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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

October 2013 £4.50

Football’s first lady Karren Brady on West Ham, The Apprentice and what holds women back in business

15% of SMEs are female-led

Does the UK lack entrepreneurial women?

£70 billion unclaimed We reveal the ultimate tax rebate

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SMEs require specialist expertise from a dedicated account manager who understands your company’s unique travel patterns, needs and budget If you’ve never been properly walked through the benefits of professionally managed travel, your business is at a major disadvantage. Expert business travel management can open up a world of savings and efficiencies for your organisation. There is a common misperception that SMEs can secure the cheapest business travel by booking directly with suppliers. The Internet revolution, combined with low-cost carriers and budget hotels, has certainly changed the way in which SMEs view their travel. But as time-strapped CEOs and Personal Assistants spend countless hours trawling the Internet for fares and managing their own travel arrangements, are the benefits really what they seem? While there are many cost reduction strategies which can be applied to an organisation’s travel programme, for businesses with a small-to-medium sized travel spend, the secret to success is knowing what the best strategies are and how they can be applied to your individual business. Corporate Traveller will work with you to design a set of cost reduction strategies specific to your business needs, which may include: 1. Working with a dedicated account manager, offering a personal and flexible service 2. Access to the widest range of best priced product 3. Improving how your company travels as a whole 4. Working with you on cost saving strategies 5. Traveller safety strategies 1. Dedicated account manager, offering personal and flexible service When it comes to business travel nothing beats having a travel expert on board. Our dedicated Account Managers are highly experienced, commercially driven and have exceptional product knowledge

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to deliver airfare and land product options which will have an immediate impact on your bottom line. Partner with an expert and your business can expect travel management, advice and strategies tailored specifically for your business. Your business will benefit from high-touch travel assistance delivered by a dedicated account manager or small team which develop an in-depth understanding of your business, to look after your every travel need. 2. Access to the widest range of best priced product As the 3rd largest travel retailer in the world, the Flight Centre group has the global negotiating strength to give you access to the widest range of product at the best rates. In addition, by utilising multiproduct platforms to source air, hotel and car hire, your dedicated travel expert can deliver a rapid turnaround on these globally competitive prices. Multi-channel product sourcing is very handy during times of high traveller demand, crisis situations or travel disruptions – as it means your travellers will always have options no matter what is happening in the travel industry. 3. Improving how your company travels as a whole Corporate Traveller will work with you to create efficiencies at every phase of the travel process. Are all of your booking, buying, account management and expense management procedures operating as efficiently as possible? The first step in creating efficiencies on your travel is to work with the one accountant manager. From here your business can look at options to simplify and streamline your processes with offline and where appropriate, online solutions. The less time you spend on organising travel, the more time you’ll have to focus on your core business.

4. Working with you on cost saving strategies Significant savings can be achieved for your business, as a result of simple changes to the way you manage your travel bookings. Our expert account managers will work with your business and offer advice on the best ways to save you and your company time and money. Industry studies prove there are a number of strategies companies can use to drive savings on their air, hotel and car hire spend. By implementing ‘best practice’ booking, buying and operating processes, your business is in an excellent position to leverage savings through smarter travel management. 5. Traveller safety strategies Risk management planning is a vital part of protecting your business travellers. We can assist you in your duty of care to employees who are on the move or planning to travel. We offer 24/7 emergency assistance – it is vital that your travelling employees have access to personal and experienced travel managers whenever they need it! Safety and security has always been an important aspect of business travel. Major disruptions to the global travel industry in the past few years have made traveller safety and security one of the most talked about topics in corporate travel. When it comes to traveller safety the involvement of an experienced travel manager is a crucial part of managing the risks of a mobile workforce. In the event of an emergency, you need to be able to track the location of your travellers quickly and efficiently. This visibility is only possible when flights and accommodation are booked through one central source. Bring a Corporate Traveller expert on board and improve how your company travels as a whole.

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CUTTING TRAVEL COSTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS TRAVEL BUDGETS Save time and money with an expert on board

Contact us today to discover the full range of benefits when you bring an expert on board

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Contact us today to discover the full range of benefits when you bring an expert on board.

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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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52

iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter 13 Letters

TALK strategy 51 The branding column Rich With 52 Where did all the women go? Female entrepreneurs 57 No place like home Motivation

15 News & Events

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58 Nectar Small Business Awards 2013 Nectar Business 63 Husband like wife Adam Caplan 65 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems 67 Rate yourself Conduct your own perfomance review

talk MARKETING 69 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

TALK Success 18 The first lady of football Vice-chair of West Ham United and Apprentice star, Karren Brady 24 Take one company Goody Good Stuff

71 Be single-minded Email marketing 74 The girls mean business Events

talk people

27 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer 28 ‘A suit? It’s not for me.’ Brad Burton 32 Dell’s female leaders Inspiring women 35 Book reviews 138 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?

talk MONEY 37 The funding expert Financial innovation 40 Sitting on a fortune? Capital allowances

Talk image 91 Learn body language Projecting the right image 92 Look the business: power ties Fashion 96 Hot spots Christmas parties 99 We love… A few favourites

talk technology 101 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column 104 A visit to Caterham F1 British technology 108 4G in small business Mobile networks 111 Action on the small screen M-commere 113 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 114 AltiGen iFusion Vs. Native Union Curve iDock iPhone docking stations

77 The people column Lee McQueen

TALK FRANCHISE

78 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the Muddy Matches founder

121 Spotlight The Running School

81 The MD Magnifier Q&A BuyMyWardrobe.com 83 What are employee shareholders? HR Insight

119 Franchise news

123 The fran man Building for success 125 Take one franchisee Gill Reynolds, Longcroft Cat Hotel

talk aDVICE

86 Life imitating art Mother & daughter duo

128 QMS UK

89 How important are accolades? National Business Awards 2013

134 Digifroot

131 eZe-Talk Telecom 136 Talk Business directory

43 A day in the life Diary of a Start Up Loan recipient 45 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements

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47 Combat credit card fraud Online security

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27/09/2013 13:01


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.

Printed by

Girl power

ince becoming editor of Talk Business, I’ve spoken to some very inspiring, ambitious and successful entrepreneurs, both male and female. At Talk Business we believe in equality, but I can’t ignore that, in the past, we’ve featured more men. Looking back at our 23 covers, only six have featured women. In our defence, 70% of the emails coming through to me about entrepreneurs are about males. Studying this issue in a wider sense, I found the following statistics, which back up my inbox; in 2003 women owned 30% of UK businesses, this percentage has increased, but not by much – it now stands at 37%. Just 15% of SMEs are female led, and things are not much better at the top; just 17% of FTSE100 board members are female. Where have all the women gone? On page 52 I investigate if there are a lack of female entrepreneurs, and if so, why that might be. Despite these figures, there are many great female entrepreneurs out there. One of the UK’s most famous is, Apprentice boss Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman and West Ham United’s vice-chair, Karren Brady, who is our Face on the cover this month. She once said ‘Women have brains and uteruses, and are able to use both,’ and on page 18, I find out her secrets of success and what she believes can hold women back in business. Turn to page 24 to read about Melissa Burton – the entrepreneur taking the confectionary world by storm

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with her brand, Goody Good Stuff in Take one company, and page 32 to read about the female trio managing one of the world’s biggest tech companies. On top of that there are plenty more interviews with female entrepreneurs at different stages of their business, and as usual, tons of useful advice for growing your business. Take care of business for now.

Dawn Murden, editor

@TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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Contributors & LETTERS

Meet the experts Mark Tighe has been managing director of several companies, including Carphone Warehouse. Mark embarked on founding Catax Solutions more than six years ago with four fellow directors. Mark and the directors have vast, upto-date knowledge of the complex area that is capital allowances. Catax Solutions has become the leading specialist in maximising capital allowances for all manner of commercial property owners. This approach has led to the opening of three offices across the country, in Manchester, London and Birmingham.

Karen Meager from Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy draws on her business and psychology expertise to create leading edge training that delivers both business needs and individual development. She has an MBA, specialising in strategy, financial strategy and human development. She is also a UKCP-registered psychotherapist and an INLPTA-certified NLP Master trainer. Karen evolved into training and coaching after working for ten years running call centres, sales and marketing teams and operational business units in the financial services industry.

Are you sitting on a fortune? On page 67, Karen tells you Mark reveals the ultimate tax how to conduct your own performance review. rebate on page 40.

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Daniel Foster studied for a computer science degree at UMIST in Manchester, graduating in 2000. Leaving university during the height of the dotcom boom, he founded 34SP.com with a friend, to fill a gap in the web hosting market. It rapidly became a full time job and 13 years later, the company has grown to host tens of thousands of websites for individuals and businesses. In his spare time, Daniel is a private pilot and has flown himself and his wife around Europe, looking for the next challenge.

Jasmine Hetherington Wilkes struggled to find a job when she left university in 2010. After spending a year unemployed, she used a £4,000 loan from the Prince’s Trust to help set up her own video production company, BOKO Creative. She spent the first six months working for free to try to get her work noticed. A year later, she now employs five staff, has worked with big brands like Coca-Cola and has been nominated for, and won several awards.

Read Daniel’s article about online credit card fraud on page 47.

Turn to page 27 to read about this young up-andcomer who is definitely one to watch.

OCTOBER 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 praise the September issue and congratulate James Caan on his Chairman of the Year Award

Caan do attitude

Dear editor, Well done on pinning down James Caan for an interview in the September issue – I really enjoyed reading it. He was, and still is, one determined (and stubborn) individual. He pushed the boundaries of life and his culture and is a success story we’ll never forget. I wanted to congratulate him on his Chairman of the Year Award at the International Business Awards too! Mark Parsons

R OF E T T E L MONTH THE

Making the right choice I’d never really thought about having a comparison site for funerals before, so I found Kim Bird’s article [Secret Diary of an Entrepreneur, September] enlightening. It’s a very sensitive subject and I think she’s a brave lady for taking the modern industry on, in the footsteps of her family. Yours sincerely, Charlotte Founder of Charlie’s hairdressing

Tweets 0F the month... @STLemma Latest issue of @TalkBusinessMag arrived! An excuse for a coffee & catch up on #smallbiz news. We’re in there too! @STLemma @TalkBusinessMag thanks! Hope you’re having a good day. Thanks for the mag. It looks great. Passed it onto my contacts too @118Alison Look what’s just fallen through the letterbox. I LOVE this magazine @TalkBusinessMag :-) @PendoDeals Read all about it! The magazine for the entrepreneur by the entrepreneur @jamescaan @TalkBusinessMag #bizitalk @TalkBusinessMag @jamescaan Thanks for the follow! – Dawn @jamescaan @TalkBusinessMag Not a problem, happy to do so!

Social media breakdown

Katie King’s article on social media [Where to share, September] was fantastic. It broke each site down into a simple couple of paragraphs – I feel like I have better understanding now. Although it made me think about Talk Business – you don’t have a Vine or Instagram account. It would be good to see the mag maximising its social media so we can follow suit. Eliza Edwards

@Rich_Hoot @TalkBusinessMag just finished my article however will probably be late just to let you all know I’m not a boffin @FancyDressFtics @TalkBusinessMag Chuffed to bits with article about us in Sept @TalkBusinessMag – life changing startup loan #Bristol #Business @SilverDogCharm_ I’ve got 5 min to myself, spending it wisely with a cuppa and a copy of @TalkBusinessMag #blissful

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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NEWS & EVENTS

Dates for the diary Business Junction Networking Events 10 October Cinnamon, Soho 24 October Gallery Different, Fitzrovia 30 October The Anthologist, Bank businessjunction.co.uk

Successful Selling Expo 17 October RICOH, Coventry sales-expo.co.uk

Southampton Business Show 7 November Ageas Bowl, Southampton southamptonbusinessshow.co.uk

Apps World 22-23 October Earls Court, London apps-world.net/Europe

Franchise South 8-9 November Ageas Bowl, Southampton franchisesouth.co.uk

eCommerce Awards 2 October Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk/page.cfm/ link=250

The Spain Start-up and Investor Summit October 2013 Date & venue TBC spain-startup.com

National Business Awards 12 November Grosvenor Park, London nationalbusinessawards.co.uk

eCommerce Expo 2-3 October Olympia, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk Digital Marketing Seminar 16 October The Royal Automobile Club, Surrey www.eventzilla.net/web/ event?eventid=2138980904

Kent 2020 Vision Start-Up Live 23 October Kent Event Centre, Maidstone kent2020startup.co.uk National Sales Awards 7 November Troxy, London nationalsalesawards.com

Men can learn from women MEN AND WOMEN network differently, according to findings by by D.I.N.E. Events. Women take a long term approach, building relationships over time based on shared experiences. Connections between men are often based on transactions where business is traded. Lovelda Smith, founder of D.I.N.E. Events, said: ‘It’s no secret that women are exceptional networkers, and value the depth of relationships they build over time. ‘Unfortunately the current networking landscape is entirely unsupportive of this, favouring instead a more masculine approach, which focuses on quantity of touch points

over quality in a given period of time.’ In this information age, your ability to influence others and leverage your network could not be more important. Despite technology and social media networks, some old fashioned principles still hold true. According to a recent survey, 42% believe traditional networking ideas, such as handing out business cards, could generate at least £5,000 extra revenue per year, which only supports the theory that people still do business with people they know or meet face to face in the real world. For tips on networking from Lovelda Smith, visit talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk/women-networking

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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Untapped export markets

Mothers tweet more WOMEN WITH CHILDREN clocked up a huge 443.3 minutes on social networking sites in July 2013, about 17 minutes more than the average UK female, according to consumer engagement company, Rakuten MediaForge UK. Furthermore, men with children showed more interest in using social sites than males in general, although they trailed far behind mums. Mums are also more likely to have accounts across the social spectrum. For example, eight out of 10 UK mums used Facebook, and the same percentage accessed YouTube. That’s compared to 72% of the general UK population on Facebook, and 67% on YouTube.

Rakhee Jogia, director of client services at Rakuten MediaForge UK, commented: ‘Forums like Netmums have demonstrated that as a collective, mums have an extremely powerful voice online, and there is huge potential for marketers to tap into their connection with social media. ‘There are challenges for brands looking to target digital mums; their busy lifestyles mean they only want to engage with a brand in a way that fits into their daily lives – this is why the internet is the perfect advertising platform to engage them. ‘With the right ad, at the right time, marketers can drive social sales and encourage mums to keep coming back to their brand.’

NEW RESEARCH FROM RBS Group economists has identified attractive untapped markets for UK exporters to get ahead in the global race. Nearly a third of the UK’s economy is made up of exports, and yet most still tend to concentrate their efforts in Europe or America. RBS studied nearly 50 export markets. Each destination’s attractiveness was determined by compatibility (matching import needs to UK exports), growth, prosperity, and the ease of exporting, in addition to the size of each import market. These countries combined made up less than a quarter of all UK goods exported in 2012. David Fenton, senior economist at RBS said: ‘It’s clear there are export opportunities, which British businesses aren’t fully taking advantage of. While the outlook is currently subdued in key export markets like Europe and the US, success will increasingly rest on less-indebted, faster-growing parts of the world. ‘There’s no doubt that emerging markets have entered a more challenging and uneven growth phase. But they will still be the biggest contributor to global growth over the next five years.’ For more information on untapped export markets visit: http://tinyurl. com/oyzgl5

Nation empowered by virtual managers ONE IN THREE UK workers are now being managed remotely at least once a week, according to research. The study, from recruitment firm Reed, reveals that virtual or remote management is welcomed by employees and employers alike, and is a trend that’s on the increase. Of those employees that are managed remotely, eight out of ten are not connecting with their superiors on a daily basis and one in five goes more than a month without connecting with their manager. From this group, 40% say their levels of face-to-face contact have gone down in the last 12 months, with other forms of contact, such as texting and

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video calls, on the rise. The study shows that remote management is welcome, with 84% of those being managed remotely saying they are happy with the level of contact they receive. This highlights the growing independence and empowerment among UK workers, with nearly two thirds (62%) preferring managers who give them the freedom to get on with their work uninterrupted. Tom Lovell, group managing director of Reed, said: ‘Remote management offers many employers more flexibility, and workers are welcoming the opportunity to approach their own role in a more independent way.’

OCTOBER 2013

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FACE ON THE COVER

TALK SUCCESS

The first lady of football She’s vice-chair of West Ham FC, Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman on The Apprentice and the UK’s most powerful businesswoman. Dawn Murden meets Karren Brady

hen I decided to focus on female entrepreneurs this issue, one businesswoman sprung to mind immediately for our cover; Karren Brady. I met Karren at the Nectar Business Small Business Awards and when she walked into the room, she owned it – she has a confident, serious business-like air about her, but she’s also elegantly feminine, friendly and attentive. However, I couldn’t help feel a little in awe of Karren. She started her career aged 18, at Saatchi & Saatchi on its graduate scheme, despite never attending university, and swiftly moved on to London Broadcasting Company as a sales executive. She was tasked with selling adverts for an unpopular slot, and asked David Sullivan to advertise his Sports Newspapers. At first he declined, but Karren’s champion selling skills soon had him spending £2 million on advertising. Impressed with Karren, Sullivan offered her a job and within a year she became director of Sports Newspapers.

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Four years later, Sullivan and Karren were looking for a new venture and purchased Birmingham City FC, which was in administration. Karren took over as managing director from 1993 to 2009 and turned the club’s fortunes around. Aged 23, she became the “first woman in football”, and when she floated the club on the stock market in 1997 she became the youngest MD of a UK public company. In October 2009, the club, valued at £82 million, was sold. Three months later Karren was appointed vice-chair at West Ham FC after its purchase by David Sullvian and David Gold, the club’s joint chairmen. Karren is also non-executive director of Mothercare, chairman of Kerrang! magazine, non-exec director of multi-national retail company Arcadia, and non-exec director of Simon Cowell’s marketing and production company Syco. She regularly appears in the media – most notably on TV as Lord Alan Sugar’s right-hand woman on BBC’s The Apprentice. She’s also an

Sweeping up hair in a salon when I was 16… everyone thought I was just a kid, but by the end of the week I was running the place

ambassador for charities; The Stroke Association, WellChild and the Teenage Cancer Trust. How does she do it? ‘Finding a work/life balance is important,’ she told me. ‘You have to realise that you can’t do everything.’ Success runs in the family; her Irish father, Terry Brady was a self-made millionaire who owned a printing company and was once chairman of Swindon Town FC. She says her father, and mother Rita, taught her the value of hard work, but what drove her was a need for independence. ‘At boarding school nothing was mine,’ she says. ‘I wanted to be in control of my own destiny.’ To me, her confidence is most alluring and she says this is the quality many women struggle with in business. But when I mention a lack of females on corporate boards she replies: ‘Not on mine. 60% of my manager team are women.’ Karren is passionate about female entrepreneurs and SMEs, and they can all learn a thing or two from her.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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FACE ON THE COVER

WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE NECTAR BUSINESS SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS? Small business is very important to me. I remember what it was like setting up my own business, taking that giant leap of faith, while everyone around you is trying to put you off the idea. These awards give SMEs a platform and a seal of approval to help them grow. WHAT WAS YOUR VERY FIRST JOB? Sweeping up hair in a salon when I was 16. On my first day I know everyone thought I was just a kid, but by the end of the week I was practically running the place. I’d re-organised their appointments and their pricing system. DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? From a young age I had one ambition; to be independent. I went to boarding school where nothing is your own, not even your bed. Everyone else controls your life, they tell you what to eat, when to sleep – I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I knew I needed money to do that, so I identified what I was good at. I was a good communicator, creative, and good at sales, so I went into advertising.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED IN BUSINESS? As a small business owner – getting investment, finding the right employees, being prepared to learn the business along the way because I didn’t know everything. I had to learn every skill I could and constantly update them, and if I couldn’t learn particular skills I had to employ someone who had them. I had to work out my sales and marketing strategy, I had to figure out how to promote, how to tell my story, and my budget strategy. Now, I employ 800 people – I have to make sure all of those people feel a part of the business, that they are well paid, and they’re able to follow their dream in the company. I have to create a great culture.

Men get knocked back after applying for a job and don’t think twice about re-applying. Whereas women will

TALK SUCCESS

and don’t think twice about reapplying. Whereas women will “um and ah” about it. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO FELLOW FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS? Make sure you’re being taken seriously. Be confident and promote yourself – if you don’t credit yourself, who will? I’d also suggest seeking a mentor to help guide you. HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH BBC’S THE APPRENTICE? The show was already successful and well known before I joined. I met Alan when he was chairman at Tottenham and we became friends. I appeared on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice as a team leader and returned as a guest interviewer in series four. When Margaret Mountford left, I stepped in.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS? The ability to manage a business and have a family. It keeps most females awake; I used to think, “How do I get to my child’s sports day and the board meeting at the same time?” I had to accept I couldn’t do everything. You have to accept that sometimes business is more important, and other times, family is more important. My two girls are in their teens now. My diary is colour-coded so I can manage my life/work balance and devote time to each. I also think fear and a lack of confidence can stand in the way of women. Men get knocked back after applying for a job

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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When I joined West Ham [it] was in £100 million worth of debt. Now we’re looking to move to the Olympic stadium in 2016 and are reporting profit

THERE IS A LOT OF PRAISE FOR THE SHOW BUT ALSO MANY CRITICS. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE CRITICS WHO COMPLAIN THE SHOW DOESN’T REPRESENT REAL LIFE OR BUSINESS? You have to look at the outcome of the show. From the last series alone three businesses have been set up, with £250,000 invested. It may be a TV show but it has serious objectives. It might not always be truthful to life or business but it’s a positive show. YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A LOT OF BUSINESSES RIGHT ACROSS THE BOARD, WHICH OF YOUR VENTURES IS MOST CONNECTED TO YOUR HOBBIES? My hobby is business. I’m interested in different people and different businesses; I’m interested in their ideas, challenges, and so on. I enjoy everything I do, when you stop enjoying something you stop doing it.

22

YOU’RE KNOWN AS THE “FIRST WOMAN IN FOOTBALL”, HOW DOES THIS TITLE MAKE YOU FEEL? Old! It was 20 years ago. DO YOU ENJOY FOOTBALL BECAUSE I’VE READ A FEW ARTICLES THAT YOU DON’T? Yes I do like football, and I don’t know why some people say I don’t! I’m in my 20th year in football. WHEN YOU BECAME MD OF BIRMINGHAM CITY YOU WERE JUST 23, WERE YOU NERVOUS? No – I was excited. When you’re young you’re thick skinned. I had a plan. I was positive, dogged, full of energy, and determination. The first year I became MD the club made profit for the first time. Building a culture was the hardest thing, renewing the structure and building that togetherness a business needs.

Picture credit: BBC Pictures

TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? When I joined West Ham the club was in £100 million worth of debt. Now we’re moving to the Olympic stadium in 2016 and are reporting profit for the first time since I joined. A FEW FOOBALL FANS HAVE CRITICISED THE MOVE TO THE OLYMPIC STADIUM. HOW WILL THIS HELP WEST HAM? There are many great stadiums in the UK, but there’s only one Olympic Stadium. It’s iconic and world class, it will transform the business model and our branding, and it will it expand our spectator base. In regards to seating, we are currently working on a £200 million plan, the stadium will have four sides of retractable seating, and so spectators won’t be further away from the pitch. Contact: karrenbrady.com Apprentice website: bbc.co.uk/ programmes/b0071b63

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TALK SUCCESS TAKE ONE COMPANY

Vital statistics Company founded: September 2010 Start up capital: £200,000 Turnover: Last year £1.2 million Profit: Last year £67,000 Growth rate: Year-on-year more than 250% from 2011 to 2012, based on volume and profit. Biggest achievement: I’m from America so having convenience store 7-Eleven as one of our suppliers is a big deal!

eading the ingredients of gummy sweets can be puzzling. There are so many additives, so many words and numbers listing ingredients we know nothing about. Then there’s the frequently used animal-based gelatine, which restricts vegetarians, vegans, and many of a religious faith from touching tasty treats. Enter Goody Good Stuff, the all-new natural gummy range that’s taking the health world by storm. The “free from” labels take longer to read than eating the sweets. Because they’re tasty, and free from fat, meat, dairy, alcohol, gluten, egg, nut, soy, wheat and gelatine. Goody Good Stuff is the brainchild of Melissa Burton. Melissa grew up in New York and Colorado before crossing the pond to study at Lancaster University in 2003. She loved Lancashire so much she stayed

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Giving sweets a good name Dawn Murden met Melissa Burton, founder of Goody Good Stuff sweets – the all-natural tasty treat taking the world by storm

I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years and I always struggled to find nice sweets I could eat

in Heysham and has been selfemployed since she finished her studies. ‘I founded a financial advisory firm where I managed commercial finance and clients with high net worth,’ Melissa says. ‘When the recession hit, existing businesses couldn’t get loans, and start-ups couldn’t get funding, so I set up to try and help those companies.’ While working, Melissa stumbled on the opportunity to create the sweets. She met an inventor – he had come up a hydrocolloid gel, a gelatin alternative. Melissa identified this could revolutionise the sweet industry.

‘I decided to invest in this client myself and create a sweet,’ she says. ‘I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years and I always struggled to find nice sweets I could eat.’ She also had inspiration from her mum and other family members. ‘They are teachers and mentioned taking in treats for pupils was a problem because some were Jewish and needed kosher food or some were vegetarian,’ Melissa says. ‘So we created Goody Good Stuff, making them free from artificial colours, flavours, harmful food additives and possible allergens, such as gluten – I wanted to create sweets everyone could enjoy.’

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26/09/2013 18:00


TAKE ONE COMPANY

Melissa founded the company with five shareholders; the inventor was one, while the other four were friends of Melissa. The company received no external funding. Melissa and her small team came up with the brand Goody Good Stuff, headed up by a cute koala called Kobi. ‘Kobi was the perfect mascot for us because koalas are vegetarian,’ she says. ‘We use him for promotions – last year he dressed up as Pudsey for Children in Need – he also visits children’s hospitals too. ‘Goody Good Stuff also supports a koala sanctuary in Australia.’ It seems being “good” is something at the heart of the sweet brand. Not only when it comes to the prevention of animal cruelty but the environment too. The company’s building in Heysham runs on wind and solar power. Some may think Melissa was lucky when it came to funding Goody Good Stuff, as she’d managed to save money from her other business, but success doesn’t come easily and Melissa had to work hard. ‘I used to go out and do sampling face-to-face with customers myself,’ she says. ‘It was time consuming, but I got to listen to consumers in a different way.’ And when the sweets were first stocked at stores like Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic, Melissa remained humble. ‘In the early days, I used to hide in health stores and watch people buying the products and I’d feel very emotional,’ she says. ‘Now I get emails from people all over the world saying how much they love the products – it’s fantastic.’ But before Melissa was able to see her idea in reality, there were plenty of hurdles to jump,

like competing with vegetarian sweet giants, Haribo, Panda and Millions, not to mention the non-vegetarian confectionary leaders, and working with small marketing budgets, but Melissa says this made the team smarter and more strategic. ‘Social media was a game changer for us, we managed to spread the word to the right audience quickly,’ she says. Goody Good Stuff’s success is clear – the sweets now have retail listings exceeding 5,500 outlets, export to 27 foreign markets - including the US, France, Germany, Sweden Dubai and Hong Kong, a whopping £1.2 million turnover and a 250% growth rate. Melissa was also recognised in 2011 when she won a Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in EMEA and Goody Good Stuff recently won the Nectar Business Small Business of the Year Award [see page 58 for more on the Awards.] Goody Good Stuff was approached by various investors and companies, and was sold to Cloetta, the leading confectionary company responsible for Chewits, last June. Melissa is staying on as managing director, working with Cloetta’s local teams. ‘I didn’t think we ever had the chance of doing this – I was flattered,’ she says. ‘There was only so much we could do with a team of five, but it was important for me to stay on as I didn’t want to lose Goody Good Stuff to a corporate machine.’ Goody Good stuff has plenty lined up for the future with Halloween, Valentine’s and Christmas-themed sweets set to launch. Both Goody Good Stuff and Melissa Burton should be watched with an eagle business eye – life for the entrepreneur and the brand sure is sweet. Contact: goodygoodstuff.com

TALK SUCCESS

In the early days I used to hide in health stores and watch people buying the products and I’d feel very emotional

My life I’m watching: I don’t watch too much TV but I’m loving X Factor. I also like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. I’m reading: Mostly business and communication books. I’m listening to: At the moment I love Disclosure and Rudimental. But I adore classic rock like the Rolling Stones. I’m surfing: Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. I’ve also got into juicing so I keep going on juicing websites.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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UP-AND-COMING

TALK SUCCESS

Introducing

Jasmine Hetherington Wilkes asmine and co-founder Adam Neale launched Boko Creative in 2011, which offers businesses engaging online video content at cost-effective prices. With the rise of online video marketing they realised that there was a demand for creative corporate video production.

Dawn Murden spoke to Jasmine Hetherington Wilkes, co-founder of Boko Creative, a video production company that has worked with big brands like Coca-Cola

WHY DID YOU LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS? I was originally seeking a career in the film industry, as this is what I studied at university but the thought of spending years as a low paid runner didn’t appeal. It felt natural to go freelance and use my talents rather than my tea making skills. We started off making short club promos for little money, however word spread and we’ve ended up working with some incredible brands and clients. The daunting bit came later when I suddenly realised I was running a business and managing staff!

WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? I don’t really have a bucket list; I just live by the words of my wise American friend Tamara: “Do one thing that scares you everyday”.

J

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING PROJECT IN THE LAST YEAR? There have been so many highs (among several lows). I am enthused by working on charity videos, so one of my favorite projects was working on Coca-Cola’s corporate

social responsibility program, which allowed us to tour the Philippines, Africa, India and Brazil, telling stories of amazing women that Coca-Cola have helped through their 5by20 empowerment initiative. My passion is documentary so this was an incredible experience.

It felt natural to go freelance and use my talents rather than my tea making skills

TELL US ABOUT THE AWARDS YOU’VE WON… We’ve been lucky and won several awards for our individual films, but more recently we’ve been awarded Best Creative Brand 2013 in the British Young Business Awards and we’re nominated for the Princes Trust Celebrate Success Awards. I certainly didn’t expect to be winning business awards! WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Work hard and be persistent. Remember there is a lot of support for young entrepreneurs (the Princes Trust, London Youth Support Trust, etc) and that you can practically learn anything online.

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB? Working as a waitress during college and dodging bottles being thrown during a rowdy racecourse event!

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED? The whole process of setting up Boko Creative has been one big challenge (and it still is). There were a few stumbling blocks; premises being one. Being a small London business with potential to grow, finding affordable office space was difficult. Luckily we were put in touch with the London Youth Support Trust and they offer affordable space for young businesses. WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? My love for making films, the thought of being creative, my clients and my colleagues.

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25/09/2013 13:33


TALK SUCCESS BRAD BURTON

‘A suit?! It’s not for me.’

f you haven’t heard of Brad Burton, I have to ask; where have you been? Just Google his name and you’ll see all the positive (and negative) press you’ve missed. Theo Paphitis said: ‘When I first met Brad I thought he was a builder,’ and no disrespect but I can see why – donning jeans, t-shirt, trainers, visible tattoos and a skinhead that Eastender’s Grant Mitchell would envy, he

I 28

Dawn Murden met founder of 4Networking, coach and author Brad Burton to talk tattoos, suits, skinheads and the release of his new book couldn’t be further away from your “typical” businessman in a suit. Brad grew up on a Salford council estate, left school with no qualifications, spent years on the dole and dabbled with drugs. But more importantly, he founded his first business in 2006, and now 4Networking, a

I grew up on a council estate... I spent four years on the dole, and was addicted to drugs

service which brings businesses together, is the largest business network in the UK, running over 6,000 events each year. He may be coined the Liam Gallagher of business by a few (he swears almost as much), and some may love him or hate him (like Marmite). But after speaking with Brad I’m definitely a fan.

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BRAD BURTON

So what if he doesn’t wear a suit? His network helps thousands of businesses, his motivational coaching sessions boast glowing testimonials and an honest money-back guarantee and his three books (Get Off Your Arse, Get Off Your Arse Too and now Life. Business. Just got easier.) have been received very well in the business world. His sheer determination is inspiring – he delivered pizzas to keep his business afloat in the early days – and he’s honest. What’s not to like? WHERE DID YOU GET THE INSPIRATION TO SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS? Working in marketing in London and living in Somerset, most of my money went on commuting. I’d probably have had more money if I were flipping burgers on Westonsuper-Mare seafront! However I thought running my own business would be a better idea. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR 4NETWORKING? I set up a consultancy at first, but found business lonely. 4Networking grew out of wanting to beat that isolation. Plus I wanted to change networking for good. Meandering around eating volau-vents and swapping business cards wasn’t enough. I wanted to get rid of that tired old model. I UNDERSTAND YOUR BACKGROUND IS LESS THAN SQUEAKY CLEAN… I was living on the wrong side of the tracks for some time. I grew up on a council estate in Salford; I spent four years on the dole, and was addicted to drugs. I’ve always been honest about my background. I think people spend too much time being something they’re not. Success comes from being honest.

HAS YOUR DIFFICULT BACKGROUND MADE YOU MORE DETERMINED? Absolutely. I use it to push me forward. I use my pain and trauma to drive me on. In life I never had anything and this taught me to be frugal. Some business people will work hard to spend money on things like luxury granite worktops to appease the wife, but working too hard can take you to an early grave. Of course I’d rather have a Lamborghini than a used Volkswagen, but are the fast cars, luxury worktops and material things really important? No. WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE IN WEARING A SUIT? We spend our days conforming. Most people wear a suit not because they want to, but because they think they have to. Don’t get me wrong I will wear a suit if it’s mandatory. But I don’t wear a suit daily because I’m honest about who I am. It’s not for me. Some may think I look scruffy but I am connecting with directors of £1.2 billion businesses. I’ve just been booked to speak at JCB headquarters and a massive recruitment company. I’m doing what works for me in businesses. It’s not about what I am; it’s about what I’m capable of. THEO PAPHITIS SAID; ‘WHEN I FIRST MET BRAD I THOUGHT HE WAS A BUILDER, BUT AFTER READING HIS BOOK HE IS MORE LIKE A NORTHERN ANTHONY ROBBINS!’ HOW DO COMMENTS LIKE THIS MAKE YOU FEEL? I do it on purpose – it’s free marketing. I always ask business owners “What makes you fundamentally different to your nearest competitor?” If you’re not different you need to

TALK SUCCESS

compete on price or personality, which is fine but it’s better being different. My tattoos and shaved head is my brand. DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS APPROACH IN ONE WORD. Honest. YOU’VE WRITTEN TWO BOOKS AND HAVE JUST RELEASED ANOTHER. DO YOU ENJOY WRITING BOOKS? I wrote the books to gain credibility. To be honest I’ve been waiting to get caught out! I admit the first reviews were mates but they have really taken off.

I had a nervous breakdown last year – I worked too hard and basically went mad. Instead of success I got sickcess TALK US THROUGH THE THIRD

BOOK – WHAT IS IT ABOUT? It’s about the last eight years and how I got where I am today. I had a nervous breakdown last year – I worked too hard and basically went mad. Instead of success I got “sickcess”. Sometimes we’ll do anything for success – despite wanting to own our own company to spend more time at home, we’ll end up spending less time at home and disregard our health. The book focuses on what’s important in life and in business.

Competition Want to read Brad Burton’s new book? We’ve got five copies of Life. Business. Just got easier., published by Wiley, to give away. Simply email your delivery address to dawn.murden@ astongreenlake.com stating “Brad Burton” in the subject line. The first six entries will receive a free copy of the book, worth £16.99, by post.

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27/09/2013 11:40


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26/09/2013 17:01


TALK SUCCESS INSPIRING WOMEN

Dell’s female leaders

Dawn Murden interviews the three UK general managers of multinational IT company Dell

t age 19, Texan Michael Dell founded PC’s Limited – later renamed Dell – with $1,000 and a game-changing vision for how technology should be designed, manufactured and sold. Now, 28 years on it’s one of the biggest multinational IT companies around the globe. I was thrilled to find out the UK GMs are females. They may not have been around during the birth of Dell but I had to grill the three women who head up one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

A

HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU WORKED FOR DELL? Sarah Shields: Six. Claire Vyvyan: Eight. Aisling Keegan: 14. DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY IN 10 WORDS… SS: I suppose a typical day for

32

me goes a little like this: kids, calls, email, calls, email, calls, kids, recharge phone, bed. CV: Always hectic, everchanging, never typical, exhausting, satisfying and fun. AK: Too short to achieve what you want to get done! IS IT HARD BEING AT THE TOP OF SUCH A LARGE COMPANY WHEN YOU’RE FEMALE? SS: I’m not sure that being female makes it tougher, but as a mother I do have the added pressure of two boys under four years of age. I therefore need to balance being a mum and running the business – which I have to say I think I’ve got cracked. Dell’s flexible working policy is fantastic. I am able to balance my working hours around my childcare arrangements, meaning I get the best of both worlds CV: I think Dell has made

I’m not sure that being female makes it tougher, but as a mother I do have the added pressure of two boys

this incredibly easy with its diversity programs and complete equality in terms of the way it treats people. They have allowed me to have a fulfilling job and still be a mum and partner. Dell’s attitude has always been let the best woman or man get the role. AK: I think we’re fortunate enough to be working for a company like Dell that continuously strives to attract female talent. It’s certainly not easy with two young boys but it’s a choice you make. DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ENOUGH FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN THE UK? SS: I think women add an incredible quality to business and I’d love to see more. More women can be encouraged to become entrepreneurs. Initiatives such as Dell Women’s Entrepreneur

OCTOBER 2013

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INSPIRING WOMEN

SARAH SHIELDS, general manager & executive director, consumer, SMEs

Network (DWEN) can be incredibly rewarding and offer female entrepreneurs more networking opportunities to support their careers. CV: I think there are plenty of female entrepreneurs but they need more support in really getting their businesses to grow. Quite often they tend to keep them small, so they can manage with other commitments. AK: There are a lot of female entrepreneurs in the UK with great ideas and thriving small businesses, but you can never have enough. DO YOU THINK MEN AND WOMAN ARE PERCEIVED AS EQUALS IN BUSINESS? SS: In my view, my gender has never held me back. Sometimes I need to shout louder to get heard, but I think that might be attributed to my personality rather than the fact I am female. In Dell, I believe men and women are equal but I am aware that may not be the case everywhere.  CV: Yes, I personally think so, but I think it depends entirely on what attitude you adopt individually. I have always liked to knock down male bastions, from my early days playing rugby when women weren’t even allowed in the clubhouse. In fact, I have decided that it

CLAIRE VYVYAN, general manager & executive director, large institutions

can be a significant advantage in business to be female, as you are more memorable and often judged in a male peer group by different criteria than your male peers. AK: Now that’s an interesting question. I can safely say that in my experience with Dell, both men and women are perceived as equals. I’m not convinced it’s the same across all businesses. I think women still have a ways to go across the board before we’re truly there.

TALK SUCCESS

AISLING KEEGAN, general manager & executive director, preferred accounts

AK: We’re three very feisty, opinionated women. DO YOU EACH HAVE A SPECIFIC PERSONALITY? SS: We are each very different but the end result is a great team. I suppose Claire’s the competitive one, Aisling’s the glamorous one and I’m the fun one.

SS: Persevere! Build your network and be strong. AK: Have confidence in your abilities and conviction in what you want to achieve.

THE SETUP OF THE THREE OF YOU REPORTING BACK TO UK MD, TIM GRIFFIN REMINDS ME A LITTLE OF CHARLIE’S ANGELS. SS: We coined the label Tim’s Angels right at the start! In all seriousness though, Tim (like Charlie) is a great guy to work with and he appreciates and values what each of us brings to the table. CV: I’m not sure I feel like a Charlie’s Angel most days – I don’t have enough time in my life to look that good – ever hopeful though.

WHAT IS THE DYNAMIC LIKE BETWEEN THE THREE OF YOU? SS: I think the dynamic works really well because we are able to view topics from different angles and achieve a 360° view of opportunities and work together as a team. CV: We often disagree but it’s never personal. It’s Tim (Dell UK MD) I feel sorry for – having to manage the three of us as we are all full on!

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF DELL AS A COMPANY? CV: They deliver great products and services with superb people and a real goal to serve customers. AK: You don’t stay at a company for as long as I have unless you’re personally, mentally and emotionally invested in what the company represents. Dell puts customers at the forefront of everything it does.

You don’t stay at a company for as long as I have unless WHAT WOULD YOUR you’re... ADVICE BE TO FEMALE invested in ENTREPRENEURS/BUSINESS what the WOMEN STRUGGLING AT THE company BEGINNING OF THEIR JOURNEY? represents

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27/09/2013 09:19


TA K E C A R E O F B U S I N E S S A N D E N J O Y YO U R F I R S T E V E N T F R E E*

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26/09/2013 12/09/2013 10:48 17:32


BOOK REVIEWS

TALK SUCCESS

The Blue Line imperativE What Managing For Value Really Means By Kevin Kaiser and S. David Young Kevin Kaiser is the professor of management practice INSEAD and director of the transition of general management programme. S. David Young has coauthored numerous books about management value, attracting investors and funding in business. He is also a professor at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools in France. They say: Every decision company leaders make has an impact on value – positive or negative – but the failure to properly define and assess value often makes it difficult for

Our verdict:

the people who manage businesses to effect longterm success. This book explains to those why their value initiatives aren’t providing the payoff they’d hoped for. We say: You’d think this book is a heavy read from finance buffs but they break down value so every business owner can measure exactly what value means to them – however it seems ironic that it’s a little pricey. The Blue Line Imperative is published by Wiley, priced at £29.99 in hardcover and e-book

Our verdict:

Making Your Strategy Work How To Go From Paper To People By Chris Outram Chris Outram has been a strategy consultant for more than 30 years and in that time; he has consulted to a multitude of corporations across various industries around the world. In 1987, he cofounded OC&C Strategy Consultants, which has more than 450 consultants, operating out of nine countries around the globe, including the US, China, India, Germany and Brazil. He says: The book goes behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest businesses to find out what actually happens in boardrooms when top senior executives develop, and crucially, implement winning business strategies. It features exclusive one-to-one interviews

with 115 of the world’s leading executives, including those from Coca-Cola, Sainsbury’s, and BT. We say: This strategy handbook is easy-toread yet challenging and pragmatic, plus it’s glittered with quotes from highly successful businesspeople. Making Your Strategy Work is published by FT Publishing, priced at £12.99 in paperback

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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27/09/2013 11:41


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27/09/2013 13:23


here is a revolution ongoing at the moment in business funding, and unlike most revolutions, the Government is playing a supporting role. Three factors have led to a greater range of funding opportunities for SMEs and entrepreneurs. A PERFECT STORM Firstly, technology as a disruptive force and an enabler has facilitated the development of numerous alternative funding platforms. The numbers remain small; the total amount of credit outstanding to SMEs in the UK was £170 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2013, compared to total loans funded by Funding Circle – the UK’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform – of £146 million, which is less than 1%, but they are growing rapidly. The second reason is that individual investors are being encouraged to join this revolution because we are living through a period of historically low interest rates, with Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney suggesting that will remain the case until 2016. Against that environment, savers owning less than 2% on their deposits with banks can choose to invest them for 6%, 7%, 8% or more depending on their risk appetite in debt investments. Thirdly, the Government has implemented policies to drive capital towards SMEs, both directly and indirectly, via a number of interventions including guarantees, funding schemes, co-investment schemes and tax incentives, which

money

The Funding Expert T

Vive la revolution, says funding expert, Julian Smith. He says the UK is once again leading innovation in the financial sector themselves generate an income tax credit of up to 50% on the amount of an equity investment. These interventions, while hideously complicated, are designed to take effect across the spectrum of smaller companies at different stages in their life cycle.

Thirdly, the Government has implemented policies to drive capital towards SMEs both directly and indirectly

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE In the past, savers would give money to the banks, that would on-lend that money to businesses at a higher rate, earning the spread in the middle, which, after paying their costs, would either dividend out their profits, or retain them to grow their businesses. Today, while banks compete for deposits keenly, savers have the choice of building their own portfolios using the specialist peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms. As an individual investor, you can choose the sector, the management team, investment story, asset class and quality that suits your preferences. OPTIONS FOR BUSINESSES The alternative funding market is growing rapidly. There are about five meaningful equity crowdfunding platforms in the UK and more than that providing P2P lending to businesses, with certain platforms specialising in trade, invoice or asset finance. Not all platforms are made equal. I would recommend that companies thinking of using them assess their credibility, track record and liquidity. The

Financial Conduct Authority is currently looking into the equity crowdfunding platforms with a view to their regulatory responsibilities; only some of them are regulated today. While some malign this intervention, I believe it will be good for the health and longterm sustainability. The UK is once again leading innovation in the financial sector. I would advise both businesses and investors to do their homework and to join the revolution. 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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Sitting on a fortune? Mark Tighe, managing director of capital allowances company Catax Solutions, reveals why you might have thousands of pounds in unclaimed tax rebates

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27/09/2013 09:40


CAPITAL ALLOWANCES

n the current economic climate, it’s no great surprise that small businesses like yours are striving to keep costs to a minimum each year and make every penny count. After a heady and glorious summer last year with the Jubilee and Olympic celebrations giving a much-needed cash injection, the UK is still heavily reliant on an economy that has been stretched to breaking point by the financial crisis and inflation. While times are undoubtedly tough for SMEs, that may be sacrificing staff, technical equipment and even office space, it does not have to spell disaster. Why? Due to unclaimed capital allowances, small to medium-sized businesses could be due a significant tax rebate from the Inland Revenue. And after the UK narrowly escaped a triple dip recession, a windfall could be just the ticket for them in these straightened times.

I

WHAT ARE CAPITAL ALLOWANCES? In short, capital allowances are a form of tax relief available to anyone who incurs capital expenditure buying, building or refurbishing commercial property. Put simply, they are a means of reducing your tax bill. Research carried out by chartered accountant Deloitte has shown that more than nine in 10 UK commercial property owners will be owed a significant tax rebate in the region of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of pounds. Here at Catax Solutions, we have estimated the amount of capital allowances that is currently sitting unclaimed within commercial property to be in the region of £70 billion. WHY ARE CAPITAL ALLOWANCES NOT ON THE RADAR OF MOST SMALL BUSINESSES? Most people, let alone small

business owners, are completely in the dark about what capital allowances are. That’s largely because they are an incredibly obscure area of tax, and with an £11 billion deficit, it’s not surprising that the Inland Revenue hasn’t been going out of its way to promote them! In addition, it simply isn’t the area of expertise of the trusted accountants of small businesses to investigate the unclaimed capital allowances that can be found in these properties. In fact, it can be incredibly difficult to identify qualifying items within commercial premises, such as office blocks, car showrooms and dental surgeries. Rather, accountants enlist the help of capital allowances specialists to carry out in-depth forensic surveys of properties, using thousands of detailed matrices to uncover qualifying assets and their value. In a typical office, this might include heating systems, lighting and security systems, pipework and drainage, among other embedded features, which capital allowances specialists like to call the “intrinsic fabrication”. Privately owned businesses will be only too familiar with the cost of fitting these items, given the need for extra electronics, lights, sprinkler systems and plumbing on each office floor. GETTING RESULTS Put into practice, acting on behalf of a privately owned school, Catax Solutions recently uncovered almost £150,000 in capital allowances. And to give an idea of the items identified and where rebates were owed, this was broken down to include £6,000 for disposal and drainage installations, £20,000 for water installations, £59,000 for heating installations, £31,000 on ventilation installations, £14,000 for

Capital allowances are a form of tax relief available to anyone who incurs capital expenditure buying, building or refurbishing commercial property

TALK MONEY

electrical fittings and more than £20,000 for fixed internal fittings. So clearly there are significant savings to your tax bill to be made. Better still, Catax Solutions will only charge a fee if it is able to identify a sizeable amount of unclaimed capital allowances. All in all, it’s worthwhile investigating to find out whether you have a claim. Catax Solutions has worked with a number of different businesses in a variety of different sectors. Another recent example of a successful sector case study was in the hospitality industry, with Catax Solutions successfully uncovering a staggering £400,000 in capital allowances in an independent hotel of 74 bedrooms. YOUR RIGHT Whether you’ve considered investigating them or not, capital allowances are your right and not a privilege; if you own your business premises and/or have made significant improvements to it, you deserve the tax benefit. And for owners of businesses, such as hotels and private or independent schools, who have dealt with the effects of the recession for the last few years, a tidy sum from the Inland Revenue would be a great advantage. Contact: cataxsolutions.com

Quick read > Capital allowances are a form of tax relief available to anyone who incurs capital expenditure buying, building or refurbishing commercial property. > Nine in 10 UK commercial property owners will be owed a significant tax rebate in the region of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of pounds. > Capital allowances are your right and not a privilege; if you own your business premises and/ or have made significant improvements to it – hire a specialist to help you unlock this money.

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11/09/2013 10:16


START-UP LOANS

TALK MONEY

A day in the life

This month our Start Up Loan recipient Gemma Hopkins reveals an average day in her events company

emma Hopkins, is founder and creative director of Chapter 7 Extraordinary Events, which launched in June 2013. The company plans both single day events and multi-day extravaganzas, in the UK and further flung. Each event is imaginative; taking guests on a journey from the moment they receive their fantastical invitations.

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DEAR DIARY… I wake up, pull my trainers on, and immerse myself in an upbeat playlist, kick-starting the day with a 45-minute run. After I get ready I write down the most important tasks I need to accomplish by the end of the day. I then respond to emails.

05:30

While travelling to meet a client for a breakfast meeting in London, I engage on Twitter and other social media platforms. I listen to my client’s latest thoughts and ideas for her wedding next year, while going over the concepts and mood

07:45

boards we’ve developed and discussing vendor options. I put together a quote for a potential client and then brainstorm some ideas for a batch of mysterious invitation packages we’ve been called upon to create for a birthday.

09:30

I drive out to a meeting at an exclusive country venue to discuss us offering our experiential event services there. On the way, I chat to my web designer about updates to be made to the website. On the way back to London I swing by one of our scent labs to talk over a scent that we’re developing to enhance the ambience of an Alpineinspired event.

11:00

I pull together some ideas to help a blogger out with some content for a blog post. Then I write a blog post for our own blog about an event I went to and the ideas it inspired that I can offer to people planning their own experiential event.

16:15

After that I get some work done on a premium brand product launch event in Taipei I’m helping to project manage. When I’ve finished with one of my clients I get back home feeling satisfied after a successful day, excited to go again tomorrow. I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow.

00:00

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. Contact: startuploans.co.uk

In Profile

Entrepreneur: Gemma Hopkins Business: Chapter 7 Extraordinary Events Web: chapter7events.com Concept: An events company which plans seven high production weddings and events a year, which tell a spectacular story. Start-Up Loan: £3,000

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25/09/2013 13:58


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27/09/2013 13:31


CAREFUL CONTRACTS TALK MONEY

Say no to sexism businessman once told me (seriously) that I should “dress sexier” because “if a man doesn’t want to have sex with you, he probably isn’t listening to you”. Previously, a female partner at a city law firm, suggested that I didn’t “join those womenonly groups, because it will make you look like a feminist”. Finally, I was warned by several female partners that if I was to ever have children then I should “get a good nanny fast or lose out on partnership”. Although not true, these statements serve as a reference point for my experience as a woman in business. Usually, these beliefs are not stated out loud and usually, we just pick up subtle hints that this is the way things are and the behaviour is expected. Two years on from the groundbreaking review by Lord Davies about women in decision-making roles, and with recent high profile cases of sex discrimination in the corporate world, “women in business” remains a hot topic. Can we, as women, be more proactive in influencing the attitude to women in the workplace? Yes, and here’s how:

A

This month NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers discusses sexism and how women can help banish it in business 1. Be yourself – don’t match the male stereotype or feel you need to exert more typical male behaviour. Women bring their own style, which has its own benefits. 2. Create a culture of mentoring – whatever industry, too many women “pull up the ladder” behind them when they reach higher heights. Finding a female mentee who is hungry to learn can allow you to give back. Google: City University Mentoring Scheme or Modern Muse for further information. 3. Be bold and speak up – keep a professional, but no-nonsense attitude to overt sexism and don’t accept subtle sexism either. Since we are no longer in the 1950s, sexist jokes in the workplace and unequal practices no longer need to be accepted. If we have a no tolerance attitude, then there may be further progress on this issue. 4. Understand the power of sponsorship – find someone (female or male) who will proactively raise your own profile and help you through the political hurdles in business.

A businessman once told me (seriously) that I should ‘dress sexier’

Ask that person for support and assistance and ask them to make introductions to other people of use to you. 5. Be a feminist – don’t be put off by “women-specific” events. They are a great source of information, inspiration and a like-minded network, but don’t sacrifice them for attending mixed events and make sure that you attend network events with men as well!

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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27/09/2013 09:36


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27/09/2013 13:34


ONLINE SECURITY

TALK MONEY

Combat credit card fraud Daniel Foster, director of web hosting company 34SP.com, talks about how to reduce the risk of credit card fraud MINIMISE THE RISK OF CREDIT CARD FRAUD TO YOUR BUSINESS Counterfeit card fraud has seen a drop of 63%. In 2004, this type of fraud accounted for 25% of all card fraud on UK-issued cards, but by 2012, it was just 16%. Despite the fact that credit card fraud is dropping, it’s still hugely important for businesses to take the necessary precautions to make sure they’re not in the 16% of businesses who leave themselves and their customers open to attack. THE LOWDOWN ON CREDIT CARD FRAUD In this day and age, there are a growing number of businesses that accept a staggering 90% of all their payments online. According to the Forum of Private Business’s 2010 report; insufficient security checks and the complexity of taking online payments leave small businesses massively exposed to payment processing fraud. Although there has been some improvement, this is still a problem. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that businesses have to pay the price for this fraud.

A nugget of good news is that banks have tightened their own security systems, including physical devices for taking online payments, however despite lower levels of online fraud, SMEs are still left to bear the brunt of breaches in “secure” online payment systems. So why do SMEs suffer so greatly? In very simple terms, it has something to do with the complexity of the process and lax security. Many business owners don’t fully understand the complexities in taking secure online card payments and don’t realise that they’ll be the ones who are held responsible for the fraud. For example, problems may occur when the cardholder rejects the transaction and a chargeback fee is issued from the bank. This means that you will have to refund all incurred expenses and pay what can add up to hefty chargeback fees. Given that SMEs are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to online credit card and general fraud, it’s a good idea to look at how best to both combat and prevent it.

There are a growing number of businesses that accept a staggering 90% of all their payments online

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TALK MONEY ONLINE SECURITY

HOW TO KEEP IN-LINE, ONLINE There are various things you can do in order to go some way to preventing online credit card fraud. One example is investing in some geolocation technology. This will provide you with the website user’s exact location by IP address as well as real-time e-commerce transactions which can, in turn, help to identify geographical locations where the probability of fraud is the highest. Additionally, geolocation software enables merchants to determine and review which transactions to review and which to allow. Another useful check for SMEs to make is calling the credit card issuing bank to verify the validity of the credit card. If you have any suspicion whatsoever that a transaction is not above board, it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to call the issuing bank and ask them to verify the account details so as to ensure the card is not stolen. Another good place for a business to start is by implementing a secure e-commerce payment gateway. Put simply, this is a service that authorises credit card payments and processes them securely with a user’s merchant account. You might be familiar

(when making an online transaction) with having to enter letters and numbers from your security code. Other tricks for business owners to keep an eye out for are anonymous proxy servers being used to place orders, comparing the IP address country with the billing address country and checking whether the mailing address is a mailbox or ship-forward address. It’s also an idea to watch out when processing international orders from “high risk” countries. The top 12 international sources for online fraud are Ukraine, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Egypt, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Israel. Again, this goes back to geolocation software. DELVING DEEP – HOW WE CATCH THE CRIMINALS All this information may leave you feeling more stumped than ever. As a small business owner, credit card fraud is certainly something you ought to consider, but you certainly don’t want to miss out on those vital online transactions. As web hosts, we’re very much in the business of keeping checks on

credit card fraud for our customers. We get it – you’re a small business owner – you have plenty to keep you occupied without getting involved in the technical nitty gritty of online payments.

This means that the you will have to refund all incurred expenses and pay what can add up to hefty chargeback fees

SO HOW EXACTLY DO WE GO ABOUT IT? We have a number of measures that we’ve developed over the years, not dissimilar to some of the tips mentioned above. In layman’s terms, we give each transaction a score – negative for good things (such as the billing and cardholder address correlating) and positive for bad (using the internet in a different country to the one their card is registered in). In short, companies like ours take care of all the technical stuff for you. Once we combine all this information together, we get what’s known as a fraud score. If a fraud score is over +10, it’s treated as fraud – this will then be flagged up by one of our team. The range of information that gives the fraud score is huge – and far too complex to talk about in an article. Suffice to say, we think we have one of the best fraud detection algorithms in the industry. AND FINALLY It’s always a good idea to have a chat to your web host about being safe when it comes to credit card fraud. However, that’s no excuse for not doing what you can to keep a handle on it yourself. By adhering to the useful tips listed above, you’ll go a long way to creating a safety net for your business. Contact: 34SP.com

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27/09/2013 13:39


Strategy

free labour

e’re told by various business coaches, mentors and gurus never to do things for free. We “cover the costs”, do it “on our time”, or even offer it on a “pro bono” basis, but “free” it would seem, simply undervalues our hard work. Well I’ve done quite a lot for free over the last week – a daft amount, or so it would seem. I recently became involved with a group through Meet Up, a website where anyone can form a meeting based around a common interest or goal. The group I went along to was for creatives and freelancers within my area – there was no purpose or agenda, just an opportunity for us to get together. It was low key, laid back and I didn’t have to get up at 6am. There was a Financial Times journalist, a web design celeb, a photographer, a retired French film director and me. An eclectic bunch with a multitude of skills, experience and stories. Soon we had an idea for a collaborative project. Tasks were volunteered and allocated. Mine was the brand and logo design. The concept was to “brand” our town, tying together disparate groups and trying to create something that the whole

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The work I did was for free, took days and I lost the plot several times during the process, but it’s been worth it

This month Rich With, founder of creative agency Hoot, looks into the murky world of unpaid work community could be involved in. I spent days designing the concepts, then I ditched them and started from scratch. I had three concepts in total, two completely unsuitable by my judgement, but the final concept is (if I don’t say so myself) absolutely killer. It did take me the best part of a week to create, but was worth it. I needed the challenge – something where I had to please a whole bunch of creatives, (who are on the whole, a snarky bunch when critiquing each others work at the best of times) and myself. Now we have a tremendous building block to create a brand throughout the community, something that has a legacy, and will be seen locally to me for a considerable amount of time. So what did I get out of it? On the face of it nothing, it was purely an altruistic motive. However, at the time of writing I’m just days away from opening a new business on a well known shopping parade. And as it turns out we’ll be able to stock some of the merchandise we’re creating (all profits of which will go to

funding future projects). Plus as a result of the work already done I’ve managed to secure a hot new contract for a wellknown tech-company. So yes, the work I did was for free, took days and I lost the plot several times during the process, but it’s been worth it, both career wise and for my own sanity. This was the sort of project that’s rare – a side venture with a social conscience and real world possibilities, and a chance to collaborate with a highly talented bunch of individuals, unlikely to have come together otherwise.

Contact: gohoot.co.uk

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25/09/2013 15:09


Where did all the women go? With just 15% of UK SMEs led by women, Dawn Murden investigates if there is a lack of female entrepreneurs in the UK

Things are not much better on the FTSE100 Boards, where just 17% of board members are women

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FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS

here are lots of successful female entrepreneurs out there – but I can’t help but wonder if they are fewer and far between when compared to males. Back in 2003, women owned 30% of UK businesses. A decade on, this percentage has increased, but not by much – it now stands at 37%. The number of female SME owners is even worse – just 15% of SMEs are female-led, and things are no better on the FTSE100 Boards, where just 17% of board members are women. A target that FTSE100 Boards should have a minimum of 25% female representation by 2015 was set in the Women on Boards report from February 2011. It’s good that targets are being set but they don’t seem very ambitious. I asked a number of women in business; “why there is a lack of female entrepreneurs?” Many women believe it’s to do with the society we live in. ‘I think women in this country often don’t become entrepreneurs because they are just not expected to,’ said Isabel McCann, founder of AIM Conferences, which provides lecture days for students and training for teachers. Others believe it’s to do with background and upbringing. Karen Meager, director of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy, said: ‘Most of my female clients who run their own business, come from a family background where something happened so the women had to take over bringing in the income or they had a very entrepreneurial family, with role models running their own business.’ But perhaps it is a combination of upbringing and society’s

T

expectations, which mould a woman’s perspective of herself and the notion of success. I came across an interesting article on the Harvard Business Review by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, entitled Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? in which he wrote: ‘In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. Manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.’ Karen Meager made a similar point: ‘Women project themselves and are perceived differently to men – if a man talks about his achievements, he is confident and self-assured, but a woman doing the same would be seen as arrogant and “up herself”. ‘The upbringing and role development of women will take generations to shift.’ Karen admits she is making generalisations, and of course many women – like her clients already mentioned – have changed the way they are perceived in business. However, even if women do become successful, many feel they had to break down large barriers first. Jessica Rose, director of The London Jewellery School, said: ‘There are undeniably more barriers that women have to face in order to be taken seriously and respected as

The upbringing and role development of women will take generations to shift

TALK STRATEGY

not only business owners, but legitimate, knowledgeable and talented ones at that!’ It’s not just perception and projection; of course predominately “female” roles like childcare can cause barriers for women as well. However, there are women out there who feel nothing can hold them back. Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson are founders of Australian tanning range, Skinny Tan. They recently appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and were backed by Piers Linney and Kelly Hoppen and now plan to take on the UK market. ‘Women are known to be great multi-taskers, communicators and managers – all of which have been essential when setting up our small business with little capital,’ Kate Cotton said. ‘Rather than being an obstacle to our entrepreneurship, we thought having children was a real driving force.’ Louise Ferguson added: ‘As if we weren’t inspired enough by all the wonderful successful businesswomen in the world today, this was enhanced by working with Kelly Hoppen MBE. ‘She knows that women can have it all, and that being a woman is not what drives you to succeed.’ Neeta Patel, CEO of The New Entrepreneurs Foundation, said there are lots of women running small businesses creating jobs and contributing to the economy. ‘Perhaps controversially, I believe that there are plenty of female entrepreneurs in the UK,’ she said. ‘We have lots of successful women in the worlds of fashion, retail, food and leisure, but fewer women running technology businesses.’

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/09/2013 09:33


i TALK STRATEGY FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS

But are there really plenty of female entrepreneurs in the UK? Business consultant and coach, Maite Baron said: ‘The recent economic and financial crises, created in large by aggressive and testosteronefuelled business tactics, could increasingly bring women, who are tired of “success at all costs” thinking, into the entrepreneurial picture. But unfortunately the UK lags behind other countries.’ With the statistics from the beginning of this article in mind, I’d like to bring some other global statistics to your attention: • In the US – women-owned firms account for 40% of all privately-owned firms. • In China – women represent 40% of the private sector, and half of the world’s 14 self-made female billionaires are from the country. • In Ghana – females own 55% of businesses, and 90% of young women hope to start their own company one day. Melissa Morris, CEO of Network Locum, an online community for GPs, said: ‘China is a great example of a more balance approach to entrepreneurship. ‘The concept of entrepreneurialism is fairly new there so men and women are embracing it at the same time – without a history of “great entrepreneurs” being symbolically tied to “great men” both sexes have an equal shot at it.’ Maite Baron agrees: ‘With no glass ceiling to break, women are free to do their own thing, unlike here where talented women are “educated” not to go into business.’ Plus, it’s not just happening in the UK – according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report, in all but seven of the 69

54

countries surveyed, women represent a minority of the nation’s entrepreneurs. The seven countries where there were as many, or more women entrepreneurs are Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico and Uganda. Whether we’re looking at the UK statistics alone, or comparing with other countries, the UK is still behind. So what are we going to do about it? Simon Middleton, director of Watershed Entrepreneurs, a company that helps start-ups realise their dreams, says that women approach business differently. ‘Cath Kidston, Anita Roddick of Bodyshop and Laura Ashley began their iconic journeys almost around the kitchen table or its equivalent,’ he said. ‘The funding is initially domestic in scale – there is no sense of a “bloke muscling in with money wanting to take control”. ‘Since the “home” is taken for granted, could it be that the predominantly male commentators miss the obvious? Our response is simply: open your eyes and minds and you will see.’ Jessica Rose added: ‘Get on with what you’re doing and make it amazing, female or not, people can’t argue with facts, figures and, let’s be honest, profit. ‘It’s harder for females but the more we push forward and break stereotypes, the better the future of entrepreneurship and women’s role in business will be.’ There is not doubt things are getting better, but there

is still a way to go. Hopefully both women and men will keep pushing and the next decade will see bigger increases in the amount of women in business and an even more positive attitude.

In China – women represent 40% of the private sector

Statistics taken from: Labour Force Statistics, House of Commons Library UK Parliament, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Women’s Report 2012, WBO, and Stylist Magazine.

OCTOBER 2013

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29/07/2013 14:12


MOTIVATION

No place like home Martin Alden, head of B2B partnerships at Wickes, explains how the home can be a powerful motivating influence for businesses

recent report by the Office for National Statistics found that UK workers are among those that work the longest. Full-time workers average 37 hours in the office, while a fifth of employees work more than 45 hours, a week. These long hours make time spent at home all the more important to employees. It’s a place in which people invest both financially and emotionally. Most homeowners want their abode to create a welcoming atmosphere and reflect their own tastes and lifestyle. This translates into considerable investment on

A

home improvement; according to Lloyds TSB a total of £10.5 billion was spent on DIY in the UK during 2012. The home is clearly a major focus of investment and time for people, so why aren’t more businesses reflecting this in their motivation schemes? Adding a home improvement retailer to a reward scheme gives employees the chance to invest in their home and ease the squeeze on their household budget. A reward that enables a member of staff to invest in and improve their home environment is not only a long lasting reminder of the company but also makes a

This translates into considerable investment on home improvement: households spent a total of £10.5 billion on DIY in 2012

TALK STRATEGY

powerful statement about them. It positions the business as one that is considerate towards an employee’s life at home, outside of work, and actively helps them to devote time to it. Enabling staff to invest in improving their property creates long lasting results, thereby achieving a greater impact than a short-term reward. A trip to the cinema, or a favourite restaurant is a pleasant experience for many, but one that is quick and easily forgotten. While this may be satisfying at the time for the employee, it won’t provide a long-term benefit. It is essential for businesses to give their staff a wide variety of motivational rewards to choose from, that reflect all aspects of their life, both in and out of work. Choice ensures a broad appeal across all demographics of a business. After all, what suits a young graduate may not appeal to an older member of the workforce. Providing staff with a wide selection maximises the appeal and take up of a scheme. Enabling employees to make a personal choice in the type of reward they receive delivers real impact as it helps them to remember the gesture, their employer and how they earned the reward. What’s more, giving staff a choice within the home improvement sector ensures they have easier access to a wide variety of products to suit their needs. If businesses have all bases covered with a truly wide choice of reward options, a motivation scheme will then appeal to every single member of their workforce, driving uptake and ultimately engagement levels across the business. Contact: wickes.co.uk

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26/09/2013 12:12


TALK STRATEGY NECTAR BUSINESS

Small Business Awards 2013 very one has heard of Nectar. It’s the UK’s largest loyalty programme. More than 19 million collectors earn Nectar points when shopping for groceries, doing DIY, booking a holiday and so on, at more than 500 leading retailers and online. Since Nectar’s launch in 2002, more than £1.5 billion in rewards has been spent by collectors. But have you heard about Nectar Business? With a Nectar Business card you can collect Nectar points on your everyday business purchases and then spend them on rewards for your business and treats for you. You can even link your existing Nectar card to a business account. But Nectar Business doesn’t just offer points and great offers to help businesses save money. It also runs its own Small Business Awards, which has been running since 2009, and the 2013 awards concluded last month.

E

The following judges had to make a decision on hundreds of entries this year: • David Hughes, marketing director at Brakes, the grocery and fresh food supplier to catering businesses • Chris Li, managing director at Luxury for Less and winner of Nectar Business Achiever Small Business of Year Awards 2012

58

Dawn Murden attended the Nectar Business Small Business Awards 2013 to meet the winners and judge, Karren Brady

The winner’s received £2,000 cash, 50,000 Nectar points and publicity for their business

• James Frost, marketing director at Nectar • Karren Brady, businesswoman, columnist, motivational speaker and TV personality [see our exclusive interview with Karren on page 18]. The winner of each category received £2,000 cash, 50,000 Nectar points and publicity for their business. And on top of that, an exclusive invite to the Nectar Business Round Table, including a Q&A with Karren Brady [at which I was lucky to be a fly on the wall].

THE 2013 CATEGORIES AND WINNERS WERE: SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Melissa Burton Goody Good Stuff is a confectionary company, which has pioneered the use of plant-based hydrocolloid – a gelatine alternative – in confectionary to create gummy sweets. Everyone can enjoy the sweets, no matter what their religion or dietary requirements are. [See page 24 for our exclusive interview.]

OCTOBER 2013

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NECTAR BUSINESS

START UP IF THE YEAR (UNDER ONE YEAR TRADING) Amy Cunningham The Strings Club offers fun music courses for children aged four to 12. The company continues to expand across the country and has a 98% customer return rate. Contact: thestringsclub.com INNOVATION OF THE YEAR Steven Greenall Warwick Music produces sheet music and the world’s first plastic trombone - called the pBone. The innovative product makes trombone playing less expensive and thus more accessible. The company has an impressive CSR programme, sending instruments to Africa. Contact: warwickmusic.com ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Ann-Maree Morisson Labels4Kids produces hardwearing, waterproof labels for children’s clothes and school items. Ann-Maree has strong ambitions for the company and is investing in global expansion. Contact: labels4kids.com TRADESPERSON OF THE YEAR James Lanwarne Lanwarne Landscapes offers landscape and garden design, construction, horticulture and consultancy. James has a real commitment to exceeding customer expectation, which has lead to more than 80% of the business coming from recommendations or returning clients. Contact: lanwarnelandscapes.co.uk CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY Patrick Church The first service of its kind in this country, Givecar is a notfor-profit social enterprise that offers a free service to collect

unwanted vehicles, and recycles or auctions them to raise money for the charity of the owner’s choice. Givecar won the award through a public vote. Contact: givecar.co.uk

Each of the category winners told me they found This year the Round Table topic the event inspirational was; surviving the recession and coming out the other side. After discussing this topic, each winner was able to ask Karen Brady a question. The conversation was engaging, and each of the category winners told me they found the event inspirational and helpful. Karren Brady said: ‘It’s been amazing today because everybody’s businesses, while they’re very different, are experiencing some very similar issues, whether that’s franchising, expansion, online versus high street, and we’ve learnt so much today about various different business and different ways of doing things.’ Amy Cunningham, founder of The Strings Club said: ‘I’m right at the start of my journey so it was really useful to hear what everyone else had been through and is going through – it made me think a lot about the future. ‘It was fantastic meeting Karren Brady, she’s very inspirational.’ At Talk Business, we were amazed by the quality of entries and the fantastic prizes the winners received to help their businesses grow further. That’s why we intend to work with Nectar Business more closely from now on. Keep an eye for our May 2014 issue and on Twitter where we’ll be announcing all the details of the next awards.

TALK STRATEGY

Past winner comment Charlie Harry Francis, founder of Lick Me I’m Delicious, which makes portable ice cream contraptions, won the 2012 Innovation Award. He said: ‘Winning a Nectar Small Business Award has elevated the credibility of my business, which is immensely valuable. The advice Karren gave me at the Round Table was very useful in helping me move the business forward and I’ve started implementing her suggestions.’

MELISSA BURTON

AMY CUNNINGHAM

STEVEN GREENALL

PATRICK CHURCH

ANN-MAREE MORISSON

JAMES LANWARNE

Contact: nectar.com/dynamic/ smallbusiness Want to watch the video of the event, including an interview with Karren Brady? Visit talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk/nectar-business-small-businessawards-2013-karren-brady

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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ADAM CAPLAN

TALK STRATEGY

Husband like wife This month sales author and coach Adam Caplan interviews the most noted female entrepreneur in his life, his wife Emma Sugarman y wife Emma Sugarman is a female entrepreneur and we work together. Emma was a successful consultant in secretarial recruitment in the city for 16 years before setting up her business Academics in 2002. By the time it was bought by Servoca, it was generating £17 million pounds a year. She has since been serving as a nonexecutive director for Servoca and is also a director of Unique Sales Professionals Recruitment. I decided to pick her brain for Talk Business this month.

M

WHAT MAKES A BUSINESS SUCCESSFUL? The staff. If you have good staff you will have a good business. If you have great staff, you’ll have a great business. Personally I only employ exceptional staff! DO YOU THINK IT’S HARDER FOR WOMEN TO BE SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS? It depends on the woman. People say that women have to be more like men to be successful, I’d counter that with asking; why shouldn’t men be more like women if they want to succeed? I see no reason that a woman cannot be as successful, or more so, than a man. The most important thing for anyone to remember, male or female, is that in order to be successful, you should be able to recognise your weaknesses and be able to delegate effectively.

WHAT’S THE SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS? Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? I think of success like a recipe. There are a number of ingredients that go into the recipe, all of which are important for a successful outcome. AND YOUR RECIPE? It’s a family secret! DO YOU THINK THE COUNTRY IS COMING OUT OF THE RECESSION AS REPORTS INDICATE? No. I don’t think we are getting the full picture of the real situation. I think the situation might be quite dire for some and the truth is being masked by good news stories. IS THIS A GOOD TIME FOR SETTING UP A NEW BUSINESS? Providing you’ve researched your industry thoroughly, have superb staff and a good business plan, any time is a good time to start your business. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll be successful, whatever the trading conditions. WHAT MAKES A GOOD SALESPERSON? Passion. They must be passionate about the company, the product and about helping their customers get what they need and want from the sales process.

People say that women have to be more like men to be successful, I’d counter that with asking; why shouldn’t men be more like women?

WHAT THREE THINGS DRIVE YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL? I enjoy the personal satisfaction that being successful delivers. It’s achieving your goals and knowing that you’ve hit the targets you’ve set yourself. Secondly, I really enjoy the choices and freedom that money brings. Lastly, I can safeguard the future for my children. 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.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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ADVICE

The Sales Doctor Don’t inadvertently mislead customers. Under promise and over deliver says sales doctor Tony Morris

Q: A:

Dear sales doctor, Sometimes when I know I’m on the brink of getting a deal I over promise things to the client, which later come back to haunt me. Why do I keep doing this? And how can I stop? I understand why you might do this; naturally you get excited about being on the brink of closing a deal and therefore if the client asks you anything, you don’t want to say anything negative that may affect you winning the business. One of the most important parts of the sales cycle is called “consolidating the sale”. This is where you outline to the customer everything they are getting as part of the deal, to avoid any “you said, he said” scenario. Therefore it’s crucial that anything discussed must go in writing, so you can refer to it at a later date if need be. Equally you need to ensure the customer is 100% clear on what the next steps are and the time frames they will be delivered in. If you do this at the end of every sale, you will avoid any confusion on both sides and you will not over promise and under deliver. Buyers are aware that when the sales person is on the brink of winning their business, they

are at their most vulnerable and most generous state. Therefore wise buyers will use this time to try and negotiate additional products or services as part of the deal, without having to pay anymore for it. It’s important to be strong at this point and realise this is just a negotiation tactic and instead, reinforce exactly what the buyer is getting and rebuild the value. Where possible, you want to under promise and over deliver at the end of the sales process. For example, if you know a product takes three days for delivery, it might be wise to tell the customer they should expect it in five; so when it arrives two days early they are impressed. This also gives you some room for error and again, avoiding any frustration from your customer. Next time you are on the brink of a sale and that wonderful rush of excitement and adrenalin arises, remember to remain calm and clearly outline what the deal entails. Get agreement from the customer that everything makes perfect sense and you have answered all their questions; then thank them for their business and ask for a referral. TONY MORRIS, sales doctor

TALK STRATEGY

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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26/09/2013 13:40


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PERFORMANCE REVIEW

TALK STRATEGY

Rate yourself ne of the myriad advantages of being your own boss is the escape from the purgatory that was the annual performance review, right? Let’s face it; it’s become a tick-box exercise for many businesses. So it’s no wonder that people’s eyes roll at the thought of them. But let’s think about what a performance review is actually meant to do; review our performance over the year and develop a plan for the next. This element of self-reflection and planning helps people learn from their achievements and mistakes, take stock and continue developing. As a busy entrepreneur or business owner, it’s very easy to sideline this part of your own growth and development and just keep going. But are you really moving forward or are you on a hamster wheel? Conducting your own performance review can be quick, straightforward and rewarding for both you and your business.

O

CONDUCT YOUR OWN REVIEW: DO IT YOUR WAY Some people like spreadsheets or templates and some people prefer to write freehand in a

Karen Meager, founder of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy, tells you how to conduct your own performance review notebook or even use pictures or storyboarding to conduct their review. Pick a process that works for you. Essentially you are looking to record and reflect on your achievements and learn from the past year (or half year) and develop your outcomes and goals. I have a notebook I use only for this purpose.

As a busy entrepreneur or business owner, it’s very easy to sideline this part of your own growth and development and just keep going

MEASURING PERFORMANCE Make sure you measure performance in more than numbers. Step into the shoes of your customers and your competitors. How do they perceive you? What can you learn from their perspectives that would help you and your business? Think of achievements you were proud of, even if they weren’t directly related to the bottom line. Did you do something to improve morale or the environment for your staff? How has that benefited the business? These intangible achievements can have a huge impact and are easy to miss. SETTING GOALS Make sure the goals are stated in positive language and not

in terms of what you want to avoid or what you want more or less of. Saying “My active client base will grow” is more powerful and clear than “I don’t want to lose clients”. Be brave but realistic. IDENTIFYING TRAINING NEEDS Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses, but don’t assume they are all training needs. You can’t be all things to all people. Sometimes identifying a weakness is about bringing in the expertise instead of trying to do it all yourself. Where is your training and development time best spent? Work on developing weak areas or making the most of your strengths. CAREER ADVANCEMENT It’s easy to get stuck in the dayto-day and forget why you are doing this. Ask yourself “why am I doing this work?” That could give you a clearer picture of where your next step is in terms of advancement. Contact: monkeypuzzletraining.co.uk

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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mARKETING

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Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, tells us about US burger joint Five Guys and its mouthwatering marketing t’s no secret that I’m American. I was born and raised in New York. In 2004 I fulfilled a life long dream and moved to London. I moved here for the culture, tea, tennis, roses and worldly conversations. What I miss the most is my family and friends, the weather, the customer service and the food. There are very few restaurants that offer the comfort food from home. So you can imagine my surprise (and excitement) when I was walking through Covent Garden and saw that Five Guys – a US burger chain – had travelled across the pond. I was introduced to Five Guys three years ago, when visiting home – it was all my father could talk about. I started to like our father-daughter trips for these pretty awesome burgers and fries. Last year, they were all over New York. And now, here they were, in front of me in London – I couldn’t believe it. What was more amazing is that the queue was a quarter of a mile long! Five Guys started as a tiny family business near Washington D.C. in the late 1980’s. All they served were handmade fresh burgers, that were never frozen, and fresh

They are all probably very talented cooks, but they wanted to be known for one thing

cut fries made in peanut oil. That’s all. But they were the best at it. People took notice and word started to spread about the best burgers in town. By the 90’s they managed to grow the business to four restaurants. In 2003, the business decided to franchise and within 18 months, they had 300 stores! Now, ten years later there are over 1000 locations and over 1500 more in development. So how did Five Guys do it? Simplicity. Too many business owners have lots of creative ideas. They want to do all sorts of things. But when you’re a small team, your resources are limited. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed and sabotage your own business.

cooks, but they wanted to be known for two things. 2. Simple brand – A red and white-checkered boarder and a simple font is all Five Guys use for branding. There are no fancy logos, colours, or designs. Their brand is simple, clear and professional. 3. Simple message – Because Five Guys’ message is so clear; it makes it easy for people to spread the word. They don’t need to explain anything in detail. As a result, the word of mouth and press coverage did all the selling for them.

THREE EXAMPLES OF HOW FIVE GUYS STAYED SIMPLE: 1. Simple USP – There are two things you can get at Five Guys. Burgers and fries. They are all probably very talented

Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, author, and speaker.

Five Guys proves that if you do your marketing right, you don’t really need a sales team. You will pull people towards you and your customers will turn into raving fans.

Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com

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EMAIL

Be singleminded M Felix Velarde, managing director at digital marketing agency Underwired, explains the case for a more focused communications strategy

arketing is a collection of lots of activities, all working together, sometimes in concert, to meet several roles. These include brand awareness, prospecting, engagement, conversion, retention, generating advocacy and so on. Often we want all of our marketing to do all of these things. But the reality is; great communication is about being single-minded. This singularity of purpose is obvious when it comes to a TV advert because you’ve only got thirty seconds to make a point. For instance, doing an advert which first makes the consumer think “ooh, cute puppy”, then offers a discount, and then has a message to visit the website, alongside the Facebook and Twitter links, would be ridiculous. It either needs to be about the brand or a single call to action. Simple.

So, why do we not treat email like this too? There are two dimensions to being single-minded. Firstly, the more you ask the email recipient to read, evaluate and discern, the less they will be able to respond. This is because there is more choice and confusion, and more time is required. Inevitably, in these instances, people will either choose the middle option (basic Goldilocks psychology) – which tells you nothing about their real values – or they will defer the decision altogether (which in sales terms

People will either choose the middle option (basic Goldilocks psychology) – which tells you nothing about their real values is a “no”). So you should make the choice simple: do, or don’t do. Or, pick this one or that one (that’s the assumptive version).

TALK MARKETING

Email marketing should therefore be short, to the point and present only one or two choices. This will maximise impact and increase response rate. You will also be seen to be efficient, straightforward and direct; the simple choice compared to your competitors. The second dimension considers the role of email in a long-term relationship and adds “time” into the mix. This is where we dive into the principles of customer relationships management (CRM), where each email is designed to move the relationship on, using knowledge gathered from where it was, to where you want it to go next. In other words, we know that to build a customer relationship takes a series of incremental steps, and CRMoriented email campaigns can do this really efficiently. But, because each of these steps is discrete and purposeful, it is imperative that each step is delivered as effectively as possible. Each message must be single-minded in its purpose of preparing the customer for the next contact. For instance, the sole purpose of one email may be to make the customer think you’re nice. This might be by saying, “thank you” after a purchase. This is a good tactic, because if the customer thinks you’re nice, they’re more likely to read your next email. Single-mindedness must be an attribute and quality of every email you send. By doing one thing well, you will get the best response to an email, and ultimately the best possible result for your email marketing campaign. Contact: underwired.com

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Talk Business Insert August 2013FINALprintready.pdf 1 19/09/2013 11:10:35

Modern and 70s-inspired

at the same time, James Read tanning studio is just about to open at Harvey Nichols London. As Cosmo says “Faking it just got even better”! C

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Zurich Airport passenger s could enjoy a chic and chilling break on Ciroc summer lounge on their way to a final holiday destin ation. From the brushed aluminium and deep metallic blue to lon g white lounge seats this space was made to this young brand’s hig h standards and sophisticati on.

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This male boudoir theme was developed for the launch of Givenc hy new male fragrance Gentlemen Only and rolled-out exclusively to 15 John Lewis stores sites and win dows early May, through a stunning execution using honeycomb board and MDF. Similar design has then been deployed to 27 Debenhams stores.

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ve just The MAD people ha crazy world e stepped into th ! We deployed of Marc Jacobs theme for the dots and bees ney in Harrods, the launch of Ho mous Black shaking up the fa flying bugs Hall with large sin. Same made of tinted re d on for an theme was carrie ow on Hands eye-catching wind Crescent.

s and wave of Real orange tree deep blue frame fragrances in a authenticity to recreate the a Sicilian and freshness of qua Di Parma landscape for Ac promotion in Blu Mediterraneo Street. Selfridges Oxford

The sexy look of Dior Addict Eau Delice was brought to life in 15 Boo ts stores where people could shop from these beach cabins.

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TALK MARKETING EVENTS

The Girls Mean Business Big Event Dawn Murden went along to the TGMB Big Event to meet founder Claire Mitchell and the other female speakers

laire was prompted to set up The Girls Mean Business Facebook page in February 2012 after being forced to put her former six-figure business into liquidation. She wanted to reach out to other women facing difficulties in business, so set up the page as a forum for female entrepreneurs, “mumprenuers” and business women to vent frustrations or share worries about work. The amazing feedback she received encouraged her to expand fast, so with an MBA and more than 15 years’ marketing experience under her belt, she decided to set up coaching programmes for female business owners. As word got out, the group grew at an amazing rate – within three months there were 3000 fans, and today there are more than 14,000. As well as having several hundred coaching clients from all over the UK, Europe, Australia and the US, Claire decided to run events. Claire’s second event, The Girls Means Business Big Event took place last month and we went along to meet organiser Claire and the speakers who joined her.

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CLAIRE MITCHELL, FOUNDER OF THE GIRLS MEAN BUSINESS WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PHRASE “THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD”? This is an entrepreneur’s world – it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. Entrepreneurs have such a passion and we can achieve anything we want if we set our mind to it! HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED ANY PROBLEMS BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR? No I’ve never had any problems while I’ve had my own business. The only time I encountered issues was when I worked in the corporate world. Some of the ladies in my network have issues about working at home because their friends and family don’t think they are working, and therefore they find it hard to get uninterrupted work time, but I teach the ladies a few tricks to get over that!

being surrounded every day (virtually and in-person) by I love being able to work inspiring, like-minded women who make me laugh, cry and around my tear my hair out! family… I love being able to work instead of around my family and spend slogging lots of time with my daughter away for and husband too, instead of someone else slogging away for someone else and spending and spending hours commuting hours every day.

commuting every day

Contact: thegirlsmeanbusiness.com

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING ABOUT BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR? Freedom, flexibility, the ability to earn a great living and

OCTOBER 2013

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EVENTS

KAREN RUTTER, THE COACHES’ COACH WHAT IS IT YOU DO? I am a Business Coach who specialises in working with other coaches, consultants & trainers to help them build their businesses, with a strong focus on getting their business model right. ESTHER STANHOPE, PERSONAL IMPACT AND PRESENTATION COACH HOW DO YOU HELP BUSINESSES? I help people to be the best that they can be when performing in front of any audience, be it Radio, TV, in a boardroom or when speaking at a conference.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH YOU OWN BUSINESS? I got tired of “chasing the figures” in the corporate world, and working my socks off to build someone else’s business! I wanted to spend my time doing something more meaningful and fulfilling, and I wanted to do it for myself.

WHEN DID YOU BECOME A COACH? I had a few clients before, but I officially launched when my website went live in January 2011

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PHRASE “THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD”? For the most part, I disagree. I really don’t think it is anymore. Certainly in

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH YOU OWN BUSINESS? Working at the BBC was fantastic, I’d been producing live shows for more than 10 years, which involved managing talent, and getting the best performance out of people on a daily basis when under huge pressure, from Katie Price to Cliff Richard everyday was different. I had already been approached by several people who needed a “charisma and confidence boost” and I could see this form of coaching developing into something big a long time ago. After returning from maternity leave after my second child, I realised I wanted to take control of my own career path, time, work/life balance and work for myself. Contact: estherstanhope.com

KIM DUKE, FOUNDER OF THE SALES DIVAS, WHICH PROVIDES SALES TIPS TO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS WHAT DO YOU DO? I provide loads of unusual, quirky and very effective sales tips that can be used to attract more customers. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH YOU OWN BUSINESS? Women are outnumbering men 3:1 in starting businesses but they

TALK MARKETING

the world of business I believe the “old boys network” is a dinosaur that has lost its power. Women have created a new way of doing business, based more on co-operation and collaboration, rather than competition, and that gives us a real edge. Contact: karenrutter.com

Women are outnumbering men 3:1 in starting businesses but they aren’t making as much money. I decided I needed to change that!

aren’t making as much money. I decided I needed to change that! HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED ANY PROBLEMS BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR? The only problem was with getting entrepreneurial loans from a bank when I first started my company 12 years ago. It wasn’t even an option as they didn’t take women business owners seriously. I self-funded my business and never looked back. Don’t let money stop you from living your entrepreneurial dream but also make sure you’re not under capitalised as well – it’s the main reason businesses fail in the first three years.    Contact: salesdivas.com Want to find out more? Visit talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/london-eventfor-female-business-owners-next-month

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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PEOPLE

Who’s the daddy? Lee McQueen, founder of Raw Talent Academy and winnner of BBC’s The Apprentice season four, talks about juggling new born twins and business NEW ARRIVALS If you turned to the He said/ she said page in last month’s Talk Business you’ll know I have recently welcomed two gorgeous twin girls into the world – Lotty and Lois McQueen. Toing and froing from hospital and up to my eyeballs in nappies Dawn made a good call and said have last month off. So it only seemed right that this month I talk to you about juggling fatherhood and business. AMAZING BUT TOUGH I already have a 10-year-old daughter called Milly, who was born at a time when I was trying to establish myself. I believe men can’t multi-task, so trying to concentrate on being a dad and establishing a business was difficult. This time I thought things would be easier; I have an established business and have already been a father for ten years. But we had twins. I wouldn’t change anything for the world, but can’t deny it’s been tough. With one baby dad’s tend to stay in bed during the night feeds, with twins I have to get up and help. So after two or

three hours sleep I have to get up, go to the office and attempt to function. TIPS FOR JUGGLING But businessmen and women shouldn’t be put off family life – after all, many of us start businesses to spend more time with our families. I have a few tips. Firstly, have a great team around you. You can’t do everything and I realised that. My team are fantastic and help me every step of the way. They pick up the pieces when I can’t. Secondly, plan everything. You never know when your baby is going to have a bad day or night. RESPECT FOR WOMEN Talking about fatherhood I have to say that I genuinely think what women do is greater than what men do. I think women have a harder route into business. They can spend their lives fighting their way up the corporate ladder, then have to take a break to have a family. Predominantly the pressure is on females. I respect women a lot, my wife especially as she’s a real

Firstly, have a great team around you. You can’t do everything and I realised that

example of a female who’s high up the corporate ladder and has a family. I find women who can juggle family life and business inspirational. ON KARREN BRADY Being around good people brings out the best in you. Karren has been very successful from a young age, she is inspirational and I felt empowered and positive when I was around her on The Apprentice.

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur S isters Emma and Lucy Reeves came up with the idea for Muddy Matches in a pub in London when they realised dating websites were townie influenced. The site has been setting up country bumpkins since 2007.

DAY 1: SCAM DETECTIVES Monday is always our busiest day in the office, as we don’t work over the weekend. The first task of the day is to look at the customer care emails to make sure that we answer any queries from our members. Our customer care manager, Jo then looks through the profiles and photos that have been sent in for approval over the weekend. Most people think that reading through people’s profiles must be the most fun thing about working at a dating website and sometimes we do get some really humorous profiles sent through that make us laugh. People’s dislikes are often the most amusing, as they reveal a lot about their character. However, we do really have to stay on the ball as we have to watch out for scammers and to make sure that people aren’t revealing any information about themselves that could compromise their safety. You’d be surprised at how many people include the name of

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Lucy Reeves co-founder of Muddy Matches, an online dating and friendship site for country folk, reveals a typical working week

Sometimes we do get some really humorous profiles sent through that make us laugh

where they work or even the name of their children’s school in their profile. Also we’ve found that scammers are getting even wilier recently, so we have to carry out more searches to see if people are genuine. Jo calls me in to ask whether I think one man is a scammer, after lots of research we discover that he is and remove his account. DAY 2: FAMILY AFFAIR In the morning I get together with IT manager, Steve and social media & PR executive, Heather to have our monthly Skype meeting with our SEO consultant, Tom. We discuss how much traffic is coming to the website and are pleased to see how well we are doing, especially with targeting key words that bring people to the site via Google. My sister (and business partner) Emma and I then get together to discuss our bids for Google AdWords based on the results that we have discussed with Tom. In the afternoon, Emma and I talk about new ideas for the business. We’re always thinking of ways to expand the brand and we also discuss ideas that

our members have suggested. When we’ve finished our meeting, Heather comes in to tell us about the latest success story that has been sent by a lovely couple who have just got engaged. We receive hundreds of success stories each year, but even after all these years it’s still exciting to receive them. The couple have said we can put their photo on our success stories page and we also print out a copy for our photo wall in the office. The wall is a great reminder of some of the happy couples who have met through the site over the years; it’s full of engagement and baby photos. There are lots of tractors and animals in the photos too! DAY 3: HORSING AROUND Tom writes to say that he has found another dating company using our brand name on its website. I immediately look at the page in question and see that it is a deliberate attempt to poach business away from us, so I get in contact with the owner to ask them politely to remove our brand name from their website. When he refuses to remove it, I get in touch

OCTOBER 2013

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SECRET DIARY

with our solicitor to report the trademark infringement. After speaking to our solicitor, I speak to Steve and our website designer, Scott about the new designs for the website and I suggest changes that can be made to make the site even more user-friendly. I spend the rest of the morning catching up with emails and tasks such as checking how many members have joined this week. My friend has sent me a funny video of a horse, so I send it to Heather to upload to our Twitter account. In the afternoon, I have a telephone interview arranged with a women’s magazine to discuss what it’s like running a rural business. DAY 4: ONLINE ACCOLADES It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about their holidays. Emma and I look through the calendar to make sure we don’t all disappear at once; as we’re a small business we need to plan holidays carefully. Emma is also working on the quarterly VAT return, so she is surrounded by a pile of receipts and is carefully imputing all the details. We carry out regular Google searches and are delighted to find that we’ve been included in a “20 best dating site” list. We write a brief introduction and add a link to it from the press page.

TALK PEOPLE

Heather comes in to discuss ideas for the dating blog, as it’s good to brainstorm together. We try to make sure that we cover a range of topics; such as what to write on your dating profile, what to write in your first message and how to behave on a first date. When we tackle controversial issues, we try to present both sides of the story so members can make up their own minds. Contact: muddymatches.co.uk

When he refuses to remove it, I get in touch with our solicitor to report the trademark infringement

DAY 5: WHAT’S WHAT OF DATING I look through the country calendar (a complete list of countryside events) and work out which events would be the most appropriate for our Who’s Going? page. It allows people to say if they’re going to a particular event, and works as a great ice breaker for people when they send messages.

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23/09/2013 16:50


Q&A

TALK PEOPLE

The MD

magnif er Talk Business met Kal Di Paola, founder of BuyMyWardobe.com, a pre-loved designer clothing marketplace al Di Paola has been in the fashion industry for 15 years as a designer and entrepreneur. She started off designing clothes under her own label and selling them from her studio flat. Her business then grew to a West End showroom, with her label selling to over 140 independents, including a Topshop concession – and was endorsed by celebrities including Beyoncé, Victoria Beckham and Danni Minogue. When the recession hit in 2008 everyone had to reign in their spending, including Kal. Spurred on by a need to cure her shopping habit she decided to sell items from her overflowing wardrobe and BuyMyWardobe.com was born. Now the online marketplace has 400,000 members.

K

HOW DID BUYMYWARDROBE. COM START? It started life as a series of designer fashion recycling events. The first one was held in Feb 2008 when I brought together a group of ladies to sell off the contents of their wardrobes. The event was ticketed, held in an upmarket location and opened with a VIP Champagne preview hour.

Hundreds of women attended and thousands of designer items were sold and more events followed. It was after 10 sold out events that I decided the time was right to launch the concept as an online marketplace. In August 2011 I raised capital to start build on a platform that would connect buyers and sellers of pre-owned designer fashion. Our community is now operated online and offline at events. ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH YOUR SUCCESS? I’m surprised at how quickly women got behind the concept of the online community. One of our rules for seller membership is that all sellers must include their real names, a photo of themselves and a little bio on their profile. At the beginning there was a little bit of friction from people who were used to selling anonymously on other sites but as the numbers increased, more and more women have been open to embracing the social aspect of our platform. We’ve gone from 50 sellers at launch to 460.

It was after 10 sold out events that I decided the time was right to launch the concept as an online marketplace

DESCRIBE HOW YOU FEEL BEING A WOMAN IN BUSINESS IN ONE WORD… Fierce! WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED IN BUSINESS? Making sure growth happens with very small budgets. We’re an incredible small team and we all wear many hats. I’ve had to learn to be very hands on and spend time learning about the things I don’t know enough about– it often means very long hours but it’s what I love, so it’s all worth it. DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRET OBSESSIONS? Hot water bottles in the winter. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR AND WHY? I love orange and yellow because they’re the colour of sunshine. NAME ONE THING YOU’D TAKE ON A DESERT ISLAND... A book about how to survive on a desert island. Contact: buymywardrobe.com

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27/09/2013 14:09


HR INSIGHT

TALK PEOPLE

What are employee shareholder contracts? THE IDEA With the recent introduction of tribunal fees, the Government alleges to be committed to reducing employee disputes, and new employee shareholder contracts aim to do just that. A NEW TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT STATUS Employee shareholder contracts allow employers to give equity to employees in return for a reduction in certain employment rights. These differ from employees who hold shares; they remain unaffected by these new style contracts unless the employee elects the change and the company is in agreement. THE TAX BENEFITS In these new contracts, the employee shareholder is given equity to the value of between £2,000 and £50,000. This will be exempt from capital gains tax when the employee sells the shares. If the employee acquires shares with a value at the date of acquisition of more than £50,000, gains on the disposal of these additional shares will suffer capital gains tax as normal. LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS Under these new contracts, employees do not lose all of their employment rights covered under the Employment Rights Act 1996, but they do lose the following:

Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, gives us the facts about the new employee shareholder contracts Smaller businesses, and the employees within them, could benefit financially from the tax position

• Claims for unfair dismissal • Statutory redundancy pay • Statutory requests for flexible working • Statutory requests to study or training

the two-year qualifying period. Similarly, any mistreatment of employees who refuse to transfer to the new contact will also be seen as unlawful in the event of a tribunal claim.

HOWEVER… Employers should note however that any claim for unfair dismissal, where the dismissal is automatically unfair or discriminatory (such as race, sex or disability) is exempt from the new legislation. Requests for flexible working that are made within 14 days of an employee returning from parental leave must also still be considered.

WHO ARE THEY FOR? It is considered unlikely that larger organisations will adopt this new employment status, but smaller businesses, and the employees within them, could benefit financially from the tax position and with the higher level of engagement that comes from employee ownership.

CAN EMPLOYERS FORCE THESE CONTRACTS? Employers may insist that all new employees who are offered employment after 1 September 2013 are placed on these contracts. However, employers may not automatically enrol or impose it onto existing employees. Employers who attempt this, and then subsequently dismiss the employee for refusing the new contract, can expect to lose claims for unfair dismissal. In these instances, the employee will be exempt from

WILL THEY BE USED? We may see some sets of employees preferring to take employment under a more traditional contract, but this new status may become popular in some specific fast-growing sectors where share-ownership schemes are already in demand. Realistically however, with the employment rights lost under these contracts seemingly quite narrow, employers may not wish to give up equity for what, some may feel, is very little in return. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk

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Managing and Supporting your HR needs Contact Sean Molyneaux – 0207 788 7966 sean@personnelmanagement.co.uk www.personnelmanagement.co.uk

The Employment Minefield With legislation covering every aspect of employment from recruitment to termination, how are you avoiding your minefield. Trusting in luck is one option but are you sufficiently informed about employment matters to be safely get to the other side? Managing employment issues is onerous, time consuming, complicated and keeping up to date a real challenge and the problem is even greater for smaller employers without the expertise, time or money to employ their own HR resources. So what’s the solution?

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27/09/2013 14:20


SPONSORED ARTICLE

PHONE-HACKING SCAMS COSTS UK BUSINESSES ESTIMATED £1BN

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mall businesses across the UK are falling victim to hackers who gain access through their phone systems and manage to take anything up to £30,000 in just two days without anyone realising until a hefty bill comes through the door. The scam works by hacking into their voicemail, the thieves force the phone to dial an international premium rate number (IPRN) often charging in excess of £10 per min. The number is controlled by the thieves themselves, who rent the number from any one of many websites offering IPRNs for hire. This can be done numerous times over a long period of time without any detection from the company and it is difficult to find any trace of the hackers after the crime has been committed. To make things worse many insurance companies refuse to pay out regularly claiming it is the company’s responsibility for the security of their phone system. Often businesses have to have their phone lines down for days and for many the telephone system is a gateway for engaging business creating more loss of earnings. The UK is now one of the top five global hot spots for communication fraud - including telephone hacking, and there is a 15% increase per year. The fraudsters target all sizes of businesses but SME are particularly vulnerable as rarely do they have the correct measures in place to counter any attempted hacks and until the bill comes through they are oblivious of the extensive high cost calls that are being made. Richard Cox, a forensic phone expert, said for channel 4 news: “This is conventional cybercrime – it just uses the telephone network instead of the internet. Once they’ve run the fraud, if they suspect that law enforcement are onto it they can make their entire tracks disappear very quickly indeed, and because of the middle men phone companies, it’s not going to be at all easy to get the information that law enforcement need without getting court orders in multiple countries – something for which the resources are just not there.” And with millions of pounds on offer, it’s unlikely the scammers will be hanging up any time soon.

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What can you do to protect your telephone system? • Read your monthly statements and look for any anomalies • Don’t use default passwords on your voicemail • Get your supplier to block all non-relevant premium numbers • Make sure you have a to date fraud monitoring on your system

Supply Communications are specialists in any telecoms Fraud issues. Please don’t hesitate to contact them for further help with ensuring your business isn’t at risk of being hacked.

Contact: 0800 294 20 30 ww.thesupplygroup.co.uk

16/09/2013 17:29


TALK PEOPLE MOTHER & DAUGHTER DUO

Life imitating art nna Hunter founded Belgravia Gallery in 1987. Her daughter Laura grew up to love the gallery and, as soon as she was old enough, became involved in the business. It’s based in Albemarle Street in the heart of the art district close to Piccadilly.

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA? Anna: I had been buying art since my student days at Bristol University and had seen rises in the prices of the works by Sir William Russell Flint. Years later, having met a number of distinguished Royal Academicians, I asked if they would create silkscreens and lithographs in small hand printed editions and sign the works. It was a delight to work with Ruskin Spear, Carel Weight and others who had been teachers of a generation of artists, which includes David Hockney and Peter Blake. WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER TEAM? Laura: Wonderful. We think alike, love and trust each other. Anna: Laura has great judgement and brings a fresh insight from her generation. DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ENOUGH FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN THE UK? Anna: No. It would be wonderful to see more women

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Dawn Murden met Anna Hunter and Laura Walford, the motherand-daughter team behind Belgravia Gallery entrepreneurs. It is an ideal way to combine work and family commitments. We have a charity in India, which gives micro-finance to poor street women to start their own businesses, selling their wares from street carts. It’s rewarding to see how they can begin to rise above dire poverty through their own efforts. DO YOU FACE CHALLENGES BECAUSE YOU’RE FEMALE? Anna: Yes, in the past. Women were not taken as seriously 25 years ago. But this has changed as we now have a track record of success and have traded through the worst recession. WHO PURCHASES YOUR PRODUCTS? Anna: A variety of people from every walk of life, social background and country. We

have shipped work all over the world and dealt with many first time art buyers, as well as Russian oligarchs and celebrities. HAVE YOU HAD MANY FAMOUS CUSTOMERS? Anna: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, David Tennant, Annie Lennox and Bernie Ecclestone, to name a few. The most memorable person we have worked with is Nelson Mandela. DO YOU HAVE “MOTHER AND DAUGHTER” MOMENTS IN BUSINESS? Anna: Yes, usually it is Laura telling me off! She is more pedantic and likes things done her way. Laura: My mum is very calm and never gets cross. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF ARTWORK? Anna: The Resurrection by Piero della Francesca in Sansepolcro, Tuscany. Laura: I am fickle, but at the moment, GF Watts’ painting, Hope. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HAVE IN STORE? Laura: Let’s hope the next generation chooses to get involved! My daughter Eleanor is now three and loves her time at the gallery, so who knows?

OCTOBER 2013

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MOTHER & DAUGHTER DUO

Our diary MONDAY Laura opens the gallery at 9.30am and continues working on the catalogue for the forthcoming exhibition of work by New Zealand artist, Jan Coutts. These need to be sent out to clients and have not yet been approved. As usual, artwork has been supplied late and photography was then delayed. We will get there and the catalogue will look fabulous when it comes in. Anna arrives at 10.30. After a cup of tea, she checks emails and then gets ready for a meeting with a new PR company to discuss plans for the coming months. A stream of enquiries about works by Nelson Mandela following news that he has returned to his home in Johannesburg.

TUESDAY We have a busy day today re-hanging the gallery for the new exhibition. This involves taking down all the works from the previous show. We have our trusty operations manager, Lorraine on hand, and our intern, Suzanna, who helps pack up works that need to be returned to artists, and hang works on our racking system in the downstairs gallery. Anna deals with clients coming in while we re-hang. Someone buys the star piece of the show, and Laura deals with payment and logistics, including when we will deliver it to the new owner. WEDNESDAY Finally the new catalogues arrive and we are all very pleased with the outcome. They were

TALK PEOPLE

The mother and daughter duo also gave us an insight into a typical weekâ&#x20AC;Ś worth the wait. Envelopes have been prepared in advance and the team spends the afternoon stuffing catalogues into envelopes and franking them, ready to send out to all our clients. Laura deals with emails from clients and works on a newsletter to send out to the email list, announcing the new show. Anna spends the morning with Lady Eleanor at the Royal Academy, and then sits down to write a press release on the next exhibition.

Champagne flows and there are some sales of the best pieces in the exhibition

THURSDAY Today we have the private view and opening night of the exhibition. The artist will come and bring some buyers and friends. Along with gallery clients, we are expecting around 100 people to attend. The opening night goes very well. There is a buzz in the gallery and clients love the work and enjoy meeting the artist. Champagne flows and there are some sales of the best pieces in the exhibition. FRIDAY We are all tired from the busy week. We go through all the enquiries and sales from the previous evening and work on invoices, calling clients and packing up the sold works. Laura updates the website while Anna chats to clients who are coming in and want to know more about the artist. We have to have cake on Friday afternoons, so Anna heads out to Fortnums to buy their delicious cupcakes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; end the week on a high!

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12 November 2013 Grosvenor Hotel Park Lane, London

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NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS 2013

TALK PEOPLE

How important are accolades?

hen I was asked to judge The Growth Business Of the Year Award, one of the 17 National Business Awards 2013, I was thrilled. The National Business Awards has been recognising a range of successful businesses for 12 years. My category had 10 amazing finalists, all with interesting stories to tell and healthy growth. Me and the three other judges thoroughly enjoyed listening and learning about each company. The task in hand got me thinking; recognition is important, we all enjoy a pat on the back but a real ceremonious award can truly drive people onwards and upwards. After we’d finished listening to each of the pitches and come to our decision of a winner, I asked my fellow judges: “Why are awards important in business?”

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TIM WHITTARD, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS GROWTH FUND, A COMPANY THAT PROVIDES LONG-TERM CAPITAL FOR FAST GROWING BRITISH COMPANIES ‘Awards help promote the brand and service and give a wider expression to customers. It credits the business for delivering its product or service, and its practices. I believe

Why are awards important in business? Dawn Murden asked her fellow judges at the National Business Awards

successful businesses should be rewarded and highlighted.’ Contact: businessgrowthfund.co.uk MILES NOLAN, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AT WHIRELAND, A WEALTH MANAGEMENT AND CORPORATE BROKING COMPANY ‘Winning an award can provide a real sense of achievement; it can inspire a business leader to keep on doing what they’re doing. Awards are a good motivator.’ Contact: wh-ireland.co.uk DAVID FREEDMAN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF HUTHWAITE, A COMPANY OFFERING SALES TRAINING, NEGOTIATION TRAINING, COACHING AND SERVICE SKILLS BOTH FACE-TOFACE AND ONLINE ‘Pitching the business both on paper in person to judges gives the business focus, it helps leaders concentrate on what it is they are doing exactly, what they are doing well and what needs improving. Whether they win or lose it sets benchmarks for the future.’ Contact: huthwaite.co.uk

TIM WHITTARD

MILES NOLAN

DAVID FREEDMAN The winners for each category have been chosen and will be announced at The National Business Awards 2013 ceremony on 12 November at Grosvenor House in London. For more information visit nationalbusinessawards.co.uk

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Learn body language Behaviourist Carole Railton discusses the importance of body language in business hat is the most crucial and overlooked advantage in business? Body language. It predates verbal communication and is practiced all over the world. We come pre-programmed with the basics; no one taught us how to slouch, stand tall, smile, or cross our arms, we just knew what to do. Body language is connected directly to our emotions. As an international business manager, coach and speaker, I have had to learn pretty quickly when in countries whose language I don’t speak, to decide how and what people are thinking. Body language has allowed me to do this – even before the interpreters have delivered their message. How we use our bodies governs most of what people think about us, as our bodies express our emotions. Princeton University in the US found in an experiment, that participants made better judgements of people’s emotions

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reading their body language than their facial expressions. Can you afford not to have these skills? We really need to not only decide what others are feeling and thinking so we can act accordingly, but to be able to enhance our own presentation to the world, in business especially. Unless we have been trained how to change our body language – like lawyers and actors – we will be expressing our emotions whether we like it or not. Here are five tips to get you started in perfecting your body language: 1. Always look someone in the left eye when giving information. The left side of the body is for receiving. We already know this, as we give out with the right side when we shake someone’s hand on meeting. Looking in the left eye is far less threating to the other person, and they soon tune in and look back at you with their left eye, which speeds up your communication. 2. Make sure both of your feet are on the floor

How we use our bodies governs most of what people think about us, as our bodies express our emotions

when delivering a talk or presentation. Quite literally you will be grounded and much more believable. You will make more headway, get the sale or achieve your goals. 3. The power pose is a great way to start the day. (That’s arms raised in a “v” shape above your head and your legs spread in an a small “n” shape.) Stand in the pose for one minute a day and watch your confidence and belief in yourself grow. 4. Stand up tall. The taller and straighter you are, the more chance you have of people feeling comfortable with you. 5. Gently nod three times if you agree with someone, it makes him or her feel that you want more information. This is a very small movement hardly noticeable to others. Good luck! Carole Railton is a behaviourist, coach, trainer and author of The Future of Body Language. Contact: facebook.com/ carolerailtononline

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26/09/2013 15:16


TALK TECHNOLOGY SHARE OPTIONS AND OTHER TEXT

LOOK THE BUSINESS: Gentlemen, choosing the right tie is imperative. We selected a range of neckwear and asked expert image consultant Gail Morgan for her verdict

POWER TIES 888

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FASHION

Black bow tie, £12, Debenhams Gail says: This is only for black tie events. If worn during the day, could look a little eccentric and out of place, unless you’re a waiter. Best worn: At black tie events.

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Woolen tie, £29.50, Marks & Spencer Gail says: If worn with a narrow collared shirt, could be seen as trendy. But if worn with standard white shirt and tweed jacket, you could be seen as an eccentric geography professor. Best worn: As everyday wear or more informal meetings when a blazer is not worn.

Red Herring floral tie, £9.50, Debenhams Gail says: Difficult to wear and would only work with a white shirt. Not serious enough for most corporate situations – it’s too flamboyant. Best worn: At the weekend.

Floral tie, £49, Paul Costelloe Gail says: It’s not very imaginative and looks a bit dated. Best worn: As a safe bet for everyday wear.

Sartorial tie, £19.50, Marks & Spencer Gail says: A bit old school, easy and simple with some colour. However it Purple does make me think of Antiques tie, Roadshow experts or MCC £39, member at Lords. Paul Best worn: By Costelloe schoolboys and Gail says: cricket goers. Safe and professional. Best worn: For business meetings and a safe everyday option. Flipflop printed coral tie, £65, Reef Knots Gail says: It’s fun frivolous and creative, but perhaps not serious. Best worn: By creative industry types and business people who have a fun ethos.

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SHIRTMAKERS W W W. E M M E T T L O N D O N . C O M

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TALK IMAGE CHRISTMAS PARTIES

Merry Christmas! Now’s the time to start planning the company party, so we’ve picked out locations with a difference, to make this year memorable MOVIE MANIA Where? Holiday Inn, London Stratford If you and your staff are films buffs, roll out the red carpet this Christmas and add a touch of A-list glamour. With the Hollywood party package, you and your guests can enjoy drinks among models of your favourite film stars, like Marilyn Monroe and James Bond. Oscar statues, illuminated film posters, props and memorabilia will also be on show, while guests help themselves to pre-dinner drinks and popcorn. A festive three-course meal, dance floor and DJ are also provided. We say: It’s like a private party at Madame Tussauds with plenty of cheesy picture opportunities. How much? £34.95 per person. Contact: hilondonstratford.co.uk ROYAL BANQUET Where? Lumley Castle, County Durham Dungeons, daggers and fivecourse feasts are on offer at one of the North East’s oldest castles. Guests will be led into the Baron’s Hall and seated on benches for dinner, where they will eat with daggers and drink from goblets. While eating, they’ll learn about local legends, plus throughout the evening Lords and Ladies

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THE SNOW CENTRE dressed in period costumes will perform sketches and a variety of songs. Guests can round off the night with a disco in the dungeon and a stay in the castle. We say: Forget Prince’s 1999, here you can party like it’s 1595 in a Tudor castle. It’s great for those in the north but too far for Londoners. How much? £35 per person. Contact: lumleycastle.com

LAUGH OUT LOUD Where? Locations in Camden, Reading, Birmingham, Leeds and Watford. If you’re looking for a sidesplitting time – why not try a Fosters Comedy Live night at Highlight? The night features four comedians, and an after show party. There are four packages to choose from: White, which gets

OCTOBER 2013

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CHRISTMAS PARTIES

HIGHLIGHT

SPIEGELTENT you a comedy ticket and party; Silver, which adds a festive 2-course meal; Platinum, which adds two drinks vouchers - or you can speak to the team to arrange a VIP bespoke package. We Say: Comedy is a great team ice-breaker, but don’t choke on your roast potatoes! How much? Packages start from £25 per person. Contact: thehighlight.co.uk ROLL UP, ROLL UP! Where? Spiegeltent, Bristol Harbourside The pop-up structure travels the world hosting parties and performances. At Christmas time, it comes to Bristol Harbourside and offers guests festive food, cabaret and live music in a wooden tent, dappled with mirrors, stained glass and a stunning draped ceiling. We say: This is a right royal knees up in magical surrounding. How much? £55 per person. Contact: christmasspiegeltent. co.uk

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If you want to guarantee snow this Christmas, take your staff along to the Snow Centre. They can either ski or snowboard, or if they have no ski experience, they can try sledging. You can add mince pies and mulled wine, a buffet or a three-course festive meal to complete your package too. We say: What better way to celebrate? How much? Minimum of ten people, bundles start from £40 per person. Contact: thesnowcentre.com

LUMLEY CASTLE

A WHITE CHRISTMAS Where? The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

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A FEW FAVOURITES

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We love…

This month our favourites include a pen with a camera and a t-shirt that helps posture. Enjoy! RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES Does your entire office have iPhones that always run out of power leaving charger wires sprawled across desks? It looks messy, doesn’t it? Enter the Kii, an ergonomic charger that fits onto your keychain and plugs into USB to charge your iPhone. Buy one for £17. Contact: bluelounge.com

MAKE A RECORD This handy pen has a built in camera and can be used to record meetings, conferences, and events. You can make keynotes with the pen while recording, so you’ll never miss a thing. Despite its silly name, the Spy Camera Pen, for £39.99, looks smart too. Contact: find-me-agift.co.uk/spy-camerapen.html

BE PRINT READY Ever been unable to print an important file on the go? The xPrintServer enables wireless printing for iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones using their native print menu. It eliminates the need for apps, software, or emailing print copy. And more importantly, you don’t need to buy a new printer because xPrintServer, worth £125, works with more than 4,000 top brand USB and network printers. Contact: lantronix.com/itmanagement/xprintserver/ xprintserver.html

STAND UP STRAIGHT As you might have read on page 91 body language, like posture, can say a lot about a person. The Up T-shirt contains a flexible sculpting material that encourages the wearer to hold shoulders in the correct position, which results in a higher and more appealing profile. The t-shirt costs £100. Contact: upcouture.com

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tECHNOLOGY

taying ahead of your rivals is vital for any company. Once a competitor steals a march on your business, you’re stuck in the tricky position of playing catch-up, and it can be hard to regain the ground that’s been lost. Now, more than ever, business success is being measured by an ability to think differently. Take Apple, now the most valuable technology company in the world worth around £300 billion. This huge figure doesn’t just reflect their colossal sales, it also takes into account the added value that comes with being thought leaders. The firm has become synonymous with original thinking in the minds of the public, dominating a corner of the tech market, setting trends that others follow. Giant tech titans aside, there’s a great pressure for even the smallest firms to push the envelope – to ask questions their rivals haven’t. This competition will only intensify as more companies look to electronic data for the answers that will aid growth. The last great shift came with the internet, a game changer for many businesses – not least SMEs – who suddenly found themselves able to punch above their weight and compete with businesses twice their size. The next phase of this digital revolution lies just round the corner, with big data set to make it easier for business leaders to access richer, more reliable intelligence. Combing through vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, analysts are capable of answering any number of questions. Ever since it became cheaper to store information digitally,

Our man in the valley Our resident tech expert David Richards says SMEs should stay ahead of competitors with big data analysis people have analysed these large data sets for patterns that could help research and development across a whole range of industries.  By identifying correlations and making comparisons, big data analytics has the potential to identify entirely new business models that can help differentiate firms from competitors. This represents the next big advancement for businesses, large and small. Imagine an insurance firm that wants to provide customers with more accurate quotes. By collating the information gathered about a driver’s speed, routes taken, and brake speed, it can offer tailored packages that accurately reflect driving habits. Not only does this mean cheaper insurance for safe drivers, but also it dramatically reduces risks and costs for the firm. On a management level, big data analytics are helping employers make more informed decisions about their companies, whether that’s by improving staff performance, identifying new investment opportunities or analysing overall efficiency. A company’s success will soon be dictated by its ability to extract meaning from big data and its willingness to make analysis a key part of driving new business. The

real challenge for most companies will be monitising the new information at their fingertips. This means making analytics front and centre of a company’s operations –data itself doesn’t mean anything unless you can extract meaning from it. Just as the companies that scoffed at the relevance of social media are now forced to play catch up, those who dismiss big data do so at their peril. For these companies that choose to take a wait-and-see approach, the danger is their competitors won’t. Contact: wandisco.com

Giant tech titans aside, there’s a great pressure for even the smallest firms to push the envelope

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

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27/09/2013 09:50:03


SPONSORED ARTICLE

IS IT TIME FOR YOU TO GET HELP WITH HR?

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wners often wonder where to start when it comes to dealing with HR in their business. They find that they are spending too much time dealing with HR issues and it becomes a drain on their essential resources. Research suggests that in small business of 50 employees or less, owners can spend in excess of 7 hours a week alone sorting out personality conflicts between staff, and unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. As most business owners will know they also need to deal with anything from ensuring that they hire and retain the right people, deal with legal requirement in terms of paperwork and policies, grievance and disciplinary procedures, employee training , development and coaching, through to restructure and redundancy. Knowing how you are going to deal with HR and what is required is a must for any business and especially small businesses where people work as part of a tight knit team and are in close daily contact. HR needs to be part of the business plan as effective HR management is integral to the success of any business. Your team of people are key in enabling you to achieve your desired outcome. By outsourcing your HR requirements, at a fraction of the cost of employing your own HR Manager, you can have access to the knowledge, skill and expertise of an HR specialist. Effectively managing HR in any business will help to improve the workplace environment and the lives of the small business owner and their employees whilst freeing up that precious time for the small business owner to actually run the business and increase profits. Reasons why outsourcing HR can be a wise move: It is cost effective, efficient and provides readily available HR specialists to support your business needs

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It takes the headache out of wading through the legal minefield to ensure your business is compliant with legislation. It allows owners and managers to focus on the business and revenue generating activities It provides: • access to a wealth of HR experience which would not be affordable on an employed basis • a reduction in the cost of operating a HR function internally, no PAYE calculations, no holiday pay, no sick pay, no pension enrolment requirements • Improved people management and independent and impartial advice outside of any office politics • pragmatic and practical solutions and an affordable approach to resolution of HR issues • Risk management and prevention of costly employment tribunal claims.

Whether you need to start from scratch with your HR management or you require policies and handbooks updating and introduced, assistance with recruitment and coaching, interim HR cover or merely a second opinion or advice on the end of a telephone, we can put together a HR support package tailored to your specific requirements. Absolute HR Solutions work with small business owners and provides an affordable first class, flexible, friendly, pragmatic and commercial approach to all HR issues. Contact us now for a confidential and without obligation discussion regarding your businesses requirements. Contact Absolute HR Solutions on 07900224990 and hr@ absolutehrsolutions.co.uk or visit www.absolutehrsolutions.co.uk

27/09/2013 12:12


TALK TECHNOLOGY BRITISH TECHNOLOGY

A visit to Caterham F1 hen I was invited to visit the headquarters of the Caterham F1 Team, I was unsure what I’d gather there for you, our readers. I knew I’d get to take some amazing pictures of sleek and shiny cars and have a go on a simulator (and drive extremely badly) but would I return with useful insights? Then I reminded myself that any company, however big or small, whatever industry, has a story to tell, mistakes they’ve made and a mission they’re out to achieve – which fellow businesses, whatever sector and size, can learn from. The history of Caterham itself is stapled in British entrepreneur history. Colin Chapman designed

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Dawn Murden visited the headquarters of British-based Formula One Team, Caterham and picked up business tips fit for the fast lane

the lightweight Series One Lotus Seven sports car in 1957 – Caterham became a major dealer of this car and subsequent designs. In 1973, Caterham founder Graham Nearn purchased the rights to continue manufacturing the Seven. The current model, which has lasted half a century, and is still sold in more than 20 countries worldwide today, is a direct evolution of Chapman’s design. Caterham Cars is now one of the few remaining British-based car manufacturers with parts sourced in the UK. Of course Caterham Cars has changed immeasurably

When partnering with a company, it’s important they understand who you are, what you’re about and what you want to achieve

OCTOBER 2013

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BRITISH TECHNOLOGY

I’m taking a fresh look at things and laying down the foundations and way we do things to improve – we can’t try to achieve too much too quickly

I’m taking a fresh look at things and laying down the foundations... we can’t try to achieve too much too quickly

in recent years following the acquisition by Malaysian entrepreneur, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. His leadership has turned Caterham Cars into the Caterham Group, which is now home to a range of cuttingedge automotive, motorsport, technology, and specialist engineering companies that sit within a single group business. Caterham F1 had its first racing season in 2010, so as a team it is right at the start of its journey – like a small business that has just launched, and it’s got plenty it wants to achieve. I was invited to the Caterham F1 Team’s headquarters in Leafield technical centre in Langley, Oxfordshire. The tour was impressive; I touched the Caterham F1 car shortly after a shiny new paintjob, saw the state-of-the-art computers, sat on a quad bike and took a spin on the simulator that the drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo van de Garde, use to practice. After a tour, I met a few key team members. The core team members have all worked in F1 for a number of years. Bill Peters, head of Group IT, previously worked with McLaren’s F1 team, and said: ‘Dell provides all of our technology – they ticked all the boxes and understood what we wanted to achieve. ‘When partnering with a company, it’s important they understand who you are, what you’re about and what you want to achieve. ‘The Dell package is comprehensive – it supports us at all times. At trackside, we get emails, can monitor the G-force, and have 15 terabytes of data –

TALK TECHNOLOGY

during a typical race weekend we use around 25 gigs of data.’ Gianluca Pisanello is the chief engineer; he previously worked with Toyota and has been working in F1 for 11 years. ‘I’m responsible for everything technical, including both cars and all car technicians,’ he told me. ‘I also have to work out the race strategy, how long, how many stops, and so on.’ He also commented on the team’s goals for 2014: ‘It’s a very important year for us, there are big opportunities and big changes to the rules. ‘This year we reached 11th place, next year we want 10th.’ John Iley, is performance director, and previously worked at McLaren and Ferrari.

Speedy tips for the perfect business formula (The useful tips I gathered from the Caterham F1 team.) > Grow with the company – sometimes things change, and fast. > Selling a company isn’t failure – there’s only so much you can achieve as an SME owner. For some companies, selling to a bigger company will drive it forward and open doors. Plan your exit/selling strategy. > Look to partner with companies that can help your business grow. Dell has helped Caterham immeasurably. > Employ people who know the business and industry well. > You need goals to focus on, but don’t try and achieve them too quickly. > Location is everything – is there a particular area you should be? Do your research.

‘We were previously based in Norfolk, and Norfolk was nice but I’m glad we’ve moved to Oxfordshire as it’s the hub of motoring – it give us access to the personnel and supplies we need, it opens doors,’ he said. On 2014, he said: ‘I’m working on realistic achievements for next year and chipping away at what we need to do. I’m new, so I’m taking a fresh look at things and laying down the foundations and the way we do things to improve – we can’t try to achieve too much too quickly.’ Contact: caterhamf1.com

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22/08/2013 09:17


4G in small business How is fourth generation mobile communication technology helping real SMEs? Dawn Murden spoke to four EE 4G business customers to find out

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PENKETH PLUMBING AND BATHROOMS The business: A plumbing and home improvement business run by husband and wife team, Sharon and Rob Birchell. The benefits: 4G has opened up new possibilities for running and promoting their business. They can now upload images of finished projects straight from the site to the company’s Facebook

page and can send images immediately to their webmaster to update their website. It also makes a difference to the speed of repairs by allowing Sharon and Rob to download technical manuals and system diagrams while on the job. The couple say that without 4G they would have a backlog of paperwork and admin tasks to complete every evening.

They say: ‘Without 4G on EE, we wouldn’t be able to work the way we do now. It really helps us stay on top of our workload during the day and to keep in touch with customers, contractors and suppliers, rather than having to do it all in the evening.’ Contact: penkethplumbing.co.uk

GRAVITY ROAD The business: A content creation agency based in London founded by Mark Eaves. The benefits: As well working with clients - such as Bombay Sapphire, The Huffington Post and Sainsbury’s - Gravity Road also recently launched its own YouTube fashion channel Fashtag. 4G has helped to make this unique platform a success because the speed of the 4G connection allows Gravity Road to cover fashion

events faster than many mainstream outlets. It has also helped the business become more agile. Employees can upload documents from external meetings straight to the office network, without having to return to base. He says: ‘Technology is important for any new business, and we manage things on an incredibly lean and agile basis – it’s the only way this type of business can work. We’re using 4G from EE to help with

this, as we need the fastest connection possible to run Fashtag successfully. The launch has been a success so far and although the channel has only been going for a few months, we’ve got more subscribers than several global fashion brands, including Vogue.’ Contact: gravityroad.com

OCTOBER 2013

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MOBILE NETWORKS

NEAR HOWE SELF CATERING COTTAGES The business: Self-catering cottages in Penrith, Cumbria, run by Steve and Jill Woolley. The benefits: Faced with a long and costly wait for improved communications in the area, Steve and Jill Woolley jumped at the chance to try 4G as part of a local trial run by EE. Before 4G, the best connection speed they could get was 2MB per second. Now Near Howe Cottages can now offer its guests superfast internet in all of its cottages. As

-

JAMES WALKER AERIAL SURVEY AND PHOTOGRAPHY (J-WASP) The business: A small photography company based in Threlkeld, Cumbria, run by managing director James Walker. The benefits: The company produces 3D mapping images for land surveying and planning using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This specialised aerial photography comprises thousands of individual frames that generate huge data files ranging from 3GB to over 10GB in size.

a result, they have seen a 30% increase in guest enquiries. 4G is saving Steve and Jill 14 hours a week. They’re able to respond to enquiries more quickly and have more time to spend on developing the business. It is also adding to their children’s education now that they can make more use of online learning. They said: ‘Guests expect access to high-speed internet but many rural accommodation businesses can’t offer this. We’re able to

J-WASP is now using 4G to upload these images, significantly reducing project completion times and allowing photographers to upload images immediately back from the field. Major client projects can run up to 2,000 images and use 8GB of disk space. Before 4G this was impractical and the only option was to download images to a USB drive and send to the client by post. It also took five hours for photographers to upload a 3.5GB file. Now, using 4G Mobile wi-fi devices with upload speeds of

TALK TECHNOLOGY

respond quicker and be more competitive in return for a £20 to £30 a month service. 4G will make starting a home business possible for many people, and it will help our community to grow and have a future.’ Contact: nearhowe.co.uk

up to 20Mbps and download bandwidth of up to 40Mbps, photographers can send the same file in 90 minutes. He says: ‘4G has changed the way we work and means we can edit and send images from the field or wherever we happen to be. We’ve cut upload times and that’s a huge improvement for us and clients have really noticed the difference.’ Contact: walkerellis.co.uk/aerial

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M-COMMERCE

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Action on the small screen very tech news site gives the strong impression that mobile commerce (m-commerce for short) is the next big thing. Now, I can almost hear the more cynical readers saying; “but it’s been the next big thing for a decade!” And they would be correct. But this time it’s different. The growth in sales of smartphones and tablets at the expense of PCs provides compelling evidence that we are approaching a tipping point. If you’ve reached the same conclusion, then I must warn you that there is one catastrophic assumption you can make about m-commerce – it’s not the same as e-commerce, but on a small screen. If you want to provide a great mobile shopping experience then your website has to deliver this literally from “the ground-up”. Why? Well, a soaking wet consumer sitting on a crowded bus, trying to operate a phone with numb fingers and a dodgy 3G connection is in a different state of mind to a laptop user who’s tucked up in bed enjoying high speed wi-fi and a warm cup of cocoa. The last thing they want is a mobile site that’s design is optimised for the desktop.

E

Ben Dyer, CEO of e-commerce software and systems supplier SellerDeck, reveals how to build the perfect m-commerce site There is one catastrophic assumption you can make about m-commerce – it’s not the same as e-commerce, but on a small screen

OPTIMISE DESIGN It’s a mistake to assume the answer is to provide a simplified and cut-down version of your online store for smartphones. Whilst it’s true that people need simplified designs for smartphone browsing, they also expect to have access to the same services via mobile. They want you to shrink the interface, but offer the same features. Otherwise, what’s the point? SORT SEARCH If you have more than a handful of products, then your search facility is going to be the primary tool for mobile browsing. Make sure it’s on the home page and use auto-fill technology to speed entry of popular search terms. Where searches generate large batches of results, provide filtering tools so that mobile browsers can quickly eliminate unwanted results. NO INTERRUPTIONS You also need to remember that your customers may have poor connectivity. Tightly control server interactions and make sure they fail gracefully. Be careful to make sure your

customers can maintain a session despite service interruptions. There are few things worse than spending 10 minutes preparing an order, only to see it disappear into the ether when your train enters a tunnel. SECURE PAYMENT We recently did some research and discovered that 30% of the people we surveyed who regularly use m-commerce were concerned about security. Offer payment options that do not require plastic, such as PayPal or a stored credit card token. Also make sure your customers know their browser window is secure, with “https” and a closed padlock showing in the URL string. Does this mean you need a site for every device? No. These days it is possible to build designs that are responsive to different browser environments. However, as well as efficiencies there are also downsides in trying to make a single site do the work of many. Make sure you don’t sacrifice all in a vain attempt to develop a single perfect solution. Contact: sellerdeck.co.uk

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27/09/2013 14:12


APPS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

I’ve got an app for that… Our October apps will help you adopt flexible working and catch up with all your emails and social networking in one scroll

Box Price: FREE Compatible with: Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and desktop computers The gist: With box you get 10GB free, making it easy to access, edit and share files, share content and stay connected with your team on any device. More than

150,000 companies are already using Box, including 92% of the US Fortune 500. You can secure content with file-level encryption passcodes and auto logout when the app is closed. This app is perfect if you’re looking to adopt flexible working. Downloadable from: app.box.com/apps

Cloze Price: FREE Compatible with: iPhone and iPad The gist: Cloze is a free app that helps you keep track of all of the people that are important to you. Speed through emails and catch up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in one inbox. Cloze brings together all of your

relationships from email and social media into a single view. It learns who’s important to you and puts them up front, filtering out everything else. Cloze keeps track of every contact, email, tweet, post, and job change so you never miss a reason to connect. Downloadable from: cloze.com

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TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS

TB CHOICE

ALTIGEN

Battle of the brands

Turn your iPhone into your desk phone with these clever docking stations. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re perfect for flexible workers

AltiGen iFusion SmartStation Dock Vs. native union curve iDock

NATIVE UNION

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GADGETS

native union Curve iDock £99.99 All Bluetooth enabled devices but the iDock itself is only compatible with iPhone4 and iPhone4s.

75.5mm x 285mm x 48mm

Navigate your device while talking, high quality audio and noise reduction technology, eliminates up to 96% of radiation compared to using a mobile phone, and perfect for VoIP applications. “Sleek, contemporary handset ideal for your home and office. Enjoy crystal clear conversations and improved comfort and privacy on mobile and VoIP calls. Use your phone for other applications while you talk and charge your iPhone4, iPhone 4s. Handset works with all Bluetooth enabled devices.”

This dock is great because you can connect any device by Bluetooth, however the dock only works for iPhone. It’s a good size for a small space and looks smart.

TALK TECHNOLOGY

AltiGen iFusion SmartStation Dock Price Compatibility:

£129.95

iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s.

Dimensions: (WxHxD)

200mm x 224mm x 56mm

Highlighted features:

Integrated Bluetooth technology delivers audio quality, high-quality full duplex speakerphone for handsfree conversations, ergonomic handset, iPhone dock provides power and battery charging, USB port enables you to synchronise data with Mac or PC, audio line out to connect external stereo speakers, compatible with iPhone apps like Apple FaceTime.

THEY SAY

“It lets you use your iPhone as a business-grade speakerphone, along with the convenience of ergonomic handset, charging and syncing capabilities. Plus it integrates seamlessly with a variety of iPhone voice-enabled applications such as Siri and Skype.”

WE SAY

This dock is easy to use and iPhones dock quickly. You can use your phone as you would normally and access all voice enabled apps. It charges the battery while docked too.

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Your future Your business Your rewards I was looking for a business opportunity, which would give me a balanced lifestyle, a healthy working environment, and the opportunity to grow a business that would provide a secure future for my family and me. Lawnscience ticked all the boxes and I’ve not looked back since starting in spring, within 8 weeks I had already scheduled my first years financial goals. It was the right choice for me. Scott Harrison, Lawnscience, Birmingham

Individ ual marke ti valuedng launch at ove r

Why you should choose Lawnscience…

Your own business for less than £16,000!

£8,000

Customised territory, created with you and for you. Protected postcode area with over 100,000 potential clients. Three week comprehensive training covering all aspects of the business.

Download your FREE guide to buying a lawn care franchise at: www.lawnsciencefranchise.co.uk

Individual marketing launch, valued at over £8,000! Ongoing marketing support. Year round repeat business.

For full details please call

World's leading Lawn care software system, you have to see it to believe it.

or visit our website:

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www.lawnsciencefranchise.co.uk Untitled-3 1

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

THE GRASS IS GREENER

A

fter realising that he was unhappy with his career, Matthew Allcott decided he wanted to be his own boss and started to explore the prospect of owning his own franchise. He now runs his own “multi-van” Lawnscience lawn care business. Like many people, Matthew Allcott had dreamed of being self-employed along with the various benefits that go with it and after much thought, research and deliberation, he decided that franchising was far less risky than going it alone and starting up his own business. Matthew says; “Franchising is far more beneficial because the franchisor provides constant back up and help. In addition to this aid, you are able to make use of their valuable experience and expertise in the field to ensure that your business is as successful as it can be.” Raising the money to buy a franchise can be a daunting prospect, but Matthew was lucky as most of his finance came from savings. However, Matthew still needed additional funding in the form of a small loan. “The team at Lawnscience were there to help me develop a strong business plan and gave me guidance

on how to set up my business which £16,000. Lawnscience franchisees enabled me to secure a small loan also benefit from a industry leading from a high street bank. It made the lawn care software system, which process much easier than I initially ensures that your business is run as anticipated.” efficiently as possible. The unique support you receive Matthew has found learning from an experienced franchisor is how to market his lawn care what sets franchising apart. Matthew business, an area in which he had comments on this support from no prior experience, to be the most Lawnscience as being ‘exceptional’; challenging, but also the most “We have regular meetings in rewarding aspect of running his which we discuss ways of creating own business. He has also learned additional revenue and any issues that good customer relations in a that have arisen over the season. I service based industry is of upmost also receive regular visits from my importance, as word of mouth franchisor and extra support over and recommendation are the best the phone whenever I need it. It’s like ways of acquiring new customers. having your own, personal business Matthew is thrilled with the success mentor!” of his own Lawnscience business Unlike similar franchises, and has great plans for the future, “I Lawnscience provides three, have already expanded my franchise instead of two weeks training. into a multi-van business and I am “The training was at a pace that I to be the market leader in the lawn felt completely comfortable with. care industry, with a reputation on Having the extra week of training high quality, service and value for gave me the confidence needed money”, he says. to start my own business”, adds So what advice would Matthew Matthew. In addition to the training, give to anyone thinking of buying a was looking for includes a business opportunity, the Ipackage also a territory which franchise? “As this is a long-term would give me a balanced lifestyle, a healthycommitment, thorough research is exclusively tailored to them, support working environment, and the opportunity to in their business and an individual vital. Look into different territories, grow a business that would provide a secure marketing valued future forlaunch, my family and me.that Lawnscience as in this business territory will more than alland forI’ve less ticked all£8,000 the boxes notthan looked back dictate your future earning potential. since starting in spring, within 8 weeks I had Do not fall into the trap of making already scheduled my first years financial goals. your decision purely on the cost of It was the right choice for me. the franchise as there are many Scott Harrison, Lawnscience, Birmingham other aspects which must be taken into consideration.” Individ of If you yearn for the freedom Why you should choose Lawnscience… ual mlove arkethe self-employment, ti outdoors un and have the determination grow valuedngtola at ove ch and succeed in your own business r get in touch with Lawnscience today. By Elizabeth De-Weille

Your future Your business Your rewards

Your own business for less than £16,000! Customised territory, created with you and for you. Protected postcode area with over 100,000 potential clients. Three week comprehensive training covering all aspects of the business.

£8,000

Info: • Investment level £15,995 to £22,995 • www.lawnsciencefranchise.co.uk Download your FREE guide to buying a lawn care franchise at: • terence.nicholson@lawnscience.co.uk www.lawnsciencefranchise.co.uk • 01908 504664

Individual marketing launch, valued at over £8,000! Ongoing marketing support.

Lawn Science.indd 1

Year round repeat business.

For full details please call

World's leading Lawn care software system, you have to see it to believe it.

or visit our website:

01908 504664

www.lawnsciencefranchise.co.uk

26/09/2013 15:41


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27/09/2013 14:36 09/09/2013 09:45:48


fRANCHISE

fRANCHISE NEWS Celebrity chef joins Spice 2 Go INDIAN TAKEAWAY FRANCHISE Spice 2 GO has announced that celebrity chef Dipna Anand has joined the company. Dipna’s family is behind the long established Indian restaurant Brilliant, based in Southall, west London. Award-winning Dipna is on a mission to help Spice 2 Go perfect its curries, putting authentic Indian flavours back into its existing dishes. She will also add her own signature dishes. The first signature dish she is

introducing is Methi Chicken, a recipe that has been passed down her family from generation to generation. Dipna’s grandfather created this curry more than half a century ago.

The chef’s arrival coincides with the launch of a second store in Cardiff. There are several more stores set to open in coming months in the UK.

UK care franchise purchased by US giant BLUEBIRD CARE, THE largest UK care at home franchisor with 180 offices in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, has announced it has become part of the Interim Healthcare Inc. Group, based in Florida, US. Kathleen Gilmartin, president and CEO of the Interim Healthcare Group, said: ‘Our interest in Bluebird Care was driven by the fact the founders have created a durable, scalable and profitable model of care delivered by a strong network of franchise owners.’ Paul Tarsey, Bluebird Care managing director and co-founder, agreed: ‘We are very excited by this strategic partnership with such an experienced care franchisor as Interim. Bluebird Care will now have access to knowledge and shared best practices in care delivery, training, marketing and financial benchmarks to fuel innovation and improve efficiencies in both brands. ‘Both companies will retain their own brand identity, which will cement our position further still as a major provider of care in the UK and Republic of Ireland and our aim of being the care provider of choice.’ The business will continue to run from its head office in Petersfield, Hampshire.

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Autosmart franchisees enjoy strong average growth AUTOSMART FRANCHISEES HAVE enjoyed a strong performance so far this year, with the company that manufactures and supplies vehicle cleaning products. Average turnover per franchisee closed the year with an average growth of 9%. In addition the top quarter grew at over 20% and there was a 30% increase in the number of franchisees reaching “gold” coverage. Gold coverage is attained when AutoSmart’s franchisees have achieved more than the top sales expectation per head of population in their

franchise territory. Eight franchisees have been awarded with gold coverage status, and the brand has also created a new elite platinum level for two franchisees whose achievements Autosmart felt should be specially recognised. Managing director of Autosmart Sophie Atkinson said: ‘What I have noticed is that the top performers all share certain characteristics; they set their business a clear plan for the year ahead, they break the sales part of the plan down into daily goals, and they measure how they do against these goals every day.’

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Which would you find more rewarding? Making money or making a real difference to someone’s life?

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• 1,000 franchise offices worldwide in over 17 countries • Fast approaching 150 UK franchises • Achievable turnover in excess of £1m in under 3 years. 15% net profit • High demand for a valuable service • Management franchise with huge potential • Finance available from our banking partners

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20/09/2013 13:23


SPOTLIGHT

TALK FRANCHISE

Under the spotlight

THE RUNNING SCHOol Verity Ansell, lead coach and manager of The Running School, tells us what the company can offer franchisees

WHAT DOES BEING A FRANCHISEE INVOLVE? As a franchisee you’re a coach generally as well, so you’ll see about 15 people a day and then have a couple of hours a day to do admin and marketing. Time management is the main thing as there are two sides to this business. You are a coach as well as running the business, so when you’re busy coaching marketing activities can slip, which can have a knock-on effect for the next couple of months. You’ve just got to be on top of it all the time. WHAT ARE THE HOURS LIKE? You’ll do split shifts, so you’ll do roughly an eight-hour day from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon or 12 until eight in the

about running and the sports industry before thinking about becoming a franchisee in the sports sector.

evening. But they do vary from centre to centre and they can be adapted. We have one franchisee who was just on his own and he worked his hours around what he could do. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT THE JOB? Working with people. There are some trying to do their first 10k or their first marathon. I had a lady in the other day whose motivation was just to eat more cake – and that’s why she runs! WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL RUNNING SCHOOL FRANCHISEE? It’s a fast-paced industry so you have to be on top of new research, new equipment and so on. I think if you’re really passionate about the industry you do that research and reading anyway. You should definitely be passionate

I had a lady in the other day whose motivation was just to eat more cake – and that’s why she runs!

WHAT IS THE TRAINING AND SUPPORT LIKE? We deliver all training required to become a coach, but we do expect some level of knowledge about the sports industry and some level of health knowledge. There is continuing support and training to all franchisees because we are experts in our field. They are also supported in the marketing and brand awareness. We tend to talk on a weekly basis and if there are any other problems we can talk on the phone. WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT RUNNING A FRANCHISE? Having your independence and being able to make decisions – but also having the support network of other franchisees and head office. Contact: runningschool.co.uk

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A FRANCHISE BUSINESS THAT HELPS YOUR LOCAL CHARITY RAISE VITAL FUNDS We support Charities across England Scotland and Wales with our Snack Boxes

OUR GOLD FRANCHISE PACKAGE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING: • Exclusive Territory • 2000 Snacks & Cakes • 100 Display Boxes with your Local Charity Branding • 100 Introduction Letters & Labels • 7 Car Stock Storage Bins

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A Cash Bag A Days Training at Head Office A Stationery Pack & Laminator 4 Polo Shirts with your Local Charity Branding • No Franchise or Management Fees to Pay

All you need to get your Business Running is Included

FOR A VERY LOW START UP FEE OF £2,250.00 + VAT ChariSnack Ltd, Unit 4 Velator Way, Baunton, Devon EX33 2DX

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13/09/2013 14:55


THE FRAN MAN

TALK FRANCHISE

Building for success he key attributes of a good franchise are important for both franchisors and franchisees. If a company is considering growing their business using the franchise model then they need to know what is good practice within franchising. And a prospective franchisee needs to know so they can make an informed decision before committing to sign an agreement. For a franchisor good practice and being ethical and honourable is more than just the right way to operate their business. The growth of the network will depend on the perception of the franchisees to the validity of what they bought into and the support and assistance that they are receiving from the franchisor.

T

WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS IN SUCCESSFUL, ETHICAL FRANCHISES? The franchisor should make their return on the on-going activity of the franchisee, not the upfront sale. Franchising is a long term relationship and the initial fee should cover the franchisorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s costs in establishing the system, the cost of marketing the opportunity, training the franchisee, all included tools, equipment software, advice to the franchisee to set up their business and any other direct costs associated with

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There has to be 100% trust and confidence in the other party

Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, discusses the most important aspects of a franchise the establishment of the new franchise. The on-going fees, royalties, mark up on goods or however the franchise operates must represent value for the franchisee but it should also be understood that it is perfectly acceptable for the franchisor to make a profit on this as well. As a franchise network grows the economies of scale should mean that both parties benefit with the franchisee getting excellent value for the fee and the franchisor increasing their return. Openness in all dealings is essential. This applies to the information provided to the prospective franchisee at the outset, the access provided to other franchisees, company information, and so on. Keep the system and the brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s position in the marketplace constantly refreshed. There is no point in a franchisee investing in a franchise that is at the leading edge of the sector only to see it slip down because the franchisor is not proactive. It is the role of the franchisor to have a high profile presence within their market and ensure that the franchisee has access to the latest industry information. Having a simple, easily learnt business model. Most franchises are about how to

run and operate a business rather than the uniqueness of the product or service, so the franchisor should be able to demonstrate a business that is successful, has great customer service and above all is profitable. Finally, having a great relationship between franchisor and franchisee is essential. There has to be 100% trust and confidence in the other party, the franchisee is the representative of the brand and the franchisor must support the franchisees in all aspects.

This is the second instalment of a series of articles written by Tony Mundella who has 25 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of experience in the world of franchising. He advises both franchisors and franchisees. Next month he writes about maintaining relationships with franchisees. Contact: franman.co.uk Email: tony@franman.co.uk

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Take one franchisee

Gill Reynolds, Longcroft Cat Hotel Group

Pet lover Gill Reynolds, the first franchisee of the Longcroft Cat Hotel Group, tells us why she’s crazy about the cat business WHY A PET FRANCHISE? I’m such a cat lover, it was my ideal business. To combine my passion with earning money is just a dream come true to me. I actually came to Abi Purser, founder of Longcroft Cat Hotel Group, with a view to boarding my cats when I went on holiday. I was blown away by it and I just knew as soon as I found out she was franchising the business that I wanted to be a part of it. DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE? I’ve never been a franchisee or thought of being a franchisee, but as soon as I saw Abi’s hotel, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I just love it - I couldn’t recommend it more highly. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A FRANCHISEE? We actually thought of doing something similar 20 years

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ago but we just didn’t have the vision that Abi had. Family got in the way, so it got put on the backburner, so Abi’s given me the opportunity to realise my dream. I think the most important thing for this business is to be an animal lover. That’s what has motivated me to become a franchisee, definitely. DID YOU EVER THINK YOU’D OWN A FRANCHISE? I never thought I would be a businesswoman, so I’m quite impressed with myself that I’ve slotted into it so easily! It’s quite straightforward and Abi’s given me lots of day-to-

I was just blown away by it and I just knew as soon as I found out she was franchising the business that I wanted to be a part of it

day training on the running of the hotel, cleaning, and the vaccine protocol that we follow. She’s been very helpful and given me lots of information. WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT RUNNING A PET FRANCHISE? You’re covered in hair all the time and have to say goodbye to the cats! Those are the only two things; apart from that, everything is good. It’s been really positive, all my friends and family are impressed by it. It’s great. HOW WAS THE CONTRACT DRAWN UP? I had several meetings with Abi, along with my husband, we discussed it, she drew up a contract and we took it from there. It cost me about £50,000, but some of that – around £5,000 – was money we spent that wasn’t absolutely necessary, but we just felt we wanted to enhance it a bit. Contact: longcroftcathotel.co.uk

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

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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.

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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.

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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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UK businesses failing Government energy targets Michelle Murdoch, marketing manager of QMS UK, a global organisation specialising in ISO assessment and certification, discusses how companies can reach energy targets ith the government setting tough energy targets for UK businesses, it would appear that the UK’s energy use was heading in the right direction. However, official statistics published by the government last July show that the UK has failed to reach its 2011-2013 renewable energy target. The UK’s failure to meet the target means that it is now the only EU member state to fail to meet the 2011 and 2013 renewable energy targets. The figures also suggest that the UK is likely to miss its 2020 target of 15% renewable energy use unless new policy changes are made. With businesses accounting for over 17% of the UK’s energy use,

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new policies will most likely place much greater pressure on UK firms if it is to meet the legally binding target. Consequently businesses are going to need to take a number of steps to address their energy efficiency in order to be prepared for stricter energy regulations. Although policies have been put in place to help UK firms, such as the Green Deal and energy grants, it appears that businesses have been reluctant to take these opportunities to improve energy efficiency, with only 123 reportedly having signed up. In order to improve energy efficiency, there are a number of other steps that firms can take themselves. Green measures such as biomass

The UK has failed to reach its 2011-2012 renewable energy target

boilers, insulating office walls, and automated lighting systems are just a few of the options that businesses have chosen. These provide a quick way to see environmental results, but can often be costly. Firms can also consider ISO certification. Addressing energy and environmental concerns can be addressed through two different certificates, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001. ISO 14001 is an environmental management system, aiming to put effective environment systems in place, whilst ISO 50001 focuses on energy performance. Understanding the differences between them however can often be a tough task for businesses, especially if you haven’t got previous

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QMS UK

knowledge of ISO standards. In fact, there are a number of similarities between both standards that businesses might not be aware of. Firstly, both ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 are quality management systems helping organisations to improve interaction with their respective areas of the environment and energy. As they are management systems, they consequently both require management reviews, internal and external audits. As with all management standards, there is also a strong emphasis on staff training. The processes put in place, including staff training records, ensure that everyone in the organisation receive suitable training to carry out their duties and understand their roles and responsibilities with regards to energy or the environment. In addition to staff training, both standards focus on an organisations legal obligations and requirements. They look at what legal requirements your organisation must not only meet, but also ensure that you have the mechanisms in place to identify future legal obligations in a timely fashion. A number of other similarities are also present, such as preliminary reviews, where results will be documented and the production of objectives and targets. However with all these similarities, it now seems even harder for you to decipher which one is best for you. Despite the similarities, there are a number of differences that can help you to determine which one best suits your organisation as both standards identify cost savings, ensure compliance with future and current environmental regulation and improve efficiency when integrated properly.

With the ISO 50001 standard, there is a much greater emphasis on energy and consequently it goes into much greater detail in this area. As a result, it requires the creation of an energy baseline, which is essentially your current energy consumption level. Furthermore, ISO 50001 requires the introduction of energy production indicators (for example the kWh of electricity consumed per month). ISO 14001 rather, emphasises broader environmental management processes. This means that it can be applied to any area of your organisation, providing practical tools to identify and control the areas with an environmental impact. Another aspect of ISO 14001 that should be addressed during this comparison is its requirement for certified organisations to evaluate suppliers of products for environmental compatibility. This is different to the ISO 50001, which introduces specific requirements for procurement of energy services, product and equipment. One of the major differences that should be noted lies in the area of energy conscious design. With ISO 50001-energy performance requirements were introduced for new equipment or buildings, ensuring that there is an energy conscious design in all aspects of projects. ISO 14001 on the other hand does not focus on this. With the UK struggling to meet energy targets, it seems more than likely that there will be a crackdown on businesses and their environmental impact. Through ISO 14001 or 50001, organisations can take the necessary steps to prepare for this.

TALK ADVICE

Green measures such as biomass boilers, insulating office walls, and automated lighting systems are just a few of the options that businesses have chosen

Contact: qmsuk.com

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EZE-TALK TELECOM

TALK ADVICE

Size doesn’t matter in the telecoms industry

Isobel Whitby from Bare Bones Marketing takes a look at the awards eZe-Talk Telecom have won and how the business is taking on big players like BT Ze-Talk Telecom based in Crewe, Cheshire, are one of the fastest growing small businesses in the north west and have the awards to prove it. Back in January the company won the Deloitte Fast 500 Award for the fourth consecutive year due to the business growing more than 600% in the last five years. The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Award ranks the 500 fastest growing technology companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is based on percentage growth. On top of this eZe-Talk also won the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award for the second year running last November, this award ranks the Top 50

e

fastest growing technology firms in the UK. ‘We’re thrilled to be one of very few companies who have ever received the Deloitte Fast 500 Award four years consecutively, especially in these tough economic times,’ Steve Walsh, managing director of eZeTalk, said. ‘We’ve focused our efforts on ensuring our Crewebased offices employ the very best staff who deliver not only a great service for our customers, but bring fantastic new products such as high-speed broadband to the local area.’ So it seems that size really isn’t issue for the team at eZe-Talk despite competing against the dominators of the industry like BT and Talk Talk. Even though their share of the marketplace is small in

We’re thrilled to be one of very few companies who have ever received the Deloitte Fast 500 Award four years consecutively

comparison, it seems there is room for everyone. Mike Taitt, eZe-Talk’s chief executive, said; ‘It is hard to close the gap between us and the big boys like BT, with millions of customers, as it would take huge investment. ‘However, it’s a big enough marketplace and everyone has a phone, so there’s room for all of us out there.’ Mike puts eZe-Talk’s rapid growth down to its competitive prices, plus the recession, which encourage people to look at switching their phone and internet providers. ‘For smaller companies it’s always been fairly easy to offer a competitive price in comparison to the major suppliers like BT, and we like to think we provide a better service especially with

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TALK ADVICE EZE-TALK TELECOM

our UK based customer support team.’ Mike Taitt added. ‘We are committed to our existing customers and prioritise providing a better service to them rather than chasing new custom.’ The latest big investment for eZe-Talk has been superfast broadband which is now available both to their residential and business customers. eZe-Talk are confident that their new product offering is a truly accessible option for all, offering improved bandwidth compared to conventional broadband, but without the prohibitive costs. With a range of connectivity options, features and price points eZe-Talk can build their customers a scalable solution that is tailored to their needs. eZe-Talk’s offerings include a choice of asymmetrical bandwidth speeds of up to 38Mbps/10Mbps or up to

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For smaller companies it’s always been fairly easy to offer a competitive price in comparison to the major suppliers like BT

76Mbps/20Mbps with various data usage packages and static IP options. ‘In today’s digital environment there is a growing need for most businesses to get fast, reliable and stable data connectivity to remain competitive - the challenge is to achieve this at an affordable price.’ Mike Taitt Said. ‘Our latest Ethernet First Mile (EFM) and Ethernet bearer products offer a fantastic solution for businesses with more demanding needs and come with business class service level agreements at a price considerably lower than the traditional leased line alternative. ‘For those businesses whose data connectivity needs wouldn’t justify the cost of these solutions, the latest superfast fibre broadband fulfils this demand perfectly with speeds up to 76Mbps down and 18 Mbps up, it’s

up to four times faster than conventional broadband and at an affordable price. ‘Our superfast broadband offering is available throughout the UK, we cover all the areas BT do with our availability footprint growing daily, so to most it truly is a viable affordable solution.’ Mike Taitt is also a member of The Digital Link, which is an invitation-only group for digital leaders established by Deloitte and Spencer Stuart. The aim of the Digital Link is to create connections between digital professionals and build a community where ideas can be shared and new insights can be gained on digital topics. Sitting alongside Mike are members such as Google and Facebook, so it’s clear they are helping to shape the future of digital Britain. Contact: eze-talk.com

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E-commerce know how Anthony Cole, director at digital marketing agency Digifroot, looks at the challenges and priorities of e-commerce here is no doubt that the biggest online challenge facing retailers over the next 12 to 18 months is attracting more visitors and improving conversion rates. In order to do this there are key strategies that they will have to put in place. The foremost of these is increasing their SEO efforts, closely followed by strengthening their m-commerce (mobile commerce) strategies, upgrading or completely changing their e-commerce platform and making improvements on their site search functionality. In order to retain a competitive edge in a saturated market it’s crucial that retailers don’t stand still and think, “if I build it, they will come”. That is and always will be an urban myth. It may have worked for Kevin Costner but that’s Hollywood for you. In the world of e-commerce it’s more a case of “if you keep on building it they will come”. Innovation and development is vital.

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FACING UP TO THE CHALLENGE At Digifroot we are facing these challenges on a daily basis, working with clients and ensuring they are ready to

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maximise on the opportunities that are out there. One such example is an online laminate flooring company that we are working with. Through a concerted and strategic search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) campaign they have increased their turnover by over 40% in the last five months and we are working with them to increase this by a further 100% over the next six months. Introducing further marketing streams such as social media, email marketing and further online advertising are all on the agenda as well as developing a new e-commerce website. The new website will be fully responsive, easy to use on all platforms, and with the short-term objective of increasing their conversion rate from 1.45% to 2.5-5%. To coin a phrase “we will keep on building it: because experience tells us that if we do, customers will keep on coming. THE SCIENCE BIT It is no secret that more and more consumers are using mobile devices to browse, research and purchase online.

At Digifroot we are facing these challenges on a daily basis, working with clients and ensuring they are ready to maximise on the opportunities

Mobile commerce is set to continue with double-digit growth throughout 2013 and for the foreseeable future. In light of this retailers have to embrace the idea of having a mobile strategy and maybe even building a mobile app. For retailers who already have a mobile site or a fully responsive website then the main priorities are improving the overall user experience and enhancing the site search functionality to increase sales. So what does improving the user experience and enhancing site search functionality really mean? This is when you need to get ready for the science bit! Improving or adding AJAX could be part of this process.

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DIGIFROOT

TALK ADVICE

It is no secret that more and more consumers are using mobile devices to browse, research and purchase online

AJAX stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML and it is an innovative way of using technologies that already exist to create exceptionally interactive web applications. AJAX works behind the scenes and allows sections of a web page to be updated without having to refresh and reload it. This can increase the website performance significantly and enhance the user experience. A/B testing is another area that can make a real difference. This is where you can test the user experience in relation to your website. For example, you can create two different designs

for a website â&#x20AC;&#x201C; website A and website B. By splitting your website traffic between the two versions you can measure things like bounce rates, conversion rates, sales, and so on, and see which one performs the best. The best performer is the version you go with. Mouse-over-popup-images can also be a feature of giving your website visitors a great experience. This is a bit more self-explanatory. This is where you hover over a piece of text or an image and a pop-up appears providing more added value information. Working with developers who understand the importance of UX (user experience) is essential for the long-term success of your e-commerce website. A poor experience will linger in the minds of your customers so make sure that this is a major priority. MAKING YOUR WEBSITE WORK HARDER The effectiveness of your e-commerce presence is not

purely down to the build of the website. There are other components as well which can make your e-commerce website work harder for you. These include posting articles and press releases to your website, incorporating video, providing added value howto information, including Facebook or Twitter feeds and maintaining a blog. All of these will increase traffic, enhance your SEO and bring you the visitors and conversions that you are looking for. So in summary, the strength of your SEO, the user experience you give your customers, the calibre of your e-commerce platform and the quality of your content should be the priorities for any online retailer. Getting these right will unlock the potential for future growth. Contact: digifroot.co.uk

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

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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

OCTOBER 2013

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DIRECTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Finance and accounting. T: 0845 6805156

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

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

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TALK SUCCESS AND FINALLY...

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He said she said This month the entrepreneurs are tweeting about world records, winning awards and hitting back at Twitter grammar police. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Richard Branson @richardbranson Another world record bites the dust! We’ve set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of kitesurfers ever Richard sounds like so much fun! 318 participants formed the largest parade of kitesurfers to complete a one-mile course. What will he do next? James Caan @jamescaan Absolutely thrilled to have been awarded Chairman of the Year at the International Business Awards. A huge privilege. Congratulations James! We agree our September’s Face on the cover is very worthy. Karren Brady @karren_brady I just read this and wanted to share it with you. ‘Health is not everything. But without health everything is nothing.’ Karren is one positive, inspirational and grounded person – we think all entrepreneurs can learn a lot from her. Read her interview on page 18

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Deborah Meaden @DeborahMeaden @StrictlyRobin Thank you,Den is my natural habitat. The dancefloor is proving more tricky for me but am in the great hands with @ robinwindsor @StriclyRobin is a fan site for Deobrah’s partner on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. We’re pretty sure they already know whose hands she’s in and are very jealous. Peter Jones @dragonjones Thanks to everyone who voted for me at last nights Reality TV Awards. Chuffed to win “Best Reality TV Judge 2013”. Thank you. It seems all the Dragons are winning things! Lord Sugar @Lord_Sugar Correction for the [grammar] nazis. I put ONE instead of WON now corrected. Carry on with your sad lives. Even Lords get their grammar wrong sometimes, but he has no trouble hitting back at tweeters correcting him. He was watching football OK? He didn’t look before he hit send. Now jog on.

OCTOBER 2013

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Profile for Talk Business

Talk Business October 2013  

This month the UK’s most influential businesswoman and football's first lady Karren Brady talks to us about West Ham, The Apprentice and wha...

Talk Business October 2013  

This month the UK’s most influential businesswoman and football's first lady Karren Brady talks to us about West Ham, The Apprentice and wha...

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