iSSUE 4 April 2018
DENISE JOY THOMPSON Our Time is Now
EMPOWERED VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Find your work/life balance HELEN ADAMS Writes her first book on Nutrition for food allergies and intolerances DAVE MILLET Advises on telecom purchases
EMPOWERED BUSINESS MAGAZINE
I am so excited to share this issue with you! We have some amazing people featuring including our fabulous cover start Denise Joy Thompson.Â I really hope you love this issue as much as I have loved compiling it. Get in contact with me if you want to write for future issues: firstname.lastname@example.org and don't forget to find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/empoweredmagazine I'm sending you all luck and love in everything that you are doing! Hannah x
CONTENTS Page 1. Editors Letter Page 2. Contents Pages 3 - 8. Denise Joy Thompson Page 9. Empowered Virtual Assistant Pages 10 and 11. Sarah Ankney Empowerment Pages 12 - 17. Global Voice Radio Page 18. Mandy Halgreen Pages 19 - 20. Karen O'Donnell Pages 21 - 22. Fiona Simpson Page 23. Stem & Glory Page 24 - 26. Dave Millet Page 27 - 28. Helen Adams Pages 29 - 31. John Auckland Pages 32 - 33. Joanna Gaudoin
OUR TIME IS NOW Let our GLOBAL voice be heard
Denise Joy Thompson Founder, Global Voice Radio
Our Time Is Now…. Never in the history of our world is there a global consciousness regarding the need for CHANGE. Each one of us has the responsibility to participate and be a positive force in creating this change. The impetus for change is the oppression of people around the world, the genocide which still exists and is occurring in this very moment; the systemic killing of those who are powerless against rogue regimes; the subjugation of women and children by leaders hungry for continued power and control. There are always many sides to each issue. The best, most positive “side” is the one which is forged For women in developed and technologically advanced through intellectual discourse, open dialogue and a countries with governments which are, or have been or are critical analysis of all of the facts. now based on democratic and republican (not referring to political parties, rather the true concept of these words) we, women, have the ability and opportunity to share our VOICE. I truly believe a quote by the Dalai Lama in 2009 at the Vancouver Peace Summit, “The world will be saved by the Western Woman”. I am a Western Woman, as are my sisters in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and many other countries where women have open access to education, jobs, and many freedoms. We are able to share our VOICE with little to no consequences or repercussions. The Freedom of Speech which is so precious is often underused to create the change we are seeking. Sharing our voice comes with the integrity and responsibility to not engage in the very behaviors and rhetoric of which we are fighting against. We, as women, need to ensure we are not becoming the bullies; we are not oppressing; we are not discounting views which are not congruent with our own; we are not negating the rights of others to have a voice.
Over the past several years, women have been stepping up, coming forward, and sharing their voices, emerging from a whimper, a whisper, a shout into a ROAR. As with a roar of a lioness, attention is achieved. Once attention is gained, then it is time to be clear, to be specific and present effective solutions. Once attention is gained, continued roaring without substance does not promote the issues or solutions. Our time is now to come together in collaborative, cooperative and compassionate conversation. Every women has experienced negativity or oppression, even if it was it clear at the time. Many of these experiences were approved under the guise of society; history, expectations, “this is how it always has been”. We, as women of today, have the ability, the numbers and the power to create change. Our actions, our words will support our endeavors or they can tear them down.
Our time is now to no longer accept the status quo, to forge ahead and create a society, to create a world where every women and child has an opportunity for safety, security, education, employment, business creation and financial security, regardless of gender, race, and country in which they live. Our time is now to release the anger, the hurt, the blame and shame of the past. These cloaks no longer serve us and even now create barriers to authentically addressing what needs to be changed and what each one of us can do to contribute to the change.
“We, as women, need to realize and accept our power, our contribution to society and stand up and live it.” Denise Joy Thompson Page 5
Before we ask someone else to make a difference, look into your own life. What are your words, what are your actions, what are your contributions? If you are not doing what you are asking others to do, then you are not part of the change, you are part of the “establishment” holding back the tides of change. We, the women of today, is the greatest force on earth and we can create change. We must not continue to fight against one another. We, as women, need to not see each other as competition. We, as women, need to stop comparing our life and see lack when we look at another woman. We are all equal, if we allow our mind to accept this fact. This does not mean there are not differences, there are differences. We are all unique individuals and at the same time we are very similar. It is the uniqueness and the similarities which to create the change needed in our world. Rise Up, Be Seen, Be Heard and walk arm in arm with women from around the globe to create true equality, supporting each other, holding each other up and at the same time, not emasculate men. Our world has evolved from what was known (albeit the knowledge was skewed in favor of men). Our time is now as women to come together with acceptance, compassion and love to create change. Mahatma Gandhi stated “Be the change you want to see in the world.” To Every woman, how are you being that change? What are the actions, the collaborations, the contributions, the mentoring, the words, what are you exhibiting and sharing with those around you and the world. I believe men will support the change we want to create. I believe men want equality with women, I believe the majority of men have been surviving and following what they believe society has dictated to them. Our time is now is being exemplified by two amazing women I met in March. I want to acknowledge these inspiring, motivating and transformational women, who have taken great risk to create change in their countries. I am blessed and grateful to have these women as part of my “sisterhood tribe”. In March 2018, in recognition of International Women’s Day, Global Voice Radio create “International Women’s Month and 30 women were interviewed in March as part of the Your Global Voice – Voices of Women show. Each woman interviewed are change makers, are women with vision to create change in the world through their businesses and building relationships and networks around the world.
Sister Zeph over 20 years ago, began the Zephaniah Free Education in the courtyard of her home. Despite having an outdoor classroom, no chairs or desks, in the frigid or blistering heat, despite death threats and actual physical harm to her, Sister Zeph persevered. Sister Zeph now has 3 schools, provides education to children of 10 villages and has a center to teach women job and entrepreneurial skills so they can support themselves and their families. Economic, personal, physical and social needs are being met for these women and girls in a society known for oppression of this population. For more information and to connect with Sister Zeph visit www.facebook.com/zephaniahfreeacademy. Rebecca Onidek is the founder of the Armstrong Women Empowerment Centre in Kenya. Rebecca, from the lack of support she had from her father and her community for what she wanted to do as a child and young woman, she now creates educational, job and entrepreneurial opportunities for women, and children (girls and boys) in her community and in her country. Due to the high incidence of physical and sexual abuse, the Gender Based Violence Centre was also created Rebecca even travels throughout Africa sharing her knowledge with women of other countries, her most recent travels taking her to Rwanda and collaborating, mentoring and working with women receiving micro-funding and training from United nations programs. For more information and to connect with Rebecca visit www.facebook.com/armstrongwomenempowermentcenter.
Our time is now to take the hand of another woman, see her and all women as our allies, as our equals and walk together as we create change in our self, in our family, in our community, our country and the world. Â Â Let us join together for Our Time Is NOW to Let Our GLOBAL Voice Be Heard.
DENISE JOY THOMPSON Denise Joy Thompson is the CEO of Global Broadcasting LLC, founder of Global Voice Radio and owner of The Coach Alliance. Denise Joy is a coach, a champion for people finding their power within, a catalyst for transformation, a speaker, writer, a Colonel and Veteran. After more than 27 years as a therapist and a military member, including two deployments, Denise Joy has transitioned to coaching women (and a few good men) in creating their businesses and a life they love to live. Denise Joy is the creator, compiler, and co-author of Live In Gratitude Daily: The Key to Abundance, Joy and Love and Discover Your Destiny, Live Your Dreams, Love Your Life: Expert Tips On Creating Success. Denise Joy has been a coauthor in several #1 International best-seller anthologies. She was also a featured expert in the I Am Enough and Unleashed magazines in 2016. Denise Joy is the Host of Live In Gratitude Daily and Your Global Voice and a co-host of The Author’s Message on Global Voice Radio.
Denise Joy is described as energetic, fun-loving, adventureminded, determined, loyal, and a deep thinker. She believes strongly in the ability of everyone being an ACE (Authentic, Courageous and Empowered) and promotes creating and living a life one loves to live! Denise lives near San Antonio an in her spare time she loves traveling, wine tasting, and reading.
Connect with Denise at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/denisejoythompson www.facebook.com/groups/globalvoiceradio. www.facebook.com/groups/liveingratitudedaily, and www.globalvoiceradio.com.
FINDING YOUR WORK/LIFE BALANCE
When running your own business it can be really difficult to find a balance between your work and your personal life – especially if you’re like me and are a workaholic or if, again like me, you’re working a job to pay the bills whilst you build your business up. There are so many people who have automatically fallen into having the perfect work/life balance and this can lead to thoughts of “why her and why not me?” or “how do they manage to build up a booming business and have time for their family and I’m slogging away trying to get my customers?”
Implement some of these tips that have been used by those people who have a great work/life balance and let me know if they work for you! 1. “Use Google calendar and set personal time throughout the day!” It’s important that even during a work day you spend some time doing something for you. Even if it is just watching half an hour of that TV programme you really enjoy. It means your brain is getting chance to rest and your body can relax before you start again!
By Hannah Edwards
4. “Do not let anything distract you! ” We all have that one friend who phones in the morning and says “hey let’s meet for a coffee!” If this is during times that you have set out that you are going to be working then explain that too them and give them a time that you’re free. You may be working from home in your business but it’s still a job that pays and you aren’t going to complete your work if you get distracted by others. 5. “Small steps are still steps in the right direction!”
2. “Keep to a set schedule!” Spend some time each evening before you switch off scheduling your time for the following day. That way you can get on with your to do list as soon as your work day starts. If you’ve scheduled everything ready you won’t need to work over your work day hours and can spend some time in the evening relaxing. 3. “When you set yourself a finish time – stick to it!” If you have said that your work day will finish at five – make sure it finishes at five. If you have said that you won’t be working weekends – don’t work them! It is important that you give your body and mind chance to recharge and working over your set hours will set a precedent that you will fall into on a regular basis.
You may not feel like you aren’t getting anywhere with your work/life balance but any small step that you take is still a step in the right direction for you. There are so many other ways that you can start creating a work/life balance that works for you but start with these steps and then find what works best for you!
EMPOWERMENT: WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND HOW CAN YOU GET IT Empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the selfdetermination in yourself as well as communities to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and selfdetermined way. It is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling your life and claiming your rights. Empowerment as action refers to empowering yourself. Enables you to overcome your loss of power. It helps you or recognize and use resources when needed. Â There are five ways to be more empowered. First there is self-love. This is key to so much in your world. Loving yourself fully is all about loving all of you even your faults. All of us are perfectly imperfect. You do not have to like your flaws but you do have to love them as they are part of you. If you can improve these flaws do so. It will increase your confidence and self-love. If you cannot, you need to fully accept them so that you can love yourself fully.
By Sarah Ankney
Second is your self-care. This is taking time to care for yourself by grooming and giving yourself the break and needs that your body says so. You cannot be the best version of yourself of be present in your business if you are not taking care of you. You are important above everyone and everything else. I would have told you years ago that you were full of crap about self-care because my family and others around you have more importance than you, but really, I was dooming myself to be down longer when my body and mind gave out. Self-care is about taking care of yourself physically as well as mentally. Know when it is time to take a break.
Third, respecting yourself is important to your life and your business. If you treat yourself like garbage those around you will as well. You must create clear boundaries for others and yourself. Show others how you wish to be treated as well. People treat us by the way we treat ourselves. If we treat ourselves badly, so will others. Fourth, you need to value your worth. That means charging properly for your services. Creating once again how you wish to be valued. If you do not create boundaries and say no when something is good fit, you are allowing others to disrespect you and undervalue you. You are worth so much. Know it. Own it. Lastly, be comfortable in your own skin or be confident. You are worth it and deserve it. Own who you are and be proud of it. You like and dislikes are important. If you are not yourself then you are playing follow the leader instead of being the leader. Be the leader you are born to be. Be happy and comfortable in your own skin.
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We all have a story, a moment in our lives that required a choice to be made and it defined us at that moment. But we don’t have to stay in that defined state. Since that time we have grown, moved on, learnt and reasoned with the decision we made at that moment. Life is a series of journeys and explorations and we go through similar experiences, or the same experiences, but our unique strengths and abilities make us react differently in situations. That being said, your lessons and tips can still help others get through, passed or over a moment in their lives.
MAKING THE DECISION TO SHARE YOUR PERSONAL STORIES By Mandy Halgreen
My biggest struggle when opening up about multiple cases of sexual trauma was the repeated question, “Why didn’t you report it?” I was scared, afraid of being even more vulnerable and afraid of being judged for my decisions. I didn’t want to cause more pain for myself or anyone else. These same feelings come up when you want to share your personal story. How do you make the right decisions? Grab a journal and ask yourself these questions: 1. What will I gain by sharing this? 2. What will my audience learn/gain by learning this? 3. What do I want my audience to walk away with? These questions will help you gain perspective and insight into what you are sharing and help you share from what I like to call – the positive place. A place where you are helping others by sharing your own experiences and lessons. Another part of this process is deciding what story to share, though his may be covered by the questions you ask yourself. If not, consider how your story will impact each of the questions above. It is also important to consider how comfortable you feel about sharing that particular story. If you are uncomfortable, your audience will know and will pick up on it. Lastly, by deciding to share your story you are sharing both a level of growth and healing – that is your victory! I would like to know how you get on sharing your story! Page 18
HOW TO AVOID MISUNDERSTANDINGS WHEN YOU COMMUNICATE By Karen O’Donnell, Toastmasters International
Have you ever experienced miscommunication where part of the information you want to get across is lost or misunderstood by the other person? Both people think they understand what has been passed between them, but the ideas they have are not the same. This illusion of communication can be damaging and costly. What goes wrong? In conversations, words and their meanings, are all filtered through our own unique context grid made up of our strongly held opinions, beliefs, and attitudes. Unknowingly we put our own interpretation or spin on the words of others. This can result in words being misunderstood, meaning getting misinterpreted and feelings getting hurt.
Listen to understand Traditional conversations tend to be defined by what we tell rather than by what we ask. Yet all my coaching experience has taught me that what builds a relationship, what solves problems, and what moves situations forward, is asking the right questions. Have courageous conversations In order to enhance our relations – and our communications – we need to adopt The ABC of Courageous Conversations; the art of ENQUIRY: Asking questions to which you may not already know the answer; Building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person; and Clarification - seeking clarification so you understand what is being said. An objective of every courageous conversation is to enhance the relationship – whether it’s with a work colleague, family member or friend. With courageous conversations we can connect, communicate and collaborate more effectively at a deep level of understanding. All Courageous Conversations starts will self-enquiry, following the WOW approach: What happened Without an overlay of our assumptions, what actually happened and how does that make you feel? Who else is it effecting – family/work colleagues? Own It How might you have contributed to this situation? Something you did/did not say or do? Win-win it When it’s resolved, what positive implication will it have for you/other person and family or work? How does it make you feel? Who else will benefit from this resolution – family/work colleagues? Before you start a courageous conversation do bear the following in mind: Park your emotions on the shelf. If you are in an emotional state, this is not the time to have the conversation… WAIT. Instead come from a place of curiosity. Have the end in sight. What is it you want to achieve in this conversation? Be patient and Listen. Slow the conversation down. And listen. We all like to be heard - really heard. They may well have insights you hadn’t counted on. Courageous conversations can enhance your working relationship. Making room for courageous conversations can deepen that connection, communication and collaboration. Communication is vital in all aspects of work. Where it is appropriate, seek clarification that what you meant was actually what was understood! “Let me clarify, I’m not sure I explained well.” “What did you hear me say?” For business success you need relationships and the climate that will promote open communication. Enquiry and courageous conversations will help you achieve this. Page 20
Fiona Simpson Founder and Managing Director of ARTventurers Limited
I am the founder and Managing Director of ARTventurers. We run colourful art classes, events and parties for babies, toddlers and children across the UK – we’re all about learning and development through art and creative play, and often getting quite messy in the process! The business was actually inspired by my own two ARTventurers Erin and Isaac. Before having the children I did something completely different – I was a solicitor specialising in family law. However like a lot of parents, once I had the children my priorities completely changed! I set up ARTventurers in 2011 – I wanted to create a fun business that would make a difference to the children and families who came along to our classes, and on a personal level to create a flexible business that would allow me to spend more time with my children and take them to school and pick them up every day.
We were thrilled to win two major awards in the Working Mums Top Franchise Awards 2017 – we won the award for Most Supportive Franchisor of the Year to recognise the innovative package of support we provide to all of our franchisees, and also won Overall Top Franchise 2017!
I initially grew the business gradually around the children. However as word spread and demand for ARTventurers classes, events and parties increased I made the decision to expand the business through licensing initially and then developing a franchise model in 2015. Since then ARTventurers has really grown! We now have over 25 branches of ARTventurers running across the UK with a fabulous team of ARTventurers franchisees building their own fun, flexible and family friendly businesses. The past year has been an amazing one for the business. Not only have we opened several new branches and developed some fab new programmes and services, we’ve also won some great awards!
In addition, we won two big awards in the What's on 4 Kids Awards 2017 recognising the best children's activity providers across the UK. We won the awards for Best Baby/Toddler Development Activity and Best Preschool Activity 2017 (under 25 franchisees) which was absolutely amazing and a great testament to the hard work that our entire team put into the ARTventurers classes, events and parties. To add to that I was also shortlisted as Outstanding Entrepreneur in the Northern Power Women Awards 2018 alongside some really inspirational women, so that was a great personal achievement. Page 21
My business journey has been a rollercoaster one but I think any entrepreneur would say the same. There are lots of lessons I’ve learned along the way – one big one being to trust my instinct when it comes to making decisions! Another has been to have a clear business vision but also to make sure that I share it with the rest of the team – we have a very collaborative, team focused approach at ARTventurers and I want to make sure that they feel part of the wider business, that we’re all working towards the same vision and goals and also so that they can see that any decisions I make about the business as Managing Director is in keeping with that vision and our goals. On a personal level, I started up the business with two young children in tow so it’s been a constant juggling act between home and business which is always a challenge for any working parent! However I am very lucky to have a strong support network of family and friends. From a business perspective, one of the biggest challenges has been developing a workable franchise model that is structured enough to protect the ARTventurers brand but is also flexible enough to attract the type of franchisee we aim to attract and to reflect the fact that ultimately we’re a business that is all about creativity. It’s always been important to me that our franchisees, who are all creative individuals, are able to put their own stamp onto their business and bring their own creative ideas into it too. As a result our franchise model is quite non-traditional in certain senses but it works well for us and I think it’s that flexible approach to franchising that has won us the awards that we have! If I could give one tip to a new entrepreneur it would be to network and collaborate. Starting a new business can be not only stressful but quite isolating at times and it’s really important to connect with other people who are going through or who have gone through the same journey. There are loads of brilliant networking groups and events out there, it’s about trying a few and seeing which ones sit well with you and your business. And it’s through networking, either online or face to face, that you can find other businesses to work alongside and collaborate with – a great way for any new business to get their name out there! You can find out more about ARTventurers and the franchise opportunities that they offer at www.artventurers.co.uk
AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANT OPENING THIRD VENUE, SUPPORTED BY ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
Award-winning restaurant Stem + Glory is launching its second crowd funding campaign – this time to fund the opening of their third restaurant. Stem + Glory first opened in October 2016 after a wildly successful rewards-based Crowdfunding campaign on crowdfunder.co.uk, raising over £97,000 in 21 days. The restaurant established itself rapidly, gaining first class reviews across the board. It is now usually fully booked Thurs-Sun, despite being on a first floor, above a cycle shop, on a traffic island in a not so exclusive part of Cambridge. The restaurant has (as of Jan 2018) experienced a 84% increase in turnover year on year. Stem + Glory 2 opened by way of acquisition of an existing flourishing cafe in Cambridge city centre in November 2017. And now founder, Louise Palmer-Masterton, is planning the third venue, to open in London in July 2018. To fund the opening, Stem + Glory has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise £350,000 (for a 15% stake). (See: https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/stem-glory/pitches/qDmPVl#) “We made 15% of our raise in the first three minutes, and were at 50% by the end of the first day - all from our own crowd whilst still in our private phase on Crowdcube. Today (Monday 19th March) we go public – at 80% funded. All-in-all a fantastic endorsement of the rise of the plant based movement.” Said founder Louise Palmer-Masterton. Stem + Glory has already won a number of awards: 2017 Cambridge Business Excellence Awards - Small Business of the Year, 2017 Cambridge Food and Drink Awards - Best Newcomer, and 2018 Cambridge Business Excellence Awards - Retailer of the Year (Finalist – final on 22nd March). Stem + Glory is a hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurant, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredient 100% made on site. Stem + Glory offers all day casual fine dining, fast breakfast, brunch and lunch, juices, smoothies and great coffee. All available to eat in or take away. Stem + Glory also offers mouth-watering and hugely popular tasting menu evenings and special event menus. The restaurants have an extensive vegan bar, offering the best craft beers and fine wines, alongside cocktails, mocktails and smart drinks. www.stemandglory.uk Stem + Glory is at the forefront of a burgeoning move towards plant-based eating – which shows no signs of slowing down. Louise is also the founder of CAMYOGA one of the UK’s most recognisable yoga brands. A million-pound business that she has grown from literally one class to 22,000 users. Her co-Director Jim Masters was a director of probably the world’s most successful nightclub, the Ministry of Sound. He was instrumental in setting up their record label, now the biggest compilation label in the world. He has hosted nightclubs across the capital for over 20 years, including the legendary Ultimate Base with friend and co DJ Carl Cox Page 23
Imagine going into a number of car sales rooms and saying; ‘I want a car what is your best price?’ You’d expect the sales person to start asking questions about what you’d be using the car for, the style, finishes, colour, what was more important to you - speed or economy, petrol or electric and possibly even your budget. The one thing they would not do is just quote a price. And would you really want them to, without understanding what you will get for your money? Yet it is now becoming more common for businesses just to ask for prices for telecoms - be it lines, broadband, mobiles or VoIP. We regularly see requests on LinkedIn asking for someone to ‘quote me for VoIP’ and then being surprised when people ask questions before quoting.
In the same way that not all cars are the same – neither are all telecoms solutions. They are not commodities, despite the way some suppliers market them. I am not suggesting that you pay over the odds, rather trying to help businesses ask the right questions to ensure they are making apples vs apples comparisons, i.e. comparing like for like, and also not paying for services they don’t need, or getting trapped in long contracts that may appear cheaper to start with but over the long term are painfully expensive. Let’s look at each option individually: Broadband There is no coincidence that suppliers offering the very cheap broadband prices e.g. Talk Talk and Plusnet often top Ofcom’s most complained about providers. It costs a certain amount to run a decent Internet network. People making a decision purely on the monthly cost should ask the following questions:
BE WARY OF BUYING YOUR TELECOMS JUST ON PRICE By Dave Millet, Equinox Page 24
1. What is the contention ratio of the line – i.e. how many are sharing it? 2. How many network outages have you had in past 12 months? 3. What router is supplied? There have been regular incidents of cheaper routers being hacked or compromised. If someone is charging £10 a month for broadband and giving you a free router it won’t be worth much 4. What is average wait time when calling for support? 5. What is average fix time for faults? 6. What network is it on? This is important if you want to change providers at a later date. We see a number of suppliers moving services from BT to Talk Talk without telling the customer. It can be quite hard to move back. There is more choice of suppliers if you are on BT. The main question, however, is to ask yourself what a day without internet would cost you, and does this provider increase the risk? We saw a pub that went for cheaper broadband which then went down on a Friday and was not fixed until the Monday. The pub lost £6,000 in takings over the weekend as their card machines were linked to the Internet. Lines There are several telecoms companies that advertise themselves as ‘never beaten on price’ – they can’t all be right unless they are operating as a cartel. Frequently the claim links only to line rentals or calls to a specific destination. We have seen lines being sold at below the wholesale price, so, short of wanting to go out of business quickly the supplier will be clawing it back elsewhere. So be wary and check the points above, plus check the following: 1. The price is fixed for duration of the contract 2. No set up fees or minimum charges on calls - in the last few weeks we have seen a hotel in Norfolk and a care home in Lancashire being charged 26p set up fee on each and every call 3. Calls rounded up to the nearest minute – this can add 25% to the overall cost of calls 4. Prices to destinations you call regularly – are they competitive? 5. Special promotions – a London charity was being offered free intra-site calls but then being charge five-times the market price for all other UK landline calls. Mobiles With mobiles the obvious thing to check is coverage for your location. There is no point signing a cheap deal if there is no signal at your office/business location. You should not rely on the networks checking either. We saw a company where the head office had coverage but their two regional offices didn’t - but the network still happily signed them up. It is not just office locations – check key staff home addresses as well if you are changing networks. Some deals appear cheaper because they offer unlimited calls and lots of data but many companies don’t need them. Around a third of all mobile users no longer make any voice calls. The average business person uses well under 2GB of data each month. One customer we reviewed found that 10% of their 1,000 phones had not been used at all in a year. So, check what you actually need before asking for prices - not just who can do the best deal on unlimited data. Watch also for inflated hardware funds if you are not going SIM only. We’ve seen companies signed up to deals where the funds looked impressive only to find the cost of the actual handsets provided was inflated to 25-35% above normal prices. If you are going for a hardware fund ask for a hardware price list at the same time.
VoIP As this is the newest of the technologies it is the one least understood by businesses. Therefore, there is more risk of misunderstanding offers or even been more easily misled. It is the one that is closest to the car analogy as each businesses’ telecoms requirements are different. Some providers bundle handsets and calls into their prices – others include features that others charge for separately. So, things to consider before asking for a price: 1. What features do I need today and may I want in the next few years? 2. What is the ability of the company to develop new features? There are lots of self-built VoIP solutions out there where the development and support is dependent on only a few individuals. The advantage is that specific features can be added more quickly than the big platforms, but then there is the risk associated with what happens if they leave 3. What handsets are you being offered? Are they a brand used by other VoIP companies should you wish to change supplier, and are they locked into your supplier? If included in the price, will you own them at the end of the contract? 4. What are the out of call bundle charges (if bundles are offered)? Do your call volumes justify bundles? If the business is predominantly inbound then packages without calls may be better overall. 5. What business continuity is in place if the host system falls over? Asking for uptime statistics over the past 12 months is a good idea 6. If you are a small business with fewer than 10 employees, is your supplier signed up to the ombudsman? If not – why not? 7. Ask about contract length and support statistics (as per advice above) Finally watch out for the frequent scam of a ‘phone system for nothing’. These are invariably long dodgy lease hire deals and should be avoided at all costs. In summary, it is important to ensure you are getting a good deal but make sure you don’t end up paying more elsewhere. The quality of service will impact your business and other charges can far outweigh apparent savings.
About the Author Dave Millett has over 35 years’ experience in the Telecoms Industry. He has worked in European Director roles for several global companies. He now runs Equinox, a leading independent brokerage and consultancy firm. He works with many companies, charities and other organisations and has helped them achieve savings of up to 80%. He also regularly advises telecom suppliers on improving their products and propositions. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk Twitter: @equinoxcomms LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/davemillett/2/17b/a94
NUTRITIONIST WRITES HER FIRST BOOK FOR THOSE LIVING WITH FOOD Wiltshire nutritionist Helen ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCE. Adams couldn’t find a suitable book to help her clients suffering from food allergy and intolerance – so she’s written it herself.
By Helen Adams However food intolerance is very different and it can take up to three days for a reaction to occur – often it will not be obvious that food is causing a problem. Helen’s book has tools to help readers monitor their food intake.
Helen, who runs Oakmead Clinic in Chippenham, has published “I Don’t Know What To Eat? – the definitive guide to food allergies, intolerance and sensitivities”. Helen said: “I wrote the book because I like to recommend more resources for my clients to help them develop good eating habits and I just couldn’t find something suitable. ““There are so many myths around foods, allergies and intolerances and I wanted to shed some light on various things which I’ve come across during my time as a nutritionist. One of the big ones is people can take food tests and it comes up with as many as 40 foods where there is a reaction – so they cut out all of those foods. It’s not healthy to exclude that number of foods from your diet in one go.
“Often people don’t take the time to heal their gut so problems keep on recurring. The book shares information to help with making better choices. “My top tip if you have that kind of test is to cut out the two main culprits – wheat and dairy – exclude them first. Increase your vegetables – remember ten vegetable portions and two fruit are ideal.” Allergies to food are serious and potentially life threatening and many who suffer will carry an anti-allergy pen to use at a moment’s notice
Helen said: “How many of us can remember what we ate three days ago instantly? We have to really think about it. The tracker helps you start to make links between symptoms such as headaches, bloating or constipation with particular foods. It also helps if you are re-introducing foods so you can start to see connections between foods and symptoms.” Helen does not shy away from controversial issues in her first book. “Many GPs say food intolerances don’t exist,” she said. “I’m telling you they do.
The most well known are allergies to nuts or shellfish. Page 27
“I also talk a lot about milk. I drink very little milk in my own diet because I don’t think it’s good for you. In normal every day milk there is a chemical with is an opioid – it works on your brain. People can get a craving for milk, so it’s addictive. “If you buy A2 milk that comes from a particular type of cow which doesn’t produce that chemical – it’s not addictive. You can sometimes find the milk in supermarkets but it’s not mainstream. In the book I talk about my frank views on milk and dairy.” The book starts with Helen’s personal story around her career in nutrition – and what ultimately led to her re-training to become one herself. “I’ve had 11 surgical operations and had very busy corporate job involving international travel managing teams around the world. I then had a family and my first child had food issues since birth. “Aged ten, Tom had chronic fatique syndrome and nothing seemed to help. He was off sugar, gluten, yeast and dairy and there was no ‘free-from’ aisle at that time. It was very distressing for us all. Imagine as a mother thinking every day “how am I going to feed this child, I know he’s sick and ill, I’m denying him foods the rest of us are eating and I don’t know what to do?”. Helen eventually met a nutritionist who suggested eating red peppers might be helpful for Tom and they quickly became his superfood. “Things started to change. As Tom’s body began to heal, many other problems just drifted away. Today he eats anything except gluten and he still eats red peppers. He’s now at university, plays table tennis, has normal energy levels and all because of red peppers and finding out how food can help. Food is medicine.” Helen’s book can be ordered via Helen’s website. Anyone interested in talking to Helen about possible food intolerance or sensitivity can book a 30-minute free discovery consultation– www.oakmeadclinic.co.uk or email email@example.com
The UK has some of the most attractive startup investment tax relief schemes in the world. SEIS and EIS provide investors with up to 80% protection against an investment they make into a UK startup, which is taken as a tax relief against your income tax bill. However, the length of time it takes for startups to get advance assurance was taking increasingly longer, which pushed HMRC into issuing new guidelines that discouraged companies from making speculative applications. Initially these guidelines were made without consultation with the crowdfunding platforms, who responded with concern that this could discourage people from crowdfunding, which was never the intention of HMRC. So all the major stakeholder platforms met with HMRC and agreed on a new way forwards. We spoke to John Auckland to ask for his views on the revised HMRC SEIS/EIS advance assurance application guidelines. So what happened exactly? We’ve had an update to the SEIS/EIS guidelines only weeks after the new ones were issued. HMRC were inundated with speculative advance assurance (AA) applications, which were impacting the office’s ability to respond quickly. Loads of companies were sticking in an application just in case they needed AA in the future, which is unfair on the companies looking to raise imminently. So, understandably, HMRC insisted on a company proving that they were taking steps to fundraise soon and that they were likely to be successful, including asking for evidence of lead investment, or a sponsor. I asked my representatives at the platforms whether they classified as a sponsor, and in turn they put the question to HMRC.
UPDATE, WHAT THE REVISED EIS GUIDELINES MEAN FOR CROWDFUNDERS? By John Auckland
The response came back that they weren’t sponsors since so many campaigns either failed to make it on the platforms, or failed to fund even if they did. This obviously made the industry incredibly nervous, since SEIS and EIS have been a catalyst behind the incredible success of equity crowdfunding in the UK. HMRC didn’t intend for their new guidelines to stifle the industry, so in response they arranged a meeting with the platforms to come to a new agreement as soon as possible. What do the updated guidelines say? It’s understandable that HMRC met with the platforms so quickly, since crowdfunding has been a huge success story in driving innovation in the UK, as a result of which we are arguably the European leaders in the startup scene. The new guidelines ruled out crowdfunding platforms entirely, focusing instead on entrepreneurs listing their named investors, but the updated guidelines now have a clear space for crowdfunders. ‘Companies that have never raised an investment under one of the tax-advantaged schemes (the SEIS, EIS, VCTs or SITR) must demonstrate their intention, and their likely success in raising the money, by providing information about their prospective investors in their advance assurance application. Companies must have engaged with individuals or business promoters who have agreed their investment plans are viable and are likely to attract investors.’ Specifically in relation to crowdfunding, a company must provide the following: ‘...evidence, for example letters or emails, to demonstrate that the company has engaged with and begun the screening process with the platform. It is not enough for the company to show it has approached a platform; there must be confirmation that the platform accepts the company may be a viable investment for its customers and that further engagement is underway.’ So in essence you must show you are being seriously considered / have begun initial screening for listing by a platform, most of which provide some kind of selection process to ensure there is a degree of quality in the proposition, and that there has been a process of due diligence. However, there is a high likelihood that a lot of these campaigns will go onto fail, so the new guidelines have allowed a degree of speculation to sneak back in. Is this good for the industry, or bad? I wasn’t as upset as many people in the industry were about the new guidelines, because I feel that the overall success rates in the industry are lower than they should be, which creates a lot of wasted effort and bad sentiment amongst failed campaigners. I felt all campaigners should be well prepared and have lead investment lined up in advance, so it might add a bit of extra time to the average fundraise, but the increase in success rates would be worth that effort. However, the other side of the argument is that crowdfunding is all about democratising the startup scene and providing the cream of the innovation crop to rise, so anything that potentially stifles opportunities should be considered as bad. Even worse would be over regulation, or too much reliance on curation by experts, which equates to too much reliance on a few individuals who don’t necessarily know how the crowd will respond to a specific idea.
So I think the new updated guidelines present a good balance and I believe they will be good for the industry. However, I would have liked to see indication of a higher likelihood of approval when companies were both accepted onto a platform and had evidence of lead investment lined up, or evidence of an existing community that they can reach out to for funding. I feel HMRC and the platforms had an opportunity to put a quality control measure in place that would have improved success rates without dampening anyone’s desire to opt for crowdfunding as a means to raise funds. Any other thoughts? When the new guidelines were initially published I made a prediction that they would be good for the sector as a whole as it will increase success rates. I do think this will still be true, because it will make a company think before they submit their advanced assurance, and it will free up HMRC to respond to genuine applications faster. However, my advice to anyone looking for crowdfunding is still to line up as much as you can before you launch your campaign, because it can’t hurt your application to have both platform approval and lead investors. And it will undoubtedly improve your chances of success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £4m for over 20 companies on platforms such as Crowdcube, Seedrs, Indiegogo and Kickstarter. TribeFirst is the world's first dedicated marketing communications agency to support equity crowdfunding campaigns and the first in the UK to provide PR and Marketing campaigns on a mainly risk/reward basis. John is also Virgin StartUp's crowdfunding trainer and consultant, helping them to run branded workshops, webinars and programmes on crowdfunding. John is passionate about working with start-ups and sees crowdfunding as more than just raising funds; it's an opportunity to build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers. See: http://www.tribefirst.co.uk Twitter: @Tribe1st
FIERCE CONVERSATIONS - PART 1 By Joanna Gaudoin
‘Fierce Conversations’, what does that phrase mean to you? It doesn’t mean aggressive, cruel or threatening, that’s for sure according to Susan Scott. If you read my previous articles about her book that carries this title, you’ll remember she shares some principles of having powerful conversations that in her words enrich relationships. As she also says, “The conversation is the relationship”. If you didn’t, you can read it here. These conversations are powerful, impactful and transformative. In this article, I want to dig into the first 4 of her 7 principles for having ‘Fierce Conversations’, so you can start to think about what they mean in reality and importantly how you can have them to benefit your personal and professional relationships. 1. Master the courage to interrogate reality. This is all about acknowledging that change happens and facing the reality of how things are now. This makes sure the basis for a conversation is valid. Imagine a monthly team meeting to discuss an on-going sales and marketing plan, it’s important to consider what has changed since the last meeting that may affect the plan and the next steps e.g. a competitor action that may require a response in the market. Of course, this principle can be tricky, as people see things from different perspectives, so one person’s reality may differ from another, so discussion of this is vital to be able to move forwards. It also means the corporate culture needs to be one where people do speak up about their perspective….I didn’t promise knowing the principles would make the conversations straight forward! 2. Come out from behind yourself and make the conversation real. This is about being clear about where you are at, who you are and what that means needs to be discussed. If you don’t, then the conversation is not going to have a positive result. If you aren’t clear where you are coming from, then the conversation won’t have a strong basis. It doesn’t mean you just say whatever, however you like. Thinking about how you say things is important, to maximise the chance of getting yourself heard and it is important to show up as you really are with clear thoughts on what that is. Be clear about what you want the result of the conversation to be. Page 32
3. Be here, be prepared to be nowhere else. This is about being truly committed to what you are involved in, at a broader level the job or relationship but the moment of the conversation too – avoiding auto-pilot. It means really engaging with the situation and person/people in front of you and not just what you expect or want to see and hear. It’s about the purity of attention and avoiding the urge to just be ‘waiting to speak’. Really ask and really listen to the response. 4. Tackle your toughest challenge today. This is thinking about what really needs tackling and trying to do so. Susan Scott makes the point that most burnouts happen due to trying to solve the same problem on repeat. Naming the problem is a very good start to tackling it, as you know what it is you are trying to resolve. Both confrontation and appreciation will be needed to face the toughest challenge and are both a feature of healthy relationships. Again though, the way the confrontation is done needs thinking about. I hope those principles have given you some food for thought on both what conversations you might need to have at work (or indeed at home) and how to start preparing for them.In my next article, I will look into the final 3 principles in Susan Scott’s book: 5. Obey your instincts. 6. Take responsibility for your emotional wake. 7. Let silence do the heavy lifting. Remember this is all about enriching relationships, so have a think today about what really needs confronting. Make a list and prioritise it according to how much the on-going issue affects you/the relationship and the importance of the relationship in your world. If you are having challenges with work relationships, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org. I have helped many clients understand how their behaviour impacts others and how other people are impacting them, so they can make powerful changes for improved individual career progression and organisational performance. If you want to buy Susan’s book, you can do so here.
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In this issue of Empowered Business Magazine you can read articles from the amazing Denise Joy Thompson, Empowered Virtual Assistant, Sarah...
Published on Apr 20, 2018
In this issue of Empowered Business Magazine you can read articles from the amazing Denise Joy Thompson, Empowered Virtual Assistant, Sarah...