Friday, July 30, 2010

BSS Business Grants on the island

BSS fianancial business grants are a fantastic scheme in helping businesses. They can be the 'yay or nay' factor in deciding on a web project that without this financial assistance may not see the life of day. Having the backing (& 50% of fees) of the DED (Department of Economic Development)  gives businesses confidence that deciding to go with a project is the right way for their company.  My partner Glynne and I are both BSS consultants  & can help obtaining a grant - up to a generous £4,500. The Isle of Man is actively promoting eCommerce & grants in this preferred disciplines are expedited fast and painlessly.

What follows is today's publication from the DED. Please read it - it may be of interest as well as in your interest! The offer might not last for ever .......
Contact me for more info - Call Eva lancaster +44(0)1624 897143 or email and/or visit our site for more info & samples of  work

The Business Support Scheme

The Department of Economic Development’s Business Support Scheme can offer your business financial assistance towards the cost of specialist consultancy to help your business develop and improve profits, implement new working practices or improve efficiency.
What can it do for my business?
A recent analysis of over 300 past projects has revealed how effective the Scheme has proved for participating businesses and the Isle of Man in general:
•    46% saw an increase in profits
•    68% saw an improvement in working practices
•    19% have increased employees with over 200 jobs created
•    97% would be happy to use the Scheme again
The following is just a small example of the comments received:
•    “The project is the essence of the business and has enabled it to start-up and to continue to operate largely as an on-line booking agency…”
Sally Helwich- Isle of Man Event Services Ltd

"3 Legs Ltd was delighted to help this new venture to quickly establish its on-line presence, bringing valuable business to the Island's tourism sector."
Sean Kelly, 3 Legs Ltd. (E-Business Consultant for Isle of Man Event Services Ltd)

•    Our energy bills have come down so much we expect the payback period to be 18 months..!”   
John Shakespeare: Manager, Strand Shopping Centre

“We have the expertise to provide a lighting solution which will benefit the business now and for years to come.”
Ralph Peake: Managing Director, Luminaires Ltd (Energy Consultant for Strand Shopping Centre)

•    "..bookings for the campsite are well up and the administration is so simple and takes up virtually no time at all. All this without any IT skills! It paid for itself within a few months."
Richard Huxham, Ballamoar Campsite

".. we strongly recommend that any Tourist Accommodation Provider, large or small, take advantage of the assistance available through the Business Support Scheme in order to create a web presence with e-Booking Facilities, thereby enabling them to enjoy the advantages and opportunities that E-Business brings.”
Eve Lancaster of Redcetera. (E-Business Consultant for Ballamoar Campsite)

What assistance does my business receive?
The Scheme offers businesses 50% (up to a maximum of £4500) towards the cost of consultancy within the following disciplines:
•    Marketing
•    Design
•    E-Business
•    Environmental Efficiency
•    HR
•    Quality Management
•    Business and Strategic Planning
•    IT
•    Financial Management Controls
Am I eligible to apply for assistance?
All applicants must be either a Manx-registered business, or a sole trader registered in the Isle of Man for Income Tax.
All applicants are eligible for projects in the disciplines of Quality Management and Environmental Efficiency. Additionally, applicants who supply products or services to off-Island customers will be eligible for an E-Business project.
Eligibility for projects in the remaining disciplines is discretionary and the final decision on these will be made by the Department.
Note; Businesses operating in the Manufacturing sector are eligible for projects in all disciplines.
For further information on eligibility go to ,
Where can I get further information?
If you would like more information on the Scheme, including application form and brochure, please visit, or contact Scheme Manager, Mike Corkhill, by telephone on 682326 or email

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo Editors

Designing websites involves nearly always photo images, some used for general illustration and often lots for say Online Galleries.

Unless involved in design or photography the average person has no need for a complex image editor such as Adobe Photoshop. I couldn't live without it but it has so many tools that most people would never ever use.

For a Pro website to look smart however, images need to be of the highest quality. Most original photos need a little (or lots of) help before they pass the test. (They will also need sizing and optimising, a subject I will be touching upon a different time)

What tools to use without having to go thru long learning curves and spending money?
Luckily there are several very good image editors available online so you don't even have to download any programs. Using these to prepare your images you not only get to keep the cost down (to people like us), you can potentially get great results. Plus - you can be proud of your achievements whilst having fun.

I reviewed a few editors and they are amazing. Not only can you do obvious things like autofix, resize, crop, rotate. You can adjust manually (but easily) lightness and darkness, smoothen or sharpen, apply special effects such as sepia, duotone, paint, sketch, change the borders and loads more. All with a click of the button - and (mostly) for free.

All you do is upload your image from your PC, do your thing and when you're happy, just save it to your PC and Bob's you're uncle.

Give a try to or or for the more DIY person use - or for very quick simple fixes without the many bells and whistles use

Have fun and let me know what you think

Till next time, Eva

Original Photo

Using Picnik adding this effect plus round borders with a few clicks

Using Fotoflexer adding these effects with a few clicks

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Red Holiday Online Booking

Us folk at Redcetera are working hard to get our Demo version ready for our eTourist Online Booking System. Its getting there. We have consulted Holiday Property owners on their requirements and preferences to incorporate them into the software. Speaking to them we have discovered that their needs are often a little different from the 'big' hotel owners and the secret for their success is flexibility and simplicity. Such as being able to hold a booking reservation for 48hrs or so without any money exchange. The 48hrs will trigger then an auto email message to remind holiday owner and online booker that a decision needs to be made.

Redcetera - Red Holiday Online Booking - Demo (in progress)

We are also incorporating a lot of auto goodies for the holiday accomodation owner such as great looking sexy galleries of the property, rooms, facilities and local area. These all wet the appetite for web visitors eg potential customers. Of course the booking process should be super smooth. We are offering multiple choices such as View by Date, Room etc incorporating Date Pickers to make life really easy. Another important consideration in the design is to minimise the amount of clicks and pages an eBooker has to go thru to get to the Till. There will be Upselling options for the owner to add Extra's such Wireless Facilities, Champagne and/or flower bouquet on arrival etc.

Admin for the Holiday accomodation owner will be a doddle. Add & change Rooms, the Images, the Description - with auto uploads. The sites are CMS based to give the eTourist site owner complete control over his website content. This way they can also keep their sites up to date and fresh - so very important for web visitors - and of course, the Search Engines.

You're welcome to take a peep at the work to date by clicking here 

For more information or a chat contact us on +44(0)1624 897143 or email

Tiil soon,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

E-Business Powa site launched

Yesterday we celebrated Tynwald Day - our national day here at the Isle of Man. But one of our very nice clients, Suzanne Cubbon, also had reason to be happy as we went live with her site 

Presence of Mann is a newly established Manx shop in Laxey with a fabulous selection of wonderful mainly Manx goodies that are just great for presents and gifts or self indulgence.

Let me know what you think of the online shop - I am sure Suzanne would love you're reactions too ...

The online shop was created using Powa software as a base on which we put our stamp with custom design, CMS and JQuery techniques. Having used this engine for the first time we were pleased to discover the facilities it offers. Powa has an inbuilt shopping cart, good promotional options and SEO and CMS techniques. We're definitely we'll be recommending this product to our clients.

We'll be publishing a page on our site with information and prices shortly - Ahh time, if only there was more of it!  If you meanwhile want to check it out go here

Contact us if you are interested in a Powa or any other E-business , a site or blog for your business

Till soon, eva