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EDITOR’S LETTER DEAR READER, Welcome to the latest edition of Entrepreneur & Investor Magazine. Where ever you are in your journey to success, you’ll find plenty of useful and inspirational articles in the pages ahead.. This issue features everything from how to build resiliance, launch your products into supermarkets, crowdfund with ease, market your brand successfully and much, much more. Our highly popular and comprehensive luxury lifestyle section features a treasure of aspirational delights from cars and style to fine dining, spas and exotic travel. In addition to reading our print magazine, do also visit us online at www.entrepreneurandinvestor.com for daily new articles, and join us on our socials – details below. Finally if you’ve any suggestions or great stories to tell, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note on editor@ entrepreneurandinvestor.com. My very best wishes, LISA FOUNDER & EDITOR IN CHIEF Visit our website - entrepreneurandinvestor.com Find us on Issuu - issuu.com/entrepreneurinvestor Follow us on Twitter - @Entrep_Investor
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CONTRIBUTORS Luke Penny, John Auckland, Gary Young, Craig Johnson, Scott Haughton, Thomas Lock, Animesh Ghosh, Gurvinder Singh Rebecca Pepper, Mike Ianiri Abigail Horne, Jonathan Amponsah Beth Hampson, Mark Southern, Clare Hall Taylor, David Holmes, Laura Gozney, Jonathan Tallant, Matt Dunn, Robin Knox, Adam Simpson, Rainer Zitelmann, Gunjan Sinha, Roz Sheldon, Craig Sams, William Fugard, Seema Menon, Sam Jordan, Beth Hood, Heather Delaney, Luke Davis,
Apps to Help Entrepreneurs Improve Productivity Starting a new business means many things – including having a vast amount to do. Let me share some favourite telecoms apps and other tools to improve your productivity and help you to keep on top of everything. Chosen from the 2.1 million apps available from the Google app store, 1.8 million from Apple and 669K from Microsoft, so you don’t have to. Let’s start with your handsets Carrying two phones around, one for personal and one for business use, is annoying. It often leads to carrying two lots of cables and they take up all your pocket/bag space. You’ve also got to remember which one is which - and answer it accordingly. With Re:Call, this goes away. You can add a second number to your phone, separate all the data and do away with all the hassles of carrying two phones. https://www.teleware.com/recall/ Microsoft InTune is not exactly an app, but it is an alternative solution to Re:Call. It also works on whatever endpoint device you wish to partition. With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a popular way of allowing people to choose their preferred phone, it is increasingly necessary to provide the business with data protection. If someone loses their device or they leave the business, there is valuable corporate data on that phone that you don’t want anyone else to get hold of. InTune allows you to separate and, if necessary, remotely wipe that data. https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/ enterprise-mobility-security/microsoft-intune
Managing the client relationship Cloze is an amalgamator, in that it pulls together all your interactions, so you never forget where you’ve got to with someone. Need to remember the last email you sent to someone, when their birthday is or what their last comment was on Twitter. This is what Cloze does. https://www. cloze.com/ How about signing contracts? Remember the days of having to remember to print a contract at the office, take it to the client and get them to sign it? You then had to get it back to the office for processing. All a big faff, especially if you had commission payments riding on that contract! With Hellosign, everything can be done digitally. Send the document to the client, and they can sign immediately. It works with Gsuite, OneDrive, Dropbox, Salesforce and many others. https://www.hellosign.com/ When you are out and about If you need a PDF or image of something when out and about, have a look at camscanner. It’s quick and easy. Take a photo and camscanner asks whether you want a JPEG or PDF. You can then share it through all your normal channels, including email, Whatsapp, Evernote and even send it directly to your OneDrive or Google Drive. https:// www.camscanner.com/ Video conferencing There are lots of apps out there for VC. Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts are some of the most popular, but there are lots more. What’s more, you no longer need your PC and a webcam; you simply use your smartphone. You can now make those conference calls
from wherever you are, saving huge amounts of time either getting to a physical meeting or even to your PC. And letâ€™s not forget... The humble to-do-list. If you need a one to keep you on the straight and narrow, Todoist is for you. Add your tasks, including deadlines and timings, and it will keep you on track. It integrates with Slack, many calendars, and even Alexa. You can also add your colleagues, up to five of you, for free. https://todoist.com/
By using just one or two of these telecoms apps you can save you significant amounts of time. That give your even more opportunity to invest in your business. About the Author Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk Twitter: @CommsEquinox
Should a Start-Up Business Hire a McKenzie Friend or Paralegal if They Need to go to Court? Even savvy entrepreneurs may well believe that you must hire a solicitor or instruct a barrister if you go to court. Fortunately, this is no longer true. Since 2013 with cuts to legal aid, a new type of “lawyer” has arisen; the McKenzie Friend and the Paralegal. Although neither are actually lawyers (in the sense that a layman may understand the term), they can help people with legal issues. For example, both can help litigants with court proceedings. What is a McKenzie Friend? The McKenzie friend right was established in the 1970 divorce case of McKenzie v McKenzie. Mr McKenzie instructed a Mr Hanger to represent him, but the court would not allow it as Mr Hanger was only qualified in Australian Law. It did, however, allow Mr Hanger to sit as an observer taking notes and advising Mr McKenzie during adjournments. Mr Hanger proposed he should be allowed to sit next Mr McKenzie and take notes and advise quietly, which the local county court denied. When he lost his case, Mr McKenzie appealed to the Court of Appeal stating he was denied the right to reasonable legal assistance which lead to him losing his case. The Court of Appeal ruled a “McKenzie Friend” could be allowed to all Litigants in Person (LIPs) who are unable to afford legal assistance. Furthermore, a judge should only deny a McKenzie Friend whom they deem unsuitable. Today there are various types of McKenzie Friends assisting litigants within their court proceedings:
• A Professional McKenzie Friend. This is usually someone who charges for their services or someone who is legally qualified and does not know the litigant in any capacity other than as a client. Most Judiciaries only classify a Professional McKenzie Friend as someone with a recognised legal qualification. • An agency worker can be a McKenzie Friend, for instance a Mental Health Nurse, Social Worker or a person appointed by the Citizens Advice, who may not have any professional qualifications in law nor is charging the client. • A McKenzie Friend can be a family member assisting throughout the court case. Technically, a McKenzie Friend can be anyone that the judiciary finds appropriate – and that person doesn’t have to have legal expertise or experience. They are there to provide moral and emotional support, and a second pair of eyes and ears. Finding a McKenzie Friend A McKenzie Friend, even a Professional feecharging one, can be someone who is not professionally qualified nor had any other experience besides litigating their own case in the past. Some McKenzie Friends have obtained relevant legal qualifications or they may be an ex-practising solicitor. You can find a list of qualifying McKenzie friends via The Society of Professional McKenzie Friends (SPMF) which vet and attain McKenzie Friends who are qualified to at least a A-Level/Level 3 in law. Other organisations, like the McKenzie Friend Organisation, have a variety of McKenzie Friends some qualified and some not; their aim is to allow the consumer the widest choice.
How does a Paralegal differ? A Paralegal can be someone who assists a law firm or a solicitor in preparing cases for court or running legal duties within the firm. Or they can operate on their own. Paralegals can do almost everything a solicitor can do – with the exception of what is known as ‘reserved’ activities. These remain the preserve of solicitors.
Many independent Paralegals are asking the judiciary to consider them separate and different from the usual McKenzie Friend roles. It’s hoped that in the near future there will be separately drawn up regulations (like Solicitors and Barristers have) which will help progress the professional further.
A lot of Paralegals now attend court on a regular basis to represent clients in small claim proceedings or smaller cases and act as a representative if they belong to a regulated firm which is a part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). However, it can be challenging for an independent Paralegal Firm to obtain the same rights. Although most Paralegals who run their own practice have at least three years’ experience, have an Ofqual recognised qualification, and a Licence to Practise - meaning they have been vetted and proven competent the judiciary will still treat them in accordance with the McKenzie Friend Practise Guidelines, limiting what an experienced Paralegal can do!
What to look for when hiring When hiring a Paralegal, firstly, ensure they belong to an organisation, like NALP, and they have a Licence to Practise. Secondly, check their qualifications; a “Qualified Paralegal” is someone who has undertaken a certain level of professional Ofqual recognised training and understands their level of law in-depth. Thirdly, understand whether the Paralegal is attached to a Law firm or if they are an independent entity and can assist you through the court process. Differentiation The one key difference between a McKenzie Friend and a Paralegal is that a McKenzie Friend can be anyone. Whereas a Paralegal is a legally qualified person who can perform most of the same tasks a solicitor can. They may be able to represent you in court if the court allows, or if they are supervised by a solicitor.
By Craig Johnson NALP Senior Licensed Paralegal Professional McKenzie Friend.
Plan ahead for a successful equity crowdfunding campaign Equity crowdfunding campaigns can deliver great rewards; key allies in the form of new investors and a significant boost in brand recognition, and of course much needed funds. All of which help to propel a business forward. However, to hit your fundraising target, you’ll need to do some serious planning. Campaigns can be a long trudge and take several months to prepare all the materials you need, pass due diligence with the platform and court investors. There will be many different deliverables at various stages so, as well as planning ahead, you’ll also need to think on your feet. Having helped run campaigns for more than 60 companies on major equity crowdfunding platforms, I’ve created a roadmap which will help you to manage your time effectively and give yourself the best chance of success.
Phase 1 Glean insight from existing investors It’s worth speaking to any investors to get informal advice about your idea, before you start working on any materials. Investors know what to look for in an investment opportunity, and their feedback will be indispensable when deciding how to go about writing your pitch aterials in the weeks ahead.
Start with a concise ‘elevator pitch’ and know your key numbers and market stats off by heart.
Prepare pitch materials You’re going to have to produce a bunch of different materials to support your pitch. At the very least, you’ll need:
A pitch page, with text and images A marketing plan A press release (and distribution list) A financial forecast, business plan and one-page executive summary A pitch video It’s worth noting that scripting, shooting and editing a video can take a lot of time, particularly when you need to chase up partners, clients and investors to film testimonials. You’ll also need to be sure it all fits together and gets across the messages you need to in a compelling way, so make sure you allow enough time for this. Finally, it helps to have one or two ‘fresh eyes’ in your campaign team – people who haven’t been involved in creating your pitch page or documents – who can provide feedback.
Prepare your evidence for pitch page for due diligence After you’ve prepared your pitch materials, the equity crowdfunding platform will want to check all the claims you’ve made in your pitch page and video. This means you’ll need to provide clear and substantial proof for every claim you make in these materials as and when
the platform asks. All this should be done during the writing stage of your pitch materials and, as due diligence always takes longer than expected, it helps to gather all your evidence as early as possible. Whether including your entrepreneurial history, sales to-date, or the characteristics of your market, make sure you have the materials to prove it. To save time, have the platform check your script before you start filming, providing a citation to every claim you make in the video.
Phase 2 Begin pre-marketing Now you’ll be ready to publish a landing page on your own website announcing your crowdfunding campaign, with a signup form to receive more information when the campaign goes live. Let as many of your contacts as possible know that you’ll soon be crowdfunding and direct them to this page. You’ll probably want to contact your customers, partners, friends, family and others in their network to inform them of the raise and encourage them to invest and share news of the campaign. It’s also worth posting shoutouts on social media. Meanwhile, use LinkedIn and Angel Investment Network to engage investors who might be interested in your proposition, with a key aim to find a cornerstone investor. Prepare your campaign launch content plan There will be a whole lot of content to write and admin to take care of during the pre-marketing stage, but at least you have time on your side. Once your campaign is live, however, the pace picks up. As such, it’s best to prepare your platform updates, social media updates, and PR stories well in advance to ensure you’ve got plenty of content to share and drive traffic to your crowdfunding page.
Phase 3 Launch in private live mode Private live mode is the time when your cornerstone investors make their investment, giving you a significant boost towards your fundraising target and instilling confidence in other investors to back you. Private mode is also the time where anyone who has preregistered for early access to your campaign is able to invest before the general public. Make sure you email everyone, who’s signed-up, with the link to access your page privately! Launch campaign and send out a press release Now you’re ready to make your campaign live to the public and share it with the world. A great way to do so is by sending out a press release with a strong newsworthy angle to present to journalists (the fact that you’re crowdfunding isn’t newsworthy).
I’d recommend hiring a PR professional, ideally with crowdfunding experience, to help you with this aspect. While this isn’t a cheap option, it pays to have someone who knows what they’re doing, has press contacts, and knows how to get great media placements. In the meantime, make sure you’re answering all investor questions and posting regular updates.
Phase 4 Hold an investor event Expect a lull in the second to third week of your campaign, once the initial hype subsides. Fortunately, there are a few ways an entrepreneur can bring back momentum. To open yourself up further to investors, organise a webinar to give them a presentation firsthand, and allow them to ask you any questions. An Entrepreneur might choose to hold an inperson investor event, but this brings extra expense, planning and logistics. Wherever
you hold it will also make it inaccessible for investors that aren’t based nearby. So, holding a webinar event can be just as effective, but at a fraction of the required resources and cost. Make sure you tell as many potential investors as possible and give them at least a week’s warning. You can do so via investor updates on your crowdfunding page, social media posts and an Eventbrite page. Also make sure your instructions on how to access the webinar are very clear for the less tech-savvy investors. Send press release number 2 Around the time you host your webinar, send out another press release. This must be fresh and not a rejig of your first one, as it won’t get past keen-eyed journalists. So, whether it’s a news-based piece written in third-person or an advice-based piece written in first-person, make sure it would be of interest to the readers of any publications you pitch to. Launch your final push As your campaign draws to a close, an entrepreneur has a final chance to direct as many potential investors to your page as possible and really emphasise a sense of urgency. Use all your available digital channels to nudge those who have shown interest but not invested, alert any others of the opportunity, and ask your network to share the opportunity with others. Close campaign and collect funds Once your campaign has closed (successfully, I hope!) you’ll need to start collecting the money committed by investors. This can take a while, as all platforms are required to complete antimoney laundering checks on investors and perform the final due diligence checks on your company before they release the funds to you. These can include anything from verifying loan agreements, reviewing contracts or checking IP rights, getting SEIS/EIS Advanced Assurance (if it hasn’t already come through), and receiving money from direct investors who are investing via the platform. You should expect around 3-4 weeks minimum if your campaign is with Crowdcube, less if you’re with Seedrs (assuming all the back-
end due diligence is completed and no direct investments are made).
Bonus tips Call for backup To put it lightly, running a crowdfunding campaign ain’t a one-person job. So, try to have at least four people supporting you with your campaign. This will make it far easier to prepare your materials, respond to questions from investors within a few hours and manage the rest of the workload. Questions can come in 24/7, so it’s a good idea to work in shifts to manage forum activity. That way, everyone gets a break and there’s no danger two people answering the same question and contradicting one another. Make sure your colleagues have the capacity to help you and call in an agency for support if you feel you’ll need backup. Remember that you’ll need to manage your day-to-day business workload as well. So, if your company is seasonal, don’t plan your crowdfunding campaign for your busiest time of the year! Use social tools to plan and communicate We use Trello to set out tasks and deadlines, upload the relevant materials, and assign tasks to different colleagues. In its noticeboard-style, Trello is a great visual tool to help teams plan ahead. There are also some great alternatives like Asana and Basecamp. Another tool for great organising and communication is Slack – a team collaboration tool that lets you instant message your colleagues easily. You can set up multiple chat channels to manage different elements of your campaign and even link up social media feeds to see your messages come in. As you might have already imagined, the equity crowdfunding process is more of a marathon than a sprint. There’s no doubt that it takes some meticulous planning, but stick to the above and you’ll have a far easier time staying on top of things. Good luck!
About the Author John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global equity crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of ÂŁ25m for over 60 companies on major equity crowdfunding platforms, with roughly a 90% success rate. 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 and supporters.
Tools to help entrepreneurs take a relaxing break Were you able to take a break last summer? As an entrepreneur do you put off going on holiday while you cover for other people? Perhaps you need to stop worrying about how your team will cope if you take a little time off! Luckily there are many tech tools available to help. Set them up and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a holiday later in the year if you’ve missed out so far. Why a holiday is a positive for your business Even entrepreneurs need a break. We want you to have a real holiday and not use technology to work in a hotel while family and friends go sightseeing or spend time on the beach without you. Here’s a reminder of why it is important that you have some time off from your business: Productivity: if you don’t take time off tiredness and stress build up. Over time this will reduce your productivity. Time off will help revitalise the body and refresh the mind. If you have a microbusiness or are in the early stages of a startup, you have to accept there’s never a perfect time to go on holiday, but it is still something you need. Handover: Look at a holiday handover as a chance to check how your team perform without you, and with some new responsibilities. There are tools to help manage this, if your team facing a situation that they aren’t sure how to tackle, they’ll know how to reach you.
Maintenance: Having a holiday is like getting a piano retuned. It’s about the essential maintenance you need so that you can continue delivering a great product or service to your clients and build your business. Family-time: As an entrepreneur and business-owner you make the rules. These should include allocating family-time, especially holidays. The tools to use in your business Mobile Phone At home, your phone is probably always immediately at hand. We hope when you’re on holiday you’ll turn it off or decide to check it regularly without it dominating your time. Make clear to your team that you should only be contacted in an emergency. Tell clients when you’ll be away, and which team member should be their first port of call. You may also choose to say that they can contact you if necessary. Your phone gives you an invaluable tether to the internet. You’ll need this if your holiday destination doesn’t have WiFi available (or you are cyber-security conscious). For the time being data plans travel with you across Europe. They can also be changed easily to include other parts of the world, usually with a per day fee from your provider. Productivity and Focus Tools If there is no escape from doing some work on holiday, organise yourself to have short bursts of concentrated and productive time.
Focus tools such as the Quickstarter POD are, effectively, timers to help concentration on one thing at a time. You can use Cold Turkey Blocker so you can lock yourself out of your PC or Mac for a specific period of time. If they catch on your family might do this for you. Another app to help maintain productivity when you are doing a burst of work is RescueTime. This will keep you focused and stop you being distracted by blogs, social media sites etc. Project Management Apps Products such as Basecamp, Trello, and Microsoft Teams are increasingly popular. At work they are invaluable for keeping you aware of what is happening and what work needs prioritising on a daily basis. When youâ€™re on holiday, large numbers of notifications and emails from project management systems can become irritating. You can adjust the settings so that you receive notifications say twice a day. Or switch them off completely!
Outsourcing When you are away the office phone will keep ringing. There are companies such as Answer who will cover your phones - charging as little as 90p per call. They text and email you or a member of your team so that one of you can respond as needed. Similarly Virtual Marketing companies can keep your marketing activity flowing, unless your business has something like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule activity before you depart. However much energy you have as an entrepreneur you need some time to relax. The tools are there to help you achieve this. Decide which ones to use and gain the benefits of delegating to your team and finally getting away on for a few days, or possibly longer.
About the Author Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs.
New Survey Reveals Entrepreneurs’ Experience of Crowdfunding What do start-ups expect to gain from crowdfunding? A recent survey we commissioned with start-ups in the UK found some surprising answers. Our report reveals that more than half of all businesses undertaking a crowdfunding campaign within the past three years did not rank raising capital as their key motivator. The findings reflect issues with market perception among growth businesses as to what crowdfunding can do for them. It seems that the perceptions in the market are out of sync with the realities of what is actually happening. What is the next effect? Estimates of success rates indicate that they are as low as 45-55%. Let’s look at the survey results and the lessons to be learned. Crowdfunding and ‘free marketing’ myth Fifty-two per cent of respondents in the survey of 200 said that ‘brand exposure/customer acquisition/PR’ was a primary reason they decided to crowdfund with 24% giving it top ranking. However, when asked what they liked about crowdfunding after having run a campaign this drops dramatically with only 12% giving it a rank of number one. This indicates that expectations of ‘free marketing’ and swathes of new customers aren’t being met. Beyond expectations, brand exposure through a crowdfunding website isn’t free for companies who are paying upfront fees and/or success fees.
The cost of internal resources on running the campaign are significant. On top of that, if you consider that the average raise in this sample was £332,300 and the average success fee in the market is 3 – 7%, cash-strapped companies would be paying £9,969 to over £23,000 in untargeted marketing spend. Only 27% of respondents listed access to investors as their primary motive; putting it in 5th position after: a perceived high success rate, the ability to provide their community with a stake in the business, the reputation of the crowdfunding site and it being a quick way to raise funds. Why you need your own network The myth of ‘free marketing’ was only one of many misconceptions uncovered by the survey. The data also clearly show that start-ups are still unaware of what is required to succeed at crowdfunding. When asked what companies liked about working with crowdfunding site, the ability to raise money through family and friends, received a low ranking for 60% of respondents. The reality is that most crowdfunding websites require companies to be a percentage funded before they gain access to the site’s investors and ‘go live’, so this is a critical part of every fundraise. It’s clear that this is not well understood in the market. Most companies don’t understand just how difficult it is to raise equity. The market perception, that you can approach a crowdfunding website and just sit back and watch the investment pour in, persists. We need to educate start-ups that this is not the case. Naturally crowdfunding sites offer many advantages and there are some great success
stories; however, the survey data shows us that companies are still not aware at just how much planning and legwork they themselves have to do. Start-ups say crowdfunding needs to evolve Despite the challenges, the idea of crowdfunding is here to stay with 71% of those who’d successfully raised funds indicating they would use the method again and 44% of those who didn’t meet with success saying that they would give it another try. However, companies cited issues with the current model, namely; lack of control over who views business documents (42%), the inability to communicate directly with investors (38%), paying success fees for investment generated independently from my own sources (28%) and investors being charged to invest (28%). With these frustrations, 80% of successful companies indicated they were ready for new approach – namely an off-the-shelf website that they could brand and control themselves in order to fundraise. Crowdfunding is an excellent idea, but it hasn’t evolved since its start in 2011. Companies have grown in maturity since then and this is exactly why we developed Envestry for Scaleups, our white-label, FCA regulated fundraising platform that empowers our companies – not the facilitators - to control their fundraise.
The survey was undertaken for us, In April 2019, by independent research specialist Coleman Parks. The participants who took part were two hundred businesses who’d used crowdfunding for equity financing within the past three years. If you’d like to read more you can access the report here: http://casestudies.envestors. co.uk.pages.services/Envestors-CrowdfundingSurvey/?ts=1563954577806
About the Author Scott Haughton is COO of Envestors, a fintech company that connects investors and scaleup companies. With its fundraising platform Envestry for Scale-ups, companies get a personalised site to promote deals, raise finance and engage with their investors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
How can entrepreneurs get their retail products onto supermarket shelves? If you’ve developed a retail product and are taking the next steps, approaching and getting ready to deal with the big supermarket chains can be a daunting prospect. This is understandable as the majority of British shoppers regularly buy from them either online or instore, so it’s hugely important for brand awareness, sales etc. From my experience of launching four new snacks brands in the UK over the past few years and getting them into a number of major supermarkets, I’ve gained an understanding of the process. Hopefully, you can learn from my experience as a fellow entrepreneur, avoid my mistakes, and find success for your retail product. Let’s look at what’s needed to get your brands onto the shelves in the major supermarkets: 1. Knowing your market inside out Most founders have done some research into their market, trends and competitors, but to be successful in the world of supermarket sales, you need to step up your game. You need to understand your product category, inside out. You’ll need to know where your product will sit on the shelf, for example, who your competitors are in each supermarket chain and what they’re doing, whether the
category is in growth or decline, and whethert there are any market trends to be aware of. Having this information front-of-mind going into a meeting with supermarket buyers will help convince them of the longevity of your product and brand, making them much more likely to engage with your business. 2. Learning about the buyers Buyers can be thought of on two levels: the business as a whole and buyers as individuals. Start by finding out when the supermarket’s buying window is for each of your key sales periods. You may be surprised by how early supermarkets plan their seasonal product ranges. Summer sales are often planned the previous autumn, for example. Next, turn your attention to the buyer as an individual. Try to get as much information about the buyer in advance: How long have they been in the role? Do they have any particular product expertise? What previous experience do they have? LinkedIn can be a good tool for this research and will help you develop a clear idea of who you’ll be selling to and what they’ll need/want to hear.
3. Knowing your commercials One of the most important things to have clear in your mind is your commercials. It will be difficult to negotiate a good deal without all the key financial and logistics information in your head. For example, you need to know your exact cost price, including delivery to the supermarket’s
warehouse and remember, they may have more than one warehouse. You need to know the average margin the buyer would expect on the type of product you sell, and what impact this will have on the potential retail price. If you get this stuff wrong, even a little, you could hamper your growth forecasts with a cost that’s too low, or price yourself out of consideration with a cost that’s too high. Pricing needs to reflect your sales strategy while considering the various demands and requirements each supermarket will place on you. 4. Being realistic about when… Getting into supermarkets can be a process that takes months or even years. Make sure you build this into your forecasts and cash flow. Expecting everything to happen quickly could leave you caught short of money, sinking your business before it even gets going. 5. Planning ahead for promotions Promotions are a great way to gain new customers and boost sales. Supermarkets also tend to expect you to fund promotions several times a year and may charge fees for running the promotions or listing the products. If you can get ahead of these expectations by planning your own promotions throughout the year, you can factor these promotions into your financials and present them to supermarket buyers fully-formed. This will make your brand a more attractive proposition and ensure you generate the profit you need to meet your projections. 6. Having a strong listing rationale to present Buyers are approached on a daily basis by companies who wish to trade with them, and you need to stand out from the crowd, especially in saturated markets. As such, you need to be able to articulate clearly why the buyer should list your product over potentially hundreds o other products, and why consumers will pick your product over the competition. Much of this will be based on your competitor and market research. If you can show clear USPs
that capitalize on a growing trend and which no other brands are even considering, you’ll have a very strong listing argument. For example, my business, AP Brands, offers snacks without additives, most of which are also vegan. This capitalizes on the healthy, vegan trend as well as the growth in the snacks market, providing clear USPs and a strong listing argument. 7. Being patient and persistent A ‘no’ isn’t necessarily forever, so don’t give up. If a buyer isn’t interested in your products now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be six months down the line. Trends change, buying habits change, and buyers can change. Ask for feedback from buyers (both positive and negative), keep an eye on shifts in the market, and, when things change, contact the buyer again. As entrepreneurs we know that achieving success, particularly with the large supermarkets is going to take persistence and patient hard work. However, with good products it will be worth all the hard graft. I look forward to your success.
About the Author Thomas Lock is the founder and Managing Director of Awfully Posh (AP) Brands, a FMCG snacks company. Referred to by the Daily Telegraph as “the man who made pork scratchings posh”, Tom launched his pork scratching brand, Awfully Posh, in 2013. He soon launched a further three snacks brands, The British Crisp Co., The British Popcorn Co., and Create A Crisp, selling a total of over 5 million bags to date. AP Brands’ snacks are now stocked in supermarket giants such as ASDA, Tesco, Waitrose, Amazon & Wholefoods Market.
How entrepreneurs can use technology to improve customer loyalty programmes There is clearly something about the idea of collecting points and gaining rewards in customer loyalty programmes that continues to be popular. As an illustration, 77% of the UK population belong to a loyalty programme, and nearly half of them believe their membership encourages them to be loyal to the brand. Entrepreneurs have long realised that a loyalty programme is an important aspect of their marketing strategy, particularly if they have a retail business. It’s no surprise that businesses invest heavily in loyalty programmes, as these can generate up to 20% of profits. However, the industry has stagnated with a large number of look-alike programmes causing customer boredom. One primary drawback with current loyalty points is that it takes too long to reach the redemption threshold and the value is too low to excite customers. Despite huge participation and increasing memberships in loyalty programmes, customers are generally not satisfied by the way rewards can be redeemed and find it difficult to earn a meaningful reward. Moreover, the current methods of loyalty points exchange are very limited and expensive and there is little opportunity for a customer to pool points for a higher-value redemption. Over $360bn worth of points lie unredeemed worldwide. Programmes are suffering from
account inactivity, low redemption rates, and time delays - all adding to the disappointment felt by customers. High transaction costs, system management and customer acquisition costs mean loyalty schemes don’t always deliver the best return for the business either. What customers want are personalised, easy and hassle-free experiences. They want to feel truly rewarded for their loyalty and enjoy the power of choice and flexibility. The good news for the loyalty industry is that there is plenty of scope to innovate, a lot of room for competition, and the opportunity for increased and improved interaction with the customers. What’s needed to make this a reality is a cost-effective and efficient way to manage loyalty programmes which will deliver a much better customer experience. Customers also want to manage all their loyalty cards in one place, to view their available offers, vouchers, and gift cards, and to exchange and pool points for a higher-value redemption; for something they really want, something that feels like a genuine reward for their loyalty. How can customer wants be satisfied? To facilitate this loyalty programmes need to go fully digital. Most of the small and independent businesses use paper cards and stamps to reward their customers, but customers tend to lose the physical cards or forget they had one. Additionally, paper loyalty cards don’t generate any insights about your customers. They can’t tell you what products they favour or how receptive they will be to various offers, for example. A digital loyalty programme and/ or loyalty app can give you this information.
A way to re-engage customers through loyalty programmes could be to provide flexibility and more options on redemption by allowing exchanging points between programmes. Let’s take the example of an entrepreneurial independent café in Shoreditch. The café allows its loyalty points collected from coffee purchases to be exchanged for a spa day, Airmiles or money off their supermarket shop etc. By allowing an exchange, this café increases the perceived value of their loyalty points, offering greater value to its customers and driving improved brand loyalty. However, exchanging loyalty points has, to date, been time-consuming and expensive. Platforms offering loyalty point exchanges tend to charge hefty exchange fees, requiring customers to sacrifice a lot of their points’ value. But with recent technological advancements, such as blockchain technology, this will change. Blockchain’s role Blockchain allows the creation of a secure network of loyalty programmes, which would facilitate the instant and effortless exchange of points. Every participating business would benefit from reduced costs of transactions and higher transparency and flexibility. It would also provide them with meaningful insights into their customers wants and behaviours, allowing them to create targeted campaigns. For example, solutions like LoyalT use blockchain technology to cost-effectively integrate any business, of any size, from any industry into a single loyalty points exchange network. These solutions allow businesses to extend more value to their customers with a real-time loyalty points exchange facility while marketing their business to customers beyond their own programme members. Our Shoreditch coffee shop can offer Airmiles, or points of another business by opening up to an exchange.
The benefits for entrepreneurs In return for offering an exchange of points, entrepreneurs will benefit from deep insights on customers’ shopping habits, helping generate more customer engagement through precision marketing. Small businesses especially can gain from being a part of an exchange solution for loyalty points. Not only will they be able to access a massive pool of customer data to help run precision marketing, but they can also get set up quickly and easily, facilitating point exchanges with huge global businesses at a very competitive cost. As such, small businesses, such as our Shoreditch coffee shop, can set up a digital loyalty programme and almost immediately start offering loyalty points on every purchase and open up exchange to some of the highlydesirable loyalty programmes. Data and security Data use and privacy are hot topics. The joy of a loyalty network running on blockchain is that businesses own and control the data of their customers, minimising privacy concerns. Blockchain in itself is highly secure and the data is encrypted. Further, advanced digital contracts keep information secure and private. Meanwhile, the network is a bridge between the business and its customers. A good way to describe it is to say that loyalty points are currencies and businesses are loyalty banks. The loyalty network facilitates the exchange, just like payment networks facilitate the transfer of money between customer accounts. Since blockchain automatically creates an unalterable ledger, it is impossible to falsify, making employee and customer fraud a thing of the past while keeping points wallets incredibly secure. After decades loyalty programmes are undergoing a transformation. Large businesses are augmenting new technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, etc. to improve their marketing strategies to make programmes more desirable.
In this environment entrepreneurs need to review how they are approaching rewarding customer loyalty. They can take advantage of the opportunities that technologies such as blockchain are providing to benefit their customers and contribute to business growth.
About the Author Animesh Ghosh is an industry thought leader and expert in Blockchain, AI and IoT solutions with over 22 years of experience as Consulting Partner Architect and higher, in global companies like Lloyds, RBS, Wipro, Infosys, Virgin Atlantic, etc. Animesh is also founder and CEO of KornChain a technology company that is building a global blockchain network for the loyalty marketing industry.
Helping entrepreneurs hire the right tech people for their business If your business needs to hire people with tech skills you’ll be plenty of competition for talent - the UK digital technology sectors is growing 2.5 times faster than the economy as a whole which put pressure in the system. In addition, the nature of tech people and a recruitment process which is no longer up to the job can make hiring even more difficult. However, for your startup or growth business to succeed these may be vital people to bring into your business.
The issues to be overcome Technology people tend to fall into two categories: extroverts who can talk convincingly, but often don’t have the skills to back up their claims; and introverts with great skills, but who lack the salesmanship to get themselves through the interview process successfully. CVs and interviews usually don’t tell the whole story. This dichotomy of CVs and skills makes recruitment in the tech sector extremely difficult. This results in a recruitment process led by gut feel and intuition rather than facts and hard data – twice. First, the recruitment agency will intuitively pick the candidates they feel best suit the role you are looking to fill, followed by the entrepreneur doing exactly the same thing.
How can you overcome these issues? “The best available” When a startup or growth business needs to fill a vacancy because it is holding up growth, there’s a tendency to recruit someone from the candidates presented, even if there is nobody that properly matches their needs. If they have to pick from a pool of intuition-based candidates, there is a real risk of putting the wrong person into their team. A recruitment decision on hard data will not only put more of the right candidates into that pool but ensure the chosen one really does fit the needs of the business.
Balancing skills Adding tech staff into a team often means that new hire needs a blend of skills, across a range of technologies. Full stack developers, for example, will be expected to have a wide range of skills across the front and back-ends, as well as UX and customer-facing skills. Recruiters will assume that Cloud Systems Engineers know Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure and other platforms so they can contribute across the needs of their client base. Balancing the skills pool across multiple staff may mean that you are looking for skills across multiple technologies, but with an emphasis, or depth of knowledge, in one or two; skills that maintain equilibrium within the business and allow the business to meet expected future demand. With over 1.5 million people working in the digital tech sector in the UK, finding the person
that will fit precisely into the business is nigh on impossible without an accurate assessment of the real skills a candidate has.
A time-consuming process Recruiting anyone takes time. Writing a job description (if one doesn’t already exist), choosing and briefing the agency, sifting through CVs and then interviewing. They all use up a lot of expensive time that an entrepreneur can ill afford. Also, a business-owner may lack the specific knowledge to assess a candidate’s skills. If this process has to be repeated more than once because of a poor hire, the costs multiply. Up to three times that person’s salary can be wasted if they are the wrong person. Avoiding a negative impact on team morale Bringing the wrong person into a business can negatively impact the business, particularly team morale. Someone with the wrong skills means others have to take up the slack, or projects are delivered later than expected. Team members not used to this happening may start to believe that standards are being allowed to slip within the business, leading to a decline in their productivity or the quality of their output. If this is allowed to continue, there is a high chance that, for example, an excellent developer will start looking for better opportunities elsewhere. What impact will good hires have? So far, we’ve looked at the negatives; the consequences of a poor hiring decision brought about by a recruitment process that is no longer fit for purpose. Making the right hire can have positive impacts… Growth enabler: Adding capacity to a team, with the right skills, allows a company to grow as they simply have more of what their target audience needs and wants. Reputation Enhancer: The right skillset means projects are delivered
on time, on budget and to, at least, the standards expected by the client. Happy clients talk and reputations are enhanced. Productivity improvements: The closer the overall skills mix is to what is needed, the smoother a business will run. Smooth-running businesses are always more productive and more profitable. Staff retention improvement: Companies that recruit the right people (and look after them) often only need to recruit for growth, not to replace leavers. Happy staff stay where they are respected, supported which will provide stability for startups. For entrepreneurs building an effective team, getting your tech hiring right is a must. By using testing you’ll have the facts and hard data you need to make a good decision. Hire the right people with the right tech skills and your business will benefit hugely.
About the Author Gurvinder Singh is the co-founder of TechRank. TechRank sources, expertly tests and objectively ranks tech talent helping companies hire the best, and most capable person for the job. By testing candidates for the level of skill the position requires, businesses can make an objective decision about the person they hire to fill a vacant tech role.
How to find a food or drink manufacturer for your startup Have you developed an exciting food or drink product? To meet the (hopefully) huge demand, entrepreneurs need to approach food and drinks manufacturers to produce their product at scale. This can seem a daunting task you want to ensure the final product tastes just as good when you first made it, while ensuring that the financial aspects of the deal don’t undermine your profit margin. Ensuring a high-quality flavour without the need for additives is the unique point of differentiation for all four of the snacks brands I’ve launched over the past five years. So, I’ve put a lot of focus on finding the right manufacturer. Here are my top tips for entrepreneurs with their first food or drink products to manufacture 1. Know who you’re talking to There are small manufacturers and there are large manufacturers. Each require different ways of negotiating with them. Small manufacturers will usually be more flexible, more willing to help entrepreneurs with product development, and able to handle small order volumes. They are usually more expensive, however, and could struggle to meet larger volumes. Larger manufacturers, on the other hand,
will often be able to deliver the best prices but they often need larger volumes. As a result, entrepreneurs will need to be more bullish with their forecasts. I suggest you get onto Companies House and investigate their accounts to help understand their business before reaching out. 2. Reach out One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer to fellow entrepreneurs is to speak to as many manufacturers as possible. This is particularly important if you have no prior experience in the industry. Start by talking to smaller manufacturers to learn the process and find out how they might be able to help with product development. Then go on to speak to larger manufacturers to discover their volume requirements and the price difference. It’s vital, especially in the early days of a startup, to be able to leverage your position to get the best pricing, and the best way to do this is to have as many options on the table as possible. By shopping around you will discover what is available, what the key points of differentiation are, and be able to plan a number of scenarios. 3. Learn the jargon The more knowledgeable you sound, the more you’ll be taken seriously. Read books, trade publications like The Grocer, and as many other trade publications as you can and try to brush up on the relevant food law as well as general industry jargon. Using the wrong word or being caught out on a piece of law may seem like a
relatively minor error but companies may use that as a signal that you’re new to the industry and take advantage. A little research will go a long way! 4. Avoid excessive demands Manufacturers don’t like hassle. They are in the business of “making it” and then “shipping it”. Going in with a long list of complex demands will likely put them off working with you. It helps to be as flexible as possible. Many manufacturers are put off by complex projects. So, at least at the start, make your project sound as simple and easy as possible, and wait until the second or third meeting to introduce complexity. Entrepreneurs need to begin by defining the absolute essential aspects of their product, things that are fundamental to the brand. With Awfully Posh, for example, it was essential for the pork scratchings to be full of flavour without any additives. Aside from these considerations, which comprised our USPs, I could be fairly flexible. As such, it was relatively easy to find a manufacturing partner. 5. Sell your brand You need your manufacturer to believe in your vision, especially if you are a pre-launch startup. Make sure you come prepared with a detailed strategy and share as much of it as you can with your potential manufacturing partners. Obviously, there will be aspects you don’t want to share, but the mission and vision need to be clear, practical and exciting. Most manufacturers understand building brands is difficult, but if you can get them to “believe” in your growth plan then you should be able to convince them to start with smaller volumes and help you grow your startup sustainably. 6. Have a detailed forecast It’s vital you to deliver a detailed forecast to your manufacturing partner. As an entrepreneur you may be optimistic, but make sure your forecast is positive and realistic. Manufacturers will want to know that your brand is likely to grow, that the price works with your commercials, and that the relationship has longevity. Remember,
manufacturers will have a stake already, having worked out the setup and production methods for your products, so they need to know the order volumes, profits, and range is likely to grow. Don’t divulge sensitive informative but consider breaking it down by channel and by month, and doing it at least over two years. The more prepared you are the more seriously you’ll be taken. Approaching food and drink manufacturers is an essential step for any new brand. You can’t keep making your products at home forever! For an entrepreneur with a startup finding a manufacturer can feel daunting. If you can help potential manufacturers see you as someone with whom they can have an easy partnership you’ll be off to a good start. They want to see that you have brands that are likely to grow and make you both profits for the long-term. I wish you success.
About the Author Thomas Lock is the founder and Managing Director of Awfully Posh (AP) Brands, a FMCG snacks company. Referred to by the Daily Telegraph as “the man who made pork scratchings posh”, Tom launched his pork scratching brand, Awfully Posh, in 2013. He soon launched a further three snacks brands, The British Crisp Co., The British Popcorn Co., and Create A Crisp, selling a total of over 5 million bags to date. AP Brands’ snacks are now stocked in supermarket giants such as ASDA, Tesco, Waitrose, Amazon & Wholefoods Market.
What can entrepreneurs do if their crowdfunding slows down? When you start a crowdfunding campaign you’ll be full of energy. But what happens when you find the process slowing down? It can be demoralising for the business owners. Over the years I’ve seen a wide selection of businesses run crowdfunding campaigns in wide variety of industry sectors. It can be surprising which campaigns capture the imagination of investors, and rapidly meet their target, and which slowdown partway through. Why is this? One of the main differences is timing. If the market isn’t ready for your product, regulation holds back earning potential, or your ideal investors are distracted with another campaign, your campaign won’t get the investment you seek. With any luck, your market research will highlight these potential issues before you go live and you can adjust your timing accordingly. Often, it’s simply an issue of momentum, where not enough lead investment has come on to give the wider crowd confidence in a business. Or a campaign experiences the dreaded ‘pitch death’ when it doesn’t get any investment for a few days, causing the founders to lose all morale. Other campaigns, however, may be struggling due to poor communication or a lack of outbound marketing messages. You can’t expect enough investors to find your campaign organically in order to reach your target and, if
investors simply aren’t aware of your campaign, they won’t be able to fund it. Good, consistent marketing messages can help hammer home those key benefits, explain features and revenue streams, and grow your reputation as a business that can get things done. If you’re in the middle of a slow campaign here are some actions to reengerise the process and get investors engaged.
Undertake a charm offensive Both LinkedIn and the Angel Investment Network (AIN) are ideal places to find investors. Advanced searches allow you to be very targeted in who you reach out to and means you can create tailored messages to each potential investor group. With LinkedIn, you’ll need to create a short invitation to connect message of 300 characters at most, followed by a longer message for new and existing connections explaining your proposition. LinkedIn messenger isn’t the most user-friendly place to read longer messages, so try and keep it as concise as possible while still including the key information, such as: 1. The problem you are solving and your solution in one or two short sentences 2. Your key USPs in one or two sentences 3. Market size - something short to pique their interest
4. Traction so far - these could be 3-4 bullet points
have, and show how your solution can do it faster, cheaper and/or easier.
5. Call to action - usually a question for them to respond to, such as “Would you like to arrange a short call so I can answer any questions you may have?”
Positioning your PR articles in this way will get the widest adoption by relevant press. The byline and ‘about the author’ section are where you can mention your business and crowdfunding raise, gaining your campaign much-needed traffic.
While you can’t attach files directly to LinkedIn messages, you can include links. We often use solutions like DocSend to include a copy of an executive summary in the message, providing potential investors with even more information and a taste of your branding. AIN is very similar, except you can be even more targeted in your search and you know everyone on the platform is an active investor. Instead of invitations to connect, you’ll need to draft a short nudge message of up to 5000 characters which will lead potential investors to your campaign page on the AIN site. There they will be able to download key documents and see your entire campaign, so linking to your executive summary isn’t necessary. Reaching out and engaging potential investors directly is one of the most effective ways to draw attention to your crowdfunding campaign and opens you up to their extended network as well. Rethink your PR Writing article for the press can be one of the most effective marketing tactics for any crowdfunding campaign. But instead of thinking of it as an opportunity to talk about your product and crowdfunding raise, you should consider how to hook your ideal investors and educate them on your market. We meet a lot of founders who just want to promote their product or service – that’s called advertising, and understandably you’ll be asked to pay to place an advert. Instead, find an angle that will capture the attention of the publication’s audience ‒ your potential investors. Make it useful and genuinely interesting, solve an issue they might
Use social advertising Advertising on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, allows you to target users based on very specific parameters, delivering different messages to each. As such, social ads can be fantastic at addressing the different concerns of different investor groups. Perhaps one audience is more concerned with saving time while another cares more about saving money. Perhaps you have a two-sided marketplace that benefits businesses and customers. Social ads are short, punchy ways to deliver these messages directly to the most relevant audience. The main benefit of social ads, however, is that they can perfectly complement your PR and outreach messages. They are regular reminders of your business, your idea, and your campaign. Say a LinkedIn investor sees your outreach message, searches your brand name on Google, and sees a bunch of press articles you’ve written. Perhaps they download your executive summary to read later before becoming distracted. Adverts popping up on LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, would then remind them of your brand and proposition, bringing them back to your original message for a follow-up. Facebook ads can even be used to promote the PR coverage you gain from your articles, helping enhance your reputation through third-party content whilst educating your marketplace. They really are the perfect complement to your other marketing activities.
The marketing activities outline here will help your campaign get attention and interest. Use them right from the start but also keep a little back so you can take action if you find yourself in the doldrums. About the Author John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global equity crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £17m for over 50 companies on major equity crowdfunding platforms, with a greater than 90% success rate. 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 and supporters.
How entrepreneurs can use storytelling to make a message stick Entrepreneurs wanting their key messages to be remembered can learn useful lessons from my granddad. When I was a small child my granddad told me a dramafilled story culminating in moments of breath-taking excitement as he wrestled a crocodile in the jungle heat. Nanna provided the evidence – a pair of crocodile shoes! The story Granddad and Nanna told to their grandchildren has lived in our hearts and minds for decades and lives on as we retell it to our families. What was special about story? Why has it proved so memorable? Let’s explore these questions and the relevance of storytelling to entrepreneurs. When you start a business you want both you, and your product or service, to be memorable. But being remembered so that other also tell your story for you should be your aim as an entrepreneur. How can you tell a story that, as Patricia Fripp puts it: will be “remembered and repeated”? My granddad would say that there are two parts to a successful story: the story itself and how you tell it. The story to be told 1. It’s all about the audience I heard my granddad retell the same story many times. Each time the story would change a little.
He would pause in a different place, add the odd extra detail, or miss out a detail. Intrigued, I asked my granddad why he changed it so often. He paused before replying, held my gaze steady and said, “You’re assuming I change it for my needs. Never. The changes I make are always for those listening. Each time I tell it, the audience is different. Even with the same people, they may be a little – or a lot – older the next time I tell it, and so I adapt. I adapt to keep them interested. It’s all about them. World Champion of Public Speaking, Darren LaCroix, says: take you out of it. In telling a story, it’s about the audience, not you. Whether your audience is your six-year old grandchild or a room full of CEOs, your information, your message, your story has to be for them. What will your listeners get from you? iIP: Whatever story you are telling, tailor it to the audience. 2. How much detail? A great story transports the listener to the scene. Through the detail of what was seen, heard and felt, the listener experiences the story as if they were there. It’s important to get the balance right. Give too much detail and you take away their involvement in creating the scene, in being part of the story. Give vague or generic detail and they’re bored. I once heard granddad tell the story without describing the jungle foliage or the sweat in the jungle’s heat. The story simply didn’t sparkle. Add enough detail through evocative language and listeners can paint the full scene in their minds eye. TIP: Add enough evocative imagery to pull in the audience
Telling the story Once your story is ready, it’s now all in the delivery, as part of a pitch or presentation. This is where my granddad, supported by my lovely nanna, really came into their own. 1. Using movement A great storyteller acts. They use the space available and their full body to depict the scene. As granddad hacked through the foliage, his arm held an invisible machete and chop, chop, chop. He was purposeful with his movements. No movement was superfluous. Every movement had the story move forward. In summary: Use your stage, use your body – make them part of the story 2. The pause These were the true moments of power. The pause. The silence. The stillness. You waited, and the anticipation of what would happen next overwhelmed you. Just at the point of unease, it would stop, and you would fall headlong into the next part of the story.
Never. But nanna did. As an important part of his storytelling, nanna’s props added a detail which added truth (?!!) and humour. And a lasting visual takeaway. In summary: Appropriate props can illustrate your story and help the audience remember you, your product/service. 5. It’s all about them Yes. I do mean to say this again! A key message my granddad shared: It’s all about them. It’s all about your audience. His stories changed because he watched his audience responses. He continually met their needs. He sensed the mood, energy and need and adapted accordingly. Your message is important. But without your audience’s buy-in, it’s going nowhere. Focus on how to create a story that will live in the hearts and minds of your audience, and your story – your message - will last. In summary: it’s all about the audience so respond to their needs.
Pausing is power for a storyteller. It is an invitation to your listeners to fully engage in your story and message. To be involved. To reflect. To answer the question, you have posed. These are the points when your message is truly made in a business meeting as much as elsewhere.
Conclusion From childhood onwards we respond to a well told story. Why not tap into this very human trait to make sure your message is remembered and repeated?
In summary: Give your audience the time and the space to engage with your story
About the Author Rebecca Pepper is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs.
3. Vocal variety Fast. Slow. Loud. Quiet. A whisper. Deep. High. All have their place in a memorable story. Use purposefully. In summary: Add colour to your voice and avoid a monotone. 4. The prop Not essential, but a prop can enhance your message. Granddad’s story will forever be remembered as ‘crocodile shoes.’ Did my granddad ever mention shoes in his story?
Steps entrepreneurs can take to withstand cyber threats The fact that 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses is a salutary reminder that entrepreneurs need to make sure their businesses are protected. Cyber attacks are widespread. Consumers are frequently targeted, as are businesses of every size. Consumers and micro businesses may have some protection from the new agreement the banks are signing up to, but, with a recent BBC article saying some banks still haven’t signed up to the voluntary agreement around payment scams, they need to ensure they protect themselves as much as they can. Here are some tips for entrepreneurs to help ensure their businesses have the necessary protection: The People Issue Unfortunately, it is still the case that the weakest link in any cyber security protection plan is human. A busy team has to get a huge amount done during the day and so people simply do what they believe to be the right thing. One of the biggest cyber threats aimed at small businesses are impersonation emails and most people will do what it says in the email. For example, we know of companies who have lost £100,000 because a supplier, reputedly, emailed them with a change to their bank details.
Train your staff The key to reducing the threat is training. By training your team in what to look out for you can help them to help you protect the business. • Check email addresses carefully. The fraudsters use addresses and URLs that are very similar to the legitimate person. • Don’t open emails you don’t recognise or if the topic is worrying. Cyber criminals want to make you feel worried. They will say, for example, that your emails aren’t getting through or you’ve run out of Microsoft licenses. These are fake claims. The fraudsters want you to open attachments or click on links designed to infect your machine and your network. • Be careful with new contractors. Some cyber criminals will brazenly walk into your premises and try to infect your machines. Check if you have any concerns. • Double-check requests for large, or urgent, payments. It’s not in our nature to query senior management, for example, but it will protect your business – as an email claiming to be from, say, a Finance Director is a common form of cyber attack. An effective way to check how well your team is absorbing the training they receive is by using simulated phishing attacks. With regular, controlled attacks you’ll be able to identify who is following what they’ve learned and who needs a little more training. We’ve done this
at Redsquid and, in only three months, clickthroughs reduced from 54% to just 4%. Essential protections Your network needs to be protected in a number of ways: Firewalls If your firewall is a few years old, we recommend you update it. Its ability to protect your network needs to be upgraded as the threats to your network will have increased. Sophos is an example of a good provider of such devices. Patching Keep your PCs fully patched. Your operating system provider regularly publishes security updates to protect against the latest cyber threats. By not patching, you run the risk of not being protected. It’s worth taking the time to do this as it will take you far longer to recover if you are attacked. Windows 7 Microsoft stops supporting Windows 7 on January 14th 2020. If you are still running Windows 7 after that date, you are seriously risking your network and your business. You must upgrade to Windows 10. We recommend you upgrade your hardware to, to benefit from the physical security and performance enhancements built into new machines. Vulnerability and Penetration Testing There are many different ways to get into your network and the data it contains. Vulnerability Scanning is the intelligence driven deployment of scanning engines, updated with information from the latest threat intelligence feeds. These help to ensure the security of your systems, services and applications from a number of common attack vectors, exploited by both automated and manual attackers. Vulnerability testing should ideally be done continuously, but at least every month. A penetration test is an authorised simulated cyber attack on a computer system, performed by a suitably qualified third party. It is designed to evaluate and ultimately to fortify the security
of a target system through the identification of security vulnerabilities. We recommend these are done at least once a year. The investment, in an independent body (not your IT provider) is worth it for the peace of mind it provides. These tests also mean you are properly ticking the GDPR box. You need to be able to show you are protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) you hold on your customers and staff. If a breach does happen and you cannot prove you have taken reasonable steps, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) can fine you up to 4% of annual global turnover. Web Applications and APIs Most businesses are using multiple web applications and APIs to streamline productivity, but have you checked whether the ones you use have been tested for intruder prevention? They can easily become a back door into your network for cyber criminals. Email Gateway Email gateways are a great way to reduce the opportunity for people to make mistakes. By passing all your email through a gateway, such as Cyren’s email security (https://www.cyren. com/products/email-security-gateway), you block the malware, phishing and spam emails that threaten your network. Multi-factor Authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA) uses multiple devices to protect your network. Your phone, which isn’t more than a metre away from you right now, can act as confirmation you are who you say you are, when you are logging into your laptop or into an application. By using multiple layers of security, you make it harder for unauthorised users to get into your network. Insurance As an entrepreneur protecting your network should be the first step, however we also recommend you insure your business against cyber threats. Whilst it cannot replace what is stolen, cyber insurance will help you recover. As with all insurance, we recommend you take advice on what you should have and you read the small print with great care.
Finally If you fall victim to a cyber attack remember to report the crime and fulfil your GDPR obligations. Every entrepreneur needs to keep their network protection up to date and their staff (and themselves) fully trained. These are essential business routines which also protect your business reputation and your brand.
About the Author Mike Ianiri is Sales Director at Redsquid, one of the UKâ€™s leading independent providers of business Voice, Data, ICT, Cyber Security and IoT Solutions.
How to become a best selling author Abigail Horne has now bridged the gap of self-publishing and traditional publishing, shaking up the industry to help more people get the books that are in them, out and this year alone, she has helped over 100 people become best selling authors! She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, multiple best-selling author and multiple 6 figure business owner who from personal anguish is encouraging us to capture our stories. She is on a mission to help more people leave their legacy through sharing their stories and knowledge. Here, she shares with us her journey, self-publishing advice and the heartfelt reason that she started this incredibly passionate and purposeled business venture… Authors&Co https://authorsandco.com/ created from a personal anguish of not capturing her Grandad’s legacy on paper... Abigail said: When my grandad’s cancer returned in his brain and we lost him within 3 weeks - I had lost my hero and my world fell apart. The genetic specialist turned her screen to face me, showing me the cancers within my family tree, and the only thing running through my mind was, “Your diagram is rubbish!” - there it was, a box containing my grandad’s name
with a big red cross going all the way through it. Edward Hand – Deceased, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. How was this his legacy?” Ok, so I knew him, but in years to come is that all that future generations are going to know about this incredible man? My heart just sank, remembering the conversion I had with my grandad during his illness. I remember proudly handed him a journal called, “Dear Grandad, From You To Me” and saying “I’ve bought you a gift Grand, I think we should fill it in together” - you simply go through a process of writing on each page answering the prompts which eventually fills the book with the author’s life story, their memories, knowledge, thoughts and wisdom, in their own words. I just wanted to cherish it forever not knowing what was around the corner. He smiled and said, “I will write in this, but not now…I’m not going anywhere just yet.” I understood, and “not now” just continued into his remission. He was given the all-clear and life was back to normal. The urgency had gone, the anxiety had passed and the book was put in a drawer. Twelve months later, with no warning, my grandad’s cancer returned in his brain. ‘How do I continue to face every day of my life without him? What would his advice for me be on getting married and having children of my own? What would he think of my career choices? What would he tell me to do when things get tough?’ I don’t even know. Because he isn’t here to ask… and he never got the book back out of the drawer. Blank page after blank page - it haunts me. A year after he passed away, I gave birth to a
beautiful baby boy, lovingly named after my grandad, Ted. He asks about him all the time and I will forever share my stories and my memories of him… but it’s not the same. I wish I could hand him my grandad’s book to be passed down through the generations so his memory would stay alive and intact forever. Those pages would have kept him immortal, his words and wisdom in written form to cherish, always.
books and warehouse them in the garage. This efficient and economical way of putting your message into someone’s hands has allowed the author speed and a whole load of space to create.
That genetic appointment took place on October 2017 and eight weeks later, I launched Authors & Co with a heart filled with the desire that our legacy is far greater than any diagram.
Leaving our greatest legacy in book form is for each and everyone one of us, no exception. For too long we have gifted our personal power to an industry worth billions and let them have the final say on whether our story is worth printing. I am on a mission to shout loudly and say it’s time to take back your power, do what my grandad never got around to doing and leave a lasting legacy and impact within our world.
Sharing our lives greatest moments, deepest thoughts and wisest teachings is not reserved for celebrities, it is for all of us.
Now….not never. “There’s a writer that lives inside each of us that’s purposeful and magnetic just waiting to be unleashed.”
Publishing a book is not reserved for those who have their “Submission Accepted” by printing/ publishing houses, it is for ALL of us.
Your past experiences may one day change someone’s life.
The publishing landscape isn’t changing. It has already changed. The digital disruption of self-publishing has made the lengthy two-year process of concept to creation outdated and a distant happy memory of the 19th century.
To find out more visit www. authorsandco.com. Here you can find Abigail’s book ‘Brand Yourself Bestseller’ this explores the journey into the power and magnitude of what it means to spark magic in the world and leave a legacy. It will teach you to write and release that purpose within you and give you the skills that you need to become an author and leader that truly influences change in the world.
Self-publishing is now globally accepted and (can be) so financially lucrative that there are self-published authors who have refused even seven figure publishing deals with traditional publishers. Welcome to the era of social media and influencer marketing. We have adhered to customs that have been time-honoured and handed down as “the right thing to do” but here’s the thing, just because it’s long standing doesn’t mean it’s right. It just means that was the only way, until someone came up with a new one. According to the New York Times, Amazon Ebooks outsell Paperback Books. Read that’s again. We have switched from encyclopaedias to Ggoogle, from letters to WhatsApp’s and from the old publishing norm to a new one. With print-on-demand options self-published authors no longer have to print hundreds of
Apps to help streamline your startup from the start When you have the vision for your new business and then face the practical reality of bring it to life you can find yourself working 24/7. It makes sense for entrepreneurs to make use of the many great apps available and start their startups as they mean to go on – working hard and also having a life! With so many apps on the market and app advisory services offered by professional advisers in your industry, it’s really worthwhile reviewing how you are running your business and how it can be streamlined to save you time, money and stress. Here are some apps to help you streamline your processes and give you time to recharge your batteries. Calendly, Acuity Scheduling and Timetrade Going back and forth with clients and stakeholders to schedule appointments, reschedule, and then reschedule again can be time consuming. Avoid email and telephone tag when arranging meetings. With any of the above tools, people can now access a version of your diary that shows them all of the slots that you have decided to make available for meetings.
Receipt Bank, Auto Entry and Expensify It can be time consuming for you to collate and record all your receipts and invoices. And if you send them to your accountant in a shoebox, they will spend additional time reviewing and sorting them which means more costs. There are some good apps including Auto Entry, Expensify and Receipt Bank that allow you to capture these receipts on the go and send them directly to your accountant. You can even ask your suppliers to send their invoices to the app to free up your inbox a bit. Spotlight Reporting, LivePlan, Profitsee and Others Do you know the key numbers that matter in your business? Are these presented in a useful way that helps you make business decisions? And are you able to look forward and predict what your cashflow would look like in, say, three months? If you’re spending a lot of time and energy on your numbers or you simply don’t know where you’re at with the finances try the above tools either independently or through your accountant for free. Echo sign, Docusign and Others Your meeting with the new customer went well. You promised to send them the contract to sign. They wait for a day or two. Only to receive pdf contracts with instructions to print, sign, scan and email back. Or worse to put the signed copy in the post to head office. The phone rings. Your customer picks up and his/ her attention is diverted away. Why not cut
the waste and time by using online document creation and signing apps? Or simply send your customer a secured link to approve and enter their payment details. Clockify, Toggle, Hubstaff and Time Doctor With so much going on in a startup you can be pulled in many directions and end up wondering what you’ve achieved during the day. Well now you can automatically monitor how you spend your time so you can identify where and how to be more productive. You will be amazed how much of your time gets diverted away from important tasks. And these tools also help you get organised. So, you can focus on a task for 45 minutes and really get the important stuff done. Zoom, Goto Webinar and RingCentral Cut out the travel time and meet your prospects or staff online via a video meeting app. You can share screens, take control of their computers and even use white boards just like you would do in a live meeting. Business Operation and Management Apps There is a whole list of other great apps that could be discussed here depending on your industry. For instance, if you’re retailer, restaurant or you hold stock, then an apps like Vend, Izettle and others are worth looking at. If you’re a Nursery, then review Blossom educational, EY log, Procare software and others. And for other businesses, tools like Zoho CRM, Infusionsoft, Trello, Monday and Asana can really save you time and help you find that creative space. GoCardless, IntegraPay and Others You’ve done the work, spent time and sweat to please the customer and you’ve probably incurred staff and materials costs. You now wait for 30 days and then wait more and still no sign of that promised cash. You’re now dashing for cash or frantically calling customers at the 11th hour to get assurance that you will be paid just so that you can, at least, meet those bills including payroll. Pretty stressful experience. Why not avoid all of this and use an online direct debit app so that you and your customer
can now agree when you will take payment? Easier and quicker for everyone – and certainly less stressful for you. People HR, Breath HR and Others Do you still spend time on paper forms or excels to keep your HR records? Do your staff have to submit forms or send you other manual requests to book their holidays? How long does it take you to check whether the business will have sufficient staff during a holiday period and then to approve the holiday? Try any of the above tools and see the time, money and effort they can save your business. Zapier, Workato and Others With all these apps, it’s important to ensure they integrate and talk to each other to avoid further waste and chaos. Apps like Zapier and Workato allow you to link two systems together without any coding or programming skills. A key selection criterion for your apps should be whether the App has what is called an API to enable it to link to other systems.
Apps and tools such as the ones discussed here can make a big difference in an entrepreneur’s life. Get them set up from the start of your startup, work smart from the beginning and avoid introducing unnecessary manual processes.
About the Author Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an award winning chartered tax adviser and accountant who has advises business owners on business streamlining apps and processes to make business less taxing. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys. www.thetaxguys.co.uk
Business Clubs The New Entrepreneur Must Have Multiple surveys have shown that flexible working is on the rise, and quickly. One report this year from IWG found that 85% of businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy in the last 10 years . Within this growing market, entrepreneurs, SMEs and freelancers have already begun to reap the benefits of hot-desking, co-working and virtual offices. But there is another product beginning to rear its head: business clubs. This approach to flexible working, combining space with concierge-style service, can help growing enterprises maximise productivity and employee engagement. As employees and employers become increasingly well-tuned to the benefits of flexibility, those starting a business venture in 2020 should consider how such an approach could be valuable to supercharging their growth. Why now? Employees are increasingly demanding flexibility. The same IWG report found 83% of employees would turn down a job if it didn’t offer flexible options. As a result, the future of work has filled many column inches this year, with co-working, innovative workspaces and ‘work perks’ like free beer on Fridays now a regular part of an attractive job offer.
What is a business club? Membership to a business club gives professionals access to flexible workspaces like business lounges, meeting rooms and hot-desks, which are supported by conciergestyle services that aid a business throughout the working day; whether that’s with IT issues, making reservations for lunch or organising travel across the city. It offers access to multiple workspace locations across a city, which allows for yet more flexibility. Essentially, employees can choose, day-to-day, which address suits their assigned work best. Should you need total isolation to produce a report, you can work from a discreet business lounge in a convenient location. If you need to bring a remote team together to collaborate, you have inspiring communal workspaces. Require a boardroom to impress potential investors? You can easily book a premium meeting room in a highly soughtafter postcode. It’s flexibility in a new way; marrying time and space to make each working day bespoke. Such an approach can prove well-suited to the ever-changing dynamics of a growing business. Rather than assigning yourself to a co-working space or a traditional office, employees can decide their preference on the day – the best of both worlds. Stronger together Co-working and hot-desking have historically been viewed as the territory of tech start-ups and innovative millennials. However, business clubs can provide enterprises from any sector and any nature with access to flexibility. For
example, there are discreet and traditional spaces for those that need them, and collaborative and innovative ones for others. Also, for SMEs, building a network of contacts can prove beneficial for growth, with ample opportunities to identify and build relationships with new investors, potential recruits and partners. By having access to a range of other businesses and inspiring professionals in a business club, an SME’s employees benefit from not just a sense of community but also heightened employee motivation by rubbing shoulders with other successful and ambitious professionals. With the service also provided by a club, growing businesses have support at their fingertips to help their business run smoothly – particularly useful for small businesses who may have less resource on hand to help out with admin. This can in turn free up time for employees to spend on tasks like new business pitches to support with growth. Consider the productivity of your team if employees didn’t have to sort out IT queries or order working lunches, but could focus on revenue and relationship building tasks. Work-life balance The workplace of choice in 2020 will reflect our attitudinal shift in work-life balance. Productivity and time efficiency are increasingly central,
thanks to technology and our desire and expectation to spend more time doing things we love. Maximising the services attached to a business club allows you to do just that. Also, by changing your work location according to what best suits your schedule, you can cut the commute and find more time for hobbies or family. Extract the admin tasks, get support with organising your day and see blocks of time open up that let you do what you love. Again, for those setting up growing enterprises who need to maximise their day, this approach to work can prove highly effective. The future of work In a society that increasingly craves ‘experience’, businesses should consider workplaces that support them in maximising flexibility and productivity. As businesses, especially those in growth mode, seek to make the best use of time and space, business clubs may prove a helpful solution. They are spaces that allow time to be reclaimed; something that is increasingly valuable in a world that operates at breakneck pace.
By Beth Hampson, Commercial Director, The Argyll Club.
HOW TO WIN: Why Pro Sports Have The Secrets To Your Business Success
More and more businesses are seeking external help to achieve their goals by looking to the world of professional sports for guidance on getting the winning mentality. Entrepreneur and Investor met up with the former pro-athlete turned founder of Elite Performance Lifestyle, Wes Myron, to discover how your business can score the wins you need. Does your business have that winning feeling? Are you personally at your peak entrepreneur performance? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then don’t fear you’re most likely in the majority of firms that haven’t yet nailed one of the most important aspects of business success - the winning mentality. It’s an abstract concept, but you know when you’ve got it. A winning team usually finds a way to come out on top, and the positive buzz of success after success breeds wealth and prosperity for all. However, you also know when you don’t. Luckily there is one industry where winning is the sole currency professional sports. Even in the big money sporting free-for-alls like the English Premier League, nothing pays the bills like success does. As the old maxim goes, second place is the first loser. Because of this, the entire sporting outlook is based upon how to win, and as sports science has evolved, so have the psychological and practical
techniques and strategies that underpin it. Winning has become a formula to perfect. Because of this, there are obvious links to the business world, seeking to win out over the competition. The current gold medal standard in this is the Canadian company Elite Performance Lifestyle, set up by former ice hockey pro Wes Myron. The British Columbia native was all set to become the next big thing in the NHL when he was drafted to the Vancouver Canucks. However, a series of injuries robbed him of his sporting destiny, leaving him adrift and unsure what to do next in his life. However, Myron rebuilt his life by leaning on the pro sports teachings that had been drilled into him for nearly 20 years, and worked with leading coaches in key disciplines to create a programme for anyone who wants to achieve health and success. Inevitably, entrepreneurs discovered the advancements the programme could make for them and their teams, and a global business began to emerge. We interviewed Myron at the launch of his new UK team of expert coaches to discuss how you can learn the secrets of winning from elite athletes.
How did you feel when injuries forced you to quite the pro sports world? To be honest, I still don’t think I will ever completely get over it, but I couldn’t have asked for a better transition, and I believe everything happens for a reason.
However, when I made that choice, it was devastating. It very nearly broke me. When you look at it in context, I was coached in the sport I love for hours every day, for nearly two decades, in every way you can imagine - including psychologists, sleep coaches, nutritionists, and fitness/conditioning experts - all with the most single minded goal to reach the NHL. Everything in my life was set up for this singular aim, and hitting my objective was the only tolerated outcome. I gave up everything that wasn’t training to reach the NHL, and my incredible specialist coaches, and my family supported me every step of the way. This included my mom having to learn how to cook the right food my nutritionist advised, my dad getting up at 4:30am to take me to hockey training every day, and my sister having to take a back seat. When I got drafted to my local NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, it was as much their achievement as mine. Once I achieved that, the goal became to establish myself as the absolute best player I could be, and things were on track, when it all happened. Life throws curve balls sometimes, and I picked up a bad groin injury. I managed to come back, but then the same injury reoccurred, which was followed by multiple other injuries. By the age of 22, the mountain of injuries had fully derailed my path, meaning I could never play at the very top level again. It was like a truck had hit me, and it stayed that way for a few months. However, no-one succeeded in life without overcoming obstacles, and I woke up one day with a clear realisation that I had been given all the tools for success through my years of being trained by elite coaches. If I could just access the learnings they had drilled into me, and apply them to a new life I was certain I could achieve some success. I started my company that same day, with a view to helping people achieve their own goals - no matter what they may be.
What made you focus on helping businesses? At first I just wanted to help as many people as possible. I realised that pro athletes are coached to achieve great things by doing well in four areas - building a healthy body, developing a clear and focussed mind, getting great sleep, and powered by eating the right things at the right time. These were the secrets of success, and if I could bring these together in one simple plan, then non-athletes could benefit from their collective power. I sought out some of the best coaches I worked with in these areas, and with their expertise began vigorous months of testing techniques and ideas on me and my close friends and family. Over time, we developed a strategy, The Elite Performance Lifestyle, which would help anyone who wanted to achieve their highest results of fitness and success. It wasn’t long before the word got out, and companies were asking if they could bring this thinking into their own businesses. My coaches and I worked hard to adapt the plan to be best suited to any firms seeking elite performance in their employees, and the rest is history. Why do you think sports and business are so closely aligned? There are also a lot of similarities between business and sport, from how trackable your success is to how the collective power of a well drilled team will beat an ill disciplined and poorly coached team almost every time. Meanwhile, a league table is essentially a visual representation of your competitor brands, and you’re always at risk of your best team players moving to a rival. I’ve come to learn that the people who run businesses tend to think like athletes, in that they know what winning looks like, and they go to sleep at night dreaming of achieving that goal. However, like athletes, they can’t do it all on their own, and by bringing in the right expertise to their team they massively increase their chances of success.
What is the Elite Performance Lifestyle and how does it help businesses win? The EPL is a full and very comprehensive programme, designed to help businesses achieve the success they crave. It is delivered in two phases. Firstly, our elite team of sleep and sports psychology experts go into a business, and deliver the face to face coaching to a company’s key people, in a one day series of Masterclasses. This gets the business ready to take the next step. Secondly, we then make the Elite Performance Lifestyle mobile app available to everyone in the whole organisation, to help them achieve peak health and fitness, and keep their mindsets winning. What benefits does a fit and healthy workforce bring? The stats on this are remarkable. If your company has a workforce that is generally low in health and fitness they are more than twice as likely to take sick days,
more than twice as likely to leave for another employer, and bring operating incomes down by an average of 33%. However, businesses that help their staff get healthy see employees over twice as alert, and report an average of 19% higher operating incomes. Being a healthy employer pays dividends. Why is sleep so important for success? Sleep isn’t just important for success. It’s a vital part of your health and happiness. The stats back this up, too, and it’s estimated that 200,000 sick days are taken every year in the UK just because of poor sleep. Likewise, did you know that if you get just 90 minutes less sleep tonight then you’ll see your alertness diminish by an average of 32% tomorrow? It’s simple - if you want to be successful, or you want your organisation to achieve its goals, you must sort your sleep. As our Head of Sleep always says, the single biggest thing anyone can do today to improve their performance in life, career, or fitness, is
to focus on their sleep for just five days. Their output across all areas will be significantly boosted. You talk about developing a winning outlook to drive you on. What are your top three tips for E&I readers to achieve their own Athlete Mindset? It’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself to improve your mindset. Instead, if you view it as an exciting challenge to embrace, then you’ll see the best results. With that in mind, if readers follow these three simple tips they should see boosted outcomes almost instantly.
1. Understand what success looks like as specifically as possible. Too many people only have a vague idea of where they want to go. Really consider where you want your life to go, and make that your singular goal.
2. Check in with your goal. Every. Day. Life gets busy, and it can be easy to lose focus on the bigger picture when there are mini crises happening at work or home. Beat this, by spending 5 minutes every morning writing down your singular goal, and noting three things you plan to do today to get closer to achieving it.
3. Manage your influences. This can be a tough one, but it’s worth it every time. The people you surround yourself with have a direct impact on your mindset. If you’re amidst positive winning people, then you’ll find you pick up their traits. Do the opposite, and you’ll find their negative energy seeping into your outlook. Be strong and create an environment set up to succeed, and you’ll wonder why you put up with anything else.
Which athletes competing today have the most impressive mindset to emulate? You’d have to look at someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, who at the age most footballers wind down, appears to be more of a winner than ever before. It’s so difficult to get to the pinnacle of pro sports, but it’s a lot harder to stay there. That Cristiano has done so for so long is nearly miraculous. It’s a testament to how if anyone keeps their physical health in check and their mindset focussed on the outcome they desire, then they can achieve anything they set their heart on. To learn more about the Elite Performance Lifestyle visit wesmyronfitness.com.
How to create a successful fashion brand You may well be surprised to hear that, globally, the retail market is actually growing, In fact, according to a recent Mintel report, the UK’s menswear market is predicted to grow by 3.5% and womenswear by 4.1%. Growth isn’t even across the market, though. Fast fashion is in decline while premium fashion is on the rise. Customers are becoming more aware of the damaging effects fast, disposable, fashion has on the planet and are opting to spend their money on longer-lasting, premium brands instead. Customers also want products that reflect their personalities and say something about who they are. So, if brands get it right, they can capitalise on the growth in premium fashion, creating a strong brand that stands the test of time. Here are some top tips... Design products that last A trend across retail, and fashion in particular, is toward longer-lasting products. People are much more aware of sustainability issues and want to contribute to environmental protection through every purchase, if possible.
Consumers are also looking for quality in their purchases. They understand the false economy of buying cheap products that fall apart after a year. If you’re designing for outdoor and activewear, it’s even more important to be hardwearing and repairable. Design for your market and their needs today as well as into the future. Strong brands have longevity ‒ if your clothing is falling apart after just a few years, people won’t repurchase and your brand visibility (not to mention sales) will dry up. If you design your clothes to last, however, people will still be wearing them in 10 years’ time and you will grow a brand synonymous with quality and longevity.
Use sustainable materials Sustainability is also imperative when considering the materials you use to make your clothing. Good quality materials make clothing last longer. Sustainable materials help establish your brand as one that cares about your customers.... and the planet. There’s also a big move towards natural fibres as people are discovering the damaging effects of synthetics. It was recently reported that polyester had been found in the Antarctic, for example, and traces of synthetic fibres were also found in our drinking water. Worried by these alarming reports, people realise the benefits of natural fibres which don’t break down to such a small size or cause anywhere near the harm of synthetics.
Ethics are important Sustainability is crucial, but the human factor is also very important. Does your company do good for the people involved? Awareness of exploitative sweatshops has been growing for years and tragedies like the Bangladesh factory collapse highlight real ethical issues at the bottom of the supply chain. There has also been a rise in social enterprises over the past decade. These businesses either have a social mission of their own or support a particular charity. In doing so, they highlight their values and demonstrate how they are taking real, practical, measurable steps to help that charity or cause. Find your market The strongest fashion brands find a gap in the market, a need that is unfulfilled. However, they also need mass appeal. Research your market to uncover trends and discover areas which are undersaturated - that’s where you’ll f
find the sweet spot between underserved and appealing. Getting the right products for your market also requires trial and error. We started with a wider range of products at much smaller volumes, testing what worked and cutting what didn’t. This ‘agile’ way of working ‒ failing fast and finding what works ‒ means you can rapidly tailor your products to real-world market desires, rather than basing your product range solely on research. In the current political climate, it’s also important to connect with your market’s values. After all, people want clothing that reflects their own personality. Start by defining your own values and creating a vision and mission for your brand. The aim is to take people with you on that journey, so you need to base all your branding and marketing decisions around those values.
Find your story All the strongest brands have a good story. Perhaps a link to something or someone iconic. For example, we benefit from our connection with Sir Edmund Hillary through his family. And since itâ€™s Sir Edmundâ€™s 100th birthday this year, we also have an event to celebrate.
challenging process with lots of decisions to be made. The strongest brands take time to consider every aspect of their business and pay close attention to detail.
Of course, not every brand has links to something iconic, but every brand has a story. Why did you create your brand? What did you
About the Author Clare Hall-Taylor is from Edmund Hillary Brands. The Edmund Hillary clothing range is seasonless and durable and made from natural materials - often heritage fabrics. A percentage of every sale is donated to causes close to Hillaryâ€™s heart - supporting Himalayan communities and also outdoor education in the UK and further afield.
set out to achieve? What values do you hold or mission did you set out to fulfil? Again, link it back to your values, then tell the story. This will help develop the personality of your brand and provide the conversation starter that modern shoppers are looking for.
Creating a brand can be an exciting and
Diana Isac and Winerist.com The Largest Online Travel Specialist for Wine Tourism At her London office, Diana Isac explains how it all started; “. It was a self-drive trip with my group of friends, to Italy and France, that saw the birth of Winerist. There was no go to website where you could find the tours, the wineries, restaurants and best wine hotels to stay at when in a wine region. We had an exciting trip, but the research was soul destroying. So, when I got back, I came up with the idea of creating a ‘Tripadvisor’ for Wine Travel. And this is where we are today!” Filled with unique wine experiences, Winerist (Winerist.com) is the perfect booking platform for those looking for a wine, food and whisky experience on every continent! Winerist is like an encyclopaedia of tried and tested wine and food destinations around the world: 133 (and growing) wine regions and wine capitals are celebrated on the Winerist platform; the largest online travel specialist for wine and food tours featuring wineries, wine tours, cooking classes, wine hotels and more. This is the website to use to find and book your perfect wine, food and whisky experience. Winerist allows guests to view and book tastings at a wide selection of wineries around the world and embark on wine tours and stay at hand-picked places in a vast selection of regions. Winerist also offers inspiration on lesser known destinations on its homepage.
The Winerist online magazine also features free guides on all these regions with articles beyond basic travel. Essentially the platform showcases many hidden gems and avoids the obvious over-tourism destinations, therefore benefiting everyone in the mix. Diana suggests a few hidden gems available to book through winerist.com; “Moldova would have to be one of these as it is on our doorstep, so accessible, affordable and boasting great wine, food and hospitality! You can now reach the capital with three airlines from three London airports! Not so hidden, but Patagonia is definitely one I would recommend. Last, but not least, it would have to be Santa Barbara. This is the last region I visited and fell in love with it. The food is excellent and all farm to table, the wineries beautiful, airy and so family friendly. And then there is of course that California sun and its people.” Diana has always been around wine; “Wine was always part of my DNA, but it took me a while to get to my Wine Travel journey and to the creation of Winerist.com. I was born in Moldova and grew up stomping grapes and witnessing my grandfather (a Mathematician by profession), make wine for his family. I learned from an early age about the ins and outs of running a micro winery, about oak barrels, bottling, tannins and the importance of freshness of fruit in a wine.” The most popular searched for and booked destinations in 2018 at Winerist were Bordeaux, the Douro Valley and Provence. Strong growth
in bookings included to Sicily, Santa Barbara and Moldova. 2020 will be a huge year for Winerist with a unique and global partnership. Winerist has joined forces with The Wine Show, UK television’s most successful wine and travel show. Announcing the partnership in the summer, Diana Isac said; ‘’This is a match made in heaven. The Wine Show is a visual reflection of everything we do – and is a very exciting prospect for us all’’. ‘‘We are delighted to be working so closely with such an amazing programme - the only mainstream television series on wine and wine travel, filmed in exciting locations that loyal viewers would like to see for themselves. Now that The Wine Show has created this incredible content to inspire them, we can make that happen in real life too”. Melanie Jappy producer and CEO of The Wine Show added; “Great wine is all about sharing and I am thrilled that The Wine Show has found the perfect travel partner in Winerist. I know they will bring more than a taste of the joy we have experienced in making the last two series. As we continue to create more programmes around the world, I can’t wait to see where Winerist takes our viewers. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be giving us ideas of where to explore next”. Series One and Two first aired in the UK, and is distributed now in over 106 countries, including on Hulu and Ovation in the US, enabling The Wine Show to build a loyal following both on-air as well as across social media. Filming has already started for series Three, focusing on Portugal and will be transmitted early in 2020 – opening up a wealth of new wine-related experiences for viewers and subscribers alike. With so much going on we ask Diana what her favourite tipple is? “Wine of course! Although I have a very soft spot for champagne and English Sparkling Wine which I highly recommend”!
Digital Marketing How to Find New Customers For independent tradespeople, finding new customers and strengthening their professional network is the key to continued and sustainable growth. One of the most effective ways to do this in 2019 is to improving your business’ online presence. A business’ online presence is absolutely essential. Why? Because when a homeowner has a problem with their plumbing, electrics, heating etc., they no longer turn to the newspaper or a directory; they will turn to the internet and search for the services they need. The most popular internet search engines in the world are Google and Bing. When a homeowner searches for your service, appearing above your competitors can be the difference between finding a new customer and missing out. If your online presence isn’t resulting in new customers, there may be some simple ways to grow your business online. Here are some simple tips to get you started. Your Website
Your company website is the face of your business. It’s where modern customers go to find out who you are, where you are, how to contact you and, crucially, the quality of the
service you’re likely to provide. It’s essential that your website represents you accurately and in as positive a light as possible. 1. Research your competitors Whether you’re starting a website from scratch or looking to improve your current website, it’s often best to look at what your competitors are doing. Take note of what they’re doing well and techniques you can use on your own website, or areas which you think could be done better. 2. Think mobile When searching for a product, service or information, more and more people are using their mobile phones rather than laptops or computer screens. If your website is not mobile friendly, i.e. able to automatically adapt to smaller vertical screens, users are unlikely to continue using it for long and will find another website which is easier to view. 3. Update your website regularly Having a website is just the first step. To keep your website ranking as well as possible in the search results you should continue to add to it on a regular basis by adding articles, blogs or even videos. This will tell the search engines that the website is active and relevant. You should create content which is useful for your customers and shows your knowledge and expertise. Unless you are confident in the creation of websites and coding it’s usually best to leave this aspect to the professionals. There are a lot of website building services out there which will support you through the process and ensure that it is as user friendly and intuitive as possible.
Introduction to Digital Marketing Having a high quality and professional website is a great place to start but if nobody sees it, it won’t help your business’ brand. Digital marketing is the term given to the methods and strategies businesses use to drive traffic to their website, engage with customers online and increase customers. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a phrase which you will come across time and time again in the digital marketing world. Put simply, it’s the practice of optimising your website to increase the likelihood that search engines like Google will prioritise your website over your competitors. Here are some other ways to improve your online presence in search engines. 1. Add your company to ‘Google My Business’ When a potential customer searches for your business using the Google search engine, Google My Business provides all the key information they need. This includes your address, contact details and opening hours. You can also add photos to make your listing more eye-catching and add it to Google Maps so you’re identified on the map as a local business relative to the searcher’s location. It’s a completely free platform and a simple but effective way to put your business on the digital map. 2. Customer reviews Your Google My Business listing also includes a space for customers to leave reviews. Positive customer reviews are one of the most effective ways to show the quality of your service and your experience. Encourage your customers to leave their reviews there and you may be able to increase your visibility and brand reputation at the same time.
Facebook Recommendations can also be beneficial as this shows people positive reviews of businesses that their friends and family
have made. This can make the reviews more powerful as we tend to trust advice from the people we know over strangers. 3. Social Media A presence on social media is a great way to connect with your local community and build awareness of your brand. You can share photos of work you’ve completed, positive customer feedback and advertise your availability. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are popular platforms for trade businesses. It’s true that it’s not a quick or simple journey to the top of search engine results or gathering a large social media following, but there is very little financial cost involved in the effort and the results could bring a steady supply of new customers to your business. Make sure your social media accounts include your location so you are more visible to users in your region.
By David Holmes. David is founder of Boiler Guide, the smarter way for UK plumbers and heating engineers to grow their business and find more customers.
Get it right from the start: Expenses your business can’t deduct against tax Making sure you claim all legitimate expenses you incur for the business and keeping your tax bill as low as possible is something entrepreneurs should focus on right from the start. Getting clarity about which expenses can be claimed is an essential part of the process, as there are some examples of things you cannot tax deduct even if you incurred them for your business. Let me share a few of these for with you. Legal Expenses Legal fees can be expensive right…? And whilst they do add value to your business and may save you from making costly business mistakes, not all legal costs are tax deductible. For example, fees in connection with the purchase of a business premises or investing in shares are disallowed. In addition, fees that have both personal and business elements may fail the wholly and exclusive test. And legal costs associated with breaking the law are also disallowed. For example, where you’ve got a parking fine and you decide to call your lawyer to defend the case and you lose, you won’t be able to claim the legal fees. Promotional Gifts It’s true that nothing ever happens in business until a product or a service is promoted and sold. And when it’s sold at a profit, tax gets collected accordingly. However, if you promote your business by spending too much money
on promotional gifts to customers and the gifts cost more than £50 per customer, you won’t be able to deduct these costs against your income. Even where the gift cost £50 or less, make sure it carries a conspicuous advert for your business. Travel Imagine this scenario. You operate as a selfemployed doctor or sole trader rather than limited company. You have a home-based office. You travel to see different patients or clients on a regular basis. Your journey starts from your office (at home) and includes a few itinerant travels from one client to the other client. Can you claim the full travel expenses? Logic will tell us that yes. However, the rules deem the travel from your home office to patients / clients as ordinary commuting and therefore not tax deductible. Client Entertainment As part of your sales and marketing, you decide to take clients to a relaxed restaurant to discuss new business. The purpose is to negotiate and generate new business. The income will be taxed so the expenses should be ok to put through the business, right? Unfortunately, the rules specifically disallow these expenses to be claimed against tax. Part of the reason behind this is that you could have had the same conversation over a cup of tea in the office, plus there is an element of personal benefit in the entertainment. Clothes for Work Imagine you’re a barrister and you’ve purchase your gown to be worn in court. You don’t
wear this gown in public. Can you go ahead and claim the cost of the gown against your tax? Not according to the famous tax case of Mallalieu v Drummond which established that “no deduction is available from trading profits for the costs of clothing which forms part of an ‘everyday’ wardrobe. This remains so even where the taxpayer can show that they only wear such clothing in the course of their profession.” However, some protective and work clothing with logos and other business branding are claimable. If in doubt, speak with a tax accountant. Parking Fines Your business is delivering some items to a customer. The driver parks for a few minutes and get a parking ticket. Surely the reason for the fine is because of business activity so it should fall under the wholly and exclusive for the purpose of business rule? Not quite. Fines incurred for breaking the rules are disallowed. Wages to Spouse or Kids A great way to keep more of your cash within the family is to employ your spouse and kids. And there is nothing wrong with this plan. However, where you pay family members over and above the market rate, where they don’t actually perform any task for the business or where you’ve structured this working arrangement incorrectly with no evidence or paperwork to back up your plan, HMRC will not allow their salaries to be put through the business. Do take care with this as it’s currently a hot spot for HMRC enquiries. Sponsorship Sponsoring an event is another area that might surprise you. HMRC will disallow the cost if they can show that perhaps the sporting field you are sponsoring is a director’s, partner’s or proprietor’s regular hobby or if the party being sponsored is a relative of the business owner, or if there is no proposed or actual return on investment from the sponsorship. So, the trick here is to ensure that the sponsorship deal is structured correctly and
there is a clear commercial benefit for your business. HMRC Penalties Penalties imposed by HMRC and other government departments are not tax deductible. So, avoid those penalties and get your accounts and tax returns done on time. Donations Donations made to political parties and nonregistered organisations outside of the Gift Aid regime cannot be claimed against tax. This is to stop businesses offsetting costs through privately owned ‘non-profit’ organisations. Staff Reward via Trust Your staff are well engaged within your business and you want to reward them. You decide to make payment into a Trust to demonstrate that the money has been earmarked for them and waiting to be paid when they hit their targets.
As the money has been paid out of your bank account to the Trust, can you claim it as a legitimate business or staff expenses? Unfortunately, not. Because of a specific tax avoidance rule, this legitimate expense cannot be claimed.
About the Author Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an awardwinning chartered tax adviser and accountant who has advises business owners on entrepreneurial tax reliefs. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys. www. thetaxguys.co.uk
How to get your product into restaurants
Have you developed a product that is perfect for the restaurant business? If you know it will fill a gap in the market you need to take the next steps to convince restaurant owners that your product is just the thing for their business. Where do you begin? Here are some pointers for fellow entrepreneurs based on our experience of building a successful company in this arena. Who do you approach? You should absolutely aim as high as possible when approaching restaurants – go for the big names and large chains. A good place to start is businesses you
feel have brand or culture alignment with your product. If you are a match, they will find it hard to ignore you. It can be harder to break into restaurant chains as they tend to work in different ways, with long term trusted suppliers, so don’t be surprised if you need to diversify, working with distributors to sell your products to larger restaurant brands. Aiming high doesn’t just mean going big – you should also target quality small independent establishments. These businesses can be very influential in the long run, enabling you to build a solid local reputation that will help you take your business nationwide.
Make the most of your existing network. We have been fortunate enough to generate inbound interest at Gozney; you either want a stone oven or you don’t. Use your existing network, and avoid blanket networking events, as these can be a waste of time if your product only targets a particular type of food establishment. A good name in the industry, through happy customers, is also essential as they do the talking for you. We have also reached out through social platforms to up and coming brands we feel are essential to work with. Look who you are already connected to – and if they are the right fit, reach out to them. Your mindset needs to be client focused. it’s important to relate to the people you are talking to as a human and a business owner yourself; offer them something they need (or didn’t know they wanted). When it comes to following up and trying to secure a meeting or product demonstrations, be efficient: check in, but don’t be overly persistent, as you don’t want to become a nuisance. When talking to restaurants, it’s important to keep the focus on them. Seek out what your customer needs and approach that first. Don’t over-promise or pretend to be something you are not: It’s important never to be too salesy, especially in early communications. You should start by listening and gaining a sense of what the restaurant owner is looking for, and show how your product can provide the solution, or fulfil objectives in ways they may not have thought of. We really believe our products do the talking, so we often share places where you can find our products in action/ We also invite people to meet the team and sample pizza from our ovens. Remember to think like a restaurant owner e.g. when are their busiest times of the day? In other words, when would they least appreciate a call or drop in! Show that you understand their day-to-day challenges and they will want to work with you. Demonstrate confidence with your branding. Confidence in your product goes a long way,
and that is conveyed through your brand identity. A strong brand conveys quality, vision and professionalism. Of course, you have to have the balance right – it doesn’t send a good message if your branding has all the bells and whistles but your product, or knowledge of your product capability, is found lacking. Take some time to ensure that your brand materials and marketing showcase your product, that they tell the story of how you got here and portray your business as aspirational and going places. Invest in business relationships for the longterm. Getting your product into restaurants goes a long way beyond just closing a deal. Once you have an agreement, you need to keep working to ensure the product is operating as it should be and continues to fulfil the restaurant owner’s evolving needs over time. It goes without saying, that you should look after the small independents as much as your larger clients. When smaller or newer restaurants become more established they can have as much of a platform to shout about your product (or more) than your larger chains. Everyone respects the care and attention that independents give to sourcing their products, so keeping them happy is vital. Again, the focus is on the individual, not simply the brand or size of the business – keep the conversation channels open, ensure the product is performing as promised, and be sure to invest in your customer service as you grow. As far as developing your strategy for selling to restaurants, the sooner the better. Whatever stage you are at in your commercial product development and entrepreneurial journey, you should always be thinking ahead. All your efforts researching, making contacts etc. will bear fruit and you will find long-term customerswho could become the core of your business.
About the Author: Laura Gozney is co-founder of Gozney, makers of commercial and residential stone fire pizza ovens.
How can to get your retail products onto supermarket shelves If you’ve developed a retail product and are taking the next steps, approaching and getting ready to deal with the big supermarket chains can be a daunting prospect. This is understandable as the majority of British shoppers regularly buy from them either online or instore, so it’s hugely important for brand awareness, sales etc. From my experience of launching four new snacks brands in the UK over the past few years and getting them into a number of major supermarkets, I’ve gained an understanding of the process. Hopefully, you can learn from my experience as a fellow entrepreneur, avoid my mistakes, and find success for your retail product. Let’s look at what’s needed to get your brands onto the shelves in the major supermarkets: 1. Knowing your market inside out Most founders have done some research into their market, trends and competitors, but to be successful in the world of supermarket sales, you need to step up your game. You need to understand your product category, inside out. You’ll need to know where your product will sit on the shelf, for example, who your competitors are in each supermarket chain and what they’re doing, whether the
category is in growth or decline, and whether there are any market trends to be aware of. Having this information front-of-mind going into a meeting with supermarket buyers will help convince them of the longevity of your product and brand, making them much more likely to engage with your business. 2. Learning about the buyers Buyers can be thought of on two levels: the business as a whole and buyers as individuals. Start by finding out when the supermarket’s buying window is for each of your key sales periods. You may be surprised by how early supermarkets plan their seasonal product ranges. Summer sales are often planned the previous autumn, for example. Next, turn your attention to the buyer as an individual. Try to get as much information about the buyer in advance: How long have they been in the role? Do they have any particular product expertise? What previous experience do they have? LinkedIn can be a good tool for this research and will help you develop a clear idea of who you’ll be selling to and what they’ll need/want to hear. 3. Knowing your commercials One of the most important things to have clear in your mind is your commercials. It will be difficult to negotiate a good deal without all the key financial and logistics information in your head. For example, you need to know your exact cost price, including delivery to the supermarket’s
warehouse - and remember, they may have more than one warehouse. You need to know the average margin the buyer would expect on the type of product you sell, and what impact this will have on the potential retail price. If you get this stuff wrong, even a little, you could hamper your growth forecasts with a cost that’s too low, or price yourself out of consideration with a cost that’s too high. Pricing needs to reflect your sales strategy while considering the various demands and requirements each supermarket will place on you. 4. Being realistic about when… Getting into supermarkets can be a process that takes months or even years. Make sure you build this into your forecasts and cash flow. Expecting everything to happen quickly could leave you caught short of money, sinking your business before it even gets going. 5. Planning ahead for promotions Promotions are a great way to gain new customers and boost sales. Supermarkets also tend to expect you to fund promotions several times a year and may charge fees for running the promotions or listing the products. If you can get ahead of these expectations by planning your own promotions throughout the year, you can factor these promotions into your financials and present them to supermarket buyers fully-formed. This will make your brand a more attractive proposition and ensure you generate the profit you need to meet your projections. 6. Having a strong listing rationale to present Buyers are approached on a daily basis by companies who wish to trade with them, and you need to stand out from the crowd, especially in saturated markets. As such, you need to be able to articulate clearly why the buyer should list your product over potentially hundreds of other products, and why consumers will pick your product over the competition.
Much of this will be based on your competitor and market research. If you can show clear USPs that capitalize on a growing trend and which no other brands are even considering, you’ll have a very strong listing argument. For example, my business, AP Brands, offers snacks without additives, most of which are also vegan. This capitalizes on the healthy, vegan trend as well as the growth in the snacks market, providing clear USPs and a strong listing argument. 7. Being patient and persistent A ‘no’ isn’t necessarily forever, so don’t give up. If a buyer isn’t interested in your products now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be six months down the line. Trends change, buying habits change, and buyers can change. Ask for feedback from buyers (both positive and negative), keep an eye on shifts in the market, and, when things change, contact the buyer again. As entrepreneurs we know that achieving success, particularly with the large supermarkets is going to take persistence and patient hard work. However, with good products it will be worth all the hard graft. I look forward to your success.
About the Author Thomas Lock is the founder and Managing Director of Awfully Posh (AP) Brands, a FMCG snacks company.
How can you establish trust in your business?
It’s widely acknowledged that trust is hugely important for businesses. This seems to hold for companies large and small, and across all sectors. What is less clear, and not well understood, are the basic differences between trust and distrust and how these can be gained or lost. The philosophy of trust, my area of expertise, can help business owners here. Philosophers aim to reflect back to us, with greater clarity, concepts we deal with every day. These include notions that involve different types of trust, the difference between trust and distrust, and the difference between trust and other related concepts, such as reliance and confidence.
There are at least two ways that we use the word ‘trust’. For example, I might say ‘I trust your company to deliver on time’. But I mean something rather different to when I say (about an IT server) ‘I trust it to store the data’. This difference between trust and mere reliance is normally taken to turn on some moral considerations. It would be quite wrong to suggest that a server has done something morally troubling if it fails to retain my data. It would be reasonable to suggest that a company has done something morally troubling (breaking my trust) in not delivering on time. So, although we may use the same word (‘trust’) in both contexts, there is a difference between cases of trust that invoke a moral notion, and cases of trust that don’t. A way to capture this difference is to treat
trusting a person or company to perform an action as the combination of the belief that they ought to perform that action and relying upon them to do so. Thus, reliance matters to trust, but trust goes further; it’s a matter of relying on another party to do something for moral reasons. We should also be clear that there is a difference between being trustworthy and being trusted to perform in some particular way. Even in the aftermath of the financial crisis when financial institutions were seen as fundamentally untrustworthy, they were still trusted to carry out mundane, everyday transactions, and maintained their place in everyday life. Whilst we may want to be trustworthy, it’s vital to be trusted. Any SME will have a number of different parties with whom they interact and want to build trust: clients, advisors and staff being the three main groups. Here are some practical tips on how to establish trust in your business:
1. According to research, one reason that employees will choose to work at an SME is to be trusted to complete work with less oversight than they might be permitted at a larger firm. Communicate clearly the scope and goals of a task and make it clear to staff that they are being trusted to fulfil their responsibilities. 2. Clearly communicating a set of governing moral values is important to building trust. A great example of this kind of thing is the
Bank Monzo, who here disclose not only their approach to writing, but also a commitment to transparency and responsibility. 3. Acting in accordance with those values is crucial to the formation of trust. Again, Monzo is a good example. In 2018 there was a security breach associated with Ticketmaster. Monzo responded, and in fact drew the breach to Ticketmaster’s attention. At all times, Monzo came across as striving for transparency and honesty. As a precaution, they replaced a large number of cards, and came out of the situation looking like a company which puts customer interest first. In contrast, Ticketmaster’s reputation was tarnished. 4. Trust is often domain-specific; a company trusted to perform one function need not be trusted to perform others. I might trust Kellogg’s to make my breakfast cereal, but I probably wouldn’t trust them to invest my money. Frame communications and strategies accordingly. Keep them targeted and focused on core business. 5. Because trust is primarily an interpersonal attitude it is optimally brought about through interpersonal interaction. If you wish a partner to trust you and your business, there is no substitute for face-time.
Jonathan Tallant is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, one of the UK’s leading universities for working with businesses and has an extensive SME engagement programme.
What Trends in the Alcoholic Drinks Market Mean for Spirit Makers
Itâ€™s clear from trends across the food and beverage industries that consumers are increasingly focused on quality. In the past 15 years, the overall quality and breadth of offerings of both restaurant and cocktail bars has improved dramatically. This shift has influenced, and continues to influence, some pretty transformative trends in the alcoholic drinks market, forcing spirits producers to improve the quality and breadth of their offerings. This has given rise to more and more premium and craft beverages.
We take a closer look at the major changes that have emerged over the past few years, and what it means for both new and established spirits producers in the near future. The new age of craft The incredible growth of craft beer looks set to stay for the foreseeable future. This new wave has occurred along side craft adoption in the spirits industry. Gin, in particular, has seen enormous growth, led by brands such as Hendricks, Gin Mare and Monkey 47. Typically, successful craft spirits have started out selling to a small number of high-end bars in cities, before expanding internationally into drinks venues of all kinds and launching into supermarkets.
According to LEK Consulting, the U.S. craft spirits market has grown by approximately 20% per year since 2012 and is forecast to grow by approximately 15%-20% per year through 2022. We are now seeing all types craft spirits on shelves everywhere, with wide ranging experimentation with different flavours, ingredients and botanicals to make the variety of offerings even broader. Consumers now want and expect to try something completely new every time they walk into a bar or restaurant. It has become a critical part of the appeal and experience of dining or drinking out. Distillers are evermore challenged to find ways to continue to diversify their offerings, including providing exclusive and limited small batch products, to keep things interesting. Cocktail culture The growth of cocktail culture has also propelled the popularity of craft spirits and higher quality product offerings. In sync with the improved trends in restaurants, bartenders have dramatically improved the cocktail experience. Both classics and amazing new creations are now appearing on menus at over 70% of bars and restaurants in the UK. CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report shows that the value of on-trade cocktail sales jumped by 7.5% year on year in the first quarter of 2018. There are a number of drivers behind this: the desire for differentiation, for the drink to share on social media and the trend towards luxury and indulgence, which we will discuss below. Category creations The Spirits Business in its 2019 spirit trends forecast predicts an increase in boundary breaking categories – including crossovers, cask experimentation, distillation techniques and botanicals. As consumers seek differentiation, traditional categories are becoming more and more saturated, particularly with the rise of small batch distillers. Going forward, innovation in the industry will start to come from products that define new
categories of their own. There have already been some interesting breakthroughs in the creation of new categories. One example is Kamm & Sons. Another is Italicus. Italicus is an Italian liqueur that has also seen rapid growth since it launched two years ago. As a brand-new luxury player in the market, Cadello is appealing to the rising demand for something new, unique and high quality. Produced by a 150 year-old, Italian familyowned distillery, Cadello is steeped in history and tradition – something that has made traditional categories such as cognac, whiskey and brandy so enduringly popular. Rise of premium and luxury Quality has taken over from quantity. People want to drink less alcohol but still get a buzz from the enjoyment of their drinks. This coupled with a cautious return to spending, means consumers are willing to spend a little more on a reasonable volume of higher quality alcoholic beverages. Premium and luxury spirits are going to be major growth areas in the spirits market, with millennials driving the trend. Millennials comprise 32% of spirit consumption by value, even though they comprise only 29% of the total drinking population. Between 2012 and 2017, the super-premium spirits and high-end premium spirits segments grew 6%-7% per year by volume. CGA also calculated that 43% of consumers select high quality drinks. This increases to 54% among 18 to 34 year olds. The result is that brands have switched their focus to higher and higher quality and differentiation, particularly in mature markets such as the UK and France. Changing relationships with alcohol We’ve already touched upon some of the trends affecting the consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants, but there are other changes affecting our relationship with alcoholic drinks. After many years of rising prices and stagnant wages, a lot of people are choosing to drink at home to enjoy the highest quality drinks, without the additional markup. We can also see with the increase in the availability of
home brew and botanical kits, consumers are doing more to discover what flavours they like and educate themselves on complimentary ingredients and mixers. In addition, we now live in a world in which we explore our identity through social media. We follow experts and have access to more information and we can more easily discover smaller brands that donâ€™t have the big-brand budgets for mainstream advertising. There seems to be a greater sense of confidence amongst spirit drinkers to experiment and try something new, rather than reaching for the familiar. Distillers and spirits producers are capitalising on this by increasingly inviting consumers to see the process of making their products. Experiences such as distillery tours and events focusing on ingredients, recipes and complementary foods are becoming more and more popular. As part of the overall trends in the market, consumers are more tempted to learn about what they consume and to share a
more rewarding experience with friends. In summary, discovery, identity and better quality are the key drivers affecting the spirits market. With a strong focus on these elements from the start, spirit makers and distillers are increasingly adapting their product offering to appeal to newly enlightened consumers who want a memorable drink experience worth sharing.
About the Author Matt Dunn is co-founder of Cadello, a new, category-defining spirit produced by a 150yearold family-owned distillery in Italy. A unique flavour combining eight ingredients, Cadello is perfect served neat or in cocktails.
Three good reasons why entrepreneurial success is mostly a question of good timing In 2012, I started a leisure business and realised I couldn’t afford any of the mobile Point of Sale (POS) systems on the market, so I asked my friend Paul Walton to build me one in the form of an iPad app. The system soon got noticed by other traders who wanted one for themselves and suddenly we had a new business on our hands, Intelligent Point of Sale (IPOS). We grew the business for 4 years before it was acquired by iZettle in 2016, which itself was acquired by PayPal in 2018 for $2.2 billion dollars. Having successfully exited IPOS, Paul and I are now launching a new business, Boundary, targeting disruption in the home security market. Yet, when I look back on my entrepreneurial journey to date and the road ahead with our latest business, I realise that what we commonly think of as entrepreneurial ‘success’ is often a question of good timing. Here’s why…
Knowing when to go for it Sometimes an entrepreneur picks a business idea and sometimes a business idea picks an entrepreneur. My idea was to run a paintball business, not a Software-as-a-Service platform, but the opportunity with IPOS soon overtook things. We researched the marketplace and realised that there wasn’t much competition out there for our product. We started work on it at the end of 2012 and by July 2013 we had launched our product and taken our first paying customers. We built a website and did some basic SEO to get it ranking. We posted on some forums pointing back to our website and built up a list of about 100 contacts. Some of those became our beta testers and some were onboard as customers for our launch date. We saw our opportunity and moved on it as quickly as we could. Likewise, with our new business, the plan was to take more time off, but an idea came to me while I was on holiday that I couldn’t shake. I had a disappointing customer experience after having a new security system installed at my home, then I saw some new ways to market security systems while in the States and that set me thinking. I told Paul about the idea and he was keen to do something with it. I wasn’t sure initially about launching a new business again so soon, but knew we had a window of opportunity to disrupt the market that would only stay open
so long. I then got excited about the prospect of building our own electronics product for the consumer market and solving the problems that I had experienced myself, so we went for it. Knowing when to delegate I consider myself to be a natural delegator. I find it easy to recognise where my time and talent is best spent for the benefit of a business, but I know that my business partner Paul found that difficult at the times. For a long time, you understand, Paul was the only software engineer in the business and he had built the platform from the ground up – it was his baby. Learning to entrust things to other software developers with particular specialisms took a while but he soon learned to love building a team of talent around him and having others there to help him achieve more than he thought possible. That said, I’ve found that people are the biggest challenge in any business and it’s very difficult to be right all the time. I’ve made some brilliant hires at times of people who, on the face of it, weren’t fully qualified for a position but had a real hunger to succeed. I’ve made some other hires that looked great on paper but just didn’t work out. That’s why hiring by committee can be a mistake. After a while, though, you learn to trust your instincts. Knowing when to seek investment With IPOS, we bootstrapped the business initially. My girlfriend (now my wife) took over the running the paintballing business, which provided us with an income. We took a small business loan from The Prince’s Trust, but we kept our costs low, knowing that the margins on a SaaS business are high. I covered sales and tech support and Paul worked on development - it worked well. We soon took on a small office in a business centre and, as soon as we were making enough money, we would hire a new member of staff wherever we needed the support most. We had around 16 members of staff and 500 customers before we thought the time was right to consider any external investment - an angle investment round of £500,000 in 2015.
The first big challenge was working out what we would do with the money. It ultimately allowed us to build a management team that gave us a platform to scale and provided more budget for online marketing, driving more customers into our pipeline. Professionalisation of all our functions and systems naturally followed as we scaled up. One year later, came the offer of acquisition from iZettle, which we hadn’t courted but were very happy to receive. This time around with Boundary, things have been different. We’ve sought investment much earlier in the lifecycle of the business because we’re trying to build a business 5 to 10 times the size of our previous one and scale very quickly. Paul and I have already put in £1million between us and that has got us 75% of the way to launch, plus we’ve got our first hardware orders, but we need another £2M just to launch this business. In general, my advice is that you always want to bootstrap things for as long as you can to minimise your dilution. The more you can prove to investors, the higher your valuation as a company will be. Build your Minimum Viable Product, take it to market, secure some sales, and only then think about seeking investment. Author: Robin Knox, Founder and CEO, Boundary
The Digital Innovators - UK Tech Leader Profile: James Tucker The UK is a thriving haven of tech entrepreneurship, with tomorrow’s global leaders being forged today in the crucible of the digital revolution. However, unlike the tech rockstars the other side of the Atlantic, Britain doesn’t spend much time celebrating the people most likely to become the next Dorsey, Page or Zuckerberg. At E&I we can’t let that slide, and in this occasional series we’ll be meeting the UK’s most notable and innovative tech talent, and discovering what you need to know about shaping your own digital future. Name & company: James Tucker, CEO, Twenty7Tec. Bournemouth, Dorset. What is Twenty7Tec? We’re a market leading provider of cloud based systems to the mortgage market - our tech is used by over 10,000 mortgage brokers and over 100 lenders. How did Twenty7Tec come to be? We set the business up in 2014 with backing from a local venture capital firm after identifying that the mortgage market in the UK was way behind the curve in its adoption
of new technology. We saw an opportunity to build a business that leveraged modern, cloud based systems to drive efficiencies in process for brokers and lenders, and we’ve done just that. Why did you base your tech company in Bournemouth? There is obviously a perception that financial services is very London-centric, but some of the South Coast’s biggest employers are businesses like JP Morgan, Nationwide, Vitality and Barclays - and that means there is a huge amount of exceptionally knowledgeable people here. When you couple this with a local university, that produces some great tech talent, and makes the South Coast an excellent place to have our base. Many other tech companies are also on the South Coast of England. What makes this such a great location for tech? In addition to the sheer quantity and quality of talent in the area, it’s all about the quality of life we can offer. I love the buzz of London, and spend plenty of time there, but you can’t beat finishing work after a hard day and heading down to Bournemouth beach for some fresh air. What other tech entrepreneurs do you admire, and why? I think James Benamor, founder of Amigo Loans (which is also based in Bournemouth), leads the way down here. Despite the fall in their share price this year, he’s built a phenomenally
successful business after identifying an underserved niche in the personal loans market. Do you find being based in Bournemouth a difficulty for any reasons? The only challenge is the 2 hour train ride into London, and the totally inconsistent and unreliable train network! Is it a challenge to get the best tech talent to further their career outside of London? Absolutely not. A lot of our team have worked in London, but have chosen to settle and raise a family here as the quality of life is so much better – so we get exceptionally talented people who are happy both in their job and in their personal lives. What’s your morning routine? I would love to say I’m up early and down the gym, but in reality I’m often trying to drink as much coffee as possible in between doing the school run and answering the emails that came in overnight from our team in Canada. What do you do for down time? Golf, just not very successfully. How do you manage work/life balance? I try to be super organised and make sure that I dedicate time every week for my children, my friends, and to relax. When I’m at work I’m going 100mph, but when I’m at home I do my best to put work to one side. What’s the one bit of tech you can’t live without? My coffee machine. I’m not much of a morning person, and without that I’d be thoroughly unpleasant to work with. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? If you tell a customer you are going to do something, do it. No excuses, always deliver on your promises.
If you were to start a new tech business today, which area would you be looking at? The continued complete lack of education in our schools on management of personal finances is shocking - I’d love to find a way to assist in how we can help new generations learn about mortgages, pensions, savings and even what bills need paying and why! If you were to give one piece of advice on how grow a tech company, what would it be? Have a really clear model for how you make your tech platform/business generate revenue - user numbers do not always equal profit, and they certainly don’t always equal cash. What’s next for Twenty7Tec? We’re doing a huge amount of work at the moment on how we can simplify the mortgage application process, which remains hugely and needlessly - complex. We are very close to delivering some game changing solutions in that space. Discover more at twenty7tec.com.
Tips for Entrepreneurs on Delivering and Receiving Empowering Feedback For entrepreneurs who are starting a new business, thinking about the culture they wish to develop is crucial. How we deliver and receive feedback plays a significant role in defining the culture. You will know from experience that we all receive feedback on a regular basis. We are largely a product of how we have reacted to feedback throughout our lives. How we speak, dress, work, drive - these have all been informed by feedback from family, friends, teachers and colleagues. Considering how much this contributes to who we are and who we are becoming, it is surprising how little attention is paid to how effectively we deliver, receive and act on feedback. Sincerely delivered, specific and supportive feedback helps identify previously unexplored areas for development, introduces new ideas and empowers people to pursue challenging goals. Feedback that is insincere, badly put together, or overly critical can demotivate individuals and damage relationships. This is why it is so important to consider feedback in the early stages of a start-up. In my training on feedback delivery and implementation, I use an acronym called FAST. Effective feedback must comprise the following four elements: • • • •
From the heart Actionable Specific Timely
I refer to these as the ‘four cornerstones of effective feedback’ because if just one is missing, the feedback falls down and loses all impact. Let’s look at each aspect in turn so that you can use this approach in your start-up and develop an empowering culture in a strong and resilient business: 1. From the Heart People won’t listen to feedback and suggestions for change unless they believe the person delivering it cares about them. Empathy is at the root of all meaningful human communication; as soon as we show a genuine interest in the welfare of another person and are motivated by a desire to see them succeed, we open the door to another person’s life. If you are delivering feedback, you must be courageous enough to ask yourself, “Do I really care about this individual’s progression, welfare, hopes and aspirations? Without an honest ‘Yes’, it is the wrong time – or you are the wrong person – to deliver feedback. If you’re receiving feedback, remember the deliverer is also a person with imperfections. Be gracious. Don’t be confrontational. Take something that you can act on and politely discard anything that’s unhelpful. 2. Actionable As an entrepreneur, you’ll understand the need to inspire action. I recommend feedback with three distinct parts. First, offer praise on something they are doing well. Secondly, suggest an area of focus, something they need to do to move the work forward.
The third part of the feedback is the challenge. This is the invitation to act, to implement, to practise. A challenge might be: “When you’re demonstrating our product to a potential client, make it clear that you have listened to them. You can do this by showing them the aspects that are most important to them first. Remember to finish by returning to the one thing that sparked their interest most during your demonstration. This will make ending of your demonstration memorable.” That will drive forward the progress of their skill building and hold them accountable for implementing the feedback given. Rather than the classic feedback sandwich (praise, suggested improvements, more praise) the three stage ‘praise, recommendation and challenge’ is more powerful. Embed this approach in your start-up from the beginning. After all, in a start-up, everyone must be ready to take on challenges! 3. Specific Feedback that lacks specificity also lacks power. For example, imagine an entrepreneur telling a team member “As you’ve said you’d like to improve your sales skills, I recommend you go to a class.” This is actionable, but not specific. If that same person said, “Take the sales skills class at our local college. It runs from 6-9pm on Wednesdays for 10 weeks and you can sign up this week,” then that changes everything. Specificity is the key to progress because it empowers the other person to act. 4. Timely The more time that elapses between the event and feedback, the less impact it will have. Timeliness is key. If a detailed evaluation is not feasible immediately after the event has taken place, then a small verbal affirmation will help provide the necessary assurance and boost confidence. If feedback is late or rushed, it is likely to lack sufficient detail or sensitivity to have any real impact. At worst, the lack of care shown can be damaging to the other person.
If you are delivering feedback, be prompt. If you are receiving it, turn up on time and be prepared to chase up someone when feedback is not being received promptly. Successful entrepreneurs will guide and support team members. Ask them questions and then deliver your feedback from the heart. If you are a colleague receiving feedback from someone with more experience, be respectful of this and seek to learn from them. Always give feedback from the heart and ensure it is actionable, specific and timely. This F.A.S.T. feedback will be a key factor in the quality of relationships, productivity and the culture you and your team enjoy in your successful start-up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Simon Day is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. There are more than 400 clubs and 10,000 members in the UK and Ireland. Members follow a structured educational programme to gain skills and confidence in public and impromptu speaking, chairing meetings and time management. To find your nearest club, visit www.toastmasters.org
The Business Doctor Case Notes
Checking vital signs on your sales pipeline? Staff morale in need of urgent medication? P&L in need of A&E? Fear not, as Entrepreneur & Investor Magazine has our Business Doctor (and highly successful enterprise guru) Matt Haycox on hand to answer all your queries.
Hi Matt! I set up my online retail business five years ago. The first year was really tough, but since then we’ve had steady growth year on year and are creating a bit of a name for ourselves. However we really seem to have reached a point now where it’s a real plateau (revenues are virtually the same for this year and last) and I wonder if we may have hit our ceiling. What advice do you have on working out a growth and development strategy from this point? Thank you! Amanda, Hertfordshire
The Prognosis: Thanks for your question, Amanda. Online retail is in a very difficult phase right now, so you’re not alone here.
I hear this question a lot from my investments in online retail, and the reason you’re finding this is pretty simple to overcome (although not easy, I would clarify!). Ultimately, the tactics and strategies that you have used to start your business absolutely aren’t the same as what you need to scale it, so you need to change your outlook and your outcomes will follow.
Starting a business requires huge amounts of personal sacrifice, and learning on the job, meaning you have to get good enough at a lot of different things - it’s quite an insular and self-reliant process, that can often be addictive and hard to let go of.
• Figure out where you can bring in extra resource to take over the processes you are currently assigned.
You’ve done this, and reached a certain level, which is already a great achievement. Every person who didn’t make the step and start up never managed this!
• Use this allocated time, and your unique goals for the business, to write a short Growth Plan, listing all your activity.
However, scaling it requires growth, and in order to grow you must transfer almost all your internal thinking and make it external. Basically, you can’t do it all now - you need others to help you grow, and that’s going to mean relinquishing some control! You need to invest a significant amount of your time into building your growth team, and putting the right people in the right places. They don’t need to be all full time employed you can outsource to contractors or freelancers - but they do need to know their job inside out. This isn’t the time for people who are figuring out their craft - they need to do what they’ve done successfully before, and make your business a massive scaled-up success. You can then place the majority of your focus on growing the business, knowing other people are in place to run your existing customers. In your world of online retail, that could be things like making sure that wheels are moving, orders being taken, dispatched, customer service is happening etc. You should only need to check in on this to make sure it’s working smoothly, living you to spend most of your time on growth, scale, and partnerships..
• Make a list of all the processes in your business, and colour code them as jobs you do and jobs your team does. • Review them, and cut all unnecessary processes.
• Based on how well you have extricated yourself from the day to day business, create a number of hours you can deliver for growth.
• If it’s more than one page of A4 it’s too long, so cut, cut, cut until you have your simple and actionable pathway to success!
Taking Stock: Why Cash is King
Adam Simpson, Commercial Director at Liquidity Club says that CEOs need to understand the processes in their businesses that will unlock working capital.
In any growing business cash is king. However, political uncertainty over the last three years has seen UK companies make money at a slower rate, while spending increasing amounts of working capital on the process of stockpiling. This is proving a dilemma for those CEOs who want to take their company to the next level. As we approach a crucial juncture for the UK economy, it is imperative that business owners focus on their working capital requirements. Cashflow under pressure The latest Working Capital Index report by Lloyds Bank shows that a third of firms surveyed by IHS Markit said managing working capital, in the context of political and business uncertainty was “the biggest concern for the year ahead”. Drilling down into these figures further shows that 29% of manufacturers surveyed said they were holding more stock - presumably because of any disruption caused by Brexit. Stockpiling puts company’s cashflow under significant stress and is funding that could be spent on expanding the business. It also affects changes to a business’s operating model. One firm mentioned in the Lloyds report said that it has established a new warehouse so that it could better manage its supply chain in Europe. Short term gain - long term pain? In May, the CBI Industrial Trends Survey showed that 35% of firms surveyed said their present stocks of finished goods were more than adequate, whilst 9% said they were less than adequate, giving a balance of 25% – the highest balance since March 2009 and noticeably above the long-run average (+13%). However, there remains a dichotomy here as many firms surveyed by Lloyds expected stock to run down next year, meaning they are impacting their cashflow now for relatively short-term gains. Stockpiling is expensive for businesses, but it did boost GDP growth in late 2018 and in the first six months of this year. However, many fear that it will have an impact on growth and
GDP figures in the rest of the year. With this in mind it would not be surprise to see the UK economy experience slower growth than normal while companies use up the extra stock they now have.
Slowdown in turnover generation The Lloyds Bank Capital Working Index shows that the near-9,000 companies that surveyed saw their combined working capital increase by almost 41% over the last four years - equivalent to £41.1bn. However, over the same period, revenue at the firms grew by only 20%, meaning that they are holding onto more working capital than is relative to their turnover. Meanwhile, over the last three years, the report found that the average cash conversion cycle, a measure of working capital efficiency, for larger firms has increased by just over six days in the last three and at smaller firms by nearly two days. These figures show that firms are now holding higher levels of working capital and that generating turnover is taking longer. Worryingly, SMEs are taking seven days longer to tie up cash than their larger counterparts. However, this is down from a record high of almost 12 days. The stockpiling of goods isn’t an issue that is going away in the short-term, it seems. The Working Capital Index points out that high inventory levels have hit historic highs over the last quarter. Going back further, and Lloyds’ analysis shows that over the last three years (or since the vote to leave the EU), total inventory for the firms surveyed leapt by almost £35bn, or 29.2%. In 2016 the annual rate of growth was 12.6% but this has slowed to 5.6% in 2018. This has meant that stockpiling has been at the forefront of the mind for business owners. While many expected the political uncertainty surrounded Brexit to be over by now and these stocks to have run down, a Catch 22 situation has arisen with continued uncertainty meaning that the
extra inventory is carrying a cost both in terms of working capital that needs financing, logistics and storage charges.
understanding of the processes in your business that will unleash the cashflow you need to make your business grow?
Review every option It now seems certain that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, but that remains the only certainty, with the outcome of the decision yet to be felt. Preparation, then, is crucial. With cashflow and management of working capital critical over the coming months, now is the time to review your financing options and plan ahead for all eventualities post-October 2019. Ask yourself this: do you have a full
If the answer is no, then now is the time to take action to remedy this shortfall, as cashflow is critical when enacting change for your business.
Successful Entrepreneurs And Investors Are Nonconformists Who Swim Against The Current The investor Jim Rogers studied history and philosophy at Yale and Oxford before he took a job on Wall Street in 1968. During what proved to be hard times for the U.S. stock market, he succeeded in laying the foundations for his wealth and success. Rogers met George Soros at the Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder investment bank. Together, they founded the Quantum Fund. They tore up the investment banking rulebook, buying stocks, commodities, currencies and bonds from all over the world. They were also among the first to adopt innovative strategies such as short selling. They made investments nobody else would have dreamt of at the time and discovered new and interesting markets worldwide. “He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Longest” Defying received wisdom, Rogers frequently bought shares in companies that were in dire straits. In the mid-seventies, for example, he bought vast amounts of shares in the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed. Rogers once told the story of a typical encounter at a fancy dinner with bankers and investors. One of the other guests had got wind of the fact that Rogers had been buying Lockheed shares. At that time, Lockheed was embroiled in a number of scandals that made negative headlines on an almost daily basis and had already seen its share prices plummet.
“Who would invest in a company like that?” wondered the guest aloud—loudly enough to ensure that everybody at the dinner could hear him. The other guests joined in the laughter. Rogers felt humiliated—after all, he was the butt of their joke.¬¬ But, as the old adage would have it: “He who laughs last, laughs longest.” Rogers had done his homework and his positive analysis of the company’s prospects was to prove completely on the mark. Subsequently, the share price shot up and his fund made a huge profit. During a period when the S&P 500 Index only rose by 47%, the Quantum Fund managed by Rogers and Soros gained a staggering 4,200%. “When other people are laughing at you,” Rogers explained, “you know you’re going in the right direction. The more people are laughing at you, the more likely you’ll turn out to be right.” Entrepreneurs Are Rule Breakers In their research, Zhen Zhang and Richard D. Arvey investigate whether the entrepreneurs’ characteristic nonconformism was also evident when they were children and adolescents. Zhang and Avery describe entrepreneurs as being, by definition, rule breakers. During childhood and adolescence, the researchers conclude, such rule breaking is predominantly negative: They examined the early lives of 60 entrepreneurs and 105 managers and compared these with the average for the population as a whole. Moderate rulebreaking—which includes behavior such as group fighting, the deliberate vandalism of school property, being suspended from school, and so on—occurred more frequently among those young people who would go on to
become entrepreneurs than it did among the rest of the population. The same was true in comparison to the group of young people who would later serve as employed managers. More serious examples of juvenile delinquency, such as criminal offenses, were seldom reported for entrepreneurs—most likely because severe rule breaking would have a serious negative impact on an individual’s career, including serious and far-reaching consequences in their later professional life. Zhang and Arvey also found that negative forms of rule breaking during puberty could have positive effects in adulthood. In addition, they found that those who came into conflict with school officials or the legal system as juveniles generally possessed higher levels of risk propensity. Such individuals were less likely to expect that their negative behavior would lead to negative consequences. “We argue that one of the underlying processes linking risk propensity and entrepreneurship is that people with high risk propensity are more likely to exhibit behavioral patterns of challenging the status quo and breaking established rules/mental frames in social contexts. This behavioral pattern, in turn, can result in a higher probability of successfully grasping business opportunities and starting new ventures.” Swimming Against The Current My book The Wealth Elite http://the-wealthelite.com/ was based on in-depth interviews with 45 ultra-high-net-worth individuals. In addition, each of the interviewees completed a “Big Five” personality test. Few of the Big Five test’s 50 questions elicited such a unanimous response as the statement “I would describe myself as someone who prefers to forge my own path”: 41 of the 43 interview partners who responded to this statement expressed agreement and only two were undecided. None disagreed. The entrepreneurial type described by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter defined the entrepreneur as someone who opposes majority opinion, or at least acts independently of what the majority thinks. A clear majority
of the German study’s interviewees can be categorized in these terms—especially the investors. Many attributed their financial success largely to their ability to swim against the prevailing current. Having the courage to stand against majority opinion is probably a prerequisite for making successful investments, as this is what makes it possible to buy cheap and sell high. Of course, this is no definite guarantee of success, as there is always a danger that an investor will get their “timing” wrong—especially when such investments are highly leveraged. The contrarian investor is also dependent on other market players, at some point, following his judgment. After all, it is only once this happens that prices will rise and he can realize his profits. But he does not have any problem with selling when the markets are euphoric, because he tends to feel uneasy when his opinion is shared by the majority. He regards majority opinion as a contra-indicator—a view he maintains through both phases of widespread market panic as well as through euphoric upswings. During the interviews, two distinct types of entrepreneurs and investors emerged. The first group was delighted to stand in opposition to majority opinion and to swim against the current. They were actually uncomfortable when they had the impression that their view of a situation was aligned with the “mainstream,” as they disparagingly termed it. The other group acted more independently of the majority, which was actually irrelevant to them. This means that they formed their own opinions independent of the majority view. They were neither particularly bothered nor excited by the fact that they disagreed with the majority. It is therefore only logical to conclude that the ability to make decisions with complete disregard of majority opinion—and even to take joy from swimming against the current— is a prerequisite for the success of many entrepreneurs and investors.
About the Author Rainer Zitelmann holds doctorates in History and Sociology. He is the author of 21 books, which have enjoyed particular success in Asia. His recently published The Wealth Elite (http:// the-wealth-elite.com/) is a study of behavior patterns resulting in the economic success of
Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals. It is the first book that aims to fill academic research gaps on wealth creation, applying rigorous academic research methodology to behavioral patterns that result in economic success.
Succeeding in highly regulated industries Regulation is a fact of life in many industries. It’s often complex, farreaching and, inevitably, subject to change. You’ll find that a range of factors will determine whether new market entrants will have advantages and disadvantages against bigger, more established players. Yet, regulation is something of a level playing field – everyone must comply. The competitive advantage lies in how you go about doing so.
Disruption in heavily regulated industries When it comes to innovation, people often think in terms of technology, but innovation can take other forms. It is found in new ways of working and new ways of giving customers what they want. These innovations can transform industries and, for market entrants, can yield impressive returns on investment. Big opportunities can exist for challenger companies in regulated markets. Market disruptors with new business models can deliver products and services efficiently and cost-effectively at scale while complying with all regulations and this can disrupt traditional models at work in the industry. These companies are nimble and have the advantage of starting at the beginning with all that technology has to offer. What’s more, entrepreneurial leaders are perfectly placed to capitalize on opportunities to change the game, because they are used to handling risk. They
are driven to innovate and in doing so, they can cause a shift in their industry and take it in another direction. It’s happened many times: in financial services, we’ve seen the rise of challenger and digitalonly banks, while companies like Uber and Airbnb have demonstrated that business model innovations can change the landscape of the highly competitive sectors in which they operate. A framework for regulatory compliance Market disruptors’ tolerance of risk may stand them in good stead to create and capitalize on opportunities in regulated markets, but it’s an outlook that must be backed up by a deep understanding of both quantitative and qualitative risk. It’s the considered and measured approach that will win out - not the cavalier one. To create a viable value proposition, innovation must be supported by robust and efficient business processes. Leaders of challenger companies are likely to already have considerable expertise and knowledge, amassed from many years spent working in the industry. This gives them the necessary grounding in the regulatory landscape and an understanding of handling compliance. They will also, no doubt, keep their knowledge current by attending industry summits and conferences where compliance officers and business leaders mingle with regulators and policymakers to learn from each other, share best practice, and debate industry trends. However, these things alone are insufficient to establish a framework for ongoing regulatory
compliance within their businesses. For that, the right kind of system is required. Here, technology can provide a common framework and an integrated approach to managing multiple aspects of risk, compliance, and audit. Digital tools support visibility and collaboration across the business while providing insight into changing conditions within the market. In highly regulated industries, transparency of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) practices is essential and this is hard to achieve if applications and processes are manual and siloed. This is especially the case where regulation is complex and constantly changing. Keeping track of updates manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Instead, automatic feeds can be set up to pull regulatory updates from multiple external sources. This frees up executives from collecting and organizing regulatory data. Instead, they can focus on analysis and deriving business insight. In this way, regulatory change management becomes elevated from a purely reactive undertaking to protect and preserve the business, to a pre-emptive activity in which risk intelligence helps the business perform Meanwhile, business leaders who created the
right conditions for this culture of effective risk management and compliance to evolve, are able to concentrate on the core task of managing and growing their business. Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit don’t end with the ‘big idea’ that gets the business off the ground. By integrating effective regulatory change management into the fabric of the organization and establishing a system that enables this day-to-day, entrepreneurial enterprises can help protect themselves against non-compliance and equip the business to perform well.
About the Author Gunjan Sinha is a quintessential entrepreneur and executive chairman of MetricStream– a leading global governance, risk, and compliance software company, headquartered in California, which he founded almost two decades ago.
How entrepreneurs can keep their data securely backed-up As an entrepreneur you want to keep all the data produced in your business or startup safe. This means having a backup solution in place and reviewing this as your business grows. In the digital age you would think that all business owners would prioritise backing-up data however, this does not appear to be the case. Recent research by Beaming suggests that over 4 million of the UK’s 5.5 million businesses risk losing critical data through poor backup provision. With data suggesting that 70% of small businesses, which experience a major data loss, go out of business within 12 months . If your startup is one of the many businesses using Microsoft Office 365 be aware that this is not backed up in any way. Whilst Autorecover will help you restore a document you were working on, it cannot restore something that was deleted, whether deliberately or accidentally, from your account. These facts highlight how important it is for entrepreneurs to set up the right backup solution for their businesses.
Let’s look at the options available to you, working our way up from simple to complex. 1. External hard drives Normally used by entrepreneurs working on their own to provide a backup solution. This is a really basic solution and something we never recommend as a complete solution. • Hard drives are a physical device and can fail, leaving you with no way of recovering the data • As hard drives get smaller and smaller, they are easy to lose • They aren’t always connected to your devices, so you have to remember to manually backup each time • They are often kept in the same location as the device they are backing up. If that device is stolen, lost, burnt or broken, so is the hard drive. A hard drive does mean you can instantly restore, but the downsides to this option make it a bad idea. With solution providers such as VEEAM providing startups and small businesses with backup solutions for as little as £25 per month, it makes sense to use more than just a hard drive. 2. On-premise Solutions As businesses grow and develop an on-premise server network, the obvious solution is to have an on-premise back-up solution, usually based around network attached storage (NAS) devices. Solutions such as Microsoft System Center will provide everything you need to build an on-premise solution. There are, of course, pros and cons to this as well…
Recovery times can be quicker than using a cloud solution when a document is identified as missing or corrupted, but it depends on when the last back up was taken. We recommend that multiple retentions take place each day to maximise the opportunity to restore the right information. A number of on-premise solutions provide entrepreneurs with the option, in the event of a major failure, to build a cloud-based server, with your data, but you have to budget accordingly if you want this level of failover capability. Having your backup, either the actual data or the ability to restore, in the same location as the original versions is rarely a good option. What happens if: • There is a fire in your office? • There is an incident that means you are unable to get into your office to work? • There is a burglary? If you are still taking hard drives (or even tapes) off-site each day to mitigate this risk, they can still be lost or stolen. Don’t forget that taking these off-site is highly likely to breach your GDPR commitments. 3. Cloud-based backup Backing up your data to a cloud provider delivers far more benefits than issues. Although you are highly likely to be paying on a per Gb basis for this solution and that may add up to a higher cost than an on-premise solution, the benefits, and convenience, outweigh the cost for startups and as well as for more established businesses. It means: • Never having to worry about upgrading/ replacing storage hardware • Being able to keep multiple copies of your data for prolonged periods of time • Knowing the data is being replicated to further protect your business • Having the ability to restore that data to wherever you need it to be
• Knowing the security around it is far higher than your budgets would normally allow • Never having to remember to back up. All the major players provide a cloud solution, from Microsoft Azure to Veeam , so there is plenty to for entrepreneurs to choose from. Whatever solution you choose, there is one thing you need to do on a regular basis to ensure your business really is protected: check your backups. An absolute worst-case scenario would be you get to a situation where you need to restore data, only to find that it isn’t there. Most cloud providers provide you with regular reports on the success, or otherwise, of your backup and may give you reports on a more granular level, showing what machines are missing and how much data. 4. Your internet connection Getting your data into the cloud regularly throughout the day will use a fair amount of your available bandwidth. If you are still relying on ADSL connections, your backup is going to take a very long time. Even the incremental backups (taken after a main data upload) will take time. For this reason, we recommend you invest in, at least, a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) solution. The faster data speeds, both up and down, will mean your backups can occur when you need them and they won’t slow down other uses of that connection in the meantime. If FTTC isn’t available in your area (although >90% of UK premises are now covered), you may have to look at fewer data sets. One backup a day, scheduled overnight is an option, but not recommended. As an entrepreneur the last thing you want is for your startup or growth business to find it has lost all its valuable data. Pick the best option for where your business is right now and keep reviewing as you grow.
About the Author Mike Ianiri is from Redsquid, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of business Voice, Data, ICT, Cyber Security and IoT Solutions.
What to do if a crisis hits Warren Beatty said that it takes five minutes to ruin a hard-earned reputation and that has never been truer of today. The internet, social media and the 24-hour news cycle has made being in the public eye a less forgiving place. It is now much more likely that a personal misdemeanour will be commentated on or shared across social media. We all think it won’t happen to us, but a personal reputation crisis can happen for any number of reasons and at any time. If you’re a high-net worth individual or your business worth is tied to your reputation, then it is always best to have a plan in place, but often, it is not something that is thought about, until it’s too late. If a personal crisis hits there are steps that can be taken to minimise the impact that it would have on long-term reputation. Roz Sheldon, Managing Partner and Head of Client Services at Igniyte, a reputation management company offers her top tips on how to manage if a personal crisis hits.
Your hard-earned reputation matters to you and at some point, we all deal with a stressful life event or personal crisis that can impact our ability to focus on work. But what happens if it’s something that makes its way into the public arena. A personal crisis can be any number of things, a violation of company policy, perhaps there has been an accusation of defamation or libel, or you’ve been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could stem from disgruntled former employees, investors or reporters who have taken to the internet to express their feelings and post negative comments. When a personal crisis hits it can be unfair and devastating. Stories have the potential to go viral given the right time and place, or if a related story is currently in the news. A personal crisis can impact what your investors, employees, friends and family think about you. It’s important to plan for a crisis and put steps in place to minimise the impact on your professional life. If you’re affected personally it is easy to make a snap decision and take action without fully assessing the situation.
You need a short-term plan to deal with the immediate problem: which may include doing nothing and a long-term strategy to start rebuilding your reputation. So, how do you go about dealing with a personal crisis:
• Accept the situation and acknowledge the problem. By being truthful and transparent in all communications it shows respect and dignity. Separate the emotions (even though it will be hard) – separate feelings from facts. • Assess the damage. How visible is any negative comment or content and who has seen it? Conduct a thorough reputation audit and assess the digital impact. The first page of Google is the most important as it counts for 95% of your website traffic and 90% of people admit to only looking at the first page before they form an impression. Set up alerts for key search terms so you’re notified as soon as anything appears. Check social media and other platforms, such as reviews, forums etc. Think about the impact this has had on your business and reputation. This evaluation will give you a base line to start from. • Be proactive in developing a crisis management strategy. Step back from the situation and think about the different aspects that are damaging your reputation. Think about each one in turn and devise a strategy to minimise that damage and protect your personal and business brand. • Plan your media strategy. Not every situation needs a proactive media statement, but you should have a strategy in place for possible crisis scenarios. This should also detail who is best placed to deliver any statement or further information consistently and via which channel. In some cases, it might be best to withdraw completely from online activity and not respond to media enquiries in the first instance. Any strategy needs to be communicated internally to minimise risk and incorrect or confused communication. • Act fast! Take control of the narrative as fast as possible, and before anyone else can. Own the problem and show how your taking active steps to resolve the matter. Always be truthful, but don’t respond with emotions. Just facts. Google makes things stick around for a long time.
• Set realistic goals and expectations. Understand the reality of what you can achieve by yourself. Your personal brand might need a relook, or a complete rebuild. Think about what you can do and whether you need outside help. Reputation management companies can offer guidance and expertise. They are also neutral when assessing any potential damage which can be reassuring. They will be able to remain impartial and offer the best way to look at the bigger picture. A personal reputation crisis can leave you feeling powerless and the shame can be devastating but a smart reputation management strategy will give you the long-term building blocks to counter any issue. By addressing it directly, the damage can be minimised. Ensure any moves made are honest as they could have the potential to reverse any negative press. Think about the future, and how building a good solid reputation management is cornerstone to countering any negative publicity in the future.
About the author Roz Sheldon is Managing Partner and Head of Client Services at Igniyte, a reputation management company
Practical ways for your new brand to punch above its weight How can you take your currently new, unknown food or drink brand, make an impact and perhaps succeed in breaking into the mainstream? When you don’t have a large corporate budget and other resources it may seems daunting. However, from experience I know that it’s possible to overcome the hurdles that you’ll face. Lets look at practical ways that small food and drinks brands can punch above their weight.
Have bold, strong pitch When you’re leading a startup or another small company, it’s understandable to think that big layers won’t be interested in what you have to offer. For example, you might assume that supermarkets won’t care to stock your new brand. However, you might be surprised to find several who are. The only way to find out is to engage them with a strong pitch and an open mind. So don’t be scared to throw a line for the bigger fish. Last year, I wrote to Jason Gissing, one of the founders of Ocado, to introduce Gusto. I’ll admit that I was a little surprised when he replied and agreed to meet up so I could show him the Gusto range. It turned out that he loved our brand and ethos, which led to him plugging Gusto to senior Ocado contacts who have been hugely supportive.
As a small brand vying for attention amongst the massive portfolio of products at a big supermarket, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Finding influential advocates really helps, so networking is pretty key to this. LinkedIn is a goldmine for key industry contacts, as are inperson networking events. So if you find one open-minded person who’s influential in their organisation, it could help you get your foot in the door. Work with the retail seasons The popularity of many food and drink products tends to fluctuate with the seasons. So, like any good farmer, learning when to sow and when to harvest is essential. When we launched three drinks last April in preparation for summer, we learned the hard way that the summer buying window actually starts around September/ October and extends as far as March. By March, most retailers and restaurant chains have chosen their summer listings. So, it’s crucial to know all the cut-off dates for retail seasons and offer your products to retailers well ahead of the cut-off date. Ideally, you’ll have decided your seasonal ranges a year in advance so you can also get a head start on marketing. All of this will give you the best chance of capitalising on seasonal food and drinks trends and enjoy the sales boost that comes with it. Success factors For a new product to succeed, it – and this may sound obvious – needs to taste good, look appealing, and be sold effectively. If any of the three success factors aren’t up to scratch, it’s better to delay a launch rather than push a
product with bland packaging, a sales strategy that’s been hastily cobbled together, or a taste you know isn’t quite perfect. A misjudged sales strategy will scupper your crucial launch and the first stage of growth, all of which will put off potential retailers, investors, and partners who may doubt your abilities and your product’s mass appeal. Getting the taste, texture, or appearance of your product wrong, or indeed using poor branding, will be pretty hard to recover from. Make a product you love If you design a product you feel is simply missing from the market, it’s best to create it in your vision. Chances are that if you love it, many others will as well. We created Gusto because there were no natural, organic, and Fairtrade drinks out there, and well, we wanted one to drink regularly! So, rather than using focus groups or flavour houses, we set out to make the taste we wanted, by using only the ingredients we wanted to consume. Likewise, we made sure the design and branding resonated with us. Thankfully, it’s struck a chord with many others too. Sticking to your guns is also the best way to bring out a genuinely new and unique product. The other thing is, if you really love your idea, you won’t get tired of trying to share it with the world. This will make your advertising more genuine and conjure passion and enthusiasm from customers So, make sure you’re truly happy with your products and brand from the outset. Don’t throw in the towel Good opportunities can often take a frustratingly long time to come to fruition. We’ve had plenty of conversations with retailers and restaurants that have lasted more than a year before they agreed to stock Gusto. It was certainly worth the effort though. If you think the opportunity is an important one and the retailer hasn’t closed the door, don’t throw in the towel.
In general, strong sustainable brands with a broad customer base take time to build. So seek to win over one shop, one café, one bar at a time. There is no silver bullet, just time and persistence. Your brand values Every business is faced with an array of decisions, some of which can also challenge your ethics and values. Will you choose cheap or Fairtrade ingredients? Go organic or not? Will you add sugar and preservatives or tweak the recipe? Will your packaging be recyclable? Having clearly defined brand values helps a brand navigate their decisions and remain consistent. So, it’s best to incorporate your own ethos into your brand and stay true to it. For example, we put great focus on our organic and Fairtrade credentials, which we’re sure our customers appreciate. In an age of endless product choice, we feel integrity counts for a lot. Inevitably you are competing with big businesses and they have advantages which every industry they operate in. However, unknown brands in food and drink which are new and different can succeed. It will take work but that’s what you’ve signed up for!
About the Authors Craig Sams and William Fugard are co-founders of Gusto, the world’s first natural, organic, and Fairtrade energy drink.
Craig Sams is also the co-founder of Green & Black’s luxury chocolate, and Whole Earth Foods. Gusto is available from over 600 outlets, sold in eight countries and distributed by 20 UK Wholesalers.
How entrepreneurs can hone their pitching skills Entrepreneurs needs to keep honing their pitching skills if they are to attract customers, win new business and get those deals signed. As we know from experience there’s no room for second chances. Here are my tips for pitching successfully. Ditching the early pitch Resist the temptation to start pitching immediately. It is better to start with a ‘dynamic change story’ (DCS). Use one of the prominent transformational disruptions that is happening in the client’s industry. It needs to be an attention grabber and alert the client that if these changes are not embraced sooner or later, the firm will suffer. Once its significance has been clearly highlighted, you’ve generated interest in the client, and they will be more likely to listen carefully. Like a movie, the DCS must have intrigue, buzz, excitement, relevance and a little fear (if change is not adopted). At this stage, you’re gently shaking up the foundations of their comfort zone. Once you have their undivided attention – now is the time to pitch. Create hungry clients Imagine you are hungry and doing food shopping at a supermarket; you project your present hunger on to the future and end up buying a whole lot of stuff. In psychological terms, projection bias is the tendency to project current preferences onto a future event. The reason for using Dynamic Change Story is to create a projection bias for the clients so they’re hungry for the pitch and want to hear more.
i. A single idea When pitching entrepreneurs often deluge clients with a multiplicity of themes and ideas. Even though the pitcher may have many brilliant ideas it is necessary to discipline oneself to pitch a single enticing idea. This single idea is not an experimentation, it must make a difference to the client and the pitcher must have this conviction. ii. Confirmation bias When two professionals meet there is often an attempt at conversational dominance, impressions are created and challenged, rapport is built (or not) - cognitive transactions are going on both explicitly and tacitly. Clients try to categorise the entrepreneur, their business and products/services from the onset. Human beings can categorize others in less than 150 milliseconds and so over a 10minute pitch, just imagine how many ‘judgements’ they are making. These impressions are compared by clients with their pre-existing ideas and knowledge. This is known as ‘confirmation bias’. This means you have to penetrate this bias and make it interesting enough for the client to consider a new idea. In other words, the pitch must make the client temporarily suspend his/her pre-existing notions, presuppositions, biases and prejudices about the pitcher’s firm. iii. Create expectancy The pitch has to create expectancy or hope in the client about where they could be if they adopted your idea/bought your services etc. The pitch needs to give the answer to why the client should adopt the idea suggested “NOW”. What difference it will make to them and their business if they buy in right now? Why would waiting be a mistake?
iv. Blackberg ahoy! The iceberg that sunk the Titanic was almost invisible, it’s clear, mirror-like surface reflected the water and dark night sky. This type of iceberg is called a “blackberg”. Perhaps the crew were looking right at the iceberg without seeing anything unusual. Introduce the blackberg in your pitch. The blackberg is the risk, the market disrupter, that everyone is missing. Now suggest how the client’s business is going to suffer if they don’t embrace this and make the relevant changes you are suggesting. v. Involve all five senses The client must be able to engage with your brand with all their senses. Pitch your single idea to the five senses. For example, Singapore Airlines has a created a distinct smell, and use a specific spray. You see Singapore airlines, smell it when you enter, taste their food. The captain’s script has been carefully written. All five senses are used to create a memorable experience for the client. The take-away here is, whilst pitching, attempt to engage with the client’s five senses. This could be your visual slides, your own auditory speaking power and storytelling. If certain senses cannot be invoked because of the layout of your product/service, build examples into the pitch in such a manner that you can speak about it and through visualisation, the client is able to feel it vi. Keep moving It is important to maintain momentum throughout your pitch. If possible, leave questions to the end, but if this is not feasible then provide a quick explanatory answer and move on – you can come back to it for a fuller explanation later. You don’t want to let the questions distract the client (or you). Often the answers to these questions are already part of your pitch – it’s just the potential client jumped in too soon. Ensure you keep control of the pitch, retrieving it if necessary – and don’t let others side-track you and take you from your path. Once the idea has been pitched, it needs to be emotionally enhanced to induce buying interest or a movement forward to the next phase of buying.
Finishing your pitch i. Creating the right level of urgency Urgency can be persuasive and precipitate action. It is a sales conversion optimiser. Deadlines, milestone dates etc. create a sense of urgency. Scarcity inducing words and phrases such as clearance, limited availability, a few left etc. are gimmicks that can work for small retail deals but when pitching for larger deals these techniques and easily seen through – and can damage the pitch by not being believable. However, urgency is persuasive, so how do we generate it? By getting the client genuinely excited and a little bit scared. Provide examples of businesses that are flourishing thanks to embracing your idea plus provide examples of organizations suffering due to indolence and delay. ii. Preserving best interests Yes, you are there to sell, but do so with the spirit of giving. When the pitch demonstrates that it is the client who is benefitting from the association, trust develops. iii. Ending on an emotional high People buy emotionally and justify rationally. Therefore, the end of the pitch must heighten the client’s emotions. The pitch must not make the client logical or rational, on the contrary it must conjure up the emotional intensity of the client. About the Author Seema Menon is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs.
Rise of the Conscious Consumer & Value of Memberships Sam Jordan, Executive Vice President of Manifesto Growth Architects discusses the rise of the conscious consumer and why memberships are key to gaining back that important consumer trust Membership is about providing a feeling of belonging, identification and a stronger connection for your members. It follows that trust is, therefore, of crucial importance to run a membership successfully. Get it right, and you can build hugely loyal communities that will promote your brand but get it wrong and you risk losing customers. Transparency can be a fast route to creating trust and building loyalty. Interacting openly with members will help you gather feedback that creates a better understanding of what they really care about and want from you. This creates a virtuous circle of transparency, understanding and trust that delivers stronger bonds. New launch Tortoise media has fostered loyalty with members by building the proposition with 2,500 backers signed up to the project on Kickstarter during summer 2018. Since then, the process has been transparent, and members have been invited to share views and feedback at every stage. A similar approach is used by challenger bank brand Revolut, which builds and tests new products with the input of some of its most loyal and devoted customers. Meanwhile, SORTEDfood a British YouTube cooking channel and food website, is loved by its members for the way it involves them in all
the important decisions the business makes, including which other brands to work with and which products it plans to develop. When members are highly engaged, they can even help you run your business. Reddit was conceived as an open forum – a place where freedom of expression is at the core. Conversations on the platform are largely self-regulated and member moderated, with 230m active users enhancing the discussion of millions of passionate contributors. In return, it has very high standards for the way it believes the brand should behave. Customers may even be more forgiving of an occasional misstep if the brand manages it well (see Airbnb’s handling of their community controversies in 2016), however, the penalty for fundamentally betraying someone’s trust when you’ve built up this kind of relationship can be even more significant. Last December, Facebook’s share price fell to a 22-month low, 40% down from its peak – at the time the company was facing numerous controversies with security breaches, fresh information on links with Cambridge Analytica, and allegations of Russian meddling promoting fake news. Ultimately, customers vote with their feet – or thumbs in the app world. From the perspective of the business owner, this continued fight for consumer trust and engagement hasn’t slowed down. In the space of six months we have seen announcements from Disney, Amazon, Uber and The Athletic about launching new membership models or advancing current ones. This, paired with media publications such as The Guardian announcing
in March that it is running profitably due to its subscribers, only shows the extensive importance of implementing a membership model. The team at Manifesto Growth Architects, a collective specialising in growth architecture, investigated the idea of what it takes to build a tight membership or subscription model. However, it was very important for us to then coin where our ‘Membership Economics’ stemmed from, what it was and what businesses and SMEs needed to do to harness it (and of course, what to expect whilst harnessing it). Memberships and subscriptions are not a new entity. Over the past 10 years, gaining a single transaction has simply not been good enough in running a profitable business. This has resulted in a need to implement a longerform model which both combats the drop in consumer trust, yet still retains the financial gain. ‘Membership Economics’ is exactly that; a new look at the underlying financial model sitting at the heart of businesses competing in the Membership Economy. Following interviews with over 40 executives across six key sectors – media, retail, finance, leisure, automotive and utilities – we found a staggering 70 per cent of businesses believe that membership and subscription models hold the key to future commercial growth, yet very few are harnessing its potential. Our ‘Membership Economics: How to make money in the Membership Economy’ report outlines more of these findings but most importantly, how businesses can harness the potential by utilising the following: - Subscriptions: Regular payments made to the business (generally monthly or annually) that replace some or all the transactional income that might previously have been the basis of the customer relationship - Transactional Revenue: Sitting within subscriptions, these are the transactions that come with a subscriber and come from building a valued relationship from the wider membership model
- Advertising: For the media industry, advertising is already a great revenue driver. Almost all of them carry advertising and offer sponsorships but some (definitely not all) forego advertising when a customer chooses a subscription option - Affiliates: This form has exploded as digital commerce has matured, as revenue comes from a commercial arrangement whereby a media owner funnels demand for a specific product or service to a third party and receives a fee related to that conversion Ultimately, the Membership Economics starts and ends with the customer. They have to see and feel the value of the proposition and be prepared to pay for it – one way or the other. The steps outlined in the Membership Economics report detail pragmatic ways for business leaders to successfully adopt the model, balancing revenue and investments to ensure a successful membership or subscription business.
How rural entrepreneurs can get better Internet connectivity Rural areas are still being held back by poor telecoms coverage, particularly high-speed internet connectivity and 4G coverage. The precise financial implications, to the UK’s rural economy, are difficult to calculate, but it’s easy to work out what the issues are: 1. Reduced productivity due to slower/non-existent connectivity 2. Reduced social inclusion, on consumer and business levels 3. Reduced opportunity to take an active role in the digital economy With people being encouraged to buy local and support small businesses, a lack of high-speed telecoms in rural areas is going to make this difficult. However, we believe there are ways that the issue of poor rural coverage can be tackled; some requiring government and operators to work together, some that rural businesses can implement immediately (at very low cost) to get internet connection with workable speeds.
1) Rural roaming So far, Ofcom has failed to ask operators in the UK to allow roaming even though this could make a massive difference in rural areas. Sometimes known as wholesale access, rural roaming means you can move between mobile operators’ networks based on signal strength. As your provider’s signal drops, you can move to another provider. With 91% of the UK landmass getting signal from at least one provider, this would significantly improve connectivity availability. Only 77% of the country has good coverage from all four networks. 2) 700Mhz to Rural Areas First 5G will, supposedly, transform how we use data. With ultra-fast transmission speeds, we’ll be able to do more from wherever – unless you’re in the country. The high frequency wavelengths used by 5G can only travel in straight lines and over much shorter distances than 3/4G. However, Ofcom’s release of the 700Mhz frequency band would allow 5G rollout to much more of the country. It would be a little slower, but that’s better than nothing. It’s great to see that Ofcom has set rural coverage requirements within the contracts the mobile operators are bidding for. 3) Make use of EU funding available National and EU governments have made £billions available to support the rollout of telecoms connectivity. The UK government has spent over £6 billion, through BDUK, to take coverage up to 95%. European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) grant funding is available with 921 million Euros allocated between 2014
& 2020 to help rural economies. This includes connecting rural locations to high speed connectivity. Will it be enough to bring rural connectivity to 100%? Our feeling is that this is unlikely. Even if they do manage it, they may find that the technology has moved on and the funded connectivity is already out of date. 4) Use 4G instead of fibre ‘High-speed broadband’ and ‘fibre’ are often in the same sentence. However, the cost of rolling out fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) is as high as £100,000 per cabinet. This cost has to be paid by someone. It cannot be passed to the user and the operators aren’t prepared to pay these figures, so it isn’t being implemented. Government support (BDUK) has taken coverage up to 95.1% of UK premises. Although satellite used to be an alternative goto option, it is becoming less popular, more expensive (particularly the installation), and 4G now, generally, offers better speeds. So, in the areas where high speed broadband isn’t available, 4G can be an acceptable substitute. With data costs reducing 4G doesn’t have to be expensive unless your business is an exceptionally high data user. Providing you have decent access 4G is a good option. It can be implemented immediately, with no (or very little) additional investment in equipment, and you’ll get pretty good data speeds. 5) Make use of co-working spaces Micro-businesses (1-4 staff) and remote workers can benefit in a number of ways from using the growing number of rural co-working spaces. Suitably positioned so they have highspeed connectivity, they bring a range of benefits to their members: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Providing high-speed connectivity Enabling business networking Sharing of best practice Face to face contact Getting out of the house!
We’ll probably see many more of these popping up and even if the government does take proper action to improve rural connectivity, it’s likely many people will opt to use these hubs.
Although telecoms is a small part of how the rural economy can be boosted (suggestions of up to £246 billion of additional rurally generated revenue), it’s an important part. We rely on being able to communicate effectively both to do business and to live our lives. Telecoms (including Internet access) is a big and important part of that.
About the Author Mike Ianiri is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Mike works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk
How Entrepreneurs can reduce their accountancy bills When you start a business you want to keep costs such as bookkeeping and accountancy fees as low as possible. However, if you cut back on such service you may find those pesky invoices and receipts begin to take up your evenings and weekends. So how do you strike a balance and prepare your books correctly in order to reduce your accountancy bills, without it taking up all your spare time? Here are some cost-effective and time-saving tips: Discuss options with your accountant This might sound like asking a whether you need a haircut but the first thing to do before you dive into preparing your books is to ask your accountant what you can do to lower your accountancy fees. The aim is not to take on more work at the expense of your weekends or family life. Most accountants offer packages and you might get the year-end accounts and tax return work at half price. Or they could simply take over all your paperwork chores, produce regular management accounts and handle your VAT and payroll requirements. In return you get your end of year accounts done and filed for FREE. Why free? Well if the bulk of the work is completed and there are no additional complications or work at the year end, then I see no reason why the accounts cannot be filed at no cost to you. Agree the format you’ll use If the above doesn’t work and you’re happy to do the books, then agree with your accountant what format to keep the books in. Do they want you to simply keep record of income
and expenses on Excel? Do they want you to use a particular software? Should you match, cross reference and analyse the transactions or will they do it? Do they want you to keep a cash book, list of your sales and purchase invoices? And do they want you to reconcile the books by applying what is called “Double Entry” bookkeeping? Unless you are a professional bookkeeper or a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, don’t attempt double entry bookkeeping. You may end up paying for the accountant to rectify errors. You may even end up with some tax issues. Use bookkeeping services Another way to prepare the books and reduce your accountancy fees is to use a professional bookkeeper to help you. Their rates are certainly cheaper than that of an accountant. But do choose carefully. Shortlist a few and involve your accountant in the process if possible. What you want to avoid is a situation where you end up paying for the same work twice because the format and quality of the bookkeeping is not at a level to enable the accountant to produce the accounts at a cheaper rate. Or the bookkeeper and the accountants use different systems and speak different languages. Avoid complications Whether you use an accountant, a bookkeeper or do it yourself, avoid complicated record keeping and try to streamline your transactions. Things you can do include having a dedicated business account, using the bank for most transactions, refrain from using the business bank account for personal expenses, avoid multiple bank accounts or credit cards and have all your records in once place (preferably in a digital format).
Take HMRC workshops If you are registered for VAT and you prepare your own VAT returns, do spend some time to attend HMRC webinars on VAT, bookkeeping and others, or watch other free videos from reputable accountancy firms. This will help ensure you’re not making mistakes which might cost you more in the long run. Then make sure you give your accountant copies of the returns that were submitted, with your workings showing how all the figures on the returns were calculated. Use Receipt Capture System It can be time consuming for you to collate and record all those invoices and receipts. And if you send them to your accountant in a shoebox, they will spend additional time reviewing and sorting them - which means more costs. There are some good apps including Auto Entry and Receipt Bank that allow you to capture these receipts on the go and send them directly to your accountant. You can even ask your suppliers to send their invoices to the app to free up your inbox a bit. And this will also reduce your accountancy bill because accountants are not chasing you for records or sifting through a pile of invoices. Use a cloud-based system Gone are the days when bookkeeping software was written in complicated language that only accountants could use or understand. The likes of FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero have truly transformed the way bookkeeping is done. And if you’re going to do your own bookkeeping, then do use one of these platforms to save time and accountancy fees. Plus, some accountancy firms would even cover the cost of the platform for you or include it within their packaged services. Again, do agree with your accountant where your bookkeeping duties would end. Automating transactions Open banking and artificial intelligence are taking away a lot of work when it comes to receiving your bank statements and analysing what the transactions are for. You can authorise your bank to send bank transaction to a cloud boo keeping platform avoiding the
need to spend time downloading them and keying them into, say, a spreadsheet. You can also set a rule to say that if a direct debit payment goes to, say Aviva, then this should be analysed as insurance so next time you don’t have to analyse it manually. Imagine how much time and fees you can save by doing this. However, don’t assume that you can ignore it completely – it’s very important that someone check though to ensure that the robots are behaving the way you want. Agree the date to handover records Did you know you can ask for a lower accountancy fee if you prepare your books for your accountants at their quietest times? Accountants have peak times with many businesses having December & March yearends, plus the Tax Return deadline in January. Avoid such times and make sure you ask your accountant for a discount for being so helpful! Look at Apps that integrate eg inventory If you run a retail or restaurant business and you’re using a cloud bookkeeping platform, you can go further and get an EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) and inventory system that integrates with your chosen cloud platform and helps keep track of stock. Platforms such us Izettle, Vend and others should be considered. A key area that often causes issues with the accounting process is the value of your stock. Where you or your accountant spends less time on this area, you can both save time and costs.
Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an awardwinning chartered tax adviser and accountant who has advises business owners on entrepreneurial tax reliefs. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys.
Productivity: Do less - Get more We know what productivity means……. working harder, working faster doing more with what you have and making efficiencies - surely?
If the workplace culture is one where being ‘efficient’ is valued more highly than being ‘effective’ there is a risk that productivity levels – however they are measured – will stagnate and ultimately decline. So what’s the difference?
Well, no. Strangely enough, workplace productivity is far more closely linked to engagement than we imagine. The link between levels of employee motivation, mission support and personal investment to measurables like employee turnover (costly), brand erosion (possibly costlier) and profit loss (often the costliest) has been proven time and again.
Being effective means doing what’s right in the interests of the business mission. Being efficient means doing the right things – often in spite of wider business interests. If an organisational culture can be embedded in which being effective is prized as much as being efficient, the climate for increased productivity starts to emerge.
Research conducted by the Gallup Organization (in a poll of over 1.4 million employees) showed that those businesses which have demonstrably higher levels of engagement also report 22% higher productivity. So what is it that businesses need to get right to hit that productive sweet spot? Well, firstly, there’s a mindset shift. Senior leaders have it within their power to effect culture – for better or for worse – across the breadth of a business. And culture is one of the biggest factors in keeping employees engaged, on-side and productive.
Engaged employees are those who know four things at a profound level. They know WHY they are there. They know WHAT they need to do. They know HOW to do it and they know WHO they can turn to for help. The WHY relates to the overall business raison d’etre. It’s the big picture stuff. The headlines of the over-arching business strategy and crucially it is about the employee’s own part in making the plan happen - however small. WHY is also about recognition and value for what they bring the party. People don’t go to work because they like to feel isolated and exposed. We are a herd species and as such being part of ‘something’ that is seen as worthwhile has a deep impact on our ability to perform. WHAT is key in any business and particularly when it comes to productivity. The saying goes that ‘what get measure, gets done’. And yet whilst we often know this on one level, there are always ways of improving our understanding about what is expected. Using SMART
objectives may seem a little tired in today’s workplace, but the technique does bring clarity to what the WHAT of the workplace. HOW is often neglected. The most effective and therefore productive people in business are those who are supported in recognising and addressing developmental gaps. Understanding HOW I will meet my objectives very often results in my feeling safe to try, to initiate and to create. It allows me to tap into the strengths I already have at my disposal and to seek out ways of meeting skills gaps. It means that my esteem and confidence levels will be taken care of and as such, I will start to stretch and surpass what is expected of me. The final element of engagement for productivity is the WHO. This centres on the creation of a climate of trust and ‘psychological safety’ across the business. Knowing that you will be supported when you don’t know HOW to approach something or if you make a mistake is extremely powerful. Support can come from a range of places and we are seeing more and
more that the highest performing and most productive businesses, are those that invest in creating a coaching and mentoring culture across the organization. So, productivity then. Working harder, working faster, doing more? Maybe not. But using your energy elsewhere, ensuring you and your employees know WHY, WHAT, HOW and WHO? Absolutely.
About the Author Beth Hood is a qualified Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) trainer and coach and holds the highly regarded ILM7 Certificate in Advanced Coaching and Mentoring. She is accredited with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and the International Coach Federation (ICF).
The Villa Maria Story Villa Maria has become pretty much a household name when it comes to wine. We were thrilled to interview founder and president Sir George Fistonich to learn about the story of the brand from start to huge global success. Take us back to the very beginning – when and why did you first decide to try your hand at making wine? My father wanted me to follow the Croatian tradition where the eldest son takes up a profession and the second a trade and so I completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. However, I always had ambitions to become a winemaker and in 1961, when I was 21 years old, I began making wine. At the time, the New Zealand wine industry was still very much in its infancy but being Croatian, making wine was in my blood and a central part of my upbringing.
What are the most important considerations when starting a wine business? Wine is not just a passion but a pleasure; a part of life. I think there may have only been three days in my life in the past 50 years when I can recall not drinking wine!
How does Villa Maria remain at the forefront of quality winegrowing? How has the company created New Zealand’s most admired wine brand? Making quality wine has and always be our focus at Villa Maria. Our first vintage of wines picked up awards at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, the oldest wine competition in New Zealand, which set the scene for years to come. We are one of the only wineries with our own nursery (another way we ensure quality); we manage our vineyards in small parcels of fruit; we were the first to pay for grapes on a quality and not quantity basis (initiated by Villa Maria’s first viticulturist Debbie Reid in 1981. Many New Zealand grape growers thought grapes should be green when harvested and many did not understand the important elements of viticulture such as sugar content, pH and acid levels). Then in 2001, we made the decision to move entirely to screwcap to ensure consistently high quality wine each and every time. Most of these were achievable because of being family-owned and being able to make these types of investments and decisions. Everything is done with a long-term vision for the future.
What is the team at Villa Maria most passionate about? When we talk about our success it’s not with any sense of ego but more the vindication of philosophy – that whatever the wine, it should be of the highest quality. It is a philosophy
shared by everybody in the company because nothing is done unless it is for the betterment of what’s in the glass.
Why are there different tiers of wines produced – how are they different? We want to offer to consumers a variety of wine styles and within that a variety of offerings. Because of New Zealand’s cool climate growing conditions, it produces wines with elegance, delicacy and flavour, which are characteristics sought by wine consumers world-wide. Our Private Bin range is sold all around the world and so beautifully captures the distinctive style of New Zealand wine that is fruit driven and expresses the varietal characteristics of the grape and great quality.
Can you share some tips to help readers interested in investing in wine or in a wine business – where should they start and what should they look for? Surround yourself with great people who have the skills you don’t! Research – read everything and soak up every piece of knowledge you can and learn from others’ mistakes.
What does success look like to Villa Maria? To continue to be the most awarded and admired New Zealand wine brand.
Is it all about NZ Sauvignon Blanc?
What’s next for Villa Maria?
Definitely not. There is no doubt that Sauvignon Blanc has put New Zealand on the world wine map and is still our leading variety. However, as a cool climate winegrowing nation we produce outstanding examples of other aromatic whites such as Pinot Gris and interestingly more niche varieties like Albariño. Pinot Noir is our leading red wine and our examples from Marlborough are beginning to show the incredible global potential of New Zealand Pinot Noir. Burgundy and Bordeaux wines continue to be our inspiration and although we have been influenced by these, our success has been driven by a desire to make our own imprint on the world.
We never rest on our laurels and so we will continue to expand our footprint around the world in emerging markets, such as China, Canada and countries throughout Europe. Sustainability remains a key focus for us too, because as a family-owned winery, the desire to leave something for the next generation is an overriding business objective. Some of these initiatives include a goal of zero waste-to-landfill by 2025, aiming for solely renewable energy sources by 2035 and increasing organic management of our vines, which currently, is more than 30% of our company owned vineyards.
How to become an ambassador in the wine world We were delighted to interview Victor Urrutia, CEO of C.V.N.E on the fascinating story behind the organisation’s success, and his top tips on becoming a wine industry ambassador. How did C.V.N.E find the right name? My great grandparents arrived in Rioja from Bilbao 140 years ago and had no knowledge about wine but realised it could be a good business to get involved in. The name, it was simple; What are we producing? Wine. Where? Let’s keep it simple and divide the country by north, south, east and west. Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. C.V.N.E. Short, simple but with roots in its origin, Spain.
What does C.V.N.E. stand for? Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (Wine Company from the North of Spain).
How has C.V.N.E built an image as an ambassadorial brand in the world of wine? 140 years of family and traditional values. Two simple ideas: one and the main concern of our
ancestors, to produce the best wine possible, and second, to make our wines known across the world.
Why the Spanish flag logo? CVNE is not a family name or an aristocratic shield, but the colours of Spain have always been our symbol, and we feel proud of it. We are from Spain and what better represents our origins than the colours of our country.
How does C.V.N.E choose a location to grow and make wines? We seek regions with soils with a heritage and story, where we can produce unique, finely crafted wines.
What is it about the heart of the Rioja wine region that makes it C.V.N.E’s home? 140 years ago, we started producing wine in Rioja - four wineries in Rioja making four Gran Reserva wines. We helped create the category and the prestige that drives the region.
How has C.V.N.E invested and grown over the years? Our role is to ensure the transition of our family legacy to future generations while developing, in our own way, the company. Very early, we committed ourselves to a
viticulture respectful of its environment and for the excellence in the quality of wines. For this reason: • We have bought over the last 10 years around 200 hectares of vines, to preserve the quality of our wines. • We bring wines back from neglect. What came before, is our future. In this sense, we have rereleased Monopole Clásico. • We expand through other wine regions in Spain: Cava, Valdeorras and Ribera del Duero, where we own vineyards and wineries.
Why does C.V.N.E look to invest in vineyards and wineries outside of Rioja?
Today we are thinking much more about CVNE’s future than its past. We believe Spanish wines will gain even more recognition in the next 10 years. We already see new regions in Spain apart from Rioja attracting attention as the quality of some wines from these regions is impressive. New terroirs are discovered throughout Spain, which is giving us further opportunities to offer people a taste of Spain.
How does an ambassadorial brand like C.V.N.E plan for the future?
• We have international recognition for all of our wines from our commercial range to our iconic wines.
We must have our eyes open and listen to the market, to see what our next moves should be.
• We have our own distribution both national (Spain) and international (Japan, China and the USA)
What’s next for Cune? Who knows? ….
ALWAYS ON: USHERING IN THE AGE OF THE 365DAY FUNDRAISE The days of the traditional, timelimited funding round are numbered. Contemporary, smart scale-ups know that it takes time to raise capital. When that time is arbitrarily limited, so are the chances of success. Growth businesses are now realising the benefits of Always-on Fundraising, in which companies leave themselves open for investment 365 days a year. An open funding round provides an opportunity to capitalise on any unexpected successes, gives the entrepreneur the best chance of finding their perfect investor(s) and with an investor relations mindset being a constant, follow-on funding. Here’s why all of this adds up to a higher likelihood of fuelling growth and achieving exit: More time, more likelihood of success Sophisticated investors and canny scale-ups appreciate what it really takes to reach their fundraising target: it takes time. This gives the company the best opportunity to find the perfect investor and the investor the best opportunity to find the perfect company. A shorter, time-limited round in which a company must ‘succeed’, can create pointless stress and pressures on the founders as they risk ‘failing’
when actually all they needed was time to gain traction and, therefore, to find the investors who are a ‘right fit’. In turn, experienced investors recognise that finding the ideal investment opportunity needs due diligence and patience: think the Tour de France, not a velodrome.
Exploit good news A valuable new client, unexpected publicity, a significant hire… if it creates a buzz, this is the perfect chance to highlight your company’s achievements which naturally attracts investors. An open funding round allows instant engagement; a closed round means the opportunity is lost. Envestors’ portfolio company, ZAP&GO, is a great example of how valuable this can be. BBC Click ran a piece about their superfast charging technology which generated a lot of interest and publicity. By having an open round, they subsequently raised £500,000. Keep the investor relations mentality on, always Traditionally, if a business was seeking equity finance, there would be a short, sharp period of intense activity of engaging and focussing on investors. The same goes for the multiple round model, which requires numerous bursts of investor engagement. But what happens in between? The risk of neglecting your investors and losing their goodwill is a serious one; if you’re Always On, so too is your investor relations mindset; If you haven’t ignored somebody, you won’t have to reengage them. Anybody who’s experienced at fundraising knows that your investors are the key to your
long-term success – maintaining good relations, keeping them updated and an open, honest dialogue is crucial.
Always on Fundraising – How does it actually work? So, it sounds great, but how does it work practically? While the concept does seem radically different, the steps you have to go through as a business are the same. We’ve outlined them here: 1. Define your investment opportunity You need to start by defining your investment opportunity which includes deal structure, valuation, share price and your minimum and maximum investment levels. Even though you’re ‘Always on’, you must have clearly defined investment levels. This benefits all parties. Your minimum investment level protects investors by ensuring that you have a significant cashflow runway to execute on your plans and projections while the maximum level dictates the total number of shares you are willing to sell at that price, protecting the shareholders from dilution. 2. Get the right tools in place You need an FCA-regulated environment in order to promote your investment opportunity, accept pledges and draw investment. The new breed of White-label platforms like Envestry for Scale-ups, provide off-the-shelf functionality to allow companies to create a branded fundraising portal that easily links to their current site. With FCA-coverage builtin, companies can focus on the hard work of attracting investment rather than regulatory fine print. 3. Promote, promote, promote With your fundraising site up and running, it’s time to promote your investment opportunity. Before you do anything, think about the investor journey by type. For example, personal connections who may be new to investing will need more guidance as they go through the process than experienced investors. To accommodate those new to investing, how-to
guides, investment glossaries and frequently asked questions are imperative. Whereas, your communications to experienced investors can focus on the why instead of the what. 4. Do a first close Once you hit your minimum investment level, you can do a first close and draw down the pledges, while keeping your round open. This allows you to start fuelling your growth while continuing to attract investment to your maximum level. Up until you reach your maximum you can continue to draw down funds at significant intervals as they come in. 5. Close a round; open a round While the name ‘Always on’ might imply one continuous round, the best way of using this approach is via a series of back to back rounds (tranches). As a growing business you will want to change your valuation and share price to reflect the progress you have made. It is worth noting that on rare occasions businesses may also reduce share price, known as a ‘down round’. So, when is the best time to close one round and open another one? Clearly, once maximum investment level has been reached, the round will have to be closed. Beyond that, anything significant which justifies an increase in valuation, such as a securing a large new contract, reaching a customer milestone or securing regulatory approval on a product, should prompt you to close the round and open a new round at a higher share price. The Always on Model makes so much sense for businesses who generally fundraise every six to eighteen months and I expect this to be the norm in the future with companies from seed through to sale featuring an ‘investor relations’ section on their website, much like their publicly-traded counterparts.
By Scott Haughton, COO of Envestors.
Insights for Entrepreneurs: Trends Shaping Fundraising Before we look at the future of fundraising, let take a quick look at its history. Amsterdam tries to take credit by founding the first Stock Exchange in 1602, however, the real beginnings go back to circa 1700 BCE. This is when the Code of Hammurabi was hammered out in Mesopotamia forming the basic framework that still governs the rules of investing today. London caught up with Amsterdam in 1698 with the launch of the LSE; other significant bullet point milestones include the first pension fund in 1759, the Dow Jones index in 1896, the first VC firm in 1946, the introduction of the portfolio theory in the 1950s and the founding of the NASDAQ 100 in 1985. Digital crowdfunding sites have transformed fundraising in the 21st century and have turned customers, family and friends into investors though this too started much earlier – the true genius is the multitasking Mozart. In 1793 and lacking the cash to perform three new concertos in Vienna, he made an appeal for funds and was rewarded by a ‘crowd’ of 176, each of whom received a copy of the concerto manuscripts as their prize.
However, the one problem - that has existed throughout - is that no matter who invests in you or how you come by your shareholders, you’ve always needed a middleman. By default, these facilitators have controlled the fundraise, from the introductions and presentations to the length of the campaigns. Until now. 2019 technology offers a solution: digital is allowing start-up and scaleups to take back the reins of their rounds, with the ability to fundraise through a fully personalised platform - within an FCA regulated space. This can include an investor relations portal and the freedom to fundraise – if required or desired – all day, every day. For the first time, the entrepreneur is in charge and that changes everything. Following on from this let’s look at four trends that are transforming how we fundraise: 1 ‘Always On’: the death of fixed funding rounds Traditional fundraising rounds usually last between 30 – 60 days. However, this approach will soon be consigned to history, as the new breed of owned funding platforms enable scaleups to stay open to capital throughout their entire growth cycle, from seed to exit. All savvy entrepreneurs know that time is key
in getting funding: finding the right investor – and vice versa, for the right investor to find the perfect deal – can be a lengthy process and opportunities can easily be missed if you’re facing a strict deadline. Another bonus is that it allows a company to take advantage of any unexpected successes – a significant hiring, a valuable contract, an unexpected piece of publicity… anything that creates a ‘buzz’ is attractive to new investors. Zap&Go provide a perfect example: BBC Click aired a feature about their superfast charging technology giving them some great publicity. Through their funding platform, Envestry for Scaleups, they were able to capitalise on this by extending their funding round by six months. They subsequently raised £500,000.
funding, with 396 deals featuring at least one foreign investor. Trends indicate that this figure will continue to rise, with the biggest increase coming from Indian investors, up 321% from 2016.
2 Investor relations: an essential skillset for all CMOs Investors hate being treated like an ATM. The stories of being wined and dined during the intense windows of raising finance, only to be dropped once the money is in, are myriad. However, if the fundraising mindset is always on, the investor relations (IR) mindset is always on, meaning that your investors are kept warm and ready to invest in your future rounds. In order to maintain this, CMOs will need to be experts in investor relations; digital tools can help with this. By simply having a dedicated system to post regular updates to your shareholders – whether the news is good, bad or atrocious – creates an inclusive sense of community that goes far beyond just driving sales and making money.
4 Opening up the secondary market Even in 2019, the investment landscape is still lacking in secondary market opportunities for early stage companies. The primary market companies selling directly to investors - means that an investor must have sufficient capital to lock their money in a company’s shares for however long it takes for the business to exit - an average of at least six years – before they see any returns.
In particular, crowdfunded investors may well have given you their money (which can be as low as a pledge of £10) because they strongly identify with your brand and vision – these people are your biggest cheerleaders (think the Brewdog ‘Equity for Punks’ success); if you look after them, they’ll talk about it and this can will benefit everybody. Likewise, when you’re struggling – if you actually tell them about it, they’ll be the first to offer to help. 3 Introducing the multi-market investor According to statistics released by Beauhurst, in 2017 UK scaleups received £6bn in overseas
Gone are the days of exhausting presentations abroad and pitch video conferencing as the sole means to attract foreign investment: geography-agnostic digital platforms make it easy for entrepreneurs to fundraise beyond their own borders. Not only do they provide a bigger pool of potential backers, they also safeguard against any political or fiscal uncertainty in the UK. Quite simply, diverse investors from a wide range of economies, spreads – and therefore reduces – the risks.
The secondary market, however, enables a shareholder to sell directly to another private party and although a few companies have started to offer this, it’s a concept that is still very much in its infancy. However, it’s naturally very attractive to investors and digital provides the necessary tools to make it mainstream: a controlled, secure portal of reporting, agreements and accounting will allow stakeholders to communicate with each other, in turn leading to opportunities to buy and sell their shares. We predict that this will soon become the norm. We believe that digital will dispense with the dominance of the broker and return the reins to the entrepreneur, giving control back where it belongs. By Scott Haughton is COO of Envestors, a fintech company that connects investors and scale-up companies.
Crowdfunding A Litmus Test for Investors Whilst still a relatively new way of raising funds, the way we (founders, VCs, buyers, etc.) use Crowdfunding has evolved immensely over the years. Crowdfunding platforms are no longer just outlets for plucky startup founders to get the necessary funds for production and manufacturing; they are now used as a barometer to test appetite, to qualify product extensions and as a way of optimising the messaging and sales patter of the product. Crowdfunding platforms are now a hot space for VCs and private investors to watch what goes viral and which products have a successful launch. We have seen huge success for some companies, most notably Oculus which was bought by Facebook for $2.3 billion USD and continues to appear in our news feeds. By watching which products find success on crowdfunding platforms, investors and VCs are able to get in early with a startup and possibly reap the benefits later.
Itâ€™s not as easy as you might think. To have real success in spotting winning founders and companies, investors should look out for certain signals and indicators - whilst spotting the red flags and avoiding the white rabbits. Hereâ€™s my method of talent spotting when it comes to crowdfunding.
Be mindful of the platform you choose Every platform is different, and as such has different rules. For example Kickstarter requires real images of a product (instead of renderings) which gives a more tangible understanding of how far the startup has reached in their product journey and the acumen of founders when it comes to getting product prototypes made. Be realistic The key indicator of how realistic a founder might be is incredibly important for backers and investment alike and therefore a light indication of this is the timeline they have created for their production and manufacturing in their crowdfunding campaign. Is it realistic, can they deliver the products to their backers within the timescale they outline? Does it seem too good to be true? Then it probably is.
Back the backers Analyse the communication a team has with their backers; how they respond to criticism or new ideas. By understanding this investors are better able to better understand where the founding team mindset sits and how they will work with you should any advice or be given. Riding the wave of success If the product is riding a wave and consumers are snapping it up, then it’s worth connecting with the founder/creator to chat through their real funding needs to work out if it’s a viable product with longevity. This also allows you to see what the deeper story of the company might be (ie continue launching great products for years to come or sell up). Competitors in the picture Are there multiple successful products in a specific area that are very similar in make? If
you’ve seen a great result with those products, or a sudden riding of coat-tails and consumers are interested across the board, then worth looking at this carefully to better understand if you are arriving early and investing wisely before the market is awash in replicants. Whether this is your first dance in the crowdfunding world, or you have already invested in both equity and non-equity based companies, due diligence cannot be stressed enough as the platforms continue to evolve and the founders launching products and services in those platforms continue to need a guiding hand. As with any investment, there is always a level of risk and reward, but surely that’s exactly why we do it? By Heather Delaney, MD and Founder of Gallium Ventures
How Entrepreneurs can Manage Due Diligence for Equity Crowdfunding Many entrepreneurs use the opportunities that equity crowdfunding provides to gain the funding they need. The process also helps in raising awareness among investors and building a tribe of loyal supporters. For the uninitiated, it might seem that companies are simply posting their pitch on an equity crowdfunding platform, such as Seedrs and Crowdcube, and attracting investors. However, there are many steps to go through before a decision is made as to whether a company gets listed. When investors browse any reputable platform, they can be confident that the investment opportunities are fairly sound. Investors know that giving their financial backing to any company comes with a risk, but they take comfort in the fact that platforms apply their own due diligence process to every prospective campaign. This is where the platform looks very carefully at every claim the company makes – and I mean every
claim – to make sure it is accurate, can be evidenced, and isn’t in any way misleading. This will include all the content on your pitch page, including your video and team bios. It’s only after this rigorous vetting process that the platform will allow a company to pitch an opportunity to investors. Often unaware of the challenge ahead, many companies fail due diligence and end up significantly delaying their campaign. Rather than deliberately trying to mislead the platform, failure is often due to being unable to evidence claims. Here are a few tips to give your company the best chance of getting past the crucial due diligence stage and speeding up what can sometimes be a glacial process: Provide detailed bios for your team When investors are deciding whether to back your company, they pay close attention to your team’s credentials. For this reason, team bios are an essential part of any equity crowdfunding pitch. We’ve found the claims made in team bios often delay the due diligence process more than any
other section of the pitch. It comes back to the fact that you have to evidence every claim you make – including your team’s career history. If any of the bios cite “20 years’ experience in marketing” or “spent two decades working as an accountant”, be expected to be asked for evidence going back 20 years to demonstrate this, including tax returns and payslips. A better approach can be to pull out actual examples of companies your team members have worked for or concrete, provable achievements they made during their tenure. Again, these will have to be evidenced, and you can’t use LinkedIn or a CV! So, a green technology company claiming that they used to work for the Environment Agency or the National Grid, for example, may need to show a contract or an email from the employer stating that they worked there, how long for, and what role they played. Likewise, the CEO of a new challenger brand claiming they founded a company and sold it for £5 million will have to provide the documentation to prove the date they founded it and the sale price. It’s also key to avoid vague statements or exaggerations, instead opting for clear, verifiable facts. Former employers tend to take ages to get back and, as the platform will definitely ask you for their reference, it’s really worth chasing them up before you’ve even submitted your pitch page. Support your numbers It won’t surprise you that investors will want to see some numbers to give them an idea of how your company is performing, a picture of the overall market, and how you can further tap into it. It might sound impressive that you made 10,000 sales last month, or achieved a 300% sales growth in just one year, but can you demonstrate it? If you’re making claims like this, you’ll have to offer the platform a complete list
of your sales and show your working. As such, it’s important to keep your numbers in order. Even if your company is not yet profitable, you’ll need to prove that there’s interest in your product or service amongst your market. Finding reputable stats which show that X% of consumers complain about a problem you have a solution to can prove very useful. It’s also worth locating original source industry figures which show how big your market is, including the current and projected future trends. Identifying and naming your competition in any documents you’re presenting to investors, and certainly in any docs you’ll be attaching to your pitch page, is another must. Claiming that you have a one of a kind product or service when there’s competition out there will suggest that you either haven’t done your research or are trying to pretend that you don’t have any competitors. Video pitches must pass due diligence A key part of any pitch, your pitch video will allow you to communicate the opportunity you’re offering, the character of your brand and the expertise of your team in just a few minutes. Of course, many claims can be made in a short time, and just like any other document you’ll include in your pitch, your video will have to get past due diligence. Companies that have made their videos in advance of the due diligence process can often fall into trouble. Any claims they can’t prove must be cut, and if they are many, the video will have to be redone, wasting time and money. Unless you’re confident that you can evidence every claim, then it’s best to hold fire on making a video before you begin due diligence. This way you can write the script, show it to the platform, and ensure that they have no qualms with what you’ll be communicating to investors. For obvious reasons, you’ll need to highlight any claims that will feature as on-screen
graphics in your script when you show it to the platform, too.
team at your chosen equity crowdfunding platform will be delighted.
Treat your script like any other text you’ll be submitting to the platform. Analyse every line, have the clear evidence available, and you should be able to breeze through due diligence.
About the Author John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global equity crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £17m for over 50 companies on major equity crowdfunding platforms, with a greater than 90% success rate. 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 startups and sees crowdfunding as more than just raising funds; it’s an opportunity to build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers.
The due diligence process can be tough, and at times, frustrating. It’s also a crash course in how to get your house in order and hone your knowledge of your business and market – all in a few short weeks. Experience tells me it’s the perfect training for what you’ll go through with your inquisitive potential investors, once your campaign is up and running! If you start your preparations as soon as you can, have your evidence to hand and are clear and transparent, not only with the due diligence process be less stressful, the due diligence
Using SME investment to protect from market volatility Rhetoric around the uncertainty of Brexit, the UK’s political sphere and underperforming equity funds have left both investors and businesses somewhat unsure of where to turn. The FTSE 100 has seen six days of losses and has fallen more than 5% since U.S. President Donald Trump announced more tariffs on Chinese exports. The market is currently at a lower value than this time last year as Brexit negotiations linger and global politics take their toll. However, for private equity, the attitude is widely very positive, with record investment in SMEs through private deals and a huge demand for UK-based investment opportunities. In fact, the amount invested in equity deals in the first half of 2019 grew 15% from the second half of last year to £4.5billion. This represented the best first half on record, with a 15% increase in the total amount of investment received by the UK’s start-ups and scaleups. 2018 saw a record amount of private equity investment in European SMEs with €80.6billion invested in 7,800 companies. This clear demand for private investment on the continent is also being seen in the UK as investors look for alternatives to stocks and shares and trust in the growth of private companies. This applies not only to established businesses but also at the other end of the risk profile at the start-up and seed level. As overall the number of deals rose 10% since the previous half, and the majority of the increase was at the seed-stage. Confidence in seed-stage
deals tends to be a good indicator of overall investment confidence and so it is really great to see that this number is rising in the face of political uncertainty. There was also a 17% increase in the number of growth stage deals and their average size rose from £16m to £17m which shows the continued ambition of entrepreneurs. This goes against many common beliefs that all businesses are in a very conservative frame of mind In the last year of so we have seen a hugely positive private equity trend. Our investor base is as keen as ever before to fund the fantastic range of innovative small businesses that the UK has to offer. And in terms of the desire to grow and raise funds as a business; we have seen record deal-flow and ambition as firms look to get on with business. For a business raising funds, private equity can also provide guidance and expertise, and is more likely to lead to valuations based upon reality rather than the hype that can be attached to funds or markets. One of the biggest advantages of investing into privately held companies is their independence from global markets. There are still huge opportunities for growth if the business itself is built upon solid foundations of experienced management and innovation. There are also fantastic incentives to invest through schemes such as EIS, with generous tax efficiencies available. Small businesses are more able to pivot and adapt to the changes that Brexit or world events could bring about with opportunities undoubtedly existing. By Luke Davis, CEO and Founder of IW Capital
E&I Luxury Lifestyle Section
Image of Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa
Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa
Can travel be a transcendental experience? E&I sent Mark Southern to the Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa in Mauritius to find out.
It’s said that Mark Twain once wrote, “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” He always did like a quote. However, no matter how divine a honeymoon island may be, can travel truly be transcendental? Can spreading your wings really be a stairway to salvation? Whilst this correspondent is no ecclesiastical scholar, we touch down on the Indian Ocean paradise’s hallowed green lands and golden beaches wondering if we will share Twain’s island enlightenment. He and I do share a first name, after all. Our Mauritian pilgrimage is based at the Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa, located in the South West pocket of perfection, Flic-en-Flec. Unlike the busier (but, let’s face it, still pretty wonderful) north, this hidden peninsula carries with it any number of undiscovered and quite beautiful secret charms, but Maradiva stands out as a quite spectacular enclave of peacefulness. Under the guiding hand of CEO Sanjiv Ramdanee, the all-villa complex has become synonymous with the very best of Mauritius getaways, and is a genuine contender for one of the finest hotels in the world. Much of this comes from the family feel deep rooted in the fabric of the resort, compared to the more generic international experience in some other luxury hotels on the island. This is no accident, as fifth generation Mauritian, Ramdanee has worked hard to keep a strong and authentic local flavour, whilst maintaining the quality you’d expect from a genuine 5/6 star escape. Resort life flows naturally around the private villas, world-class dining options, and, of course, the glorious beach. The 65 classically elegant villas, each with their own pool, nestle amongst the 27 acres of green spaces and wide walkways, providing pure privacy in their own sun-trap courtyards.
Exteriors are a subtle blend of Indian meets African, but inside contemporary modernity rules, with local twists. One beautiful touch of indulgence is the outdoor shower, hidden amongst your private terracotta garden - a resurrecting way to start any day. Meanwhile, it’s said that Mauritian happiness is food and family, and the resort has made significant strides to bring something new to an island already famed for finding its way to your heart via your stomach. Coast2Coast, the beachside restaurant brings an international menu, and an outstanding breakfast, while the exquisite Indian Cilantro thrills with its warmth cutting through the cooler Mauritian evenings. However, the pick of the bunch is the Japanese Teppan - an in-theround dining experience, where phenomenal food meets the sensory theatre of live cookery. Crafted in front of your eyes, the only downside is the FOMO you experience when you see what everyone else is having. Ultimately, though, there is nothing quite as redemptive as the warm embrace of virgin sand upon your toes, and throughout your stay the soul-enriching beach is the siren calling you towards her rapture. Some resorts lose their sense of space by forgetting the simple bliss of feeling alone with nothing but the ocean and golden sand, but thankfully Maradiva’s purposefully intimate number of guests ensures pure sanctuary. Can travel be transcendent? If done like this, yes it can. And, if Twain is indeed correct, this writer will be behaving a little better in future, just in case.
Discover the Maradiva Villas Resort and Spa at maradiva.com.
The Perfect Greek Villa Stay
Images of Villa Sienna
An idyllic long weekend escape to The Greek Villas’ wonderful Villa Lopez and Villa Sienna. Ocean views for days, cicada song, hummingbird moths’ lavender dancing and the heady evening scent of sun-baked native herbs – balm to sooth any work-weary soul. Just thinking back to good times relaxing with a glass or two of excellent Greek wine on the terrace of my old-stone but all-luxury villa perched high on a headland in Mykonos, watching the sun rise and set in a daily blaze of amber glory. Villa Lopez, from The Greek Villas collection, is everything you’d wish for - luxurious, perfectly positioned away from the Mykonos tourist and party-going crowds, yet still within reach of the many excellent beaches, quite coves and best restaurants. More of an estate - it actually has one large central house, with several satellite villas each offering privacy yet proximity – perfect for extended family stays or special celebration beak with friends. The main villa is stunning – boasts its own cinema, gym and basketball court, plus a stunning outdoor dining, relaxing and pool area with spectacular views across the headland to the sparkling tealblue sea beyond. The main guest villa is super stylish, spacious and has its own lovely private terrace. We enjoyed wonderful dining experiences thanks to a private chef coming in to the villa to create delicious breakfasts and memorably special authentic Greek island dinners – using the freshest local produce paired with fantastic wines. During our days there, we took a fantastic boat trip out to explore the nearby islands of
Delos and Rhenia, walking amongst incredible ancient ruins and cooling down with dips from our boat into the sea in a turquoise and crystal clear sheltered cove. With an amazing picnic lunch of course! We also enjoyed excellent lunches and dinners at a couple of the best seafood restaurants back on Mykonos. Reluctant to leave Mykonos but excited for the next part of our journey, we took the ferry to the quieter island of Paros. Here we stayed at another wonderful The Greek Villas’ property – Villa Sienna – a white-washed very pretty property nestled in olive groves above a small cove. With a dining terrace to die for, and infinity pool with views out across the small valley to the sea beyond, it’s such an enchanting place to stay. There are numerous bedrooms making it ideal for a group of friends or family breaks. Again we were treated to private chefs to create incredible meals and had fun learning how to cook some Greek favourites ourselves too. Lazy, days spent exploring, swimming, and relaxing by the pool were the perfect antidote to hectic city life. Can’t wait to stay in another villa or three from The Greek Villas collection as having experienced first-hand how fantastic their properties and hosts out there are, and how professional the company is, I know I can absolutely trust any villa I book with them would be first class. The only challenge is which from their expansive collection to choose? Being a Gerald Durrell fan since a child, Corfu is beckoning… so maybe the spectacularly-positioned Villa Adriana with its huge infinity pool, or Villa Donatella nestled amongst lush greenery just metres away from a pretty cove…. Decisions.. decisions.. Visit www.thegreekvillas.com
Images of Villa Sienna
Images of Villa Lopez
Weekend Escapes: Vineyards to Visit Notching up more and more awards each year, British wine is making its mark and boldly taking on the might of even popular French and New Zealand vintages. Vineyards and wine estates across the country are great places to visit too â€“ most
offering fantastic tasting experiences, tours and even fine dining and luxurious over-night stays. So, this winter why not pack up your wellies and warm woollies and head off to enjoy some wine-focused weekend escapes.
Jenkyn Place, Hampshire Once this marlstone and greensand land near the village of Bentley was planted with hops, but the chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines which thrive here now produce some of the most awarded sparkling wines in the whole country. This pretty vineyard isn’t open daily to the general public, but does run excellent tours you can book throughout the year which we highly recommend. All Jenkyn Place sparkling wines are made using the same traditional method as in France’s champagne region. For this season’s festivities, ordering at least a case each of their recently released and already highly acclaimed first ever Blanc de Blanc (a 2015), new vintage Brut Classic Cuvee 2014 and Rose 2014 is a must. Plus, as an extra special gift, we recommend a magnum of their simply delicious 2009 Rose or Brut Cuvee of the same year. www.jenkynplace.com
Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey Located in pretty rolling countryside in the Surrey Hills near to Dorking, Surrey, Denbies has been producing wine since 1986 – winning multiple gold awards its for sparkling wine production, the first ever gold for an English rose wine, and most recently, a coveted international gold for Denbies Noble Harvest Dessert wine. Visitors can enjoy over 7 miles of trails throughout the vineyard, take guided tours and enjoy tastings. Denbies has its own new hotel too nestled in the heart of the estate with lovely views across the vineyards and rolling hills. Of course you can dine here too in the Gallery and also the Vineyard Restaurant located in the hotel’s orangery. If you can, pick up one of only 500 available bottles of their simply superb IEWA 2019 Gold Medal winning Brokes Botrytis Ortega 2016 dessert wine for your festive celebrations. www.denbies.co.uk
Chapel Down, Kent The picturesque 22 acres of vineyards are located within an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ near the pretty market town of Tenterden. It’s a wine lover’s delight to visit, with guided tours , tutored tastings, vineyard walks, beautiful herb garden, highly rated ‘The Swan’ restaurant and shop stocking not only their wonderful wines – including some ‘cellar door’ exclusives but a host of local produce too. There’s even a wine school there where you can study WSET wine courses. Known as one of the very best winemakers in the UK and suppliers to Michelin star restaurants, Chapel Down produces a wide range of world-class still and sparkling wines – the latter created in the same Traditional Method as champagne. Do treat yourself to a case of Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blanc – a Decanter Gold Medal Award winner – the perfect luxury fizz for the festive season. www.chapeldown.com
Greyfriars, Surrey Located on the sunny south facing chalk slopes of the Hog’s Back at Puttenham, just outside Guildford in Surrey, Greyfriars has been producing wonderful sparkling wines for years, some of which have notched up a number of prestigious awards. The vineyards are predominantly planted with the three classic Champagne varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, plus small plots of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Tours and tasting events are available and visitors can often be the first to enjoy some limited release wines only available at the vineyard. There’s also a shop where you can buy their excellent wines including their totally delicious 2015 Cuvee Royal Limited Edition. www.greyfriarsvineyard.co.uk
Range Rover Velar Versatile Elegant & Capable Glamourous, elegant and modern, the Range Rover Velar has been notching up award after award since its launch and it’s clear to see why. From copious kerb appeal - judged to be the most beautiful designed vehicle at the 2018 World Car Awards - to its multi-faceted capability, the Velar has set the bar high in demonstrating to all competitor brands exactly how a great SUV should be. A masterclass in sleek lines and minimum fuss, the distinctive design of the Range Rover Velar features perfectly optimised proportions and a stunning silhouette. Its super-slim Matrix Laser-LED headlights, flush deployable door handles and sleek Touch Pro Duo infotainment are all hallmarks of Range Rover’s reductionist
design philosophy. Viewed in the metal it looks purposeful, sporting and expensive. Neatly filling the space between the also excellent Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, the Velar delivers all the practicality, connectivity and capability expected from the Range Rover family. Brimming with the latest technology, and with the inclusion of more sustainable materials throughout, it really is a car of our time. Out on and off the road, it’s a deeply engaging drive, thanks to its acclaimed powertrain and performance and handling technology and a sophisticated four-corner suspension system. Engines range from the clean and responsive 180PS 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel to the potent 380PS supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.
With safety considered paramount, there are a host of driver assistant systems including Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go. The Velarâ€™s radar-based High-Speed Emergency Braking enables enhanced forward collision detection. The system works between 6-99 mph and is able to detect an imminent collision, alerting the driver and applying the brakes if the driver fails to respond. And, now fitted as standard, all owners will benefit from a Rear Camera, Front and Rear Parking Aids, Driver Condition Monitor, Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist.
Adaptive Dynamics is now optionally available on a number of models throughout the range. By monitoring wheel movement 500 times per second, and body movements 100 times per second, the system continuously varies the damping forces at all four corners of vehicle. This ensures that suspension stiffness is optimised for the driving conditions, improving ride comfort and handling â€“ thereâ€™s even a specific calibration for off-road driving. The Velar is a text-book example of a modern, elegant, versatile and capable SUV perfect for urban and countryside life.
SEAT Leon Estate Cupra Fast & Fancy A masterclass in innovative exterior design, coupled with dynamic performance, this latest Cupra is being hailed by many as one of the most desirable sports estate around. Only 150 of these special edition models are available in the UK and if a 4.9 0-62mph sprint isnâ€™t quite fast enough for you, we recommend adding the ABT tuning pack option which will drop it down to an even more impressive 4.5 seconds.
With high specification as standard, this great looking model comes with quad exhaust, Brembo brakes, bucket seats, KESSY and a panoramic sunroof. Gorgeous copper accents and carbon fibre detailing add to the premium external appeal, and the upgraded models will feature ABT detailing on the rear badge. Out on the road this car is a dynamic pleasure to drive thanks to its highly tuned turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engine linked to a sevenspeed DSG auto box, advanced 4Drive drive system and special chassis set up. Eye catching to a fault – especially given it’s an estate, the combination of black with copper accents is tasteful and unique. The bold use of carbon fibre to maximise the car’s performance and aesthetics adds to the appeal. Copper logos and badges also emphasise the model’s
credentials, with the same tone used on its exclusive 19” alloy rims with copper hub caps which frame the front Brembo brakes. Slip inside the spacious, light and airy cabin and you’ll first notice illuminated aluminium plaques and all the copper accents which continue inside on the climate control vents, central console, logo on the steering wheel and on the stitching of the bucket seats and steering wheel. All gadgetry and displays easy to access and use. Rear view cameras are handy, and thanks to the integration of the latest connectivity suite, drivers can link their mobile devices to the car and benefit from selected apps and increased functionality too. A great looking, dynamic driving estate.
SEAT Leon Estate FR Versatile, Spacious & Great to Drive If the SEAT Leon Cupra Estate is the visual showstopper of the range, its sibling the FR is a worthy stablemate and ideal for those who want space, pace and versatility at a super price at just under £23,000.
It comes with a huge raft of features and clever design touches as standard making it and excellent choice for those entrepreneurs who need an affordable vehicle that’s practical, durable, versatile, super to drive and decent looking too. Highlights include sports comfort seats, FR styling details, very good nav sand media systems with a high res colour display, full link smartphone integration giving great
connectivity throughout, 60/40 split folding rear seats, hill hold control, front and rear parking sensors …to name just a few…. Our car on test was the swift and smooth FR 1.5 TSI 130 6-speed manual offering a decent 46.3 mpg combined with 112 g/km CO2 emissions. An engaging and dynamic drive just as good tackling local errands and long motorway hauls. The cabin is comfortable, light and airy with excellent visibility throughout.
New Volvo V60 Scandi-Styled, Super to Drive Perfectly practical, great to drive – Volvo’s V60 has set all the standards for cars in this class. Its clean Scandinavian lines and subtle yet effective eye-catching details give it an allure of its own – setting it apart from more fussy and chrome bedecked rivals. Distinctive headlights with their T-shaped daytime running lights and indicators to the tail-lights emphasise the muscular line that flows down the car’s lean flanks and hint at sporting prowess. Slip inside and you’ll notice the cabin and dash are just as elegant. It has the same ground-breaking Sensus touchscreen control system as Volvo’s other new models, which allows the cabin to be largely free of buttons and switches. This clean design, along with premium natural materials such as the hand-finished Drift Wood inlays of Inscription versions, makes the V60’s interior a calming place to be.
This may be Volvo’s smallest estate, but there’s still ample space for a family to travel in comfort. It actually has the largest boot of any premium mid-size estate, at 529 litres with the rear seats up. Fold the rear seats down flat – done at the touch of a button on cars with the optional Convenience pack – and the load space increases even more to an impressive 1,441 litres. Flat boot sides and no loading lip make using all the V60’s available space easy, too. Opt for the hands-free tailgate opening our model on test had - when you’ve bags of Waitrose shopping!
Like all new Volvos, this one comes with the latest in connectivity and infotainment technology including the company’s groundbreaking Sensus touchscreen control system. The nine- inch display allows you to control the car’s major functions from a single interface. It works like a smartphone or tablet, with full pinch, zoom and swipe functionality. We enjoyed the sophisticated voice-activated control system which is also standard. It enables you to change cabin temperature or radio station whilst keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The V60 can be turned into a WiFi hotspot too, via either a mobile phone or the built-in car modem and a SIM card with a mobile data allowance. A wide range of apps are available and every model benefits from the pioneering Volvo On Call connected services platform – amongst its many advantages, this will come to your rescue in an emergency, too. If a seatbelt pre-tensioner is activated or an airbag is deployed in a crash, an operator will contact the car and can send the emergency services to your precise location using the car’s inbuilt GPS system. Volvo On Call can
also be used to contact roadside assistance – for example, if your car has a puncture – and the GPS can even help to track your car if it is stolen. Another highlight for us was the excellent Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system option our model - crystal clear sound fills the cabin doing more than justice to all your favourite tracks. Out on the road, this is an engaging and dynamic drive. Every engine the V60 comes with is Volvo’s own economical and smooth 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E unit. As you’d expect, all are fitted with a veritable raft of safety systems. Highlights include City Safety collision avoidance, Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology, Run-off Road Mitigation and Runoff Road Protection and Steering Support. These are all part of Volvo’s Vision 2020 – that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020. A ground-breaking, elegant, safety focused great car to own and drive.
SEAT Tarraco Stylish 7-Seater Perfect for Fast Paced Family Life Super spacious, engaging to drive, tech and features rich, classy and stylish, SEATâ€™s Tarraco is a great choice if you are seeking a truly versatile car able to meet just about any demand a busy household could need.
When many think of a 7-seater, they asume huge, cumbersome, tank-like to drive with the turning circle and agility of an ocean liner and something only housewives would drive to ferry kids to school in. The Tarraco is a refreshing and complete contradiction to all of these conventions.
when all seats are in use - more than enough for large Waitrose weekly shop.
With its cleverly sculpted lines and sloping curves it’s not remotely box-like, yet still retains acres of room inside and looks purposeful and very well made. There’s actually a substantial 1775 litres of space with both rows of seats folded and even a minimum of 230 litres
Standing out against competitors costing significantly more, the Tarraco has a premium look and feel, with high quality, durable and aesthetically pleasing materials and finishes throughout.
Strong, sporty, elegant and versatile, it’s designed as the car for those who want to take on anything, and not slow down – whether that’s a busy family or sophisticated couple.
Slip inside and you’ll see the Tarraco comes with contemporary, state-of-the-art interior design elements including a sophisticated black roof liner, ashboard with decorative chrome moulding and a choice of your choice of elegant and comfortable upholstery, from cloth with Alcantara® to soft black leather. There’s oodles of space for the whole family to travel in comfort, and neat touches like seatback trays and drink holders too. Visibility for all is very good – the driver enjoys a command position, and large windows and a high ride mean views normally blocked by countryside hedges can be savoured. The boot when the two third row seats are down is large – enough for everything from golf clubs to cases galore. The Tarraco is super comfortable even during longer journeys with acres of head, shoulder and leg space throughout. The cabin is tech-rich too – including one of the best info-tainment systems and excellent real-view camera for pitch-perfect parking. Designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind and comes with the latest in advanced safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically speeds up and slows down your car according to traffic. There’s also Emergency Call which notifies emergency services automatically if you are in an accident, or you can make a call just by pressing the button on the ceiling. And Lane Assist, where advanced sensors measure the distance between the Tarraco and other cars in traffic so it can accelerate or decelerate accordingly without ever leaving the lane. Front Assist is also included which reacts instantly to avoid collisions brakes automatically to maintain a safe distance. On top of all that, the Tarraco is fitted a raft of advanced technology designed for a life on the move. We found the Top View Camera excellent – it features cameras in the front, rear and exterior mirrors that provide 360° visibility and work with Park Assist to help you park hands-free. Also useful on test was the virtual pedal which enables you to open and close the
boot when you have your arms full, and the customisable 10.25′′ SEAT Digital Cockpit was intuitive and very easy to navigate and switch between maps, music and driving assistance features from one central display. Spec-wise, SEAT has simplified this often thoroughly confusing aspect. There are seven trims to choose from each with their own unique equipment and appeal. You just pick the trim that sounds like your kind of car, then choose the engine that suits you and finally go for the colour that most appeals. The trims are SE, SE Technology, SE First Edition, XCELLENCE, XCELLENCE Lux, XCELLENCE First Edition and finally, XCELLENCE First Edition Plus. Even the least expensive SE trim is comprehensively loaded, including auto headlights with coming and leaving home functions, electric parking brake, parking sensors, SEAT drive profile, four different modes including 4Drive for off-road, roof rails, full link smart phone integrations, digital cockpit, lane assist and much, much more. The range topping XCELLENCE First Edition Plus’ highlights include 20” Supreme machined alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and Winter pack. There’s a host of accessories you can opt for too. Out on the road it’s a really pleasurable drive remarkably agile with plenty of feel, and frugal also, thanks to a super-efficient direct-injection, turbo charge engine range with start-stop emitting low CO2s. A genuinely great, well priced, versatile family car.
Volvo XC90 Space, Pace, Class & Capability Few if any large SUV’s have the presence, space, safety creds, drivability and class of Volvo’s flagship 7-seater much acclaimed XC90. Unlike some of its more expensive rivals, there’s nothing overtly flashy, unnecessary and over the top – just a confidence in its clean lines, quality of build and capability.
Substantial and attractive, the T6 AWD Inscription model on test graced our drive in an elegant Savile Grey, with Amber and Charcoal Nappa soft leather seats to match. The cabin is a calming uncluttered place, with super comfortable seats and lots of head, shoulder and leg space. Quiet too – unless you’ve got squabbling kids in the car, with barely perceptible wind, engine and road noise. The boot’s more than capable of carrying a monster Waitrose shop, half a team’s worth of sports kit, or plenty of bags for a relaxing weekend away. All dash controls are intuitively easy to use, and again, there’s nothing superfluous – just everything you’d actually need. Out on the road the XC90 is super spritely for its weight and size. The 310bp T6 petrol we drove, coupled to a super slick 8-speed auto box, can pull out a very respectable 6.5 second 0-62 mph sprint and is responsive throughout all the gear range. Its Active Four-C chassis with four corner dampers and electronic air suspension makes for a ‘just-right’ ride and the steering’s nicely weighted and precise. Living in the country the car certainly got its tyres muddy and tackled slippery and rough forest tracks with ease, and also made comfortable
work of a few major motorway trips to Wales and back. This car is actually the perfect vehicle for touring – decent to drive, excellent visibility throughout, ability to achieve your optimum driving position, supportive and comfortable seats, all-cabin climate control, a great sat nav and cracking Bower & Wilkins system with smartphone integration including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety wise too – as you’d expect there’s features like blind spot warning, steer assist, cross traffic alert with auto braking and rear collision mitigation. The 360 degree parking camera is superb too and City Safety is fitted as standard which detects and helps you avoid cyclists, large animals and pedestrians. We’ve included some options in our review, but a wealth of other navigation, emergency , safety and entertainment features come as standard too. It’s little wonder Volvo’s XC90 has notched up countless awards and fans world-wide. Look out for the new 2020 model year versions with mild hybrid engines and upgrades.
DS 3 Crossback Attractive Advanced Compact SUV Perfect for those wanting to choose something different from the plethora of run of the mill SUVs out there, the classy DS 3 Crossback certainly stands out from the crowd.
With its curvaceous silhouette and large alloy wheels, this compact SUV displays an avantgarde style that’s both powerful and sculpted. Flush fitting door handles add to the appeal and fresh and modern looks. Brimming with advanced dynamic, info/ entertainment technology this sophisticated model represents excellent value for money too – and comes in a range of very well equipped specs.
Reassuringly safe too, this icon of hightech style passed the Euro NCAP test with flying colours. It’s the only premium B-SUV model to exceed the scores of 96% for protection of adult occupants, 86% for protection of child occupants, and 76% for safety assist. Included as standard are features such as emergency brake assist system functioning at speeds of up to 53mph (85kph), lane keeping assist and speed sign recognition. Further equipment is available depending on trim level and customisation, such as emergency braking up to 87mph (140kph) with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist recognition, active blind spot monitoring, DS MATRIX LED VISION, extended speed limit recognition, DS DRIVE ASSIST, a level-two semi-autonomous driving system. A great looking, clever, compact SUV well worth consideration.
Jaguar E-Pace Excellent Sportscar-Inspired SUV One of the most stylish and desirable SUVs around, Jaguar’s excellent E-Pace offers a matchless blend of quality, class, versatility, looks and sportscar honed performance.
The distinctive Jaguar grille, muscular proportions, short overhangs and powerful haunches – all alluding to ample power and strength - are instantly recognisable from the company’s stunning F-Type. Slip Inside, and you’ll find more sportscar touches, and a cabin that’s superbly appointed and luxurious throughout. Jaguar interiors always match the quality of those in models costing tens of thousands of pounds more, and this one is no exception. From ceiling to floor, every material and finish is top notch, and the ergonomic dash tech-rich - with the all the latest infotainment, ambiance, safety and performance gadgetry right at your fingertips. Roomy too – this model may be under 4.4 metres long, but has exceptional interior space and can seat five in comfort - as well as holding
a weekly mammoth Waitrose shop and golf clubs in the boot with ease. The E-Pace is available with a range of powerful and efficient Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. The 300PS petrol turbo version powers the sporting SUV from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds, and, for customers who want the ultimate efficiency, the front-wheel drive 150PS diesel delivers CO2 emissions of a respectable 124g/km. An excellent all-rounder guaranteed to please. Our model on test was the D240 R-Dynamic HSE, with a 6.8 secs. sprint resplendent in a gorgeous Farallon Black Pearl paint optional extra, with striking Mars Red interior. Additional options fitted included the Black Exterior Pack, privacy glass, head-up display and heated steering wheel – handy for this cold weather. Out on the road, this car is a dynamic joy to drive. A high driving position and acres of glass give excellent visibility, the seats are super supportive and comfortable on even the longest journeys. It’s most definitely right at the top of the very best cars of its class we’ve tested to date and is highly recommended.
City Car Collection For entrepreneurs living an urban lifestyle, here are a selection of mighty mini models ideal for city life.
New Mini Electric This first fully electric model from MINI has recently been unveiled. Production at the Oxford plant will begin later this year, with deliveries starting in March next year. Fully loaded with beautifully designed features the model boasts performance stats close to the hot-hatch MINI Cooper S, and also has great eco credentials. This is set to be a super popular city-dweller car choice.
All-new Mazda3 A city car for those who want decent driver engagement, the Mazda3 not only looks great but delivers a human-centric experience to driver and passengers alike. The model is also the first to feature Mazda’s revolutionary new Skyactiv-X with world’s first production petrol engine featuring compression ignition which combines the advantages of petrol and diesel power plants, increasing fuel economy and torque, whilst reducing emissions.
SEAT Mii Electric The start of an electric future for SEAT, this, the brand’s smallest model is perfectly poised to provide a super stylish and eco-conscious citydriving choice. Like all SEATs, the Mii Electric comes with a great array of tech and other features as standard, including parking sensors and traffic sign recognition - particularly handy for urban use, plus cruise control and sports seats. It will also be the first model to be offered with SEAT CONNECT, a system which cleverly enables owners to control their car’s lights, lock its doors and put the air-conditioning on from their smart phones.
All-new Renault Clio No line up of city and compact cars could be complete without including Renault’s indomitable Clio. Completely redesigned inside and out, the all-new Clio is lighter, more luxurious, spacious and refined than ever, plus it introduces cutting edge driving assistance and infotainment systems to the supermini class. Safety-wise it has already been awarded a five-star EuroNCAP rating and, handy for urban driving, all models get autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road sign recognition and six airbags.
Audi A1 Citycarver A true city-slicker, the Audi A1 is now available to order with a new citycarver specification based on the popular Sportback model. A raft of special exterior design features together with increased ground clearance give a more rugged off-road-esq look and purposeful stance to complement its city-friendly dimensions and demeanour. Tech-rich, it is blessed with cutting-edge infotainment features and extensive digital connectivity and is available with swift, frugal and capable petrol engines.
VW up! Consistently notching up ‘best city car’ awards, VW’s titchy up! continues to win praise for its great visibility, high level of kit, style, drivability and safety. Remarkably spacious too it can seat four, and has a 251-litre boot, plus boasts a very good reputation for reliability.
Fast & Fabulous For many entrepreneurs one of the reasons for embarking on their journey is to be able afford some of the special things in life – a great car being one. Whilst six-figure supercars may be on the list, it’s worth considering some of the excellent performance models out there, representing fantastic value for money AND exhilarating driving experiences.
Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R The only place for this fantastic model is right at the top of the list. Simply the best fun to be had on the road, any road. And yes this includes ‘The Ring’ and Spa Francorchamps where in £72,140 Nürburgring Record Pack guise it has broken all the best front-wheel drive lap times with Renault Sport test driver Laurent Hurgon at the helm . A masterclass in dynamic handling and blistering performance its more than capable of trouncing rivals 3 times the price and is on our wish list to be able to snap up one of just 32 of the total 500 models made coming to the UK.
All new Ford Focus ST More power and faster acceleration than ever before, this Ford is on fire. Inspired by its siblings the Ford GT supercar, F-150 Raptor pick-up and Ford Mustang it’s designed to give that thrilling punch back in the seat feeling when you hit the gas. Cornering ability has been improved too thanks to the adoption of Ford’s first electronic limited-slip differential for a front-wheel drive model.
Honda Civic Type R Still notching up awards, this hot hatch remains the firm favourite of many performance car lovers. Probably the most OTT of all in terms of looks, this car certainly isn’t for shy and retiring types and every inch, every spoiler shouts it’s fast and fun.
New Mini John Cooper Works GP Motor racing fans were the first to get a glimpse of this much awaited model back in the summer when it was completing set-up runs on the legendary NürburgringNordschleife as part of its series development process. Just 3,000 will be made and no doubt snapped up as soon as available for its stunning design and raw, cart-like trackhoned performance. Caterham 458 CSR The ultimate, most powerful EU Caterham Seven to date has been launched, capable of accelerating 0-62 mph in a blistering 3.9 seconds, and racing on to a top speed of 225 kmh. Small but mighty, weighing in at just 580kg, the 485 CSR delivers an eye-watering 409 ps per-tonne, almost the same as a Lamborghini Huracan or a Ferrari 599. Lotus Evija Breaking boundaries as the first pure electric British hypercar made its debut earlier this year to global acclaim. Able to reach 0-62mph in an astonishing 3 seconds, this the world’s most powerful series production car a power output of 2,000 yet can travel for 250 miles on electric alone. Just 130 will be produced in Norwich, the company’s historic home.
Best Work Bags & Travel Cases The first female focused collection available in Harrods, John Lewis and now outlets nationwide is truly a delight to own. Weâ€™ve loved testing the Tally Carry-On Spinner and Essential Tote in a gorgeous deep plum shade and theyâ€™ve proved to be perfect companions for both daily work purposes and business or pleasure short haul trips. Super-lightweight, durable and with plenty of dedicated compartments to hold your items neatly in place, all bags and cases in the range are elegant, versatile and available in black, navy or plum. Each piece is soft sided with a slim profile and tasteful flashes of chrome and
Briggs & Riley Rhapsody Collection
luxurious leather accents to add to the aesthetic appeal. Particularly handy and innovative features include a slip-through back panel for easy transportation of two bags as one, and four double swivel spinner wheels for effortless 360-degree turning. This polished and femalefocused collection includes a Crossbody bag, Essential Tote, Slim Business brief, two backpacks, a Cabin Spinner, and a Tall Carry-on Spinner. And, for added peace of mind, Briggs & Riley are the only company in the luggage industry to offer a lifestyle guarantee to repair any functional aspects free of charge. www.brigs-riley.com.
First impressions matter, yet practicality is essential when it comes to work bags and travel carry-ons. Here is our pick of those with style and substance.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Osprey London The Correspondent work bag Aspinal of London Mount Street Leather briefcase bag Cloud 9 Gold Carry On Antler Sonar Exclusive Tumi Silver
Winter Wines From rich reds to refreshing, crisp whites and festive fizz, here’s a selection of wine and champagne to savour this season. We recommend The Finest Bubble for all your champagne needs. This premium Champagne delivery service lists only prestige Champagnes, which are all available for same day delivery in London and next day in the rest of the country. The same day 2-hour London delivery guarantee is available on most bottles – perfect for those surprise celebrations including marriage and engagements and last-minute emergencies such as almost-forgotten anniversaries! And of course, Christmas shopping. Order from www.thefinestbubble.com
1. Cune Crianza 2015 (Asda, Morrisons) £10.75 2. Contino Reserva 2014 (Sainsburys) £23.55 3. Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2017 | RRP: £27.65 | Whalley Wine Shop, www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk 4. Monopole Blanco 2018 (Hoults, Vino Wines, Whalley Wine Shop, Noble Green Wines, Hailsham Cellars) £10.95 5. Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2017 | RRP: £16.40 | Stockists: Sainsbury’s 6. Imperial Reserva 2015
(Morrisons, Co-op) £26.80 7. Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2019 | RRP : £12 | Stockists : Majestic Wine, Waitrose, 8. Cune Gran Reserva 2012 (Tesco) £18.65 9. Laurent-Perrier Vintage 2008 | RRP: £59.95 | Stockists: The Finest Bubble 10.Demi-sec NV Seyval Blanc, Reichensteiner | RRP £22.50 | Stockists: Denbies Wine & Gift Shop and online atwww.denbies.co.uk 11.Villa
Sauvignon Blanc 2018 | RRP : £16.15 | Stockists: Asda
Stockists: Waitrose (in branches and online); Bacchus Wines, Christopher Piper Wines, 2. Taittinger Brut Reserve NV | RRP £44.15 | Stockists: Asda, Booths, Majestic, Ocado, Sainsburys etc 3. Laurent Perrier 2002 £144.95. www.thefinestbubble.com 4. Laurent Perrier 2007 £69.95 www.thefinestbubble.com
The Perfect Time 1.
1.Reservoir Longbridge Nightfall £14500 2. Ferragamo F-80 Classic £950 3. Grand Seiko Snowflake £5,250 4. Grand Seiko Manual Winding £6,600 5. Grand Seiko Spring Dive £5,300 6. Raymond Weil Toccata Ladies Quartz £895
Ultimate Sports Performance Watch If you are serious about your sport and over-all health and fitness, Suunto’s range of GPS compact performance watches are the ideal choice. It stylish burgundy copper, the Suunto 5 compact GPS watch we’ve been testing offers excellent battery life of up to 40 hours, and is comes with over 80 sport modes, making it easy for you to monitor all your workouts and follow your progress. The watch also tracks your 24/7 activity including steps, calories, stress and sleep, so you can make sure that you are recovered and ready for your next sports activity. We found the watch to be comfortable and lightweight to wear pretty much round the clock. It’s easy to use even with gloves on – handy for this time of year, is water resistant to 50m, and designed to take a beating. The Suunto app is excellent – it enables you to discover a world of new routes with heatmaps, and you simply sync and explore new tracks directly from your watch. You can connect to your favorite sports apps and services from the Suunto app to get more out of your experience. And if you wish, share your activities with your sports communities and tap into specific training analysis and guidance. www. suunto.com
Advanced Aesthetic Treatments For a Youthful Face One of the latest solutions for sagging, wrinkles and excess fat is Profound RF. Known as the ‘non surgical face lift’, this is an injectable radiofrequency treatment where fine needles are inserted and charged with radiofrequency energy which heats the skin for a few seconds to stimulate skin repairs. This tightens, smoothens, hydrates and melts fat. Clinical trials confirmed Profound RF delivered as much as third of the result of a surgical facelift – minus of course all the associated discomfort and downtime. 100% of patients enjoyed significant improvements after just a single treatment. This is available at the Dr Tatiana Clinic. For those who are not 100% happy with the shape of their nose, but fear a traditional surgical rhinoplasty - aka ‘nose job’, fillers can now be used to reduce the appearance of a pronounced bridge bump, and lift an aging downturned tip. The effect is immediate, can be quite amazing and make a significant difference to someone’s profile and confidence. There’s also no downtime and minimal discomfort during the procedure. Widely available throughout London, including Harley Street’s The Private Clinic.
For Beautiful Eyes Tear trough treatments can remove the dark shadow hollows under our eyes and really freshen the complexion. Highly acclaimed surgeon Olivier Branford is an absolute master at this, expertly using Juvaderm filler to gently and pretty painlessly deposit tiny amounts to plump out the area and banish dark circles immediately. The effect lasts for between 6 and 12 months. This treatment is available from a host of top aesthetic clinics including the Cadogan Clinic where you can book in with Mr Branford.
If you are one of the many who suffer from dry eyes and blepharitis, Elizabeth Hawkes, consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon performs the revolutionary BlephEx® treatment at the same clinic. This new medical procedure removes biofilm from the eyelashes and eyelids quickly and painlessly. BlephEx® can be performed twice a year to help keep your eyes white and your lashes clean.
Ageing in the Eye Area We are constantly on the quest to find the balance between ageing gracefully and looking naturally younger than our age. Whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the eyes are often reveal the first signs of ageing as the skin loses elasticity, eye bags begin to form and dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles start appearing. Miss Elizabeth Hawkes, Consultant Oculoplastic Surgeon at the Cadogan Clinic explains what happens to our eyes as we age and what we can do to help rejuvenate this area: The eyelid skin is described as the area between the eyebrows and the eyelashes and in the lower lid the area between the eyelashes and the cheek. It is unique to the skin in the rest of face as it lacks a superficial layer of subcutaneous fat. This makes the eyelid skin one of the thinnest skins in the body. Subsequently it is the first part of the face to show signs of ageing. This is the reason that upper eyelid and lower eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed worldwide. The eyelid structure is complex and thus the peri-ocular changes over time are complex so an experienced oculoplastic surgeon is best placed to treat this region. Firstly, the skin
starts to sag due to a loss of elastin, which is essential for skin to keep its shape after being pulled or stretched, therefore giving the appearance of excess skin, medically called dermatochalasis. The underlying orbicularis oculi muscle which encircles the eye becomes weak and bulky which also contributes to the appearance of excess skin. The next layer underneath the muscle is a very important structure called the orbital septum, which contains the orbital fat. This fat cushions the eyeball. Over time the septum weakens, therefore allowing fat to bulge or herniate forwards. In the upper eyelid area, it is common to see a prominence in the inner corner of the eyelid and on the lower eyelid this is cause for ‘eyebags’. Eyebags are essentially orbital fat that has prolapsed forward. The lower eyelids are part of the midface, as
described, the lower eyelid skin ends at the cheek. The cheek over time starts to descend and therefore there becomes a prominence of what is called the nasojugal groove, or ‘teartrough’. As children and through to our 20’s, the lower eyelid skin is continuous with the cheek, however as we age the nasojugal groove deepens therefore demarcating the lower eyelid from the cheek. By understanding the anatomy and associated facial changes over time non-surgical treatments such as botox, dermal fillers and laser skin rejuvenation can be used to treat the signs of ageing as well as surgical treatments such as blepharoplasty. For further information and to book a consultation with Miss Elizabeth Hawkes please call 020 7901 8500 or visit www.cadoganclinic.com
Seasonal Beauty Treats Collagen from the Pros Proto-col is a British brand offering a range on highly acclaimed beauty supplements, skincare and nutrition products. Discovered and now firm favourite of many top beauty influencers, their collagen collection includes highly effective facial serums and creams, cleansers and exfoliators plus collagen shots and capsules and gorgeous mineral make up. Plus they offer a great range of nutritional items including the multi-award-winning ‘Green Magic’ super-food fusion. Our particular favourites include the Collagen Facial Serum at £39.95, the fine line blasting The Lift XL at £29.95, Collagen Cordial original berry flavour at £59.95 and Collagen Shots at £34.95. www.proto-col.com SENSAI Soft Skin Some of the most gorgeous and effective moisturisers we’ve tried for some time come from the brand SENSAI. Their new Absolute Silk Cream and Fluid range contains their trademarked Koishimaru Silk Royal which has been discovered to promote the production of anti-ageing hyaluronic acid known to refine and perfect the complexion to unveil what the Japanese call ‘Kinuhada’ – flawlessly silky skin. Incredibly easily absorbed, beautifully scented and super moisturising these are such a treat for tired and dry skin. £145 each, exclusive to Harrods. Herbal Essentials Another firm favourite is the Herbal Essentials range which uses active plant botanicals in combination with pure Himalayan Spring Water which the brand states is clinically proven to benefit skin health. All products are cruelty free and most are vegan and we also love the fact the packaging is recyclable and they have never used microbeads. Try the excellent AHA Night Cream, Foaming Face Wash with zingy ginger and the Illuminating Mask for radiant skin. www.herbal-essentials.com
Bramley Body & Bath Indulge in this luxurious scented collection for bath, body and home. Inspired by the beauty and therapeutic properties of plants and made in the British countryside, each of the products has its own bespoke set of ingredients chosen for their remarkable properties and compelling scents, imbued with the power to restore and revive. We particularly loved the bath and shower oils and body lotion with juniper, sweet orange and bergamot essential oils. www. bramleyproducts.co.uk
Marvelous Mavala This famous swiss brand has just launched a new skincare range called Nutri Elixir. We highly recommend the Anti-Age Nutrition Essential Serum, Absolute Night Balm and Absolute Cream which are all easily absorbed and provide long lasting comfort. They contain a patented pro-lipid booster to restructure the cutaneous barrier proven to really transform the quality of the skin. www.mavala.com
Elemental Herbology Water Soothe Facial Oil ÂŁ30 from all natural skincare and spa brand www. elementalherbology.com is a calming and soothing facial treatment with an expert blend of plant and essential oils to deeply hydrate, reduce sensitivity and help to prevent early signs of ageing. The gently fragranced product contains a blend of 14 nourishing plant and essential oils including rose damask and chamomile to help restore skins barrier function and protect skin from environmental damage.
Kyushi Ritual Calming, restorative and naturally effective, the Orange & Neroli facial oil from Kyushi is 100% natural and vegan and combines the skin nourishing plant-based oils of Jojoba and Sqalane, with the powerful aromatherapy benefits of Sweet Orange, Bergamot and Neroli essential oils. This energising daily facial oil works to maintain, support and restore beautiful glowing skin, whilst putting a spring in your morning step – much needed during our dark Winter mornings. 30 ml £39. www.kyushi.co.uk
Naturally Norfolk Norfolk Natural Skin Care has a wonderful range of vegan, cruelty free and great to use items. Highlights include a long-lasting unisex Natural Deodorant which is completely free from aluminium and parabens and available in four fresh scents. It comes in a bottle made with recycled materials too. £14.50. There’s also a Hydrating Face Wash £19.00 which is perfect for even sensitive skin. It is completely non-toxic and comes in a choice of four uplifting fragrances – Sea Salt, Rose, Lime and also Fig. www.norfolknaturalliving.com
My Little Hero Serum Containing 98% certified organic ingredients. VOYA’s iconic facial serum is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and packed with antioxidants, offering nourishment to improve radiance and brighten dull skin. It’s lovely to use and gives a healthy fresh glow as well as helping diminish the signs of aging and protecting from environmental damage. £54 from www.voya.ie Elvie Trainer Discreet and effective, this is an award-winning pelvic floor trainer recommended by more than 1,000 health professionals including physiotherapists, obstetricians and fitness experts. www.elvie.com
Skin Chemistry The new Bi-Phase serums from Skin Chemist luxury skincare brand are wonderful to use. Super nourishing they combine the gentleness of water with powerful active ingredients to quench and soothe irritated, dull and uneven skin. The range comprises PURE Collagen 5%, PURE Hyaluronic 2% and PURE Caviar 5% serums - each suitable for all skin types, £29.90 each from www. skinchemists.com
Luscious Lips Acclaimed Swiss aesthetic manufacturer Teoxane’s latest product 3D Lip is formulated to plump, nourish and hydrate lips inbetween clinic treatment. The product contains microspheres of collagen and hyaluronic acid for instant hydration and long-lasting plumping. Concentrated levels of ceramide 2 and matrikine complex smooth lines while hydrating for a truly anti-ageing effect, while shea butter nourishes lips for softness. 3D Lip has been proven to create an immediate, visible boost to lip volume by instantly increasing the hyaluronic acid levels. www.teoxaneshop.co.uk Vichy Lip Balms Vichy has just launched new revivingcolour Naturalblend Lip Balms designed to condition and add radiant colour to your lips. The clever formulation has been created to infuse lips with moisture and softness and the super-creamy texture enables easy one-stroke application. You can choose from 5 natural, colour reviving shades designed to flatter all skin tones, leaving lips with a subtle, dewy finish. www.vichy.co.uk Look Good Feel Better We’re loving the Look Good Feel Better range. Not only is it PETA accredited, cruelty-free and vegan, but a percentage of the proceeds from sales goes towards a global cancer charity. Their luxury brush set made with super-soft and hypoallergenic taklon bristles is a must have, making applying and blending make-up like a pro a breeze. The set contains four brushes to apply, blend, highlight and contour. www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
Viviscal tablets Backed by Viviscal’s 25 years of scientific research in the field of haircare and specifically for women, these hair growth vitamins exclusively contain AminoMar C marine protein and enable you to maintain normal, healthy hair growth. www.viviscal.co.uk
PMD Personal Microderm PMD Clean is a smart facial cleansing device that deeply removes the skin’s impurities by breaking down dirt and oil from within the pores. Using ultra-hygienic silicone, the product is odour-resistant, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic.. The brush head never needs replacing. Suitable for all skin types and with four customisable modes, PMD Clean provides a full spectrum of cleansing options. www. uk.pmdbeauty.com SOS Super Serum Made in Britain, this incredibly versatile serum is hailed as the solution to even the most sensitive skin and can be used on even babies & children. It can reduce itching caused by eczema, psoriasis & dermatitis & soothe bites ,stings and minor burns, hydrate chapped and sun damaged skin and quickly manage allergic flare-ups. It only contains 12 ingredients including Wasabi, Burdock Leaf & Peppermint, It’s paraben and 100% vegan and cruelty free. www.sosserum.co.uk
Fine Fragrance Our winter favourites include: Jo Loves ‘Rose Petal 25’ – the ultimate romantic rose perfume. Long lasting and head turning. www.joloves.com Amouage. ‘Love Mimosa’ – light bright and effervescent hinting of springtime to come. www. amouage.com Fragrance Du Bois ‘Old Rose Intense’ – heady, decadent and seductive, the perfect fragrance for candle-lit nights. www. fragrancedubois.com Gallivant ‘Los Angeles’ – a distinctive, sophisticated neon floral fragrance ideal for that brisk winter walk by the sea . www. gallivant-perfumes.com The Art de Parfum ‘Encore Une Fois’ - Disinctive, memorable, amber, citrus and spice. www. artdeparfum.com
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Issue 14 of Entrepreneur & Investor - 180 plus pages including over 40 expert features on everything from crowdfunding advice to pitching sk...
Published on Nov 13, 2019
Issue 14 of Entrepreneur & Investor - 180 plus pages including over 40 expert features on everything from crowdfunding advice to pitching sk...