12 Apr

Small-scale Web Hosting Reliability and Add-On Services

I have several customers for whom I maintain Linux servers providing small-scale web hosting, simply because they provide services such as application management, SEO and web design, where the customer will assume that they are also able to provide web hosting.

Generally the setup is simple – a single rented server running one of the popular web hosting control panels – Plesk, cPanel, VirtualMin and the like.  Having managed web hosting services in various capacities for 15 years, I believe this is a perfectly acceptable setup, but it has a few flaws that will catch out the unwary: Continue reading “Small-scale Web Hosting Reliability and Add-On Services” »

28 Mar

Selling a small Web Design or Software Business

How often have you seen “Dragon’s Den” hopefuls putting ridiculous values on their fledgeling business?  They are trying to put a real number on all the passion, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into fulfilling their dream.  They’re trying to turn something they’re 100% devoted to into a real number, and naturally the numbers that come out are enormous.  But as we’ve seen, that’s not the same value that others will apply to it.

“Value” is a relative term – it really means “Value to a specific person in a specific set of circumstances”.  Many years ago, after one of life’s inevitable down turns, I found myself completely skint; owing cash to a local thug and buying food with rubber cheques that, thanks to a wonderful invention called a cheque guarantee card, the bank would honour.  As you can imagine, a five pound note had far more value then compared to now.   Continue reading “Selling a small Web Design or Software Business” »

15 Mar

Practical Guide to Setting Up a Business in the UK

There are thousands of “how to set up a business” guides out there, but most of them focus on the intangible things – planning, marketing, sales and growth.  Having been through the process a few times I wrote myself a small procedure or checklist for the more practical aspects of setting up a new company – what actually needs to happen.  It’s not difficult, but first time around I missed a few of these steps and suffered extra admin work and in some cases costs as a result.

So here’s what I’m going to assume you, being sensible, have done before you even think about forming a company:

  • realised you have a product or service that can be sold for money
  • checked that there are enough people who would actually buy it
  • worked out how you would deliver it, and how much it will really cost to do that
  • worked out an agreement with any business partners
  • checked that any suppliers are in place and what their prices would be
  • you understand the basics of accounting – invoicing, profit+loss sheet, balance sheet

So here is my checklist, with notes:

Continue reading “Practical Guide to Setting Up a Business in the UK” »

01 Feb

Red Green – e-Commerce in a Box

After selling Versatilia Ltd in 2010, I had time to consider what really made me tick.  For 15 years, I’d developed and sold e-commerce websites, features for e-commerce websites and advice on e-commerce.  In 1997 I built Aria‘s first ever e-commerce site, and by 2010 I’d developed a large scale e-commerce system for the promotional products industry, supporting over 900 websites in many countries, languages and currencies, taking over $15m per year in orders.

So it was a natural step to take that experience and build e-commerce sites not for a fixed fee, but for a share of profit.  Bear in mind that a full online shop setup can take hundreds of hours and a lot of ongoing investment, meaning that by taking that risk, I would be literally betting my experience against the rest of the world.

Red Green Ltd takes this idea one step further – offering people with experience and contacts in a specific industry the chance to use their skill and experience without having to fully understand how to set up a website, online marketing and a business, because Red Green will provide all of that in an easy to use form – it’s your online shop in a box.