September 2012 Issue 02 www.torfaenbusinessvoice.co.uk
E-NEWSLETTER NEXT EVENT Thursday 27th September Facilitated Networking
IN THIS ISSUE: Free Torfaen Business Breakfasts PR Tips for your Business Business Innovation Programme Branding Workshop
FROM THE CHAIRMAN Welcome to the September 2012 Torfaen Business Voice newsletter. As usual it is packed with business articles, news, events and information for you. Take a good read! Please forward it on to colleagues and business associates to spread the good news about Torfaen’s local business club – Torfaen Business Voice!! This month we have organised what is considered to be one of the most popular events in the Torfaen Business Voice calendar – our Torfaen Business Voice Facilitated Networking event will take place on the 27th at Greenmeadow Golf Club at 6.30pm. For more information on how to book see page 3. Make sure you attend this event to promote your business. Looking forward to October, Torfaen Business Voice brings you a Torfaen Business Voice Branding workshop on 25th October at Technium Springboard. It is being run by Brand Cymru. At £15.00 per person to include refreshments, it is a topic that everyone has a view on. See page 4. for more information.
CONTENTS: Page 3:
Next Event Last Event
Torfaen Business Voice Workshop Christmas Event
Torfaen Sustainability Week Elevate Cymru
Google Juice Bar Update PR Tips For Business
Marketing Opportunities Leadership and Management Wales
Page 10: Choosing Anti-Vrius Protection Regional Centre Service Page 11: Tendering for Business in the Public Sector
If you go to Wikipedia you can find all these other interesting facts about the month of September that I bet you never knew - such as: • In 1752, the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar. In the British Empire that year, September 2 was immediately followed by September 14. • On Usenet, it is said that September 1993 (Eternal September) never ended. • September in the Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent to March in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. • The Ludi Magni (Ludi Romani) of classical Rome in honor of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva began on September 4. • September was called "harvest month" in Charlemagne's calendar. • September corresponds partly to the Fructidor and partly to the Vendémiaire of the first French republic. • The Anglo-Saxons called the month Gerstmonath, barley month, that crop being then usually harvested. • September is called Herbstmonat, harvest month, in Switzerland. • Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
THURSDAY 6TH DECEMBER CHRISTMAS EVENT NEW MEMBERS: We would like to welcome the following businesses as new members of Torfaen Business Voice M.D.R. Cleaning Services (wales) firstname.lastname@example.org Torfaen Energy www.torfaenenergy.org Lilypad Commercial Services www.lilypad.org.uk Simon Dando - Videographer www.simondando.co.uk
As usual, I look forward to meeting you all on the 27th.
Regards, Dennis Ricketts Chairman, Torfaen Business Voice
All information contained in this newsletter is based on copy supplied by contributors and is believed to be accurate by the publisher. PDF E-Newsletter by Marshall & Hicks Print Media - 01495 750143 www.marshallandhicks.co.uk
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NEXT EVENT - TIME TO NETWORK The next Torfaen Business Voice event will be a facilitated networking evening and will take place on 27th September 2012 at Greenmeadow Golf Club. Our facilitated networking events have become some of the most popular meetings of the year and always receive positive feedback. They provide new and existing members with an opportunity to get to know each others’ businesses through a structured networking activity. Each person will have the chance to formally present to a number of other businesses around a table for 90 seconds to promote their company. The aim is to ensure that you reach at least two tables of listeners (approximately 12 businesses).
interested in what you have to offer! It’s all part of the networking concept! In addition, please make sure you bring along a supply of business cards and leaflets to hand out. In order to make the evening a success, we encourage you take advantage of the two free places that you are entitled to as a member. Make sure you bring a colleague, client or even a guest from another company. Please book early for this event as we are sure it will be highly popular.
To help you prepare we have suggested the following format… • Your Name • Your Company Name • What you do – remember to focus only on the key service/s or product/s you provide • How this/these benefits your clients Remind your listeners to also pass your details on to other people they may know who would be
Reserve Your Places for our event in September: Next event (time to network): Thursday 27th September 6.30pm prompt at the Greenmeadow Golf Club, Cwmbran Simply e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01633 648 644 Remember if you are a member you are entitled to 2 FREE places at this event. Non-members are very welcome at a cost of £20.00 per person. Please make cheque payable to: Torfaen County Borough Council
LAST EVENT - CARBON TRUST WORKSHOP On Thursday June 28th we welcomed Lee Evans from Carbon Trust Wales who ran a carbon reduction seminar for Torfaen Business Voice members. Lee provided an overview of a number of energy saving initiatives that SMEs need to be aware of and provided a wealth of valuable information. If you would like a copy of his presentation, then please contact Jo or Cheryl.
The evening continued with informal networking and the usual buffet which always creates a good atmosphere with our members.
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BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS TORFAEN BUSINESS VOICE WORKSHOP
CHRISTMAS EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED...
25th October, Technium Springboard, Llantarnam Park BrandCymru Gareth Waters & Chris Taylor Our ‘hands on’ workshop will provide you with practical advice and guidance on the basics of building a brand and how you can engage more effectively with your customers, and therefore increase profit. This power session will give participants a taster of how they can take ownership of their brand and will look at 3 key areas: 1. The importance of logos – What does your logo say about your business? Your logo is the ‘visual identifier’ for your brand. 2. Brand Focus – How to streamline your brand and communicate to your customers effectively. 3. Presenting your brand online – The importance of having an optimised website and introducing social media. Participants to the workshop will also receive a FREE no obligation evaluation of their current website SEO and impartial advice. Workshops are limited to 20 people (members only) and will cost £15.00 per person, to include light refreshments. Starting at 6.00pm and finishing at approx. 7.30pm.
Although December seems a long way off, time will fly by and we will be close to Christmas before we know it. It is customary for us to welcome a very special speaker to the December Torfaen Business Voice event which this year will be taking place on Thursday 6th December at Greenmeadow Golf Club, Cwmbran. Our speaker will be the world renowned baritone and BBC radio presenter, Mark Evans whose latest recording a few months ago with the Band of the Royal Welsh Guard topped Amazon’s ‘best selling list’. He has also appeared in the latest Sherlock Holmes film and this year has seen his profile in America soar. Mark is the brother of ‘superstar’ Wynne (Mr Go Compare) so there is a great deal of sibling rivalry (the name of their BBC radio programme). Mark promises to be an inspirational speaker and may even perform a couple of songs for us. PLEASE PUT THIS EVENT IN YOUR DIARY IT IS NOT ONE TO MISS! To book a place, please email: Joanne.email@example.com or Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please e-mail email@example.com or Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
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TORFAEN SUSTAINABILITY WEEK: 1ST - 8TH OCTOBER 2012 FREE BUSINESS BREAKFAST Torfaen County Borough Council is holding their 4th Sustainability Week in October. The week’s programme is packed with exciting and informative events and activities for residents and schools. For more information please contact: email@example.com or telephone: 01633 648018/864694. As part of the week’s activities we will be holding a FREE Sustainability Business Breakfast on Thursday 4th October as part of Torfaen’s continued commitment to encourage businesses to focus on sustainability issues.
BEING RESPONSIBLE Achieving commercial success in ways that honour your values. Hear from Business In The Community on the business benefits of managing, measuring and communicating your responsible business practices. This will start at 7.45am and take place at Greenmeadow Golf Club, Cwmbran. To book your place contact Joanne John or Cheryl Williams Joanne.firstname.lastname@example.org or Cheryl.email@example.com
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NEARLY HALF OF CONSUMERS TO BE ‘SOCIAL SHOPPERS’ BY 2021
Around 70 per cent of online shoppers are already active users of social platforms but the number of social shoppers is set to grow further as social micro-blogging websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest increasingly blur the boundaries between retail channels in the same way mobile technology has done.
S-commerce sales to more than double to £3.3 billion within the next 5 years. Social media is due to play a more significant role in how customers will make decisions on purchasing goods and services in the future. The following article has been provided by Barclays Bank and provides an insight into why businesses should be considering social platforms as an increasingly important tool in their sales and marketing efforts. The next generation of ‘social shopper’ is expected to emerge as a force to be reckoned with by 2021 with 41 per cent of the UK’s consumer population expected to be influenced by or using social media to make a purchase, according to new research from Barclays. Amongst 25 to 34 year olds this figure is much higher with nearly half (45 per cent) of this age group already engaging in s-commerce. By 2021, the figure will have jumped to 73 per cent. Deb Reader, Barclays Business Manager for Cwmbran, said: “Shopping has always been a social activity right back to the days when people bartered rather than paid for goods. It wasn’t until the arrival of e-commerce that the social aspect of shopping was removed.
Where social media is really coming in to its own is as an influencer and multi-channel integrator rather than a direct sales channel. Users are receptive to new ideas, suggestions and recommendations when on social networking sites but are not in an active state of mind to purchase. Translated into revenues, in the next five years influenced sales are expected to more than double from £1.4 billion to £3.3 billion. This contrasts with direct sales which are expected to rise from £210 million to £300 million. The retailers enjoying the greatest uplift in sales as a result of social media’s increasing influence are fashion, footwear, music, film and grocers. Deb Reader continues: “When someone you know and trusts makes a recommendation it’s extremely powerful and we’ve seen that the social shopper isn’t afraid to express online how much they want, love or dislike a product or service. “This in turn creates a feedback loop on a product or brand. As more people post reviews, more people read them and, in turn, they give their own feedback which is picked up by a new group of consumers. Retailers should be exploring ways to tap into these communities in order to create more personalised shopping experiences”. Debra Reader Barclays Business Manager Tel: 01633 205213 Fax: 01633 205211 Email: Deb.Reader@barclays.com
“For most consumers the social element is fundamental – shopping it is a leisure activity in the British psyche – so being able to reintroduce this aspect into the online purchasing process is a powerful tool for retailers”. TBV - PAGE 6
BUSINESS INNOVATION – A WELSH GOVERNMENT INTEGRATED PROGRAMME OF SUPPORT Innovation is the ‘profitable exploitation of new ideas’. It enables businesses to respond to change. It plays a vital role in maintaining and improving competitiveness. In short, innovation is what gives life to business enterprise. Fully integrated advice and specialist support is available to help your business to: • Access funding for business innovation • Create and commercialise new products and processes • Increase efficiency in manufacturing through technology & process improvement • Introduce design for new product development and manufacture • Identify, protect and exploit your intellectual property (IP) It is easy to imagine that an innovation process starts with an idea and ends crisply with a successful and profitable outcome. Business Innovation mirrors everyday working reality, which isn’t always so wellordered. Our support is offered in a non-linear sequence. The starting point is whatever is most appropriate for your business, right now. Our support continues to be available for as long as you require us to be involved. From initial idea to implementation of the final product, Business Innovation can help to drive your business success. Access to specialist advice and funding Business Innovation Support is delivered by a team of highly experienced Innovation Specialists, Design and Manufacturing Managers and Intellectual Property Managers, all of whom have solid and proven industrial experience. Our team of specialists, across Wales, will jointly undertake a review with your business to identify opportunities for innovation and exploitation of your intellectual property. Based on that review, advisors will help you to procure external experts from the private sector or Universities and Colleges. We can help part-fund the cost of the work through Innovation Vouchers worth up to £25,000 in a 12 month period. Funding is also available for capital equipment and research and development into new products, processes and technologies. Innovation voucher funding can help your business to: • Procure technical consultancy expertise from the private sector • Assist with the financing of new capital equipment • Implement the findings of our review process with your business, in areas of new product development, manufacturing and design
• Collaborate with Universities and Colleges and source facilities, equipment and expertise to help solve your technical problems and allow you to innovate • Procure expert services for Intellectual Property registration, including patents, designs and trademarks • Procure capital equipment that supports a technology ‘step-change’ for the business. R&D funding is available at varying levels to support: • Technical & Commercial Feasibility – to investigate the technological and commercial viability of transforming innovative ideas into new products, processes and technologies • Industrial Research – research to acquire new knowledge for the development of new products or technologies, or significant improvements to existing ones • Experimental Development – to implement the results of industrial research, including the creation of preproduction prototypes • Exploitation – to assist with the exploitation costs of new products or processes, including marketing, publicity and attendance at trade fairs Are you asking questions like these in your business? • How do we develop new products as well as managing day-to-day business? • Where can I access funding to support our innovation and R&D activities? • How do we access the expertise and facilities in Universities and Colleges and is there funding to support this? • How do I minimise the risks associated with New Product Development? • How do I maximise the value of the intellectual property (IP) relating to the new products? • How can I increase productivity? • What can I do to improve quality and delivery? • How do I reduce defects? • How can I use space or equipment more effectively? • How do I improve the look of my products? • Where can I find out about the latest materials and how to use them in my products? • How do I design my products to save costs in production? • What is the best way to develop my branding to include new products? • How do I make my packaging more environmentally friendly? If you are, then Business Innovation – can help. How to access Business Innovation Call Bernie now on 029 20444 730 www.businessinnovation.uk.com The advice we offer is available to businesses in Wales. Eligibility criteria will apply.
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TORFAEN GOOGLE JUICE BARS: ARE YOU A BUSINESS LOOKING TO GET ON LINE? In the June 2012 edition of the newsletter we updated readers on the Google Juice Bars initiative that is taking place in Torfaen. ‘Google Juice Bars’ is part of The “Getting Welsh Business Online” (GWBO) initiative and comes on the back of a successful pilot in Liverpool during autumn 2011. One of its key aims is to help small - medium sized businesses (SME’s) overcome the most common challenges associated with getting online for the first time or improving the commercial aspects of their current websites. The first Torfaen Google Juice Bar was held in May 2012 and a further one will be held in September 2012. The Economic Development team at Torfaen County Borough Council is keen to continue supporting businesses with their online and digital objectives and are looking to organise further Google Juice Bar events in the near future for Torfaen businesses. So if you would like to register your interest please contact Jo or Cheryl: firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com
PR TIPS FOR BUSINESSES Our approach to writing press releases is based on a simple and well established premise that journalists are more likely to use a press release written in the style of a newspaper. Spending time doing anything else is simple a waste of time for everyone and reduces your chance of your release appearing in the press. Here are five useful tips to get started. 1. Tell the story in the first two paragraphs. Most people scan read a newspaper article. The introduction should have all the key points in a single 25 word sentence that sums up the five Ws - who, what, when, where and how. Journalists talk about the inverted pyramid – the most important information is weighted to the top and the less important lines are at the bottom. 2. No more than 300 words. Use single sentence paragraphs with no more than one or two facts per paragraph. Write as if it is being read by a seven year old child. Assume your reader has no previous knowledge of your story. 3. Add a human touch by adding a quote into the middle of the press release. If you’re drafting something on behalf of someone else, use conversational language. Avoid jargon and clichés. If you’re struggling, why not simply ask them what they think and use what they say! 4. Don’t forget to think about interviews and photographs and make sure they are captioned and you have consent of those photographed. 5. Be available if there are questions from the media. Don’t send out a release and then go on holiday for two weeks. Article provided by Jamie Robins, Communications Officer, Neighbourhood Services, Torfaen County Borough Council. TBV - PAGE 8
MORE MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBERS One of the benefits of being a Torfaen Business Voice member is the opportunity to get your company brand in front of other local businesses. As from the event in September we are pleased to announce that we will be creating a Members Information Area in the room at the Greenmeadow Golf Club. Members of Torfaen Business Voice can bring and display a single pop-up stand (up to 15 only allowed at each event so please contact Jo or Cheryl early to ensure you have a slot on the list).
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HOW TO CHOOSE ANTI-VIRUS PROTECTION Choosing an anti-virus is something that seems trivial but could be the difference between your data being compromised and you being inconvenienced. So, how do you find an anti-virus that is right for you? There are several anti-viruses that could be considered such as AVG and Avast but two of the main antiviruses that we recommend are Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and Sophos. One of the main benefits of Microsoft Security Essentials is its free price tag but it also keeps the virus database up to date and performs regular checks ensuring that your computer is scanned regularly. Sophos is charged on an annual subscription but it scans thoroughly and keeps your computer protected for a wide variety of viruses and malware ensuring you are constantly protected against new threats. One of the main points to consider when choosing an anti-virus is; if there is a free and a paid version, what is the paid version offering that you’re not receiving on the free version? Are you putting yourself at more risk by not having that added feature? Once you’ve found the right anti-virus for you, how often do you update the anti-virus? It is recommended that the anti-virus is updated at least once a day. Every day can seem drastic but it is actually recommended the anti-virus gets updated every few hours, as and when a new definition is reported. However, every few hours could inconvenience you so once a day would be an ideal amount of time to ensure all the definitions are downloaded and installed ready for the next scheduled scan. By default the scheduled scans are set to 3am which results in the scheduled scan rarely being performed. We recommend that a full scan be performed once a week to ensure that your system is thoroughly protected. If you’d like more information about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact Siân Haynes on 01633 676543 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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HINTS AND TIPS FOR TENDERING FOR BUSINESS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR How do I find out about the opportunities?
How to complete a tender.
There are a surprising number of web portals which list opportunities in various sectors, Some are for the NHS, others for the Police and Ambulance services, some for Local Authorities, and so on. These are often for Regional – and therefore manageable – contracts of an appropriate size. Registration is often free of charge, and once set up with your criteria, you are likely to receive e-mails as and when an opportunity arises.
The organisation seeking suppliers is a professional organisation, and is serious about the opportunity it is presenting to you. It wants serious business partners who will deliver an excellent service. As such, you must present your responses professionally, with short, sharp, effective use of words, and strictly no ‘wherefore’s or ‘therefore’s in the answer. By all means express your company’s personality and character, which is important – but keep it professional.
Most portals give details of current opportunities, upcoming opportunities, and (importantly), contracts which have been awarded. The upcoming business speaks for itself, but often the ‘past opportunities’ show the contract end date, and when the opportunity is likely to be offered again. A good date to have in your diary! Who can submit a tender? Everyone can apply. There may be no pre-amble, just a tender document which needs to be completed and returned by a given date and time. There is usually an indication of how your answer will be assessed – e.g. 40% weighting given to price, the other 60% spread equally over (say) six questions where you have the opportunity to impress the buying organisation about quality, implementation, planning the contract, training, your environmental credentials etc etc. Depending on the scale of the opportunity, some ‘Framework’ agreements are created, on which Approved Suppliers get the opportunity to tender for some of the business within that overall Framework Agreement. When specific demand becomes known to the buying organisation, they either send an ‘Invitation to Tender’ (ITT) to those on the Approved Suppliers list and run a ‘mini tender’, or in some cases use preferred suppliers in order of their ‘ranking’ in the Framework agreement. All Framework Agreements are reached via a ‘Pre Qualification Questionnaire’ or a similar set of questions, You will need to pass this stage before the buying organisation considers your quality and/or price submission. The down side of a PQQ is that it is about your past – so for example, if they want to see three years of accounts and you only have one, you just don’t qualify! If you need to be able to respond in all parts of a region within an hour, you either can or you can’t. The up-side is that you now know the duration of the agreement, when it will be put back to the market, and what you need to do to win it next time. Opportunities are increasing. Much business has been conducted by the Public Sector in the past without the need to seek tenders. The rules have become more stringent: This means two things – 1) if you have enjoyed working with the Public Sector for a number of years, there is a very good chance that the business will be put to tender at some time, 2) if you aren’t supplying them yet, Public Sector business enjoyed by others may soon be put out to tender and a wider audience will be able to tender for work.
It seems an obvious statement to make, but please ensure that you answer the question. Read everything diligently, take your time, and consider your response thoroughly. Don’t be afraid of duplication, as quite often part of one response can be included in another. For example, if your service needs to ensure personal data security, the way in which it is done would be explained fully as part of your operational procedures response, and also in your response regarding the quality of the service you provide. It’s relevant to both, so put it in! Clarify any ambiguity. Tender opportunities often are accompanied by some elements of ambiguity or uncertainty in them. Whilst the author of the document may know what was meant when it was written, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you, the reader, fully understands. Equally, further detail may be required – for example, does the instruction to ‘collect from Reception’ mean that Reception is open all day or there may be times of the day when the Reception may be unmanned. All tendering opportunities come with the ability to ask questions. Some give a telephone number, others insist on e-mails, which are then published to all other competing companies, together with the answer to that query. Whatever the means of contact, ask the questions you need answers to – it doesn’t count against you, and ensures that you never assume anything. Many thanks to Dennis Elliott of Lilypad, Cardiff for providing this article: Telephone: 0845 450 6505 www.lilypad.org.uk
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