Trophy Blog #55 ~ I write this column having spent the day at the York Railway Museum attending a S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization) workshop and training course. In today’s fast pace of life, business owners need to try and be one step ahead of the competition. In the past, customers dug out the old yellow pages, thumbed the pages and used the land line phone to make contact with the owner of the shop. Now you can get your smart phone out of your pocket, type in a few words and have hundreds of options in the palm of your hand within a few seconds. The European Union has provided millions of pounds and backed the Super fast broadband roll out across North Yorkshire. Business owners are able to get free advice, training and guidance via one to one meetings and also choose from the many workshops on offer. Having sat in many ‘meetings about meetings’ in my past career (trying to keep awake by counting roof tiles) this was one of the best courses I’ve attended. It catered for all levels of experience with some people only having a basic single page website, while others had gone racing off doing hundreds of things to make it onto the magical page one of a google search. In previous weeks Google have moved the goalposts slightly to favour the ‘searcher’ rather than the company trying everything and anything to be better than his or her rival. In 2014, even more changes are due to find the correct answer to the question put into the search bar.In April we will be celebrating our third year of trading in Selby. 2014 is our make or break year as hopefully we are now fully established and people now know about us. Thankfully, the majority of our customers have returned to us each year, so we must be doing something right. One of my daily roles is to take the company forward and explore expanding into new areas, but at the same time, still cater for our existing customers. One of the main things I do is try and be on top of the new trend of communicating. I research how people make purchases. I have had customers place orders via phone, text, email, eBay, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, esty, LinkedIn, google plus and Instagram. Many ‘Selby Times and Post’ readers will have never heard of these buying platforms, they attract millions of account holders all around the world. Facebook has recently purchased Whatsapp for billions of pounds. I had a long email conversation with a customer in Western Australia who found us via ebay. To break the ice he purchased one trophy from our stock and was happy to spend three times as much getting it to him via Fedex. He lives miles away from a town or city so regularly pays extra for a company who will deliver to his door. I have sent him a catalogue and he promises to use us in the future. I try to keep on top of all these different types of social media, but it takes up a lot of time. We still welcome walk in customers, and sometimes I prefer having a real life conversation to establish their exact requirements. Online purchases are so easy for the consumer and businesses have to react to this.