Business New Year’s resolutions


It’s this time of year when we all hear from our friends and family members about their New Year’s resolutions. I personally gave up on the New Year’s resolutions, but I think they are a great way of planning your next business year. The ‘year’ may vary depending on where you reside and conduct your business. For example, if the financial year, like here in the UK starts in April, you may want to start the ‘year’ in April. Whenever you decide to start it, I strongly believe that resolutions are highly beneficial for your business.

What are my New Year’s resolutions for my business?

  1. More networking. It doesn’t really matter that much whether it is an online or an offline networking strategy. What is important is that there is a strategy in place. Of course it is better to meet in person; however it is not always feasible. This year I have decided to concentrate on the social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. Although I’ve had an account on LinkedIn for some time now, I haven’t really used it. I intend on participating in groups and conversations, searching for potential leads and making connecting with colleagues and clients. So where do you meet the clients-to-be in person? Check out fair trades in your specialism or look them up in your local Chambers of Commerce directories. But please take note: before the first initial contact with anybody, do your research and get prepared – First impressions count!
  2. Continuous Professional Development – CPD – is vastly important for translators as otherwise we do not progress. Whether it is a workshop, a seminar, a webinar or a conference, it is vital for us to attend them for a few reasons. First of all, we learn new skills, extend our knowledge and broaden our horizons, not only when it comes to translation skills, but technology or our specialisms. To stay on the ball, we need to continuously develop as things change every day. The other beneficial aspect linked to networking is meeting fellow translators. Whatever the reason, it is good to meet others working in the same industry.
  3. Marketing is another bullet point on my list. Nowadays it is necessary to have consistent online presence. What you really want to achieve is to present yourself as an expert in a certain domain. Do you work with medical documents? Participate in a discussion on a medical forum or a Polish (or any other language) group, be active, help others and share your knowledge. This will send a message to others, both colleagues and potential clients, that you are a go-to person, should they need help or translation services. However, it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes patience and obviously genuine knowledge. I will also contact a couple of new potential leads each day. This shouldn’t take too much time and if done regularly should bring great results.
  4. The last point is about a business plan. All of the above-mentioned ideas should be written down and specified using SMART goals technique. You need to include dates, figures, etc. If you are not familiarised with SMART goals, please visit this website: http://topachievement.com/smart.html, as they are really practical. Also, when it comes to a business plan, you need to analyse your rates and whether you are happy with your work-life balance or income. The best way to prepare a business plan for the next year is to scrutinise the last year. What went well and what went wrong? What can you improve? Prepare a detailed plan and try to stick to it.

There you go, here are my business New Year’s resolutions. Thanks to them my business will continue growing and developing. Without any sort of plan, our business just won’t go forward. As they say ‘you don’t progress, you regress.’

Have you made your business resolutions?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Doing business in Poland


As you probably know thanks to various media, Poland with its GDP increased by 3.3% in 2014 is the fastest developing country in the EU. The domestic market is huge as there are 38 million citizens. Its strategic location allow you to have direct access to emerging eastern European markets. Thanks to the fact that Poland is one of the EU member states, it will have received 105.8 billion Euro by 2020. On top of all this, there is a great, well-educated workforce. It shouldn’t then take much convincing to expand your business to Poland. Let’s have a look at what challenges you may encounter and what the opportunities and growth potential are.

Challenges

The UK and the Polish markets are fairly similar and if you succeeded in the UK, the chances are that the same product will be successful in Poland. Unfortunately, you may encounter some difficulties on the way there. There is a vast amount of bureaucracy in Poland and it doesn’t really compare to the UK. You may also notice that the Polish market is a competitive one and that tax administration is not very clear. Speaking of money, you need to take into consideration existing tax burden and corruption. On top of that, the judicial system is quite slow. However, if you face all these challenges, you should be just fine.

Opportunities

Poland has received  85.2 billion Euro to stay a market offering growth, stability and good prospects for the UK businesses. It is a good option for the UK as it is easily accessible, English is widespread among Polish businesses and Poland is an entry point to the eastern European countries. Also, thanks to the EU, there are improvements in the energy, transport and infrastructure sectors.

Thanks to the fact that Poland is the EU member state and also belongs to the WTO, companies producing goods in the UK are exempt from import duties.

The main products that the UK is already exporting to Poland are electromechanical products, chemicals and mechanical devices.

Opportunities in certain sectors

Energy

Poland is planning on building 2 3-gigawatt nuclear plants. It is hoped that it will make up around 17% of its energy source. What does it mean for the UK business? It creates the opportunity in regulatory capacity building, R&D transfer, supply of all elements of the fuel cycle and consultancy and project management.

Railways

In order to create an advanced trans-European rail network, there is going to be 25 billion Euro investment in Polish rails until 2030. This creates the opportunity in

  • planning and development
  • development of technical standards and regulation
  • supply of rail technologies
  • supply of rolling stock, including subcomponents
  • operational maintenance
  • project and commercial management

Security

Security sectors is a bit more diverse as it focuses of a few kinds of security. There are some strategies already in place, i.e. national security strategy, a national critical infrastructure protection programme or a program focusing on making Poland more digital.

When it comes to cyber security, Poland focuses on rapid development of mobile internet and e-services and on creating good cyberspace protection.

Another area that needs development is critical data security when it comes to cloud computing and mobile devices.

The UK companies can find opportunities in the following sectors:

  • CCTV monitoring systems for cities, transport systems and intelligent buildings
  • access control solutions
  • cutting edge solutions for homeland security services, including surveillance, security and communications equipment
  • Information Technology (IT) security solutions for public administration, businesses and individuals
  • cyber security solutions including those for critical infrastructure areas

Financial and business services

The financial market in Poland is well-regulated and stable. Around 70% of the banks in Poland are owned by a foreign parent companies. Below you can find opportunities in this sector:

  • FinTech, specifically digital banking, Big Data, mobile payments and cybersecurity
  • legal and financial consultancy as Public Private Partnership (PPP) / EU funds hybrid projects are used more widely
  • private health insurance with less than 800,000 Poles currently paying for private healthcare policies

Retail

Poland’s retail sector market is highly competitive but there is huge potential for new UK entrants. Poland has the largest retail market in the CEE region. It has:

  • a growing middle class
  • increasingly sophisticated consumers looking for new, high quality products

Opportunities include:

  • opening stores in new and existing shopping malls
  • online retail
  • the potential for growth in mobile (M) commerce
  • innovative solutions such as mobile payments solutions for retail
  • warehousing, especially for e-commerce
  • premium UK food products

Healthcare

Polish healthcare is Europe’s:

 

  • seventh largest market in terms of patient numbers
  • second largest by spend per capita

The Polish government only spends 7.5% of GDP on healthcare. However, the private healthcare sector is continually expanding and currently covers one third of the market by value.

 

EU funds 2014 to 2020 will be mainly spent on healthcare infrastructure. Public hospitals are obliged to modernise their premises and upgrade equipment to EU standards by the end of 2016.

High annual growth rates are expected for:

  • over the counter (OTC) products and food supplements (market value 2014: £160 million) at 6%
  • image diagnostics (market value 2014: £400 million) at 15%
  • in vitro diagnostics (market value 2014: £215 million) at 9%

There are also opportunities for:

  • specialised medical equipment, particularly for hospitals
  • telemedicine solutions and diagnostic equipment
  • e-health as part of a new Digital Poland 2014 to 2020 Programme
  • clinical trials
  • building new or buying existing private centres
  • small Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects

 

It is evident that there are plenty of opportunities for the UK investors and businesses to benefit from expanding to Poland. Not only there are many sectors to choose from but also within each sector, there is a wide range of business opportunities.

 

(Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-to-poland/doing-business-in-poland-poland-trade-and-export-guide)

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Did you know that about SEO?


I’ve recently took part in an informative CPD on web writing for translators. It consisted of two webinars; first one presented by Anne Diamantidis on writing for SEO – SEO basics, good practices and tactics and the second presentation web writing – online communication with customers and prospects was delivered by Alessandra Martelli. I’m going to sum up what I’ve learnt from them about SEO as I think it may be beneficial for those who didn’t attend the webinar.

6 things to know about SEO

1. No Key Stuffing
For those of you who know something about SEO or SEOed their website this may come as a surprise but key stuffing doesn’t work any more. Google is now smarter than this and you can even get penalised for it. So don’t try to repeat ‘translator’ 100 times on one website because a) it won’t work, b) it won’t be readable.

2. No Invisible Page
A few years ago it used to be the case that you could write an invisible page for your website which consists of all the keywords you need and add it to the website. This page was invisible to the website users, hence the name, but Google could see it. Perfect solution, you’d think. Well, it is worth remembering that this solution is not going to work anymore as Google is constantly developing and what may have worked a few years ago or even a few months or weeks ago, may not necessarily work now. It is always worth checking whether you’re investing your time in something that is beneficial to you or simply obsolete and you’re just wasting your time. Google realises now what you’re trying to do with an invisible page and simply won’t let you benefit from it.

3. Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions
If you want to place a keyword somewhere, that’s the place to do it! Google is clever enough now to search through billions of pages and find the ones you want, even if there is one keyword on the website. Place the keywords in your meta titles and meta descriptions. What exactly are they? Meta title is the name of your website which is displayed at the top of your browser.Thanks to it, you can see what website are you currently on. Also, when you type whatever this is that you search in Google you see this:

google-search

As you can see in the above picture, the last meta title is too long and it doesn’t look neat. Meta titles, in order to fit, should be no longer than 70 characters. You can see that the same happened to the description in the first and third search. It doesn’t look good, does it? If you want to keep it within the limits, your meta description should have no more than 150 characters. Please remember though that Google keeps changing these figures so you need to check from time to time whether it still works.

4. Avoid Duplicate Content
It seems that Google likes creativity. Not only it is not going to reward you for duplicate content but it may actually penalise you for it. Google will simply ignore the duplicate content and you will gain no benefits from it, so keep it creative and try not to copy anything!

5. Trustworthiness
Google now realises that it is important if real Internet users interact with your website by posting links to it on their websites or social media. Google sees it as a genuine interaction and it automatically thinks that this must be a good website if other users share it. It will make you rank much higher in the results.

6. Forget About SEO
The last point is the most important. We all should write for people, not for the SEO. Google is clever enough now to recognise a good content. It needs to be original and without any grammatical or spelling mistakes. You should write because you want to share something with others, not because you want to rank higher in the search. Quality writing is essential. So as long as we write good, quality articles or blog posts, we will be rewarded by ranking higher. If you start using these rules, you should be ranked higher. Remember that this doesn’t happen over night. Think about it as a good reputation in the industry. This doesn’t happen over night either, does it? Here, you need to work for a good reputation in the Google word.

However, if you apply all these 6 rules, you should be just fine! When you set all of them, then you can forget about it and create a valuable content for people. The rest should take care of itself.

Good luck!
Elzbieta Wilson
English-Polish Translator and Conference Interpreter

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail