business in such ways?

I know exactly the answer, “but Raji it’s cheaper!”

Yes the word ‘cheap’ is attractive to many people, especially when you need to save as much as you can. But 9 times out of 10, cheap doesn’t mean good quality, it doesn’t mean sustainability and it doesn’t mean it will save you money in the long term. Just like clothes, your logo can be cheap, but will saving money on a single logo be worth it? And then of course you have to think, will the logo be sustainable? Will it be good quality? Will it help me make money?

Change Branding offers professional services for the lowest prices in the UK, but we are not cheap. Meaning, we have the lowest price out of all the branding agencies in the UK, but we offer good quality, sustainable and money saving services.

You put your blood, sweat and tears into your business, so you do not want to wrap it up in inferior quality. You might think I am being too direct but it’s all perception and if at the minimum I can help shape a better perception on logo design, I will feel better about the future of your business.

Who is your logo for? You? We ask our best mates, is it for them? We ask our parents and fair enough they will definitely buy our products and services when they can but i’m sure you want more sales? Before I continue, please note everything I am writing here is based on the fact that you want to be successful, you want to grow organically and you want to stand out, if these don’t apply to you then I suggest you don’t read any further.

Your logo is for your potential community of loyal buyers, so it needs to be designed for them, so the next person you go to design a logo, make sure it is not using clip art and make sure they understand and identify who your target market is and you will be off to a much better start.

“Raji I am not paying more than 50 quid for a logo!”. I hear this all the time in my profession and it’s a very big disfiguration in mentality. Let me explain it this way: If you buy a designer jacket, let’s say it costs £300, it is mass produced probably somewhere in a third world country, what you’re saying is work that requires thinking, empathy, creativity and connecting dots and craftsmanship is worth less than a mass produced jacket?

You’re paying for someone’s time, time and skill is the most valuable recourse. When you meet someone for the first time you want to give your best impression, your first point of contact in your business is your logo and what your logo is currently saying about you.

Send your logo to us with what you think it’s saying about your business, and I’ll be more than happy to give some feedback.

Change Branding want’s more small businesses to be successful and dominate the market.
I personally want chocolate everyday, but I need good health.
I want to travel and visit family, but I need to do my part during the pandemic.
I want to spend zero money and profit but I need to build a loyal community and trust.

I want a cheap logo but I need _______, because _____. You Fill in the gaps.

ChangeBranding believes in supporting each other and building relationships. Because building a better you, builds a better us.

And building a better logo, builds a better business.