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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

November 2013 £4.50

Trunki titan hits two million sales The Dragons dubbed Trunki worthless – Rob Law reveals how he bounced back from Den disaster

Alan Sugar’s first apprentice

Young people need you

Youth unemployment at 958,000 – how can SMEs help?

Series one winner Tim Campbell talks about life after TV stardom and his new venture

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This morning, Tim viewed the latest digital issue of Talk Business Magazine, on his tablet - Discover the best way to market my business

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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

Compatible with

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iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter

TALK strategy 53 The branding column Rich With 54 Invest in our youth Apprenticeships and internships 58 Thames Valley Expo Preview

13 Letters 14 News & events

18 TALK Success 18 It’s not wheelie rubbish Founder and creator of Trunki ride on suitcases for kids, Rob Law

97 Gee, thanks Top ten: bad corporate gifts

67 Great customer service pays off Adam Caplan

98 Look the business: time machines Fashion

71 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems

102 Hot spots Locations for SMEs

73 Support Charlie’s bill Apprenticeship scheme

105 We love… Christmas corporate gifting

talk MARKETING

talk technology

75 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

107 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column

77 The death of Facebook Are young people fed up with social media?

109 Digitally closing the gap Remote working

25 The Business Show Preview 30 Lord Sugar’s first apprentice The Apprentice update

81 Do texts work in marketing? SMS

32 Take one company Keep It Kind

talk people

37 Book reviews 146 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?

TALK FRANCHISE

93 Recruit right HR Insight

43 Buying vs. starting a business Setting up shop

95 eCommerce Expo 2013 Events

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

88 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of Buttons children’s parties

41 The funding expert Hop in your chopper

51 Free holiday? Think again The Bribery Act

114 The social media minefield Social media law

120 Samsung vs. HP Battle of the chromebooks

talk MONEY

49 Before you sign on the dotted line… Shareholder agreements

111 Pick up the phone Phone vs. email

87 The people column Lee McQueen

91 The daily grind Q&A with chief executive of eZe-Talk Telecoms

47 A day in the life Diary of a Start Up Loan recipient

Talk image

62 Help is out there Business Launch Pad

79 Ten steps of Twitter Step one: quantity not quality

35 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer

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123 Franchise news 127 Spotlight Musical Minis 129 The fran man Relationships 131 Take one franchisee Interface Financial Group (IFG)

talk aDVICE 132 Midas Media

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134 Simplify the law 136 NBSL 139 Who’s off? 142 Kyocera 144 Talk Business directory

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31/10/2013 10:47


editor’s letter

Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business

EDITOR

Dawn Murden dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com

DESIGN

Paul Christopher Daniels paul.daniels@astongreenlake.com Heather Rugeley heather.rugeley@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 Limited 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 Limited cannot be held responsible for such variation.

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Young people need you outh unemployment in the UK is a huge concern. According to the Office for National Statistics there are 958,000 young people not in employment, education or training. The overall unemployment rate of the country has become a key economic indicator for the Bank of England, which its recently appointed governor Mark Carney is targeting. The unemployment rate has decreased slightly, but trade unions have criticised the slow change, and Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, has said “young people are being let down” by the Government. As an SME, how can you help? Well, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), if just 50% of Europe’s SMEs employed one person, it would create an additional 10 million jobs. Only 2% of A Level (or equivalent) achievers, and 4% of school leavers are in apprenticeships. And there is a 21% unemployment rate for 1824 year olds. Young people need more options. Could you take on an intern or apprentice? Turn to page 54 to read how they can benefit your company, young people’s lives and the economy. There are plenty of successful entrepreneurs who recognise how important apprenticeships are. Turn to page 73 to read about the apprentice bill Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers – who was once an apprentice himself – is fighting to get through Government.

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If you’re reluctant to take on a young person, think again. Some of the best entrepreneurs started in their youth; Richard Branson pursued his first business venture at 16, while founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg started programming when he was just 12 years old. Rob Law, our Face on the Cover on page 18, came up with the idea for his ride-on suitcase, Trunki aged 19, while he was at university. Now he turns over £6.1 million. On top of that we have plenty more interviews with successful entrepreneurs, and tons of SME advice and tips. Take care of business for now.

Dawn Murden, editor

@TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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Contributors & LETTERS

Our regulars

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Lee McQueen won series four of BBC’s The Apprentice and now runs Raw Talent Academy, a sales recruitment and training company. It encourages organisations to look at the wider raw talent in the UK, not just graduates. Lee, who has more than 12 years’ experience working in recruitment and eight years as an employer of sales people, is passionate about giving job seekers an opportunity to earn a career. He’s a proud father of three daughters and a Tottenham Hotspur Football Club supporter too.

Kimberly Davis is a highly accomplished marketing expert, author, and speaker. She is founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing – its name comes from Kimberly’s fascination with the 1940’s; the music, the Hollywood glamour, the swinging dance moves and the optimism. It helps established businesses, SMEs, start-ups, business owners, and employees, and has a very different approach to marketing. Strong opinions and a determination to restore credibility to an unregulated industry have earned Kimberly a reputation as “the antimarketing marketer”.

David Richards is the CEO and co-founder of WANdisco. He has more than 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

Tony Morris is a sales trainer and co-founder of the Sales Doctor. He has more than 14 years’ experience in sales, both B2B and B2C, and has trained more than 1,500 sales professionals in a variety of industries. Alongside his business partner, Tony set up the Sales Doctor in May 2006. He started by cold calling to generate appointments, and within the first year, the Sales Doctor had 56 clients; this has continued to grow year on year. Tony’s ethos: you can sell any product or service with the right attitude and a well planned call structure.

Read his column about his Employability Academy on page 87.

Read her verdict on companies giving before receiving on page 75.

Read his column discussing the UK’s digital future on page 107.

Turn to page 71 to read his answer to a tricky question about a move into a sales career.

NOVEMBER 2013

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MAILBOX

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: dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com snail mail: Aston Greenlake, 6 Mitre Passage, 8th floor, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER

This month our readers are going mad for female entrepreneurs, and telling us what they’d like to see more of... We’ve taken note!

Women have brains and uteruses Wow! What an inspirational issue last month. It was really refreshing reading about great entrepreneurial women. I loved Karren Brady’s quote: ‘Women have brains and uteruses and are able to use both.’ I have noted down some of her great tips for my business too. Kind regards, Emma Robinson

OF R E T T LE MONTH THE

Food for thought

We own a small café in Somerset, which we are looking to expand. I haven’t read about any SME owners of cafés, restaurants or bars in your magazine for quite some time. Can you please print some inspirational stories/advice about the hospitality industry? Thanks, Mr and Mrs Frederick Owners of a petite café in Taunton

Business confidence Dear Editor, The recent BDO report suggesting that business confidence is at its highest level since April 2010, comes as little surprise to SME business leaders. Indeed, members of MD2MD have continually remained optimistic about their own businesses and in early summer, forecast a recovery for UK business, three months ahead of media announcements regarding increased optimism. This is extremely encouraging, but we must tread carefully as we cross the field of recovery to avoid the mines hidden by the now rapidly growing green shoots. Yours faithfully, Bob Bradley Chairman MD2MD

Tweets 0F the month... @TheBusinessShow @TalkBusinessMag Brilliant!!!! See you next month!! Jan :o) @fikayecofashion Wow @TalkBusinessMag the competition has had so many RT :-) @TalkBusinessMag RT and follow and you could #win an Eco Fashion Wallet from UK entrepreneur @fikayecofashion & @AlibabaTalk_UK @DoodleDirect Good morning everyone! An interesting read while sipping on your morning coffee from @TalkBusinessMag @STLemma ‘Where are all the female #biz owners?’ asked @TalkBusinessMag juggling, I expect! At least our #freelegalsupport help 2 keep plates spinning! @abride2bee @TalkBusinessMag loved reading the October edition. Women #entrepreneurs are inspirational! Encourage more female entrepreneurial spirit plz @KaramelandBrown It is really inspiring to read about inspiring female entrepreneurs in @TalkBusinessMag. @karren_brady is such an inspiration to us all @Natalie_Green_ “Women have brains and uteruses and are able to use both” >> Love it @TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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NEWS & EVENTS

Dates for the diary Business Junction Networking Events 13 November The Don Restaurant, Cannon Street 14 November MWB Business Exchange, Victoria 21 November Wood Street, Moorgate businessjunction.co.uk National Sales Awards 7 November Troxy, London nationalsalesawards.com Southampton Business Show 7 November Ageas Bowl, Southampton southamptonbusinessshow.co.uk

Franchise South 9 November Ageas Bowl, Southampton franchisesouth.co.uk National Business Awards 12 November Grosvenor House, London nationalbusinessawards.co.uk New Start Scotland 14-15 November SECC, Glasgow newstartscotland.com Thames Valley Expo 21 November Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk

Sterling Integrity 22 November Village Hotel, Swansea http://sterlingintegrity. co.uk/22nd-november-2013swansea-2/ Telecoms Tech World 26-27 November Olympia, London telecomstechworld.com The Business Show 28-29 November Olympia, London greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk

National survey launched to explore leadership styles THE NATIONAL VOLUNTARY movement, Engage for Success has launched an online survey to find out what SMEs are doing about engagement. The organisation is aimed at increasing awareness about the power and potential of employee engagement across all sectors of industry. The initiative is being managed by the organisation’s Engagement in SMEs sub-group, which is led by independent consultant, Michelle Bailey. She said: ‘Regardless of size, when organisations create the right environment for their people it can make the difference between success and failure.  ‘Disengaged staff aren’t the people who win new business and they aren’t the ones giving great service to

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customers – they not only waste time and resources, they drain energy and vitality from those working with them, including customers.   ‘We want to understand what small and medium sized organisations are doing to motivate and engage their

people; have they even heard of engagement, do they think it would help their business?’ The survey can be carried out online and is open to any organisation with between 10-250 employees. The questionnaire can be found at 3ease.com

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TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF BUSINESS FINANCE SEMINAR Delivered by Aisha Ejaz, Managing Director NBSL Thursday, 28th November 2013 | Hall 9 - 13:15 – 13:45 Are you seeking finance? Have you approached financiers and been turned away? With a number of ‘Sources of Finance’ now available to SMEs, it is important to ensure the right finance is sought for the business. Successfully securing finance comes down to a few key considerations whether the financier is a Bank, a Business Angel, or a Crowd. The Seminar will discuss key points to address when approaching various financiers. We’ll be on Stand 556. Talk to us about your business needs and let us help your venture succeed. Tweet us now @NoorBiz using #BeBizSmart and let us know you’ll be dropping by. See you there! Buy your free tickets at www.greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk

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Member of The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

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Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock.com

Winter cost UK SMEs £174m ACCORDING TO THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the March 2013 “freeze” cost the UK’s small businesses £174 million – which equals an average loss of £1,580 for each company. Last year the winter snow brought businesses to a standstill, closed down schools and impacted retail sales. For those businesses that are not prepared the monetary fall can be huge. Winter is here and Gritit, a leading gritting and risk management business issued a warning to organisations across the UK to be prepared. Nikki Singh-Barmi, managing director, said: ‘Year after year, we hear of road closures, school closures and the UK high street seeing a massive decline in sales. ‘Organisations across every sector have to take matters into their own hands, to assess the risks and ensure they are properly prepared. Making these contingency plans now, before the cold weather kicks in, is a must.’

Retail spending to top £40bn over Christmas UK CHRISTMAS SPENDING is poised to top £40bn for the first time this year, offering some hope to the British high street. But retailers should work hard to target cost-conscious customers. Richard Hyman, president of PatelMiller, a business consultancy which works closely with its retail and consumer clients to develop their strategies and deliver their full benefit, forecasts that retail spending in the UK will breach the £40bn mark for the first time in December, up 3.5% on December 2012. The forecast is “considerably more positive” said Hyman, although he noted that this included increased inflation, and that rising food prices would cause some of the increase. ‘I think that things are generally a little bit better,’ said Mr Hyman. ‘The accent

is on the little bit. It’s tiny, and it’s not necessarily built on the kind of concrete foundations we would all prefer.’ Shingo Murakami, MD at Rakuten’s Play.com also commented: ‘With UK Christmas spend expected to hit the £40bn mark, it’s encouraging to hear consultancy firms are optimistic for retailers this year. ‘However, retailers should also keep in mind that shoppers are still exercising caution with their wallets. ‘In order to make the most of costconscious Christmas spending this year, retailers should be looking to drive spend through additional incentives, such as reward opportunities, whilst ensuring good value and fantastic customer service at all times to keep customers coming back.’

Net lending to SMEs fallen by £0.6bn LAST MONTH THE Bank of England released its Trend in Lending report on the economy. It found the stock of lending to small businesses fell in the three months to August (Q2), by £0.6 billion, with gross lending £1.1 billion lower than Q2 in 2011. However, the data showed that reference rates on new lending fell only slightly for small businesses, yet fell more significantly for mediumsized and large businesses in the three months to early September. Adam Tyler, CEO of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) commented: ‘Alternative options from leasing and asset finance to peer-to-peer lending are taking up the slack and plugging a vital gap.

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‘SMEs need to be encouraged to seek alternative forms of finance.’ John Hoskins, director of small business accountant, CleverAccounts. com, also commented: ‘SMEs still have

fewer options than large firms. ‘As small businesses often don’t have the assets or security the banks are looking for it seems many are still struggling to borrow.’

NOVEMBER 2013

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TB_NOV_H1_2013_HowardDurdle_SP.pdf

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INSPIRING BETTER BUSINESS

“Red tape inspired me.” “This is my story”

“I started programming when I was 10 years old. My dream was to work for the biggest technology companies in the world. Years later having successfully worked for many of them, I started to get fed up with the amount of internal politics and red tape I dealt with day after day. It’s a cliché, but I really felt like a small cog in a big machine. I craved to be part of a company where my ideas and passion meant something and above all made a difference in driving the business forward.

FISCAL Technologies gave me that opportunity to make it happen, and over the past four years I’m working harder than ever, but loving every minute of it. Building relationships with trusted suppliers is essential to business growth. Our long partnership with Fasthosts has always delivered reliability, security and flexibility when we needed it the most. Howard Durdle CTO FISCAL Technologies

Find out more at fasthosts.co.uk/inspire or call 0808 1686 777 DEDICATED SERVERS • VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVERS • WEB HOSTING • DOMAIN NAMES • EXCHANGE EMAIL • RESELLER HOSTING

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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

Vital statistics Company founded: Founded 2003, began trading May 2006. Start up capital: £10,000 borrowed from bank – personal loan. Turnover: £6.1m. Profit: £750,000. Growth rate: We are number 42 on The Sunday Times Fast Track 100. Biggest achievement: My fantastic team – we have excellent people on board.

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I noticed that they had a great deal of wasted space and I thought; why not merge the two ideas together?

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FACE ON THE COVER

very time I go on holiday I spot a Trunki in the airport. A globetrotting tot zooms past on the ride on suitcase with the biggest smile on their face. They couldn’t care less about the stuffy airport, delays and the duty-free shops. Their parents are happy they’re not whining, as are fellow passengers – and I think some of the adults (including me) are jealous there is not something this fun to keep us occupied! Rob Law came up with the idea for the Trunki ride on kids travel case while he was at university studying product design. Then in 2003 his company, Magmatic was founded, which later secured a licensing deal for Trunki with a toy company. However, the toy company performed badly and went into liquidation in late 2005. Determined, Rob decided to go it alone and in May 2005 the first container arrived in Avonmouth and Magmatic began trading. Two weeks later Trunki was introduced to the British public when Rob appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den series three. He introduced his suitcase prototypes Terence and Trixie, of which he had already sold 20,000 units, and explained how he wanted £100,000 for 10% of the business. Despite a confident pitch, Rob’s appearance took a turn for the worse when Theo Paphitis pulled the strap off Trixie. ‘The whole integrity was compromised… it’s not a business opportunity,’ said Deborah Meaden. Then Theo shouted about being sick of having his time wasted, and Peter Jones called the business “worthless”. The only investment was from Richard Farleigh who offered £100,00 for 50%

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TALK SUCCESS

It’s not wheelie rubbish The Dragons dubbed the Trunki travel case “worthless” on Dragons’ Den in 2006 – but now two million cases have been sold worldwide in 97 countries, with a turnover £6.1m. Dawn Murden met Trunki creator Rob Law

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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

of the business, which Rob declined. Then shortly after, all the Dragons were out. Rob admitted that “Trixie still has nightmares about the den”, but Rob himself came out unscathed. ‘It was a bit of a non-event for me,’ he tells me. The episode has become one of the most watched, and the BBC has since visited Trunki for three follow-ups – each time detailing its success. Not only has the Magmatic team hit two million Trunki sales; they’ve secured deals with major retailers like John Lewis, sell in 97 countries worldwide and they’ve also expanded the range to offer backpacks, bags, toy boxes and sleep kits, with plenty more in the pipeline. Since that dreaded episode, Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis have admitted their regret not investing in Trunki. Plus Rob had the pleasure of giving Theo a Trunki with padlockreinforced straps made especially for him when Theo visited the team on Dragons’ Den: On Tour. I met Rob to find out more about his entrepreneurial journey. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR TRUNKI? While I was at university in 1997, I was set the project of designing a piece of children’s luggage. So I went to a department store for inspiration, but they were all black and boring. I soon drifted into the toy section where I saw a selection of colourful ride on toys. I noticed that they had a great deal of wasted space and I thought; why not merge the two ideas together? It would be fun, and functional. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST SLICE OF START-UP CASH? We received a Princes Trust grant of £5,000, which got us

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The toy company went into liquidation in October 2005

going in 2003. I then licensed the design to a start-up toy company. However, the toy company went into liquidation in October 2005, so I decided to go it alone. WHAT LED TO YOUR APPEARANCE ON DRAGONS’ DEN IN 2006? I had an email from the Princes Trust, who had been speaking to researchers from the show. I needed more money and marketing and applied. Within a week I was doing test shots, and before I knew it I was standing in front of the Dragons. DOES THAT MOMENT WHEN THEO PAPHITIS BROKE THE STRAP REPLAY IN YOUR MEMORY? It was something that could have easily been resolved. It was a non-event for me and a bit of theatrical television. Despite being pitch perfect, all the

dragons jumped on this issue – they lost a bit of credibility because of that in my eyes. DO YOU EVER REGRET TURNING DOWN RICHARD FARLEIGH’S OFFER? No, I’ve never looked back. The episode branded “Wheelie Rubbish” aired six months after filming, and when it did, I did think for a second “Oh God, have I ruined the business?” But it all worked out, the public saw through the rubbish. THEO, PETER AND DUNCAN HAVE ALL EXPRESSED THEIR REGRET IN NOT INVESTING. HOW DO YOU FEEL BEING THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY? For me it was a turning point and I forgave them – but I never really held a grudge. As I said, Dragons’ Den was not a major event for me – we’ve had other mountains to climb, like the hand luggage ban in 2006.

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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

EVERY TIME I GO TO AN AIRPORT I SEE A KID WHIZZ PAST ON A TRUNKI. WHAT’S THE SECRET OF THE SUCCESS? It’s all about understanding the customer, and we have two – the parent and the child. The parent is looking for utility and function, while the child is looking for fun and personality. I think the success is also in the great design. WHICH TRUNKI IS THE BEST SELLER? Trixie and then Terence. The UK third best seller is the Gruffalo case – based on a character from a children’s book – which is our most expensive case. HOW DID YOU SECURE DEALS WITH BIG RETAILERS LIKE JOHN LEWIS, ARGOS AND HALFORDS? In the early days I got turned down by all of them. So, at first we sold online pushing through PR to build awareness. Dragons’ Den gave us a boost too. When we had traction, the big retailers approached us. My advice when you’re talking to big retailers is to be aware that they have lots of terms. Never give your price until you know their terms. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO FIRST TIME BUSINESSES THAT ARE EXPERIENCING

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DIFFICULTIES IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE? If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Embrace the challenges and tackle them head on, quickly and economically.

development, which they can spend, on things like marketing and language courses. The working environment is also important. We have high ceilings and astroturf carpets, and lots of fun elements in the office, including a big yellow slide [on the cover].

– WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY? We have a dedicated distribution team in the UK, France and Germany, we’ve also sold really well in Scandinavia despite it being a small market. We’re looking to set up an office in France and Germany and are raising money through the Business Growth Fund. We have been international from day one, our press releases were sent to bloggers all over the world and our website got traffic from Japan, and the US, and more.

LOOKS FUN. DO YOU GO DOWN THE SLIDE MUCH? No – but the bank manager insists on it!

Dragons’ Den was not a major event for me – we’ve had other mountains to YOU ALREADY TRADE IN 97 climb, like the COUNTRIES, BUT I SEE YOU’RE hand luggage PLANNING TO EXPAND FURTHER ban in 2006

TRUNKI LOOKS LIKE A FUN PLACE TO WORK. HOW DO YOU ENGAGE AND RETAIN YOUR STAFF? To take the business to the next level you have to have a great team around you. We’ve worked hard on our business values so we all have a clear picture of what we’re about. We’re in business to make innovative travel gear for families on the go. Each staff member gets £1000 for professional

HONG KONG COMPANY, KIDDEE CASE WAS RECENTLY FOUND GUILTY OF INFRINGEMENT OF TRUNKI. WHAT HAPPENED? Last year at a toy fair we found them exhibiting, we told then to remove their stand and they did. However when we saw them again, they refused to back down so we had to pursue the legal route. Their product was not totally identical but was found in violation of ours in the High Court. They had to stop selling the product. Everyone thinks a patent is the be all and end all, but design registration from the Intellectual Property Office costs £300, is cheaper and provides protection. Contact: trunki.com Watch Rob on Dragons’ Den here: tinyurl.com/RobLawDragonsDen

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The technology many businesses don’t realize they are missing out on. At Supply Communications we often use a metaphor to portray our message. Many people believe if your business telephone isn’t broken it doesn’t need fixing, but how many of you are using the latest smart mobile phones on the market? Why are we all not using a mobile from 10 years ago? They do the same things? You can answer your calls on both and send and receive texts, but if you were to go back to the 10 year old mobile you wouldn’t be able to be half as productive or effective as you currently are. It’s the same for business phones; the new features that are available can improve your business productivity and efficiency massively. If your phone is over 3 years old you are potentially missing out on revolutionising your company. Get a free no obligation consultation today to get your business into the present all within your current call spend, sounds too good to be true? Challenge us on it and find out for yourselves!

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EVENT PREVIEW

TALK SUCCESS

The Business Show

The UK’s biggest business exhibition and conference celebrates its 30th outing this November, so the organisers gave TB a run down of the event

ou’ll be in great company among the thousands of thriving businesses that attend this November’s Business Show to help celebrate its 30th year. The event has grown over the years to become the UK’s biggest business exhibition and conference, and the next show is fast approaching on 28-29 November at London Olympia. The show is always evolving and with a focus on what’s new in business and the latest industry trends, this Business Show is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet. It has an exclusive line-up of leading industry keynote speakers deliverying seminars on a range of topics, from inspiring stories, to how to build a multi-million pound business from your back bedroom:

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As well as 250 seminars, the 30th Business Show has dozens of workshops and innovative show features

• Who couldn’t learn a thing or two from international deal-maker, Clive Rich, who has negotiated a total of more than £10bn with companies like Sony and Apple? He will explain the new way of making deals that is set to revolutionise the way businesses sell to their clients. • Not satisfied with seeing his first company, Your Golf Travel, in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, founder Ross Marshall went on to double up. His next venture, spabreaks.com. entered the list before his first firm had time to leave. Ross will share the secrets behind this amazing early form in his seminar. • Lara Morgan founded Pacific Direct, which she

later sold for £20million and now has a portfolio of business interests. In her seminar, Lara will explain how sales and marketing must work together to accelerate sales growth. And with The Business Show always looking to the future of business, you can hear firsthand from leading social media companies Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn about what’s next in the world of social media and what that means for every business. LOTS TO SEE As well as 250 seminars, The Business Show has dozens of workshops and innovative show features such as Businesses for Sale, Speed Networking, FaceTime, Business Connections, and

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TALK SUCCESS EVENT PREVIEW

round table discussions in the Boardroom that you won’t find anywhere else. Live show features, such as Angels Den and Midas Touch provide either great entertainment – or the opportunity to make your own pitch for investment. FURTHER AFIELD If your business is ready to look outside the UK, The Business Show has its own area for you, with Going Global Live. Focusing on Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as well as Europe and the Gulf states, you will find exhibitors and advisors to help you with everything from setting up import/export trade, to tax and recruitment across borders. With some of the top minds in international business on hand to offer advice and encouragement, you can be confident that this interactive environment could help your business expand into other territories.

If you’re starting or growing a business, The Business Show is the must-attend event of the year

WHAT ABOUT EXHIBITING? Exhibiting is one of the most efficient, effective and successful marketing activities available to you. Having a presence at The Business Show will give you exposure to an audience of 25,000 aspiring, developing and expanding companies and the opportunity to sell your products and services to targeted visitors on a face-to-face basis. If you supply products and services to small businesses you should be exhibiting at The Business Show. REASONS TO EXHIBIT: 1. Cash sales 2. Sales appointment 3. Leads for the sales team To enquire about exhibiting, please call Reg Chard on 0117 9304927 or email reg.chard@ prysmgroup.co.uk.

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BOOK YOUR FREE TICKETS If you’re starting or growing a business, The Business Show is the must-attend event of the year. Book your free tickets on the website. The Business Show takes place on 28-29 November at the Olympia, London. • Thursday 28 November

10am – 6pm • Friday 29 November 10am – 5pm Contact: thebusinessshow.co.uk

NOVEMBER 2013

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Lord Sugar’s first apprentice Dawn Murden caught up with the first winner of BBC’s The Apprentice, Tim Campbell ight years ago Tim Campbell won the first series of BBC’s The Apprentice, and became Alan Sugar’s first apprentice on a £100,000 salary. He was kept on when his 12-month contract came to an end but after two years at the company he left to set up the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps young people turn their ideas into a business. He is also London’s ambassador for training and enterprise, head of client services for emerging talent at recruitment process outsourcing provider, Alexander Mann Solutions, and the UK Government Secretary of State’s enterprise advisor, appointed by Rt Hon Vince Cable MP. I met Tim for an update.

WE WATCHED BACK YOUR WINNING MOMENT. YOU LOOKED ECSTATIC BUT VERY SURPRISED. DID YOU THINK YOU’D WIN? A lot of expletives were running through my head but I contained them! Yes I was surprised; my destiny was in the hands of Lord Sugar. I gave up my job, and came so far but it was close and I was extremely nervous. It was an incredible moment – I felt like I’d won the lottery.

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DOES THE APPRENTICE FEEL LIKE A LONG TIME AGO, OR JUST YESTERDAY? It does seem like a long time ago now, a lot has happened in eight years. I’m getting on with the Bright Ideas Trust now and I’ve aged since.

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I was a bit naïve about the show when I applied – I thought it was going to be a small fly on the wall documentary

YOU TOOK A LEAP OF FAITH APPLYING FOR THE FIRST SERIES OF A SHOW KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT IT. WHY DID YOU APPLY? AND WERE YOUR SURPRISED WHEN IT GOT STARTED? I’d reached a junction in my career and I was exploring my options. Someone sent me an application. It was very poignant and made me really think about what I wanted to do. However, I did forward the application on to other people I thought would be interested as well. They didn’t bother, I did – I have no regrets.

THE SHOW HAS ROCKETED TO SUCCESS. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SO SUCCESSFUL? I was a bit naïve about the show when I applied – I thought it was going to be a small fly-onthe-wall documentary about recruitment on BBC Two. I didn’t watch the US version, which was a lack of preparation on my part. I think The Apprentice has caused a monumental change in the UK. It was a great platform for me, and enabled me to raise £2 million to set up my foundation, which has helped 80 businesses – 100 by the end of the year. DOES THE SHOW BREED GREAT ENTREPRENEURS? It provides a platform for people to challenge themselves. It gave me a chance to be with like-minded, competitive individuals. The show encourages a lot of people and gets them thinking about jobs. It has also raised the profile of apprenticeships. However I don’t advocate the negatives displayed by some

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APPRENTICE UPDATE

As the head of client services for emerging talent at recruitment process outsourcing provider, Alexander Mann Solutions, we have put thousands of unemployed young people in apprenticeships.

contestants, and all too often the personalities of the show get too much attention. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH ALAN SUGAR? My mum is Jamaican and extremely strict – so I didn’t find Alan Sugar intimidating. He was a fantastic taskmaster – he encouraged and motivated me. He put me in a company, and I had to launch an LTD into a PLC, I spoke with the decision makers at Harrods, and I set up national call centres. After the first year my contract was extended – it was a great experience for both me and Alan. DO YOU STILL SPEAK TO ALAN? Yes, me and Alan still speak on the phone, we talk a lot about what I do now supporting young people. Last week I spoke to him and followed it up with a tweet. We spoke about recent shenanigans. We have a good relationship. I have huge respect for him – he’s a guy from Hackney that floated a company on the stock market that was once bigger than Microsoft. WHY DID YOU LEAVE TO SET UP YOUR OWN COMPANY? An apprenticeship is about learning a trade or profession – and most apprentices go on to do great things. It was time for me to move on. It was a natural progression to start my own project and replicate what I’d learnt. The legacy of the show is manifested in the apprentice’s reactions – I’m now working with global brands. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE BRIGHT IDEAS TRUST? A lot of people came to me and asked; “How can I do what you’re doing?” They concentrated on the TV part, but it’s very tough to get on the

TALK SUCCESS

show – they don’t have to go down that route. I wanted to create a platform that supported people to reach their potential, and solve problems, like the lack of access to capital and mentors. There are not many organisations out there giving start-up capital to young people – we are very proud of what we do. The first three companies we invested in are still going today.

Me and Alan still speak on the phone, we talk a lot about what I do now supporting young people

WE’VE SEEN YOU TWEETING CHARLIE MULLINS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HIS APPRENTICE BILL [FEATURED ON PAGE 73]? It’s a great idea – we need to raise more awareness about the need for apprenticeships. It’s about growing our workforce, helping young people and businesses. Contact: tim-campbell.co.uk

HOW DID YOU GET INTO MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING? When we pitched to get our partners on board, I had to do a lot of speaking to stakeholders. I harnessed the craft, engaged audiences and was asked to speak to teams in hotel groups, and no one threw tomatoes! I was then asked to speak at a Conservative party conference – it grew organically. HOW IMPORTANT ARE APPRENTICESHIPS TODAY? Incredibly important – there are a growing number of unemployed young people and graduates that can’t find jobs. Apprenticeships are no longer just for trade jobs like plumbers – they can be used in any industry, such as finance, media and technology. As London’s ambassador for training and enterprise appointed by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, I have been focusing on getting more young people into apprenticeships. This target was 60,000, which we smashed by an extra 40,000, so now our target is 250,000.

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TALK SUCCESS TAKE ONE COMPANY

Scents of success hen Michael and Roberta noticed their granddaughter was showing signs of body odour at age seven, they didn’t know it was going lead to the most exciting entrepreneurial journey of their lives. Wife and husband, Roberta and Michael had been in business together for 25 years, and aged 63 and 67 respectively, they were beginning to wind down to retirement, until they spotted a real need for a product. ‘Our granddaughter Emma began showing signs of body odour after PE when she was seven years old,’ Roberta says. ‘It seemed early and our daughter didn’t know what to do about it. ‘Bathing regularly wasn’t enough, but when we looked for products like deodorant that Emma could use, there was nothing on the market that was child-friendly and suitable.’ The couple continued their research and found there were at least 3,000 inquiries on websites from mums looking for a child-friendly deodorant. That’s when Roberta and Michael’s daughter suggested they make the product to fill the gap in the market they had identified. Michael, having worked as a chemist, had sound knowledge and experience to kick off the project. Instead of winding down to retirement, the product need captured their imagination and focus, and the foundations for Keep It Kind were laid down. The couple held a range of focus groups and found the need for the product was overwhelming.

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Dawn Murden met Roberta & Michael Harris, the couple behind Keep It Kind, the natural deodorant for eight to14-year-olds

There was nothing on the market that was child-friendly and suitable

‘Mums told us about the moment on the afternoon school run when the car starts to smell like the PE changing room,’ Roberta says. ‘Parents found their children’s body odour an awkward subject, especially when they found there were no child-friendly products out there. ‘Their eight-year-olds would be using products aimed at teenagers, while parents were worrying if the products were actually bad for their children’s skin.’ It wasn’t just parents that needed the product either. ‘We also spoke to teachers in schools who said they couldn’t enter classrooms after their pupils had finished PE because the smell was so overwhelming,’ Roberta says. Of course an important part of getting the product right wasn’t just targeting the parents, but children too.

‘Emma was our inspiration and our guinea pig – she tried all the products and gave us her opinion,’ Michael says. ‘She and her friend still raid the cupboard today – she must have the best smelling bedroom in the UK!’ At first Michael and Roberta were able to use their own money to fund Keep it Kind, but eventually needed outside funding to take the project to the next level. Despite successful trials, the banks flatly refused to fund them. ‘Every bank told us they didn’t fund new products. They were just not interested,’ Michael says. Eventually the couple contacted accountant, Shelley Stock Hunters, which helped them get finance in return for equity in the business. ‘Bobby Lane, one of the partners at Shelley Stock Hunters had good contacts and not only helped us with finance but with PR too,’ Roberta says.

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Vital statistics Company founded: October 2012. Start up capital: Not disclosed. Turnover: £100,000. Profit: N/A. Growth rate: From February Keep It Kind has been sold at 550 Boots’ stores nationwide and at the moment is exclusive to Boots’. Biggest achievement: Bringing something that helps health and wellbeing to the public that has never been available before.

Despite hitting a brick wall with funding, the couple never thought about giving up. ‘We knew we had a product that a lot of parents needed – we really believed in what we were doing, so not once did we think about giving up, we had a responsibility to get the product out there, we had to fight,’ Roberta says. An important part of the product was that it was childfriendly and suitable for sensitive skin. It took two years and lot of research to get the formulation

of the product right – so that it contained no aluminium, no parabens and no alcohol. ‘Instead, the deodorant contains an antibacterial agent that kills the bacteria which produces the odour,’ Michael says. ‘It still lets the wearer perspire and allows the skin to breathe.’ Last October, Michael and Roberta perfected the formulation, and made an appointment with Boots’ buyers, who agreed to see them straight away.

We hadn’t even designed the final artwork but Boots wanted our product

‘We hadn’t even designed the final artwork but Boots wanted our product on an exclusive basis – it was all about the product itself,’ Michael says. ‘Keep It Kind was in their warehouses by January and soon rolled out to 550 stores.’ The exclusivity contract with Boots comes to an end in January and the couple are looking get Keep it Kind into more stores. They’re also looking at expansion in terms of products too – with a teen range, shower and bath gels, and products that neutralise smelly school bags. ‘We’re still only at the beginning of our journey – but our advice to any entrepreneur would be to believe in what you’re doing and never give up,’ Roberta says. Despite a successful 25 years in business – Roberta and Michael say Keep It Kind is the most exciting project yet. ‘This tops the lots,’ says Michael. ‘It has given us a new lease of life.’ The couple are a perfect example that no matter what age, when an entrepreneur gets a good idea they have to take it to market – they’re never quite ready to wind down.

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UP-AND-COMING

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Introducing Jemal“Big J” Peters emal “Big J” Peters never had a lot growing up and admits he was doing things he shouldn’t have when he was younger. But when his daughter came along he focused on what he was good at; hustling, and rustling up good food, and set up Big J’s Kitchen. He says it’s the food of the street, which represents the diversity of London and his upbringing. He produces a range of barbeque sauces and dips, and is constantly expanding.

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WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? When I was younger, I grew up hustling on the streets. I had a passion for food and music. I used cooking as a getaway – it was therapeutic for me. I created recipes and cooked for family and friends. Someone once said you should bottle it and sell it – so I did! WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? I have a saying, which I live by: “A dream’s worth nothing if you leave it on your pillow.” If you want something, get it.

I prefer to waste money than time. Time is one of the biggest currencies to me

Dawn Murden spoke to Jemal Peters about his food business, Big J’s Kitchen Work hard and go for it. Don’t let anything stop you. A few years of hard work can change your life forever. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR WORST EVER JOB? Either working in a retail stock room or looking for water leaks in drains. I got my first pay and left both of them. Both just felt pointless, like I was wasting my life. Money comes and goes but time just goes. I prefer to waste money than time. Time is one of the biggest currencies to me. WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? See the whole world through my company, and see how people live and eat. And make sure my family is secure. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Learning the formal sides to business - I’m naturally entrepreneurial and have skills in marketing, which enables

me to make great things happen. But in the beginning I never had any formal training or knowledge of business, so this is something I had to teach myself with the help of a few mentors. Finding the correct investors – I’ve had many offers but haven’t taken them for different reasons. I’m still looking for the right investor now. [Hint hint!] WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? That’s a simple one. My daughter and my family. I do it for them – I don’t just want to better my life, I want to better my family’s life. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF BIG J’S KITCHEN? To pioneer fun, exciting and innovation from the UK, both national and international. Whilst helping make a difference to the life of young offenders by creating opportunity. Contact: bigjskitchen.com

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BOOK REVIEWS

TALK SUCCESS

The Little Black Book for Managers: How To Maximize Your Key Management Moments Of Power by John Cross, Rafael Gomez & Kevin Money John Cross has designed and delivered learning and development programmes. He has worked as a sales director, RAF instructor, marketing director and business owner. Kevin Money is associate professor at Henley Business School. He is also director of the John Madejski Centre for Reputations and teaches on the MBA programme. He is also a chartered psychologist. Rafael Gomez has previously taught management at the London School of Economics and is currently associate professor in industrial relations and human resources at the University of Toronto. They say: The book covers a whole host of situations

managers at all levels face, based on thousands of personal experiences from a number of leaders and managers in a range of companies and industries. It will help readers understand how to act and what to do to reduce the chances of failure in different situations, from goal setting to meetings. We say: This is a practical handbook on how to deal with almost any situation – it has specific examples of words and phrases, plus illustrations and exercises to analyse current performance. The Little Black Book for Managers is published by Wiley, priced at £12.99 in hardback and e-book.

Our verdict:

Our verdict:

The Entrepreneur’s Tax Guide by Alan Pink Alan Pink is a chartered accountant and tax adviser who specialised in tax for more than 25 years. He contributes largely to the Schmidt Tax Report, a UK newsletter, which explains simply how to cut both your business and personal tax bills. He says: The book provides entrepreneurs with much needed, plain English, action-orientated advice. It is aimed at the owners of SMEs, a group which bears the brunt of the UK tax burden, but unlike its larger counterparts does not have access to specialist advice. It explains how any SME can reduce its tax bill using straightforward, legitimate methods.

We say: Alan Pink offers a comprehensive guide to reduce tax liabilities on businesses – he covers every type of tax in the book and lists handy action points for practical planning. The Entrepreneur’s Tax Guide is published by Head of Zeus, priced at £20 in hardback. We’ve got one of each book to give away FREE. Be the first to follow and tweet us, quoting the book name @TalkBusinessMag & we’ll send you a copy!

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR BUSINESS S

tarting new businesses is one of the many ways in which we are to beat austerity. Brave entrepreneurs are needed to take on the competition and flourish within a market which has less and less money each day. The government has created countless schemes in order to aid the growth of new businesses. £69 million was put forward by the government in September for just this reason, providing loans for budding Entrepreneurs needing a starting point in getting their ideas off the ground. So upon receiving your loan what do you do? Imagine you’re starting your new business as a caterer, you have the contacts and the ambition but you need help turning your dream into a reality. You take a loan out from the government and are rewarded with £4,500. You can now turn your business into something more tangible than just the thought of having a career in which you answer to nobody. You CAN actually do it.

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So where to start? Obviously you will need; stock, contacts, customers, suppliers, knowledge of business law, an accountant… the list is endless and changes for every individual business… each is unique. This is stressful. Fortunately there are several sources of information dedicated to getting you on your feet. The New Enterprise Allowance – Specifically designed to aid in the mentoring of government loan claimants. Gov.uk – Host a range of material aimed at those wishing to start new businesses within the UK. The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme – Designed to help 18-30 year olds, discussing the viability of business ideas and whether self-employment will help in the long term. Our resolve has been to help small business and start-up’s, we have recently commenced work with ‘The Prince’s Trust’ offering our lower range product ‘Business Accountz: Basic’ completely free to members of the trust.

The advice we offer is that there is no better way to prepare for the journey of your business than to count those pennies whether you took a loan out or not. There are several benefits of this: • Control… No one wants a shoebox full of receipts. Not your accountant and not you. Unless you’re tracking your finances you can never be in full control of your business. • Save money… you can save money by spending money, software has been developed allowing you to enter your VAT directly to HMRC. Allowing you to save money rather than hiring accountants in the early stages of your business life. • Avoid debt... Monitoring who you owe money to is just as important as monitoring who owes you money. The same software that enters your VAT will also alert you to any money you owe... or are owed. So taking control of your business can roughly be translated into taking control of your money? It may be a slight

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

generalisation, however at Accountz we have designed our accountancy software to not only help you financially but also to help the daily running of your business. Features such as; • Product Management • Budgeting & Forecasting • Cost Centre / Project Management • Tracking Unpaid Bills / Invoices • Customer / Supplier Management • Profit / Loss Tracking • Invoice Designer • Diary / Event Planner Help to run your business in terms of stock control, keeping track of who you’re doing business with and reminding you when you need to pay or be paid after an invoice has been sent / received. As well as helping you deal with your business in more financial terms; helping to manage the money you have and project the money you will have in the future, monitoring your profit & loss, looking at your business as a whole and breaking the business down in to projects, informing you which are breaking even and which need more financial security. We aim to help our customers’ as much as possible, understanding that completing VAT returns can be confusing and needs to be done correctly. Which is why we offer our resident bookkeepers to guide customers each step of the way. By purchasing telephone support you gain the ability for us to guide you through each step of submitting your accounts to HMRC, given the correct permissions we can remotely access your computer and talk you through entering your transactions or reconciling your bank accounts. All information is kept 100% confidential.

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To find out how Accountz can help you secure control of your business and your finances. Please e-mail us at support@ accountz.com, call us on 01354 691650 or visit our website www.accountz.com

For more information on how we can help your business gain control & financial security visit our new website at www.accountz.com or call us on 01354 691650. Our software works on Linux, Macs and Windows operating systems.

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his may sound like extravagant advice for an entrepreneur who will be more focused on bootstraps than Bell helicopters, but of course this is a metaphorical helicopter I am referring to – the real one can wait until the exit has been achieved.

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ANALYSIS VS. INSTINCT The key to ongoing business success is not only executing successfully on a great idea, but also consistently making decisions that improve the future direction of your business. There are two ways that we approach decisions – analysis and instinct – reflecting our head and our heart. You will meet people who are at different points on the analysis/instinct spectrum, but I expect most entrepreneurs to have a reliance on instinct, as that is linked to creation, belief and the right side of the brain. Without this influence, it is hard to see how you can create a new business or brand. Without some analytical input, however, decision-making can become risky, as you will not be taking into consideration all the relevant information available when deciding on a course of action.

When you come back down to ground, you will have greater clarity

IDENTIFY THE RIGHT KPIS In order to give yourself the best chance of making the right decisions, you need high quality information, which sheds light on the trends in your business. This will be very different for each sector, but is likely to include some KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs may or may not be financial, although they will be specific and will provide an indication of key trends. For example, a subscriptionbased business will probably be interested in the number of subscribers added in a particular period, those lost and therefore the net additions in the period. You should take time to assess the right KPIs for your business – not only will they provide you with a better insight on the trends, but they can provide you with tools to forecast your business more reliably and consistently – useful for any external debt or equity provider. A SENSE OF PERSPECTIVE Armed with the relevant data, you can make informed decisions. Entrepreneurs need to take time out from their daily work every now and then to consider the business trends

money

Hop on your chopper

Go for a helicopter ride at least once a month, our funding expert Julian Smith says

and data. It may make sense to do this with a mentor or board advisor to ensure that you can benefit from an independent perspective. and someone who can act as a sounding board for your thoughts. So the advice is clear – take a trip in your helicopter at least once a month. You’ll have more to do when you come back down to ground, but you will have greater clarity and belief in your direction of travel. Julian Smith is The Funding Expert offering workshops, consultations and public speaking on finance. He has been advising companies for more than 18 years on how to position themselves for investors, raising business finance, mergers and acquisitions.

Contact: thefundingexpert.co.uk

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SETTING UP SHOP

TALK MONEY

Buyi a g n i n t g busi a r a t s ness vs. usiness b Serial entrepreneur Mark Mills, who has founded and sold several of his own businesses, discusses buying a business

ntrepreneurs are generally people who will do something for passion. They are aware there will be a period of hard work before the company is up and running, and are prepared to give all their time to this, with no guarantees at the end of it. This requires a level of dedication unprecedented in normal working life. People buying into a preexisting business are more focused on the capital value of their decision. If you buy an existing company, then you know there is already some momentum behind it and the brand may have already accumulated value. At the same time there has to be a lot of due diligence, not just over the numbers but also over the finer details. The position of every stakeholder

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If you buy an existing company, then you know there is already some momentum behind it

should be checked, from the landlord to the staff, the customers and suppliers. I would always be sure to meet with members of staff before parting with any money and ask each member of the team individually; “If you were the boss, what would you do differently?” This is a great way to find key ways in which the company can move forward. It also shows your staff that you will be the kind of boss who listens to them. A buyer will always face the challenge of getting the staff on side. This can be particularly onerous in a small business where staff generally feel loyalty to the founder. The new owner may be charismatic, but change will always make people feel anxious. You have to set people’s expectations repeatedly and reassure them that they are still in a job

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TALK MONEY SETTING UP SHOP

IN PROFILE

In a new business situation, funding can prove to be tricky. Despite all the rhetoric from the Government, the funds don’t seem to be flowing down to small businesses and that you have bought the business in order to carry it on and expand it. This should make your workforce feel positive about the change. In a new business situation, funding can prove to be tricky. Despite all the rhetoric from the Government, the funds don’t seem to be flowing down to small businesses. Invariably most business start-ups are under-capitalised and underfunded. Orders may come in when you simply don’t have the money to buy supplies to sell. Only hard work and dogged determination can overcome this. If you’re buying a business, you may be able to overcome certain financial hurdles by seeing if the vendors will partfund your purchase by leaving some money in as a loan. This will bridge the “equity gap” giving them a high price over time whilst allowing you to secure the business. There is more of a process in place for raising funds for the acquisition of a business but there are more people to convince of the merits of your acquiring that business. Start-ups do still have to persuade people to invest in their ideas if they want to build a big company. Private equity groups play a “numbers game”, the more companies they see, the greater number they will eventually invest in. The process of doing presentations to potential funders will enhance your ability to run

44

Mark Mills is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and sold several of his own businesses, including Cardpoint, which was founded in 2000 and when he sold his stake in 2006, the company was valued at £170m. He is the founder of howtosellacompany.com and is passionate about advising business owners on realising the full potential of their business prior to a sale.

a business because potential investors tend to ask you the questions that are relevant to the success of the business. With every “no” you come closer to a “yes.” The process will only make you a better marketer and, whether buying or starting a business, you must always remember you have to be a first class salesperson. Contact: howtosellacompany.co.uk

Quick read Pros of buying: > Easier to secure loans and funding > Salary from day one > Established network of contacts Cons of buying: > Buying is expensive > More restrictive than starting up > Existing staff can be resentful of change > Long process

NOVEMBER 2013

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START-UP LOANS

TALK MONEY

A day in

the life

DEAR DIARY I wake up five minutes before my alarm goes off and check emails in bed. Our CTO and advisor are both based in the US, so I always get exciting emails by early morning. I get ready for the day, never missing two cups of coffee. When I’m done, I rush to the tube to travel to my first meeting.

07:00

I am beyond excited as we see our first client, lifestyle and fashion designer Orla Kiely, who has used Smartzer to put up an interactive video on her site. I quickly spread the brilliant news to the rest of our team and share the video on social media. The next meeting, which is about getting our company involved in a new start-up coworking space, IDEALondon in Tech City, goes very well. We agree on the next steps and I rush to my next meeting. Start Up Loans, Startup Direct, and Meridian Entrepreneurs have organised an event at the Greenwich School of Management, where I have been asked to do a short presentation. It’s exciting and provides a great opportunity to meet other students aspiring to start their own businesses. 

09:00

11:00

This month, our Start Up Loan recipient reveals an average day juggling her studies at UCL and running her company, Smartzer When the event finishes, I rush from Greenwich back to central London, trying to grab a bite to eat on the way while finishing my assignment for today’s class at University College London (UCL). I attend classes for my MSc Technology Entrepreneurship degree at UCL. Today’s class is finance and accounting. During the class, I am working on the finances of Smartzer for our next funding round. I find a spare meeting room on the UCL campus to have a Skype call with my CTO and a prospective client for a potentially huge project. We discuss all the technical details to figure out if what we offer can match their needs. It all sounds really exciting, but also overwhelming considering we are still a tiny team. While we are still looking for a developer with the right skills, we really are pushing ourselves as a team to make the most of all the exciting prospects we receive.   I’m hungry, and I know it’s time for a Nando’s.

14:00

17:00

18:00

On most weekday evenings, there is always an event on in Tech City of relevance for my business. This evening, it is a VC networking event called Chew The Fat, with a panel discussion followed by food and drink. These events are always really interesting and I get to meet entrepreneurs with fantastic businesses and ideas, sparking great conversation alongside a well-deserved glass of wine! By this time, I am pretty exhausted. I make my way home and get ready for another day.

21:00

The Start Up Loans Company is a Government-backed scheme that provides funding and mentoring for budding entrepreneurs between 18-30 to help their business succeed. With the help of this initiative, more than 30 new businesses are started daily.

In Profile

Entrepreneur: Karoline Gross Business: Smartzer Web: smartzer.com Concept: Smartzer is an online video, geotagging software – it enables clients to tag their videos, allowing them to get better ads and market exposure. Start-Up Loan: £10,000

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29/08/2013 16:36


CAREFUL CONTRACTS TALK MONEY

Before you sign on the dotted line… SHAREHOLDERS AGREEMENT We complete about 20 legal healthchecks per month for small and medium-sized businesses. These healthchecks give companies an idea of the level of legal risk that they are undertaking at that time. More than 80% of all businesses we have interviewed so far, have shown a medium or high risk in the area of shares. We find that companies with more than one shareholder often do not have a signed, upto-date shareholders agreement in place. WHAT ARE THE RISKS? The following key issues provide a good indication to whether you should put a shareholders’ agreement in place, as they are when most shareholder issues arise: 1. YOU ARE A MINORITY SHAREHOLDER If you have less than 20% of the share capital of a company, or if you have a class of shares with limited or no voting rights, then you are a minority. As a minority shareholder, there are many things that can be done without your approval within the company. Although there are shareholder remedies through the courts, ideally you want to have a shareholders agreement in place so that certain actions can’t be taken without your consent, i.e. issuing more shares to dilute your shareholding or closing the company.

NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers discusses the legal risks of not having an up-to-date shareholder agreement in place 2. YOU HAVE AN EQUAL 50/50 SHAREHOLDING When you have an equal shareholding, then disagreements can be difficult to settle. You may want to decide that one of you will have a casting vote upon a deadlock or nominate a third party to mediate or make a decision for you, so that someone can make that final call (officially) in the event of a dispute between you. 3. YOU WANT TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE If you have arranged for key man insurance or shareholder protection insurance upon the event of the death of a key employee or shareholder, then it is important that these are reflected in the shareholders agreements so that there aren’t any conflicts with the family of a deceased. 4. ALL YOUR SHAREHOLDERS ARE ALSO DIRECTORS Most small businesses are not totally clear about the roles, responsibilities, performance standards and legal duties of directors, since (as founders) they usually do not have an official employment agreement with the company. A shareholder agreement can allow for shares to be clawed back in the event of nonperformance as a director, or for a director leaving the

company, and it will usually reference specific requirements around how the directors meet.

More than 80% of all businesses we have interviewed so far have shown a medium or high risk

5. YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE NO-ONE SELLS OR TRANSFERS You may want to have specific and bespoke provisions to: 1. Prevent any shareholder from selling their shares to someone you don’t know, or transferring shares without offering them to you first and 2. Set out the mechanism for determining the amount of the stock upon such sale or transfer. If you would like to undertake our complimentary legal healthcheck, email us at admin@navistarlegal.com

Jo Rogers is an in-house lawyer for SMEs. Her vision is to create the next generation of lawyers that provide affordable wisdom to businesses. Contact: navistarlegal.com Twitter: @NaviStar

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31/10/2013 15:03


BRIBERY

TALK MONEY

Free holiday? Think again ake Alan and Mike, they regularly dine, take in a show or watch a sporting event together. Their small companies do business with each other and take it in turns to pay for them to have a night out and talk shop. Recently, over their main course, talk turned to a large contract Alan’s company was putting out to tender. Mike mentioned that he could arrange a nice, all expenses paid holiday for Alan. Alan suddenly lost his appetite. The thought of a bribery prosecution left a bad taste in his mouth. The Bribery Act came into effect on 1 July 2011 and covers companies of all sizes that are based in, or have a “close connection’’ to, the UK, including those with any premises or staff here. Under the Act, such companies can be prosecuted in the UK for bribery that was carried out on their behalf anywhere in the world by staff, an intermediary, third party or trading partner acting on the company’s behalf. Bribery is classed as offering, promising or giving a financial or other advantage to someone so that they perform their function improperly. Section One of the Act makes it an offence to bribe another person, Section Two makes it an offence to request, agree to receive, or accept a bribe while prosecutions can also be brought for failure to prevent bribery (Section Seven) and for

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SME’s need thorough ongoing, and regularly monitored antibribery procedures, just like the biggest corporations bribing a foreign public official (Section Six). Many SMEs and some larger companies feared that hospitality, such as that usually enjoyed by Alan and Mike, would constitute a bribe under the Act. It does not. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) emphasised that hospitality or promotional expenditure, which is “reasonable, proportionate and made in good faith’’ is part of doing business and is not intended to reward “improper performance’’. Which is why Mike and Alan’s get-togethers were fine, but Mike’s holiday offer overstepped the mark. Companies investigated under the Act have to be able to show that they had “adequate procedures” in place to identify the risks of bribery and to prevent it happening. If such procedures are not in place, companies can face prosecution under the Act, with punishments including unlimited fines and up to 10 years imprisonment. A senior figure within a company of any size who turns a blind eye to bribery will be prosecuted personally. Those that run SMEs may feel that their limited resources make it near impossible to develop and maintain such

SMEs have just as much need of thorough, ongoing and regularly monitored anti-bribery procedures as the biggest corporations

procedures. But even the smallest companies have to keep themselves fully informed of the bribery risk in the business sectors and locations where they trade, as well as among their staff, business associates and potential or existing trading partners. SMEs have just as much need of thorough, ongoing and regularly monitored anti-bribery procedures as the biggest corporations. Which is why a little expert legal advice is often necessary for SMEs looking to stay on the right side of the Act. Instilling an anti-bribery culture may seem an expense. But compared to the consequences of falling foul of the Act, it could well be an SME’s fundamental investment.

Contact: rahmanravelli.co.uk

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Strategy

Personal branding:

I still my trainers f the idea of a branding a company is to define what it stands for, then personal branding is even more explicit. For the last few years while I’ve run my own company, I’ve had a certain view on my own personal brand. It’s been laid-back, fun loving and a bit shabby. My work is quite often influenced by (dreadful phrase) retro styling, with nods to shabby chic distressing, beach shack vibes, and while we’re on the subject of being inappropriate – the odd knob gag. I recently started a new business (see new website) and I now have a business partner, employees, an apprentice, new premises and a whole new set of responsibilities. Due to the new circumstances we’ve also gained a solid amount of new clients, for some of whom my personal brand would be a little too lefty. So I made a decision to evolve it. Notice I say evolve, it’s not about complete change. And this is a trend constantly happening in the world around us. Witness the subtle evolution of Jamie Oliver. The lumberjack shirts, scruffy hair and trainers have been noticeably toned down of late. The hair uses a bit less product, the shirts are a bit more tailored and while the Adidas shell-toes haven’t been totally relegated (it’s the one casual trainer that men

I

This month Rich With, creative director of The Grow Creative Company, asks if it’s ever OK to wear trainers over a certain age My own personal brand has been laidback, fun loving and a bit shabby

of a certain age can still wear without feeling ridiculous) he can wear a pair of shoes without appearing like a sell-out. His message has also changed albeit in a more overt way. The random trips round the US and Italy have been replaced by the championing of British cuisine and produce, and also recognising the economic situation of the country by coming up with his Save with Jamie series. On the other hand, I like many readers of this magazine, frequently get emails and mailings from one of the UK’s most prevalent business experts Nigel Botterill. Lately he has evolved his own personal brand too. Renowned for his loud shirts and straight talking Yorkshire attitude, he has chosen to raise the volume of his persona. His advice, is often delivered via video from a foreign location, which while some will appreciate it’s important for him to portray a level of success, others will see regurgitating advice while enjoying a holiday as a little insensitive. What’s interesting is that Jamie has chosen to evolve in response to outside forces – his fan base. Nigel however is choosing the

opposite tact – he’s evolving his personal brand to set the tone – to say if you want the success, then you need to emulate me. Time will tell who has the right answer (if there is one). While Jamie will probably increase his fan base, Nigel’s may well shrink, but while Jamie will get more customers, Nigel’s amount per spend could increase. So where does that leave me? I appreciate I have to alter certain things to be seen as credible by new clients, without toning down bits that my existing customers appreciate. I guess that’s why we evolve rather than change, but I’m not ready to give up the shelltoes just yet.

Contact: justgrow.co

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TALK STRATEGY APPRENTICESHIPS AND INTERNSHIPS

Invest Y

in our youth Could you boost the economy, your business and change lives? Dawn Murden looks at the high youth unemployment rate and how apprenticeships and internships could help

People are in need of different ways to train for employment 888

outh unemployment in the UK is a huge concern. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year-olds is 21%, and there are just under a million (958,000) young people not in employment, education or training. The unemployment rate has become a key economic indicator for the Bank of England, which its recently appointed governor Mark Carney, is targeting. Figures for the overall unemployment for the country have decreased. In the JuneAugust period, the number of unemployed fell by 18,000 to 2.51 million in the UK. However 1.5 million people were part-time because they could not find a full-time job, and youth unemployment remained mostly unchanged. Leading unions have criticised the recent figures. They have said the data “shames the Government” and that the small decreases are “no cause for celebration”. Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, Britain’s biggest trade union, said: ‘The number of youngsters leaving school, colleges and universities will swell the ranks of NEETs [not in employment, education or training], adding to the need for more help and support. ‘Instead, our young people are being let down by government cuts to careers services, high youth unemployment and the rocketing cost of continuing education.’ Between 1995 and 2008, the proportion of young people going to university doubled – from 20% to almost 40%.

SEPTEMBER 2013

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APPRENTICESHIPS AND INTERNSHIPS

But in 2012 the cost of degrees trebled, when the Government raised the tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year. Lee Acton, chief executive at Skillnet, a recruitment and apprentice training company, said: ‘Increasing numbers of young people over the past decade have chosen to continue academia instead of entering the workforce after school. ‘While this path suits some people, it isn’t necessarily a good thing for everyone because – as we are seeing now – fees have risen and graduates are struggling to get suitable employment as the market saturates. ‘As a result, people are in need of different ways to train for employment outside of the fashionable “school to university” route.’ Last year the number of university applicants dropped by 8.7%; those aged 18 decreased by 3.6%, and the number of non-EU overseas students had risen by 13.7%. According to 2012 statistics from the Government Department for Education, in the year after taking A-Levels

The more people that are in work, the less the benefits bill – apprentices are part of the virtuous circle of enterprise

or equivalent at Key Stage 5: 64% of young people were in sustained education, with: • 8% at a further education college • 2% at a school sixth form or sixth form college • 2% on an apprenticeship at these institutions and • 52% at a higher education institution - with one per cent at Oxbridge and another 8% at other Russell Group universities In the year after Key Stage 4: 85% of young people were in sustained education, with: • 36% at school sixth forms • 33% at further education colleges • 12% of young people at sixth form colleges and • 4% on an apprenticeship in these institutions. For the A-Level leavers, university seems to be the most popular choice. But when these leavers graduate, the job competition is fierce. In 2011 almost 28% of graduates who left university in 2007 were still not in full-time work, and now an average of 160 graduates are chasing after each job. The worrying question these statistics pose is; how many of the 36% and 15% are NEET? The apprenticeship number is low at just 2% and 4%, and begs the question; why more organisations, especially SMEs like yours, are not adopting apprenticeships and internships? If you did, how could this help the economy, your business and young people? THE ECONOMY There are around 1.6 million people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), with around 408,000 of claimants aged between 18 and 24. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), if just 50% of the EU’s SMEs employed one extra person there would be

TALK STRATEGY

an additional 10 million jobs. Elliot Kidd, co-founder of recruitment website, staffbay. com, said: ‘The more people that are in work, the less the benefits bill, and the more in the taxpayers pot to spend on the areas which can engender further business growth, such as tax breaks for SMEs – apprentices are part of the virtuous circle of enterprise.’ SME BENEFITS Catherine Lyn Scott, an entertainment publicist at London Flair PR, is passionate about apprenticeships after her company took on a young person named Lianna Yianni, and said: ‘Our business is growing and we needed more staff – it was financially viable for us, the Government actually gives companies a grant of £1,500 to help towards the costs. It was a paid job and we paid for travel, but it is not a salary rate, which is helpful for a growing business like ours. ‘It was a great way of finding out if the candidate was right for our business, but what we didn’t expect was someone who is helping the business grow and a young lady we will be offering a full-time job to.’ Freeagent, an accounting software firm, takes on computer science graduates as interns. They are paid and get to work directly on the company’s flagship products. Olly Heady, the CTO and co-founder said: ‘We’ve found finding interns easy – we have attended a number of university career events where our stand was among huge multinationals, such as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and IBM – you stand out and students are keen to find out who you are. ‘We make every effort to take on the strongest candidates who have proven their software development abilities – our

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first intern, who we took on part-time while he finished his studies, was hired by Twitter in San Francisco when he graduated!’ Askar Sheibani is CEO of Comtek, Europe’s largest telecom and network repair service, a company that offers apprenticeships. ‘For SMEs, a motivated, skilful and loyal workforce is absolutely critical to business success, and apprenticeships offer this in spades.’ Askar said. ‘The schemes allow SMEs to train people to fit the exact skill set they require, and by recruiting from the local community, these employees are more likely to stay with the company, will become totally ingrained in the business, and therefore the company will continue to benefit from the skills it has developed.’ YOUNG PEOPLE Lianna Yianna, apprentice at London Flair PR, said: ‘I’ve gained so much knowledge in a short space of time, being able to train first hand in the industry I want to pursue, and without getting into any debt! ‘Doing an apprenticeship was one of my best decisions, because you are learning while earning – it’s a win-win.’ Luke Thomas is a second year apprentice studying towards an NVQ Level 2 qualification in fire safety at the Skills for Security Technical Training Centre in Birmingham, under a scheme by Gent by Honeywell. Luke said: ‘I’ve been working on all aspects of the systems, from installing devices and cabling, to training customers after commissioning. ‘I like that I can combine it with what I am learning at college – I’ve always been a better hands-on learner.’ Charlotte Bosworth, the director of skills and

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The Government actually give companies a grant of £1,500 to help towards the costs.

employment at OCR, the awarding body for A-Levels and GCSEs, believes apprenticeships are vital, and said: ‘They provide a different progression route to the traditional academic programme and facilitate a more hands on learning experience. ‘There has been a growth in the uptake of apprenticeships in the last few years, however there is always room for more companies to get involved.’ EXPERIENCE There is another depth to the need for more apprenticeships and internships – just 6% of employers are prepared to offer a 16-year-old leaver their first job, due to lack of experience. Where do most 16-year-olds gain their experience? Their Saturday job. But the Saturday job is under threat. The number of available jobs has fallen by 100,000 since 2001; now just 20% of 16-yearolds have Saturday jobs. Companies like Pret A Manger are rolling out a School

Leavers Programme and a Bring Back the Saturday Job campaign to tackle this. This is the second year the programme – which is accredited by the National Apprentice Service – is taking on more than 20 apprentices. Could your company offer something similar? The UK needs more companies willing to train and invest in young people to give them the experience they need to progress. Otherwise could young people get stuck in a vicious cycle of “no job with experience, no experience without a job”, and resign to being NEET? Of course, the onus to set up more apprenticeships does not lie solely with companies. Askar Sheibani, CEO of Comtek, said: ‘The Government must also play its part with the likes of tax incentives, for example, and educational establishments need to inspire enthusiasm for subjects which create skills currently required by today’s job market.’

Are you keen to take on an intern or apprentice now? Here are some useful websites: • apprenticeships.org.uk/ Employers.aspx • tinyurl.com/ Govapprenticeships • gov.uk/apprenticeshipsguide/employers-taking-onan-apprentice • gov.uk/employment-rightsfor-interns Statistics taken from: Parliament Common Library, Office of National Statistics, The Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), OECD, Government Department for Education, Ucas, Federation of Small Business, Government Department for Work and Pensions, Barnado’s, UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

NOVEMBER 2013

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31/10/2013 14:12


Thames Valley Expo

Alec Jones-Hall, co creator of the Thames Valley Business & Community Expo, tells us what delegates can expect at the free show this year

he Thames Valley Expo is a leading business exhibition within the region built on an exciting blend of highly respected speakers, interactive features and industry-leading suppliers. The one-day event is aimed to attract businesses whose primary agenda is to improve and expand their business, develop key relationships through networking with other regional business leaders, and increase their skill set through our free industry-leading seminars and practical workshops. The Thames Valley Expo is where businesses like yours advance to the next level. It is free to attend and offers a huge quantity of opportunity, advice and information crucial for ongoing business growth within a challenging economic climate.

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GOOD VALUE The Thames Valley Expo is free for everyone and has more than 55 exhibitors, advice, opportunities, and much

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more. Our 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.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY: • Well known motivational business keynote speakers who all have the ability to inspire, equip and empower audiences. • Fantastic quality networking opportunities throughout the day to meet the right people. • Educational and interactive workshops, seminars and clinics running during the day. These have been designed to help address various business needs while providing beneficial and informative content that will help shape your business future. • Thames Valley Expo understands the value and the impact that the right

The Thames Valley Expo is where businesses like yours advance to the next level

speaker can have on our event. Ultimate credibility comes from individuals and subject matter experts who have performed at the highest level in changing corporate environments. Only they can give expert insight and empathy on the challenges we face on a day-to-day basis. • We have selected Bill Morrow - Angels Den, Kimberly Davis - BBC Apprentice star, Brad Burton - founder of 4Networking, Jon Davey - LinkedIn expert, Warren Cass - social media expert, as they are known for delivering thought-provoking presentations focusing on a number of business-related topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, communications, change, innovation and customer service. BUSINESS INTERFACING WALL Thames Valley Expo is passionate to encourage networking across the region. This is the reason why

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EVENT PREVIEW

TALK STRATEGY

Win We are pleased to be in partnership with Bath Racecourse. As a result of this partnership, we will be giving away two free racecourse tickets worth £40. We are also delighted to be in partnership with Talk Business. As a result of this partnership we will be giving away one year’s free subscription worth £40.

we have created the business interfacing wall. The idea is simple: • Write down what your business is looking for (an accountant, book keeper, training provider, web designer, office space, and so on) • Pin it to the Business  Interfacing wall, along with your business card. • Come back at the end of the day and collect all the other cards pinned to yours. It really is that simple. By the end of the day you will have invaluable contacts of the people and companies who can help provide whatever it is your business is looking for. The system has been designed to work both ways, so if you see a business that may like your help, pin your card to theirs and pick up some extra clients! So there you go, a chance to finally put that shiny new business card to work and attract ROI. Contact: thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk

The Thames Valley Expo is free for everyone and has more than 55 exhibitors

TESTIMONIALS Warren Cass, Business Scene ‘First can I just say congratulations to you both. Genuinely one of the best regional expos I have attended and we were super impressed.’ Paul Webster, Webster Consultancy ‘Congratulations to you both – you did it, with flying colours. Well worth exhibiting.’ Brad Burton, 4 Networking ‘Best Regional show for eight and half years - FACT.’ Saira Majid, Community Business Advisor, Slough Borough Council ‘Fantastic show, really inspiring hope you come back next year, we are already looking forward to it, learnt a lot, took part in most and thoroughly enjoyed stimulating speakers, thanks again!’

Save the date The Thames Valley Expo takes place 21 November at the Swindon Steam Museum, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon SN2 2EY

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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Available in the UK, the USA and South Africa

Our Cellular Selling training programme has revolutionised our customer’s businesses.

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To celebrate the opening of our new offices we’d like to offer you a free gift! Adam Caplan’s Language Of Sales is a DVD of a the full Cellular Attitude first day’s Sales Training programme that was delivered for a client earlier this year. It includes The Psychology Of Sales, The Matrix Module, Telling isn’t Selling and The Assertive Sales Model. This will be retailing for £49.95 later in the year, but we have 500 copies to give away to the first 500 respondents. Simply email info@cellularattitude.co.uk to get your free copy or call 020 8257 8861.

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27/09/2013 10:02:58


Help is out there Talk Business spoke to four young people who have been supported by Business Launchpad usiness Launchpad is an organisation that offers free practical and personalised business guidance and support to young entrepreneurs, aged

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16 to 30. Since its launch in 1988 it has helped more than 5,000 young people, and that number is still rising. Here are just four of Business Launchpad’s success stories…

CAROLINE ODOGWU, CO-FOUNDER OF SHE IS YOU She Is You is a social enterprise that aims to empower young women under the age of 25 to reach their full potential. It aims to bridge the gap between their dreams and reality by carrying out workshops, events and mentoring, with a heavy focus on raising self-esteem and self-confidence. What was your motivation? During my time at university there was a lack of positive, female role

models that I could look up to and identify with, and as a result I found it very difficult making it through tough times at university. I felt that there was a need to provide a platform for young ladies to learn, engage and be empowered by their peers, and be presented with positive female role models. How did Business Launchpad help? Business Launchpad has helped me develop my idea from a concept to a business. Within four months of joining

the Business Launchpad programme, I was able to gather all the resources and information I needed and carry out my very first event as She Is You. It’s been great to use my business counsellor as a soundboard to bounce ideas off and to set goals. It is a great free service for budding young entrepreneurs.

SHAIMA AHMED, FOUNDER OF AL-ILM TUITION CENTRE Al-ilm Tuition Centre offers tutoring services to primary and secondary school children aged 8-16, in a variety of academic subjects. This includes KS1, KS2, KS3, SATS and GCSE’s. The tuition centre runs after school and some weekend classes. It also runs pre-exam courses; the students are taught in groups to save them money.

What was your motivation? I enjoy teaching children and after working as a tutor for a year I wanted to run my own business. I can control my working hours and I can be more creative with planning the lessons. Furthermore, teaching is very rewarding and no day is the same. How did Business Launchpad help? It’s given me the right information and resources to start a successful business. My business counsellor has shown

me areas where I can save money and how I can get cheaper premises and encouraged opportunities to network with other like-minded business owners. The seminars and short courses have helped me plan my business and do my research.

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BUSINESS LAUNCHPAD

TALK STRATEGY

VERA ACHEMPON, FOUNDER OF VEKRAS ACCESSORIES Vekras Accessories is a jewellery and accessories business. All jewellery and accessories are delicately handcrafted using a wide range of vibrant African-inspired prints combined with Western fabrics, using original ideas. What was your motivation? My motivation came from making jewellery and accessories during my spare time at university. It

started off merely as a hobby that I had been doing for five years before deciding to turn my passion into a business. At the same time, finding a job was extremely difficult. How did Business Launchpad help? I was after some mentoring and advice on how to move my business to the next stage. I decided to attend a business Launchpad workshop seminar, which was very helpful. We received a clear business plan format

and workbook focusing on key areas of the business. The business counselling sessions with my counsellor have been really helpful for identifying strengths and weaknesses and setting targets on a one-to-one basis to move forward.

LISA OLAOFE, FOUNDER OF IDEAL GIFT SERVICE Ideal Gift Service is a gift design company, specialising in bespoke gift creations for special occasions, like nappy cakes, hampers, unique kids’ party bags and gift sourcing. What was your motivation? Ideal Gift Service was born out of a passion for creating unique and sometimes personalised gift items for my family and friends. Having

become a mother, I decided a business of my own would afford me the time to invest in my home and children. How did Business Launchpad help? I came to Business Launchpad with a passion and to seek some business advice. I have received a lot more than I bargained for because working with my business counsellor has helped me turn what was simply a hobby into a business.

What has impressed me the most is that my business counsellor has taken the time to understand who I am and what motivates me so that this can be translated into the business. Contact: businesslaunchpad.org.uk

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31/10/2013 14:33


ADAM CAPLAN

TALK STRATEGY

Great customer service pays off his article was written while I was delivering a three-day customer service workshop for Edinburgh Airport. It occurred to me that many people are only partly aware of the benefits of delivering good customer service. Good customer service means happy customers that will return and spread the word about your company. And when problems can’t be avoided; it’s about the complaining customer going away feeling happy that the situation was resolved. There are companies and businesses that offer great customer service and those who “get by” with their customer service. A recent survey by Which? magazine rated Ryanair the lowest provider of customer service, and having heard a number of horror stories I can understand why. In the same survey, British Airways was the highest scoring travel

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This month sales author and coach, Adam Caplan says: Love your customers and they will love you back

firm. More expensive but a better travel experience, in my opinion. Is it the case that the lower price charged, the lower the level of customer service given? Should that be so? Is it the case that if you offer high quality customer service and a better customer experience, you can charge more for your service? Look at the success story of Apple; a Mac is more expensive than a like-for-like PC. Is the product better? Does it look better? I’ve been an Apple customer for nearly ten years, the products are much more expensive but I think they last longer. I have, on occasion needed customer support, and every query was handled excellently; they offered free replacements, offered vouchers

Good customer service means happy customers that will return and spread the word about your company

to make me happier – superb. I think better customer service equals bigger prices. I went to Gleneagles, a luxury hotel in Scotland, earlier this year and on our departure, we had asked them to book a local taxi to take us back to Edinburgh airport and advised that we needed a large sevenseater as we had golf clubs, etc. A standard car arrived and, as it was Monday morning and there were no other taxis available for over an hour. This meant we would miss our flight. There were no alternative options other than taxi and we were getting concerned. The manager of the hotel took charge, asked the head of the equestrian centre to help and he drove us to the airport in a spare limousine. There was no charge. Now that’s service!

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TALK STRATEGY ADAM CAPLAN

In between the Gleneagles experience of total customer service and the vacuum of customer service that Ryanair offer, is the whole range of potential customer service levels. Where are you going to place your business? What is your attitude towards customer service? I’d like to share with you a couple of customer service experiences from Edinburgh to illustrate what I am driving at. My first customer service challenge came at Heathrow T5 business car parking. This is the area where those technologically amazing driverless pods take you from the car park, over to the terminal. They are very much like being in the original Total Recall robotic taxis. The cost is a little more than the standard long stay, but much more fun. That is, if the pods are working, which in this instance, they were not. I arrived at the pod station to find nine businessmen looking at their phones, waiting. The pods were queued up with their hazard lights blinking. I asked the attendant what my options were. He advised me that a bus was coming but said that if I wanted, he’d upgrade me to short stay at no extra charge. Needless to say I took that option and moved my car closer to the airport. Will I use the Heathrow T5 business car parking again? Yes, because I know that if there’s a problem, I’ll get upgraded to the short stay car park, so I can book with confidence. Then that evening I walked into Edinburgh to find a place to eat and chanced upon a restaurant called Shebeen. It’s run by an Afrikaner called Corne Van Jaarsvelv. He’s a quite inspirational. Having suffered from a brain tumor in his late twenties, he decided

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that he shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to realise his dream of running his own restaurant. And what a restaurant. The surroundings are pretty authentic, which means utilitarian, the food, however, is phenomenal. Upon lengthy conversation with Corne, I found out what makes his food just so fantastic. It’s simply that he believes in giving the customer the absolute best and personally ensures that this happens. The cows are bred at a farm he is partnered with. He hangs them for five weeks himself, checks them himself and makes the steaks himself. Then he and his chef cook it on the authentic South African braai. I watched him make himself available to every single customer that walked through the door and he spent time talking to them and getting to know them. And there were plenty he spoke to as if they were regulars and old friends. By the end of the second night I felt like I was one as well. Corne made such an effort to ensure I was happy. Would I go back? Definitely. Would I recommend the restaurant? Yes, here’s the website: shebeenbar.co.uk So, the moral is: love your customers and they will love you. You will get more customers, and will be able to charge more for your service. That is how you build a thriving business.

I think better customer service equals bigger prices

Contact: cellularattitude.co.uk Adam Caplan runs international sales training company Cellular Attitude, as well as his sales recruitment company Unique Sales Professionals based in Leicester Square.

NOVEMBER 2013

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ADVICE

TALK STRATEGY

The Sales Doctor

Sales doctor Tony Morris discusses how to make the move from customer services into sales

Q: A:

Dear Sales Doctor, I have been in customer service for as long as I can remember, but I’m considering the move into sales. How can I do this? And what personality do I need to have or can everything be learnt?

It’s an interesting question and something I rarely get asked; as customer service is a different beast to sales. My first question to you is; what has prompted this change? Be sure you know exactly what your reasons are for moving into sales, as this is the first thing that will be asked by any competent sales recruitment consultant. You will need to have a clear and concise answer that will demonstrate your ambition and desire, as opposed to highlighting negative feelings towards customer service. You’ll need to decide which sales role appeals to you. Would you rather be selling over the phone or would you prefer to be face to face? If over the phone, would you rather take inbound calls or be proactive and make outbound calls? If you decide on face to face, then you need to decide the type of sales that is of interest. You can either look at a retail environment that is all business to consumer (B2C) or go out on appointments in a business-to-business environment (B2B). These decisions should be based on what motivates you, what interests you and most importantly, where you feel your strengths lie. To answer your question about what personality you

need is a difficult question to answer. People buy from people who are like them; therefore the most successful type of salesperson is like a chameleon and is able to adapt to fit in with their environment. The technique is described as “matching” or “mirroring”, where you quite literally copy the prospect’s behaviour; for example, if they are very direct, then you are very direct. Like everything in life, this skill takes time to learn and develop. Finally, you asked if everything can be learnt. People have often debated, can you teach someone to sell or are you just born as a natural salesperson? As the owner of Sales Doctor, a successful sales training company, I would be pretty foolish to preach that you cannot teach a person how to sell; however I would argue that some people are born with what’s described as the “gift of gab” and have a natural gift at persuading and influencing others. That said, I know you can learn the skills and techniques to sell, as I have helped in excess of three thousand people achieve great things and I assure you they were far from natural. As you have many years’ experience in customer service, you will be able to transfer a lot of the skills required over to sales. If you have been successful in customer service, you have probably mastered the art of listening and therefore will go far. 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: tony-morris.co.uk

Need a diagnosis?

Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ‘FAO the sales doctor’: dawn.murden@ astongreenlake.com

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Bradford: 01274 792415 Mobile: 07455 446959 Web: www.rsandb.co.uk Email:lee@rsandb.co.uk

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APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME

Support Charlie’s bill

Talk Business spoke to Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, about the Apprenticeship Scheme Bill he is fighting to get through Government

harlie Mullins knows a lot about apprentices, because he was one. At 15 he left school with no qualifications and begun working with the local plumber, before enrolling on a formal plumbers apprenticeship. His apprenticeship gave him the tools and skills to become a plumber; he then later set up his own company, Pimlico Plumbers. Established in 1979, the Pimlico Group now has a workforce of more than 200, 160 branded vehicles on the road and a turnover in the excess of £18 million. ‘My success is due to my apprenticeship,’ Charlie admits. That’s why for five years Charlie has been tirelessly

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campaigning to get a national apprentice scheme implemented by the Government. ‘It’s a no brainer to me,’ he says. ‘A national standard apprenticeship scheme will help thousands of youngsters get into work. ‘Our country does not do enough to help young people.’ Charlie takes on apprentices every year at Pimlico, and believes the way to increase apprenticeship opportunities and reduce youth unemployment in the UK is for the Government to pay Job Seekers Allowance direct to the employer. The employer can then use this to go towards a salary for the apprentice, and rather than just receiving around £56.80 a week, the person will be

As well as talking to David Cameron and George Osborne directly, he spoke at the Conservative conference in Manchester

TALK STRATEGY

learning skills to further their career. There are already well over 1,000 signatures on the petition on Pimlico Plumbers website, and Charlie has been in talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, at 10 Downing Street. ‘We’ve made some great progress,’ Charlie says. ‘The right people are starting to take notice, but sometimes it feels like we’re going round in circles. ‘I don’t want to beat around the bush, I want to get this scheme in place now – there are almost a million youngsters unemployed and I believe this scheme will cut that number by half.’ As well as talking to David Cameron and George Osborne directly, he spoke at the Conservative conference in Manchester, with Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock. ‘People stood up and said they believed in what we were saying,’ Charlie said. ‘The Government needs to listen to us – I can’t understand what is taking so long to implement this scheme.’ Now Charlie has teamed up with Matthew Hancock and Lottie Dexter, director of the unemployment campaign, Million Jobs, who are both dedicated to reducing youth unemployment. Charlie said apprenticeships are not just an important part of reducing youth unemployment but that they are also for great for SMEs. ‘We have to keep things going, there will be people leaving your workforce and you need to replace them,’ he said. ‘The youth are the future, they can help close the skills shortage – mould them to be a part of your team.’ To sign Charlie’s petition or find out more, visit: tinyurl.com/ pimlicoplumberspetition

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hristmas is nearly here and ‘tis the season to be giving. But so many businesses are so worried about selling that they forget to give. In fact, every year, it seems that the shops start to put out the Christmas displays earlier and earlier. I’m certain I saw ornaments in July! For many businesses, this is the time of year where they make the majority of their sales. So it’s no wonder they want to kick start the season as soon as possible and sell, sell, sell. But what most businesses don’t understand is the power of giving to your audience first, so that you don’t need to work so hard to convince them to buy later. Let me explain by sharing my theory of “givers and takers”. It applies for all relationships, not just business relationships, and it goes like this... In life, there are times where we all give and we all take, but we are never doing these things equally. We are all primarily either a giver or a taker. So which relationships work best? Takers never go with other takers. They are both trying to take from one another and neither has anything to give. So they move on immediately.

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mARKETING

Give to receive Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, says give something nice away and you’ll get something back Give first and watch it come back to you many times over

Takers go with givers and givers go with takers, because one person enjoys doing something nice for the other person,and the other person loves being showered with lovely things. However, sooner or later, the giver realises that they aren’t getting much out of this relationship. They see how one-sided things are and they become bitter - and ultimately the relationship breaks down. So while it may work in the short term, these relationships are almost always bound to fail. The very best relationships, whether it be friendships, romantic, or business related, are the ones that are all about putting givers with givers. Where both parties are always supporting one another because they genuinely care about each other. These are your marriages that last 50-plus happy years, your best friends, and your high paying, high quality customers. So, for a happy relationship with your customers, learn how to give first. Whether it’s a free sample of your product or a free download on your

website, like the free guide I give away on mine. Make sure you give something of value. The item you give is going to help to establish that you are an expert in your field and build trust in the relationship. So go on, be a giver this holiday season. Give first and watch it come back to you many times over. Happy holidays!

Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, author and speaker. Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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31/10/2013 15:05


SOCIAL MEDIA

TALK MARKETING

The death of

acebook

espite being worth around £6 billion, the question being asked by bloggers, social media savvys and your regular Joe(anne) Blogs is: “Is Facebook dying?” Of course this won’t happen overnight, but many are claiming it’s reached saturation point and are wondering if it will go the same way as MySpace. Is there any particular audience getting fed up with Facebook? Research has found teens have “waning enthusiasm” towards the site. The Pew Report found teens dislike the incessant over-sharing, but more importantly it showed they are peeved their parents are on Facebook. Twitter has seen a 16% increase in teenage users, and more 13-18 year olds use Tumblr (61%) than Facebook (55%). Do young people want a parent-free playground when it comes to social media?

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1. NATALIE RINCON, 18 DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA? Yes, Facebook and Twitter. DO YOU THINK FACEBOOK IS DYING? It will die out, less people are using it and there are a lot of other choices out there. It will end up like MySpace. ARE YOU PEEVED YOUR PARENTS ARE ON FACEBOOK? It doesn’t bother me, but it does bother other people.

Should you target young people on Facebook? Dawn Murden asks young people if they think Facebook is dying

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2. JAMIE GRAHAM, 18 WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA DO YOU USE? Facebook and Flickr, but I haven’t got Twitter yet. WOULD YOU SAY FACEBOOK IS DYING? No, it’s still relevant. ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR PARENTS ON FACEBOOK? Yes, but it doesn’t really bother me – you can pick and choose what you share anyway, you can give certain friends a limited view of your profile. 3. TOM HOPKINS, 19 WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE? Twitter. ARE YOU GETTING FED UP OF FACEBOOK? IF SO WHY? It has too many adverts and random pages. There are pages I liked on there when I was 12 – it feels really out of date. ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR PARENTS ON FACEBOOK? Sort of... I have two Facebooks - one for friends and the other for family, but I don’t even use the family one. I don’t want them snooping! 4. DORA PRIBELSZKI, 22 HOW LONG HAVE YOU USED FACEBOOK FOR? About five years.

WHAT DO YOU USE IT FOR? Communication – I see it as a huge telephone book. It helps me keep in touch with everyone in the UK and internationally. DO YOU THINK FACEBOOK IS DYING? It is getting less trendy as everyone is on it. Mums, dads, etc., they are all on there – whereas before it seemed more exclusive. WILL FACEBOOK FIGHT BACK? Yes, I’m sure it will transform itself. It’s already adding new features. I see statuses like “Reading a book – feeling really sad – at college.” However, I don’t know why I need to know all that!

Talk Business Tip Why should you be thinking about this? If your audience is dropping like flies from Facebook, then don’t put all you marketing eggs in that basket. If they are fed up with Facebook find out where they’re going instead with market research. Research taken from: Pew, SocialBakers.

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31/10/2013 15:14


TEN STEPS OF TWITTER

TALK MARKETING

Ten steps of Twitter Step one: quantity not quality

Dawn Murden sets out to improve the Talk Business Twitter – follow our journey and improve yours too ocial media is an essential tool for any SME looking for wide exposure with a small budget. I‘ve spoken to many entrepreneurs who say social media has been an influential game changer for them. Some have even confessed that, without it, their business might not be where it is today. As an editor, and in my personal life, I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on. And I think I use them pretty well. So, when I came to Talk Business I took over our Twitter, and at the time it had just 1,800 followers, a number which did not represent our large readership. So I made it my mission to increase our activity – I tweeted about SME news, entered conversations with you, our readers, famous entrepreneurs and start-ups. I ran competitions and posted pictures, and at the time of writing we have 3,711 followers, a number we endeavour to keep growing.

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But I confess my bag of tricks is almost empty, and I imagine some of you feel the same. I needed the help of a professional social media whizz, someone who could easily communicate his or her expertise to me, which I could then put in practice on our Twitter, which you could then follow. It’s not just any old case study; we, Talk Business are the guinea pigs and you can follow our journey. First, I needed to find help. After digging through contacts, I called upon Joel Windels, marketing manager of EMEA Brandwatch, one of the world's leading social media analytics platforms. With a background in journalism and the video games industry, Joel is responsible for Brandwatch's global PR and social strategy, as well as overseeing events, demand generation and other marketing initiatives in the EMEA region. He helps show clients how they can use the power of online conversation to enhance business operations. When Joel and I met he congratulated me on what I’d achieved so far, but said; ‘It’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality.’ In other words it’s not how many followers you

It’s not how many followers you have, it’s about who’s following you have, it’s about who’s following you, and it’s not about how much you tweet, it’s about what you tweet. First thing was first – I had to measure our influence and interaction on Twitter. So Joel set me up on the Brandwatch tools so I could measure our data, look at who’s following us, and what our followers like the best about us; i.e. what tweets work best, be it pictures, news, links, videos or so on. For the next month I’ll be measuring our data and reporting back to Joel. He said; ‘Carry on as normal, then we can measure how what you’re currently doing works.’ Next month in step two, we’ll talk through the data and set some goals. Brandwatch solutions are used by leading brands and agencies around the globe, including organisations such as Dell, Kellogg’s, and Digitas. Contact: brandwatch.com

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SMS

TALK MARKETING

Do texts work in marketing? SMS remains an indispensable business communication and marketing tool, says Pieter Streicher, managing director of text provider, BulkSMS

MS is a well-received technology that people understand. It is quick, easy and low cost, and as a business communications tool, more and more companies are leveraging its operational benefits. SMS has retained its value to businesses despite the emergence of instant messaging (IM) applications such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. IM may have great advantages for the consumer market, but it falls short as an effective tool for businesses. This is due to the fact these applications can only support person-to-person (P2P) messaging. This excludes the use of application-to-person (A2P) messaging, which allows businesses to send messages directly from their systems to a targeted database. Many companies have adopted IM platforms, such as Skype or iChat, but they are used primarily as internal communication networks, allowing employees to share ideas and best practice in an enterprise environment. Even the IM services with the broadest reach or the most

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familiar branding have their drawbacks. Take Facebook Messenger for instance, which has experienced rapid uptake on mobile, but can only support P2P messaging. Businesses are increasingly adopting A2P where the messaging is integrated into back-office systems and can be triggered automatically, saving time and keeping operational costs down. As well as the efficiencies A2P messaging makes possible, it’s in its value as a customer care tool that it really enhances relationships with customers. You only have to imagine the time taken in trying to contact customers by phone, leaving voice mails if they’re not around and never knowing if the message was listened to in order to appreciate a text message. It’s instantly received, opened, and read by a customer, making the whole customer contact process faster and more efficient. SMS is now integral to both automated and manual business processes, whether upstream to consumers and clients or downstream to suppliers.

Many companies have adopted IM platforms, such as Skype or iChat, but they are used primarily as internal communication

Unlike mobile-IM, SMS is a form of communication that is not reliant on an IP-connection and is a standard feature on all mobile phones. SMS also offers businesses a degree of security. A2P messaging has been widely adopted by banks and credit card companies issuing onetime passwords (OTPs) for transaction verifications, which are then entered onto

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TALK MARKETING SMS

a webpage. OTPs are also used outside the financial services industry to verify a customer for online transactions. Text messaging supports the security of e-commerce sites while providing peace of mind and reassurance to the customer receiving the code.   To take full advantage of A2P messaging, companies should also be mindful of who they’re targeting and how they go about constructing their database. Target message recipients must be given the choice to be kept in or out of the database. Companies need to ensure the opt-in process is simple and straightforward. If a recipient wants out, the process to decline the service has to be as easy as replying STOP to a message. Customer acquisition through an opt-in process is an important consideration of any mobile marketing campaign. This process creates a targeted, permission-based audience, one that will be receptive to timely, relevant and useful communication. This adds to the customer relationship management (CRM) activities of a business and builds customer loyalty. The SMS is an adaptable communication tool; costeffective and swift to deploy. For marketers, it can enhance customer relationships, build loyalty and drive traffic and responses at a cost per message which is attractive to any size of budget. For logistics operators, it’s a robust medium for ensuring the timely undertaking of tasks, deliveries, orders and the many elements in the value chain, which are timedependent and require human

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In profile Pieter Streicher is managing director of BulkSMS.com, an SMS messaging service provider, offering two-way SMS communication services straight from your internet-enabled computer. The BulkSMS gateway reaches across borders and connects to more than 800 mobile network operators worldwide.

The SMS is an adaptable communication tool; costeffective and swift to deploy

intervention to confirm their completion or trigger the next stage. For service providers of any description – but particularly within the patient-surgery relationship – it’s an easy way to ensure appointments are kept and no time is wasted in handling appointment schedules. For all users it also offers its own audit trail – an automated filing system keeping a precise record of what message was sent to who, when, and what the response was. Mobile IM may have captured the public’s imagination, but these messaging applications have a limited role to play when it comes to business. P2P messaging is primarily a

consumer proposition – it simply doesn’t have the same reach as A2P messaging, which is more applicable to the needs of a business. Contact: bulksms.co.uk

Figures for thought • 96% of smartphone users use SMS • 150 – the number of times the average person looks at their phone per day • 98% of text messages are read, compared to 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts

NOVEMBER 2013

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THREE REASONS TO Outsource Your Payroll A s a small business owner, time is your most valuable resource. In fact, it’s one of the biggest frustrations entrepreneurs like you, have. There’s just never enough time to plough through all the pressing tasks, and your to-do list just keeps growing with all the ideas you generate to take your business forward. But what’s even more frustrating is when you have to make time to do those tasks you know are superimportant, but lie outside of your core skillset. And unless you’re a numbers’ whizz, payroll probably falls into that category.

“Fast service, really easy to work with, a massive burden lifted! Thanks.” - Dan Harrison WP Doctors Ltd. So if you’re still carrying the headache of sorting your own payroll, keep reading and I’ll reveal three reasons why it makes sense to outsource it: 1. It’s far more efficient If you’re a business owner, doing your own payroll is an inefficient use of your time. And even if you’ve honed your routine so you complete the job fairly quickly, it’s still time that you could invest back into your business doing the high-value activities only you can do. 2. Offload the stress As you know, it’s vitally important to process your payroll accurately.

“Our Pre-Nursery’s wages have been managed by T.I. Payroll for many years now. It saves me time, money and a great deal of stress leaving them to sort through the complexities of tax, N.I. etc and advising us when we need it. A quick, straight forward and efficient service!” - Nicky Brewerton, Ramsden Infant School

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If you make errors you could end up with disgruntled employees, a stern letter from HMRC or even hefty fines. But as you know, it’s not always that straightforward. Payroll becomes a lot more complicated when you have to factor in less common events such as sick and holiday pay, along with student loan repayments, paternity leave and other employee specific circumstances. In addition, when HMRC implement changes as they did with RTI this year, you have to make the time to ensure you fully understand the implications so you can stay compliant and avoid costly mistakes. But teaching yourself new processes or independently learning how changes affect your business can be a headache. In comparison, once you’ve outsourced your payroll, new changes are no longer your problem. Furthermore you won’t have to faff around with those unusual payroll requests. Instead you can relax knowing someone else is working hard on your behalf.

3. It’s cost-effective: As a smart business owner, you will make decisions based on how they impact your bottom line. And the thing about outsourcing payroll is it’s not as expensive as you think. In fact, if your business employs less than ten people, you can outsource your payroll for as little as £21 per month. And if your own hourly rate is worth more than that, surely it’s an absolute no-brainer?

of enthusiastic specialists, you’ll benefit from straightforward, expert advice along with clear, all-inclusive pricing. “Our aim is to cut through the confusion and take away the pain of payroll to ensure you’re always up to date and on top of your responsibilities as an employer. And because we understand the mechanics behind the payroll calculations, you can be sure your payslips will always be error free.” Tracy Irwin – TI Payroll

“TI Payroll offers a payroll service at exceptional value. Tracy is always up to speed on the latest legal requirement and changes to payroll legislation and is happy to share that knowledge with her clients. I recommend TI Payroll highly!” - Colin Garnett, Red Abbey Web Design To learn more about the benefits of outsourcing and the cost-effective payroll services available from Tracy and her team, visit www. tipayroll.co.uk/payroll. And if you’d like to outsource your payroll now, we’re offering Talk Business readers three months for the price of two. To book this special offer simply call 01229 490564 or email payroll@tipayroll.co.uk and quote TALKBUSINESS. We can’t wait to take payroll off your hands.

Why outsource your payroll to TI Payroll and Accounting? TI Payroll and Accounting is a highly skilled, award-winning company with over 20 years’ experience in handling payroll for small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. When you work with Tracy and her hardworking team

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MY INTERN My first intern started in September; his name is Adrian and he’s doing great so far. He’s just finished college and he won his place with us through our Employability Academy, a scheme where we go into colleges and teach skills to a group to help develop their career heads. Adrian trained with 19 other students for 12 weeks, and at the end he was rewarded with an internship with us. GETTING A CAREER A career is governed by getting work, but without certain skills, initially getting that work can be hard – it’s a catch-22. I think apprenticeships and internships are important to give young people the opportunity to gain those skills to get them into work. The training within our academy enhances and helps students, and then we reward one winning intern with the hands-on experience of the company. REAL SKILLS I think too much work experience is centred on making teas or picking up a broom. Adrian is moving around to different departments and

PEOPLE

The Employability Academy Lee McQueen, founder of Raw Talent Academy and BBC’s Apprentice season four winner, tells us how the student becomes the teacher A career is governed by getting work, but without certain skills, initially getting that work can be hard

working on different projects; he’s selling, learning about marketing, and delivery. He’s also integrating our new CRM system, and canvassing students for a video we’re making. I’m paying him a wage. This, is of course, down to the discretion of the company, but I feel an intern should be rewarded for the hard work they do. THE NEXT GENERATION I’m a huge advocate of apprenticeships and internships, and I think they are a no brainer for companies. To be honest, I have a bee in my bonnet about them as I really don’t think we, in the UK, do enough to help young people. I think some colleges nanny students a bit – we need to make students more proactive, get them out there learning and doing things – and internships and apprenticeships are perfect for this. They are a great alternative to university, or after/alongside university.

THE RETAIL TRAP Lots of young people end up in retail, which is a great industry, don’t get me wrong, but too many people have a part-time job and stay on, simply because they haven’t got a way to acquire the skills for something else. And some graduates have a degree but cannot find work without certain skills. GET AN INTERN OR APPRENTICE Some companies may think twice about getting an intern, but they do not need to be babysat – choose the right person and they will be proactive. There are always jobs to be done and you can both make the best of it. I’m happy for Adrian to stay as long as he likes. If he finds a niche within the company, you never know, he could be here indefinitely. However if he decides to move on to a job or go to university, I will wish him the best of luck. Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur E llie Kelly founded Buttons Children’s Parties in 2011. Buttons is a children’s entertainment and party planning company that offers everything from party bags to venue styling, and adventure story to chocolate-making parties for private birthday parties and larger corporate events. DAY 1: ALL MADE UP As well as replying to emails, and keeping on top of the dayto-day admin, today is also staff training day. Every few months all eight of us get together to work on an element of the Buttons parties. This includes everything from updating Criminal Record Bureau checks to practising new adventures and crafts. Today though, we do face painting! Most of the team have been on a face painting course but those who haven’t get inhouse training from myself as I have been on a few and learnt lots of techniques. We practice the most popular faces, such as butterflies and tigers and also play around with new ideas and patterns that the children have inspired us to try out. DAY 2: PLANNING AHEAD Today I’m working on Christmas parties and planning for next summer so, with that,

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Ellie Kelly, founder of Buttons Children’s Parties, reveals a typical week of fun and games, chocolate and crafting

I’m working on Christmas parties and planning for next summer, so now feel like having a glass of mulled wine on the beach

I now feel like having a glass of mulled wine on the beach! I start the day by researching and gathering inspiration for our forthcoming Christmas corporate events. We are fully theming a few offices in London this year so I’m planning what I’m going to buy and make, to turn the venues from bland to magical. Once that is done and I’m Pintrest-ed out, I move on to catching up with past clients who I hope to be working with again next year. One of these includes the events team at Goodwood in Chichester for the Festival of Speed. We ran the children’s craft table there this year and, fingers crossed, we will be doing the same next year.

DAY 3: ART ATTACK Today is one of my blogging days. I blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays about all different topics, from party tips to baking recipes for people to attempt with their kids, while all the time showcasing Buttons parties and crafts. Today I’m making a pretty paper wreath for the office. I start by getting all my materials into natural light to get some

nice photos and then start crafting. I stop a few times during the project to take photos and, when I’m done, I load them on to a programme called Blogstomp where I can arrange and group them and then write information to go with them before hitting the publish button. I love any day that includes crafting! DAY 4: MEETING AND GREETING Today is all about the meetings. I have one with my PR agency at 10am about our plans for the next few months, and then it’s back home to check a few emails before an interview in a local café in Fleet. I am always looking out for new party leaders, and today’s applicant is full of fun with lots of experience so they will be coming out to see a party in full swing with me so we can both see how it fits and, if all goes well, they will start training, which takes about a month. I pick up a few party supplies while in town and then see a venue with a client. We are dressing the party tables and adding theming to the venue. It was a beautiful home with stunning features so we will be

NOVEMBER 2013

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enhancing those with low key and beautiful fairy touches such as paper pompoms, bunting bespoke welcome signs, ribbons and pearl balloons.

The party is a big hit and I spy quite a bit of sneaky eating of the chocolate decorations! DAY 5: PARTY PEOPLE I’m up early today to finish packing boxes and loading the car. I have a chocolate-making party in South Kensington this morning for a group of 12 eight-year-olds, followed by a fun and games party this afternoon in Surrey for 20 five-year-olds. London traffic is a bit unpredictable so I always leave early and take a book. My party days are never the same and today is a typical portrayal of that. The party is a big hit and I spy quite a bit of sneaky eating of the chocolate decorations! Everyone leaves with a bag full of hand dipped and decorated truffles and a giant chocolate button. At the next party, we play lots of games and I make all the children a balloon model to take home. Now all that is left for me to do is put my feet up and chill out with some TV and leftover truffles – one of the many perks of the job!

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Q&A

TALK PEOPLE

The daily grind Mike Tait, chief executive of eZe-Talk Telecoms, reveals his ultimate business tip and what he’d take on a desert island e grilled Mike Tait, the chief executive of eZeTalk Telecoms, which provides business telecommunications solutions, including calls, broadband and VoIP.

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WHEN WAS THE COMPANY FOUNDED? We began trading in 2000. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS? We were all involved within various sectors of the telecoms industry and realised that with our combined skill sets we could launch a different type of provider. Both mine and business partner, Steve Walsh’s vision for the company has always been for it to become a significant player in the converged communication market, offering competitive products but with commercials that ensure profitability. WHAT’S YOUR TURNOVER, PROFIT, GROWTH RATE, AND SO ON? This year’s consolidated turnover is circa £4.5 million with EBITDA of around

£900,000. We’re one of the fastest growing independent telecom service providers in the UK. Last year we won the UK Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award for the second year running and the Deloitte Fast 500 for the fourth year running – this is a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? All of the team worked harder and we committed to more resources, including personal funds. DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY ETHOS IN NO MORE THAN SIX WORDS... Deliver service you’d want to receive. WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE EVER READ? Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR, AND WHY? Red. It was my house colour while I was at school and also an iconic Ferrari colour.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRET OBSESSIONS? Well if I told you, they wouldn’t be a secret!

Have your business plan subjected to scrutiny by NAME ONE THING YOU’D a qualified TAKE ON A DESERT ISLAND... third party

An iPad with a Solar charge case or a wind up MP3 player. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE TIP TO THOSE STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS? Have your business plan subjected to scrutiny by a qualified third party, and remember cashflow can kill a good business idea so make sure you have sufficient funding in place to cover all eventualities before you start.

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HR INSIGHT

TALK PEOPLE

RECRUIT RIGHT Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, discusses the different methods of recruiting ARE CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS ENOUGH ANYMORE? Most employers would consider that their recruitment processes are pretty well developed and, against where we all used to be, they probably are. We’ve certainly come a long way in the past few years. At one time or another, we have probably all made recruitment decisions which we later regret, but during the recruitment process we are now much more aware of the behaviours and attitudes that will make the person succeed in the job role, team or the wider organisational culture. PSYCHOMETRIC ASSESSMENTS Equally acclaimed as they are criticised, but what do they really do? There are a number of different types of psychometric assessments, many of which are well known, but generally they all operate in the same way with a candidate acknowledging a word, phrase or sentence closely linked to them. Using algorithms, the candidate’s profile is then automatically generated. This profile can reveal key aspects of their preferred behaviours, including whether they’re a team player or a creative thinker. The attributes you are

been turning to simulation to see what they can learn about the candidate’s behaviour in “real-time”. Simulations generally come in two forms, both computer-based. However, one has a computer based scoring system and the other includes observation by qualified practitioners. So how does it work? Candidates are given information regarding a fictitious company prior to the assessment and then at a given time, log-on and the assessment begins. It can involve managing emails, phone calls, conference calls and interpreting data. During the simulation, it is possible to see how the individual reacts to information, makes decisions, applies their judgment and interacts with people – all in real time.

looking for in the post-holder should determine which profile is the most appealing. ASSESSMENT CENTRES These provide employers with an opportunity to observe candidates through a series of scenario-based challenges, allowing key competencies to be examined first hand. The employer decides the design of the assessment. A mixture of individual and group assessments can give a good insight into an applicant’s personality. Group assessments can create a fun and collaborative environment allowing you to see how applicants engage with others and how they cope under pressure. These often provide insightful and surprising results. The benefit of assessments is that they allow you to view more candidates in a shorter period of time than traditional first and second interviews, they also give employers a real sense of the person they are selecting and perhaps more importantly, help eliminate any potential misfits. They can be set up anywhere, easily and cost effectively. SIMULATIONS In recent years, as the requirement for us to make the right people decisions has become essential, especially in senior posts, employers have

Interviewers today do need to be trained about what they can and can’t say

THE INTERVIEW As long as interviews are managed in a structured way, they are still the most popular and potentially useful method of assessment, and I would strongly recommend they be incorporated into the recruitment process. Interviewers today do need to be trained about what they can and can’t say (to avoid tribunal claims), but it is the ideal way for both parties to gather, confirm or offer more information to the other.

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at £50,000. We always require personal guarantees from the Directors and / or shareholders of the company seeking the loan. We provide start-up’s with any free mentoring, support and guidance we feel they need. This is to ensure their business is at the right stage to apply for funding through our platform. Lots of different lenders pledge lots of businesses small amounts of money, (starting from as little as £20), at an interest rate they choose. Once a business loan request is fulfilled and the borrower accepts the loan, we manage all the paperwork, transfer of funds, monthly repayments and the assignment of relevant funds back to the lenders. Our platform provides businesses with a potentially fast, exciting and new route to securing funding they need whilst providing lenders with a platform where they could earn a better return on their money. More detailed information can be found at www.fundingempire.com or by emailing us at enquiries@fundingempire.com

01/11/2013 10:21


EVENTS

TALK PEOPLE

eCommerce Expo 2013 he 2013 eCommerce Expo took place last month on 2-3 October at Olympia in London. The event is dedicated to all aspects of selling online. As well as the expo, the company which organises the event – UBM, a global events-led marketing and communications services business – also hold the annual eCommerce Awards. The Best Product at eCommerce Expo Award was decided at the expo by mystery shoppers perusing the stands and asking questions of the representatives manning them. We caught up with one of the mystery shoppers to find out about the finalists, and the event itself.

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HOW DID THE MYSTERY SHOPPING WORK, AND HAVE YOU EVER DONE IT BEFORE? No, never done it before. I had a list of 10 finalists and information about the company and product. Then on the day, I had two and a half hours to make my round to each of their stands.

Talk Business chatted to one of the 2013 eCommerce Expo mystery shoppers, who gave us the low down on this years event I was told to focus on the products rather than the people managing the stands, and was left to come up with my own questions. WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS DID YOU ASK? I spent around 15 minutes at each stand and I asked them what their product was, what it did, how it would benefit companies and got them to go into more detail. I concentrated on finding out how unique the product was, its benefits and how innovative it was. HOW DID YOU RANK THE COMPANIES? I gave each one a score between 1-10. I found I ranked the bigger companies lower, because even though their stands looked professional and they’d won previous awards, I felt the innovation was low and

There were lots of great companies and I got plenty of ideas for my websites

I was just speaking to a sales guy on commission. With the SMEs, I got to speak to the real decision makers and directors, and their innovation and aspirations shone through. WHICH COMPANY WON? Yipiii made by LX Innovation. Their product was really good and they deserved to win – although they did have stiff competition. HOW DID YOU RATE THE EVENT ITSELF? It was organised really well; there were lots of great companies and I got plenty of ideas for my websites. Even if you’re not sure about your eCommerce strategy, you should go along just to have a chat and get ideas. I’ll definitely go back next year. Contact: ecommerceexpo.co.uk

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Gee, thanks veryone has heard the expression “It’s the thought that counts”, but when it comes to corporate gifting this is just not the case. It’s not about being spoilt or ungrateful, the reality is it’s about making a long-lasting impression on your valued clients or employees. Gifts convey a great deal about the giver to the receiver. Think about your personal experience - when Grandma gave you that truly awful jumper you thought: “She doesn’t know any better, this was the fashion in her day.” But what if your fashionable friend gave you the same jumper? Or what if a successful fashion/trend setting company sent you that jumper? Would you doubt their judgement, skills, etc? Of course everyone is different, and to coin another clichéd phrase: “One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”, but some gifts should be banned – forget the red ribbon, they need red tape around them.

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OUR TOP TEN NO-GO GIFTS (FROM BAD TO WORSE): 10. A CALENDAR/DIARY Those who religiously use diaries and calendars will already have their 2014 one ordered, or will be making use of it already. It

Dawn Murden discusses corporate gifting and how it’s not just the thought that counts will be styled to suit them and their business/personality. Diaries and calendars are fine thrown in from time to time – especially if they have a fashion/eco edge. 9. THE BRANDED POLO SHIRT Do you really know what size the receiver is? Do you want to ask? All hell could break loose when the lady you thought was an XL is really an M. Plus, when would they wear your shirt? Would it end up at a charity shop? 8. INADEQUATELY FUNDED GIFT CARDS What’s the point of putting £20 when everything in the shop is well over £40? Do they even like that shop? 7. FRISBEE A Frisbee with a logo or a “cool” phrase although a fun idea is not practical – unless you’re running a health campaign or own a kids brand. 6. DRINKS MAT Branded drinks mats too often look tacky and cheap. The cleaner sorts out the coffee rings at work, and why would they take it home? It doesn’t match the décor.

It’s about making a long-lasting impression on your valued clients or employees

5. THE BUSINESS MUG There’s no doubt they can be useful, but imagine how many cups get sent. A lot. And when there’s no room in the cupboard it could be yours going in the bin. 4. BRANDED USB DRIVE Nice tech idea but with the invention of free services like Dropbox, USBs are becoming obsolete. 3. PAPERWEIGHT Unless it’s a luxury ornament or a rare artefact – what’s the point of a paperweight? Who has a windy office anyway? 2. MOUSE MAT Most companies now use an LED mouse, which doesn’t require a mouse mat. 1. STRESS BALL Why would you want someone to squeeze a ball with your logo on it when they’re angry? They’ll associate you company with stress – worst idea.

If you like this, turn to page 105 for a few of our favourite corporate gifting ideas.

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BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

We feature the best locations in the UK for SMEs to meet clients, stay away on business and hold events, as well as hubs and offices to set up shop

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OFFICES AND HUBS BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, CHEAPSIDE Where? Located in the business district of Cheapside, London. What? A modern, cutting-edge business centre providing a large range of serviced office spaces for short and long term lease. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean the offices benefit from excellent natural light. Why choose Business Enviroment? One of Business Environment’s six central London offices, Cheapside offers fully serviced modern office space with free local and international calls and

super-fast dedicated – not shared – internet in each office. Full reception and maintenance services, flatscreen TVs, secure Wi-Fi, stocked kitchens, and 24-hour accessibility, are all included on flexible terms. Contact: beoffices.com MEET AND EAT KARPO Where? Euston Road, opposite Kings Cross St Pancras Station. What? Karpo is a neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Kings Cross. It serves modern European cuisine with a focus on seasonal

31/10/2013 15:54


LOCATIONS

food, and the menu changes regularly. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – and a series of small plates, cocktails and wines all day. Why choose Karpo? The restaurant is in a convenient location and open all day. The atmosphere is cosy and quiet – perfect for client and colleague meetings. The big tables will allow for laptops and notepads, on top of plenty of food. Staff are friendly, attentive and helpful, plus the food is delicious. Contact: karpo.co.uk AWAY ON BUSINESS DEEP BLUE APARTMENTS Where? 5,000 locations across the UK, including 265 in London, 71 in the Midlands and 32 in Scotland. What? Fully furnished apartments for business and leisure travellers as an alternative to hotel accommodation. Incorporating the flexibility of a hotel, serviced apartments have around three times the space; yet are 10-35% less expensive than equivalent hotel rooms. Why choose Deep Blue Apartments? They are a spacious “home from home” for an individual business traveller, partners or a family.

It has recently launched a “Flying Butler” service, which offers guests a range of personalised concierge services, including transfers to and from any London airport or station, and can provide you with a hamper filled with essentials on arrival. Contact: deepblue-apartments.com EVENTS AND GATHERINGS THE FELBRIDGE HOTEL & SPA Where? East Grinstead, West Sussex – 13-minutes drive from Gatwick airport. What? A four-star hotel bordering Sussex, Surrey and Kent offering an event location and meeting rooms hire. Main meeting room hire includes tea and coffee, pastries and biscuits, and a working lunch or two-course buffet in the Bay Tree restaurant. Wireless internet access, LCD data projector and screen, flipchart and stationary, mineral water and parking onsite is also included. Why choose Felbridge? There are 12 meeting/event rooms to choose, from small meeting rooms to the Grand Ballroom, so you can be sure there is something to suit your event. Contact: felbridgehotel.co.uk

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01/11/2013 13:53


CHRISTMAS CORPORATE GIFTING

TALK IMAGE

We love… This month we reveal our favourite corporate gift ideas for clients and employees. Enjoy!

GO GREEN Whether you’re giving to a special client or employees – plants are a fantastic gift. They’re environmentally friendly, inexpensive, long lasting and will brighten up any environment. Studies show plants can improve productivity in the office too! Plants4Presents has a great corporate selection. Contact: plants4presents.co.uk

RAISE THE STEAKS This Sous Chef hamper is perfect for meat lovers. It contains a connoisseur’s selection of condiments, including truffle butter to melt over a fillet, chilli salsa to spice up a rib eye, and a knife made by the company behind the Swiss Army knife. Sous Chef has plenty of other gift ideas too. Contact: souschef.co.uk

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING Are you looking for a selfless and generous gift that shows you’re an ethical eco-warrior? Oxfam has a range of corporate gifts, including buying goats and chickens for less fortunate farmers in third world countries. Contact: oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfamunwrapped/corporates

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Updating skills and learning something new is important – so reward your staff with a new skill this Christmas – from social media marketing to a new language. Give your employees a Hotcourse voucher for a specific course or let them choose from thousands of courses from degrees, diplomas and MBAs, to “just for fun” options. Contact: hotcourses.com

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31/10/2013 17:22


tECHNOLOGY

he news that Twitter is to float on the New York Stock Exchange prompted the same question from UK politicians and business editors alike: “When are we going to see a British equivalent?” There’s been a great deal of soul searching in the months following the announcement, particularly concerning the role the Government should play in developing Britain’s burgeoning tech scene. In a recent article, George Osborne pledged the coalition’s commitment to promoting the UK’s digital industries, saying: ‘Government doesn’t create entrepreneurs, but my job as Chancellor is to make sure we create the right environment for those entrepreneurs to succeed.’ Much has been made of this promise to lay the foundations for Britain’s digital future, but the reality is the policies put forward are so lightweight they fail to measure up to the overhaul that’s needed to reinvigorate British attitudes to tech. Regular readers will know my thoughts on Silicon Roundabout, the cluster of digital start-ups housed near Old Street tube station that, that if you believe what you hear, is set to become the epicentre for London’s new industrial revolution. Ask anyone serious about tech, however, and they’ll tell you it’s little more than a marketing gimmick, one that only pays lip service to the concerns of tech firms. As a Brit at the helm of a software company coheadquartered in California and Sheffield, when you’re out here it’s easy to see what sets the US apart from the rest. With dedicated institutions, such as Stamford and MIT on their doorstep, not to mention Harvard, Yale

T

Our resident tech expert David Richards talks about investing in the UK’s digital future and Berkley, US firms have their pick of the world’s most talented software developers. Changes have been made to the UK’s education system in an attempt to promote change at a grassroots level. From 2014, the new national curriculum will require that all students aged between five and 16 are given the skills they need to build apps and code computer programming. It’s a solid start, but one that fails to get to the root of the problem. If the Government harbours serious ambitions about developing the UK’s tech scene, it needs a longterm strategy that produces individuals able to cope with the rigors of industry – this appetite will never be met by 16-year-olds, nor by office space in east London. Instead, the UK has to invest in a British centre aimed at developing high-end graduates. India and Israel have both done just that, and are home to institutions that regularly churn out some of the world’s most cutting edge software engineers. Just a few months ago, the Israeli firm, Waze was sold to Google for $1.5bn, the sale declared a major milestone on the nation’s road to tech success, while any graduate from one of the highly regarded Indian institutes is likely to turn more heads in Silicon Valley

Not one of our universities provides the sector with what it needs

than the most diligent Oxbridge graduates. Britain has a tremendous reputation around the world for the strength of its education system, but not one of our universities provides the sector with what it needs – highly skilled technicians capable of measuring up to their US counterparts. Without equivalent measures, British tech is in danger of remaining in the dark ages as the rest of the world enjoys a digital revolution. The cornerstone for technology isn’t just infrastructure, but a knowledge economy capable of producing the talent that’s needed to found, innovate and grow tech firms. We need a centre in the UK backed by Government that produces the talent required to fuel the ambitions of making British tech a world-beater. Contact: wandisco.com

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

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01/11/2013 09:28


REMOTE WORKING

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Digitally closing the gap Can remote working solve the IT skills shortage in the UK? Ray McGroarty, global director for enterprise UC Solutions at Polycom, says yes survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that recently, IT and computing grew from the second to the first most indemand skills area in the UK. As demand for IT and computing candidates is increasing, the skills shortage becomes more acute. The knock-on effect of this is that companies have to offer higher financial remuneration to compete. For instance, the average salary for a vacant technology role in London has now risen to £48,307, compared to £38,274 a year ago. One of the main contributing factors to the current skills shortage has been the long-term lack of emphasis on computing degrees and qualifications, and experts predict that it will take approximately 20 years for the situation to be rectified by current educational policies. But what can SMEs do to combat this now? Finding qualified candidates suited to the role in the local area can prove a challenge for SMEs. However, with nearly

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one in five office workers indicating that they would move away from urban areas if they could work flexibly, SMEs could potentially recruit from a wider selection of candidates if more employees were offered the chance to work remotely. By doing so, many businesses (especially those based in London) would also achieve significant savings, as the national average salary for an IT professional outside the capital city is about £10,000 lower than in London. There’s also no reason why we couldn’t look outside the UK. Many organisations are already looking to hire individuals from nations which have a surplus of qualified young people. Brazil for example, has been investing heavily in STEM subject education. This has produced a vast quantity of qualified computing candidates with the bonus of being multilingual in a globalised economy. Physically bringing non-EU workers to the UK, even for highly skilled roles, can be complex, but now, thanks to modern video

SMEs could recruit from a wider selection of candidates if more employees were offered to work remotely

collaboration solutions, they no longer need to be in the UK to perform their role. Another potential way to reduce the existing IT skills shortage is to retain more women in the industry. According to recent research from The Department of Trade & Industry, the majority of female IT professionals were considering leaving their jobs because they were unable to meet both work and family commitments. The women surveyed also said that increasing the availability of flexible or remote working would be the most important step in encouraging them to stay in IT. Obviously, remote working is not appropriate for all IT roles; for example, those working on support desks need to be in the office. Thanks to modern technologies however, this is a great solution for the majority of roles, so the sooner we embrace the opportunities that remote working presents for UK businesses, the sooner our technology skills shortage will become a thing of the past. Contact: polycom.co.uk

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01/11/2013 09:40


PHONE VS. EMAIL

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Pick up the phone Ed Reeves and Rachel Clacher, founders of Moneypenny the telephone answering service, explain why they prefer to pick up the phone ack in 2000, brother and sister team, Ed Reeves and Rachel Clacher had just £15,000 between them and the idea to launch a company. At the time, both ran their own independent small businesses. Rachel ran a marketing consultancy and Ed had a graphics firm designing flags and banners for sports events. They both needed someone to look after their telephone calls while they were out and about. After a lengthy search, the pair found a company that would take their calls. Ed would just divert his call to a number where people would answer in his company’s name, take a message and email it to him. All was well until Ed went on holiday and a major client was unable to fax through an order as the machine had run out of paper. On phoning, the client was told by the person taking the call: ‘What do you expect me to do? I’m just an answering service.’ And that was that, the client was lost.

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On phoning, the client was told: ‘What do you expect me to do? I’m just an answering service.’

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01/11/2013 10:31


TALK TECHNOLOGY PHONE VS. EMAIL

Ed and Rachel immediately knew they could do better. And so Moneypenny was born. Over a decade on from humble beginnings, Moneypenny is now the UK’s market leader with 300 staff, answering around 30,000 calls a day, for 6,000 clients from sole traders to multinational corporations. The business operates both from the main UK base in Wrexham and from Auckland, New Zealand, where experienced Moneypenny staff are seconded on rotation to take UK business overnight calls, during their day time. Rachel says: ‘There is no doubt that email is one of the greatest productivity contributors of the past two decades, and of course it is critical to the smooth running of our business, but for us, it’s about personal service, getting to know people and building relationships. ‘People buy from people they know and trust. Our clients want great people taking their calls consistently, the kind of people they would employ themselves, and that’s what we give them.’ Earlier this year, Luxury Family Hotels approached Moneypenny. With eight hideaway hotels across the UK, the business was on a mission when it made the decision to outsource its overflow calls to Moneypenny. Jonathan Parker, head of revenue and distribution explains why: ‘While many of our guests book online, we still have large numbers preferring the more personal touch by telephone, and there were times when we couldn’t get to all the calls. ‘Inevitably our business is seasonal so we see peaks and troughs in call volume throughout the year and at

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Why phone is better than email >The personal touch builds up that all-important relationship with the caller. >It conveys feeling - you get to hear the smile at the other end. >If you are answering your calls successfully, you are capturing every opportunity coming into your business. >Less room for misinterpretation through direct conversation. >It’s quick. Emails often go back and forth several times to complete one conversation. >It’s the next best option to face-to-face business meetings. >Easier to ask questions and give feedback. >Essential for urgent messages and actions. >A phone conversation can often lead to other business opportunities that may not have come up on email. >So... build relationships in person but maintain them electronically.

Figures for thought >144 billion emails sent per day worldwide. >12.4 billion calls are made every day in the world. >Microbusinesses lose more than £3,300 a year each, through missed new business calls. >67% of UK professionals prefer to send an email, rather than use the telephone. >73% of people admit to deleting emails without reading them. Statistics taken from UCN, Radicati Group, Penelope, and LexisNexis.

With Moneypenny we aren’t missing opportunities and callers are getting a first rate response

different times of the day, for example the phones are busiest first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and when people finish work as this is when they generally find the time to make a booking. ‘With Moneypenny we aren’t missing any

opportunities and our callers are getting a first rate response every time - having this safety net means the pressure is off our hotel staff, who get to spend more time with our guests, which in turn enhances their experience and maximises revenue.’

NOVEMBER 2013

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01/11/2013 10:31


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The social media ocial media – it’s a bit of a minefield. It’s wonderful when a new employee starts to generate business leads through LinkedIn, establishes a Facebook page to create brand buzz, and promotes the company through tweets. It’s less fun when that employee leaves, turns rogue and trashes the company’s reputation, or takes their loyal contacts and followers to a competitor. It’s also problematic when an employee blurs the line between personal and professional comments and starts to give out mixed messages or make comments that are embarrassing to your carefully crafted brand. And it’s terrifying when HR tells you that your IT policy “just about” covers email, but mainly focuses on the use of fax machines. But an even bigger nightmare arises when an employee resigns and claims constructive unfair dismissal because a manager has had a word with them over Facebook postings or tweets from their personal account. Now the scaremongering is out of the way (sorry

S

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about that!), the first and most important step for any business looking to support the integration of social media into their workplace and protect themselves from these kinds of disputes, is to establish a relevant and up-to-date IT or social media policy. A good written policy will set out when and how work email, telephone and internet access may be used, and guidelines for an employee’s use of social media, both for business purposes and personally. This could, for example, restrict the usage of personal Facebook and Twitter accounts during business hours or make it clear that there should be no reference to the employer. Similarly, your company IT policy should provide guidance on the business’ own social media profile and set out what specifically might give rise to disciplinary action. One could even deal with the handover of profiles, accounts or followers upon termination of employment within this policy. There are limits however – a general licence to snoop and gain access to personal

It’s less fun when that employee leaves, turns rogue and trashes the company’s reputation

emails cannot be condoned – and access to an employee’s personal Facebook or Twitter account is pretty hard for a company to justify. Nevertheless, if you become aware of a disgruntled employee tweeting or posting on their wall about the company, even out of hours, this could still be a disciplinary offence so it is sensible to update your disciplinary policies to make it clear that any inappropriate use of social media that brings the company into disrepute, or bullying over social media, will be viewed as gross misconduct. This latter issue is particularly important, as employers themselves can be held vicariously liable for workplace bullying or harassment of third parties. And if this occurs in your workplace through a branded company account, you may struggle to raise a defence. Within the legal profession, we often reference the 2012 cases of Teggart v TeleTech and Barnes & Carter v Greenacres School to illustrate how dismissal or disciplinary action can be justified as a

31/10/2013 16:05


SOCIAL MEDIA

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Chris Bryden, myBarrister employment law specialist, discusses how important it is to get your social media law guidelines in place

minefield result of improper personal Facebook usage. In the first instance, Mr Teggart used his own free time to post scurrilous remarks about the sexual promiscuity of a work colleague, and in the second case two special needs teachers made inappropriate and unprofessional comments about students on Facebook. In both cases, the employers’ disciplinary action and dismissals were upheld, setting a legal precedent whereby out of work conduct and posting in the public domain can be seen to cross the line. Similarly, in the more famous case of Crisp v Apple Retail UK, the tech company was able to fairly dismiss a worker who had posted derogatory comments about work and its products on Facebook, on the basis that its disciplinary and training policy covered the area. Again, this highlights the importance of getting your house in order when it comes to drafting a thorough social media and IT company policy, but it should also provide comfort that

In the first instance Mr Teggart used his own free time to post scurrilous remarks about the sexual promiscuity of a work colleague

the law is on your side as an employer when it comes to protecting your brand. When it comes to the question of who “owns” social media accounts, and therefore the followers and contacts of those accounts, it can get complicated. Many social media providers stipulate that they own the account, however there is little to stop an employee simply changing the handle of an ‘official’ twitter account, which they have set up and have the password for, to the name of the competitor organisation that they have defected to, potentially opening up that business to hundreds of established business leads. The question has as yet no definitive answer, but there are examples both in the US and UK of companies successfully protecting themselves. In the US, a tech news website called PhoneDog won a confidential settlement in relation to 17,000 disputed followers of a Twitter account, which it was ultimately able to retain. And in Hays Specialist Recruitment Limited v Ions back in 2008, the English courts ruled

that an employee suspected of inviting contacts taken from work to join his own personal LinkedIn account had to fully disclose their contacts from this website. Once more the determinative feature was that their authorisation to use contact emails did not extend beyond their employment, something which can be stipulated within a working IT policy. Ultimately, social media is with us to stay, and while the law relating to it is rapidly evolving it is still likely to cause issues for employers. The simplest solution to protect your business is to ensure well drafted and considered social media policies are introduced as a matter of urgency. These should include provision as to ownership of profiles, monitoring, acceptability criteria and, if appropriate, restrictive covenants. Such policies require specialist drafting so it’s worth contacting an expert such as direct access employment barristers who can assist at competitive rates. Contact: thisismybarrister.com Twitter: @brydenlaw

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

HR OUTSOURCING What is it, Why Do it and Optimising Results When Sourcing a Provider What is HR Outsourcing? Outsourcing is simply the delegation of business processes to an external provider. HR outsourcing is growing fast within the Small to Medium Size Enterprise (SME) market. Part of this upward trend is as a result of the many benefits gained. So Why Outsource your HR Needs? Some of the benefits of outsourcing your HR function are: • The ability to have a resource that is flexible to your changing needs and only costing you when you need it. • That specialisms are catered for by different professionals within the HR remit and you gain access to an expert in the area of HR where assistance is required. Specialists are expensive and something which many SME’s could not afford to have in-house. • The ability to handle more projects at one time, freeing up your staff to concentrate on other critical business activities. This will also aid you to reach a higher skilled source of labour; develop your business strategically. • Using consultants there is often an increase in both productivity and outputs without sacrificing on quality due to the manner in which they work. They will be working on the expertise area there will be little or no wasted time. • Access to up to date knowledge and experience from providers who work with a wide range of business and some which may be in the same industry or sector as you. Optimising Results When Sourcing an HR Provider To engage with a provider that is right for you we simply recommend asking the following questions: • Can you provide flexibility to cater specifically to my needs? It is important that you state your HR needs and the provider caters for these. Use providers that offer their services in a flexible manner, from

EdenHR.Nov13.Full.indd 40

providing retained service packages that incorporate the HR services you want rather than paying for services that you may not need, to working in various forms whether it be on an ad-hoc assignment or project basis (We offer all flexible packages tailored its customers) • Who will be my account handler? Who will I have regular contact with for my HR queries? It is vital that you have an account handler and one person or a small team of people that always handle your HR queries. This is particularly so when dealing with an on-going HR issue because understanding of the background, history and continuity of a case is crucial to its correct and consist handling and will ease your frustration at needing to repeat the situation to an alternative consultant, where vital information can be missed. (We have dedicated handlers and Account Managers) • How quickly will I be responded to with specific answers to my queries? Beware, some organisations respond quite quickly to calls but always get a call handler to take your name and details to then receive a return call at a much later time, which may not be convenient for you. So be specific in asking “when will my query be dealt with?” rather than “when will you respond to my call?” (We deal with queries normally within 24 hours, if not beforehand) • Do you provide assistance with implementation e.g. conducting meetings, creating tailored documentation as well as telephone and email advice? It is worth getting into the detail of what level of service can be accessed, as often when difficult or complex HR situations occur you will require and wish to have more than just telephone support for peace of mind. (Eden HR Consulting provides as little or as much support as you need ranging from telephone support to conducting face-to face meetings on your Company’s behalf)

• What if the advice I receive is incorrect? How am I covered? A good HR practice will have Professional Indemnity Insurance which covers their work should they act or advise incorrectly. (We have the appropriate professional indemnity cover in place in order to protect its clients) • Do they have people within their Company that have HR specialisms or expertise areas? HR is a wide area and like most things it is hard to be an expert in all areas and therefore you may not be gaining the best advice if the HR provider is a sole trader without support surrounding them. (We have consultants in a number of specialist areas) • Do you have enough people within their Company to support and cater for the different stages of HR processes where you cannot act at all stages? Invariably, most Companies will inevitably come across a disciplinary, grievance or dismissal situation at some point. With such process you need adequate HR resource to cater for all process stages, so enquire that your provider can supply this if needed. (We have the resources and experience to deal with the most complex of HR processes) When you need real guidance and hands-on help with all of your HR issues and challenges Eden HR Consulting is a multi-award winning consultancy and is a breath of fresh air for businesses that find it challenging to navigate through the stormy seas of employment legislation! Eden HR offers an initial free consultation so why not visit our website at www.edenhrconsulting.com or contact us on 01403 734455 or eve@ edenhrconsulting.com today to see what services we offer and how we can help.

31/10/2013 17:18


Employee Records

Time Sheets

Annual Leave Tracking HR Documents

Reports & Reminders

Your Cloud HR Solution From ÂŁ13.20 for each employee per year

Signup today for your free trial www.HRLocker.com| +44 2081234754 HR Locker.Nov13.Full.indd 40

01/11/2013 09:46


SPONSORED ARTICLE

The Changing Face of ONLINE MARKETING E commerce is changing. The rise of online shopping has changed both the way that shoppers choose their goods and the way that businesses choose to market their services.

people choosing to shop on the go. Incentives such as free delivery and in-store pick ups are also tempting shoppers away from the high street and into the world of online shopping.

Blurred Lines Gone are the days where we debate Bricks & Mortar vs. Online Store, now retailers are having to look further into their ecommerce marketing channels to ensure that they are covering all bases to reach their target audience. Whether it is ensuring that a website offers a responsive design for the growing number of mobile and tablet users, building a strong social presence or taking advantage of new sales techniques through email marketing, the lines between emarketing techniques are most definitely blurred. As the online experience becomes more personalised and the ability to compare prices with the click of a button becomes commonplace, retailers need to step up their game to ensure that their service is up to scratch. Take a look at the current stats charting the changing ways that shoppers are choosing to browse and buy online. Is your business adapting to the trends? Web retailers are currently seeing the fastest sales growth in 13 years according to the e-Retail Sales Index. Compared to last September, online sales have increased by 20%, with the clothing sector in particular showing dramatic increases thanks to the success of online retailers such as ASOS. Another striking figure is the rise in the use of smart phones in online shopping, with a 150% increase compared to this time last year. The rise in the number of sales completed using a mobile or tablet device has led to businesses getting creative with their web presence, utilising handy apps and responsive web site designs to cater to the growing number of

UK Leads the Way With 21% of families choosing to shop online for everything from the weekly food shopping to clothes, books and household gadgets, it is no surprise that the UK has been dubbed the ‘Internet Shopping Capital of the World’, but why the sudden increase? Consumer confidence in shopping online is one of the main reasons for the shift away from physically visiting a shop or supermarket with internets users feeling safer shopping online. The use of SSL encryption to ensure financial details are kept secure during transactions has definitely helped push the number of online shoppers to today’s record numbers. Online price comparison sites have also played a part in the increase, giving consumers access to the best prices across the internet quickly and efficiently and taking away the need for shoppers to go bargain hunting on the high street. The face of ecommerce is definitely changing and as we approach the Christmas period it is expected that retailers will pull out all of the stops to ensure that they are utilising these invaluable channels to promote their brand. From virtual changing rooms to flash sales and social media influences, there are plenty of new additions to the ecommerce playing field. So where does that leave your business? Will you be taking on any of the new immersive technologies set to further change the face of ecommerce in 2014? As part of our series examining the changing trends within ecommerce we will look at the new technologies entering the arena and putting together our list of the top trends that your business will be using in the new year.

Visual Soft.Nov13.Full.indd 40

In the world of ecommerce it’s all about being ahead of the game.

Call our Visualsoft business development team on 01642 633 604 or www.visualsoft.co.uk/

01/11/2013 09:46


APPS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

I’ve got an app for that… This month, our apps will help you find the perfect candidate for the job, plus back up contacts and block unwanted calls

Job and Talent app Price: The app and your first job post is FREE Compatible with: iPhone The gist: Job and Talent is an international recruitment platform choice for more than 200 leading European and global companies – including big brands such as Red Bull, Vodafone and Wrigley. It has now launched a mobile app for the iPhone, which it calls the “Match.com for jobs”.

You can upload your job posting with one click, the app will contact candidates for you, and you’ll receive applications from interested and qualified candidates. With the app, you can keep up to date on your post’s progress when you’re out and about. Downloadable from: jobandtalent.com

Call Blocker Price: FREE Compatible with: Android The gist: Ever get sick of unwanted calls on your mobile? Then this app is for you. With Call Blocker you can block unwanted phone calls and spam SMS by adding numbers to a black list. It’s can also protect your privacy 24/7,

because it enables you to hide your SMS and phone call history, without deleting it completely. Plus it backs up your contacts to a server so you will never lose them, and you can transfer data easily to a new phone if you change handsets. Downloadable from: tinyurl.com/kchfbvu

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TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS

TB CHOICE

SAMSUNG

Battle of the Chromebooks

This month we compare Chromebooks: it’s Samsung vs. the recently launched HP 11

Samsung Chromebook Vs. HP Chromebook 11

HP

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Samsung Chromebook £229 or £299 with 3G 11.6” (1366x768) 290 x 205 x 17.5mm (WxDxH) weight: 1.1kg More than 6.5 hours’ battery life, Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor, 100 GB Google Drive cloud storage, built-in dual band Wi-Fi, 3G modem (at extra cost), two USB ports, HDMI port, and Bluetooth. “At just 1.1kg, 17.5mm thin, and with over 6.5 hours of battery life, the Chromebook can go anywhere you go. It’s built to stay cool, so it doesn’t need a fan and runs silently (no humming, unless you’re playing music).”

It’s a cheap, light and simple to use laptop with a reasonable keyboard but has insufficient power for HD and gaming.

HP Chromebook 11 Price Display Dimensions:

£229 11.6” (1366x768) 297 x 192 x 17.6mm (WxDxH) weight: 1.04kg

features:

Up to six hours’ battery life, Exynos 5 Dual processor, 100 GB Google Drive cloud storage, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB solid state drive, two USB ports, Micro-sim slot, micro-USB, Bluetooth, 3G and 4G (optional and coming soon).

THEY SAY

“Relax with your favourite music, write a report in Google Docs or put the finishing touches to a family video. Your Chromebook has six hours of battery life, and slips easily into a backpack or handbag.”

WE SAY

It has the best screen of any Chrome OS device, is small and light but its performance is not up to scratch.

If you think you can do all your computing using Google web apps, you could well benefit from the good battery life, silent operation, light weight and portability, simplicity and implicit security of the Chromebook, not to mention its low price.

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Buy a property franchise with Why buy a property franchise? A lucrative market: UK house prices are soaring and demand

always outstrips supply

A resilient sector: Renting or buying, everybody needs a home Large earning potential: Property franchisees could earn as much

as ÂŁ150,000 a year

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

09/09/2013 09:45:48


fRANCHISE

fRANCHISE NEWS Franchisee of the Year winners revealed THE FRANCHISEE OF the Year Award 2013 winners were revealed last month. Janis Anderson of Caremark, a domiciliary care provider, was crowned as the overall winner at the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards 2013. Janis, also named Female Franchisee of the Year, impressed the judges by delivering a high quality service for customers while propelling her business forward. She said: ‘It’s brilliant to be recognised for all the hard work, which contributes towards Caremark’s success, especially at such prestigious awards. ‘I became a Caremark franchisee at a challenging time when cuts were

being introduced, but this spurred me on to drive the business forward and we have since grown from strength to strength.’ Following a rigorous judging process for this year’s new award categories, the winners were congratulated at a black-tie ceremony at the ICC in Birmingham. Janis won £10,000 for taking home the top prize, with category winners also receiving £1,000, all courtesy of HSBC. Winners of this year’s bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards were: • UK Franchisee of the Year 2013 and Female Franchisee of the Year: Janis Anderson, Caremark, Aylesbury.

• Customer Service Franchisee of the Year: Nick Dee Shapland, ServiceMaster Clean, Newbury. Long-serving Franchisee of the Year: Siggy Wilberg, Domino’s, Wiltshire. • Micro-business Franchisee of the Year: Ron and Shirley Maynard, Card Connection, Abingdon. • Young Fanchisee of the Year: Steven Prime, Esquires Coffee Houses, Coventry.

Papa John’s celebrates 1,000th international store

Peter Andre joins Kung Fu Schools franchise SINGER AND TV celebrity, Peter Andre has invested in Kung Fu Schools, which teaches martial arts to children and adults. Founders, Paul Hawkes and Alan Paterson have been running five fulltime schools training hundreds of children for seven years. Paul Hawkes said: ‘We have developed a formula for our schools that forms the basis of a highly

pizza delivery hise with

profitable and sustainable business. ‘We now want to take the concept national by inviting franchisees to join us.’ Peter Andre and his children have trained with Kung Fu Schools over the past two years. He said: ‘I have seen first hand how it has benefited us as a family. ‘I was delighted to accept when Paul and Alan invited me to invest in the business.’

PAPA JOHN’S OPENED its 1,000th international store (outside the US) last month in Moscow, and as part of the company’s celebrations, held a whistle-stop tour of the UK. John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s, was handing out pizza to visitors and fans at stores around the UK, including the Tower Bridge branch. Raheel Choudhary, franchisee of the Tower Bridge store, said: ‘The journey of how [John] turned his dream for his first true love, pizza, into reality is truly inspirational, with him selling his prized car to buy his first set of restaurant equipment, and subsequently building the company into a global phenomenon with more than 4,000 stores in 34 countries across the world. ‘It was great to see him at our store interacting with Papa John fans.’ John Schnatter commented: ‘I’ve had a fantastic time visiting the UK. It was great to see all the PJ fans outside the Tower Bridge store and I hoped they all enjoyed the pizza!’

SPONSORED BY

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FROM Y–FRONTS TO YVES SAINT LAURENT – CUSTOMER SERVICE IN WAG LAND Richard McConnell, The ZipYard Altrincham

T

he ZipYard offers a professional tailoring and alterations service in a clean, purpose build environment. Our award winning business is all about outstanding customer service. Whilst there’s no other specialist alterations and tailoring centre in the area there’s numerous businesses offering similar services and competition is great. As the top performing ZipYard and 2012 Franchisee of the Year we have raised a total of 22,500 invoices. Turnover in the first year was £174,500 from 9978 customers. In the 10 months to date of our second year we are at £238,000 from 12,675 customers and on track to hit our target of £274,000 by year end.

DPS August 2013.indd 116

EARLY DAYS As a former driving instructor I was used to dealing with members of the pubic and took pride in my level of service, so when I decided on a career change I already had a very strong customer service ethos. When we first opened it was easy to turn jobs round incredibly quickly. But as word got around and our customer numbers soared, ensuring that customers were happy 100% of the time became more difficult. We soon expanded our team of seamstresses from two to five and now employ eight full time. Working in Cheshire we are dealing with high end customers with high end expectations and it’s a great responsibility working on designer garments sometimes worth over £1,000. Famous footballers and TV celebrities

including Coronation Street actress Sally Dynevor and presenter Gordon Burns bring their garments to us. Everton player Marouane Fellaini is one of our regulars. We once stayed open to fix a black tie for an awards ceremony that evening and he turned up later with chocolates for the girls to say thank you. ADDED VALUE We want our customers to believe that nothing is too much trouble. We don’t charge any extra for the express service and often carry out additional minor repairs for free. If one of the seamstresses notices a button needs replacing whilst they are turning up a hem it takes very little additional time to do the complementary work – and customers are always surprised and delighted.

29/07/2013 15:07


Sponsored Article

Frequently people come in off the street with a button that’s just come off – we’ll fix it there and then – again for no charge confident in the knowledge that he or she will regard us as a lifesaver and talk about The ZipYard to others. SYSTEMS The sophisticated till system included as part of the ZipYard package has a customer relationship management feature which tracks customers each time they come in and allows us to make notes. If a regular is getting ready to go on holiday I can input this into the system. Then I can wish them a happy holiday when they pick up the clothes and ask them about it the next time they’re in. Building relationships is paramount– and as a result the average repeat customer visits us about once a month. Some have used us over 200 times spending several thousand pounds. Outstanding customer service means that we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes. Last year a groom and his entire male entourage turned up the day before the wedding in a panic because they had only just discovered their suits were ill fitting. We stayed open through the night to finish the work and to get the party to the church on time and looking their best.

Another customer spent over £400 altering her wardrobe after a successful diet, and an elderly lady brought in all of her clothes to be taken in - all bundled into storage boxes and carried up the high street to us. Nowadays very few people have the time or skill to mend their own clothes –and a lot of our work involves repairs - but even I was surprised when one of our regular customers brought in a pair of her son’s Y fronts for us to fix a tear! For many of our customers we have become their ‘personal’ tailors. One wellheeled man left a message on our answering machine to say his wife was bringing in a ball gown the next day so ‘please leave space on your machine’ for her. They expect a very fast service and we rarely disappoint. A regular moved out of the area but saves up his repairs until he comes back to visit friends – travelling over 160 miles for our quality of service. Grateful customers send flowers, wedding cake, thank you notes and gifts.

THE FUTURE Managing customer expectations isn’t easy and it has been a big challenge for us to be able to turn round work quickly as the volume increases. Recently we dealt with 90 paying customers in one day which is ten an hour! We already open seven days a week and are looking to employ another seamstress to focus full time on express work and have installed a second till to cope with the queues that had begun to form outside the door in busy periods. We are looking ways to extend the range of services we offer including a paid for delivery and collection service which will appeal to our busier user clientele. At the moment I manage ZipYard with the help of one other but I will be recruiting additional customer facing staff to free me up to do more marketing and work on plans to open another ZipYard in the North West.

CUSTOMER STORIES

“To Danuska with eternal thanks. You u saved my day. It means so much more than words could ever say.” - Breeda (bride) We frequently see brides who have bought a dress form the internet. On one occasion a woman came in to the centre in tears with a dress that fitted terribly –by the time we had finished she was parading up and down with a big smile on her face.

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Contact: Janet Matthews T: 01530 513307 E: jmatthews@thezipyard.co.uk W: www.thezipyard.co.uk

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SPOTLIGHT

TALK FRANCHISE

Under the spotlight

Musical Minis Karen Sherr, the founder of Musical Minis music classes, tells us how she franchised her company WHY DID YOU PICK THE FRANCHISING BUSINESS MODEL? Musical Minis was already operating very successfully, providing a valuable service in a very small local area. Soon we started receiving enquiries from further afield and realised the only way of to provide more Musical Minis classes was to franchise the business. We recognised that the costs involved for an individual of obtaining the music rights, trade mark, and so on, would be prohibitive and that the knowhow needed to operate a business focused on child-development through music, would require a set of skills not many people had. It meant our business was ideal for franchising and that we could deliver a proven business model with considerably cheaper start-up costs. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF FRANCHISING A BUSINESS? I’d say setting up everything legally, making sure the system can be easily understood and readily followed. Nothing can be left to chance and we needed to be certain that franchisees could earn back their initial investment and make a good profit from following the business model. WHAT WILL FRANCHISEES GET FOR THEIR MONEY? When someone buys a Musical Minis franchise they

pizza delivery hise with

get everything they need to run their business, including training, nearly 100 instruments, stories, puppets, prepared lessons, music, manuals, policies and equipment to run their sessions. They’re also provided with an advertising spend and insurance. DO YOU OFFER TRAINING AND SUPPORT? One of the key strengths of the Musical Minis franchise is the training and on-going support we offer. We undertake the training ourselves, concentrating on running classes, marketing and sales. We maintain a handson approach and offer support through various modes of communication and face-toface meetings. Annual franchise meetings provide further opportunities to train, and our franchisees are encouraged to support each other both directly and through a dedicated franchisee forum. HOW MUCH WILL A FRANCHISE SET ME BACK? £8,000 + VAT. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISE? With a survey of UK childcare workers recently calling for pre-school children to have more social than academic skills, we feel the future for Musical Minis is very bright. Our aim is to be the first choice franchise for anyone

When someone buys a Musical Minis franchise they get everything they need to run their business

looking for a flexible and balanced working life. For us, this means creating a network of up to 30 franchisees, all of who are performing well and making a positive contribution to the network. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN BUSINESS? Luckily for us this is a repeated experience; every time we visit a franchisee running local classes we feel proud that something we developed 24 years ago is now being delivered throughout the country, with tens of thousands of children benefitting from our classes. We’re also proud of the longevity of Musical Minis as a franchised business; a number of our franchisees have renewed their licenses for a second time and been with us for more than 10 years. We must be doing something right!

SPONSORED BY

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31/10/2013 16:26


BUSINESS JUNCTION, LONDON’S PREMIER BUSINESS NETWORK, INVITES YOU TO A FREE NETWORKING EVENT Business Junction Junctionisisoffering offeringallallTalk TalkBusiness Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our 5 October networking in London allbelow listed(and below on our website). 5our August networking eventsevents in London which which are all are listed on(and our website). Thurs Thurs7th 1st Nov Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at the Milk Bar at Grace Networking lunch at the Grange Hotel at Tower Hill 41-44 Great Windmill Street, London, W1D 7NB Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus

Wed Thurs13th 8thNov Aug 8-10am

Champagne Taittinger networking breakfast at the Don Restaurant Networking lunch at the Roof Gardens & Babylon Restaurant at High St. Kensington The Courtyard, 20 St. Swithins Lane, London, EC4N 8AD Nearest tube: Bank / Cannon Street

Thurs 14thAug Nov Wed 14th 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at the lunch Foster Project Networking at Freemasons Hall at Covent Garden 10 Greycoat SW1P WC2B 1SB 5AZ Nearest tube: St. James’s Park 60Place, Great London, Queen Street, Nearest tube: Holborn

Thurs Thurs21st 22ndNov Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at the lunch Wood Street BarHappenstance and Restaurant at St. Paul’s Networking at The 53 Fore Street, London,Hill, EC2Y 8AX7AA Nearest tube: Barbican 1A Ludgate EC4M Nearest tube: /StMoorgate Paul’s

Thurs28th 29thNov Aug Thurs 12.30-2.30pm

Networking at Dirty Dicks at Liverpool Street Networking lunch at thelunch Bacchus Bishopsgate, EC2M Nearest tube: Liverpool Street 177 Hoxton202 Street, London, N1 6PJ4NR Nearest tube: Hoxton

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01/11/2013 10:04


THE FRAN MAN

a WORKING RELATIONSHIP Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, discusses the franchisor/ franchisee relationship ast month I touched on the importance of having a great relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. There has to be complete trust and confidence in the other party. One of the questions I am often asked by franchisors is how to build a good relationship from the outset? When recruiting franchisees there is often a potential conflict for the franchisor, he will probably want to add franchisees to the network quickly for a number of reasons including cashflow, a need to establish a presence and rapid expansion. However, this must be tempered with the

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requirement to only recruit the right people, those who will operate good, ethical local businesses, be great brand ambassadors and add real value to the network. There is no simple formula to ascertaining if the prospective franchisee is right, but if they share common business values and attitudes with the franchisor then that is a good start. I would always recommend a psychometric profiling report such as Success Dynamics (see successdynamics.co.uk). Once a franchisee is signed up and operational then the work on the relationship really

As with all relationships (think of a marriage) it requires effort by both parties

TALK FRANCHISE

starts. As with all relationships (think of a marriage) it requires effort by both parties. It will alter and grow over time. Franchisees are people with individual needs and aspirations. They can also, due to the nature of the business which could be a “one man band� or an operation with only a couple of employees, be people whose personal lives can have influence on their working lives. Having a relationship with them means they are more likely to be open with the franchisor about personal issues, and can pre-empt and resolve cases of under-performance. The worst case scenario is if the relationship breaks down, as with a marriage it is often irretrievable if the trust has been abused or lost. It is often straightforward if the franchisee is the one who has broken the trust (e.g. operating outside the franchise terms, not declaring all revenue thereby defrauding the franchisor), the franchise agreement allows for recourse in this event, possibly terminating their franchise rights. However if the franchisee has lost faith in the franchisor, whether the reason is justified or imaginary, then it is much more problematic, so it is crucial that a franchisor is constantly aware of the messages going out to his franchisees, no ambiguity or negative signals. As always a strong, open and personal relationship will avoid these pitfalls but it takes effort. This is the third instalment of a series of articles written by Tony Mundella who has 25 years’ experience in franchising. Next month he will look into the lifecycle of a franchisee. Contact: franman.co.uk Email: tony@franman.co.uk

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TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

TALK FRANCHISE

Take one franchisee Keith Dolby, The Interface Financial Group (IFG)

Keith Dolby, an ex-franchise broker tells us why he took his own advice and bought an IFG franchise WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND? I’ve actually had quite a varied business history. I started off working in IT and software development before becoming a franchise broker in 2008. WHY FRANCHISING? I’d spent a number of years working to assist those looking to make the move into franchising and decided that it was time to take my own advice. WHY THIS PARTICULAR FRANCHISE? Established more than 40 years ago, The Interface Financial Group is an international finance firm, which specialises in providing alternative funding for SMEs. It offers a unique service, and operates in the UK & Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, North America and Singapore. I always encouraged people to choose a franchise which complimented their skills and

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talents, so that’s what I did. The IFG model really interested me as it’s something I felt was otherwise missing from the UK market; I could see how the service offered would benefit SMEs and was keen to get involved right away. WHAT SUPPORT AND TRAINING WAS GIVEN? One of IFG’s main strengths lies in the dedicated support and training provided by senior staff. An intensive initial training session was provided and I’m free to get in touch with the franchisor at any time, with confidence that they’ll always get back to me and assist with any problems I might have. HOW IS THE BUSINESS GOING SO FAR? Very well! I operate my IFG franchise from my home in Bromley and can choose my own hours and workload. I’ve now been operating for a little

I always encouraged people to choose a franchise which complimented their skills

over two years and I’m definitely starting to reap the benefits. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FRANCHISING TO PEOPLE CONSIDERING STARTING A BUSINESS FOR THE FIRST TIME? Absolutely. Franchising is a fantastic way to be your own boss without the added risks that come from setting up a brand new business. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? WOULD YOU BUY MORE FRANCHISES? IFG allows me to cover the whole of the UK, so unlike some franchises, there’s no need to buy additional territories. However, I do also operate another national franchise besides IFG, and am able to divide my time between the two. I know plenty of others in franchising who operate multiple territories or multiple franchises too.

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31/10/2013 16:29


TALK ADVICE MIDAS MEDIA

Utilising online

Talk Busines grills Edward Leake, MD of web design and marketing agency Midas Media, on making the most of online tools

DO YOU THINK THE AVERAGE BUSINESS IS UTILISING THE INTERNET TO ITS BEST ADVANTAGE? I doubt it but then I don’t blame them, doing business online involves so much these days – you really need a Swiss Army knife of expertise. I think the biggest area of neglect comes in the form of data analysis. Yes it may sound like a mundane subject but if interpreted and acted on correctly it can transform a business online. It doesn’t have to be hugely expensive to monitor and analyse either, so long as the business targets are rationalised against the costs then the resulting value can be identified and exploited.

WHAT ONLINE TREND IS HAVING THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON BUSINESS? It really depends on your position and industry, but as a one-size-fits-most (if not all) answer, I’d say “responsive web design” is up there. Responsive really started to gain traction in 2012, and at the time many in the industry called it a fad. Thing is, a fad becomes a trend when it gains ground, and a trend becomes the accepted normality when we all start using it – and a lot of us have.

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FOR THOSE THAT DON’T KNOW, WHAT IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN? It’s a web design approach aimed at crafting a seamless and optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices, including mobile. WHY DO YOU THINK BUSINESSES ARE STILL AVOIDING MOBILE? Time and budget would be my guess, but that’s a shortsighted view because the potential of lost business over time could be far greater. If your website holds a traditional shape and form, it will be awkward on a mobile device, but some users will persevere. However the same can’t be said of ecommerce websites; if you retail online and your site isn’t mobile-friendly, even if your visitor really wants your product, they’ll likely give up before they commit to purchase. FOR A BUSINESS LOOKING TO GO MOBILE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP TIP? Get the navigation right, it’s a deal breaker! If you make your site easy to navigate on mobile, people will use it. That

should be your starting block. Also consider that space is at a premium, so tailor and offer your premium content first.

For SMEs, usually budget is the overriding factor tempering what they can do

WHILE ON THE SUBJECT OF MOBILE, SOCIAL MEDIA CONTINUES TO GROW; WHAT VALUE DO YOU SEE IN IT FOR BUSINESSES? You have to think about your positioning. Facebook was born out of technology supporting many social activities, a platform for self-promotion, not company promotion. You have to ask yourself where does my company message fit, or worse, shoehorn into this environment? Twitter being so immediate and response-orientated is arguably the better business tool for most, it just feels more tailored to the purpose with direct interactions and conversations that aren’t mere meandering status updates. AND IN COMPARISON HOW DO YOU SEE SEO AND ORGANIC SEARCH CHANGING? That’s the million-dollar question. What works today might not work next week, and what works next week might get you stripped of all credibility a week after that. Google has released several major updates this year that have each tackled

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certain areas of the search results pages - each one has a ripple effect and those ripples are ever widening. It really is a minefield. I think the biggest concern for organic is how much paid (or sponsored) space is creeping over. I’m not convinced Google will eventually monetise the whole first page of its search results, that would be incredibly risky, however it’s clear that paid exposure retains and continues to gain traction with time. IS GOOGLE STILL THE KING? Yes. Over the past three years we have worked with 100-plus client websites and so we see a lot of data. Google is still the biggest single source of traffic and that won’t change anytime soon. IT’S CLEAR THAT THINGS ARE RAPIDLY CHANGING ONLINE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BUSINESSES? Strategy, content, test, adopt. What I mean is you should always apply a well-considered

A fad becomes a trend when it gains ground and a trend becomes the accepted normality

plan to your online efforts, make sure the content is on message and well targeted, test variations and then adopt what works. Rinse and repeat. If you’re doing it right you’ll grow, not only that you’ll generate profit – if you’re targeting the profitable business areas that is! AND WHAT ABOUT NEW AND SMALL BUSINESSES, WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE DIFFERENT? For SMEs, usually budget is the overriding factor tempering what they can do, so their budget needs to be spent in the right places. The single “right” place to spend would be on the most profitable area of the business. What really makes you money? Build a plan pushing that. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but the reality is the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out.

I know that sounds very much like common sense, but the SME owner is a busy person, it’s not surprising how quickly the obvious can get buried among the many other aspects of doing business. Contact: midasmedia.co.uk

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TALK ADVICE SIMPLIFY THE LAW

Give us your ******* money [as Bob Geldof famously didn’t say] Dealing with legal issues used to start by handing over money to a lawyer. But not anymore, says Jonathan Brewer, founder of Simplify the Law

ven if you weren’t born in 1985, which saw the televised Live Aid concert raise funds for the Ethiopian famine, then you will probably still have heard about Bob Geldof’s famous rant. Those who did watch it still fondly remember Sir Bob’s expletive-laden outburst, especially as it significantly increased the rate at which funds came in. But he didn’t say it. Take a look on Wikipedia or YouTube: he did say: ‘Give us your money.’ But the expletive came much later on; funny how urban myths are created. A survey of 9,703 SMEs carried out by YouGov for the Legal Services Board earlier this year showed most business people like you assume that dealing with legal issues will quickly lead to a (polite) demand to hand over large amounts of cash. But let’s face it; no-one considers law firms to be a cause worth giving to.

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Let’s face it; no-one considers law firms to be a cause worth giving to

Just 13% of respondents in the survey agreed: “lawyers provide a cost-effective means to resolve legal issues.” That’s a significant perception problem for the legal profession. It’s also a significant problem for small businesses: the survey evidenced that SMEs lose £100 billion a year due to legal issues, yet 70% to 90% (depending on size) of SMEs simply muddle through themselves, rather than engage a lawyer. As your company grows, so will the frequency and size of the legal problems you

HELP YOURSELF IT’S FREE

face: 49% of businesses with £1 million plus turnover have experienced a legal problem in the previous 12 months, compared with only 29% of those turning over less than £50k. NEW TYPES OF LEGAL SERVICE DESIGNED TO SUIT YOU AND YOUR WALLET Businesses like yours are key targets for many, many lawyers. That competition for your custom means there are deals to be done on fixed fees and on rates. That fight for your custom (and the recognition that you won’t pay legal fees easily) is also leading to the development of online services that enable you to do more for yourself, more costeffectively than before. These online services are a big step on from old-fashioned sites where you download a contract in Word and try and

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amend it for yourself, hoping you don’t make a change that costs you later down the line. These systems use clever technology to garner information from you, which is used to quickly and automatically draft a contract, letter or policy. Some also provide guidance for those many occasions when drafting a document isn’t going to help. For legal services providers, these systems are a means of striking up a conversation with prospective clients like you - a way of starting the relationship before someone else does. To get that relationship off to the right start, these systems have to deliver genuine value rather than marketing puff. The best services therefore provide genuinely helpful content, effective tools and simple user interfaces that really do help you do more for yourself without the need to pay a lawyer.

HELP YOURSELF These self-help systems are priced to address your concern that getting legal help will cost you too much money. Many of them are available for free trial periods, with low monthly fees, or even for free. Our own online service, Simplify the Law, is entirely free as it’s funded by the lawyers who want you to know that you can turn to them on the occasions when you do need legal advice. (We rather like the fact that lawyers pay us so you pay them less.) The reality of the modern legal market for businesses like yours is that you are increasingly in control of whether and when you hand over your cash to a lawyer. There are vast online resources out there to ensure that you are better informed and can confidently decide when you do and don’t need to pay for advice.

We rather like the fact that lawyers pay us so you pay them less

And there are online tools that help you quickly do far more for yourself than you could have ever imagined possible. So once you’ve finished searching for the video clip of Bob Geldof and discovered he really didn’t say what everyone thinks he said, try searching for “free legal support” or “draft legal documents + free”. Why not drop a few key words into Google about trading with consumers, or the name of the employment policy you know you really ought to get round to drafting. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out how much you can do yourself, for little or no cost, to reduce the loss you suffer each year from legal issues. Contact: simplifythelaw.co.uk

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Strategic support E ver felt so overwhelmed running your business you begin wondering if it’s all truly worth it? Let’s face it, running a business can test your metal at the best of times, but doing so in the age of austerity has changed the game. It’s a fierce battle of survival of the fittest. The fittest businesses are those that are not afraid of change and can adapt and embrace the turbulence within our economy. They have evolved with market changes and have perfected the art of identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. There are many businesses struggling to survive as they have not accepted, nor adapted to, the market changes.

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Aisha Ejaz, managing director of NBSL, a strategic business consultancy, says when times are tough there is help at hand They are still stubbornly somewhat traditional in their ways and may often be overwhelmed with new developments. It’s high time these businesses realised the world as we knew it has evolved and continues to evolve daily. SME owners are responsible for successfully launching their ventures, for ensuring consistent growth, adapting to market demands, keeping a close eye on competition, and are expected to readily accept the advances of marketing and PR. With the advent of social media platforms, how on earth

The fittest businesses are those that are not afraid of change and can adapt and embrace

do you decide which one to create your business profile on and how do you make it work for you? In short, you’re meant to learn all this and become the millionaire of your dreams by the process of osmosis, right? Every day we hear the economy is picking up and moving at a faster rate than expected. In a recent tweet, David Cameron, one half of our ruling coalition, tweeted: ‘There’s still a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see the UK economy is growing at one of the fastest rates in the developed world.’

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NBSL

You only had to see some of the responses to confirm that the reality is that while the economy may be inching its way in the right direction, SMEs, the backbone of any economy, are still feeling the strain. NBSL a strategic business consultancy, founded in 2011, provides SMEs with focused and cost-efficient solutions to the growing pains they face. The business owner’s vision and ambition is at the forefront of all suggested solutions. NBSL solely works within the SME market, and is a banking and finance specialist, owing to its strong links within the banking and financing angel industries. It truly understands the hurdles SMEs have to successfully jump over and helps navigate them through the tumultuous growth phases. Whether the business is a start-up or a trading business, NBSL provides bespoke assistance by alleviating the pressures of business, sales, marketing, planning, social media, strategy development, training and implementation, creating effective customer care, retention and brand management strategies, as well as financial representation to develop constructive relationships, or mend difficult or broken ones with bankers

and various financiers. This assistance is provided by working in close partnership with existing advisors of an SME to ensure gaps in development are addressed. NBSL’s mission is to help SMEs mimic the success of large corporate firms. There is a misconception amongst many SME owners that large firms achieve success just by setting targets for their employees. In fact, large firms typically take on the services of large consultancies to help develop and direct their vision within the sectors they operate in, or in markets they wish to enter. SMEs too should adopt similar growth strategies to ensure informed decisions are made and avoid costly mistakes. For instance, whilst large firms can often redress mistakes due to their massive balance sheets or by Government intervention, a mistake made by an SME will not only be detrimental to its cash flow position, but also damage the SME brand. For SMEs to succeed, brand management and first impressions are crucial among sound financial management and that is where NBSL steps in. Contact: noorbizservices.co.uk Twitter: @NoorBiz

TALK ADVICE

NBSL’s mission is to help SMEs mimic the success of large corporate firms

in profile Aisha Ejaz has an MBA in entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School. As a commercial banker and facilitator of business angel investments, Aisha has consulted with a significant number of SMEs seeking finance to achieve their growth objectives. She has also helped businesses prepare funding pitches and social media marketing strategies by running training sessions. She recently launched The Money Makers Business Club to facilitate B2B interaction amongst start-ups and trading businesses, to exchange services, collaborate, share best practices and overcome challenges via P2P mentoring at scheduled events.

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01/11/2013 02/09/2013 10:01 15:55


XDRIVE

TALK ADVICE

Who’s off? Philip Cross, co-founder of WhosOff.com, an application that allows companies to manage staff leave, talks about managing holiday in a business ou’re at home, in the evening and your partner is asking about your summer holiday. They’ve found a deal and want to know if you can take time off. What do you do? Easy, you go online to the office leave planner, see who’s off and put in a request. The holiday organiser gets notified straight away, and, if they’re connected, they can authorise your holiday online or via a mobile app in minutes. But this may not be your experience, and if not, then I guess the person managing the staff holidays is likely in spreadsheet hell or wall planner pain! Who’s off today? Who’s off tomorrow? Next week? Next year? Has your staff annual leave become a form filling, time

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Has your staff annual leave become a form filling, time consuming hassle fest, causing stress and upset all round?

consuming hassle fest, causing stress and upset all round? Fortunately, these days, it is possible to run a sophisticated holiday system that actually provides a cost benefit and will not break the bank. Many online services are offering staff leave planners that allow your staff to access a holiday system to manage not just holidays, but also other out-of-office times, meetings, medical appointments, sickness and so on. The benefits are not limited to the time saved in the administration. Yes, this is an important consideration when implementing any leave system, and perhaps the easiest comparison to “value” the benefit. For example it has been estimated that the average time spent (by all parties involved) in dealing with a

holiday request, checking and approving and so on, can be 1.5 hours! Especially when you consider the administrator needs to check if there are enough days available, if the holiday clashes with anybody else, if there are enough people in the department, contacting managers, and notifying HR. But there are some other real tangible benefits beyond the administration side. Getting your leave and absence into a more transparent system can help your staff to make better informed and more timely judgements when seeking leave, avoiding the end of year rush, or at least making it easier for you to see that people need to get their holidays in so you can respond accordingly. You can see trends, of sickness for example, and not only you

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TALK ADVICE XDRIVE

but your staff can too, you can plan meetings and other events without having to ask or refer to the wall planner as to who is going to be available. If you have offices in different locations, you can see who’s off – you don’t need to ring just to be told they are away on holiday – everything becomes a lot more manageable. Even the staff appreciate that getting leave authorised is no longer a frustrating paper trail of approvals and checks. They can log on from literally anywhere and submit a request or check who’s off. Some services also offer calendar feeds so leave dates can be seen directly in MS Outlook or Google calendar, again a great feature to easily see who’s off. Most will have reporting and export tools – another handy feature for administrators to check and review all leave and out-of-office times, giving detailed information on the past as well as in the future. And some services will cater for part-time workers and the logging of overtime – but a quick overview of their features or the free trial will let you know if a particular system is going to work for you. Many of these web services now offer mobile applications taking holiday forms to a different level. You can check and put in a holiday leave request while sitting in the travel agent’s. There are many such services on the internet these days – some offering free accounts for smaller business and some offering the whole HR system with staff management too. You may find that the leave and absence system is not as sophisticated as the standalone systems, but most will give you a long free trial to fully evaluate their service. In my experience, many other web companies have come across

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In profile WhosOff.com is a leading online staff leave planner helping SME’s across the UK (and the world) manage staff leave and holiday via the web and mobile apps. We have nearly 60,000 users, from smaller business with less than 10 employees to blue chips with more than 1000 staff members. WhosOff is IS027001 certified.

It is possible to run a sophisticated holiday system that actually provides a cost benefit and will not break the bank

our site, Whosoff.com, and thought “Hey, that’s easy, I can do that, I can build that system in my lunch break” (that’s a real quote!) and you can come across many of these services but many are not really viable. Most reputable companies offering this type of service will give you at least a twomonth trial, and will be clear and transparent on their price. There should be no long term

commitments and easy “get out” options and, moreover, publish their address and contact/ support phone numbers. Of course, I would say that it’s not all about the raw monthly cost of subscribing but there are real cost benefits to be had and, as we often hear, it should make you say “How did we ever manage this before WhosOff?” Contact: Whosoff.com

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SECC, Glasgow 14th-15th November | REGISTER FREE at www.thescottishbusinessexhibition.com

the SCOTTISH BUSINESS

EXHIBITION

Make your business MORE competitive, MORE efficient and MORE profitable! The Event for Scottish Corporate, mid-market and large SMEs More than 100 exhibitors 50 free Seminars, Workshops and Compelling live features Show Partners

Keynote Seminars Sir Tom Farmer

Felicity McCarthy

Brad Burton

Scott Wilson

Our most popular speaker ever, is back for 2013.

Felicity McCarthy is Head of Small & Medium Business Marketing Communications EMEA at Facebook.

Brought up on a council estate, he’s got no qualifications, spent years on dole and started his first business in 2006 with £25K of personal debt! Brad will change the way you approach your life and business forever.

Show Features

Key Skills Workshops Take part in detailed, interactive workshops to improve and learn key business skills

Chief Architect, Snr Director EMEA Engineered Systems at Oracle

Business Connections Build vital business relationships in the facilitated networking area

1-2-1 Kiosks

Get priceless personal advice on the key areas of your business

Procurement Zone

Discover how to win lucrative public contacts

Show Exhibitors 29Studios 4 Networking Access Pay ActionCoach Barrie Payroll Solutions BT Business BUPA Business Gateway Buzz Box CeeD Chrystal Hill

Clifton Asset Management Plc Clydesdale Bank Companies House Corporate Traveller Cultural Enterprise Office Cunninghams Epos Solutions Direct Leaflets DS Smith Plastics DSIS Dublcheck EBS Digital

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Co-located with New Start Scotland w w w. newstar tscotland. com The Scottish Business Exhibition | SECC, Glasgow 14th-15th November | Admission FREE REGISTER NOW at www.thescottishbusinessexhibition.com or CALL 0800 157 7950 Untitled-1 1

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he office printer is the Cinderella of modern technology. It is ignored until something goes wrong. For most people, it’s only when an unexpected breakdown occurs that they realise quite how much they rely on their printer, but if you’re considering investing in a new one for your office consider these top tips: 1. Think carefully about what you actually need – mono/ colour, A4/A3, print only or a multifunctional. Better to buy one device that does all you need than multiple devices, but don’t invest in features you won’t use. 2. Plan for the future – how do you see your business growing over the next two to three years? If you have ambitious expansion plans it’s worth buying a printer capable of dealing with increased print volumes. 3. Consider running costs as well as the purchase price. Typically, you’ll spend several times the purchase price on consumables over the life of a printer, so don’t sleepwalk into excessive running costs. 4. Look for energy efficiency features. Energy Star is a must, but most printers comply so check actual TEC (typical energy consumption) ratings, which can vary widely. 5. Choose a printer that can automatically print duplex (double-sided) as this saves paper and money. Awareness of the true cost of printing has risen significantly. Most businesses realise that a low hardware price does not always mean low running costs, but what else can help you ensure that printing and copying doesn’t have a negative impact on your company finances?

T

Smart print The Kyocera team give us some essential tips on printing costs

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KYOCERA

AUDIT YOUR EXISTING PRINTER FLEET The first step is to determine what devices you actually have and take a view on what you actually print. Examine how each printer in the organisation is used - and record the number of prints carried out by each machine. This information can then be used to build a picture of your printer fleet and identify where any inefficiencies occur. Typical examples of inefficiency arise when users print to a machine that is local to them for convenience’s sake rather than economy. A busy accounts department might use a 14-page per minute printer to produce all its end-of-month invoices, at a cost of almost a penny per page, simply because it is situated nearby. However for this type of high volume printing, it would be far more economical for them to use a high volume printer with a cost per page of just 0.3p. And confidentiality is no longer an argument to have a personal desk printer. With today’s Follow-Me printing technology the most confidential documents can be sent to a central device, with the assurance that nothing will be printed until it has been securely released to the correct user. KNOW ABOUT THE COSTS When selecting new print and copy hardware it’s vital to establish the on-going costs associated with the product. You should ask for a detailed breakdown of all the toner and maintenance costs that the product is likely to incur over its lifetime. These costs can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer by up to 60% for a product with the same specification, so it is well worth checking them out before you make your purchase.

FIND OUT WHO DOES WHAT A key way to gain user buyin to reducing printing and copying costs is to ensure that each department is charged for the amount of printing that they carry out. Users that know they or their department will be charged in direct proportion to the amount of printing and copying that they do, are less likely to carry out unnecessary or unauthorised print jobs. All these activities help to increase awareness and visibility of print costs, making your organisation more cost effective. CONSIDER HOW TO REDUCE YOUR PRINT COSTS Reducing print costs may not be the most dynamic or exciting way to streamline your business operations, but it is a simple, effective way to make your organisation more profitable, and the difference that can be made to your bottom line by stripping up to 60% out of your printing costs is surely a compelling proposition for any business.

TALK ADVICE

TOP TEN TIPS FOR EFFICIENT PRINTING: 1. Never print something just to read it once. 2. Always use the “print preview” function to ensure a document is correct before printing. 3. Reduce the size of the font and/or images rather than let just a few lines run to a second page. 4. Always print double-sided. 5. For internal documents, consider printing several sheets to a page. 6. Only print the page(s) you need, not the entire document. 7. If you’re printing multiple copies of a document, proof-read one copy before printing the rest. 8. Only print the number of copies you actually need. 9. Scan and email documents rather than send a hard copy. 10. Always turn off your printer at the end of the day.

When selecting new print and copy hardware it’s vital to establish the on-going costs

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• 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

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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

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DIRECTORY

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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

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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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TALK SUCCESS AND FINALLY...

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He said she said This month the entrepreneurs are tweeting about new store openings, hangovers, and eating nuts like monkeys. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own.

Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis Just opened our 20th @BouxAvenue store at @manarndale. Great crowd! Come and say hello! Congratulations Theo! Quick expansion, creating jobs and bringing more back on our high streets. A+

Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne Is First Transpennine Express the worst train company’s in UK? Cold tea server who can’t speak English. It must come close. We assume he means cold service, rather than “brrr” cold. Perhaps the staff should read Adam Caplan’s article on customer service this month on page 67.

Will, King of Shaves @KingofShaves Enjoyed my night out with the @COLCollege team at “The Grapes”. My heard still hurts… Sounds like you had fun Will. Where was our invite? Lost in the post, we hope.

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Julie Meye Meyer @JulieMarieMeyer Goodbye Bristol… Beautiful town… I’ll be back for a weekend soon We love Bristol too. There are some great businesses based there – like Rob Law, founder of Trunki, our FOTC on page 18 for example.

Francis Boulle @FrancisBoule I challenge anyone to eat a pistachio and not feel like a monkey. We really want to watch you eat nuts now Francis! Especially monkey nuts.

Levi Roots @levirootsmusic @PaulHollywood Big respect to you my honorary Jamaican friend, you the man! One love LR. We hope Paul the Great British Bake Off judge baked Levi a green, yellow and black cake!

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