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MANCHESTER Wave

BIZ SPACE

Holly Wood

MyNetworkingPA


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CONTENTS

Cover •

My Neworking PA

Team Talk Banks Exposed

Technology For business Google Wave & Social Network review

BIZ SPACE Have your Say Ask The Expert

• Business Coach • life coach • Solicitor • Tax Accountant • Humour Consultant • Guest Expert - PR Our panel of experts are offering their expertise to the members. Also get an insight to what they see effecting us this month and what advice they have.

My Networking PA Networking

We see what everyone got upto in November and look at the month ahead

December Calendar

The months events all in one place. Arrange your month in advance and target the events more effectively.

Networking In The City Manchester Law Society Offers To Readers Contact Us


TEAM TAL I

think I’m going mad. Am I alone in my view’s, have I totally missed the point, are other people completely ignorant of what’s happened, or do they just not care. Why has there not been a public outcry over the government’s response to the banking crisis? Could it be that it is all orchestrated. Let me explain my viewpoint and see what you think. The current recession is as a result of the banking crisis which started in America when some of the Worlds largest institutions apparently got into trouble after lending to a sub prime market. This market is theoretically made up of some of the poorer members of society, those people who are least likely to repay what they have borrowed. Who are these awful people, taking money from our poor old financial institutions and not paying it back? Well actually, it could well be you and I. You see, over the last 12 months I have heard many people saying that they wished the banks were like they used to be 30 to 40 years ago. Then I heard a bank manager of a large city centre branch saying she wished the customers were like they used to be 30 to 40 years ago. So why is everything so different and why do both sides not appear happy with the other. A typical customer of 30 to 40 years ago was a very different customer to that of today. Borrowing money from the bank was more of a big deal. Not repaying that money would have been a much bigger deal and whilst this did happen, it carried with it a certain amount of shame and therefore a much more concerted effort was made to repay. You see, if you borrowed money from the bank, the chances were that you put on your best suit, prepared your plan and pitch and went in to meet with the manager of your local branch, who actually was the only branch manager. This would be a man who was at the pinnacle of his career, respected and even revered by all in his community and beyond. He would have had many years, or more likely decades experience seeing people like you and listening to proposals. If you got the money you were after, it was because he said so. He would be more likely to lend to you if he knew and respected you, or you were able to convince him of your conviction and ability. So what changed? Banks are very big businesses which are owned by shareholders, who not only expect, but demand profits and growth. The system of yesteryear was


LK all well and good, albeit not perfect, but at some point it came close to capacity. Through advances in technology and great investment into research, a few things began to change. Consumerism began to gather pace and the banks developed ways of monitoring and checking people’s credit worthiness without the input from the local manager. People like you and I were encouraged to want more, to aspire. If we couldn’t afford to get what we wanted, were before we would do without, now we could have it straight away and pay later. Instant gratification and pay back over time. This opened up a huge new market for the finance industry and over the last 15 to 20 years our levels of personal debt has increased exponentially. All of this brings us to about 2 years ago. This is when we had the displeasure of dealing with faceless mega companies in order to get credit which we often didn’t need and had decisions made by a computer as to whether or not we were worthy of it. And what of the banks, they had to deal with potential customers who expected credit and had a flippant disregard for the consequences of not paying. It’s actually what happened next that really bothers me. Cue the meltdown. Firstly, in an effort to try and protect themselves, the banks stopped lending to each other. Then they stopped lending to their customers, you and I. This wasn’t enough and before long the government had to make a decision whether or not to bail them out. Whether the decision was actually made through fear of millions of voters having a rapid life style change, or whether it was all part of a pre planned and carefully orchestrated plot, (I am strongly leaning towards the conspiracy theory), I don’t know for sure, but a bail out it was. Now, the government, or should I say we the people, because after all, the government are just our elected representatives and run this country in the best interest of it’s people, don’t they? Anyway, we didn’t actually have a spare £1,700 billion lying around, which is approximately what it cost for the bailout (our national debt went from £500 billion to £2.2 Trillion). So where did this money come from? Maybe someone lent it to us, so we could bail out the banks. If so, why didn’t they just give it straight to the banks, why did we have to get involved? In actual fact, no one had the money, the money did not exist. Hang on a minute, if the money didn’t exist, how did we bail out the banks? Many years ago, the government could only produce money based on the gold reserves


£527,391, 589,647,1 24,528,34 9,101,480 ,923,760, 000,000,0 00,000,00 0.01

it held. Not now though. Now modern age, the governmen around and hey presto, £1.5 us that this is a very complic enables this to happen and get away from the fact that th then through a deliberately c simply invented; now it does system is that every pound th amount of debt. Now its not rate companies creating mo trying to compete to offer th be created in one place, (it duced anywhere, it is in act screen, which I’m sure you k it out anyway, just in case). to demonstrate just how ridic to create £1, then I would ow ample, 5 pence in interest. T does not exist. So if I am to p to go back to the place that c the 5 pence, but that comes exist, so to pay that back… here. It is actually impossible cause of the interest charged more debt. Clever stuff hey. in bringing this monetary syst cellor would no doubt be rew him Prime Minister when he ing the job.

Hang on a minute, maybe thi the government used this m and took shares in the banks done, the banks were on the share price that the governm to what the banks were orig shares went from around £2 15 pence. Bingo, that’s ok th for the share price to recov already doing and this will owed, but also make a tidy p tion, when we sell are shares have to pay income tax for a also have a holiday from ou to the Caribbean please. Ac ly not because the Caribbea people during the school ho ask ourselves why the gove


ings aren’t that bad. You see money to prop up the banks s for doing so. When this was eir knees. In other words, the ment paid was tiny compared ginally worth. Some of those 27 down as low as just 10 to hen. All we have to do is wait ver, which they will and are not only pay off the money profit. Cool, maybe as a nas back to the banks we won’t a few years. Maybe we could ur windfall. 60 million tickets ctually no, and unfortunatean can’t cater for 60 million olidays in 2010. We need to ernment is telling us that our

children and grandchildren are going to be paying back this money we have borrowed. We also need to ask, why did we borrow it? Couldn’t a system be put in place were by the banks could borrow it and pay it back themselves, after all, we only gave it to them and remember, it didn’t even exist before. I don’t have the time or the space here to go into the deal that the government actually did with the banks, but suffice to say that if they pitched the idea of this deal in the Dragon’s Den, they would have been laughed out of the room. Alan Sugar would have fired them. Maybe there is a bigger question here. Could it be that there is an ulterior motive behind the whole apparent meltdown and recession? I am curious as to why Briton is doing so much worse than the rest of Europe. Why is the Euro so strong against the Pound? At some point, a tipping point, the people of Britain are going to see the rest of Europe doing so much better, even overtaking the Pound with the Euro and we are going to demand being part of it. Of course then the government is just following the will of the people and the people don’t actually realise they were manipulated all along. In this world wide game of power and control, governments are just the pawns, there are greater, faceless powers behind them, manipulating and pulling strings. Not necessarily all coordinated, but all wanting the same things, all working to the same ends. They know how to create fear and euphoria in the people. After creating panic and fear, they then come in and rescue us, for which we are always grateful and are happy to give up that little bit more control over our own lives. They are even happy to lose the odd battle, accepting they will have casualties along the way, because they have us where they want us and they know they will win the war. I believe there is another way, although I also believe I will not see it in my lifetime. I am just a person, one of approximately 6 billion on this planet, no more or less valuable or important than the next. Unfortunately as a species, we don’t all think that way and more and more we are being trained to think and act differently, unnaturally. This creates stress, anxiety and even depression. In the western world, we now have more material wealth than at any time in history and yet the highest levels of stress anxiety and depression. This other way is certainly achievable, in fact can be observed in action, working very successfully in little pockets around the world. But that’s for another day.

By

Mark Brake

w, through the genius of the nt can shuffle a few papers 5 trillion. Of course they tell cated financial system which I’m sure it is, but you can’t he money didn’t exist before, complicated system that was s. The scary thing about this hat is created also creates an as if there are lots of sepaoney for the government and he best deal, no, it can only t doesn’t physically get protual fact only on a computer knew, but I thought I’d point Time I think for an example culous this system is. If I was we that £1 back, plus, for exThe problem is, this 5 pence pay this 5 pence back, I need created my pound and create s with interest, which doesn’t ………, you see the problem e to pay the money back bed; it is only possible to create Who ever was instrumental tem in when they were chanwarded, maybe even making is obviously incapable of do-


TECHNOLOGY forBUSINESS What a Month... We have been run ragged with technology updates from around the globe. From software to hardware and back again. There is no denying that we have been a bit confused as to what to bring you this month so i thought i’d bring you 2 reviews based on effective communication, community, collaboration, and networking.


I

t’s been a busy final quarter for Google, with the release of the beta version of Google Wave and the Google Chrome OS (operating system). Tech fans erupted on twitter following the first batch of invites going out to users whom registered for Google Wave. Since the release it’s safe to say that Google wave has been present on twitter.com’s trending topics followed by New moon of course. Some of you may still be waiting eagerly for your invite to start waving (I have mine). Other will be reading this and scratching your head. It’s been widely referred to as “if email was invented today it would look like Google Wave”. To a big extent, I’d have to agree. One of the best features of wave is that as you type each letter it is displayed in the wave. This means that as people reply to a post you can read as they type and reply quickly. This may seem a bit inpatient but what a wave does is more or less mimic the way we use speech. Google Wave is a combination of instant mes-

saging and email. You can start a conversation and invite as many people as you like or even make it public. When the conversation gets rolling it can quickly get messy in conventional instant messaging platforms. You may have found yourself having multiple conversations with one person and having to rummage through threads to reply to the right thing and then you find yourself writing 5 replies just to get back on track. This is a very real scenario. What Wave does is eliminate this issue is by removing the text box that sits at the top or bottom of your IM screen. The way you reply is to click reply on the post you wish to reply to. This means that if there are several conversations going on at once then you can simply reply to each individual post. This is a great innovation that will organise your conversation and allow you to keep your replies relevant and tidy. As I mentioned before, you can make a wave public. The reason for making a wave public may be to have an open forum about a particular topic such as the newly released Windows 7 or even the latest movie. Again this could have


been a nightmare to try and scramble through all of the waves to find one that you find interesting or likewise for others to find your wave. For this Google has introduced “Tags”. Now tags are a great feature that needs to be added to conventional email ASAP too. A tag is a keyword (or number of) that you assign to a wave and this makes it easier for people the locate waves that they want to be part of. What Google have created it email with an option to communicate with the rest of the world in an open community. Google has kept Wave as an open source product, open source meaning that the code for wave is available to developers who with to build applications for the platform much like apps for your mobile or a facebook app. This has paved a way for some innovative, what Google call “ROBOTS”. A robot sits in your contacts list and is actually a contact but the email address it is linked to is the communication tool between the wave and the actual app. For instance I have a robot called “Rosie”; Rosie is a language robot that when added to the conversation she monitors incoming messages from other languages and converts the text live in front of your eyes to your specified language. There are many more robots available and a lot more in development. Just to name a few; Bloggy – uploads your wave to your blogger blog and any comments made can be managed from within the wave platform. Tweetie – Allows you to turn a wave into a twitter search and you can update twitter via your wave Polly – Conduct surveys where the information is relayed back to you via a gauge CleanTXT – Cleans up any blank posts or random misplaced letters or words Maps – Allows you to highlight a location and click the maps extension tool which will add a Google map to the wave and gives you all of the functionality of Google maps plus the ability to add your own markers and zone lines. Google wave is a fantastic tool that will change the way we collaborate in work and in our personal lives too. Everything is made simple,

even to the point where you can drag and drop pictures and documents from your desktop into wave. More articles will follow on how to optimise the use of Google wave for your needs, for now become a fan of our facebook page or follow us on twitter to be notified of when we have Google wave invites to give out. (Members first) www.facebook.com/yourbusinessezine www.twitter.com/yourbizezine www.wave.google.com


DID YOU GET YOUR

I

f you’re on LinkedIn then it’s likely that you have been presented with an email from a connection asking you to join them on their Naymz network. It’ll look something like this;

on their security preferences. Should you wish to connect with said person then don’t be looking on your profile page. You have to email them an invite to join your network. This is a big problem if

If you’re like me then you would of probably ignored the first 20-30 or so due to being on various other networks that satisfy your needs. Over time, the continuous stream of invites would of started to eat away at your brain and the desire to find out why everyone finds this network useful beats you and you finally click “accept”.

you do not connect with them on the other networks which leads me back to my point of; If you have a fully functioning and interactive social network account with facebook and LinkedIn then why on earth would you need Naymz?

Big Mistake! – Let me tell you why. Naymz is a social network for professionals that rely on you being active on other networks in order for you to make more connection online with the same people. ??? –I don’t get it either. This is not the worst thing. This new professional network offers less functionality than twitter but claims to be better than every other network.

Connections

In order to grow your netwok you need to give Naymz access to all of you connections on other networks such as LinkedIn and facebook. What it does once you have done this is not auto connect you to others, No… that would be too easy. Naymz digs through all of the email addresses of you connections and emails them an invite to join the Naymz network. OK, facebook and LinkedIn do this at this stage too. The problem comes when you want to connect with others on the Naymz network. Yes you can see a public timeline like on twitter, and like twitter you can view the profile of that person based

The Concept

Naymz write; “How is Naymz unique from other online networks? As one of the newest and fastest growing professional social networks, we often get asked what makes us different in comparison to other networking web sites available today. Naymz has taken a unique approach by applying the best of online networking and offering additional tools focused on reputation, personal branding, and identity verification. With Naymz, you can: • Establish and accentuate your professional brand and reputation. • Find and connect with anyone on the network – including people you know and don’t know, without having to pay to do so. • Communicate easily and effectively with your professional contacts to learn about and share opportunities. Some online networks are like high school and coworker reunions and are great for keeping in contact with people you already know. Many professional

IN


NVITE? networking sites are like being an attendee at a networking event. Naymz is like going to a networking event and setting-up your own exhibit. Here are several unique products and services Naymz offers which makes us an invaluable tool for professionals looking to take their networking to the next level.” Here are a list of products that you get from Naymz (if there unique then there is a reason for it);

Microblogging

The Naymz Exchange is a microblogging platform that allows Naymz members to exchange ideas, questions, opportunities, and statuses in real-time. Members can reply, forward, and save posts of interest. Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ning… you get the idea, they all do it and they do it very very well.

Identity Aggregation

As internet usage grows, so do the tools and options available for individuals to create, express, and promote themselves online. Naymz allows you to collect links to all of your online personas in one easy-to-find place. It’s like the table-of-contents to your online identity. Additionally, if your other web profiles and accounts have RSS or ATOM feeds, we will take those and create one comprehensive personal “Web Activity” stream in which others can follow. I have tried to set this up and it doesn’t work very well. As well as terrible user interface, I struggled to see were anything was being placed.

RepScore

Anyone can create personal profiles on any number of web sites. How can you tell the information included on a particular profile is accurate and trustworthy? Naymz has introduced an innovative scoring model called RepScore to give confidence to your profile visitors and allow you to find and connect with other reputable professionals. You can earn RepScore Points through Community Verification, Profile Completeness and Identity Verification.

This is actually the best feature of Naymz but it is applied in the wrong way, read the next feature and my explanation…

Reputation Assessments

All contacts are not the same. Often members of other social networking sites will collect as many contacts as possible regardless of their relationship to them. Because Naymz is built on reputation and trust, we ask new contacts to fill out an assessment each time they connect with someone. How one’s contacts answer each assessment directly influences the RepScore of that individual. You are now presented with a dilemma, you are a professional and you want to network on the social networking platforms and therefore make new connections. This RepScore and reputation assessment discourages this from happening. There are over 500 people I know through facebook and nearly 100 on linkedIn. Most of these connections have been established online and the relationships have developed since then. If Naymz unique tool is to assess the trustworthiness of a profile then I would have one of the lowest scores because I wish to grow my network beyond traditional means of communication (email, telephone, face to face). This system would label me a “spammer”.

Identity Verification

Premium Service (US Only) Naymz has partnered with online identity verification leader, Trufina, to provide our members with personal identity verification and background check services. When you verify your identity, a Trufina verified seal appears on your Naymz profile and you receive additional RepScore points. If you employ somebody’s services over a social network with no professional opinion and not having met or at least had a telephone conversation with them then you’re asking for it. This is not something that I would say is a must for a social networking site.

Network Activity

Do you like to keep tabs what your contacts are up to? Naymz Exchange provides a feed of updates anytime someone in your network changes anything on their Naymz profile or adds anything to web sites they control which allows for RSS (syndication).

Reputation Monitor

It’s becoming increasingly important to keep an


eye on what is being said about you online. Naymz created Reputation Monitor to help make this task as easy as possible. Naymz observes numerous sources such as blogs, news sites, social networks, and other online content and provides reports anytime your name appears. This is not unique, this is a very common feature, again this is let down by the user interface and navigation making it less appealing than the same features on other networks.

Visitor Reporting

Most social networking sites will only provide limited information about visitors to your profile, and only provide notifications when those visitors are members of the same network. Naymz will alert you anytime someone visits your profile, whether they are a Naymz user or not. It’s a great way to keep an eye out on who is interested in you. Unless you are a premium user then this tool is completely useless. Would off been a nice touch but Linkedin offer something better in the form of “how many times you have featured in search results” & “what page you where on in the results” etc…

Top Search Engine Placement

The first place people typically go to find information about you are the search engines. Naymz is designed to make it easy for you to control what people find about you on the web. Naymz will acquire a sponsored (paid) search engine results for your name on Google which will appear at the top of the first page of results when others do a search for your name and link it directly to your Naymz profile. This is free with members with a RepScore of 9 or higher. Our Premium Membership includes sponsored search results for Google, Yahoo, and MSN as well as the ability to customize your search engine description. This sounds like a nice touch but since when do you click on sponsored links on Google? I don’t, and that is why SEO for organic search placement is such a big industry. With facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn holding some of the biggest market shares of users and therefore site usage the SEO rankings can not be competed with regarding organic search results. As suggested he results for my name goes as follows:1) Facebook 2) LinkedIn 3) 4Networking 4) Twitter 5) Naymz Ok, so my Naymz profile is on page 1 of googles’ organic search, why spend extra for the premium membership?

The premium membership for this network comes in at $7.95 per month but has to be paid in one lump sum.


The Interface

The interface refers to the functionality of the site and how you navigate around it. Let me tell you now… this is the biggest factor of all when it comes to this site. I can put up with some rubbish features and awkward networking but not this. The Naymz site has been built to look pretty when you click on a button, Expanding menus, pop-ups, and all that jazz to bring you your information with a song and dance number (I find It difficult to actually find which part of the button you must press to activate the link), that’s not all, when you press the link, go off and make a cuppa before you return because it will take a while to load what little information it has to offer. The navigation alone (forget the buttons for now) is laid out in what can only be described as unnatural. I’d have to say, I have never been so confused, disappointed, and angry at a site like this before. I am trying to bring you an unbiased opinion but I’m afraid that all I have done is rant. Unfortunately there is no other way of going about this review. If you do decide to check it out and manage to actually navigate the site you will be constantly reminded that you have a FREE account and in order to invite someone who’s email address you do not have you must pay $95. I’d say I was reminded of this every 3-4 clicks through the site whilst navigating which is a pain in the backside when it take ages to load and got back to the previous page.

Anyway, my final words are:

If you are looking to network professionally, but market to a huge database of people and promote products and brands to consumers, stick to the 3 big players – FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN, TWITTER. When marketing your brand, product, or yourself, don’t think that more is better, be creative and most of all be honest and informative.


B

iz Space is the largest provider of office and commercial premises that you’ve never heard of. They were started in 2000 as a PLC, and you’ve never heard of them. In 2007 they were purchased by the Highcross Group, and you’ve never heard of them. They have 110 sites throughout the country, 25 of which are in the North West, most of those are around the Greater Manchester region, and you’ve never heard of them. WHY? Well to be honest, I don’t know the answer to that one. Here at Your Business E-Zine, we recently took a stand at an event held in Manchester’s Ramada Hotel. The stand next to us was manned by 3 lovely ladies who were smiling and chatting to people all day, as well as nicking chocolate

off the other stands. Before the event got underway we introduced ourselves and asked all those obligatory questions. You know the ones, “Hi my name is Mark and what do you do”, (big sign behind her saying Biz Space). “We’re one of the country’s largest providers of office and commercial premises”, “oh…... I’ve never heard of you”. “We get that a lot”. I watched in amazement throughout the day as dozens of people walked up to their stand looking confused and then surprised, I even got good at lip reading the oh I’ve never heard of you line. This is crazy, especially since I’ve now found out that Biz Space have got some of the industries best deals, most flexible arrangements, greatest variety of space and some of the nicest and most helpful staff I’ve ever met.


B

iz Space is a multi award winning provider of office and commercial premises throughout the UK. They are a kind of one stop shop for everything you might need as an SME. You see they do everything from postal address’s and virtual offices, to managed office space or stand alone office or commercial units from just 100 sq ft, right up to 10’s of thousands of sq ft. Unless the site is industrial only, there is always an on site manager, if not team, in order to help, support, or just deal with any issue’s their tenants may have. So why should a business consider becoming a tenant in a Biz Space site. Well for a start, the company has a policy that they won’t be beaten on price. If you took a written offer to them from another provider, they will at the very least match it, but more often than not, beat it. If you then consider the other benefits of being a tenant, then this is a very attractive proposition. Biz Space believes in transparency and flexibility. If you wanted to, you could walk in to one of their sites, find the space you need, sign a very basic and in house licence, so no legal costs, for a range of terms from 3 months up to 12 months and you could move in the same day. Now that’s efficient. If you wanted to go for a longer period than the 12 months, you can opt for the in house lease, this is for a 3 year period and again there are no legal fee’s to consider. Finally, you also have the option if you wish to get a legal individual lease, although this would incur legal costs, but the point is, it’s up to you, you decide what suits you best and that’s how it’s done. Once you are a tenant, whichever option you took, you are then eligible for a 50% discount on meeting room hire and if your company was to expand during the term of your licence, then Biz Space will work with you to find larger premises and you simply swap into them. All of the prices quoted for any premises from Biz Space are fully inclusive. This is part of their policy of transparency, so there are no hidden nasty surprises. All costs associated with having your own premises are included so all you have to think about is what you do best, running your own business. All of the sites, with the exception of industrial only, are manned by a professional team who are further supported by regional managers. They have a general reception area, which can provide general office services, as well as

giving a point of contact for first time visitors to your premises, who can then be professionally greeting and guided directly to you. In fact, in the Greater Manchester region, there are 16 separate sites, with around 50 Biz Space staff to look after them, so there is always someone on hand to help. One of these people is Ann Marie Jeffrey. Ann Marie started working for Biz Space 4 years ago as a centre manager and was promoted to regional manager at the end of 2007. Prior to working for Biz Space Ann Marie worked for a North East Council doing a similar role. She found working in the council environment very frustrating and extremely different from the one she now finds herself in at Biz Space. Previously, if she had any ideas for improving something, it didn’t matter how much sense the idea made, or how many people agreed with her, everything had to be referred to a committee, and then 6 months later, nothing will have changed. At Biz Space things are very different. The company Directors have an open door policy, they are happy, in fact actively encourage new ideas and suggestions for improvement and if something is worth doing, it get’s done. “The whole atmosphere is different here”, say’s Ann Marie. The team certainly do seem to enjoy what they are doing. There is a genuine feeling in the office of friendship, respect and pride in what they are doing. Ann Marie describes herself as a bit of a workaholic, something that Tricia, one of Ann Marie’s colleagues agrees with. Tricia has only been with the company since June 2008. She came from the Hotel industry and this very much comes across in her approach and manner with clients. Being from a service background certainly helps when doing this sort of work, people feel valued when they are dealt with professionally, efficiently, but most of all, courteously. Biz Space is probably one of, if not the biggest, probably the best company you had never heard of, but you have now. So if you’re considering a move and want to be able to go to one place and get great choice, tremendous flexibility and most of all excellent service, you know where to go.

www.bizspace.co.uk


HAVE YOUR S A Y


T

his section of the magazine is for you, the local business people of Merseyside. It is a platform for you to voice your opinion about anything you feel you need to say. If you’re particularly not happy with something, maybe it’s something holding you back, then let us know, we may even be able to help. Also, if you are particularly happy with something or someone, tell us about it here. We are not a news paper and we don’t need to push doom and gloom to push our readership. We believe there is a lot of positivity around at the moment and it’s good to share that. So we are happy to print genuine testimonials for people, (not a blatant advert though). Here at Your Business E-zine we also believe that working together makes us all stronger. People whom you may have traditionally thought of as your competitors can actually be your greatest allies. If you need support in a certain area of your business, why not let us know, we could put you in touch with the right people to fill your particular gaps. Maybe you have a proposal or an idea that you just want to put out there and see what response you get, this is the place for you to do that to. Your Business E-Zine also believes that business should be fun. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what we do and even our extra curricular activities. With this in mind we have a proposal we would like to put to you. We would like to organize an event for next summer. Something fun that we can all get involved in. My thoughts are to run a soap box derby. Each company building there own machine, fully logo’d up of course, and we would get a suitable road closed off somewhere in or around the city centre, build a bit of a track and race down it. Prizes for the winners of course and even a podium with champagne spraying etc. What do you think? Is it something you would get involved in, either taking part or helping to organise? Let us know, or any alternative suggestions you may have. The previous edition of this magazine had in excess of 50,000 views. That was our launch edition, it’s only going to increase from there and increase substantially. So use us to your best advantage and have your say, we will put your name and your company name after your piece. Let me tell you, the exposure won’t hurt. We look forward to your comments.


To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity 1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down. 2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom... Don’t Disguise Your Voice. 3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that. 4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has got Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso. 5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ‘For Marijuana’. 6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get. 7. Order a Diet Water, whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face. 8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is ‘To Go’. 9. Sing Along At The Opera. 10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can’t Attend Their Party Because You have a headache. 11. When The Money Comes Out Of The ATM, Scream... ‘I Won! I Won!’ 12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling ‘Run For Your Lives! They’re Loose!’ 13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, ‘Due To The Economy, We Are Going to Have To Let One Of You Go. ‘ And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity 14. PICK UP A BOX OF CONDOMS AT THE PHARMACY, GO TO THE COUNTER AND ASK WHERE THE FITTING ROOM IS.

Wendy Rogers Rainbow Nutrition

>>> Reply Number 13 & 14 are my favourite. Although i am more than likely to carry out No. 13. Have you done any of these or do you have more suggestions? Look out for our discussions online at:

www.facebook.com/yourbusinessezine


Is There A Case For Men-Only Business Networking Events? With the recent explosion in womenonly networking events, and their effectiveness, would men-only events be as successful? Would they be welcomed or frowned upon? Straight away, Nancy commented

“Ok.. here it is.. there is a reason that women celebrate “women in business” and hold women only events is due to the struggle women have had over the years to gain respect in the business world as leaders.This has changed dramatically over the years which is great and therefore an event that unites businesswomen is extremely helpful to us when looking to gain support from other women who have already succeeded, share tips and gain potential partnerships. Although I have nothing against men holding a “men’s only” event, I don’t think it would have the same meaning.. :)”

Val responded

“...having spent a lot of years in mainly male environments...I personally think the mix is good...because of the different way we approach tasks. plus it is much more fun to mingle!”

Emma countered “...Although I agree with

Nancy, we have come way too far to start isolating ourselves again from the male business environment. This will only lead to us being venerable. Its great to celebrate our success and encourage other women into business, but you can’t ignore the fact that its discrimination. We shouted and fought for years to be included, and now we’ve decided to exclude ourselves! I was at the Train 2000 awards yesterday and it was fantastic! So empowering. I understand why we need to have these events, but I hope the message to our future entrepreneurs isn’t confusing, otherwise we will create more problems.” Ian Denny Plus 1 Networking / Smart ICT Factory

>>> Reply Ian, I think you’ve hit a soft spot. This is a massive topic in the business world lately, with more and more networking events popping up there is more and more cause for this topic to be discussed/debated. The 3 responses you got are very right, each in their own way. Apart from the political aspect of the situation (meaning discrimination) we have to sit back and look at what has happened and why. As Nancy has discussed there was a “man is boss” mentality that ruled the world, not just in business but in life too. but things have now changed, women have equal rights and have done for a number of years, so I can only think that these groups had originally been set up in spite and for nothing productive (don’t get angry just yet), as there is no avoiding who you deal with in business, male or female. The talk of setting up a men only networking event is, as far as I am concerned a response to the women only groups, again in spite of... Therefore this is wrong too. By individualizing yourself or putting yourself into a single category you will miss out on so much. The success of an event will never be determined on its guests but will be judged on the event as a whole, including attendees, format of the event, venue, speakers, etc... I bet there are a lot of men that would enjoy the format and to listen to the speakers at some of these women only events. By stopping people from attending you are reducing your chances to meet some great people and help others in need. I have never been to a men only networking event and do not see any long term benefit in doing so, as I have been helped so much by a great mix of people. Craig Brake Your Business eZine

If you are still not convinced then email us at haveyoursay@yourbusinessezine.com


Ask The Ques

Ask Th

Exper

Your Business E-zine is looking for people who are experts in the fields of business and life coaching. We al and a tax accountant for Our “Ask The Expert” section of our online publication. Our chosen resident experts will provide impartial advice on a subject of their choice, in their field, along self and the company. It’s a great opportunity to put yourself in the heart of the business community, and through brand awareness.

As a resident you will have the chance to meet our members at our quarterly meetings, and to answer thei resident experts, we will be publishing a “Guest Expert” in each edition. If you don’t fit into our specific sector advice in regards to business, then this may be for you, whatever your field!

Experts from our Liverpool publication have been used for this edition as a preview. Our guest expert is a PR ter. If you would like to have the chance to become an expert for Manchester, just email your cover letter a your company and a member of YBE will be in touch directly.


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lso seek a commercial solicitor with a short biography of their to gain considerable exposure

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Business Coach Life Coach Commercial Solicitor Tax Accountant Humour Expert Guest Expert


Ask The Expert

Busine Richard Dickinson

Richard started out in his working life in the Navy, were he served for a number of years, travelling around the world learning some fantastic skills and meeting people from many different cultures. After leaving the navy, Richard entered the world of banking and finance, ending up in a role as East Midlands Region Development Manager for a high street bank. Richard then decided he was ready for another challenge, so he left the bank and set up his own national insurance brokerage, which he ran for 5 years, until selling the business in 2005. Given Richards extensive experience over the years in dealing with businesses and more importantly business people, Richard felt he would make a very good business coach. He then trained and was accredited by the Adler School of International Coaching and took on a franchise from Ology Coaching, which gives him the support of a multi national company, whilst at the same time still being able to give a local personal service to his clients. We are very pleased to have Richard on board and are sure you will benefit from his wisdom and experience.

R.A.S. A Marketing and Customer Service Perspective

H

ow a person’s RAS (Reticular Activating System) affects the way they perceive products and services

What is a RAS (reticular activating system)? The RAS is the name given to the part of the brain believed to be the centre of arousal and motivation in people.

The Universal Law of Attraction

“It’s a common phenomenon. Almost everyone can relate. You start looking for a new car, something special, something not like anyone else’s, something unusual. You pick out what seems to be a unique, unusual choice of a special red car and all of a sudden, there it is – your red car, the one you thought was only yours. It’s on every street corner.

It is at every stoplight. You see three of these red cars just driving down the motorway. You never saw these cars before. What happened? How did all of these people get your unique red car at the same time?” “Well the fact of the matter is that your brain is seeing the red cars that were always there. Since you picked out this car for yourself, that car has become special for you and now you are noticing what was really there all along.” -Karren Lynch, The Universal Law of Attraction The same can be said of when you’ve had a bad experience; your brain has a conceived conception that the product or service is not good. No matter how many people from then on tell you that


ess Coach the product or service is good your opinion rarely changes. This is where the phrase ‘first impressions count’ comes from. This is caused by your RAS - the part of your brain that automatically filters out what is not important to you and brings your attention to things that are important to you i.e. good and bad experiences. Basically the RAS is how the ‘Law of Attraction’ works. We get what we focus on; we create what we think about, we focus on good and bad experiences, the RAS system of our brains just helps this process along.

First impressions count

Imagine walking down a busy street, hundreds of people talking, music playing, advertisements shown and 100’s of shops selling products. How much of this is brought to your attention? In reality, not a lot. True, you can hear general background noise, get glimpses of advertisements but not one thing comes to our attention.

negative experience. This is why it’s so important for organisations to rectify bad experiences with their customers as and when they happen.

The importance of RAS to organisations

While good experiences are of great benefit to your organisation bad ones can be detrimental. Dissatisfied customers not only defect, but on average tell 10 people about their bad experience. They might be having a conversation about your products with a friend or spouse years after but thanks to their RAS they will remember their negative experience. Organisations need to put measures into place to change these people’s opinions sooner rather than later. It’s more likely you’ll help change their opinions with positive measures immediately after their experience occurs, rather than later when it’s too late.

But then you see a shop advertising a new product, the offer is great but you’ve had a previous bad experience with that store, suddenly your attention is full on. Your RAS mechanism acts as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. It tells you there is something of interest, but no matter how good the offer the bad experience is the one at the forefront of your mind.

An elephant never forgets

Reticular activation cells are some of your most powerful memory cells in the brain but are untapped in day to day thinking.

To ask Richard a Question, Please email him at: richard.dickinson@yourbusinessezine.com

When you have a bad experience with an organisation it is stored by your RAS in your subconscious. It may be years later when you next come across that organisation. When you do however you’re RAS will filter the memory from your subconscious and alert your conscious mind, alerting you of your

or visit Ology Business Coaching at www.ologybusiness.com/richarddickinson/


Ask The Expert

Life C Lisa Madariaga

Lisa is a life coach of some distinction. She is what you might call one of life’s achievers. Allow me to explain. Lisa is a qualified Barrister and a Chartered Accountant. She has worked around the world for both NYSE and FTSE 100 companies. Then one day, in November 2005, she collapsed in her London office. Not only was she unable to work, but could barely get out of bed for 5 months. As her health slowly improved, she was able to re evaluate her life. Lisa found that with her unique experiences of life, she was able to help others. She re trained and is now also qualified with the Institute of Leadership and Management, (ILM), as a life coach and executive business coach. Lisa is the founder and trainer of the Finance Coaching Academy of RSA, (formerly Royal and Sun Alliance). Soon to publish a self help book for people living with or recovering from ME, we are truly privileged to have Lisa contribute for us. So, don’t be shy, use this fantastic opportunity and ask Lisa some questions and don’t miss her articles, they may just change your life.

Di-stress or De-stress???

I

s your Christmas tree up yet? Sorted out your Christmas shopping? Yes, it’s that time of year again when we are all supposed to be as merry as the jolly-old bearded man in red again. But for many it’s the time of year when the normal strains of everyday life get exacerbated and Christmas is just another added worry. So I thought that this month we could explore what we can do to make the season of good will go just a bit more smoothly, especially in a time of recession and floods(!). So, firstly, what is stress? There are everyday factors that result in what we all consider stress such as a rushed journey to meet an appointment time, children’s questions, partner’s expectations, family events, social engagements, work demands, argument with your boss, an unhappy customer, you name it, it all adds up to the same.

The physical symptoms of stress can vary from person to person, but they are all caused by the same trigger. The ‘fight or flight’ response is a well-documented automatic reaction to a perceived danger (real or imagined – and that is a crucial point). Fight

or flight worked wonderfully when humans were hunting mammoths and running from sabre-toothed tigers (I am no prehistoric expert, but you get the idea!). In this response, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered by the sensory cortex of the brain through the hypothalamus to the brain stem. The effect of the hypothalamus includes the pituitary gland, which releases the hormone Adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) which in turn stimulates the adrenal cortex to release adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol. The results of these hormones include all the classic stress results, increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased blood flow to the muscles and limbs (allowing us to run faster from the tigers!) the digestive system slows down as a result and the skin sweats. Does this sound familiar? So, stress and the fight or flight response have their place and uses, like when we need to act quickly in an emergency. For example, we have all heard of the super-human strength of a parent lifting a car which is trapping their child, but when the danger is only “perceived” or when the stressful situation is prolonged and becomes chronic, our bodies react


Coach in varied and unhealthy ways. These range from fatigue, allergies, skin disorders, and migraine to heart attacks and, it has been claimed, cancer. The emotional and mental results of stress can also be extreme, including the inability to concentrate, over-worrying, obsessive thinking, depression, low self-esteem, uncontrolled crying, phobias and panic attacks. So can we identify it when we are under stress? Sadly it is often easier for us to identify the symptoms of stress in others, but there are a number of indicators that we can use. Emotional

Thoughts

Behaviour

Physical

Being in a bad mood

I can't do this

Rushing around

Feeling hot

Feeling upset

I'll never finish

Starting tasks and not

Heart beating fast

finishing them Feeling angry

Sweating

I can't cope Not being able to concentrate

Feeling impatient

Stomach ache

Mind racing Shouting

Feeling hopeless

Headache

Waking up too early in the morning

Source – www.Samaritan.org

Once we have identified that we are stressed, what can we do? The body has a natural reaction to this fight or flight response, this is triggered by the parasympathetic nervous system, the equal and opposite to the sympathetic nervous system, sometimes called ‘rest and digest’. It affects the same bodily functions, but it calms instead of stimulates. Therefore, blood pressure is reduced, as is heart rate, the digestive system starts working effectively again and our muscles relax. However, in extreme cases of stress or in prolonged stressful situations, the parasympathetic nervous system just isn’t enough. So, what can we do to help our body overcome the stresses and strains? Well, there are a number of methods that are repeated

in all the helpful sources over and over again. The number one method is to relax, to take time out for yourself and just stop. The result of this is the space it creates, space between us and our ‘problem’ or stress inducer, whether it be real of perceived. Remember the cliché about ‘me time’, women and their long baths, or men and their golf, well, it all adds up to excellent de-stressing! So if you don’t already treat yourself to a little of whatever you enjoy, start now – you body will thank you! Other methods of de-stressing include sitting in silence and just being still, listening to calming music, maybe even having a snooze! Breathing exercises where our conscious awareness is taken to our breathing patterns is an excellent way of relaxing and shutting off from the outside. Try just sitting and listening to your breath, then inhale to a count of three and exhale to a count of three. Once you are conformable with this, increase the count to 4 then 5 and so on. The food and drink we intake has a huge impact on our stress levels, items that may have a negative effect include tea, coffee, cocoa, energy drinks, fast foods and takeaways, dairy, sugar and alcohol. Food items we should increase our intake of include water, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and soups. So, now you are armed with stress busting knowledge and techniques – I hope that you find preparing for Christmas as much fun and as enjoyable as Dickens wanted! Remember… just take a deep breath!

To ask Lisa a Question, Please email her at: lisa.madariaga@yourbusinessezine.com or visit Lisa’s site at www.lisa4coaching.com


Ask The Expert

Solicit You may notice a little difference this month. Unfortunately, Bernadette was unable to write this months section or answer any of your questions. We would like to thank Kirwins for stepping in last minute to bring all of you an informative article and answer any questions you may have. please direct your questions to editor@yourbusinessezine.com

FIVE CHANGES TO COMPANY LAW THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

T

he final implementation of the Companies Act 2006 took place on 1 October 2009. The provisions coupled with those parts of the Act already in force comprise the most fundamental and wide ranging change to company law since the mid nineteenth century. The new Act is designed around the needs of small private companies and is based on a “think small first� approach. The changes are generally de-regulatory in nature and are aimed at simplifying company law to make it easier for shareholders in small private companies to make decisions. Where appropriate, companies should consider how they could take advantage of the new law. The following 5 changes will be of interest to small businesses. 1 The documentation required to form a company now differs significantly from the previous requirements. Any company formed after 1 October 2009 will have a simple statement in a prescribed form setting out the intention to form a company and to subscribed shares as its Memorandum of Association. Furthermore, there will be no limitation on a new

company’s objects (unless the articles provide otherwise) so there will no longer be any need for an objects clause in the Memorandum. From 1 October 2009, the provisions of the old style Memorandum of Association which are not found in the new simplified form will automatically be deemed to be provisions of the Articles of Association. Whilst existing companies are not required to take an immediate action as a result of this transfer there may be advantages for many companies in removing provisions of the old Memorandum from their Articles. Under the new law a company has unrestricted powers unless it specifically restricts them in its Articles. Since the Objects Clause contained in the Memorandum of existing companies will from 1 October 2009 be transferred to its Articles, this provision will act as a restriction on the otherwise unlimited powers of the company and many companies may wish to remove it. 2 The concept of authorised share capital has been abolished. Instead, companies are now required to provide a Statement of Capital. This is a standalone form which is required on incorporation of a new


tor

company and needs to be updated with every annual return or whenever a change is made to an existing company’s share capital. Part of the Statement of Capital form requires a company to confirm the amount paid up and the amount, if any, unpaid on each share. This should assist companies in checking the credit worthiness of any company they are looking to do business with. A Company Secretary responsible for filing forms at Companies House should ensure that they give themselves sufficient time to fill in any Statement of Capital required so as not to breach a filing deadline.

4 From 1 October 2009 many of the old forms used by Company Secretaries to update records at Companies House are no longer in use and have been replaced by new forms. Those responsible for filing forms at Companies House should ensure that they are familiar with the new forms, many of which require additional different information from the previous forms used under the old Act. In particular, Company Secretaries should be aware which forms should be used especially if there is a time limit for registration as in the case of registering Charges or Debentures which must be done within 21 days of completion.

Accounts departments should also be aware of the changes and should review a new client or customer’s Statement of Capital form whenever any form of credit is being provided.

There are currently transitional provisions in place which determine whether to use the old or new forms. A list of the new forms and the previous forms can be found on the Companies House website.

3 Directors, and where applicable company secretaries, of existing and new companies can now keep their residential address off the public record by instead filing a service address.

5 From 1 October 2009 a company no longer needs specific authorisation in its Articles to be able to purchase its own shares or redeem shares unless prohibited by its old Articles.

The service address could be the company’s registered or main office. Whilst it is still a requirement for each director’s residential address to be provided, such information is now deemed to be “protected information”, and will not be put on the public record after 30 September 2009.

Previously private companies had to go through a number of prescribed stages in order to purchase their own shares or redeem shares. This procedural de-regularisation applies equally to new companies formed after 1 October 2009 and to existing companies. Directors and shareholders of new and existing companies should consider whether they want to restrict the company’s ability to change its share capital in this way and if so make any necessary changes to their Articles.

This change will be of comfort to directors involved in businesses which attract media or public attention. However, there will be no automatic removal of directors’ residential addresses for existing companies formed before 1 October 2009. Existing companies should consider adding service addresses for directors and removing residential addresses no before the next annual return.

This article contains general information and, although we attempt to ensure that the content is accurate and up to date, users should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action. The contents of this article should not be construed as legal advice and we disclaim any liability in relation to its use.

To ask Phil a Question, Please email him at: editor@yourbusinessezine.com or visit Kirwins at www.kirwanssolicitors.co.uk


Ask The Expert

Tax Ac Pat Cobham

Pat Cobham used to be a tax inspector. She has more than 30 years experience in accountancy. Mostly from the side of the inland revenue. Pat set up Cobhams tax consultants and accounts in 2004 and has not looked back since. With a no nonsense and plain English approach to accountancy, Cobhams is going from strength to strength. You not only get knowledgeable one-to-one advice, but you also get it at a fraction of the cost you would pay a large company. They even go that bit further and offer a one-to-one service out of hours should you require it. With background in the corporate world, they are better placed than most to help you with your corporation tax and whether you’re a sole trader, small business or established company, they will make sure everything is done quickly and efficiently to meet all HMRC deadlines.

TAX BITS & PIECES The Tax Man Calls

Since the Inland Revenue and the VAT Offices merged it has come as no surprise to anyone in the profession that the Revenue have gleefully dived on the VAT powers. Did you know that Tax Inspectors can call at your business premises to examine the records possibly unannounced? That being said it is unlikely that many people will be visited in this way. Unannounced visits will only be made when HMRC have reason to believe something is seriously wrong. For this reason alone it is imperative that the person’s tax advisor is present. The start of an unannounced visit can be delayed whilst summoning help.

Savings via ISA’s

Previously £7,200 per annum could be invested in a tax free savings plan above. From October this year anyone who will be 50 by 5 April 2010 can invest £10,200 for 2009/10.

VAT Increase

We have all got used to the 15% VAT rate but remember that it goes back to 17.5% on 1 January 2010.

Useful Revenue Booklet

HMRC have published a new A to Z guide of Tax Treatment of Employee Benefits. This is a very useful work of reference for employers who provide benefits or are thinking of doing so.

Money Laundering Regulations

This isn’t really anything to do with tax but the Inland Revenue are one of the bodies who monitor the above. Certain businesses e.g. banks, accountants, lawyers etc have to register with an authorised agency and have to report suspicious activity to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The scope of the rules have been extended over the years. For example, self-employed bookkeepers now have to register. From 31 July 2009 the Money Laundering Regulations also apply to businesses involved in property sales such as Estate Agents and to any agent providing consumer credit. These businesses have until 31 January 2010 to register. If you are suppose to be registered and you haven’t, directors are exposed to unlimited financial penalties and even jail!


ccountant Online VAT Registration

If we were doing the VAT registration for our clients we would invariably do it online as this seemed to be more efficient. However, this is not the case anymore. A new version of the paper form was introduced at the beginning of the year and once this was introduced the online procedure immediately became incompatible and various checks could no longer be done online. It turns out that when you now apply online the form is printed out and put in a pile with all the other paper applications! Accordingly, if you are thinking of doing online VAT registration this is probably only efficient if you are a soletrader as there are few checks that are needed to be made. If you are a partnership or company then you may as well do the paper registration.

VAT and the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS)

The flat rate scheme has been pushed by HMRC on the grounds that they say it is a time and money saving arrangement. However, there can be sometimes hidden dangers in the FRS. If you are in the FRS you cannot reclaim input VAT but you pay over less output VAT. However, you have to apply the reduced flat rate percentage to all business income even if the business income is usually exempt or zero rated. So, for example, if your business receives exempt rents or even sells a company car which would normally be exempt this could lead to an unexpected VAT charge. Thus think carefully before joining the FRS.

Newsflash Mail on Sunday 8 November 2009 Headline : Middle Britain Caught in Blitz on Tax Havens The Mail ran a story about the latest offshore initiative by the Inland Revenue. Last year the Revenue gave publicity to the fact that they have details of offshore accounts held by UK residents which have not been shown on their tax returns. The Revenue offered a sort of amnesty for those who came forward in that if they declared the offshore accounts paid the tax and interest then the penalty loading for non-declaration would be kept at 10%. A number of people came forward but a lot did not. The Revenue have now launched a second initiative whereby if people come forward now the penalty would be kept to 20% of the tax due. The above headline was to publicise the Revenue’s stance for those people who still had not come forward. They will throw the book at them and will prosecute if needs be even if the tax bill is relatively small. The threat is prosecution for sums as low as £10,000. You have been warned!

Tax Scams

Note that there are a lot of the above going round at the moment. They proport to be the Inland Revenue offering a refund. The first ones of this nature were very obvious as they were clearly written by somebody who did not have English as their first language. However, later scams have become far more sophisticated. Please note that HMRC would never never use email to advise somebody that they had a tax refund so do not go there!

To ask Pat a Question, Please email her at: pat.cobham@yourbusinessezine.com or visit Cobhams at www.cobhams.co.uk


Ask The Expert Stephanie Davies

Humour Director and Founder of Laughology, Stephanie Davies has over 10 years experience working in the public and private sector which has gained her an unsurpassed reputation for designing and delivering laughter and humour interventions for businesses, practitioners, clients, young people and adults. Stephanie is recognised as one of the UK’s leading voices in laughter and humour. She was recently invited by the University of Chester to develop and deliver the UK’s first MA course in Humour in the Workplace and will soon complete an MA on The Psychological Benefits of Laughter, Humour and Personal Growth. On leaving Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2002 she began performing stand-up comedy, firing her fascination with the power of laughter and humour. After attending Dr Kataria’s Laughter Leader course Stephanie was accepted as a participant in world-renowned, Dr Patch Adams’s Health Care Intensive Training in the USA. She worked with Patch exploring the relationship between health, humour, community and the arts. On top of her busy training schedule, Stephanie is often asked to contribute to popular television programmes, such as Trisha, The Bank of Mum and Dad, BBC’s Heaven & Earth and ITV’s Stand-up Jenny. She is also a regular on BBC Radio

Service with a Smile or Snarl With the Christmas period approaching the service industry will take on temporary staff to cover the December rush with shops and restaurants around the UK getting busier. As people wine, dine and shop to get the best of out the commercial season, money is splashed about and tips are given as part of the season of goodwill. So are we right to give a tip just because we feel obliged and what kind of service is good enough to tip? From the age of eight when I lived in a hotel/restaurant until twenty-one, I have worked in the service industry to support my pocket money and help pay my way through higher education. My mother set very high standards and all the staff at the restaurant were trained and delivered a top quality service. I remember at the age of twelve waiting on and having to ask a customer if they would like custard or cream on their spotted dick. I was so embarrassed I left out the spotted part by mistake, which to the

table of ten was hilarious, and I ran off, though my mum was adamant that I go back, apologise and ask them politely again. I was very thankful they were nice people who saw the funny side and even left me a large tip. (I did wonder after that if I should miss the word out in future as a way to increase my tips) As I grew up and began working in different jobs; bars restaurants, shops I was always aware of giving the best service. Smiling and using appropriate humour to make sure the customer received the best possible experience. (I feel the need to reiterate here the spotted dick slip up was not an intentional joke at the age of twelve but was a learning point of how laughter can encourage a positive relationship with the customer. The other learning point of course was as I got older spotted dick was not just a dessert and not funny in the slightest) I was always thought if I got the experience right for the customer they will be loyal. Near where I live there is a local convenience store, the owner knows my


Consultant name and asks how I am every time I go in. Even though the goods are a little more expensive as it’s an independent shop and I am more than happy to support local people. Also I enjoy going there and feel valued as a customer and so I am loyal over the cheaper, larger stores. Unfortunately I find this the exception rather than the rule and I can re-call a number of incidents of bad service which have made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Possibly one of the most memorable was when I was a student and began working in a restaurant. In fairness it wasn’t silver service and catered more for students and a quick bite to eat, though good food, however good service should be expected still. There was a mixture of staff, mainly students ranging between sixteen and thirty. The incident I recall was a gentleman who had ordered chicken, it was not cooked properly and so he asked to speak with me about it. As I already had a handful of plates, I apologised and asked if he would mind waiting whilst I freed up my hands. As I approached the table I saw another member of staff speaking to the gentleman. To my amazement I saw the waiter in question lean over and grab the chicken off the plate. When I asked him in the calmest way I could what he was doing, he explained the customer was not happy with the chicken and he was taking it back. I explained through gritted teeth but still smiling, to take the whole plate. His response was possibly the best and worst response I’ve ever heard: “but he’s only got a cob on with the chicken.” Now whilst this is an extreme case it certainly sums up the lack of training provided. That was ten years ago and I don’t feel things have improved, if anything they have got worse. I know I’m not the only one who whilst being served, you find you are interrupting a conversation between Tracey on the till and Sharon on packing who are discussing the previous nights antics. One chain in particular I have questioned on a number of occasions their slogan, “happy to help”, when I’m not sure happy is the emotion I would use as the adjective. In any kind of industry where you or your team comes into contact

with the public, training is essential. Simple things like service with a smile, creating happiness and even a laugh with the public is paramount for repeat business. It’s unfortunate that this has slipped by through the years, possibly with the introduction of some of the larger stores this has produced a lack the personal touch. My top tips for anyone in the service industry is always be kind to your team, show them how feeling good encourages more positive behaviour and feedback. Take time to smile, talk to customers even share a joke. It will not only improve your business but help improve the day of you and your team. My final piece of advice would be the other name for spotted dick is plum bolster; it may save your younger team any unfortunate slip ups.

Ask Stephanie a Question by emailing her at: stephanie.davies@yourbusinessezine.com You can visit stephanies website at

www.laughology.co.uk


Ask The Expert

Guest Ex Angela Workman has been with LEWIS PR since 2006, when she joined the Manchester office from Geronimo Communications. Following a period working for LEWIS in Singapore, she returned to head up the Manchester team in 2008, specialising in running both traditional and social media PR campaigns. Established in 2006, LEWIS Manchester was LEWIS PR’s first UK regional office. Developing effective, proactive and creative PR campaigns, LEWIS Manchester works with companies of all sizes across the North of England. Current clients include email marketing software expert Emailvision, behavioural merchandising specialist Avail Intelligence, independent IT consultancy Centralis and SPSS, an IBM company. In addition to traditional media and analyst relations, LEWIS specialises in social media PR, SEO, digital marketing and creative services. It works with companies to implement integrated communications programs on an international scale. LEWIS works with leading and emerging brands across multiple sectors, including automotive, consumer, government, healthcare, insurance, legal, non-profit, technology and telecom. LEWIS has 38 wholly-owned offices across the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific including offices in Boston, Milan and Tokyo and regional headquarters in London, San Francisco and Singapore.

Social Media – Risk or Reward? It could be argued that social media represents equal risk and reward to business. One thing is certain though – it shouldn’t be overlooked With mainstream media outlets declining in readership and influence, and the ability for anyone to use the web to create their own publishing channel, social media can represent a massive opportunity, as well as a threat. Communications is more global than ever. It is faster, more prolific and more direct. In the fight to be first, information can be less accurate and the impact, wether positive or negative, will be more acute for a company. One of the most extreme examples to date where accuracy has been compromised in the name of speed, is the 2008 case involving United Airlines, in which a six-year old story about the company’s bankruptcy was incorrectly identified as a ‘new’ story. The rapid dissemination of this ‘news’ caused the company’s share price to drop by

75 per cent in a matter of hours, before the error was detected and share trading halted. More than 1.5 billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, have access to the internet. According to research company Nielsen, two-thirds of internet users visit social networking or blogging sites. With web technologies now empowering people to communicate, collaborate and consume in new and revolutionary ways, it’s no surprise that companies and brands are looking to get involved. As the web gets more social and diverse, and stakeholders increasingly move online, social media will become a critical part of achieving business goals. Organisations will need a proactive, yet measured and controlled mindset, to drive and maximise its social media strategy. Here are ten steps to get you started on the road to social media success: 1). Do your homework – the more time spent on research, the more value you will get from a social media


xpert strategy. The most important influencers might not be the biggest bloggers, for example. Spend time researching the area, including forums and Twitter feeds, before you launch your campaign. Set up RSS feeds to monitor the conversation about the company, person, competitor or issue(s). 2). Don’t forget best practice – despite social media appearing a less formal communication medium, the same regulatory and legal constraints typically apply. The mechanism may need to be faster, but the rules of engagement still need to be in place. Elect a social media ambassador within your company to ensure consistency of messages and professional standards are adhered to. 3). Become on of ‘them’ – Social media etiquette is such that newcomers, rightly or wrongly, are often rejected – particularly if they try to join in the conversations that are already happening. To be accepted, try some of the technology, read blogs associated with your area of expertise, post comments on forums and articles, and follow Twitterers from your industry. Above all, always try to add value to conversations, rather than extract value. The creation of value is in the exchange. You give something, you get something back… eventually. 4). Be selective – there are some great services out there in the social sphere that will help you spread your message. Choose the channels that are going to add the most value to your campaign, and make sure you mix text with audio and video. Think about whether you need to monitor and respond or proactively engage. Not every social media tool suits every company or individual. Always keep your objectives and target audience in mind when deciding which ones to use. 5). Integrate – web-based marketing deserves a place at the heart of your strategy. If you decide to launch a blog, video or online influencer strategy, it should be in line with your wider corporate messages. At the same time, any marketing outreach should tie back to your web-based properties, as well as your offline campaigns. 6). Be realistic – human nature dictates that people are more driven to communicate a bad experience than they are a positive. Expect online conversations to be in part negative, but view this as an opportunity. 7). Pick your battles – ask yourself if the issue you are concerned with will impact your core business. Only argue with facts, not opinions, and never engage with the

PR anonymous. Those that don’t admit who they are often aren’t credible sources, and love a drawn-out fight. 8). Be honest – don’t try to ‘spin’ the truth. Apart from being a poor practice, you’re far more likely to be found out online. Be helpful, polite and frank. If you don’t know the answer to something, be up front about it and make a commitment to find out and come back. 9). Build an online community – one of the most compelling ways to transmit your message is for others to do it on your behalf. Achieving this is marketing nirvana, and as such it’s not something that is going to happen overnight. Foster your community by involving people in your cause, asking for opinions, seeking feedback, circulating links and being responsive to requests. 10). Measure outcomes – measuring the success of your marketing campaign is often the hardest part. But with social media, you can often track outcomes right back to the tactic that started the process. Regularly measuring the impact of a social media channel and responding to successes will result in a swift return. Decide on key criteria that are aligned with your objectives and use these to measure against. Don’t try to use every metric tool available. Chances are, your brand or company is already being discussed on various social media channels. Don’t believe me? Just type your brand or company name into the search box on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. This simple act can be most illuminating, with many people underestimating the volume and depth of discussion and insight about their brand or company taking place online, right now. Whether your strategy needs to be one of reactive defence, or pro-actively fostering a brand-advocating community, your move into social media is just a mouse click away.

Ask Angela a Question by emailing her at: guest@yourbusinessezine.com You can visit the Lewis PR website at

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MyNetworkingPA


H O L LY W O O D IS COMING TO MANCHESTER

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our Business E-Zine has been receiving unconfirmed reports for several weeks now that Hollywood is coming to Manchester. Does this mean that a resurgence in the British film industry is about to take place. The Greater Manchester region has long been revered for its creative flair and no nonsense ability to get things done, so maybe that’s why Hollywood is coming. Perhaps it’s because of Granada Studio’s, they may be doing an American version of The Street, oh dear and I thought it was far fetched now. Imagine the investment coming into the region, the job’s it will all create, the glitz and glamour, the star’s and their entourages. Oh, hang on. Sorry but I may have read this wrong. It’s not Hollywood that’s coming to Manchester, its Holly Wood, managing director of My Networking PA. Well to be fair, it’s an easy mistake to make and you’ll still get the glitz and glamour. No doubt she’ll make just as big an impact, because once you’ve met Holly, she is difficult to forget…….


H

olly is a 23 year old whirlwind. Despite her tender years, she is already proving to be somewhat of a force in the world of business and in Holly’s world, its all about networking. Holly is the Managing Director of My Networking PA, an online networking service that is membership based. But where did she come from and how at just 23 years old is she able to launch her national brand. Holly started her working career at the age of 17 in telemarketing. She spent 2 years on the phone selling stuff. Whilst this is a very competitive industry, Holly did well in it and although it wasn’t what she wanted to do, it did help with confidence and knowing how to communicate a message quickly, convincingly and to the point. From here she moved into recruitment, were she worked from 19 to 21 years of age. Part of Holly’s role in her recruitment job was still telemarketing, trying to build the client base, but this was her first taste of business to business sales. One morning whilst getting a coffee at her local Starbucks, she noticed something which was actually to change her life. All of the sorts of people she was trying to get to speak to on the phone were sitting in here. Why couldn’t she just go somewhere were these people would be and simply just go and speak to them face to face. She had recently been given an invite to a networking event at The Racquet Club in Liverpool, so decided there and then she would attend. Holly remembers that she has never had a fear of just walking up to someone and starting a conversation, so at the networking event, she felt as though she could simply be herself. She got 2 clients that day, one of which she remains friends with to this day. From that day forward she knew this was going to be the way for her to go, but unfortunately the company didn’t share her view. Despite this Holly continued to network, going in her own time and at her own expense. She would attend as many events as she could and very often smashed her monthly targets in less than the first week. After 5 months of doing this and with no change in the attitude of her employer, Holly left her job and simply had no idea what she was going to do next. Despite this, she continued to network, with nothing to promote Holly continued to go to as many events as possible and consequently knew about them all. It was this fairly unique


knowledge that resulted in a flippantly made remark at an event she was attending. Darren Schooler was someone Holly had seen out and about at several events and he turned to Holly and said “you’re like my networking PA at these events”. Holly went home and registered the name that night. So what is My Networking PA and why should someone join. Well in a nutshell, MNPA is an on line networking site that covers the whole of Britain. It lists all networking events in all areas, so if you’re travelling up and down the country and would prefer to do some constructive networking whilst you’re away, then MNPA will tell you what’s on and where. Besides this, there

is a loyalty card scheme; this will enable you to receive discounts on different products and services you may require through the normal running of your business. These discounts by far out way the cost of membership to the entire scheme, so provided you take advantage of what’s on offer, you could actually make a profit from your membership. The website itself is not actually live as I write this article, which is a shame, but it should be when you read it and there is a very good reason for this. You see once Holly came up with the concept of MNPA, she went back to her friend and previous employer, Gary *****, who was happy to support Holly from the start. With


his backing it was essential to get the website up and working well as soon as possible. Unfortunately the web design company did not appear to be up to the job. From day one the site just didn’t function as it should have. With months of development time and then months more trying to get it put it right, eventually the decision had to be made to scrap it and start over again. This was by no means an easy decision to make, the site had cost a small fortune, not to mention lost revenue and there was no guarantee of getting any of it back and then Holly had to start from square one. Now, it’s at this point that most mortals would give the whole thing up, saying ah well, we tried and it didn’t work, But Holly isn’t most mortal material.

What Holly did is to adapt her business model to become a networking event organiser and promoter, which she did extremely effectively. Whilst she was doing this, she employed another web design company, PH Creative and set about getting the new website done, properly. In fact Holly has said that the guy’s at PH Creative have been instrumental in getting the new site to do everything it’s supposed to and more besides. They have actually had to develop some of the functionality for the site, because it simply didn’t exist. No wonder the old one didn’t work. At least now her new site is ready to go, she can revert back to her previous business model, albeit a year later and go for it, and boy is she going for it.


Being the self styled queen of the networking scene, Holly is also extremely active on the social technology sites. In fact she say’s that Facebook has changed her working week. “It’s a great tool that can just keep your name out there, but I’m always on the look out for the next big thing”. Maybe it’s going to be her site. How about the name, I know she must get asked this all the time but I just had to know. How has being called Holly Wood affected your career, specifically your business career? “The name has opened lots of doors for me, but I do have to be careful with it. In networking it’s great because it’s very memorable”. So what of the future for My Networking PA? Well Holly is under no illusion that Manchester is key to her moving forward. She now has to grow a great team of people around her. And don’t be fooled people, look at these pictures and you’ll see a young, sassy, glitzy, glamorous girly girl, but the bits you don’t see are the very intelligent, innovative, determined and extremely focused business woman. Watch out Manchester, Holly Wood has arrived.

www.mynetworkingpa.com

MyNetworkingPA


n working in association with


december networking N

etworking In The City Business Networking

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etworking In The City Business Networking


Your Business eZine

Out & About Networking

Please send your pictures to events@yourbusinessezine.com


Due to this being a preview edition, we have not populated the networking events but we have to the right, an example of what the networking listings will look like.

Get your events listed on our calendar by emailing all of the details to

calendar@yourbusinessezine.com if you have your events stored in an Outlook, Google, or equivalent then all you need to do is invite

Calendar@yourbusinessezine.com

as an attendee and it will automatically get listed online immediately.


example page. Due to the nature of networking events and the shear quantity, we are unable to list all of them in time for the release of the eZine as they may not of been confirmed. So, we have set up a public calendar on Google where the events will be kept up to date. Take a look... Clich Link Below http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=calendar%40yourbusinessezine.com&ctz=Europe/London

To notify us of an event you can email the details to events@yourbusinessezine.com or Call 08000 432 734 Alternatively... Invite calendar@yourbusinessezine.com directly from your calendar.

NOVEMBER

25th

Liverpool Curry Club Sultans Place, Victoria Street, Liverpool Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm £15 on the door rsvp@mynetworkingpa.com www.liverpoolcurryclub.co.uk

www.mynetworkingpa.com

NOVEMBER

27th

BSB Networking Hollins Hey Hotel, New brighton, Wirral 0700hrs - 0900hrs Full BSB Members£ 9.50 Online BSB Member£ 12.00 Guests£ 12.00

http://www.bsbnetworkingclub.co.uk/Events/Event.aspx?EventId=215


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etworking In The City Business Networking

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he Manchester Curry Club was started 33 years ago by 3 bankers in the Raj Doot restaurant. It is still there and going stronger than ever. After changing hands several times over the years, 3 years ago Steve Kettle decided to take over. At that time there were about 15 people attending on a monthly basis, although many of those were retired and just used the monthly Curry Club as an excuse to get out of the house for an afternoon and socialise with friends as well as having a nice meal. All of this changed when Steve took over. Along with friend Pat McGreevy, they steadily built the numbers back up and got serious business people to attend. Then around 12 months ago they decided to register a company and Networking In The City was born. Over the last 12 months the numbers have now reached a steady 60 serious business people and NITC launched a Liverpool Curry Club in the Mayur restaurant in August of this year. Also over the course of the last year Steve and Pat have now been joined by Steve Maz, the companies IT and general technical guy as well as support from Wendy Harker.

LIVERPOOL

Curry

The format for every event is simple. All of the events are just £15 to attend. There is no membership fee and the £15 can be paid online or on the door. You arrive at 12 noon and register your attendance as well as receive a guest list. You are then able to head to the bar and with drink in hand, the next 50 minutes is open networking. At 10 minutes to one, one of

the team will say a few words and more often than not there will be someone else to speak for a few minutes. Then at 1 o’clock its time to sit down and continue chatting over a 2 course meal. Actually, one of the things that NITC pride themselves on is the quality of the restaurants, and having attended several events, I can tell you that the food is superb. The food is usually finished by around 2pm when people begin to drift off, but of course you always get the hard core who stay on much longer, often moving on together to another location if the restaurant closes. The events are always attended by key decision makers and high profile business professionals and are usually oversubscribed. The company is continuing to grow at an amazing rate with 4 events now running in Manchester central (Raj Doot), Manchester south (Swadesh), Liverpool (Mayur) and Sheffield (Agra). Next is going to be Edinburgh, Preston and Chester, with 28 more planned for next year. Now that’s what I call growth.

MANC

I can’t recommend attending these events highly enough. There is a great bunch of regulars that are serious business people and very approachable. You also get business people at these events that quite simply just don’t attend any others. And what a great excuse to have an extended business lunch, or even better, take the afternoon off work.

www.networkinginthecity.co.uk

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F

ran Eccles-Bech is a driven woman. The eldest of 4 children, she became more of a mother figure to her younger siblings as opposed to an older sister. Her father was a head teacher and has obviously had a strong influence on Fran in her life. Maybe this is where she gets her discipline and no nonsense approach. Fran is married to Peter, he’s from Barcelona and works in a hotel……. Have you just got an image of John Cleese smacking Manuel across the back of the head and saying, “it’s ok, he’s from Barcelona”. No, just me then. Anyway, nothing could be further from the truth; Peter is the General Manager of the Renaissance Hotel on Black Friar Street in Manchester. Fran has many hobbies, in fact I don’t know how she finds time to fit it all in. She loves to cook for friends, read, although as she describes it, only girly rubbish, gardening, but only in the summer, walking her 2 dogs, Beth the Cocker Spaniel and Daisy the Westy. Fran has also begun art classes, which she attends once a week for 2 hours and describes it as 2 hours of me time. This may come as a shock to people who think they know Fran, but she does have an addiction. It’s always sad to see


when this sort of thing happens, but we have to be open minded about it, after all, as much as we like to think that we would never succumb to anything like this ourselves, the fact is we are all vulnerable given the right circumstances. Fran’s addiction is a particularly disturbing one and unfortunately, even in these modern times, there is no known cure. Fran is addicted to reality TV shows. To be fair, they do say that the first step towards a cure is admitting you have a problem, so well done Fran, I know you can beat this. It has to be said that Fran’s main focus in her life is her 14 year old son, Jack. A typical 14 year old, Jack is totally not impressed that his mum is a governor at his school. Both Jack and Peter are both big football fans and Fran is dreading England and Spain both getting into the World Cup next year, she may just have to move out whilst it’s on. Maybe she could take Beth and Daisy and book herself into reality TV rehab for the duration of the games, just a suggestion. Anyway, now you know all about Fran herself, (probably more than she expected), let’s see what she does during her days. Allow me to introduce Fran the Chief Executive………..


F

ran Eccles-Bech began working for The Manchester Law Society 20 years ago as a secretary. At that time the most up to date piece of technology employed by them was a typewriter. It had more of a feel of a gentleman’s club with the council being made up of only the highest ranking lawyers from the largest firms in the region. 14 years ago Fran was made Chief Executive and oh how times have changed. Every solicitor must pay towards the National Law Society, but membership to their local one is completely optional. All 123 local Law Society’s work completely independently, both from each other and from the National Law Society, although they do liaise on a regular basis. The Manchester legal profession is the largest outside of London and the Manchester Law Society now has around 1800 members, made up of both corporate and individual. Besides the 1800 members, they also do a mail out to 7000 non members who also use their services. At the Manchester Law Society they use a council system made up of 35 solicitors from all areas of the profession. There are then committee’s set up to cover every aspect of law as well as committee’s for editorial, legal education, international officer and conciliation officer.

Every solicitor has to do a minimum of 16 hours per year of appropriate education. This is known as CPD. Manchester Law Society as a result, offer a wide range of educational and training courses which are appropriate to a solicitors CPD requirement. They also liaise with all other professional bodies on behalf of their members and also have excellent relations with the judiciary and law were they act as an interface, again on behalf of their members. In essence the Manchester Law Society acts as a very active mouthpiece, not just for it’s members, but the Manchester legal profession as a whole, which Fran describes as a huge and vibrant village. They constantly liaise and negotiate, deal with public enquiries and complaints. They have even just released a book, aimed at the public as an information guide called ‘The Manchester Law Society Guide to Legal Services’. As part of her job, Fran attends many networking and social events throughout the year. But it is also part of what the society does to organise many of these events, which are open to anyone to attend. The highlight of the annual calendar of events has to be the annual charity ball. Over the years it has run, this very popular event has raised in the region of £250,000 for local charities. This is something that everyone


at the Manchester Law Society is very proud of and intends to continue for many years to come. Fran see’s not only her role, but the role of the Society as a whole, to be extremely interactive and dynamic within the community. As the recession has taken its toll around the world, the legal profession has been no less affected than any other sector. So in an effort to adapt and support their members whatever happens out there, Fran and her team have helped many solicitors develop skills that they have never previously required. Things like proper advice on CV writing and training for interview techniques are just a few things that the Manchester Law Society have introduced in an effort to help those most seriously affected by the current downturn. They have also had a number of successes. They managed to get the first Admin Court outside London, they were responsible for the setting of prices for the County Court, which have now been taken up nationally and they have had their first solicitor make it all the way up to High Court Judge. There are so many things that the Manchester Law Society do that it is difficult to name them all. Besides the 35 council members, who all have full time positions in the legal sector and work for the society on a voluntary basis, there are only 4 full time members of staff getting everything else done. I actually find that incredible. To achieve so much with such limited resources takes drive and passion from the entire team, but more than that it takes great leadership. Fran Eccles-Bech is a fantastic leader and it can only be through her determination and dedication that the Manchester Law Society not only achieves as much as it does, but also has the respect from the industry and beyond that it has. Keep up the good work Fran and good luck with the reality TV thing; I know you can beat it.

www.manchesterlawsociety.org.uk


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The is the Your Business eZine | Manchester preview edition. the first of many to come. we take a look at some really great businesses tha...

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