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W W W . T A L K B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . C O . U K

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

June 2013 £4.50

Location, location, location The UK’s new business hotspots

Retail fail

Chelsea

Is the high street dead and buried?

boy

Made In Chelsea’s Francis Boulle proves his entrepreneurial mettle

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Our achievements 2012

Our achievements for our franchisees. We: • Re-branded the Tesco hand car wash estate to the new design standard, operating under the Tesco brand • Created the new design standard for all new-build Tesco hand car washes • Opened our 100th Tesco hand car wash • Released our smart phone app with a customer store locator • Piloted a promotion using Tesco ClubCard • Ran campaigns with the Tesco local marketing team to offer incentives to customers to return to the store and the car wash to receive incremental benefits • Ran a promotion through the petrol filling station tills for discounts at our car washes - nearly 2,500 customers took this up across 20 stores with 60% being new to the car wash on average • Achieved unprecedented levels of brand recognition and positive feedback from Tesco’s own customer research • Ensured our hand car wash installation is ahead of current planned EU legislation • Negotiated operational savings and supplier discounts for our franchisees; e.g. we reduced their insurance premium by 24%

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• Launch a partnership advertising campaign featuring Tesco Bank • Implement a business development plan for our franchisees to use to grow their own businesses • Help to drive footfall by promoting sponsorship of different charities And there’s more to come...

Do you want to be part of this exciting opportunity? If so contact us on 020 8877 3884 www.wavescarwash.co.uk NEW COLOURS (FORMAT CHANGE) NEW COLOURS (FORMAT CHANGE)

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Best in class “Tesco Hand Car Wash is without doubt Best In Class. We are now offering our customers a great service that we can be proud of and that we know our customers love. Ethical, professional and reliable… our customers enjoy an industry-leading standard of service. Tesco Hand Car Wash is a world-class car washing service for our customers with a profitable model for our operators, Waves and Tesco” Peter Cattell - Category Director - Tesco Speaking December 2012 to Waves & Tesco Franchisees “Since we started in October we have seen the business grow steadily. Waves have provided help and support and being able to run promotions via the Tesco petrol station netted us lots of new customers.” Roland Shahini - Franchisee - Tesco Hand Car Wash Burgess Hill “We have had a solid flow of customers from the day we opened. We have four sites operated by our family and another on the way and we are very happy with Waves; being on a Tesco site means we get access to far more customers than we could ever expect if we had a stand-alone operation. “ Suni Rasim - Franchisee - Tesco Hand Car Washes in Stow and Cheltenham

W

aves has a long and established relationship with Tesco going back to 2006, but in 2011 when Tesco wanted someone to manage their entire hand car washing estate they choose Waves to become the sole provider.

“I think it is because we shared the same values and concepts of customer service that was crucial in us winning the contract” says Joanna Graham, a founding director of Waves, and their principle contact at Tesco on a day to day basis. “What we have done since winning the contract is to convert all of the existing car washes to the latest Tesco design standard, and this means we now offer a best in class service to our customers” explained Graham. This is clearly evident today when you visit any of the current 120 stores where Waves is operating. All staff are in uniform and they all deliver the same types of services. Everyone operates from a smart cabin situated in a prominent location within the car park - always within easy access of the store. “Ours and Tesco research shows that customers are happy to leave their vehicles whilst they shop” Graham explained, “but it is important that we are close enough to the store entrance so they can get back and collect their car easily.” Waves provides a complete package for all new sites and we completely build, install and equip the hand car wash. The full installation also includes Tesco approved signage and marketing materials, together with training and on-going support. It is also a business that lends itself to the management franchise model, where a single franchisee will operate a cluster of locations. Five year Tesco hand car wash franchise packages start from £47,500 + VAT. For more commercial information and for available locations please call us on 020 8877 3884 or please visit www.wavescarwash.co.uk.

All operational contracts will be with Waves Consultancy Limited. Please note that as franchisee you will have the right to use the on-site installation however the installation and equipment remains the property of Waves Consultancy Limited for the duration of the term.

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STATEMENT_Layout_PRINT.pdf

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a g n i k a M tement a t S

We talk to statement exhibitions to find out how to make the most of your exhibition space

What size and stand layout should I book? In our experience the size of the space is no where near as important as how many open sides you have and often is decided by your budget, too many people go for the cheaper space with one open side and then find they have 9 metres of wall to cover, you’ll find you spend less overall if you opt for a more flexible space with one or two open sides regardless of the size.

...there are no boundaries with custom build exhibitions.

Is less really more? Should I choose modular or custom build? This is a question that is asked whenever we start a new project, and our clients usually answer this for themselves when we dig a little deeper into the brief. It is usually decided by the function required of the stand and how many times it is to be used, obviously a modular stand is much more cost effective but there are no boundaries with custom build exhibitions.

Modular used to have a bad reputation for looking dull and cheap but have a look on our site for the proof that this is no longer the case!

When our studio produces the initial 3D visual they are stylish, modern, clean and highlight the best features of the brand. What sometimes happens when we get to artwork stage is all the clean wall space is filled with lots of text. Of course there is some important information you want to get across but surely the main reason for exhibiting is to inform your clients of this face to face. How many times have you been to a show and wanted to read a wall of tiny text? We suggest making your brand look attractive and get the customers on the stand for you to then find out what they really want to know.

Should I spend the extra on a raised platform? Everyone has their own opinion on this but ours is that you should only opt for a raised floor if you have to for electrical or plumbing access and even then a 40mm platform is more than enough. We find that a raised floor can act as a barrier and can make your potential customers a little more hesitant to take the plunge and step on to your stand. If you do need one don’t worry as there are ways to make a feature of it.

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Case Study - Finn Geotherm Guy Ransom of Finn Geotherm tells us how Statement Exhibitions brought his vision to life

The Brief...

Statement’s initial offering demonstrated the benefit of the face to face meeting and the understanding that had been built with FGT. The stand was designed with an aluminium framework and screen printed fabrics, combining the benefits of clear, bright printing, flexibility and ease of storage for future use.

The Solution... Statement worked closely with FGT in the weeks leading up to Ecobuild to obtain stock graphics and to formulate text which ideally portrayed the messages that FGT wished to convey. Throughout the design process, Statement maintained an attitude of being genuinely enthused by the concept of the stand. Statement remained patient and positive throughout the various artistic and technical amendments that FGT needed to maximise the impact of their case studies.

...Statement maintained an attitude of being genuinely enthused by the concept of the stand.

FGT wished their stand to rise above the competition. Key to the requirement was the need to draw visitors into and through the stand.

The appearance, functionality and build quality of the stand were superb. Visitors were, as FGT hoped, drawn into the bright open space. The curved space idea worked brilliantly, visitors working their way through the stand’s various case studies whilst having ample space to talk with representatives of FGT and their partners.

The Result... “Statement made the whole process of conceiving, developing and delivering our exhibition stand a pleasure. The finished article represented our requirements superbly and was something that we felt proud to carry our company name. We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Statement to any other company considering a similar project. Our greatest appreciation and respect goes to Statement who’s inspiration, empathy and tireless enthusiasm brought the stand from conception to a realisation that exceeded our expectations.”

If you would like to see what Statement Exhibitions could do for you why not give them a call on 0113 238 1523

Guy Ransom Commercial Director Finn Geotherm

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TAKING CARE Of document solutions

KYOCERA [k{ey}-o-sée:ra] noun ^

1. A specialised body of people: leading experts in the field of document management solutions. See reliability. 2. Business with an efficient and caring approach: associated with the economic benefits of reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). 3. Guardians of the world’s most precious documents: providing security in the storage and transfer of vital information. 4. Future proofing every business from home office workers, through SME’s, to multinational corporations: solutions for the public and private sectors. 5. Championing sustainability: delivering real solutions for business.

Redefine your document solutions:

kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.uk Call: 08457 103104


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13 Editor’s letter 15 Letters

Inside

17 News & events

Focus on success

20 Never judge a book Made In Chelsea entrepreneur, Francis Boulle

20 56

28 Take one company Upper Street Shoes

84 Face your fear Overcome your networking fears

31 Introducing… TB grills an up-and-comer

88 Creating the stand out brand Differentiating online

32 12 steps to success Carly Ward shows us the final step

91 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems

34 A tale of four cities The new entrepreneurial hotspots 37 Rock the Mike Mike Mills on mentoring 38 Book reviews 146 He said/she said What are our entrepreneurs saying this month?

Focus on money

100 Myths and legends… Debunking change management myths 103 Absent without leave Staff absence 104 There’s no place like home Working from home

45 Don’t be an idiot abroad Santander on international growth

108 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of UKFast’s CEO

50 A day in the life… Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient 53 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements

Focus on strategy

Focus on technology 111 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column 112 Look to the future Cloud computing 115 Are you agile enough? New IT opportunities

55 The branding column Rich With

121 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps

56 Death of the high street Is offline retailing a thing of the past?

122 Toshiba vs Sony This month’s best hybrids

63 Get, net, go! Websites for SMEs 68 The language of sales Adam Caplan 71 Stocking all over the world Building a global business

Focus on marketing

Focus on franchise 127 Franchise news 129 Spotlight Caffè Latte 133 Take one franchisee Aarti and Dipak Davé, Platinum Property Partners

75 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

135 Making an exhibition The British Franchise Exhibition

77 S&M Sales and marketing relationships

136 From banker to carer Career-change case study

81 Attack of the clones Clone your best customer

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95 Size matters Growing HR policies

41 Success on a shoestring Bootstrapping your business

46 To buy or to build Acquiring an existing business

50

Focus on people

93 The people column Lee McQueen

83 Picture perfect Marketing with infographics

Focus on advice 138 Waves Consultancy 141 Freelancer talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 11

28/05/2013 11:14


Comment

Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business

EDITOR

Helen Coffey helen.coffey@astongreenlake.com DESIGN

Paul Daniels paul.daniels@astongreenlake.com Stephanie Allingham stephanie.allingham@astongreenlake.com Ross Trigg ross.trigg@astongreenlake.com WEB DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Mitchell Finlay mitchell.finlay@astongreenlake.com SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER

Scott Hartley scott.hartley@astongreenlake.com SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER

Damien Ward damien.ward@astongreenlake.com ACCOUNT MANAGER

Trystan Hurley trystan.hurley@astongreenlake.com MANAGING DIRECTOR

Jay Boisvert jay@astongreenlake.com Circulation/subscriptions: UK £40, EUROPE £60, REST OF WORLD £95 Circulation enquiries: Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd T: 0203 617 4680 Talk Business is published 12 times a year by Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd. Floor 8, 6 Mitre Passage Peninsula Central Greenwich, London SE10 0ER T:02036174681 ©Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. No part of Talk Business may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor. Talk Business will make every effort to return picture material, but it is sent at owner’s risk. Due to the nature of the printing process, images can be subject to a variation of up to 15 per cent, therefore Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd cannot be held responsible for such variation.

Is the high street beat? We’ve all seen the signs – first Woolworths’ demise shocked us but now, after a slew of headline-grabbing failures, it comes as no surprise when a previously solid retail megastar falls from grace into bankruptcy. Is that it then? Is the high street giving up without so much as a whimper, let alone a fight? It would be easy to assume yes, and to respond by all struggling to shoehorn our businesses into an online-only model. However, perhaps we shouldn’t speak too quickly. There are plenty of examples of companies which have maintained a strong high street presence and yet are going from strength to strength: just look at John Lewis and The White Company if you’re in need of inspiration. So what should we be doing with our SMEs to ensure we don’t go the way of Blockbuster and fall into the “irrelevant” bracket? Put simply, it’s all about multi-channel retailing these days. Don’t think you’ve got to shut up shop immediately, but equally don’t ignore how important it is to have an online footprint – a way for customers or clients to find out about you, and potentially buy from you, on a range of devices. In this issue, we have everything you need to ensure your business keeps moving forward; just take a gander at our Death of the high street feature on page 56 and learn how to stay ahead of the game. Find out how to create a stand out brand online on page 88, and discover why a website can make or break your business on page 63. The moral of the story is: don’t give up on the high street just yet, but don’t be held back from evolving your business to meet today’s multi-channel market. Enjoy,

Helen Coffey Editor

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Contributors

The regulars Rich With has worked in a design environment since leaving

college. After spending time in editorial, print and web design, he began freelancing at agencies in both London and the Caribbean. He set up his own studio – Hoot Creative – two years ago. Based near Southend, he works with MDs of established and start-up SMEs who have a problem getting noticed in an overcrowded market. Rich likes Massive Attack, Jeff Buckley, smoothies, photography and winegums. He is not fond of Brussels sprouts. You can follow him on Twitter @Rich_Hoot. Read his column on page 55

Kimberly Davis is a highly accomplished marketing expert,

author, business mentor and speaker. During her 20+ year career, she has worked with A-list celebrities and the most influential people in the world, from Michael Buble through to the CEOs of Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank, and Procter and Gamble. Strong opinions and a determination to restore credibility to an unregulated industry have earned Kimberly a reputation as “the anti-marketing marketer”. Her no-nonsense approach has helped thousands of businesses succeed and left countless marketers shaking in their boots. Read her column on page 75

David Richards is the CEO and co-founder of WANdisco.

He has over 15 years’ experience as an executive in the software industry, and sits on both boards and advisory boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. He is a veteran of several successful start-up companies in enterprise software and is recognised as an industry leader in both EAI and EAI Standards. He has spoken and written widely about standards in application integration and the adoption of open-source technologies. Follow David on twitter @davidrichards Read his column on page 111

Carly Ward has been employed in many different jobs, from a

bar tender to a beautician – but from a young age she realised working for somebody else wasn’t for her. After leaving college, she started looking for resources to help her set up her own business. On her travels she found a gap in the market and realised that there wasn’t enough help out there for young entrepreneurs; she set up the YES Network, a programme helping young people to learn entrepreneurial skills. Read her final Talk Business column on page 32

14 June 2013

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Letters

The merits of mentoring, the criticisms of crowdfunding and the benefits of bootstrapping are this month’s hot topics

If you’d like to send us your thoughts about Talk Business, or anything else that’s happening on the SME scene, just get in touch: email: helen.coffey@astongreenlake.com snail mail: Aston Greenlake, 8th floor, 6 Mitre Passage, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER

MENTORING MAGIC Dear Talk Business, Last month’s piece about mentoring [Pass it on, May] really made me think about how I can give something back. I’ve been considering something like a mentoring scheme for a while; I have a business, which I’ve built up from nothing, and I feel like I have a lot of expertise and wisdom to pass on. Learning by trial and error is all well and good, but how much better to have someone who has been through it all to help guide you towards success – minus the major disasters. I’ll certainly consider joining a mentoring programme now or in the near future. Thanks,

Luke F Mason

I read your crowdfunding feature [Stand out from the crowd, May] with interest. I am still not sure exactly how it works – it almost sounds too good to be true as a source of funding. A lot of businesses seem to have hit their funding targets using it, which is fantastic. But what I don’t understand is what’s in it for the investors? Why would they bother? If you put £100 into one of these start-ups, you a) won’t get any say in how the business is run, and b) probably won’t get a return on your investment unless the business does incredibly well. The Kickstarter platform is easier to understand, as you are pre-paying to receive a product much of the time – but I’m not yet sure how the crowdfunding model in general will attract amateur investors. I will be interested to see how this industry develops. Regards,

Ross Levick

LET TER OF THE MONTH

Dear Editor, The announcement that the UK has avoided a triple-dip recession is irrelevant to growing SME businesses, other than the political concern it creates in the media. The situation is clear and we are bouncing along the bottom. It is a tough economy and when the going gets tough, the tough get going. We operate in a market economy, which means choice for consumers and businesses. As a result of this, the popular and smart businesses are surviving and those less fortunate that still hark after a world where you do not need to deliver excellent products and services through lean processes are failing. And what is so wrong with that? Until the banking system is fixed, good businesses will just make do and mend and get on with making what money they can by relentless focus on what they do now with what is available. Yours faithfully,

Bob Bradley,
Chairman MD2MD

the month… @JCSCleaningCo Welcome to our new followers @WaterlooEyeCent @grub2u @CarpetCleaner17 @TalkBusinessMag Look forward to your tweets!

THE IN-CROWD

MAKE DO AND MEND

Tweets of

@NickyGray1 The Enterprise Speaker Weekly is out! Top stories today via @TalkBusinessMag @BouxAvenue @Athena_Business RT @talkbusinessmag: Building Your Business Online. Great advice @CAROLEPA@Jacqueline_Gold just read your very inspirational article in the @TalkBusinessMag @LeeMcQueen RT @TalkBusinessMag: Trainee Rises to CEO – Thanks to Alarm Clock > Inspiration! @officebrokercom helped us as well! @DellSmbUK Businesswomen reveal benefits of being their own boss @TalkBusinessMag #DWEN @OregaCentres Our Marketing Expert Kimberly Davis is in @TalkBusinessMag this month! Sign up for her Webinar @Shelley_NeoPR Read this month’s @TalkBusinessMag letter of the month by @hardybee page 5. Slow growth is the new norm! @TheBusinessShow Businesswomen reveal benefits of being own boss via @talkbusinessmag talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 15

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News & events

BAD HIRES

AFFECT

BUSINESS

HIRING THE WRONG person can have serious implications for companies, a new study has discovered. More than half of employers in each of the 10 largest world economies said that a bad hire has negatively impacted their business, according to research conducted by CareerBuilder. This has led to significant losses in revenue or productivity, in addition to challenges with employee morale and client relations. Among those reporting having had a bad hire, 27% of US employers reported a single bad hire had cost more than $50,000. In the Euro zone, bad hires were most expensive in Germany, with 29% reporting costs of 50,000 euros or more. In the UK, 27% of companies say a bad hire costs more than £50,000. The global survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, included more than 6,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals in countries with the largest GDP. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – markets that house the largest number of employers planning to increase the hiring of full-time employees this year – were the most likely to report being affected by a bad hire in the last year. However, the majority of employers in all top 10 markets reported similar experiences. ‘Making a wrong decision regarding a hire can have several adverse consequences across an organisation,’ said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. ‘Employers are taking longer to extend offers postrecession as they assess whether a candidate really is the best fit for the job and their company culture.’

Dates for the diary Greater London Business Expo Date TBC Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol www.thebusinessshow-uk.co.uk/ forthcoming-events The Business Show – UK Date TBC Coppid Beech Hotel, Bracknell www.thebusinessshow-uk.co.uk/ forthcoming-events

The British Franchise Exhibition 21-22 June Manchester Central www.franchiseinfo.co.uk NACFB Commercial Finance Expo 26 June The Pavillion, NEC Birmingham www.commercialfinanceexpo.co.uk

The Business Show 6-7 June ExCeL, London www.thebusinessshow.co.uk

The 5th Future of Wireless International Conference 1-2 July The Møller Centre, Cambridge www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/ futureofwireless

South Wales Business Expo 12 June Cardiff, Wales www.thebusinessgrowthshow.com

Portsmouth Business Expo 11 July Pyramids Centre, Hampshire www.portsmouthbusinessexpo.co.uk

The Thames Valley Expo 13 June Royal Windsor Racecourse www.thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk

Base London 11 July UEL, London www.basecities.com/London

The Eco Technology Show 14-15 June Brighton Centre www.ecotechnologyshow.co.uk

The Business Show – UK 11 July Venue TBC www.thebusinessshow-uk.co.uk/ forthcoming-events

 talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 17

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News & events

GLOOMY OUTLOOK FOR HIGH STREET STORES DESPITE MAJOR HIGH street brands like M&S and WHSmith announcing profits in the first quarter of 2013, retailer optimism is not widespread. Research from Rakuten, the world’s third largest marketplace, reveals just 7% of retailers expect sales growth this year and 63% expect sales in physical stores to decline. The future of the high street was called into question, with one in four delegates stating that they expect Britain’s high street to shift to a showroom-led dynamic over the next year, where shoppers browse in store, but ultimately purchase online. Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten’s Play.com, commented on the trend: ‘There’s no question that shoppers still love that tangible branded shopping experience that the high street delivers so well, but this idea of showrooming is growing in popularity. ‘Ultimately it’s about creating multi-touch shopping experiences and this extends online, from interacting with customers through social channels to providing a dynamic and entertaining digital shopping experience.’

New start-up hub opens in West London A NEW HUB for start-up businesses has opened in West London. Funded by venture capital group, Find Invest Grow (FIG), FIG Village is a former Royal Mail sorting warehouse that is now home to 15 businesses across a range of industries, all at various stages of growth. They range from pre-revenue start-ups to businesses with multi-million pound turnovers. The build, which has taken six months to complete, has brought 114 jobs to the area. Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, officially opened FIG Village. He said of the hub: ‘Investing in young entrepreneurs is crucial to London’s future. FIG is a great example of homegrown venture capital providing practical assistance to people with bright business ideas. ‘The Mayor and I are working to encourage more initiatives of this type.’

The 18,399 sq ft space boasts a gym and basketball court as well as a large open plan event space that companies can use for investor meetings, product launches and networking events. Co-founder of FIG, Mark Hanington, says: ‘FIG Village has already had a very positive response from investors and start-ups and we’d be keen to replicate the space if we can find additional locations.’

START-UP LOANS

BACKS 3,000 BUSINESSES THE GOVERNMENT-BACKED lending scheme, Start-Up Loans, has recently launched its 3000th business. The average loan size is £4,500, and the company is on target to lend to 10,000 brand new start-up businesses by 2014. In England today there are nine million 18-30-year-olds, of which 11% say they want to start their own business. This equates to tens of thousands of young people with the desire to be an entrepreneur. The Start-Up Loans Company aims to unlock the great entrepreneurial spirit we possess in the UK. Many ambitious entrepreneurs aged 18-30 have now had their businesses backed by the Government scheme, chaired by Dragons’ Den entrepreneur, James Caan. Currently 17% of all loans have been taken up in the North-West, and 10% in Yorkshire and Humberside, demonstrating the regional desire of young people to be their own boss.

18 June 2013

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Talk Business


Focus on success

20 June 2013

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Focus on success FACE ON THE COVER

NEVER JUDGE A BOOK…

The amusing court jester of TV’s Made In Chelsea, or a formidable businessman? With the launch of his new book, Helen Coffey meets Francis Boulle, discovering that beneath his media façade beats the heart of a serious entrepreneur

O

K, I’ll admit it. Here goes. I’m a secret Made In Chelsea fan (there, I said it). It is my one televisual guilty pleasure, and while I abhor the “structured reality” genre in general, there’s just something addictive about watching a group of rich, attractive young people jet off to Cannes/Courcheval/ Saint Barts while breaking up and making up in spectacularly dramatic fashion. As an avid viewer, I already have quite a strong preconceived idea of what one of the show’s stars, Francis Boulle, will be like. Portrayed as a somewhat pompous, somewhat straight-laced Malvolio-esque figure of fun, he often provides some light comic relief in between all the cat fights (one notable scene sees him sit for a portrait of himself he has commissioned, selfconsciously holding a globe, while his friends look on in wry amusement). He must be doing something right in the audience’s (and the producers’) eyes though, having managed to return for series five as one of the only surviving original cast members. And

“It is such a creative process; it’s like you’re raising a child”

as soon as we begin chatting, I am forced to swiftly rethink my pre-formed judgements of this seemingly savvy young entrepreneur. Dry, sardonic and eloquent, it is clear that Francis is a shrewd businessman who knows exactly what he is doing: playing the media game, and playing to win. ‘My business is definitely more important to me!’ he tells me emphatically when asked whether the television career or entrepreneurial career comes first. ‘I really just went on the show to promote my businesses.’ A serial entrepreneur, Francis’ current focus is on Fundmine.com, an online venture capital platform for start-ups with the tag-line of: “The Intelligent Angel Investment Network”. This is an enterprise he is clearly passionate about, created in direct response to the lack of funding available for small businesses after the banking crisis. With an enviable little black book of wealthy contacts built up through the course of running previous ventures, he secured pledges from

sophisticated angels to invest a certain amount into businesses on the site. ‘I’m so involved in start-ups because it is such a creative process,’ he says, the unbridled enthusiasm behind his words leaving me in no doubt as to where his heart really lies. So it seems, just as the old adage goes, you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Boulle’s Jewels, anyone?

What was your first job? At 14, I lived on the beach in Florida and mended people’s broken surf boards, and sold them back at an extortionate rate. Then I started a tuck shop at school when I moved back to the UK. And in the last two years of school, I sourced diamonds for my friends’ engagement rings.

Did you always know you wanted to go into business? It’s more that I come from an established family of entrepreneurs; and it’s not that it’s inherent in me, but there’s a common understanding that you’re not a Boulle until

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passion and the drive, they’ll make it work. There are two things you need to launch a business: one is the idea, and one is the execution. The execution is by far the most important thing, and it is the people that execute the idea.

you’ve earned it. I have a big family – and we’re pretty much all entrepreneurs, mainly in mining and jewellery, but also in property.

What prompted you to come up with Fundmine.com? My family says that you have to do it yourself. We didn’t each get given a chunk of money; you had to prove yourself. I got to university and expanded the diamond business, and then the financial crisis hit and the price of diamonds shot down. Then with the contacts I made in the diamond industry, it all snowballed really. Because I had lots of projects here and there, I eventually left that business and started building a tech business in London – and I was trying to raise the original funding for the business. I soon discovered that the services online were rudimentary, and that there weren’t really any good ways to get access to funding. There was a definite lack of lending from banks. It was – and still is – very difficult for start-ups to raise capital of any kind really. I got together with my business partner, who had also tried to raise funding, and using our network of contacts we have now got people who have pledged to invest a certain amount into the projects on the system. It is technically like an angel network, but I’m building new things into the model, which you’ll hear about soon.

What do you look for in a potential business to invest in? Is it the person or the idea? I think it’s the people. You can pretty much give great people any idea, and if they’ve got the

important to me. I really just went on the show to promote my businesses. I will continue to be on the show while it benefits my business. But I won’t have as much of a media presence after the show.

How has being on MIC affected people’s perception of you in business – is it harder to be taken seriously?

“The most important quality is being able to get up when you’ve fallen down”

What qualities makes a successful entrepreneur? There are obviously a lot of different types of people who become successful in enterprise. You could say you need to be a risk taker, but at the same time a lot of risk takers have won and then ended up losing everything. I think in reality the most important quality is being able to get up when you’ve fallen down. Not giving up is key – you have to be diligent.

How hard is it balancing running a business with being on TV? It is pretty difficult. Luckily we don’t film every day, but it’s getting increasingly challenging as things grow. I didn’t ever really want to be on TV or be famous – out of the television show and my business, my business is definitely more

I was prepared for whatever people might think: I was pretty aware that it would have an effect on how people saw me when I made the decision to do the show. At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. If people don’t think I’m serious, I’d get them in front of me and they’d soon see that is not the case. Doing the show has opened unusual doors for me. People might have preconceptions, but as soon as you meet them face-to-face you can convince them you know what you’re talking about. I haven’t found that it’s caused problems; quite the opposite in fact.

You come from quite a moneyed background already – so what motivates you to succeed as an entrepreneur? I just love creativity and creating value. It’s not monetary value necessarily, although that’s a way of keeping score. But I’m so involved in start-ups because it is such a creative process; it’s like you’re raising a child, and you put in huge amounts of effort and work and hope it continues and flourishes and outlives you, so that you can leave a legacy. I love the whole process, from branding to marketing, from creating new revenue streams to expanding

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to overseas markets. I enjoy finding connections between different parts of the business and the market it’s operating in.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur? When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re either right and you make a profit, or wrong and you don’t. I like that challenge. It’s like getting a maths problem or a riddle correct.

What would your advice be to first-time businesses which are experiencing difficulties in the current economic climate? Put your application into Fundmine! And don’t worry, we’ll be here for a long time to help you.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in business? I have this company, which led me to put university on hold – so I’d probably be at law school if I wasn’t an entrepreneur! I still plan on going back at some point when I have more time.

Do you find it hard to balance business, your media career and your personal life? What does your work/life balance look like? I think it’s very important to wind down and have fun. I work when I need to work whenever I have to do something specific, otherwise I’ll be working on different parts of the business. But it’s important to relax and think about other things to break that up. I really like my alone time, and I’ll use it to think about any number of things. That’s a pretty big part of my life.

What is the best business tip from Boulle’s Jewels? I actually wrote a business book, which was then adjusted to create Boulle’s Jewels, because I wanted to do something more fun and sardonic. I’d say my best business tip is the money management bit. I always live by this: save a third, invest a third, spend a third. Then you have a good financial balance, and your money’s growing.

What’s the future for Fundmine.com? Well, if what I’m working on at the moment goes to plan, I’d like it to be the premier crowdfunding platform in the UK, and potentially the world.

Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Are any other projects in the pipeline? I have quite a few projects in the pipeline at the moment. I’m afraid I can’t really talk about them yet…there are some mineral exploration ventures in central America, but none are relevant that I can talk about. As a rule, I don’t really talk about things in business until they’re ready to launch. Because everything changes – timings, the market, etc – I think you’re better off keeping schtum until you actually launch.

Francis Boulle’s book, Boulle’s Jewels, is out now in paperback and e-book, published by Quercus Publishing.

Contact: fundmine.com

“There’s a common understanding that you’re not a Boulle until you’ve earned it”

My life I’m watching: Lincoln – I’m a big fan of Daniel Day Lewis I’m reading: Mastery by Robert Greene I’m listening to: Cyril Hahn, I’m a big fan of his. And I went to see Tom Odell on Monday; he was very good I’m surfing: Facebook! Also StumbleUpon.com – I like channel surfing the Internet

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Focus on success TAKE ONE COMPANY

Best foot forward We love choice these days, so Julia Grinham and her sister reckoned that being able to choose our shoes could only be a good thing. Thus Upper Street Shoes was born, the online platform that allows you to design and buy one-of-a-kind footwear

S

ometimes ignorance truly is bliss, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur. The phrase ‘We can’t do that’ doesn’t really compute, and without the questionable benefit of hindsight, you jump right in, often with no idea what you’re getting yourself into. So says Julia Grinham, co-founder of Upper Street Shoes, on launching a bespoke, design-your-own-shoe business: ‘If we knew then

Vital statistics Company founded: January 2009, launched site March 2010 Start up capital: £500k Turnover: not disclosed Profit: business will break even this year Growth rate: customer base doubling year-on-year Biggest achievement: seeing our shoes on the catwalk at London Fashion Week

what we know now, we definitely wouldn’t have started the business – sometimes naivety can be a really good thing!’ Indeed it can, because now the business, launched just four years ago, is going from

strength to strength. But rewind to 2009, and it was a different story. Julia and her sister had always wanted to start a business together; they were just waiting for the right time and the right idea. ‘When she got married, my sister got some shoes made to match her dress,’ says Julia. ‘She fell in love with the process and started getting all her shoes made like that. ‘I always go shopping with a shoe I’ve made up in my head, and I always get frustrated when I can’t find it.’ The idea of creating a company where it was fun and simple to design your own shoes jumped out at them, and they set out to turn their vision into a reality. Julia says: ‘It really was one of those light bulb moments. We ran home, and wrote out a business proposition on two sides of A4.’ Knowing it was imperative that they get the offering spot on, they took some more time a few months later to really nail down the details – meeting up in Dubai to enjoy the sun while they worked it all out: ‘We banged out our business plan by the pool! We both came away with an action plan after the trip, and it took us 18 months from that point to being ready to launch.’ With a background in running online businesses, Julia instinctively divined that their business idea would be perfect for the web. This

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turned out to be the simplest bit of the business; the real challenges came as a result of neither sister being all that au fait with the intricate world of shoe manufacturing. ‘We would go along to meet suppliers, and they were like: “Who are these women? They know bugger all about shoes!” We thought it was simple, but it is actually very complex,’ says Julia. Add to that the fact that they were dealing with manufacturers based in China, and the whole thing was a communications nightmare. ‘There was the language barrier to contend with, and cultural differences to negotiate – it felt like there was a lot more game playing, and people hiding their hand,’ says Julia. ‘I feel like in the UK we’re used to openness, and more of a win/win mentality.’ The fact that this was a pretty groundbreaking concept also raised issues with those they were trying to do business with; from the Chinese manufacturing outfit to the British designer, everyone was telling them that making individual pairs of shoes, rather than mass-producing them, was frankly impossible. How then did the girls overcome what appears to be a fairly insurmountable problem? They threw more money at it, of course. Julia says: ‘We had to spend a lot of time with them, changing the way they would work, and committing to a certain amount of units. We used the art of commercial negotiation – you just have to pay more!’ Having started the business in the midst of a recession, they have never had it easy; they understand all too well the challenges that startups have faced in recent times. Understanding the fundamentals of your business can help, according to Julia: particularly the numbers that underpin your offering. ‘Make sure you understand the finance of it,’ she advises. ‘Don’t just outsource everything, because you can lose track of the numbers. I’d really advise going on a bookkeeping course so that you understand your metrics and your margins. ‘If you’re crap at maths, bring someone into the business who is not.’ However, underneath her sound advice, Julia remains upbeat about the potential to launch a successful enterprise – no matter what the economic climate. While she accepts that the business may well have grown faster if it had started during a boom rather than a bust era, she highlights that, if the idea is right, a business can thrive at any time. ‘If you’ve got a good product or service, you will get through the recession. If you market yourself in the right way, you can ride it out. ‘Everyone’s scrabbling for opportunities, so you can actually negotiate with suppliers and keep your costs low.’ Julia’s optimistic attitude seems to stem in part from the unquenchable enthusiasm she has

My life I’m watching: The Killing (yes I know, late to the game) I’m reading: Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn I’m listening to: Sea Change by Beck – an old favourite that never leaves me I’m surfing: www.DomesticSluttery.com – love their eclectic approach, great for discovering new brands for the business, and the enjoyment she derives from being her own boss. She says: ‘Every morning I get up and can’t wait to get to work. I wish there were more hours in the day so I could work more! It feels like your wings are finally unclipped, which is amazing.’ Julia’s passion is infectious, but although the company is thinking big for the future, they also have their feet planted firmly on the ground. Yes, there are exciting projects in the pipeline: product development, scaling the business up, more marketing and celebrity collaboration, as well as international expansion plans. But all of this is tempered by a healthy wariness of trying to do too much, too soon. ‘We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin; we

“If you’ve got a good product or service, you will get through the recession” want to do it properly,’ Julia asserts. ‘We want great customer service and resources in place when we enter those foreign markets.’ Having said that, the vision for the future of Upper Street Shoes remains impressively grand: ‘We’d like to see our brand globally recognised in the next five to seven years.’ The business appears to have struck the magic balance between ambition and realism; thus far, it certainly looks like these boots were made for walking…

Contact: www.upperstreet.com

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Focus on success UP-AND-COMING

Introducing… Kathy Shenoy

Ethical, beautiful, inspirational: Shell LiveWIRE winner, Kathy Shenoy, brings all these elements together with Shake the Dust, a business which showcases handmade homewares from developing countries Kathy Shenoy, the founder of design platform Shake the Dust, lives and breathes creativity, fairness and collaboration. With the support of The Prince’s Trust, the business now showcases creative talent and products from the UK and developing countries. By creating opportunities for collaboration between designers and producers, the result is beautiful handcrafted gifts, homewares and accessories, each with a unique story.

What’s your vision for the future of Shake the Dust?

Where did the idea come from?

What’s been your worst ever job?

I’ve been living and working in a remote valley in Swaziland for the last few years, initially as a product designer for a Fair Trade craft and design business, and then coordinating an international arts festival. I met so many people, from rural artisans to top international designers, and felt there was a real need to connect and support all these talented people in some way. When I moved back to the UK, I realised how many young creative people here are looking for opportunities to give them acknowledgement and a big break – and Shake the Dust was born.

What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs trying to get an idea off the ground?

Get as much experience and advice as you can beforehand – places like The Prince’s Trust and the British Library offer really great all-round support to young entrepreneurs.

To create an empowered global community of both emerging creative talent in the UK and producer partners across the globe…watch this space!

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be doing today? I’d probably still be working as a designer and creative consultant, but hopefully connecting with interesting partners all over the world.

Working as a receptionist in an empty building was a low point…

What’s top of your bucket list? See more of the world and experience different cultures – I particularly want to travel and live in Asia.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a young entrepreneur?

It’s a very lonely existence, starting a business on your own. I find the financial burden extremely stressful sometimes, so it’s been great to have a personal business mentor through the Prince’s Trust.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The drive to succeed and loving the beautiful products and people I’m blessed to work with.

How much does money motivate you?

Obviously, to succeed my business needs to be sustainable – my aim is to make money for the business, for all my partners and the young designers. But I don’t dream of swimming in cash! Having an ethically motivated business model means my goals are far more holistic.

What’s been your proudest moment?

Winning the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award in February. It’s a great feeling knowing that it’s not just your family or friends patting you on the back, and industry experts have chosen your business as one to watch for the future. Contact: www.shake-the-dust.co.uk

My life I’m watching: Mad Men series five; seriously addictive and style inspiration! I’m reading: attempting to follow the amazing recipes in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi I’m listening to: my nostalgic African playlist on my iPod reminds me of the Swazi sunshine! I’m surfing: www.house-on-fire.com, www.olafhajek.com, www.kanganarora.com

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Focus on success 12 STEPS

CARLY WARD

The steps

to success:

STEP 12

We bid a fond farewell to our columnist Carly Ward, founder of the Yes Network, as she gives us the final lesson from her 12 steps to success: yes, it’s time to Make It Happen…

This is my final step for my column in Talk Business magazine. I hope you have all enjoyed reading the 12 steps to success. Step 12 is, you could say, the most important step, because without actually making it happen, you will just stand still going nowhere! All too often we hear people talking about their dreams and goals and not actually taking any action to make them happen. Or worse still, we all know that person that grumbles about their situation – they hate their job, they want more money, they want their own business – but they never do anything about it. Start taking action on your ideas. We only have one life, and we will probably regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we actually did do. To make your business happen (or to make anything happen), do five things every day to move you closer to where you want to be. This is more of an ongoing exercise, which means

you will keep your focus entirely on your goal. Below are some examples of what you could do: • Talk to someone who has already done what you want to do • Make a phone call that you might have been putting off • If you only rang five people every day, in 300 working days you would have put yourself and your business in front of 1,500 people! That could be the difference between success and failure. Could you make an extra five calls a day? • Send a press release • Walk into a business and announce yourself • Send someone who could help you a letter • Research funding options on the Internet • Do some further research on your product or idea • Make a start on your business plan • Ask for referrals and introductions You get the idea...even if you have already started a business

and it is successful, you should never stop learning and thinking of new ways to make money and take it to the next level.

“We only have one life, and we will probably regret the things we didn’t do” There’s a great quote by the founder of McDonald’s: ‘There are three keys to success: being in the right place at the right time; knowing you are there; taking action.’ Good luck on your rollercoaster journey of business! If you want to get in touch with me, email: carly@yes-educationuk.com or follow me on twitter @carlyyes.

Contact: www.yesnetwork.co.uk Twitter @carlyyes @yesteam

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Focus on success PLACES

a tale of

four cities

It’s not just Silicon Roundabout that’s been bitten by the business bug; the whole of the UK’s gone start-up mad! We take a look at four unexpected hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity Whenever we talk about the dawning of an entrepreneurial age here, we always seem to focus on London. For good reason, you might argue: it’s the nation’s capital, it has always been a hub of industry, innovation and talent and, with Boris’s aggressive promotion of Tech City, all eyes have been on East London as the UK’s start-up saviour.

Torbay

But as soon as we start to look further afield, it becomes clear that plenty of other areas of Great Britain have plenty to offer – from accelerator programmes to funding schemes, there’s a veritable plethora of incentives to attract budding entrepreneurs. And sometimes it’s the places you’d least expect…

You might not necessarily associate a sleepy coastal borough of Devon with a dynamic start-up community. But that’s where you’d be wrong my friend…

There’s actually a surprising amount going on in Torbay right now. In February, Torbay Council approved the £1m Growth Fund, aimed at helping to create jobs, boost local business growth, improve Torbay’s offer to businesses and attract new investment to the area. The Growth Fund, which has been open for applications since February, offers a grant or loan over a period of three years; the amount will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will be subject to an agreed number of jobs being created in Torbay by each business. The level of funding offered is between £400 and £1000 per job, and favoured business sectors are hi-tech industries, and those creating higher skilled, well paid jobs. The initiative is fully backed by the Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, a big fan of

Bedford

entrepreneurship. He said of the fund: ‘We want to show potential investors that Torbay is a great place to set up new businesses or to relocate from other parts of the UK and even further afield.’ Running alongside this impressive cash incentive, Torbay Development Agency is holding a series of free one-day workshops – Ready for Business – for anyone interested in finding out more about running their own business. These will cover some of the most important aspects of planning when starting a new business: focusing on two key elements, market research and understanding cash flow. The workshops, which will help delegates explore and understand these issues, will be running from June until September. Find out more at: www.businesswest.co.uk www.torbaydevelopmentagency.co.uk

Looking for an innovative start-up scene? Then look no further than Bedfordshire, which has launched a fund backed by the PM

While Bedfordshire may just conjure up images of a handful of commuter towns with most of the inhabitants working in London, times are a’changing. Growth companies are being encouraged into the area with an exciting new fund. Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, announced the launch of the Bedford Business EIS Fund back at Budget time. The initiative was endorsed by the PM himself, David Cameron, for its support for small growing businesses. The Fund has raised £400,000 so far from local investors and

business leaders to invest in early stage and developing companies based in Bedford. An Advisory Board of local business people has also been formed, chaired by Justin Phillimore, director of Charles Wells, and including Ian Carlisle, former MD of Autoglass; Dougie Hunter, chief executive of ARA; William Naylor, formerly commercial director of Gibbs & Dandy; and Nick Kier, partner at Lane and Holmes. The Bedford Business EIS Fund is currently still open for investment applications, with further details available on the

FSE website. Growth companies based in Bedfordshire are now being invited to make applications. The Fund will be managed by FSE Fund Managers Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Investments will be made on a purely commercial basis, with the joint goals of maximising financial returns to investors and creating sustainable businesses and employment opportunities in the region. Find out more at: www.thefsegroup.com

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Focus on success PLACES

Somerset

Cider anyone? Over a pint you might learn that the west country is already home to some first-class brands, and is an ideal platform from which to drive a start-up

‘Somerset?’ you may ask with scepticism, perhaps even mild derision. Yes, Somerset. It’s not all drinking scrumpy and marrying your cousin down there you know; Somerset’s thriving £9bn economy is due to it having a wealth of enticements for businesses, big and small. Somerset’s key selling points include low commercial property prices, good transport links – with easy access to three international airports – the roll-out of superfast broadband, and a vibrant business community supported by a skilled and loyal workforce. Into Somerset, the independent inward investment organisation, offers a free and tailored business relocation service to new investors by drawing on its extended network of professional contacts. These extend from local authorities to the UKTI, developers – including economic development teams, such as planning departments, policy planners and the council –

commercial property agents, the highways agency, schools, accountants, wealth managers, solicitors and removal companies. It gives advice and information to facilitate the relocation process. In addition to discussing opportunities available to companies looking to relocate, the Into Somerset team can showcase companies from the food, drink, engineering and creative sectors already doing business in Somerset’s vibrant economy – Mulberry, Yeo Valley and Gaymers have all made it their home. Rupert Cox, chief executive of Into Somerset, says: ‘We have approximately 20,000 companies running successful businesses in Somerset, and one of the strongest rural economies in the country. It costs approximately 30% less to do business in Somerset than inside the M25; it’s no wonder we have more start-ups than most regions in the UK.’ Find out more at: www.intosomerset.co.uk

North Wales There’s a lot being done by the Welsh Government right now to make Wales an attractive prospect for both international companies and dynamic start-ups. One new scheme is the SWEQUITY Exchange Wales, run by Bangor-based start-up specialist, Inventorium, which brings together experts from a diverse range of backgrounds to develop earlystage businesses. The first programme of its kind in this country, SWEQUITY Exchange Wales joins an “idea owner” to a bespoke team of specialists in their respective fields. They’re looking to hear from specialists from disciplines like sales, marketing and IT, who are willing to give free advice, guidance and input in return for an equity stake in a new enterprise.  The idea owner and associated team then follow a part-time, five-week programme to validate a concept. The programme is based on an agile and lean start-up approach so that a minimal viable product (MVP) can be achieved very quickly. Dyfan Searell, design and innovation manager at Inventorium, says the progamme will give entrepreneurs unprecedented access to invaluable start-up expertise. ‘This is a really great chance for anyone with a bright idea to access the business knowledge they need to make it investment ready,’ he said. ‘Through SWEQUITY Exchange Wales, people with a variety of business backgrounds will join

Forget Gavin and Stacey: there’s more going on in Wales for business than you might think

forces and share in a really special opportunity to get start-ups off the ground. ‘It’s a free, unique process, different from any other accelerator programme around, and the amount of knowledge and expertise on offer is absolutely priceless.’ Find out more at: swequityexchange.com business.wales.gov.uk

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Focus on success MENTORING

Rock the Mike MIKE MILLS, a mentor with Rockstar and Rockstar Youth, tells Talk Business what it takes to mentor a start-up, and why he loves getting the chance to give something back Starting a new business and growing a business are among the most exciting times in one’s working life. The energy levels are at a peak and the adrenalin flows in abundance, whether it is your first business venture or your tenth. I have started a number of companies, and I love the sensation of creating something new. There’s something exciting yet scary about the whole process. I still get an immense buzz in working with people who are going through the first or second phase of the four cycles in the life of a business, i.e. start-up, growth, maturity and decline. It is why I love working as a mentor with growing companies and business start-ups. The art of mentoring is not being a pseudoemployee and doing it for the mentee or organisation, nor is it telling them what to do; no, it’s about listening and guiding them so that they can avoid the pitfalls. It’s not important to have an extensive knowledge of the business sector in which the mentee operates. What is important is that you have been there and done it, the more times the better – including the failures. Most problems in young businesses are the same – or similar – no matter what the industry sector. Lack of sales, defining your USP, poor marketing and the resulting low levels of lead generation and conversion, understanding your customers and how to attract them, and cash flow management are all regular issues. It is important to address all the operating areas of an organisation, not necessarily to make huge or significant gains in each; even small increases and improvements to performance will have a cumulative effect. Working in this way with a firm of architects over the last year, they have moved from being a one-man band to having four employees. The challenge in working as a mentor is to apply your knowledge so the mentee understands what you are saying. It must not be full of jargon or business school phrases, and must be relevant to their industry sector and to the real world. Patience is an essential quality, as is the ability to listen and not interrupt the mentee with your opinions. It is important to have an open mind – it’s great when you, the mentor, learn something new.

“It’s about listening and guiding them so that they can avoid the pitfalls” The overriding reason for being a business mentor is the desire to put something back and work with people with fresh, exciting ideas and plans, and to see them prosper. I’m grateful to The Rockstar Group for inviting me to join their network, and to Rockstar Youth for opening up a mentoring opportunity to support start-ups who would otherwise be unable to afford it. I would encourage anybody looking to start or grow a business to attend one of Rockstar Youth’s free business incubators, held UK-wide; they are not only hugely informative and useful in themselves, but could lead to funding and mentoring from guys like me.

Contact:

www.palmeiramanagement.co.uk www.rockstaryouth.co.uk Twitter @mikempalmeira

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Focus on success BOOK REVIEWS

FANS! NOT CUSTOMERS: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World by Vernon Hill

*****

Most companies plod along doing things as everyone always has. So there are huge opportunities for people trying to break the mould, even in old-fashioned businesses like banking or insurance. Of course it happens all the time in the digital world, but it can happen anywhere – so long as you turn your customers into fans. When that happens your customers – who will sing your praises when your competitors’ customers are grumbling all the time – become your greatest allies in marketing and sales. Then you can really go for growth. Fans! not customers is scattered with case studies drawn from Vernon Hill’s own experience.

He says: Don’t approach this book the way you would the story of some unsexy, boring bank. We compete with them, but we’re not of them. We represent a retail experience you won’t soon forget – and we think your business should, too. This is a book about exploiting your potential as a company or employee. Whatever describes you, I think that you’ll find ideas and methods in the pages that follow that will make you a greater, more valuable asset to yourself and your company. To my fellow entrepreneurs, recognise and grasp your opportunities as they present themselves; learn how you can deliver value, differentiation, and improvement.

We say: Vernon Hill is the founder of Metro Bank, Britain’s first new high street bank for over a century. Vernon set out to make it completely different to traditional banks. Bright and colourful, it opens seven days a week, welcomes pets and children, and pens are handed out freely rather than being chained to the desks. In this, his first book, Vernon uses his vast experience of setting up a brand, rather than a business, to educate entrepreneurs. The one drawback is that the book doesn’t use other businesses as examples; Metro Bank is the sole case study from which to draw insights, which makes for a less well-rounded read.

Fans! not customers is published by Profile Books, priced at £11.99 in paperback

ENTERPRISE IN ACTION: A guide to entrepreneurship by Peter Lawrence

Enterprise in Action is published by Wiley, priced at £29.99 in paperback and e-book

Written by respected business author Peter Lawrence, Enterprise in Action contains comprehensive coverage of the key issues in entrepreneurship, such as: what gives rise to entrepreneurial opportunity?; what is the role of innovation?; what is execution?; and, what do established SMEs do to survive in the middle term? Exploring a variety of examples from Britain, Europe and the US, this new title demonstrates the dynamics of enterprise creation and its development over time, flagging up areas which favour success and breathing fresh life into the subject.

He says: I mean to develop the ideas in this book with reference to real life examples. I have built up a research sample of getting on for 100 ownermanaged companies or SMEs that I know something about, have visited, and have talked with their founders or owners. That is to say, what I know of these companies comes from face-to-face contact, not from the remote interrogation of databases. Among the companies in the UK there is a subset of 30 SMEs that have appeared on the annual lists published by the Sunday Times of the fastest growing 100 companies in any given year.

*****

We say: Peter Lawrence is a professor who has taught entrepreneurship all over the world. With 26 books already under his belt, this latest offering uses a variety of businesses as examples, examining how they deal with everything from disruptive change to niche markets. Juxtaposing business lessons, case studies and practical exercises, it is a little dense, and does feel more school textbook than casual read. However, it makes many valid business points; just pretend you’re back in form 4F and you’ll be surprised at what tips you could pick up…

38 June 2013

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Focus on money

This is no easy climate for finding the capital to turn an idea into a reality; but fledgling businesses may only require a small amount of cash to get up and running

Success

on a shoestring

A

lmost three quarters (73%) of small business owners launched their ventures with working capital of £2,000 or less, according to new research from PeoplePerHour. The survey also revealed that one in five small business owners turned to the “bank” of friends and family for start-up capital, while more than three quarters had invested personal savings.

“The real problem was that I just didn’t start the business cleverly or cost-efficiently” When it comes to setting up a business on a shoestring, the rise of social media and online marketplaces have helped connect small businesses with their target clients and raise brand awareness, either free of charge or for a very low cost. Meanwhile, the rise of freelancers has meant that businesses can outsource to remote workforces – much lower risk than growing a team of employees in house, and negating the need for expensive office space. Talk Business spoke to two entrepreneurs who each started their enterprises in very different

ways. Both agree that the lowest risk strategies are the best, and that “bootstrapping” your startup is the best way to operate. One person who definitely did not start his business on a shoestring is Barnaby Lashbrooke, the founder of virtual assistant company, Time Etc, which provides remote help to busy SME owners and high-flying execs. The business, founded in 2007, now has more than 300 clients in the UK and the US. Barnaby spent £275,000 setting up Time Etc, a move that – with the benefit of hindsight – he would strongly advise against. Barnaby says: ‘I set up my first business in web hosting when I was just 17, and sold it six years later to a UK plc for a multi-million pound sum. I then took £275,000 from that sale and ploughed it into my next enterprise, Time Etc, which was a huge risk. ‘It was right at the beginning of the recession, but the real problem was that I just didn’t start the business cleverly or cost-efficiently. It was a huge lesson learned. ‘That huge cash injection only got us through the first 24 months. At one point we were burning up £26,000 per month on staffing costs, office  talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 41

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Focus on money BOOTSTRAPPING

space and advertising. But it was only advertising that really helped us to grow the business. ‘We certainly didn’t need as many staff as we had in those early days, and I didn’t make great hiring choices. Plus, we definitely didn’t need a huge office building from day one. I learned a lot from that. ‘Fortunately, by year four we had repaid the debt in full and were into profit, and Time Etc now generates its original investment back every year, so it’s worked

“Without a collaborative approach to winning business, companies may find it hard to survive” out well. But if I could do it all over again, I would make extensive use of freelancers, maintain a small office (or none at all) and be very selective when it comes to hiring any full-time employees.’ Barnaby’s advice to other entrepreneurs is to embrace new ways of working. He added: ‘You can start a business for very little money by trading online, outsourcing online, hot-desking or working from home, rather than paying for office space. Spend as little as you possibly can, because it means you have less to lose if it all goes pear-shaped.’ By contrast, 25-year-old Ike Sikuade from London launched her start-up, Showerella.com, specialising in high-end hen parties and bridal showers, with seed capital of just £1,700. Her sister and a friend are now investors. She told Talk Business: ‘The idea for my business came in 2010 when I hosted a bridal shower for my cousin. She was adamant she wanted no tacky L-plates or fancy dress themes so, after some deliberation, and because I have a background in chemistry, I settled on perfumemaking. The guests loved it and I was asked by others if I could arrange their hen parties too. ‘It really took off and, recommended by word of mouth, I hosted parties all over the UK. After receiving numerous requests from brides-to-be overseas too, I decided to design an activity box set that could be posted out so people could host their own. ‘My full-time job at the time was in retail banking and I saved up what I could over a fourmonth period, which totalled £1,700. I knew the more I could save the easier it would be, so I stopped spending money on lunches. ‘My savings paid for a perfume-making course in France, a domain name, business cards and supplies for the kits, including essential oils and perfume oils, apothecary bottles, pipettes, labels and ribbons. ‘The most popular activity in all the parties I’d hosted was perfume-making, and so I decided to

create a product that I called The Scentelier Perfume Bar Party Set. In January 2012 I decided that to market my product I needed a website and a brand. ‘I then drafted a pitch and found two investors who wanted to come on board – my sister and a friend. The three of us are now working on the business together, but all three of us also have full-time jobs.’ Ike makes the most of social media channels to find new clients and raise awareness for her brand. She said: ‘Instagram is a great platform for showing people what we do. We are a very visual brand, and people want to be able to see photographic examples of our perfume kits, our party colour schemes, cakes and flowers. ‘This is only the beginning for Showerella but we’re already proving that you don’t necessarily need a bank loan or a huge cash injection to get up and running. Our approach is low-risk.’

42 June 2013

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Focus on money GROWTH

Don’t be an idiot abroad Small businesses generate more than half of UK growth and a similar level of employment, so are therefore vital to the economy. However, the environment for these companies remains tough, with ferocious competition and economic forces working against them. A key challenge faced by thousands of small businesses in the UK is finding new markets to enable them to grow. When opportunities for expansion in the UK wane, astute small business owners will automatically start to look overseas. However, taking the plunge into an unknown foreign market can be fraught with challenges, which can hold some companies back. Nonetheless, if businesses truly want to build growth then they must start thinking internationally to keep ahead of the competition. The opportunities abroad are far-reaching. To provide some perspective, Brazil for example recently overtook the UK to become the sixthlargest economy in the world. Additionally, the country has experienced rapid population growth – up by more than 20 million since 2000. As the country grows, the increase in consumer spending has rocketed and made the market highly lucrative. This vast increase in demand for commodities and services, from consumer goods and energy to manufacturing and healthcare, has opened up vast opportunities for UK small businesses. A great example of a small business taking advantage

John Williams, head of Santander’s Breakthrough programme, advises on making the most of international growth opportunities

of the opportunities in Brazil is Surrey-based satellite communications company, Vocality, which designs and manufactures cutting edge communications equipment for the military, emergency services, broadcasters and petro-chemical firms. Vocality’s CEO, Julian Bashford, recently visited Brazil as part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme, where he was given the chance to establish key industry and commercial

another good way of picking up tips and getting to grips with the country, plus the challenges they are likely to face. The decision to expand overseas should never be rushed into, and after gaining a detailed understanding of the business environment, owners need to be practical about whether it is right for them. It might be that there are too many barriers to entry, or that it is the wrong strategic move at that particular time. Finally,

“Astute small business owners will automatically start to look overseas” contacts to help navigate the country’s unique business and tax environment. With such a fast-growing economy and resultant increase in demand for communications services, Brazil is an excellent fit for Vocality and the perfect starting point for an expansion drive into South America. This type of in-depth market knowledge is essential for companies looking to take the leap into expanding abroad. Businesses need to understand issues such as distribution networks, the nature of competition in their sector, the workings and relationships of supply chains; current customer offerings, and demand for products. Meeting other small businesses from the UK which have moved into the market is

companies should remember that breaking into an overseas market is a process that can take a long time to get right; so start small, make sure it’s profitable, and then begin to expand once a steady road to reliable growth can be assured.

After many years spent in international business in the Middle East, Far East, North America and Europe, John Williams was appointed head of the Breakthrough programme. John is responsible for ensuring that Santander’s Breakthrough programme meets the needs of fast-growth SMEs across the UK. Contact:

www.santanderbreakthrough.co.uk

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Focus on money ACQUISITION

TO BUY orTO BUILD

As an entrepreneur, is it better to launch your own start-up or buy someone else’s? Howard Taylor, a senior associate at Fox Williams LLP, gives some no-nonsense advice on how to protect yourself when acquiring an existing business

T

here are a number of ways budding entrepreneurs can get a business going. They can start up from scratch as a sole trader, form a new company, or they could buy an existing company or business. There are pros and cons for each. Starting a new business is inherently risky. The initial costs of developing, marketing and supplying a new product or service, hiring staff and taking on premises can overwhelm a new venture before it gets going. A company that is already operating, on the other hand, may have established trading relationships, existing IP and business know-how, IT systems, skilled employees and a place of business. All that may be missing is the catalyst to turn it into a

profitable enterprise. Buying a business could therefore be a less risky approach. What are the legal issues to consider with either route? When acquiring the shares of a company, the buyer inherits the company’s obligations and liabilities. The company could be a party to a costly contract, have significant accrued tax liabilities or leasehold property with substantial existing or potential liabilities for dilapidations, or the company’s creditors may be significant. Buying the company’s business or some of its assets, rather than its shares may be a better alternative. By structuring the transaction in this way, certain problems or liabilities can be left behind with the company. You can effectively have a clean break to start

46 June 2013

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Focus on money ACQUISITION

Howard is a corporate lawyer specialising in the sale and purchase of companies and businesses, joint ventures, investments in private companies, management buy outs and listings and fundraisings on AiM.

“An acquisition could be more expensive than starting up a new venture” afresh with only the parts of the business you really want. Whether buying a company or its business, ensure you understand what you will be acquiring by undertaking appropriate due diligence investigations into the affairs of the company. Due diligence should be underpinned by contractual protection in the form of warranties, to be sought from the seller about the business. Warranties are essentially contractual promises by the seller covering different areas of the business, such as its financial affairs, ownership of assets, contractual obligations and other liabilities. If the warranties turn out to be wrong, you should be able to claim damages from the seller. Precautions should, however, be taken to avoid the warranties being worthless. Ensure that the seller has the financial resources to satisfy any claim or seek a retention from the purchase price or some other form of guarantee or security to meet any claims. It is also possible for parties to insure against warranty breaches. Your due diligence should also focus on what consents and approvals are needed before you can safely buy the company or business. When buying a company, the company’s contracts

“Either route can work. What is important is to ascertain the best option for you” should be checked for any provisions that would require the consent of the other party to the contract before a change of ownership occurs. In the case of a business purchase, landlord’s consent to the sale of any leasehold property and consents to the assignment of other contracts may be needed. Approvals may also be needed from regulatory or competition authorities and other third parties. All necessary consents and approvals should be obtained before proceeding with the purchase. So, there may well be fewer issues with a startup from a legal point of view – but there is likely

to be a longer lead time before it begins to generate revenue. Buying a company or business probably carries more legal risk, but the time line for achieving financial rewards can be accelerated. Either route can work. What is important is to ascertain the best option for you, and to be open minded about the alternatives. If you need the infrastructure of an existing business, or if turning an idea into a new product or service is time-critical, an acquisition may get you up and running more quickly. What about the cost? An acquisition could be more expensive than starting up a new venture. Unless you have sufficient capital to finance an acquisition, sourcing the necessary finance will be a key factor, and whatever you anticipate in terms of time and cost, it will normally take longer and cost more than you expect. Given current difficulties in obtaining bank finance, business angels may be viable finance providers. A half-way house in terms of risk could be a joint venture with an existing business or another entrepreneur, thus spreading the risk. Finding an appropriate company to buy is not easy. Intermediaries, such as corporate finance advisers, can help source possible targets. Often there is no cost involved in their undertaking an acquisition search for you, and their fees may be linked to a successful transaction completing. Intermediaries may also be able to assist in finding suitable finance. Taking appropriate legal and other professional advice is critical if entrepreneurs are to reap the significant rewards and avoid the pitfalls.

Contact: www.foxwilliams.com

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Focus on money START-UP LOANS

Nathan Pearson, 27, is the founder of Oil Monster. He received a Start-Up Loan to develop his Chester-based business, which collects waste oil so that it can be recycled into new fuel products.

Entrepreneur: Nathan Pearson Business: Oil Monster Web: www.oilmonster.co.uk Concept: A waste oil brokerage company, which helps customers across the UK have their waste oil collected and recycled into new fuel products Start-Up Loan: £4,760

Dear diary…

7.30am: I am usually woken up by the kids shortly before my alarm goes off. While the children occupy themselves, I take the opportunity to read through the emails that have come in overnight. 8.30am: I arrive at the office at the same time as my two employees, Kath and Garrath. It was a great feeling to make my first two hires. We sit down and have a short staff meeting to discuss what we are planning on doing today. I highlight the priorities and those tasks which can be left until the end of the day. After the staff meeting, we all crack on with our respective tasks. 9am: I am focused on securing contracts with large chains that produce a large quantity of oil waste. I am working on numerous pitches at the moment; excitingly, I am currently in the late stages of putting together a deal with one such chain, so I turn my attention to that. 11am: I turn my attention to pitching for business for the new arm of Oil Monster, which is currently in development: Compare Waste Costs. Compare Waste Costs is a comparison site allowing businesses of all sizes to compare the collection services offered by local waste collectors as well as large brands. To reduce our carbon footprint, I hold a number of meetings over Skype; today’s meeting with a potential client goes well as they are keen to get on board. 1.30pm: I grab a quick sandwich on my way to the station, as I have a mentoring session with Rockstar Youth this afternoon in Liverpool. These group sessions are led by my mentor, Karen. Karen has been really useful; it

A DAY IN THE

Life…

It’s all about oil with our Start-Up Loan recipient this month: we catch up with Nathan Pearson, who lets us take a peek at a typical day’s diary running his brokerage business, Oil Monster

is great to bounce ideas off of her and she has been fantastic when it comes to passing on contacts from her extensive black book. After the session, I have a chat with the other loan recipients to see if there is any synergy with our businesses where we can utilise each other’s expertise and services. 4.50pm: I head back to the office and we have a quick team debrief to discuss the day’s achievements, iron out any problems and to see if we have hit our weekly sales targets. 6pm: Garrath and I discuss our ideas and visions for the business over a quick drink before heading home. 7.30pm: After spending some time with the children and putting them to bed, I deal with the emails that have started to come in from overseas companies that are looking to export their waste oil to the UK.

Oil Monster is expanding into Northern Ireland next month, and it is my long-term ambition to mirror the setup we have here elsewhere. 9pm: Being self-employed means I never really “finish” work, as I am always thinking about the business, but I decide that it is time to turn off my computer for the evening and spend some time with my wife. Contact: www.startuploans.co.uk

The Start-Up Loans Company is a Government-backed scheme, chaired by James Caan, that provides loans and a successful mentoring scheme to budding entrepreneurs, aged 18-30. With the assistance of The Start-Up Loans Company, over 40 new businesses are being started every day.

50 June 2013

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28/05/2013 14:47


Focus on money CAREFUL CONTRACTS

Before you sign ON THE dotted line…

NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers, educates us on how to handle lawyers as a small business owner needs to be achieved. Like in any service industry, writing a clear legal brief, including details of why you want to get something done, is an easy way to minimise costs.

Health check

“Love them or loathe them, lawyers are expert at managing the legal risks of businesses” It is a commonly held belief among small businesses that lawyers cost too much money. After all, many practices bill for telephone calls, or charge a certain amount for every six minute interval. Often you only know the total cost at the end of the work. Many smaller businesses believe that a way to avoid legal costs is not to take legal advice at all. As a result, these businesses then run unquantifiable risks, which may end up costing a small fortune to fix after it all goes wrong. Businesses particularly at risk are those that a) sought or received equity or funding from sources other than friends and families; b) download their competitor terms and conditions; c) have two or more shareholders but no shareholders’ agreement; or d) are in industries with new regulations (ie telecoms). Love them or loathe them, lawyers are expert at managing

the legal risks of businesses. Indeed, it is their primary purpose for existing as a profession. The problem is that they don’t always deliver that expertise at a price businesses can afford. So if the idea of writing a blank cheque to a solicitor fills you with horror, here are some suggestions to get the wisdom you deserve at a price you can afford:

Swot up

We’re not suggesting that you get a law degree or that you study law in your spare time, but learn some of the contractual basics through articles like this, and put them into practice through your business systems. Ask your lawyer for regular updates on any topics of interest to you.

If you haven’t yet assessed the legal risks in your business, gain some insights into your priorities with a legal health check. Your lawyer should be able to provide a free, no obligation conversation to understand your business and become more actively involved from the start. If you would like to receive a due diligence report on your business, guidance on your priorities and a free standard template, email us at admin@navistarlegal.com for more details.

Use them often

Find a good lawyer who comes highly recommended and speak with them often. If possible, ask them to work on a retainer, so that costs are fixed and easier to manage. Really understand what value they can bring to your team. Again, be proactive; don’t let them talk about ‘being commercial’, but get them to show you.

Fixed costs

If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Many lawyers will work on a fixed cost basis, especially if it is an ongoing relationship.

Be clear

Often costs are high because either the client or the lawyer is not clear about exactly what

Contact: www.navistarlegal.com Twitter @NaviStar talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 53

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Focus on

RICH WITH

strategy

Don’t take that with me…

tone

Tone of voice can make or break a brand. It’s back to basics this month, as Rich With seeks to address the way you speak to him As a creative agency, whenever we begin to embark on a branding voyage with a client, one of the first things we try to establish is their tone of voice. Arguably one of the most important aspects of any brand today, your tone of voice sets out the framework for all your marketing and branding material. It tells the world what sort of business you are, and it should give them an idea of what to

“Get it right and your customers should at worst respect you, at best adore you” expect when dealing with you. Get it right and your customers should at worst respect you, at best adore you. Get it wrong and no one will care – they simply won’t have any loyalty to your brand. Identify your tone early on: without it the rest of your brand is left in limbo. Often with start-ups, we are asked to find their tone of voice for them. While we’re happy to do that, it’s imperative that the client themselves has the biggest input. You need to be comfortable with the way in which your business is going to be seen.

If you’re unashamedly straightlaced, conservative and hate humour in marketing, then it’s unlikely you’ll see yourself modelling Moneysupermarket. Its adverts are direct and to the point, but have a wicked line in very daft humour – not for everyone, but it knows its market and seeks to appeal directly to it. To establish a client’s brand, we initially ask them three questions. What kind of car, supermarket and airline are you? Someone reading this will probably think: Volkswagen, Waitrose and Virgin. For many people, these are the benchmark of reliability, quality and customer service. But Waitrose and Virgin have very different approaches to advertising; Virgin is quite cheeky and daring – does your brand really want to be like that? Take some time to really think about the answers, ponder different approaches, and perhaps think past the expected. Consistency is all important. Take, for example, Innocent. Its visual identity with the cute face instantly conveys that, yes, it sells smoothies that are good for you – but there’s no pious, holier-

than-thou attitude. Its Twitter feed is undeniably good natured, frequently showcasing its fans (yes fans, not clients), and all of its printed collateral has a quirky, good-natured feel to it. Jack Daniels’ “good ole boy” charm is showcased not only by its language, but the visual keys which play beautifully, combining heritage and artisan craftsmanship with an impressive slathering of rock ’n’ roll. With an established tone of voice, things slot into place a lot easier than they would do otherwise. Tone of voice is highly overlooked, and many small firms make it up as they go along. Understandable, sure, as there is a tendency to hope everyone will buy from you, rather than focus on one or several niches. But it’s important to establish some ground rules as soon as possible, and at least have some idea of the sort of brand you want to build.

Contact: www.gohoot.co.uk

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28/05/2013 08:23


Focus on strategy DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET

THE HIGH STREET: DEAD, NOT BURIED With so many big brands going under, and the so-called “death of the high street” making headlines on a regular basis, has face to face retail kicked the bucket? Helen Coffey investigates

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t’s been quite a year for high street retail – and not in a good way. The great bastions of British consumer commerce seemed to crumble one by one, to the point where nothing seemed certain anymore. After all, if HMV can go under, what hope is there for the rest of us? No business was exempt, no chain was safe. This swift felling of some of the biggest and longest running high street names has prompted many commentators to logically conclude that the high street is on its way out – when you’re competing with purely online companies which have no overheads, such as rent and shop floor staff, how can you ever come out on top? ‘The small town high street in Britain today is absolutely knackered,’ said David E Hughes, retailer and the author of Dirty Business. ‘It is, in Monty Python terms, “a dead parrot”, and only becoming more so with every passing month. ‘The local high street has as much of a future in its current form as a horse and cart did when Henry Ford invented a mass-market motor car.’ Mr Hughes is simply voicing the conclusion that many of us have come to, and he’s not alone. Wayne Hemingway, founder of Red or Dead, also thinks its demise is imminent and inevitable – but he thinks this is a loss we should be celebrating, not mourning: ‘The news that four out of 10 shops will have to shut in the next five years, casting further doubt on the future of the beleaguered British high street, need not be greeted with dismay. ‘There is no reason to be downhearted – we should embrace change. This could be very

positive. My hope is that the disappearance of large retailers will provide an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to set up in affordable rental shop fronts and market units.’ However, while Mr Hemingway believes the high street as we know it is done for, he doesn’t think the culture of offline shopping is over – just that it needs to be reborn in order to be relevant for the modern shopper. ‘Most of us love people watching, get a buzz from other human beings. I don’t believe we want to do most of our shopping online, especially as we are spending more and more of our working lives in front of a screen.’ However, not everyone thinks the high street is dying in order to rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of our former leading retail chains. Bill Grimsey, former chief executive of defunct DIY chain, Focus, said that the high street is ‘as good as dead already’. Mr Grimsey blamed the policy failures of successive governments, unrealistic retail landlords and online shopping for the decline. He said: ‘We cannot save the high street, tragic though it is.’ Is this a realistic assessment of the high street, or is it simply a defeatist attitude? Surprisingly, several online retailers and specialists are sticking up for the much maligned traditional shopping channels – but they have highlighted the immediate and pressing need to differentiate and evolve your business model. Hybris is one of the world’s leading developers of ecommerce platforms. Stefan Schmidt, VP of

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28/05/2013 08:31


Focus on strategy DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET

Collateral damage: We take a look at the fallen giants of the high street 1. Safeway: fell 2005 2. Dolcis: fell 2008 3. Somerfield: fell 2008 4. Woolworths: fell 2008 5. Borders: fell 2009 6. JJB Sports: fell 2012 7. Comet: fell 2012 8. Blockbuster: fell 2013 9. HMV: fell 2013 10. Jessops: fell 2013

product strategy, commented: ‘The high street is not dead. It still contributes 93% of all retail revenue, versus online which contributes only 7%.

 ‘Retailers that have failed could not find a way to differentiate their businesses, and continued to remain dependent on products whose nature had fundamentally changed.’ He added: ‘Those retailers which find a new role for their stores, eg being a demo centre, a service centre or even a logistics centre, will prevail in the future. From where I stand it’s neither pure bricks and mortar nor pure online that will survive; rather, it’s somewhere in the middle, with both parts contributing their own strengths to the shopping experience.’ Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten’s Play.com, agrees that what is important now is to focus on the future of retailing, looking at ways to create multi-channel businesses which are a hybrid of old and new: ‘Retailers need to shift their thinking from online and offline acting independently, to multichannel offerings, which deliver consistent brand experiences whatever the shopping channel. Shoppers cannot be categorised into those that shop online and those that don’t. The routes to purchase are so varied that any retailer failing to join up its various channels to consumer will miss out on valuable opportunities to sell.’ According to Kelvin Newman, director of strategy at digital marketing agency, SiteVisibility, the high street will survive because it offers tangible experiences – retailers just need to focus on the fact that this is where their strengths lie, and take advantage of this core differentiating factor.

“The high street is not dead. It still contributes 93% of all retail revenue”

‘High street retail still has an experience to offer above and beyond what you’d usually find online,’ he says. ‘You have to experience the brand itself and get a feel for its personality and philosophies. You can test the products in an Apple store; you can take a bike on a test run at Evans Cycles. All of these plus points will ensure high street retailers stand the test of time.’ This opinion is also held by Steve Messenger, CEO of Red Route International; but he acknowledges that the high street offering that is most relevant to consumers has shifted to those shopping experiences which cannot be replicated online. He says: ‘The motivations for visiting the high street are changing – and changing rapidly. Their role purely as a centre for all commercial transactions has long gone. ‘But not all services can be done online, and not all are suitable for malls and retail parks. Think solicitors, banks and building societies, barbers and hairdressers, posting something important, getting a special present, buying a snack. ‘All of these are activities for which local presence is an essential differentiator.’ It would seem that, though we can’t escape the fact that change has hit, there is no reason why the UK high street can’t survive if it learns to adapt. Viewing the old high street model through romantic, rose-tinted glasses, while succumbing to a misplaced nostalgia for outdated forms of commerce, won’t help now – survival is based on facing up to the future and embracing the new.

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Focus on strategy DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET

Retail revolution

“I don’t believe any tipping point has been reached in terms of the demise of traditional retailers”

Is the high street so last year? Steve Barnes, MD and founder of NetVoucherCodes.co.uk, thinks not

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he popularity of the Internet has had a huge effect on British retailing. In fact, the impact of the web has probably been greater than anyone could have predicted at the turn of the millennium. Sadly, some of our traditional high street chains have become casualties of this changing landscape, and we’ve all heard of the high profile retailers who have gone under – after the first casualty, Woolworths, went down in 2008, it seems to have become something of a trend. However, I don’t believe any “tipping point” has been reached in terms of the demise of traditional retailers. Over the last 12 months we have seen an increase in brands going bust, yes, but in my view it will even out and then tail off. Those which have survived have been able to reinvent themselves successfully, by creating great social campaigns, leveraging the mobile space, improving customer service and finally targeting customers with great in-store promotions. Those that failed simply neglected to innovate and may have relied too heavily on bank loans with crippling interest payments. So why has online retail become so popular with UK consumers? Without doubt there are considerable savings to be made online, but it isn’t just the unbeatable discounts which have led to shoppers deserting the high street. Online shopping offers much more than convenience. It’s really all about the experience. Consumers who stay loyal to their favourite online shopping destination can tap into a realm of added value, from bespoke, instant deals right the way through to seeing what their friends

are recommending. This type of engagement is extremely hard to replicate on the high street in real time. The high street should be trying to compete in the areas where online retailers struggle. For example, holding in-store events using staff with specialist knowledge can be extremely popular, especially when offering discount promotions and a few nibbles. This is a great value-added experience that cannot be replicated online. Fine tuning little things like this could encourage more people to part with their cash in store. Despite the widely reported failings of some household name brands, I don’t believe British shoppers will lose all confidence in the high street as a whole. There are plenty of consumers out there who don’t want to buy every single item online. Many customers will always prefer to be able to look at and touch items for themselves, particularly when buying clothing. But I think confidence in gift card purchases has taken a bashing, and this may be a big loser for lots of retailers – even those not in trouble. So the overall picture is far from doom and gloom for retailers. There are plenty of opportunities out there. Smaller and more independent traders can certainly take advantage; most are agile and able to make quick changes in ways that the big chains can’t. As a small business, you have lower overheads, you can run a tighter ship, and you are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this ever-changing retail landscape. Contact: NetVoucherCodes.co.uk

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Focus on strategy DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET

“There is nothing inevitable about the decline of the high street”

Video killed the radio star Matt Keen of Maxxim Consulting takes the example of HMV to explore why some high street brands are thriving, while others are in decline

W

hen The Buggles released Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979, it reached number one in five countries and mourned the disappearance of radio in the face of the rise of television. Look at the press today and you’ll see similar waves of nostalgia for HMV and Blockbuster, organisations that failed to respond quickly or aggressively enough to the change in consumer behaviour over the last 10 years. The speed at which businesses can rise and fall has accelerated massively, but the options for how an organisation can respond to these changes has also increased. Those mourning the appointment of administrators for HMV are right to do so on behalf of the employees, but it is the leaders who must bear the ultimate accountability. There is nothing inevitable about the decline of the high street as some commentators are implying. Organisations can choose whether they adapt or close their eyes to the reality around them and soldier on. The ones that have chosen to adapt to the changing environment, such as John Lewis or Next, have shown how successful a multi-channel approach to retailing can be. There are leaders in these organisations with the vision and commitment to take the difficult choices and then align their organisations to the new world, despite the risk and the pain that results, as they know that this will be the only way that their company can survive in the long term. The organisations that can’t do this, or aren’t willing to make the difficult and bold decisions in the face of significant change, won’t survive. Yes, they’ll avoid disrupting their organisation and people in the short term, but their long term prospects are anything but rosy.

HMV never managed to align its online and physical stores in a way that was sufficiently compelling for consumers. Nor was it able to differentiate its offering sufficiently to justify the perceived premium that people would pay for the benefit of owning a CD or DVD, compared to buying it online – either digitally from iTunes or in physical form at a lower cost from Amazon. Lovefilm’s rental proposition and the appearance of Netflix in the UK only served to hasten its demise, as have music-streaming services like LastFM and Spotify. Why bother owning a DVD or CD when you can access thousands online for a fraction of the price? Ultimately, if Waterstones and James Daunt are able to embrace the online world and the rise of e-readers, then HMV could have done so too. The fact that it lagged so far behind the changes in purchasing habits of its consumer base, and failed to realign the organisation quickly enough, means that the question is less about why it failed, but more about how it managed to limp on for as long as it did.

Matt Keen works for Maxxim Consulting and has over 14 years’ experience as an OD consultant and HR professional. He has extensive strategic business partnering, OD, change management and commercial experience in blue chip companies across a range of industries. Contact: www.maxximconsulting.com

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Are you spending too much time on staff-related issues or are you just ignoring the problems? Are you sinking under the strain of keeping up with ever-changing employment law or have you stopped trying? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above you are putting your business at risk and/or failing to maximise its potential. Let us help. One-off support or competitively priced retainer contracts available. We specialise in services for Companies with 1 to 500+ staff in NE England

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SOCIAL MEDIA HAS A 100% HIGHER LEAD-TO-CLOSE RATE THAN OUTBOUND MARKETING EMBRACE IT NOW Social media is here to stay, and embracing this new business phenomenon will not only increase traffic to your website, it can also build brand awareness and catapult your business to ‘thought leader’ status within your industry.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE Business is becoming increasingly more social and the emphasis is changing from fulfilling the wants of the business, to satisfying the desires of consumers. As long as you are focused on delivering what is best for the customer and are attentive to exactly how what you are offering can add value to their lives, the success that you will experience, will be nothing less than extraordinary.

DID YOU KNOW? 51% of fans are more likely to purchase from brands they “Like” on Facebook; that’s a stat you can’t ignore. We’d all rather buy a product or service from someone that we know, and social media is the perfect way for customers to get to know your business.

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28/05/2013 14:50


Focus on strategy WEBSITES

Get, net, go! Is setting up a website more hassle than it’s worth for small businesses? Definitely not, says Christian Nelleman, founder of XLN Business Services

Unless your business is based in a cave, the chances are that over the last decade you’ve either set up a website – or at the very least had someone seriously suggest that you should. But some small business owners remain sceptical of the value they could generate from a website. Common complaints are that they take time and energy to set up, or that the costs of creating them are never paid back. Sceptical business owners argue that a small, local business that makes its trade from passing business or recommendations doesn’t need to bother. We beg to differ. Our experience with more than 130,000 small business customers tells us that not only are websites well worth having, but that even the smallest neighbourhood business can benefit from having a website in ways they might not expect… 1) Looking local You might think that people only go on the web to look at the big names like Amazon or ebay, but actually people routinely use the Internet at a local level. According to Ofcom’s 2012 annual report, as many as 17% of UK adults use a local website every month. Of those 17% that actively use local websites, 37% of them classify them as seven out of ten in importance. If people are using the Internet to look locally, then your business needs to be there to be found.

2) Familiar faces It’s not just about new customers finding you for the first time. One of the most common ways to use local business websites is for research: what time does my local café open in the morning? Does my hairdresser offer manicures? Can I get dairy-free pasta dishes delivered from my favourite Italian restaurant? If you want your customers to be able to know everything that you do, a website is a great way to broadcast your wares. 3) Catch the competition Depending on your industry, there is every chance that local businesses near you will already have a presence on the Internet. So why let them steal a trick when setting up a website is now so quick and easy? 4) Quick and easy As well as all the reasons why you should set up a website in the first place, the fact is that it has never been easier to create one. In the past you’d have had to hire a web developer and spend weeks reviewing designs. Nowadays you can use easy online tools, just add your payment details, and in a few clicks have a new site up and running. 5) Free promotion Again, times have changed. In the early days of the Internet, it was common to set up a website

Christian Nellemann is founder and CEO of XLN Business Services, the UK telecoms provider with 130,000 small business customers.

“Even the smallest neighbourhood business can benefit from having a website” and for it to be a graveyard – no visitors, no clicks, no custom. Google changed all that when it started improving its results at a local level. A well set up website should be optimised to appear in Google search listings when people search in your area – local SEO as the professionals call it. Why not take the plunge and get your business onto the web today? Contact: www.xlntelecom.co.uk

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28/05/2013 08:36


Are you in the racing line up for

The Thames Valley Expo?

We would like to invite you to join us at The Thames Valley Expo Thursday 13th June 2013 @ Royal Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Rd, Windsor, West Berkshire SL4 5JJ proudly sponsored by Credit Safe UK Ltd.

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his expo is free for anyone thinking about starting a business or expanding a business. With over 50 exhibitors, advice, opportunities, and much more, can you afford to miss out? The Thames Valley Expo as we believe it is the ideal way to enhance your business; to grow, prosper and thrive across the region. Join  100’s of powerful influential businesses and make incredible deals, engage with new suppliers and get that initial contact in order to build long lasting business relationships. Thames Valley Expo is a free business/networking event that has been created to provide business decision makers throughout the region with an opportunity to grow and develop their business by meeting likeminded business leaders . The Expo welcomes businesses from a cross-section of industries/sectors, to ensure that this is a success we remain more committed than ever in ensuring that visitors are provided with everything they need to improve, evolve, expand and develop their business.

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Highlights of the day: 1. Well known motivational business keynote speakers (- visit website for more information) who all have the ability to inspire, equip and empower audiences. 2. Fantastic quality networking opportunities (various times available book your slot nowvisit www.thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk ) throughout the day - meet the right people. 3. Mom Friendly Networking (various times available book your slot now - visit www. thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk). 4. Educational and interactive workshops, seminars and clinics running during the day (details of all seminars are on website). These have been designed to help address various business needs while providing beneficial and informative content that will help shape your business’ future.

5. Exit Strategy Workshop find out what your business is worth - 1-1 private and confidential consultation available if interested book now! 6. Fun charity video horse racing on the day (great prizes to be won) 7. Every delegate that registers and attends will receive two free tickets to Windsor Racecourse and 1yrs subscription to Talk Business Magazine. 

Register your place today and meet new buyers, acquire new leads, generate new business, maximise your time.

We look forward to welcoming you on the day.

28/05/2013 11:05


SPONSORED FEATURE

Please see a selection of the exclusive exhibitors featuring at The Thames Valley Expo: IPO www.ipo.gov.uk 0300 300 2000 ACT COMS LTD www.actcomms.co.uk 08707 74 75 76

BRACKNELL & WOKINGHAM COLLEGE www.bracknell.ac.uk 0845 330 3343

BERKSHIRE COLLEGE www.bca.ac.uk 01628 824444

BUCKS NEW UNIVERSITY www.bucks.ac.uk 0800 0565 660

BUSINESS DOCTORS – Thames Valley www.businessdoctors.co.uk 0845 219 7077

PANDA SECURITY www.pandasecurity.com 0844 335 3791

LLOYDS TSB COMMERICAL www.ltsbcf.co.uk 0800 169 4356

CORPORATE HEALTH www.corporatehealth.co.uk 0330 330 3096

CORPDATA LTD www.corpdata.co.uk 01626 777 400

SPEEDLINK www.speedlinktransport.eu 0843 636 2132 SOUTHPOINT FILMS www.southpointfilms.com 02380 711 670

BUSINESS SCENE www.business-scene.com 0845 003 1345 BUSINESS IN BERKSHIRE www.jonathanldavey.com 07717 820823 CREDIT SAFE UK www2.creditsafeuk.com 02920 886500

SHRED-IT www.shredit.co.uk 0800 197 1164 CROWN PLAZA MARLOW www.cpmarlow.co.uk 01628 496 860 TECHNOSYS www.technosysuk.com 01923 437677 UK CAR CONTRACTS www.ukcarcontracts.co.uk 0845 678 1112

WOW ANALYTICS www.wowanalytics.co.uk 0844 880 2899

CRITICAL PROOF www.criticalproof.com 0118 938 0929 FREESTYLE IT www.freestyle-it.co.uk 01256 760922

MACDONALD HOTELS www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk 0844 879 9101 MY MAS www.mymas.org 0845 658 9600

WINDSOR RACECOURSE www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk 01753 498400

The ICAEW Business Advice Service www.businessadviceservice.com 0845 370 1231

COMPANIES HOUSE: www.companieshouse.gov.uk 0303 1234 500

THE INTERACTIVE HEALTH & SAFETY COMPANY (iHASCO) www.ihasco.co.uk 0800 612 7088

REGUS www.regus.co.uk 0800 756 2563

SECURIFIX www.securifix.com 020 8392 2233 iCS www.icscomms.co.uk 01344 873 777 SHRED-ON-SITE www.shredonsite.co.uk 0800 181 4106 HEALTHY BUILDINGS INTERNATIONAL www.hbi.co.uk 0118 988 9999

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STREAM NETWORKS www.stream-networks.co.uk 01635 884170

IP SOLUTIONS www.ipsolutions.co.uk 0800 988 2020

FRY HEATH SPENCE www.fhs.co.uk 01293 776880

BROADPLACE Ltd www.broadplace.com 020 7993 9861

THE WAYS & MEANS TRUST www.waysandmeans.org.uk 0118 948 1944

SP INDEX www.sp-index.com 0845 177 0700

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Register by visiting www.thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk or call 0843 289 4634 alec@thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk allison@thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk

28/05/2013 11:05


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28/05/2013 14:54


The

language

of sales

Words that wow: sales author, coach and motivational speaker, Adam Caplan, looks at the new language which can win you customers

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hat sort of language should you be using in sales calls, emails and face-to-face meetings with customers? I had an epiphany right in the middle of a session when I was delivering sales training to some clients back in February 2012. We were talking about the importance of asking questions and the danger of answering questions, when it occurred

“It occurred to me that I was asking my delegates to learn a whole new language” to me that I was asking my delegates to learn a whole new language. Regular readers and subscribers will know I am insistent that sales people should not answer customers’ questions directly: rather, they should acknowledge the question, and ask a clarification question instead. All sales closes are actually questions, so if you’re going to be great at selling, you’d better be able to ask plenty of questions. Much of my sales training involves delegates getting an understanding of what really happens in the sales process, and how their behaviour directly affects the outcome. Many delegates can take the ideas from the sessions away into their personal lives, with some very interesting positive results. So it really

is worth becoming bilingual, and getting to know what I call the real language of sales. To elucidate, I think a little background information might be in order. Let’s look at the language we are speaking at the moment. I am not referring to English, but the secret hidden language that we are conditioned to speak by “the system”. Perhaps the word should not be “language” at all. Maybe I should use the term “operating system” instead. In computer terms (and let’s be honest, our brains are organic computers), your machine uses a type of computer language and runs on an operating system (OS). Whether we are referring to “language” or “operating system”, it is really talking about the same thing. I like the term OS, so we’ll stick with that for the purposes of this article. The OS that most salespeople – and actually most people in general – run on, is one that I’ve called AS. AS stands for Answering System. AS is the operating system that our parents installed in us when we were children. AS was modified and revised by our teachers while at school, with quite a lot of input from our peer group. Later on, we modified it ourselves when we left school, and further upgrades and revisions happened throughout life, sometimes provided by employers and other authority figures. People who have AS installed will do their utmost to answer any question that anyone asks them.

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Focus on strategy CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION

“If you want to be successful in sales, you will know that you have to ask questions, not answer them”

They will try very hard to answer and will find it very hard to ask any questions themselves. The ability to ask questions is inhibited by AS. Your parents and your teachers told you not to ask too many questions, and you were rewarded by your parents and by teachers for knowing the right answers, not the right questions. In fact, the whole academic system is set up to reward people who can demonstrate their knowledge by having the ability to answer large numbers of questions; we are told daily when at school that employment prospects are enhanced by having a university degree (gained by having the ability to answer really complex questions), job interview success usually depends on being able to answer the questions that the interviewer throws at you, and if you are ever in a court of law, it’s a crime NOT to answer the questions. With all that programming going on, is it any wonder that most people have the AS operating system installed? That’s all well and good if you want to be an ordinary citizen who is working in administration, academia or any role that means you don’t have to ask many questions. However, if you want to be successful in sales, you will know that you have to ASK questions, not answer them. If you’re going to be a great sales person, you need to install a totally different OS. I call the new operating system QA, which stands for Questioning and Acknowledging system. With this new OS you can ask questions to your heart’s desire, with no inhibitions. You can help customers buy from you really quickly, build trust with clients fast, become an adept closer and even control every conversation you have with

customers, suppliers, friends, family and total strangers. It is particularly effective to use the QA system on people who have the AS system installed. Unfortunately, uninstalling the AS operating system and replacing it with the new QA can’t be done in one article! If you sign up to my monthly newsletter, you’ll be taken through this step-by-step process over the coming months. If you really want to rev up your selling skills, earn higher commissions and be more successful, you can attend my free Language Of Sales seminar at the Sales Management Performance Live exhibition at Excel, on 6-7 June. If you really want to get fast results for your company and your sales team, look at bespoke in-house training sessions. My Cellular Selling training programme effectively uninstalls AS and installs the new programme QA into your brain. If you’d like to find out more, sign up, email me, follow me on Twitter, befriend me on LinkedIn or through Facebook and you’ll be in the loop. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Contact: www.cellularattitude.co.uk

Adam Caplan runs Unique Sales Professionals, a recruitment business based in Leicester Square that provides pre-trained sales staff to businesses as well as delivering his unique brand of motivational sales training.

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28/05/2013 14:56


Focus on strategy GLOBAL BUSINESS

Stocking all over the world Tej Kohli, CEO of Grafix Softech, offers valuable advice on building up a global business

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s technology makes the world smaller, and customers and investors are no longer dictated to by geography, the desire – and indeed the need – to build a business with truly global value is becoming increasingly strong. Globalisation has changed the way we think about business in many ways. And it has served to iron out some of the differences between national cultures and business practices. In the

“For all the similarities in the way we do business around the world, there are important differences” cities of the Middle East, we may find traces of the great caravanserai and the souks that characterised the great trading past for example, but modern business is conducted very much according to international standards. And so, in many ways, building a business with global value depends on the same planning and processes as building a local company. Whatever your plans for business, the first step is to work out what you are good at, focus on that and then identify a gap in the market, and how you might best fill it. If you take a global view, there will be more gaps available to fill. Mobile phone companies, for example, looked at the fixed line infrastructure in the developing world and jumped in. Take up of mobile phones across Africa and East Asia has been phenomenal as a result. But business success also depends on constant engagement with the latest developments in

your industry. Those mobile phone companies are indulging in an arms race to get the latest consumer gadgets out to western customers; but in developing markets, where banks have never managed to develop a viable business case for establishing basic banking and transaction services to the rural poor, they are involved in a very different proposition. As a result, in Kenya, Afghanistan, South Africa, India and countless other countries, mobile phone companies have developed essential mobile payment and transaction services to unbanked customers – and have achieved a degree of penetration that far exceeds that in any western nation. The story of the mobile phone companies illustrates yet another point about the development of a global business: not every market wants or needs the same thing. Clearly there is little market for heating systems in Abu Dhabi or air conditioning in Greenland. And if you are selling DIY tools, then you should probably focus on markets with a thriving real estate market, plenty of re-sales and a culture of home improvement. It comes back to making sure there is a real opportunity and seeing whether you can stimulate real demand for your offering. However, it can get more sophisticated than that. My business provides ecommerce and payments solutions, and it has shown some very interesting differences in behaviour. For example, if you want to expand your online business to European countries outside the UK, 

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Focus on strategy GLOBAL BUSINESS

France and Germany, you may need to think of a very different business model. These three countries account for 75% of all online sales in Europe. You need to do very careful market research to decide whether there is a demand for ecommerce in your chosen destination. Is there still a strong expectation that goods will be paid for by cash, or are cards acceptable? Will you have to deliver your goods with the invoice and invest more in debt collection? Do you have the facilities to accept debit, credit and prepaid cards? These types of details are easy to overlook, but can mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful business. Then there are the legal and structural differences to manage. For example, Brazil has a complex method for withholding tax that doesn’t fit with the standard purchasing cycle used in the US or the UK. Then there are different cultural expectations that need to be managed. Some are obvious: if you are in Delhi and need to communicate with Dubai you need to allow for time zone differences and language differences. But if you focus only on these obvious factors, you may miss more important differences. The reason that Brits and Americans sometimes feel they are “divided by a common language” is because the words represent alternative ways of thinking and a different way of doing things – from working lunches to organising credit. In fact, for all the similarities in the way we do business around the world, there are important differences that remain. For this reason, choosing the right people to work with becomes even more important in a global business. I have always believed that success is built on choosing the right people and nurturing their talents. That doesn’t change if you have global ambitions. In fact, it becomes even more important. The bigger the company, the more you need to delegate, and the more you need to trust the people that work with you. When you have a global perspective, you have to make sure you have people in place who understand both the local laws for conducting business and the local accepted practice. Finally, I believe that harnessing the power and ideas of young people is the key to business and economic success. Business is driven by technology, and younger people, who have never known a world without computers, will have completely different expectations than their aging parents. When we consider that when NASA first put a man on the moon it had less computational

power available than an average western student now has in their laptop bag, we understand how vast the change has been. As fresh thinkers with new ideas, courage and confidence, young people play an important role in any business. Shutting out their voices because they lack experience is a big mistake for any company that wants to achieve longevity. Trying to force them to fit your mould damages your prospects and theirs. Building a global business is about personal discipline, hard work, planning, focus, innovation and flexibility. But more than anything else, it is about listening. It’s about taking on board new voices and new ideas from people who are separated from you, either by years or by distance, and then building a company that can take those voices out to your customers.

“Not every market wants or needs the same thing”

Contact: www.grafixsoftech.com

72 June 2013

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Focus on

KIMBERLY DAVIS

marketing

Smoke mirrors Marketing can be a powerful tool: sometimes too powerful. Straight-talking marketer Kimberly Davis warns against manipulative marketing and the power of propaganda

“Many marketers are magicians, trained to use smoke and mirrors to distract you”

In Spiderman, Peter Parker’s uncle warns him: ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ I could not think of a more relevant quote for marketing. You see, marketing can make you believe anything if it’s done in a certain way. And if you think you’re too smart for this kind of manipulation, just watch Derren Brown for proof that it works. Many marketers are magicians, trained to use smoke and mirrors to distract you from the truth. A perfect example would be the recent gun control debate in the US. Now, I don’t care if you love guns or hate them. But what I do care about is the ridiculous propaganda that is being used to manipulate people into a frenzy. One of the most irresponsible adverts I’ve ever seen featured a picture of a gun with the American flag on it. Above it read: Last year, handguns killed 48 people in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 52 in Canada, 58 in Israel, 21 in Sweden, 42 in West Germany, 10,728 in the United States. God Bless America. Stop Handguns Before They Stop You. This advert went viral on the Internet this year and has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

On first reading, these statistics may evoke a strong anti-gun emotion. But when you do about five minutes of fact checking, you can see how deceptive this advert really is. You’ll find: • There has been no “West Germany” since 1990. • The statistics do not separate countries where guns are legal versus not legal. • The statistics do not take into account the population of each of these countries. There are fewer than eight million people in Israel versus 313 million in the US. • The statistics do not separate suicides, accidents, homicides, police use, etc. • The statistics come from different years in different countries. • “Handguns killed” is not correct English. The correct wording should be “Handguns were used to kill”. By altering this language, it gives the impression that the gun killed independently, and is to blame. The issue fueling this debate is the Sandy Hook shootings. Understandably, parents are distraught and want to protect their children. But if protecting our children is truly the issue, I wonder why guns are making headlines at all. Shouldn’t we want to tackle the things that are actually killing us?

Ten thousand deaths may be caused by firearms each year in the US, but: • 443,000+ deaths are caused by first- and second-hand cigarette smoke • 116,000+ are alcohol related deaths. Why do guns make front page news instead of cigarettes or alcohol? The answer is irresponsible marketing. The same is true of you and your business. There are lots of marketers out there trying to convince you that you need products and services that will do nothing for you. If you want to succeed, you must see beyond the smoke and mirrors.

Kimberly Davis is the founder Sarsaparilla Marketing. You can sign up for a free guide and get access to Kimberly’s Complete Marketing Magnetism System™ by visiting www. sarsaparillamarketing.com

Contact: www.sarsaparillamarketing.com

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Focus on marketing SALES AND MARKETING

“Sales and marketing teams need to start working in unison”

S&M

Best of friends or sworn enemies? Sales and marketing need to work together in 2013, according to PHIL BROWN, director at The Channel Partnership

T

he UK is officially out of recession but, with economists predicting limited economic growth, the picture is far from rosy. It is more important than ever that businesses work smarter, and that goals and objectives are agreed and adhered to across the whole organisation. Phil Brown, director at The Channel Partnership, a B2B marketing agency, discusses the importance of implementing a fully aligned marketing strategy – and how sales and marketing teams can work better together. The relationship between sales and marketing departments is often perceived as a fraught one – marked by feelings of suspicion, misunderstanding and attempts to shift blame. However, with the economy remaining weak and predictions not looking positive for the year ahead, sales and marketing teams need to start working in unison, otherwise businesses will continue to struggle. We recently conducted some research in partnership with The Leadership Foundation, questioning 1,000 sales and marketing professionals (500 of each) in B2B organisations in order to understand the dynamics of the sales and marketing relationship. This resulted in a report, Sales and Marketing: Best of enemies or sworn friends? The report found that just one in five sales and marketing professionals believes that the activities of their respective teams are fully aligned, and one in ten believe they are not aligned at all.

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Focus on marketing SALES AND MARKETING

While most business people will agree sales and marketing are often seen as very different animals, their purpose within an organisation is the same – to generate more customers and increased revenues. Without a collaborative approach to winning business, companies may find it hard to survive. Only those that have a fully aligned sales and marketing approach will stand a chance of grabbing market share. Our research revealed that, although sales and marketing teams often had similar views of the value of different marketing activities, there are many issues which prevent organisations from creating and executing fully aligned and integrated go-to-market programmes. Over half (57%) of respondents claimed that a lack of a cohesive strategy was the source of the problems with their organisation’s go-to-market approach. They also said that less than two-thirds of marketing activity was part of a long-term plan, and that more than a third was unplanned and reactive. Almost a third felt that marketing activities were driven by short-term goals and admitted that around a third of planned marketing activity doesn’t ever get implemented – so ends up being a complete waste of time and money. Two thirds of respondents said the gulf between marketing and sales teams stems from the fact they have different targets and objectives. Also, nearly two-thirds felt that political conflict between senior managers was a cause of discontent between the teams. Poor communication between departments, a failure to value each other’s contribution to the

The Channel Partnership The Channel Partnership specialises in helping B2B technology companies plan and deliver integrated go-tomarket programmes that drive profitable growth. They have delivered successful results for a range of clients in the ICT sectors, including Symantec, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Telstra, Sanyo, Tools Group, Admiralty and AboveNet. The Channel Partnership’s end-to-end capabilities, from strategic planning through to market positioning and demand generation, help clients succeed by ensuring that all goto-market activities are fully aligned and highly effective. They have a particular focus on channel enablement and ensure that everyone is working to the same plan, with an experienced team that understand how channels operate and what they require to be successful.

“Without a collaborative approach to winning business, companies may find it hard to survive” business, and a lack of understanding of each other’s roles were also highlighted as issues by more than half of respondents. These issues and conflicts can undermine the go-to-market efforts of any organisation, and are something that companies must address now. Companies need to be building integrated marketing plans that are jointly developed and owned by both teams to ensure that everyone is working to a common set of objectives and targets, and that everybody understands each other’s role and value. Failure to do this often results in the sorts of issues our research highlighted – lack of alignment, political conflict and mutual suspicion. One of the main issues, according to sales people, is that they believe marketers don’t spend enough time talking to customers and so don’t understand how their products or services create value for them. We also found that half of the sales executives asked think that marketers lack understanding

of the sales role, and over half feel the marketing team don’t understand what the sales team needs to be successful. Just under half (48%) claimed that marketers also lack commercial awareness. It’s not all negative however, as sales people do value many marketing activities. A wide range of marketing activities were rated as ‘valuable’ by at least two-thirds of sales people, including building brand awareness (83%), generating sales leads (83%), developing compelling propositions (81%), and providing market insight (81%), which suggests that the commonly held view that sales people don’t value marketing is overstated. So what can be done to restore harmony? It is crucial that businesses align their marketing and sales activities. Selling complex solutions to business customers is rarely a straightforward process. It usually requires a multi-faceted, go-to-market approach, and it’s vital that every element works together to deliver a clear and compelling message. While our research suggests there are some major conflicts to resolve, sales and marketing are on the same side, and senior managers have an obligation to ensure that they are working as an effective single team in order to maximise their chances of success. Those organisations that are able to deliver a fully aligned go-tomarket approach will have the best chance of driving profitable growth this year, despite the gloomy economic outlook.

Contact: www.thechannelpartnership.com

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Focus on marketing MARKETING DATA

Attack clones of the

ANDREW COWELL, online account manager at Marketscan, argues that you can clone your best clients by combining superior marketing data with top-notch testimonials

Next time you’re in your local pub, check out the regulars. They’re normally the ones sitting at the bar, chatting to the landlord. When they enter, their usual drink is being poured before they’ve even sat down. You might even be a regular yourself. And think about how much the landlord appreciates the regulars; they’re his best customers. If only he had more like them… Now think about your business. You’ll have your best customers too – from those loyal regulars who always help push you over your targets (even if they don’t always spend huge amounts), to the occasional big spenders who may not show their face too often, but it’s always pretty when they do. The pub landlord may not be able to clone his best customers, but you can. By adding valuable

“The pub landlord may not be able to clone his best customers, but you can”

of your best customers to use. As they will be genetically similar to those you are now targeting, the work you did for them should be of huge interest to potential new clients. Think of a case study like the landlord’s pub garden. Prospects walk past on a hot and sunny day and wish to quench their thirst with a cold beverage. They see others in the garden smiling and enjoying their drinks, and are far more likely to pop in for a drink too. Once you’ve got them interested – and you’ve provided them with the same quality work and customer service that you did your original customer – it’s likely they will then become regulars themselves. Soon there won’t be any seats left at the bar. Whose round is it anyway? Contact: www.marketscan.co.uk

information to your CRM database, you gain more knowledge on your existing customers. This means you can begin to profile your best ones by location, business size, sector, turnover, and target specific individuals by job title or role. With this in mind, a data specialist can then provide you with more of the same: marketing data consisting of clones that best match your ideal customer. Studies have shown that 86% of poorly targeted business mail is thrown away before being read. But by profiling and analysing your existing data, you can improve on what’s working within your database and what isn’t, reducing costs and waste in the process. To make your marketing campaigns more credible, try and attain a case study from one

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Business Launchpad London’s Leading Youth Enterprise Charity Business Launchpad is a registered charity offering free business guidance to young people aged 16-30 across London. Business Launchpad has provided support to over 5,000 young people and helped many to successfully set up and establish their own business. Established for 24 years, under the name of WYEC (Wandsworth Youth Enterprise Centre), we rebranded as Business Launchpad in 2012 to better reflect the scope of our work across London and not just the local area of Wandsworth. Since our launch in 1988, we have seen a diverse number of businesses such as courier services, lingerie, catering, wig making, swimming schools, architectural lighting, web design, pop up-kitchens and immigration consultancy to name a few. All the young entrepreneurs have come from a wide range of backgrounds; some with no formal qualifications at all, some with university degrees, some straight from school, others with several years of acquiring on the job skills; and although they have very different ideas and skill sets, they all share certain qualities that help them to succeed. Amma Mensah, founder of Beyond the classroom says: “Business Launchpad has provided me with great networking opportunities; a chance to meet and work with like-minded entrepreneurs. Not to mention invaluable business counselling which is helping me to turn my visions of the future into realities.” http://www.beyondtheclassroom.co.uk Beyond the Classroom provide schools and youth organisations with theatre and mentoring programmes; to support curriculum learning with life skills and knowledge.

Business Launchpad has an extensive track record of providing support to young people aged 16 – 30 including: •• •• •• •• •• ••

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Our unique model of support has led to unprecedented survival rates for our clients’ businesses, with over 85% still trading after two years, making us London’s leading youth enterprise charity.

Chief executive, Colin Sambrook with Business Launchpad staff Our model offers a holistic package of both business and ‘life’ counselling, which addresses personal circumstance, age and social environment. It enables, motivates, inspires and encourages young people to realise and reach their potential. Clients who decide that self-employment is not the route for them walk away better informed and with transferable skills to create access into further education, training or employment. Last year we launched a new Enterprise Centre in Acton, West London with the aim to reach more young people with our service. The Centre will allow us to support hundreds more young people on the journey into self-employment. Today, Business Launchpad’s mission remains the same: To offer free practical, complete and personalised business guidance and support to any young entrepreneur, regardless of their background, who wants to set up and run their own enterprise. To find out more about running your own business and how we can support you, please get in contact with us here:

Business Launchpad staff with clients Aspire 2 Inspire

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Focus on marketing INFOGRAPHICS

page of the news. Additionally, ensuring that there is social sharing functionality on the page where you’ve published your infographic will also increase the number of social shares from visitors to your site. 3. Include an embed code When publishing an infographic on your website, don’t forget to include an embed code with an appropriate call to action. This will make it easy for others to publish it correctly on their website or blog. Plus, by setting up your embed correctly, you can also ensure that other sites using your infographic include a link back to your website.

Picture perfect A picture really is worth a thousand words: Suzanne Ritter, SEO specialist at CaB, gives five tips for using infographics to benefit your SEO Infographics are the latest tool in the SEO’s arsenal. They’re the ideal option for creating interesting content and building links to your site – and they’re especially useful if you’re on a bit of a budget. Here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of your business’ infographics: 1. Quality is key First and foremost, make sure you take the time to create an infographic that is both visually appealing and provides the reader with some genuinely interesting content. Keeping things topical is also beneficial; if there’s a subject that is particularly newsworthy at the moment, see if you can incorporate it into your infographic in order to capture further interest. One example is Walton Robinson,

an accommodation provider for students in Newcastle. It based its infographic on the very topical subject of graduate employment rates. This is a subject which is very relevant to the student community, and increases the likelihood of the infographic catching people’s attention, and therefore being shared throughout the community. 2. Incorporate social media Don’t forget that promoting your infographic via social media will increase visibility and reach a much wider audience – increasing its chances of going viral. And with only a few characters available, make sure you grab one of the more interesting facts out of your infographic to catch people’s attention – think about the type of headlines you see splashed across the front

4. Contact key influencers Key influencers are those people in your industry or community who have a wide reach and whose opinions are well regarded. Sending your infographic to key influencers is a strategy with legs. Through contacting these people and asking them to share your infographic, you will be able to reach a much wider audience. 5. Consider the future It’s worth considering that one day in the future Google may choose to limit the SEO benefits of infographics. The most obvious way in which they would do this is via the links from third party sites to your infographics.

“Promoting your infographic via social media will increase visibility and reach a much wider audience ” It is therefore recommended that you focus on building links which are text-based (citing a source), rather than image-based, and that you vary the anchor text. You can effectively amend your embed code in order to directly influence the way it’s published on other sites.

Contact: www.cabstudios.co.uk

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Focus on marketing NETWORKING

Face your fear Networking is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for businesses, but for many people it’s a source of fear and anxiety. Chartered psychologist Graham W Price offers advice on overcoming networking nerves Attending networking meetings has become an important marketing tool for companies, both large and small. But for some the thought of delivering a 60-second pitch or talking to strangers fills them with fear. Overcoming these fears is a challenge facing therapists. In the past, the most popular treatment was behavioural therapy, which repeatedly exposes the client to the very thing they fear. More recently, the focus has been on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which encourages the client to challenge irrational thinking at the same time as engaging in behavioural exposure.  Now, experienced therapists have been combining CBT with acceptance-based approaches, such as acceptance action therapy (AAT).

“If we’re anxious about networking we need to accept the feeling and start networking” Chartered psychologist Graham W Price from Abicord believes that one of the most powerful psychological tools anyone can develop is learning to accept uncomfortable feelings: most people go through life resisting or avoiding them. Not wanting to feel whatever we’re feeling, trying not to feel it, or hoping it doesn’t get worse are all forms of resistance. Not doing something that makes us anxious is an example of avoidance. Accepting uncomfortable feelings just means accepting them as long as they’re there, rather than accepting that it’s OK for them to remain.

Modern therapists now train clients to accept anxiety, then do what they’re afraid of, and keep doing it until the problem is resolved. Acceptance is based on an awareness that anxiety is a normal response to fearful thoughts and, most importantly, is completely harmless. Learning to accept uncomfortable feelings has many benefits: 1. It enables us to be less distressed by the feeling 2. Acceptance always diminishes uncomfortable feelings 3. Accepting an uncomfortable feeling makes it easier to do the thing we’re afraid of, which is the key to resolving the problem By avoiding the things we’re fearful of, we will reinforce the programming that’s driving the fear. By contrast, we unwind the programming that’s driving the feelings by doing things we’re fearful of, while accepting the fear. AAT says: ‘Accept the feeling, choose the action’. If we want to resolve a feeling pattern, the action we choose should always be the opposite of whatever the feeling is telling us to do.

So, if we’re anxious about networking, we need to accept the feeling and start networking. The very act of going out of our way to speak to others at a networking event, whether or not we initially have good experiences, will immediately start to undermine the unconscious beliefs that are driving the anxiety. “Accept the feeling, choose the action” is a powerful adage to live our lives by. It can be used to break through reticence, procrastination, fear of failure or any other selflimitation. Price encourages all his clients to use it in every area of their lives where they are limited by uncomfortable feelings. The more we use it, the more powerful we become.

Graham W Price is a chartered psychologist, CBT specialist, coach, trainer and professional speaker.

Contact: abicord.com

84 June 2013

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Working with Expositionists International is not just about finding a company to build your exhibition stand or supply you with a portable graphic display; it is about finding a dedicated, experienced team of event professionals who can take away the stress out of organising your exhibition, product promotion or event. HTC are dedicated to creating a customised user experience and believe that each mobile device needs to fit its owner, and not the other way around. “What we make is not merely the product of focus group tests, but of observing and honouring how individuals choose to interact with technology. Our customers guide everything we do at HTC, and it’s this commitment that defines the company.” HTC first contacted Expositionists International in September 2011 when looking for a portable graphic solution for their team to use

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Focus on marketing SELLING ONLINE

“Every point of contact is an opportunity, not just to sell, but also to reinforce”

I

Creating the

standbrand out How to differentiate yourself in the online marketplace: Andre Senyk, founder and CEO of SpeckyFourEyes.com, explains why product alone is not enough

have always had a problem with the quote, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, that if you ‘build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door’. Even with today’s global village, it begs the question: How does the world know about this ‘better mousetrap’? I contend that the quote is, at best, an incomplete truth. The first point worth making is that you don’t need to actually engineer a better “mousetrap” to get traffic onto your footpath. That is not to belittle product innovation – in fact I am in awe of those with the capacity to invent – but rather to make the point that you don’t need to be a product innovator to succeed. When, as a student, I realised that the margins being enjoyed by high street opticians were huge, I wasn’t inventing a new product, but I was beginning to think about building a more competitive – better, if you like – Internet pricing model. However, more significantly, I was not the first person to come upon this realisation, nor the first person to act on it. This is the more normal scenario for most of us – a belief that ‘I can do better than that!’ The nub of it, for most of us, is that “better” on its own is unlikely to be enough – you need to answer the key questions: ‘how do you make the world know that you are better than the rest?’, ‘how do you get them to trust you via a purchase?’ and ‘how do you get them to come back again?’ If you’re planning on starting an online business, I strongly suggest that you have good answers to these questions, and sooner rather than later. The pitfall for many is that, even though they know that the Internet is not a free lunch, they leave their marketing brains outside the door. Though nobody is naive enough to believe that you just need to build a nice website and those nice chaps from Google will lead the world to your door, many do act on the belief that mastering the dark arts of the Internet (SEO, PPC etc.) is sufficient in itself. The truth is that the web is a game changer but not a rule changer; the rules of the virtual world are unchanged from those of the real world. We all have choices, and we’ll pick

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Focus on marketing SELLING ONLINE

where we take our custom based on whether we notice you in the first place, whether we like what you’re saying and whether we’ve heard nice things about you. I won’t pretend that this is exactly the way I thought when, just out of college six years ago, I set up SpeckyFourEyes.com. However, grant me that, in my choice of name, I was already seeking to answer the question of brand differentiation. Getting noticed is a hard enough game without saddling yourself with a non-memorable name. Similarly, your marketing budget is most likely to be stretched to its limits – so do spend time considering all your options. Remember that the market will dictate that obvious marketing choices (i.e. PPC) will get bid up – another reason not to saddle your company with a generic name – and may not offer value. Don’t forget that we all live non-virtual lives, and very often best value can be found beyond the Internet. Getting a prospect to visit your site is an achievement in itself but, unfortunately, it does not guarantee purchase. Though the experience is virtual, and the technologies unique, the rules of engagement are universal. Think of your site as a high street shop. Is it welcoming? How easy is it to wander around and find items? Is it easy

“The web is a game changer but not a rule changer” to purchase? Is help on hand if needed? Are you providing a positive customer experience? Don’t neglect the fact that, however much time they’ve spent on your site, there will be occasions when prospects want a human answer. Like a well-run shop, these are questions that need revisiting on a daily basis – if only to virtually sweep the floor. Be a good shopkeeper: your business can only benefit from such attentions. A good shopping experience does not end with the site visit. It amazes me how many Internet retailers spend fortunes gaining site visitation

and custom, but spend disproportionately less on the ongoing customer experience. It’s like neglecting your friends, who are most likely to be loyal, in favour of complete strangers. Every point of contact is an opportunity, not just to sell but also to reinforce. Almost every Internet retail experience involves delivery and packaging. Include a leaflet with another offer by all means, but also think about packaging your items well and attractively. A nice shopping bag goes a long way – as many successful high street retailers will tell you. Similarly, with your follow-up emails (you are keeping in contact with your customers, aren’t you?), don’t just bore customers with the same ‘come back and buy’ messages. Entertain them, and if you have any special offers, let them hear about them first. I can assure you that the SpeckyFourEyes customer contact programme is a very valuable revenue source; if it wasn’t, I would get very worried. The creation of the Internet has de-coupled retailing from a necessity for physical premises but, though the execution is often very different, the strategies remain mostly unchanged. Differentiation in itself is not the objective. However, by attending to the sorts of matters I’ve raised, your business will be a long way along the road to having an identity of its own. In these brief words, I hope I have not demotivated you from pursuing a good idea, but rather emphasised that the idea is just the starting point – the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Find solutions to the unchanging marketing issues and your business is far more likely to be terrific than Titanic!

Contact: www.speckyfoureyes.com

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28/05/2013 13:38


Focus on marketing ADVICE

The Sales Doctor Getting past the hallowed gatekeeper to talk to the actual decision-maker can be a real thorn in salespeople’s sides. The sales doc’s prescription? Turn on the charm and use a few time-honoured tricks of the trade

Q

A

Need a diagnosis? Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ‘FAO the sales doctor’: helen.coffey@ astongreenlake.com

Dear sales doctor, I am an excellent salesperson when I’m talking to the decision-maker. But my biggest problem is actually getting to speak to the right person. I often come up against PAs who have a God complex. These rottweilers see it as their job to keep their boss from having to talk to anyone. Any tips on how to get past these jobsworths so you can talk to the one in charge? The amusing thing is that these gatekeepers, or “rottweilers” as you call them, have been trained to stop salespeople getting through. Most salespeople are under the impression they have to speak to them in a certain way, normally with no respect, to get past them. This could not be further from the truth. So the first thing is to treat them like a human being, and ask for their help – they’ll normally, not always, respond positively. Be as friendly, charming and sincere as you can. One very common objection a gatekeeper may give you is: ‘We have a no name policy’. Therefore, if you haven’t got the contact’s name, they can’t put you through. With the genius invention that is LinkedIn, 80% of these cases have been eliminated. Type into LinkedIn the name of the company and you’ll find a tab for employees; it will provide a few names and, if your chosen contact isn’t there, then call up and say: ‘I have spoken to X and he wasn’t the right person, who would you recommend?’

Failing that, here are some great ways to overcome the no name policy: 1. Make up a name – ‘Good morning, can I speak to Mike Beard please?’ Gatekeeper: ‘We don’t have a Mike Beard here.’ You: ‘I have him down as the sales director. Who has taken over his position?’ Gatekeeper: ‘John Smith.’ Genius. 2. ‘Hi, it’s Tony here from Yell.com. I am just updating my records. Is Mike Beard still the sales director? He’s not – who’s taken over his role? Great, can I just get his email address and mobile for our data?’ 3. Go on the website – there will usually be a name mentioned somewhere in “meet the team”or in the news pages. It might not be the contact you are after, however, you can use that name when you call back. 4. Be aware of the times to call. If you do have the directors’ names but the gatekeeper won’t put you through, call during times the gatekeeper is unlikely to be there: before 8.45am, 12.15-1.45pm, after 5:30pm.

5. Make a joke of the ‘no name’ response. This must be done with charm and wit, or you will get called a variety of rude names (just like I have in the past!). 6. Gatekeepers are trained to ask: ‘Are they expecting your call?’ Your response must always be: ‘I’m returning their call.’ 7. If you have the contact name and the gatekeeper asks, ‘Is this a cold call or a new business call?’ always reply: ‘No, I am returning their call.’ And always ask for your contact by their first name; this gives the impression you know them personally.

TONY MORRIS, sales doctor Tony Morris is the director of The Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London. He is the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book based on real life situations from which you can learn techniques and put them straight into practice.

Contact: www.tony-morris.co.uk

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28/05/2013 09:00


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28/05/2013 13:45


Focus on

LEE MCQUEEN

people

Gr ow

i ng

up

Growth is what every aspiring entrepreneur wants for their business; but taking on new staff can be a terrifying prospect. Lee McQueen tells us why hiring is hard, and how to tell when you’re ready for it

MONEY WORRIES

The decision to start taking people on is a massive one. When you start out and you’re working alone, you have responsibility for you and your bottom line and that’s it. As soon as you hire somebody else, that’s a huge responsibility. They’re hoping to get paid, obviously, and perhaps to have a fantastic career. As your business grows, so that responsibility grows. It’s really important to keep an eye on the finances, because you need to make sure that people can get paid. It is always a worry, even now, every single month.

SAVE OR SPEND

The more net profit – or operating profit – you get, you have a choice to make. You can plough it back into the business, or you can spend it on nice holidays and playing golf – if you don’t get the balance right, it can be very demotivating for staff. Everyone who works for me knows the vision I have, and the growth I want to achieve in my five-year plan. The bigger picture is more important than a new set of golf clubs for the MD.

BALANCING ACT

It’s hard to know whether you’re ready to grow; for me, it was because I couldn’t physically do any more myself. So I hired someone to do processes. Then we couldn’t physically bring in more customers, so I hired two sales guys. But then we couldn’t deliver all the work we were booking, so I needed to hire someone to deliver it. It was almost a natural progression. I’m not always 100% sure I’ve got it right every time. But it’s a balance – some employees are ambitious and they want to grow their team quickly, but

it might not be the best thing for the business. There’s a balance between not overstretching yourself, and taking that risk of getting in another three employees to kick you up to the next level.

LETTING GO

I come from a corporate environment – I’ve always managed big teams. So to come in and manage just one person was completely different. Now we have 10 – we’re at a stage where we’re a little business, but we still need a hierarchy, a structure with line managers. That’s

“The bigger picture is more important than a new set of golf clubs” tricky for me though, because I’m a control freak! I want to empower my staff, but it’s really difficult to let go. That’s a new skill I’ve had to learn. However much you’re passionate about your job in the corporate world, it’s not your money. When it’s your business, it’s totally different because it is your money, so it’s much harder to give up control.

INFUSING ETHOS

We definitely have a strong ethos at Raw Talent. If you interviewed any of our staff, they’d be able to tell you the vision, the ethos and the grand plan. Your staff have to buy into it, they have to believe it – because you have to believe it to sell it. That training absolutely starts at interview stage, and it doesn’t stop. Contact: www.rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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28/05/2013 15:23


Focus on people

Sizematters

GROWING HR

Preparing HR policies for growth is anything but straightforward: but getting it right from the beginning can save you problems further down the line, says Hazel Privett, HR director of ADP

T

he HR policy framework of a business can act as a weathervane for the evolutionary stage, culture and the population mix of a company. Careful development of policies, not just for today but with an eye for the future, can help companies prepare themselves for growth, as well as ensuring adherence to required legislation. If the law states the “What”, then the policy framework can set the “How”. Not all policies will be legislative, but will instead offer an insight into the key priorities of the business and its approach to people management. Policies must support the strategic goals of a business and promote the drivers for success. For example, a business which is dependent on the introduction and development of new skills will need to have in place a talent management policy, which promotes targeted recruitment and learning principles for future growth.

The start-up bubble

“Policies can eventually become determining factors in where people want to work”

In start-up situations, policies or “the rules” are not often written down, and many of the expected behaviours and ways of working will be very much determined by the personality and values of the individuals running the business. There develops a tacit understanding of how things should be done, and potentially high levels of trust may mean that decision making is left to the judgement of the individual. In such  talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 95

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Focus on people GROWING HR

circumstances it is likely that the basic aspects of HR are left within the finance department and specific legal advice is gained from outside. But, nevertheless, it is important that small businesses understand the legal compliance issues which affect them and follow the necessary guidelines. Some key policies, such as disciplinary and grievance, sick leave, annual leave etc, can be covered in a solid contract of employment – but couching the law in the context of internal policy “rules” can help both employers and employees to understand what is expected of them, and set the culture within which they are expected to manage a specific process. It also lays the ground work for growth.

The type of workers employed by a company will play a part in informing the processes and rules applied through HR policies. Gradually, as the real life experience within the business environment expands, so too will the policy framework need to flex to fit accordingly. Policies can eventually become determining factors in where people want to work, and how they regard a particular employer when benchmarked against the competition. By the time things get to this point, some form of professional HR input is required to ensure a consistent flow across the policy structure and business relevance. The HR function becomes the owner of the policy strategy in line with business requirements.

Getting bigger

Smaller is simpler?

As employee numbers increase and business The complexity of the policy framework is not process becomes more complex, policies will always determined by the number of employees. need to expand to provide a more sophisticated Smaller businesses offering a more disparate foundation. The more managers there are, the or sophisticated delivery to the market can also more unreliable it becomes to determine policies require specific policies to match. Background based on the personal judgement, likes and checks, immigration, health care, relocation, dislikes of ex-patriot individuals. assignments, “The underlying ethos should remain Depending exchange upon the relevant no matter how many employees mechanisms nature of the and tax the company eventually has” business, equalisation once can become employee numbers reach 50-100, a clear an integral part of how people processes outline of principles needs to be communicated are managed. As companies become more around recruitment, induction, appraisal and global, so then policies need to accommodate development, salary reviews, self-learning, local legislation and culture, alongside global academic standards, benefit provision and consistency and governance. absence – the list goes on. The details of these Protective policies policies will offer a window into the values and Larger corporations tend to attract a high standards of the company, and give strong population of senior executives or key employees signals to potential recruits as to what it may for whom more protective policies are required be like to have that company as their employer. – perhaps to support restrictive covenants in They will also communicate clear instructions employment contracts. This could cover such around legislative process, which will become things as: confidentiality, intellectual property more complex in proportion to the increase rights, non-compete expectations, nonin company population. Outside of the actual disclosure agreements or copyright issues. law, an approach will need to be determined The type of workers employed by a company around things such as maternity and paternity will inform the processes and rules applied provision, emergency time off, adoption and through HR policies. flexible working. As company expansion takes The development and maintenance of best place, the method of applying HR policies practice policy can be time consuming. Roll out changes, and they need to be more watertight.

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Focus on people GROWING HR

“It is important that small businesses understand the legal compliance issues which affect them�

and monitoring of understanding and adherence is an unrelenting task. There is a compelling argument that HR outsourcing providers can save businesses time and allow them to focus on adding value to other business areas, as well as helping to standardise HR processes and policies across multi-site businesses.

Outsource for success

When seeking an HR outsourcing provider, the business should assess the fit of the potential partner. Thought should be given to ensuring the partner aligns with the way that the business operates, as this will help to create a cohesive partnership and working culture. Inherent in the partnership is a high degree of trust. The internal HR team must be confident in the outsourcer’s ability to do the job for them, and this belief will drive the various stakeholders to buy into the partnership. The technology supplied by the outsourcing provider can be an important aid in helping the company to grow and communicate HR policies to its employees. The best providers will operate online systems that can be updated as policies grow and evolve. The online nature of HR and payroll systems ensures employees are made aware of any changes to policies that apply to them, and provide an employer with the ability to track whether employees have viewed and accepted these updates in an efficient way.

The most effective online systems will have an element of self-service, giving employees the power to access and update their own data. For companies which are looking to expand, modular technology can be a good investment as it can grow alongside the business and ensure consistency in approach and application, thus cementing the HR policy framework across the entire company during expansion.

Start smart

If the principle and strategic direction behind the original design of HR policies is carefully thought through, the underlying ethos should remain relevant no matter how many employees the company eventually has. Specific detail and application may need to be scaled to fit with change and growth, but not the underlying culture. Retrofitting policies and processes can hinder change, introduce confusion and, at the very least, cause delay. HR efficiency will be massively impacted during the process. Guidance from an HR consultant or HR outsourcing provider at the outset can prevent these problems from happening, and make the overall HR policy implementation process much simpler for companies of any size. Contact: www.adp-es.co.uk

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28/05/2013 15:24


Mytahnsd

Focus on people INTERIM MANAGERS

legends…

stop Why “change management” can ange. you achieving organisational ch eciative Chartered psychologist and appr es us inquiry expert, Sarah Lewis, giv l change the five myths of organisationa

“By withholding information, we convey something; usually distrust or secrecy”

W

e are constantly told that, in today’s world, change is a permanent feature of organisational life. Given this, is it surprising how many myths abound, or the extent to which organisations struggle with the concept of change? Sarah Lewis, chartered psychologist and author of Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management, believes that part of the problem is that our ideas in this area are outdated. The organisation is not a machine

and our leaders are not all-seeing and all-knowing. In Sarah’s experience, having worked within both large and small organisations, there are five erroneous beliefs that mean that “change management” can actually hinder change within an organisation: 1. You can’t implement the change until you have thought through every step and every possible question Not true. In many situations it is sufficient to have a sense of

the end goal along with some shared guiding principles about how the change will unfold. With these in place, leaders can call on the collective intelligence of the organisation as it embarks on learning by doing: taking the first steps, reviewing progress, learning from experience and involving those who know the detail in their areas. This “all-seeing” belief leads to exhaustive energy going into detailed forecasting and analysis of every possible

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Focus on people CHANGE MANAGEMENT

impact – and this merely slows the whole process down. 2. You can control communication within the organisation about change Impossible! People are sense-seeking creatures who constantly work to make sense of what is happening around them. This means it is not possible to control communication in this way.  By withholding information we convey something; usually distrust or secrecy. But more than this, in this day and age there is no chance of being aware of everything that is being said about the change.

change. Staff hear managers talking endlessly about how important this change is, yet no one seems to know what the change actually means for the employees. 4. Planning makes things happen Sadly, no! Creating plans can be an extremely helpful activity, but until people translate the plans into activity on the ground, the plans are just plans. This belief in “plan as action” fuels a plethora of projects and roadmaps and spreadsheets of interconnection, key milestones, tasks, measures and so on. A much more energising

“People don’t necessarily always have the energy or inclination to engage with change” Instead, leaders need to focus on making sure they get to hear what sense is being made of what is going on, so that they can contribute a different or corrective perspective. 3. To communicate about change is to engage people with the change Not necessarily. People start to engage with the change when they start working out what it means for them. They find out through exploration and discovery. They become more engaged when they are asked ‘how and what’ questions. People then have to use their imagination and creativity to start visualising what their bit of the world will be like when the change has happened. The belief that communication alone equals engagement leads to an over-emphasis on communicating about the

alternative is to bring people together to start exploring the change and generating ideas for action, and then to write documents that create a coherent account of the actions people are taking. 5. Change is always disliked and resisted No. If this were true, none of us would emerge from babyhood. Our life is a story of change and growth, of expansion and adaptation, of discovery and adjustment. What is true is that change takes energy, and people don’t necessarily always have the energy or inclination to engage with change. It is not change itself that is the issue, it is the effect imposed change can have on things that are important to us: autonomy; choice; power; desire; satisfaction; self-management; sense of

competency; group status; sense of identity; and so on. If we attend to enhancing these within the change process, then there is a much greater chance that it will be experienced as life-enhancing growth, like so many other changes in our lives. So, what is the alternative? Many new approaches that focus on achieving collaborative transformation are emerging such as Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space and World Café. These approaches recognise organisational change as a collective effort, as a social process that can be inspiring and dynamic with leaps of understanding, as well as being messy and confusing at times. They work with the best of the human condition – the importance to us of our relationships, our imagination, our ability to care and to feel and to create meaning in life. In this way they release managers and leaders from the impossible responsibility of foreseeing all possibilities, and instead liberate the organisation to find productive ways forward in an ever-changing organisational landscape, together.

Contact: www.appreciatingchange.co.uk

Sarah Lewis M.Sc. C.Psychol is an associated fellow of the British Psychological Society and a principal member of the Association of Business Psychologists. She is an acknowledged Appreciative Inquiry expert, a regular conference presenter, and a published author, including Positive Psychology at Work (Wiley) and Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management (KoganPage).

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28/05/2013 13:48


Focus on people ABSENCE

Absentleave without

MATTHEW BERGMANN SMITH, CEO of Absence Manager, explains why we need to take a more tailored approach to staff absence

With the recent Government sickness absence review response and continued economic pressure, absence is still high on the agenda. The costs are high and absence is second only to payroll in terms of the largest employee-related process. Private and public sector organisations alike are quoting statistics and saying that something must be done. However, few organisations have the clarity of thought, leadership and vision to make real change. Why is that? We believe one key reason is that the absence issue is always looked at in the same old way. It is only given one metric, and no real thought is applied to the actual process and required management information.

“The absence issue is always looked at in the same old way” For example, we frequently hear phrases like: ‘Our absence is only 4.2%, and is line with others’. Therefore all must be fine! But is just one metric enough for absence? Why not ask, who is off now? How old is each absence? Who has been off the most frequently? Any single absence metric, including “days per FTE” can be very misleading. If a team of 10 employees had one person off for one year, the average FTE metric would be 220 working days divided by 10, indicating all employees have had an average of 22 days off. Of course this is not true; only one person has been absent once. In comparison, if two people have had 20 single days off each, it would mean a total of

40 individual days of absence. This would only equate to four days per FTE, indicating there is no problem. However, eight employees with 100% attendance records have had to watch while two colleagues keep taking additional days off. Is that fair? There is a problem but the FTE metric alone does not show it. In order for organisations to act and drive down the cost of absence, they need to see the true picture, and be able to see where the problems actually are. In order to create this true picture, they need a clear and robust process, supported by understandable and workable policies. Why not apply similar thinking to absence as used elsewhere in the business? Let’s ask: • Who is absent now? • How long for? • Frequency of absence? • Total cost of absence, including indirect costs? • What are we doing about any issues identified by the questions above? • How can we make our absence process more efficient and robust? These questions can be applied at employee and manager level, thus highlighting not just underperforming employees, but also underperforming managers who are potentially the cause of higher absence in their teams. As the second largest employee process, it should not be a third-rate process. Contact: www.absencemanager.com

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28/05/2013 09:25


Focus on people HOME WORKING

Voicing the question on many businesses’ lips, David Sturges, chief commercial operator at WorkPlaceLive, asks why Yahoo! is banning home working

T

There’s no place like home

he news that the chief executive of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, banned executives from working from home, is bound to go down like a lead balloon. She has been accused of taking the company back to the 1980s. Richard Branson, who has never worked from an office in his entire career, has been drawn into the debate, commenting that this is a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more

“This is a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever” effective than ever. He believes that if you provide technology to keep in touch and create the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly. I couldn’t agree more. Secure technologies, such as cloud computing and Skype, have allowed businesses to become much more flexible about where their employees are based over the last 10 years. A solution such as hosted desktops allows people to work seamlessly from any device with an Internet connection, from any location. This technology is great for forward-thinking businesses that are happy for their workforce to work flexibly, but also businesses where employees are on the road a lot, perhaps seeing clients or suppliers, home and abroad. There are numerous business benefits to allowing home working, such as needing less office space and less time spent commuting.

While I can understand the point made by head of human resources at Yahoo!, Jackie Rees, in the memo sent to all their staff – ‘it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings’ – to have an out-andout ban seem ludicrous. People do of course need time to build rapport with colleagues and plan activities, but they don’t necessarily need to be in an office every day. Research shows that people can be as – or more – productive working at home, providing the right technology is in place. A YouGov survey last year found that 52% of British adults say they would like to work from home if they had the necessary IT resources; despite this, 51% of all employed British office workers say that their employer doesn’t allow them to work from home. Yahoo! is one of the forerunners of the Internet revolution, and its business has always been seen as forward-thinking. This is why it’s such a surprising attitude. Just think how those executives who have thus far been trusted to work from home feel being told that they must now all be office-based? I imagine many of their top executives could soon be deserting that ship. Contact: www.workplacelive.com

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Secret diaryof an entrepreneur Alpine adventures: Lawrence Jones, CEO of UKFast, reveals what happened when he hit the slopes with clients and employees in snowy Verbier

L

awrence Jones is the CEO of the UK’s biggest privately-owned Internet hosting provider, UKFast. A £20m+ turnover firm, formed by Jones and his wife Gail in 1999, UKFast provides hosting solutions to companies including Mulberry, Kellogg’s, UKTV and the NHS. With five fully-owned data centres across Manchester, UKFast has increased connectivity across the region, supporting Lawrence’s goal of putting the north west on the map as a hub of digital innovation.

“I wake up at about 6am, excited as a child and ready to hit the slopes” ® Day 1: Manchester-Switzerland

I’m a great believer in the notion that it is the people around you who make the world go round, so it is always incredibly exciting to take the employees and clients of UKFast, without whom there would be no business, to share in our company’s success. Sitting on the plane, descending over the mountains of Switzerland with Gail and our three girls, Poppy, Tegan and Coco, I can already feel the familiar fizz of anticipation as I imagine the faces of our team when they arrive tomorrow. I don’t think you can put a price on spending time with the people who support you in your life and business, especially the employees who have

worked hard to fight your corner when times were tough. Opportunities like these give me and my family the chance to share the good times with our staff and clients, letting them know that they are valued, and enabling them to achieve new things and create new experiences. The next two hours fly by, and after a short drive we arrive at the beautiful resort of Verbier. Walking into the stunning No. 14 chalet gives me a fresh boost of excitement. The views are breathtaking, and I am once again reminded of why I always feel most at home in the mountains.

® Day 2: Welcome to Verbier

I wake up at about 6am, excited as a child and ready to hit the slopes with Gail and the girls. After a swim in the pool and an espresso, we have breakfast and set out to get our ski legs back before the UKFast team and clients arrive. By lunchtime, after a good blast of skiing and fresh air, we are back at the chalet, ready to welcome the arrivals. Each year I take a different selection of employees on a trip like this. I understand that people might call this kind of thing an expensive luxury; an accountant would probably say that these resources could be ploughed into the business in another way. Fortunately, our accountant sees the lift in energy and the team bonding that happen as a result of these adventures. It’s extraordinary. OK, it’s extravagant, but we’re giving people experiences

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Focus on people SECRET DIARY

that they will never forget. Whether they stay with us forever or not, we all have shared experiences that will stay with us forever. At the end of the day, this kind of thing is priceless. Once the team has settled in, I find myself in a very crowded hot tub overlooking the mountain range, talking to one of our clients about our latest piece of cloud technology. There is something funny about discussing the cloud when there isn’t a single one in sight. The team are chatting and mingling, beaming from ear to ear at the surroundings. What a break away from the boardroom! If only every discussion about ecommerce solutions could take place in an outdoor hot tub!

® Day 3: Ski Sunday

Today starts with an unusual but exciting request from Holly and Sam B, two of the founders of Big Change Bernie, a charity helping to improve the lives of young people. As part of a fundraiser, a team of us were asked to take part in a skiing race across Verbier! Not one to say no to a challenge, I jumped at the chance. Our team skied and snowboarded like the wind, taking on poor visibility and, at one point, a beast of a mogul field. We also had to complete a number of tasks along the way, creating an impromptu Harlem shake video, filming a team member skiing in their underwear and building a life size Richard Branson-lookalike snowman. In the end, we finished third in the overall race and first for our number of completed challenges! These challenges would not have been feasible without our awesome support team, both at the chalet

and at the UKFast offices in the UK, so this was yet another proud moment for me. In the evening, we sit down around the table for dinner to share the day’s stories and successes. After all the exertion, a glass or two of wine is definitely in order, and everyone remains in good spirits, polishing off the stunning five-course meal that the fantastic staff at No. 14 have prepared for us. After a rest in front of the log fire and a dose of caffeine, we head out for some night sledging. Driving up the side of a piste and careering down it on the sledges with our head torches is a huge adrenaline rush, and it is fantastic to end the day on a high. Challenges like this are integral parts of our team adventures abroad. Taking people out of their comfort zone and out of their normal surroundings is a really interesting experiment. Seeing how people push themselves and seeing how they develop fascinates me. These trips and their challenges nurture the competitive streak in people; we like to stretch everybody at UKFast. It’s the best way to learn more about people and show them where their strengths lie. After such an action-packed day, everyone sleeps well that night, ready to rise early and make fresh tracks in the snow that, outside, is silently falling. Contact: www.ukfast.co.uk

If only every discussion about ecommerce solutions could take place in an outdoor hot tub

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Focus on

technology

DAVID RICHARDS

Ourman in the valley

Ready, set, grow! Resident techxpert David Richards tells us why the companies that grow the fastest get all the best perks

“It seems eminently sensible that we focus our efforts on this ambitious and reliable set”

Growth is the obsession of our age. Not a day seems to go by without another announcement from the public or private sector proclaiming the importance of injecting our economy with it, or offering assistance in achieving it. Last month it was the turn of George Osborne to lend a hand, as he and Joanna Shields, the new CEO of the Tech City Investment Organisation, heralded the creation of a new programme to help Britain’s fast-growth businesses grow even faster. The “Future Fifty” initiative, a bespoke, year-long programme for the 50 brightest and best companies in the country, is designed to help them navigate the growing web of support mechanisms that are out there, linking them with private sector experts and giving them a promotional boost. As well as helping our homegrown commercial talent, the Future Fifty also aims to promote the UK as a worldbeating place in which to locate pre-existing businesses. Firms that are currently based anywhere in the EU are eligible to apply for the programme – on the proviso that they locate their headquarters in the UK.

‘Sounds good,’ you say. ‘But why are we choosing to help the very companies that don’t seem to need it?’ Well, when the pennies are scarce, we need to do more with less. In announcing the scheme, Osborne drew on some wellknown findings from NESTA – findings which show that 54% of the UK’s net new jobs are created by a mere 6% of our fastest growing companies. These are Britain’s proven wealth-creators – the companies for which rapid growth is the benchmark, not the hoped for. For me, it seems eminently sensible that we focus our efforts on this ambitious and reliable set of industry achievers. Rather than broadening the net, we should squeeze every last drop of potential out of those with a proven track record for success. It’s for this reason that I will be in Liverpool later this month, to speak at ACCELERATE 2013. Dubbed as the first festival to cater specifically for the ‘vital 6%’, the conference positions itself as an intensive incubator for talented British businesses. In today’s continuously challenging economic climate, it’s important that we give our

proven wealth creators the confidence to strive for bigger and better things – and I’m looking forward to doing my bit. But, as recent research from the Economist Intelligence Unit serves to prove, it’s also true that businesses have to learn to help themselves. The research showed a striking correlation between the growth of companies’ earnings and their effective use of data, with those achieving average EBITDA growth of more than 10% over the past three years apparently far more likely to analyse the data that they collect. Success in today’s modern marketplace requires us all to be data analysts. Growth, then, is something we can all look to achieve – we just need to be looking in the right place.

David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both Silicon Valley and Sheffield.

Contact: www.wandisco.com talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 111

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Focus on technology THE CLOUD

Lookto the future Cloud computing is the latest tech talking point: Claire Lewis, marketing director of Fasthosts Internet, asks whether your business could be ready for the cloud? For a number of years now, there has been talk, deliberation and confusion over the term “cloud computing”. The concept is most often associated with making business IT more dynamic, but what does cloud computing mean in real terms? One definition is: ‘the use of a remote network of servers that are hosted on the Internet, as opposed to using a localised server machine, to hold, store, recover, manage and process data.’ In even simpler terms, as opposed to being on site,

“The good news is that there is a rapidly growing pool of resources online” the servers that host your websites, emails, data and applications are accessed via the Internet. Cloud computing services are undoubtedly a significant opportunity to improve the way IT is bought, used and managed by SMEs. In fact, many of us are now using cloud computing services every day without even realising it. From sharing images with friends on Facebook or Flickr, to sharing contacts and backing up mobile devices on platforms such as iCloud, all such applications require a cloud-type model. Such services bring about a number of exciting advantages for a business owner, their staff and those responsible for their IT. The key benefits of cloud computing are: 1) Reduced IT costs: as there is no need to buy a physical server, costs are lower

2) Improved agility: scalable resources mean

that the solution can flex according to your business’ needs 3) Accessibility: enjoy ubiquitous access wherever, whenever via the Internet 4) Chargeability: pay only for what you use, and lease services as needed 5) Resilience and security: data is protected by industry experts rather than you. Nevertheless, while such aspects offer much potential, it is understandable that many SME owners can feel a bit nervous about losing physical servers from their premises. Research has found that data security is the primary concern of businesses considering cloud services, closely followed by connectivity and reliability. However, studies have revealed that the vast majority of organisations that deployed cloud services were satisfied with their experience. As a business owner, you must assess your individual business case as to whether cloud services could be useful for you right now. Look at your business objectives, opportunities and goals in relation to growth and performance. Review your individual business’ circumstances against criteria, such as need for mobility, seasonal surges, and income/cost patterns. All these areas should give clues as to whether flexible cloud-based IT could offer you ways to enhance your operations. Upon assessing your technical needs, the next step is to ensure you find the right supplier

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Focus on technology THE CLOUD

The big six Things to consider when looking at cloud solutions: • What am I going to use the service for? • What features do I need? • How long do I need the service for: on-going or for a specific project? • In what ways can the solution grow and does it meet my business ambitions? • Is my business growth organic, or should a solution cater for peak periods and low periods? • Can I implement and manage the solution myself, or do I need a managed service?

or partner for your function. The quality of the service, such as reliability and network speed, will be key to the success of your cloud services. Before purchasing anything, be sure to talk in depth with cloud providers. Think about shaping your purchasing decisions like so: Step 1 – Be clear on what you need and any constraints Step 2 – Research providers which meet your overall objectives Step 3 – Apply a fine filter to your shortlist Step 4 – Understand each vendor’s capability and practice. The good news is that there is a rapidly growing pool of resources online to help business owners and IT managers with their technology decisions. Web hosts are most experienced within this field, so try to leverage all of their knowledge. Fasthosts has recently introduced an IT Services Consultancy programme, designed to help businesses find the right solution for their specific needs. Services such as this allow you to speak to skilled experts, well placed to discuss all your options and solutions, and help you to make decisions. Although an eagerly sought option for most business models and IT setups, cloud services must be carefully considered in relation to the business model, scale and working environment. But cloud services are definitely worth your consideration and, when deployed correctly, can help you achieve a competitive advantage.

Customer case study

Ramunas Alex Amontas, director of Duckbill Products, talks about his experiences using a Fasthosts virtual private server – a form of cloud computing service – to host his numerous business websites. Amontas first opted for a cloud server back in 2010, to host one of his first business websites, Furnica Furniture. Talking about his decision to

“The vast majority of organisations that deployed cloud services were satisfied with their experience” purchase a virtualised server as opposed to a dedicated server, Amontas explained his growing business needs were at the forefront of his IT purchasing decisions. At the early stages of the business growth, Amontas had plans to grow and expand his business from one site offering furnishings for the home, to a number of sites, specialising within each sector. Since the beginning, Amontas has been monitoring his business websites and noticed particular trends and changes to his website visitors and sales. Amontas recognised that sales would dip in the summer months and increase again around September/October, particularly in the run up to Christmas. With this insight, Amontas has the ability to schedule resource boosts, fitting to his business demand and needs, saving him time, money, and ultimately allowing him to continue providing a valuable service to his customers. ‘With a number of products under my belt, all of which can vary in terms of demand, I needed a solution that would provide me with the ability to host them all in a flexible and convenient way. For these reasons I chose a Fasthosts virtual private server. Having the ability to change my IT solutions to suit my business is a huge positive that helps me to keep my business working better online.’

Contact: www.fasthosts.co.uk

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28/05/2013 16:31


Focus on technology CHANGING IT

Are you e l i g a enough? Businesses must realise that change is the only constant when it comes to IT, according to James Gay, CEO of ICCM Solutions. Are you making the most of the opportunities presented? For organisations today, IT is critical. Over recent years there has been a plethora of new technologies, some of which have had a major impact on businesses. For example, cloud technology has delivered businesses a range of new options around hosting and outsourcing. Initiatives such as Bring Your Own Device, in which employees are encouraged to use their own smartphones and tablets at work, provide greater choice and easier access to IT systems and services, but they also raise concerns around support and security. Similar issues

“When it comes to managing technology in business, the only guaranteed constant is change� are encountered with social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, which have become firm staples in the communications and marketing strategies of many businesses. Current economic pressures mean that businesses are looking for even more from their technology and investment in IT. When it comes to managing technology in business, the only guaranteed constant is change. IT managers cannot afford to ignore new technologies or demands from the business to use them, but their adoption must be actively managed. To do this, the IT function must constantly update services, support, security and usage policies. In addition, unique opportunities such as the

Olympics last year made businesses across the country think strategically about how to take advantage. Those stand-out events provided many businesses with new opportunities, which challenged their IT systems and required them to strengthen their internal processes. Unfortunately, a lack of effective IT strategies means that many businesses have failed and will continue to fail to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. Service management has enabled some companies to unlock value from their IT investment by aiding the planning, management and delivery of the IT function. For those organisations, IT service management has matured, enabling them to adapt and extend core processes and establish Continual Service Improvement (CSI) practices. Forward-thinking companies are also starting to re-use good service management principles, which lay a solid IT foundation, and apply them within multiple departments. This is forcing change, allowing the integration of departments within the company, introducing an agility which benefits the entire organisation.

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Mobile Enterprise:

Is BYOD Straining your WiFi? The proliferation of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices has increased dramatically in recent years, and use of these ‘consumer class’ products on enterprise networks is nearly ubiquitous. A recent study showed 90% of organizations polled allow some level of personally owned technology to be used — a phenomenon commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This growth in use of mobile devices has resulted in a dramatic shift of emphasis on wireless networks since these devices do not have wired Ethernet ports. As a result, wireless vendors are being challenged to deliver wireless solutions designed for tomorrow, not yesterday. Basic Design Considerations for Density

in dense numbers. Since these devices transmit at lower signal levels and have inferior antennas compared to laptops, networks must be designed with a stronger signal to ensure maximum data rates.

Maximizing the Use of 5GHz

Because of lower transmit power and limited 802.11n data rate support, tablets and smartphones will typically achieve much lower traffic throughput performance compared with laptops. More Wi-Fi radios are therefore required to support these devices, as a general rule of thumb, design the wireless network at a ratio of 15 per 5GHz radio and 8 per 2.4GHz radio for a typical office environment in order to meet high performance requirements.

Designing for the greater densities deals with not just the number of devices, but also understanding variable device capabilities and following best practices when designing the network. Some key best practices include:

A recent article from Gartner stated “By 2015, 80% of newly installed wireless networks will be obsolete because of a lack of proper planning.” Anthony Charlton, Director of Marketing at Net Essence Ltd identifies the major failings in these wireless deployments for many businesses today: “The vast majority of wireless networks being installed this year are out-of-date the moment they are switched on for the first time. Many more will be obsolete within two years.” The reason for this obsolescence he states, is that current planning is not taking into account two key factors; advancements in technology and a rapidly growing demand for high capacity coverage for BYOD users.

There is up to seven times as much bandwidth available in the 5GHz vs. 2.4GHz unlicensed spectrums used by Wi-Fi, as well as much less non-Wi-Fi interference. As a result, optimizing use of 5GHz is a fundamental requirement for achieving optimal Wi-Fi performance. As many Wi-Fi APs (radios) as possible should be set to operate in 5GHz. Both spectrums must be supported in most wireless networks, but it is key that all new wireless infrastructure is designed with a 5GHz focus.

Design for Appropriate Signal Strength The Wi-Fi signal level design criteria typically used for laptops is not sufficient for tablets and smartphones, especially when they will be deployed

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Focus on technology CHANGING IT

Flexibility is key I firmly believe that one of the biggest barriers to success for businesses is a lack of agility within organisations to react or adapt to changing circumstances. This lack of agility can restrict competiveness, so it is essential that businesses that wish to take advantage of the unique opportunities being presented to them overcome these issues, as quickly as possible. This can be achieved through great service management techniques, which entail the reusability and recycling of already established “good” processes within departments for maximum impact. Businesses that deploy service management concepts within multiple departments use its flexibility to echo exceptional processes, from the IT department to HR, facilities and customer service. Agile businesses which can adapt with changing technologies, customer requirements and business opportunities will gain competitive advantage and market share. The ability to modify processes to adopt and utilise emerging technologies is then essential.

The next step This year presents many opportunities to win business, increase market share and reverse declining margins. However, these opportunities will also stretch many businesses, and therefore they will be looking for the IT department to be agile enough to support both their short-term tactical initiatives and evolving strategic needs. Progressive organisations will use IT service management principles to ensure the business can adapt and take advantage of new opportunities. These companies will be committed to driving forward and supporting the implementation of collaborative technologies, and establishing automated IT processes within departments. Automating IT processes within the business ensures that all departments receive consistent, efficient and timely service. Automation also allows for measurement, providing clarity on what is working well and what needs to be improved. This in turn drives organisational efficiency and flexibility in improving tasks, processes and decision making. Enabling effective CSI will invariably have a positive effect on the bottom line.

supporting the business team I truly believe that businesses that wish to see real value from IT will be those that recognise

that change is the only constant, and so allow the IT function to evolve and become integral to multiple departments within the business. Organisations must use products which are flexible enough to grow with the organisation and its changing needs, supporting the business strategy. IT must be customer-centric, serving the wider business needs, in order to demonstrate clear value. Ensuring IT services are agile, support collaboration and provide greater governance, is becoming essential in our technology dependent world. The value of having great service management principles in place cannot be ignored, as IT is a critical element in gaining competitive advantage. Businesses that recognise this and implement effective, agile processes will prove to be the most successful in the long-term.

“A lack of effective IT strategies means that many businesses have failed” The agility that businesses show in seizing the opportunities presented this year will be a great indication of their fitness for the future.

One of the overriding directives of ICCM Solutions is the simplification of complexity in service management environments. Founded in 1998, ICCM provides a global client base with sophisticated ITIL-aligned service management solutions built on Business Process Management (BPM) architecture, from OpenText Metastorm BPM®. The BPM platform provides ICCM clients with the opportunities to implement and deliver successful technology strategies to ensure the collaboration between the business and IT – ultimately reaping the rewards of business innovation and competitive advantage. ICCM’s software allows organisations to support and drive best practice, via a turnkey technology, and is available as a commercial off-the-shelf solution. Contact: www.iccm.co.uk

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YOUR SALESFORCE What would the impact on your business be if you could treble the size of your salesforce but didn’t have to pay them? It seems a banal question and yet that is exactly what so many business could do.

Customers of a type will often group together, have similar needs and buying habits. Profile your most profitable customers and make sure you target your referral program at them.

If you’ve followed this series and put it into action, you will have: • Got more traffic, of higher quality to your site • Harvested invaluable marketing data • Been able to sell more, and • Delighted your new customers

2. Go Direct Often viewed as down, dirty and unsophisticated, offering a discount on their next order for a successful referral works more often than you’d expect.

If you haven’t, you can catch up at searchsmith.co.uk/blog. You have to remember that visitors to your site are willing participants. All you can do is provide a product or service which appeals to them, adds value and is on a platform which is easy to use. A website cannot compel a course of action or a particular response. All it can do is provide a means of interaction. So if you have managed to sell to a customer via your site, you know that they have chosen to engage that way of their own volition and, by virtue of the fact that they became a customer, they were happy with the experience. At this stage, you should have a delighted customer, who, hopefully, enjoyed the process of becoming one. You should now be encouraging them to share their story, to become an ambassador for you and evangelise about your products and services. Here are my top 5 tips for harnessing the power of your customers and getting them to become your unpaid salesforce: 1. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance This may be stating the obvious, but not all referrals are equal.

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3. Tool Up Make sure you have the appropriate social sharing tools on site so that it is easy for your customer-force to share their love for you. 4. Go Native Make sure that you have a presence wherever your customers hangout. If they use Facebook, make sure you & your company have some exposure there. The likelihood is that your target audience will group together and by having a presence in their native environment, you are simply making it easier for them to share and recommend you. 5. Join the Dots Make sure that you treat the referrer and referral with the respect they deserve. Make sure the referral knows that they have a special status and make sure you both thank your referrer, and follow through on any incentive promise. If you do the above, you are well on your way to a seriously effective referral campaign. You can get clever with it, play with it and experiment with it. Just make sure you test, record and measure constantly and continuously.

This has been a 30,000 foot view and only skimmed the surface of referral generation. We could have started with different persona profiling techniques as the first step, but time and space won’t allow it. As part of wider process of digital marketing, we are passionate about referral generation. The cost of sale is significantly reduced and part of the relationship building has already been done through a mutual contact point. If you would like to discuss referral generation in more detail, or any other of the topics we have covered so far, go to our website where we have a page specifically for Talk Business readers. Get in contact via searchsmith.co.uk/tb-ref where there is a form. Quote TB202 on the form and you will get an automatic reduction in any fees agreed in the future.

Peter Clapperton Director, Searchsmith Searchsmith is a team of digital marketing experts who work with clients across a range of sectors and sizes to expand their digital marketing horizons and increase their ROI.

Contact:

searchsmith.co.uk sales@searchsmith.co.uk 08458726573

28/05/2013 14:02


Special Offer

15% off for readers of Talk Business for orders placed before 31st May 2013

Real-time Customer Service

In The Palm Of Your Customer’s Hands

MoFirst will design and build your complete Customer Service mobile app for a fixed price of £3,495! (Less special offer discount of 15% brings the price to only £2,970.75!) Full details of solution available on website

For further details visit

www.mofirst.co.uk/offers or call us on 01883 330010

MAY Mofirst.1.indd 1

25/04/2013 09:15


Focus on technology APPS

I’ve got an app for that… Ain’t technology amazing? Download our top apps for June and suddenly creating a new marketing plan or getting in control of your finances becomes a breeze SME Marketing App

Price: £3.20 Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and Android The gist: How would you like to have expert marketing advice at your fingertips? A full-time marketing consultant may be more than your budget, but the SME Marketing app is not. Key marketing questions for SMEs are answered within the app – sections include ‘Effective marketing strategies’ and ‘Online fundamentals’, and there are numerous tips to help your business grow. Use the search box on the home page to search by subject and read results from the app, or review it section-by-section and explore the eight different topics. You can also work through interactive ‘actions’ and ‘to do lists’ as you apply learning from the SME marketing app to your business. Downloadable from: www.smemarketingapp.com

Mint.com

Price: Free Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and Android The gist: Mint pulls all your financial accounts into one place. So you can set a budget, track your goals and do more
with your money – helping you stay on top of your finances. See what’s happening with all your accounts – current, savings, investments, retirement – at any moment of the day. Download it as a mobile app and track your money on the go, anywhere, anytime. Set a budget and create a plan to reach your personal financial goals. You can track your progress online or stay up-to-date with monthly emails. Mint.com also send helpful free advice and next steps. Secure, handy and easy to use, Mint has more than 10 million users worldwide. Downloadable from: www.mint.com

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28/05/2013 09:39


Focus on technology GADGETS

Battle of the brands: Toshiba vs Sony

Is it a laptop? Is it a tablet? Why, it’s both! We check out a couple of new entries into the ever-growing hybrid market, designed to flit effortlessly between traditional computer and intuitive touch screen

122 June 2013

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[What they say]

28/05/2013 09:41


Focus on technology GADGETS

Toshiba Satellite U920t Around £899 12.5in display 1366 x 768 pixels 20mm/1.52kg It’s a pretty practical design – solidly built and functional, in solemn black and charcoal grey. What really sets the Satellite apart from its hybrid colleagues is the slider feature RAM – 4GB Graphics processor – Intel HD Graphics 4000

128GB SSD

Windows 8 64-bit Toshiba has gone for an unusual sliding system to take its hybrid from tablet to laptop – with the tablet in landscape configuration, you push the top half back as far as it will go, then bend it upwards on a pair of hinges until you reach the angle you want. Sure, it’s original, but in all honesty it’s not easier to use than a standard laptop with a hinge on the back

“The Satellite U920t combines the full Windows experience, functionality and performance of an Ultrabook™ with all the benefits and portability of a tablet”

[VS]

Sony Vaio Duo 11

[Price]

From £849-£1,489

[Screen]

11.6in display 1920 x 1080 pixels

[Width/weight] [Looks]

[Memory] [Audio/video] [Storage] [OS]

18mm/1.3kg It may not be to everyone’s taste – but we actually think the Vaio Duo 11 looks pretty nifty in laptop mode, with its slanted screen and compact keyboard. Hey, at least it’s different! RAM –
2-8GB Graphics processor – Intel HD Graphics 4000

128 or 256GB hard drive

Windows 8 64-bit

[Versatility]

The Vaio Duo 11 looks like a regular tablet – until you rest it on a table and flip up the screen to put it into laptop mode. The screen slides up and out, to rest at a 45-degree angle to expose the keyboard. An interesting design feature, but it doesn’t feel terribly sturdy

[What they say]

“Sketch with your finger. Write an e-mail with a stylus. Or play a game using Windows 8. VAIO® Duo 11 hybrid tablet-laptop is designed to be touched”

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28/05/2013 09:41


Buy a pizza delivery franchise with

Why buy a pizza delivery franchise? A large market: 70% of Brits ate pizza in 2011 And a growing market: The home delivery market grew by 20% between 2006 and 2011

Even during a recession: Sales at Domino’s, the UK’s largest pizza delivery operator, jumped 8.4% year-on-year at the recession’s peak

That exploits the boom in smartphones: Mobile devices have

fuelled a surge in online sales, which have grown from £2 million a year in 2006 to more than £5 million in 2012

Visit FranchiseSales.com to find out more about buying a pizza franchise – and more! Talk Business Advert - April 2013 2.indd 1

11/04/2013 10:30:15


es

tr i En w no ! en op

Wednesday 2nd October

London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

New categories revealed! Visit ecommerceexpo.co.uk/Awards2013 for more details

eCommerceAwards2013_297x210+3mm.indd 1

15/05/2013 15:14


A Unique Investment Opportunity PACK & SEND is very different from a simple courier or shipping company. Our retail-based one-stop shop franchise for collection, packing and delivery to anywhere in the world is unrivalled in the UK and is used by individuals and businesses alike. We now want to significantly grow the PACK & SEND store network.

1. Unique Services - Our customers choose us because:

• High quality packing to secure any item for transit – no matter how fragile • An unrivalled range of shipping options to match any timescale or budget • Unique comprehensive loss or damage in transit protection regardless of the value of the item being shipped

2. Unique Opportunity

In Australia we are a National brand and market leaders yet we have territory opportunities across the UK

3. Unique Market Conditions

As specialists in packing and shipping fragile, large, awkward and valuable items to virtually anywhere in the world we have no direct competition

4. Unique Commercial Mix

5. Unique Working Day

Every day at PACK & SEND is different as our customers are continually challenging our promise to send ‘Anything, Anywhere!’

6. Unique People

Running a PACK & SEND store calls upon customer service and operational management skills that are common to successful business managers, company owners and entrepreneurs. Our franchisees include armed-force leavers, previous franchisees from brands including McDonalds and Domino’s and former corporate managers

7. Unique Franchise Package

Every new franchisee receives support from initial business planning to site selection and fit-out. Our Induction training covers you and your staff and we have people in-store as you open as well as ongoing help when running your business

8. Unique Financial Package

PACK & SEND requires a minimum investment of £85,000 to get your store open for trading. We have a good relationship with many of the major banks and our Franchise Bursary Scheme offers additional funding assistance that can reduce your initial liquid capital requirement to £30,000 (subject to specific criteria)

Our average sale value is among the highest in the market, our gross margins are close to 70% and our cashflow profile is ‘start up friendly’

Now

Expanding!

Contact our Franchise Development Team now on 0118 958 4628 or email them at franchises@packsend.co.uk to find out more about our business, available territories and how to start your application. www.packsend.co.uk Pack Send.indd 1 Ad v2.indd 2 54295n Pack and Send

28/05/2013 14:17 14:09 08/05/2013


Focus on franchise

Franchise news New SUBWAY stores to create 700 jobs

2B Interface launches franchise scheme

THE SUBWAY FRANCHISE and Euro Garages has announced plans to open a further 69 outlets across the group’s existing 120 forecourt site estate by 2016. This expansion drive will create around 700 new jobs – especially in areas of high unemployment and deprivation – and the new stores will bring the total number of Euro Garages sites with a SUBWAY store to 100. Having successfully acquired 45 forecourt sites from ESSO in January, Euro Garages will also target these locations as part of its on-going expansion plans. Trevor Haynes, area development manager of SUBWAY UK and Ireland, commented: ‘The forecourt and convenience sector is a key area of growth for the SUBWAY brand. The simple operations that are involved in running a SUBWAY franchise and the convenience offer make it a perfect fit for these style locations. ‘We have had a very long and successful relationship with Euro Garages and are looking to build on this with future store roll-outs.’

ONE OF THE UK’s leading temporary and permanent staffing solutions agencies, 2B Interface, has launched a nationwide franchise scheme. Franchisees will get an exclusive territory, full training and support, and will be connected to 2B Interface’s customer relationship management (CRM) and its bespoke IT and management systems. An initial intensive three-day training programme will take place at the company’s Bedford office. In addition, 2B Interface will assist with all elements of corporate and brand identity, operational procedures, HR, sales, business plan development, refurbishment of offices, and identification of potential customers. ‘We offer franchisees a successful proven business model with a healthy revenue option right from the outset, boosting early cash flow,’ said Beatrice Bartlay, managing director of 2B Interface.

‘All activities will be supported by national offline and online media coverage, to build brand profile and drive business to 2B Interface, and to encourage interest in the franchise model from potential franchisees.’ The initial investment is a one-off franchise fee of £35,000 for exclusive rights to a territory, as well as a £10,000 initial package fee. It is expected that franchisees will need a minimum of £5,000 of working capital. Find out more at: 2binterface.com

Driver Hire hits 100 franchises DRIVER HIRE’S NATIONWIDE network has hit 100 franchises. A franchisee recruitment boom has seen the specialist transport and logistics recruiter open new offices in Derby, Swansea and Walsall. One of the new franchisees joining the network is Jon Bell. ‘When Derby became available, an area I know well, I decided the time was right to invest. I have a fair bit of industry experience and could see the potential in a Driver Hire franchise.’

Commenting on a highly successful start to 2013, Driver Hire’s network development director, Tony Goacher, added: ‘The interest and demand for Driver Hire franchises speaks volumes about the strength of our business, and the outlook for the recruitment industry in general. Our network as a whole finished 2012 with a flourish, and we’ve maintained that momentum during the early weeks of the new financial year, which is great news for all our franchisees.’

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28/05/2013 09:43


FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES

UK

in the

The Dwyer Group®, one of the world’s leading franchise organisations with over 1,600 franchisees, is expanding its Mr. Electric® and Aire Serv® brands in the UK. This could be your opportunity to explore business ownership in the demand-based services industry. Both Mr. Electric and Aire Serv have developed detailed systems in the areas of marketing, operations, human resources, finance and technology that not only start you off on the right foot, but will put you quickly on the path to success. Our programmes provide top-notch training and ongoing support, which is designed to help you reach your goals, whether you are new to the industry or an existing business owner.

For more information, please contact us at:

www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com

01527 574343

enquiries@dwyergroup.com


Focus on franchise SPOTLIGHT

Caffè Latte TB talks to founder and managing director of Caffè Latte, Francesca Manuel, to find out what makes her franchise stand out from the coffee shop crowd: personality, profitability and popularity

Why did you pick the franchising business model?

I founded Caffè Latte in 2009. After years of planning, the first Caffè Latte store opened in Cheshire, and it was here that we decided upon franchising. Various meetings with investors and franchise development consultants took place, and I was interviewed by numerous franchise companies. With much time and research, we found franchising was the perfect way to grow Caffè Latte and support others in achieving the dream of owning their own coffee shop. Caffè Latte employed a franchise consultant to ensure we followed all bfa rules and regulations. In May 2012, the first Caffè Latte franchise was opened in Ramsgate, Kent. Caffè Latte now has seven stores open and is due for further expansion in the coming months.

What are the biggest challenges of franchising a business?

The biggest challenges we have faced while

“We found franchising was the perfect way to grow Caffè Latte and support others” franchising are our suppliers failing to meet our needs and orders. Without the support from suppliers it becomes increasingly difficult for a store to open on schedule and start trading.

What will franchisees get for their money?

Within the Caffè Latte franchise, we offer all franchisees a turnkey package. This includes shop fit costs, training, marketing and all equipment needed to set up their store. As a franchisor, we are here to make the setting up stage as easy and stress-free for franchisees as possible. We look at our franchise package as a box in which you turn the key and everything is there for you.

Do you offer training and support?

At Caffè Latte we believe in offering our franchisees full support, not only before and during the start-up process, but throughout their whole time with Caffè Latte. We ensure all stores have a support visit every six weeks, and also weekly care calls are given to the franchisees to ensure their business is running smoothly and there are no problems.

How much will a franchise set me back?

A Caffè Latte franchise starts at around £90,000 + VAT: this includes shop fit, joining fee and equipment costs. A unit of around 1000sq ft will cost in the region of £100,000 + VAT.

What is your vision for the future of Caffè Latte?

Our vision for the future is to increase brand awareness around the UK and overseas. We pride ourselves on the great reputation we have out on the high streets and in local areas – we will strive to maintain the great reputation Caffè Latte has. As a franchise, we want to help local communities as much as we can by increasing jobs and giving people a place to come and take time out of their busy lives.

What has been your proudest moment?

The proudest moment in Caffè Latte is seeing customers enjoying the coffee and products offered. Also changing the franchisees’ lives is amazing; for some, this has been a completely new journey, and it’s a great honour to enjoy that journey with them.

Contact: www.caffelatte.org.uk/franchise

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28/05/2013 09:44


Sponsored Article

“I

was really cross when I found out I’d been made redundant. I thought it was a job for life and I didn’t know what to do with myself.” Jill ”ran away” back to Germany for a couple of weeks, and spent time ”mulling things over” on her return. HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ZIPYARD? One day Jill’s husband Gerald returned home clutching an advertisement he’d seen all about The ZipYard. He was very excited but Jill admits her initial reaction was ”But Gerald I don’t even sew!” HAD YOU CONSIDERED RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS BEFORE? “I wanted to be my own boss, manage my own time and benefit from my own efforts” Jill agreed to contact Nigel Toplis, franchisor of The ZipYard, to get more information but still felt she needed a bit more time to think it over. Nigel suggested she pay a visit to Richard McConnell, owner of the ZipYard in Altrincham. We visited Richard’s Centre and were very excited by what we saw and I felt I could manage this kind of business. WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH? “We opened on Monday 21 May 2012. I was nervous, but quietly confident. ”

FROM REDUNDANCY TO THE ZIPYARD Jill Phillips (46) admits to being ‘very cross’ when she was made redundant from her job in credit control for a major US corporation in September 2011. However, in under 12 months Jill became the proud owner of The ZipYard in Basingstoke and admits it was probably the best thing that ever happened to her.

DPS advertorial V1.indd 116

HOW IS IT GOING? “I’m really happy. Our sales figures are good and the feedback from local people is so encouraging. People say to me This is just what Basingstoke needs. Thanks for opening here.” HAS THE FRANCHISOR BEEN SUPPORTIVE? “Yes the whole team has been fantastic. From the training, to the huge level of support I’ve had, it’s all been great. Although it’s my business, I’ve never felt alone or out on a limb. It’s been teamwork from day one.”

09/05/2013 15:25


WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS? “Once this business has been up and running for a while I’d love to branch out with another one somewhere else. For now I’m happy focusing my efforts on Basingstoke and making a success of it. I’ve just taken on another seamstress so the business is growing already.” WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE ZIPYARD TO OTHER POTENTIAL FRANCHISEES? “Most definitely, I’m learning all the time and it’s such a sociable business. I really enjoy talking to the customers and I get such a feeling of satisfaction from seeing how happy they are when their clothes fit properly.” ANY ADVICE TO OFFER OTHER WOMEN THINKING OF SETTING UP A FRANCHISE? “As a woman I can recommend the business. All I’d say is you have to want to succeed and know what your own capabilities are.”

KEVIN OLD THE ZIPYARD BOURNEMOUTH HOW DID YOU COME TO INVESTIGATE FRANCHISING, AND WHY ZIPYARD? ”Having been involved successfully with franchising before I was aware of its many benefits with regards to recognition and support. The ZipYard appealed to me as it had very strong branding and as important the franchisor had a good reputation within the industry and were members of the BFA.” WHAT ASSISTANCE DID YOU RECEIVE? WHAT SUPPORT HAVE YOU RECEIVED, BEFORE AND SINCE OPENING THE STORE? ”The process was fairly simple and straightforward, assistance and advice was given with regards to the site and its location together with rental and lease negotiations etc. Prior

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to this I had spent a week at head office and in store training which was very comprehensive and thorough.” HOW IS IT WORKING OUT SO FAR? WHAT BENEFITS COME WITH RUNNING A RECOGNISED FRANCHISE AND PREMISES? ”The store is running very successfully and above target. The main benefits from running a franchised business are the almost immediate recognition from customers of your business together with the support and back up provided by the franchisor.” HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? ”I see a very bright future with the planned expansion to three to four more units within the next 24 months.” WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING FRANCHISING WITH ZIPYARD - AND FRANCHISING IN GENERAL? ”The best advice to any potential franchisee of the ZipYard would be to talk to as many existing franchisees as possible. Be aware that this is a very simple business but customer service is of paramount importance. With regards to franchising in general be prepared to follow the franchisor guidelines, do not be tempted to deviate under any circumstances unless you discuss it with the franchisor first, be prepared for some serious hard work, and follow what I call the recipe book, if you do that you are more than likely going to bake a successful cake!”

WHAT’S THE TOTAL COST? Total Cost: Approx. £33,000 + VAT plus shop fit

THE SERIAL BUSINESSMAN Having been involved successfully with franchising before Kevin was aware of its many benefits with regard to recognition and support. The ZipYard appealed to Kevin as it has very strong branding, the franchisor has a good reputation within the industry and are members of the BFA. Contact: Janet Matthews T: 01530 513307 E: jmatthews@thezipyard.co.uk W: www.thezipyard.co.uk

09/05/2013 15:25


“We really enjoy

owning our Cleaning Doctor business

- Stuart and Pauline Hamer, Cleaning Doctor Franchise Owners

AN OPPORTUNITY THAT

STANDS THE TEST OF TIME As a Cleaning Doctor franchise owner, you will own and operate your own cleaning and restoration business. You will be fully equipped and trained in marketing, sales, customer care, services, equipment, materials, vehicles, administration and growing the business. You will be guided each step of the way by an experienced mentor. Your business can be run from a home-office location, and operates from a fully equipped and vibrantly liveried vehicle. You can start with an owner-operated business and progress to a multiteam, multi-vehicle operation. Choose from one of four franchise options in your territory: Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Services, Floor Restoration Services, External Cleaning Services or Home Cleaning Services.

FOLLOW OUR FORMULA TO SUCCESS & BENEFIT FROM: An in-demand, home-based business serving your local community Providing rewarding services to homeowners and businesses A better lifestyle for you and your family Training in marketing, sales, services, customer care and business administration A comprehensive state-of-the-art equipment package

Ongoing 24/7 support Fitting out and livery of your service vehicle Proven, easy to use marketing strategies A personal business mentor Affordable start-up investment Low-overheads – high-profits Cashflow from the start of the business Continual update training and development Long-term growth and potential

For more information on the Cleaning Doctor franchise contact Mike Wilson Mobile: 07720 741072 | UK Office: 01494 792016 | www.cleaningdoctorfranchise.net Cleaning Doc.indd 37

28/05/2013 14:21


Focus on franchise TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

Aarti and Dipak Davé, Platinum Property Partners

Husband and wife property team, Aarti and Dipak Davé, discuss their experience of running a Platinum Property Partners property investment franchise How’s it going so far?

Aarti: We joined Platinum Property Partners (PPP) almost a year ago, and it’s going very well for us. We have bought a property and we have some lovely tenants living there at the moment, and we’re looking for our second property.

What were you doing before joining a franchise?

Dipak: I was in investment banking for about 18 years. Aarti: I was in marketing, but I gave it up about 18 years ago to raise the kids. We have two with a two-year age gap. So I was ready at this point to go back to work, but I didn’t want to work for someone else. Dipak: It was to find that flexibility; to find time to do something valuable, to be your own boss but then still have the flexibility to spend time with your family.

Why the property sector?

Dipak: Aarti has always been pushing me and has always had a passion for property, so it’s more from Aarti’s inspiration. Property was always something we wanted to get into, but we didn’t realise the franchise opportunity that existed through PPP; when we discovered that, it clicked for us. We knew we wanted to get into franchising. We looked at some other franchises around areas we thought interested us, but then PPP came along and it clicked. It just made complete sense to us.

How did you decide PPP was right for you?

Aarti: We found it on a website, and had a twohour phone conversation with one of the partners at head office. They do discovery days, where we spent a whole day with PPP, a lot of head office staff and existing franchisees, and found out more about the model and how it works. Dipak: I must be honest, you learn a lot about properties as you go along and you hear about all these clubs, where it’s quite cynical, because a few of them have been branded quite badly. I was cynical. When you go along to the discovery day, it all becomes a lot clearer; because you

actually see the franchisee and visit their property, you understand how the whole thing works, and all of a sudden you actually think: ‘this does make sense.’ These are real people, it’s not a scam. That was key for us, the discovery day, that was the “penny drop” moment.

“Platinum Property Partners came along and it clicked. It just made complete sense to us” Aarti: Also, the next stage after that is to have a one-to-one meeting with Steve Bolton, who owns the franchise, and we also got to speak with other franchisees.

How did you finance your franchise?

Dipak: We remortgaged our property, and we were going to buy a flat. All we were looking at was the capital we would get when the flat’s value went up. Aarti: We thought we would get a single tenant in there and that would cover the mortgage. Dipak: The idea was that would be it – a return on our investment. Aarti: However, with PPP, we’re making yields of around 12-13%, which is extremely good, particularly in this market. It’s really good.

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28/05/2013 09:46


June Issue Full page TG2_Talk Business Full Page TG 13/05/2013 11:23 Page 1

Start your own

lawn care business

“TruGreen’s business model and professionalism was evident from my very first discussions with individuals in the business.” Karen Burdett, Franchise Owner since February 2012, TruGreen Milton Keynes & West Northants

FOR

O CHOOSE REASONS T S RE BUSINES MY LAWN CA el n business mod e ov pr d an t ke • Growth mar iness training us b & l ca ni ch e T • areness • Brand name aw -going support • Unparalleled on try experience us d in rf tu of rs • Over 30 yea sor with eading franchi l ld or w a y b d • Supporte ce chising experien n a fr of s r ea y over 50

? LOOKING FOR E R A WHO follow a system • People who can ators good communic • Enthusiastic, tdoors • Lovers of the ou business on to grow their iti b am th wi e pl • Peo operation into a multi-van

*See TruGreen in Manchester this June: THE ROLE ents of lawn treatm ge n ra ll fu a • To offer ition ns in top cond w la e es th n ai t • Main es and ess through sal in s bu y m op el • Dev marketing ians anage technic • Recruit and m anage my own m & rs oo d t ou • Work

hours

N BUSINESS START MY OW FROM £24,995

For your FREE information pack, contact us on

0116 275 9005, visit www.trugreen.co.uk/talkb

You can also follow us on twitter: @SM_Franchises

Your future depends on what you do today! Stop dreaming - Take Action - Contact us!


Focus on franchise EXHIBITION

Making an exhibition Thinking of starting a new business venture? Becoming self-employed? Or looking at growing an existing business? Then head to The British Franchise Exhibition this June

R

unning your own business is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, in particular via the franchise model. Many people will be considering franchising as an option, and will explore this route at a major national franchise event, The British Franchise Exhibition, taking place at Manchester Central on 21-22 June 2013. Visitors will be able to find out all they need to

“Whatever their skill, interest or budget, there is a franchise to suit” know about franchising from the event. They will discover the many opportunities available from a wide range of businesses exhibiting, gaining valuable information and insight from the various seminars, as well as financial and career advice from the experts. Whatever their skill, interest or budget, there is a franchise to suit, and many franchise businesses will be at the event. There will be an extensive choice of businesses covering sectors such as property, home care, food and drink, retail and technology. Among the exhibitors offering exciting opportunities will be major names such as McDonald’s, Plug and Play, Platinum Property Partners and Dublcheck. The British Franchise Exhibition allows ambitious entrepreneurs to both explore business opportunities with big brands and receive valuable advice and guidance, all under one roof. The ever-popular seminars at the conference are a superb way to learn from the experts. The comprehensive programme includes introductory seminars, as well as those addressing specific

interests such as high level investments. They are hosted and delivered by advisors from the British Franchise Association (bfa) and various franchise businesses. A popular feature at the event is Real Franchise Stories, where visitors can gain first-hand views on what it is really like to be a franchisee. Each session will include franchisees from a range of companies and sectors, sharing their own experiences including their successes and the challenges. McDonald’s is hosting a series of open sessions exclusively at The British Franchise Exhibition. This is a great chance to meet with staff at the international renowned brand and gain an insight into its franchise programme. McDonald’s is looking for hard-working franchisees, in particular women, who have a hands-on approach in running a customerorientated business. The Finance Clinic offers a panel of experts who can advise on how best to raise funds and fulfil the banks’ lending criteria. Visitors will also benefit from meeting with advisors at The Careers Clinic to discuss their options and create a clear, focused and realistic career plan. Adrian Goodsell, franchise exhibitions manager at Venture Marketing Group, organiser of the event, says: ‘Becoming self-employed is an option that appeals to many, and franchising allows people the freedom to do this, coupled with the support of an established brand.’ The British Franchise Exhibition is the only exhibition in the North West that has been accredited by the bfa. This means that all exhibitors have followed the bfa’s code of ethics, so visitors can have full confidence in the businesses at the event. Admission on the door is £10, however visitors can gain free admission by using the promotional code DD when they register on the website.

Contact: www.franchiseinfo.co.uk

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Focus on franchise CASE STUDY

From banker to carer We hear the story of PAUL TAME, who swapped banking for an at-home care franchise, after a visit to The British and International Franchise Exhibition in March

“I really wanted to try to give something back to the community in which I was raised”

After working in investment banking at UBS in the City of London for over 20 years, Paul Tame decided to take voluntary redundancy in order to reflect on life and commit time to working with local voluntary organisations. During this period of reflection, Paul and his wife Jill assessed opportunities that allowed them to be involved in a business that would also take them to the heart of their community. They were interested in the franchise business model, and were keen to find out more about at-home care. Their research at The British and International Franchise Exhibition in London uncovered Home Instead Senior Care, a global franchise business operating in 16 countries with over 1,000 offices. Having lived in Epsom with their young family for more than 12 years, they were delighted to discover that the Epsom territory for Home Instead Senior Care was available. In March 2010, Paul and Jill opened a Home Instead office with their territory covering the local areas of Ashtead, Banstead, Bookham, Ewell, Leatherhead and Oxshott. Paul had committed himself to working with a local voluntary organisation, and this experience had been central to his decision to launch the Home Instead franchise. Paul said: ‘My experiences doing voluntary work made me realise that I love working with people, and I really wanted to try to give something back to the community in which I was raised. The Home Instead opportunity allows me to help change the way care is delivered to older people, and I must say I’m delighted by how rewarding this is.’ He continued: ‘Working in the City gave me experience in managing a large and diverse team in many different international locations, as well as all aspects of customer and service delivery to an exceptional standard. ‘Since taking a career change to start the Home Instead business in Epsom, I have been really touched, seeing up close and personal what a difference quality care can make to people’s lives. I love working in the heart of our community, and am very proud of the service that we are delivering. The heart of our business is the team of care givers who, like me, truly want to make a difference.’ Home Instead Senior Care now has over 125 offices nationwide, and is one of the UK’s leading care companies. Its service is tailored to the needs of individual clients, and ranges from companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, post-discharge care, personal care, medication reminders, shopping and errands. The service is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Contact: www.homeinstead.co.uk/franchise

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Focus on advice WAVES CONSULTANCY

Riding the crest of a wave

Joanna Graham, director of Waves Consultancy, tells us how they have teamed up with Tesco to create the ultimate hand car wash service, and an unbeatable franchise offering The hand car wash industry in the UK has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, and it seems that there is hardly an old service station or ex-pub car park that cannot be adapted to allow the set-up of a hand car wash. But for the first time, a global brand has put its name to a service provider, and Waves Consultancy is proud to be able to offer Tesco-branded hand car wash franchises. As one of the UK’s largest retailers, Tesco wanted to ensure they did things not only legally, but also better than everyone else. ‘Tesco Hand Car Wash is without doubt best in class. We are now offering our customers a great service that we can be proud of and that we know our customers love. Ethical, professional and reliable…Our customers enjoy an industryleading standard of service,’ says Peter Cattell,

“We genuinely give the franchisee what I consider to be one of the best packages in the industry” Category Director for Tesco. ‘Tesco Hand Car Wash is a world-class car washing service for our customers, with a profitable model for our operators, Waves and Tesco.’ In 2011, Tesco appointed Waves Consultancy to manage their entire Hand Car Wash estate, which today operates from more than 115 locations. ‘It’s been a rapid growth since we took over the estate,’ explains Joanna Graham, the director of Waves. ‘Since January 2013 our new build programme has accelerated and we have been opening one new hand car wash per week.  ‘What Waves offers is not only a turnkey car washing business, but also access to some of the best retail locations in the UK.’ So why did Tesco decide to expand their car washing service so rapidly and also put their name to it? In short, car washing changes the shopping habits of a customer: when choosing one store

over another, a customer will consider what other services they can get done at the same time, and the option of getting their car washed while they do their shopping is very appealing in today’s busy society. Tesco’s own customer research showed overwhelming customer support for this.   ‘What has been very gratifying is the feedback we get from Tesco customers,’ Graham explained. ‘Often we are the first Tesco uniformed person a customer sees when they arrive at the store and that means we have the responsibility to represent Tesco and their values to the customer. I’m proud to say that it is a challenge our franchisees have risen to and we more than meet Tesco’s expectations. ‘We are extremely proud that Waves has recently been nominated for a customer service award within Tesco, the first external supplier to be put forward.’

Profitability

Graham said: ‘We work very closely with a number of the marketing teams within Tesco to find ways of getting our new car wash message to Tesco customers.   ‘We have had a very high level of support from Tesco, which has led to considerable success with both ClubCard and Petrol Filling Station promotions – in one recent promotion we gained more than 1,500 new customers for our franchisees. This is just one of the many national campaigns we have planned for this year.’ Many Tesco stores have in excess of 30,000 transactions per week, and as an operator you only need to convert a small percentage of these into car wash customers to make your business profitable. They have seen sites reach profitability within eight weeks of opening which is fantastic for any new business. ‘It all comes down to customer service,’ Chris Dixon, Waves General Manager said. ‘If you do a good job, a customer will come back to you

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Focus on advice WAVES CONSULTANCY

on a regular basis. We have a superb training programme, use the best cleaning products, and offer a fantastic service.’ Launching a Waves and Tesco hand car wash franchise is a finely tuned process. The build, training and opening programme is structured over the three weeks prior to the site opening. The first week is spent in their dedicated training centre in Cheltenham, and here the new franchisee learns the processes and procedures needed to run their car wash – the focus is not just operational, and they teach all aspects of operation, from cleaning a car to the legal employment of workers. The training also extends into the weekend. ‘We send the franchisee to one of our Centres of Excellence across the country,’ Dixon explained. ‘The weekend is the busiest time, so it’s important to see how to balance the flow of customers and keep the site running smoothly – sometimes it can take some juggling, especially if you are washing 100 cars a day! The only real way to learn is with hands-on practice.’ As training moves into the second week, the focus moves to marketing and all new franchisees attend a site launch. At this point they are only a week away from launching a car wash, and it is crucial that they can talk to customers and encourage them to use the car wash service; the right marketing is vital to the success of the business. Week three is the launch week and this sees them doing final testing and team training ready to launch the car wash on the Wednesday, with full support from Waves’ head office and field team – including the area manager, marketing assistant and the “safe hands” manager. From here it is full steam ahead: ‘We genuinely give the franchisee what I consider to be one of the best packages in the industry, and maybe even in franchising,’ concluded Graham. Contact: www.wavesconsultancy.com www.wavescarwash.co.uk

“Our new build programme has accelerated and we have been opening one new hand car wash per week”

Happy customer ‘I opened the Colchester franchise on Wednesday last week. I am glad that I took up this wonderful opportunity, as the business is really taking off and I believe it will be a great success. ‘I also wanted to share my appreciation of the marketing team and my area manager who came and provided me with support when I opened the site; it was a great help and really assisted with the first few days while I got to grips with the new business.’ MJ: franchisee, Colchester

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Focus on advice FREELANCER.CO.UK

Opportunity knocks

Matt Barrie, founder of Freelancer.co.uk, lets us know why opportunity is everywhere – all you have to do is get a little disruptive… Opportunity is everywhere. Look around you. Although you might be unlikely to notice it, there’s billions of pounds of opportunity around you right now. Everywhere you see a customer in pain, there’s opportunity. Everywhere you see inefficiency, there’s potential opportunity. Everywhere you see someone with a job description that can be described by an algorithm, there’s potential opportunity. Humans are inefficient, expensive, error prone and unreliable. Replace someone with a few lines of code, and a business can potentially become scalable, efficient and global. There’s a remarkable number of jobs out there that can be replaced with software or a website. All around us, industries are being disruptively

“This is an industry that’s from the dark ages, that’s highly fragmented and is just waiting to be decimated” transformed as code replaces humans, bandwidth replaces trucks and bits replace dead trees. Simultaneously, these new Internet businesses are consolidating astronomical wealth into the entrepreneurs that see the immense opportunity before them, and start companies to capture it. There’s not many industries in the world where a 28-year-old can make $15bn in eight years (yep, that’s billion with a ‘B’). Life is generally inefficient. Facebook made it easier to stay in contact with your friends (and for marketers to target advertising). Amazon made it easier to buy things. Ebay made it easier to sell things. Solve life’s inefficiencies and there’s opportunity. Make the solution disruptive – 10 x better – and you can potentially make a great business out of it. To get you going, here’s some industries I would like to see disrupted: businesses that

annoy me, that are painful, that are inefficient. Industries I would like to see remapped – disrupted by new, tech-savvy upstarts… Firstly, what on earth do estate agents do? Talk about an archaic, inefficient industry. We have all these little shops occupying the most expensive real estate in every single suburb, housing people whose sole purpose is, it seems, to fetch some keys and open the front door of a place to let you take a look. And there won’t just be one of them – there will be a whole strip of five agents in a row, smack bang in the best location in town. Do they find buyers and tenants for your property? No; 80% of leads come from Right Move and the like nowadays. Do they really think that putting their ugly mug on advertisements really brings in a better price? Surely it’s possible to sell a house or rent a property over the Internet. Surely, you can do a rental inspection and organise a plumber the same way. This is an industry that’s from the dark ages, that’s highly fragmented and is just waiting to be decimated. Just think of all that high-end rental property that will be unlocked when this industry disrupts. (Disclaimer: I’m chairman of a company, Leasate, that’s going to do just this.) The recruiting industry has been hacked at a bit over the years, but there’s still a huge way to go before it’s efficient. How on earth can a recruiter justify charging 15% of the first year’s salary to rummage through an old database of CVs, make a few phone calls and line up a meeting? Really? LinkedIn and SEEK are a start, but there’s a multi-billion pound opportunity or two still to come, disrupting this industry. SEEK needs a bit of competition. It manages to charge £250-500 to post a couple of paragraphs on its website. The marginal cost for SEEK to provide this service is zero. That’s a big mark up! Don’t get me started on the legal industry. I’ve paid out more for corporate lawyers than the GDP  talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 141

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Focus on advice FREELANCER.CO.UK

“There’s a remarkable number of jobs out there that can be replaced with software or a website”

 of some small kingdoms in Africa. In the tech industry, lawyers manage to charge £40,000 or £50,000 just to draft the documents for a venture financing. Why? We know they just go to the main file server and pluck out a template. The space is crying out for a TemplateMonster.com to come around and replace £10,000 of “£525 per hour legal services” with a £99 smart online template. Accountants. How many of you love doing your tax every year? For me, it involves rummaging through my old mail (printed on dead trees) and dumping a shoe box of statements and receipts (printed on dead trees) at the accountant’s. For three figures an hour, they perform data entry, sorting and filtering algorithm on the dead trees. There’s got to be a better way, let alone save all those trees that get chopped down to be turned into receipts. I love FindMyiPhone. Now can someone please make FindMyKeys, FindMyWallet and FindMyCat? Why do we need to carry a wallet? Why do I have to carry rectangular bits of plastic around with me to function in society? Keys? I have to carry hunks of metal with squiggly lines carved into them to get into places? Really? Want a couple of hundred more ideas? Go to Craigslist or eBay – pick off a vertical and do it better. My company, Freelancer, took freelance jobs. OKCupid took dating. Airbnb took vacation rentals. Etsy took craft. There’s hundreds more to go around. Opportunity is everywhere – go and grab it.

In profile Freelancer.co.uk is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace. It connects over 7,291,204 employers and freelancers globally from over 234 countries and regions. Through its website, employers can hire freelancers to do work in areas such as software, writing, data entry and design, right through to engineering and the sciences, sales and marketing, and accounting and legal services.

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Directory JUNE 2013

Your HR Partner is a unique HR Consultancy which works together with your business to address HR issues. Whether you need help in drawing up HR Policies or Contracts of Employment; dealing with poor performance; or making redundancies we will work together with you, understanding your business issues and finding solutions. T: 020 8346 8686 E: info@yourhrpartner.co.uk W: www.skhr.co.uk

We offer friendly IT Support. We have options to suit all, from fully managed to P.A.Y.G. Other services include Google Apps and Hosted Exchange, VoIP, Mobile Comms, Data Comms and Backup Service. Clients range from single user offices to multi national corporations. T: 0330 999 1337 E: help@totallytecy.com W: www.totallytechy.com

From a single desk for one day to a whole building for 25 years Bruntwood provide office space, serviced and virtual offices, meeting rooms and retail premises throughout Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Cheshire and Birmingham. T: 0800 731 0300 E: info@bruntwood.co.uk W: www.bruntwood.co.uk

• Hosted and Fully Managed Service • Our Certified engineers provide complete management and administration service for all of your: - Hosted Servers - Hosted Applications - Hosted Database Systems • Or if you prefer - self-managed T: 01223 832227 E: sales@focusonhosting.co.uk W: www.focusonhosting.co.uk

As the UK’s longest running organisation for professional leaders, we are dedicated to supporting our members, encouraging entrepreneurial activity and promoting the highest levels of professional business conduct. T: 020 7766 8888 E: membership@iod.com W: www.iod.com

INDEZ specialises in producing high-growth, high conversion e-commerce businesses, capable of dominating niche areas and selling profitably into global markets. We offer e-commerce consultancy, e-commerce design and build and e-commerce marketing. T: 0141 204 5297 W: www.indez.com E: info@indez.com

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Outhouse-UK is a premier provider of virtual Company Name Here con re restem back office support forTario smallinbusinesses. With a cuptat enlhimus aboris from illat. diary Arumbookings quae estrum wide range of services, to destiam corum services id magnis accountsillitiure admin,coreped our fast itatin and efficient destiam illitiure itatin corum id magnis free up your timecoreped to concentrate on core estem auria eperferum entthings moditesed quias business activities and the that you do ipsumqu untiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. best. T:T:00000 000000 0121 663 0564 E: W:xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.co.uk www.outhouse-uk.com W: E: www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk office@outhouse-uk.com

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Company Name Here Tario in con re restem cuptat enlhimus aboris illat. Arum quae estrum destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis Quickfund provide working capital to grow estem auria eperferum ent moditesed quias your business with minimal qualifications. ipsumqu untiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. £3500 - £100k T:T:00000 01279000000 759470 E: W:xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.co.uk www.thecfgroup.eu W: www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk E: krw@thecfgroup.co.uk

Bespoke HR for your business. Professional, honest and easy to understand HR consultant support and advice that suits you. Regular and ad-hoc advice to HR audit Carruthers HR can help. T: 07930153940 E: sarah@carruthershr.co.uk W: www.carruthershr.co.uk

We craft compelling websites and persuasive media strategies. Through an in-depth and collaborative process, we will discover what is unique about you, then shout it from the virtual rooftops. T: +44 20 8399 4948 E: hello@joyandrevolution.co.uk W: www.joyandrevolution.co.uk

144 June 2013

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Directory JUNE 2013

Affordable HR Solutions Stellarise help ambitious smaller companies become leaders in their field through the innovative use of IT. We are a leading provider of affordable IT support, effective project delivery and strategic advice. . T: 020 3137 3550 W: www.stellarise.com

Affordable HR Solutions can take care of your ad hoc people issues enabling you to focus on your core business. Visit our website to see our range of services. T: 01304 366340 W: www.affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk E: Info@affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk

Hampden provide a complete client focused IT solution tailored to your business. We provide a complete service that combines technical expertise with experience and knowledge for cost effective IT solutions. T: 01865 233000 W: www.hampdensolutions.co.uk E: sales@hsluk.com

Turner Business Consultants Ltd services are always flexible tailored to your specific needs. • Health and Safety Management • Fire Risk Assessment • CDM Coordination • Asbestos Management • Quality Management • Environmental Management • Information Technology Security • Business Continuity Plans • Business Strategy Development • Civil Engineering Consultancy services T: 01268 649006 E: info@turnerbusinessconsultants.co.uk W: www.turnerbusinessconsultants.co.uk

Hamilton’s Asset Management services enable customers to: • Optimise usage of IT assets by improved asset allocation • Manage and measure IT operations and initiatives • Identify and mitigate risk (e.g. under-licensing of software products) • Minimise procurement costs • Improve maintenance activity and costs • Maximise the value of surplus IT equipment utilising Hamilton’s expert remarketing team T: 0203 327 2390 W: www.hamilton-am.co.uk E: assetman@hamilton.co.uk

KashFlow Software Limited is a privately owned company based in London, England. We provide online accounting software for small businesses owners — ­ the emphasis always being on ease of use, automation and integration. We’re widely regarded as a pioneer of the SaaS business model and as the leader in web-based accounting. T: 0800 848 8301 W: www.kashflow.com E: sales@kashflow.com

We create effective and meaningful Web, Design and Print for small to medium sized businesses creating big results. We enhance customer experiences and help businesses grow through effectively designed communications. Based in the South East, we work for clients both local and across the UK. T: 01438 369882 W: www.gtm-uk.co.uk E: sales@gtm-uk.co.uk

Complete Office Search is committed to providing clients a complete office space search solution from our first contact to occupation of your office. Unlike other office finder companies we do not refer you or your details to every single business centre and landlord under the sun. T: (0)208 868 1959. W: www.completeofficesearch.com E: info@completeofficesearch.com

At Infinite Brush everyone has a creative mind. We make sure every technical and creative decision we make can help you make a sale. T: 01753 251 241 W: www.infinitebrush.com E: studio@infinitebrush.com

Our business is focused on providing exceptional design, web, hosting and print • Online Marketing • Website Updating • Content Management • PPC • Ecommerce • Email • Business Cards • Flyers • Stationery • Leaflets • Promotional Items • Posters • Banners T: 01865 600 366 W: www.nervenet.co.uk E: info@nervenet.co.uk

We are passionate about making our customers’ working life easier, therefore we act as the platform through which they can access a full array of virtual services, such as: • Virtual PA and Admin Services • Graphic Design • Web Solutions • IT Support • Translation • Marketing and PR

• Finance and accounting. T: 0845 6805156

W: www.proficientva.co.uk E: contact@ proficientva.co.uk

Through working in partnership with you, and by understanding your business and providing bespoke support, we add value and provide commercial HR solutions that contribute to your bottom-line. T: 07973 958149 or 01604 688757 W: www.hrbespokesolutions.co.uk E: phil@hrbespokesolutions.co.uk

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And finally… HE SAID/SHE SAID

He said/she said These days our strident entrepreneurs are tackling the really important issues, like taking pets to the vet and coping with losing a game no one’s ever heard of. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Julie Meyer @JulieMarieMeyer I’m going to have drinks at Julie’s Restaurant in Holland Park – heck maybe even a Campari and Soda – and pretend it’s summer ... :). No need to pretend Julie – it’s June, we’re finally getting some actual sunshine...What the heck, Campari for everyone!

Jacqueline Gold @Jacqueline_Gold Morning tweeters. Have spent the last hour at the vets with my 2 14yr old cats Bugsy & Tallulah #moggiesnothappy Only one thing to say here: those are some truly excellent cat names. Well played Ms Gold.

Deborah Meaden @DeborahMeaden Question? Why don’t they make coffee bags like tea bags...surely it would be better? Ah, don’t make it so easy Debs – some chancer is bound to turn up in the Den touting a ‘coffee bag’ after that tweet.

Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne I just lost at spoof. Do not talk to me. I mean it. Shut up. Okaaaay…Nope, we’ve never heard of ‘spoof’ either. Just don’t ask Duncan about it…

Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis Brilliant morning again.......come on world I am ready !.....if only Carlsberg made mornings. They do Theo. They’re called hangovers.

Simon Dolan @simondolan SME’s -remember all you need is more customers. Nothing else matters nearly as much What a crazy idea Simon! How come we never thought of trying that?

146 June 2013

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SOFT MESSAGE

PLAYING MUSIC? MAKE SURE YOU’RE LICENSED.

Music creates a better working atmosphere 77% of businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and creates a better working environment.* If you play music in your business, it is a legal requirement to obtain the correct music licences. In most instances, a licence is required from both PPL and PRS for Music. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects

and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers. A PPL licence can cost your business as little as 19p per day. For more information on how to obtain your PPL licence visit ppluk.com or call 020 7534 1070. To find out more about how music can work for your business visit musicworksforyou.com. *MusicWorks survey of 1000 people, conducted May 2012.

ppluk.com

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