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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

December 2013 £4.50

The

Hospitality

Issue

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Fire and Alan Sugar’s firstknives apprentice

He’s brash, he’s bold, he’s brilliantly Series one winner Tim Campbell talks about talented and he’s just 20. Meet life after TV stardom and his new venture Britain’s hottest new chef

o s e c a F dy Bra e n e w r Kar aan - rs m C o Fr mes move a to J al our rs of e rev shake n a d year the

Breaking the chain

How indie restaurants are taking on the big boys, and winnning


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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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26

iNSIDE 9 Editor’s letter

12 News & events

16 TALK Success 16 Hats off to the chef Britain’s youngest head chef, Luke Thomas 22 Take one company Wahaca 25 ‘If there’s no fun, there’s no point.’ Q&A Modball Rally founder 26 TB Awards Faces of 2013 29 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer 32 Best book of 2013 130 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?

talk MONEY 35 The funding expert Have you got it all planned? 37 Made in China Trading abroad 41 Multinationals paying 0.5% tax Is that fair? 43 A day in the life Diary of a Start Up Loan recipient

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47 The branding column Rich With 50 The chain reaction The UK restaurant trade 52 Down the hatch The UK pub trade

11 Letters

45 Before you sign on the dotted line… Shareholder agreements

TALK strategy

55 Grow your business Using evidence

Talk image 85 Smart vs. casual What you wear

57 Are you fit for work? Adam Caplan

86 Look the business: dress to impress Fashion

61 The sales doctor The 12 questions

88 Tried and tested: comedy Locations for SMEs

talk MARKETING

90 Christopher Ward Brand in focus

63 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

93 We love… Christmas office supplies

65 Ten steps of Twitter Step two: NET followers

talk technology

67 What works for you? In-house or agency PR

95 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column

70 Extra! Extra! Read all about you! Ten tips to get media coverage

97 More productive meetings Meetings survey

talk people 73 The people column Lee McQueen 74 Secret diary of an entrepreneur Benito’s Hat founder 77 The MD magnifier Q&A Bassepoint 79 Reward your staff HR Insight 81 Ten tips for happy staff Retaining talent 83 Employee needed – please share! Social media recruitment

50

99 Lights, camera, action! Video technology 102 Host with the most Web hosting 105 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 106 Round up Best gadgets of 2013

TALK FRANCHISE 113 Franchise news 115 Spotlight Auditel 117 The fran man Growing pains 119 Take one franchisee Pack & Send 121 Assessing an opportunity Nigel Toplis

talk aDVICE 123 Concept TV 126 Powwownow 128 Talk Business Directory

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editor’s letter

Bon appétit

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 Adam Nowell

INTERN

Christian Muhika

WEB DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mitchell Finlay mitchell.finlay@astongreenlake.com

SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Scott Hartley scott.hartley@astongreenlake.com

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Damien Ward damien.ward@astongreenlake.com

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Trystan Hurley trystan.hurley@astongreenlake.com

MANAGING DIRECTOR Jay Boisvert jay@astongreenlake.com

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

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or me the Christmas break equals turkey, stuffing, all the trimmings, gingerbread men, and nicking every single Malteaser Celebration before anyone realises the tub has even been opened. My seasonal food habits got me thinking about entrepreneurs – in particular the indie restaurants, the local cafés, takeaways and pubs. Aren’t these one of the oldest forms of SMEs? With humble beginnings that often stay that way, run by families, or small groups of friends, while others become industry disrupters, or sometimes grow to epic proportions. We interview all sorts of businessmen and women, and have a number of guest contributors on our books, from tech companies to the financial industry and marketing. But it feels like the entrepreneurs of the hospitality industry often get forgotten, so this, The Hospitality Issue, is dedicated to them. Turn to page page 16 to read about Luke Thomas, Britain’s youngest head chef. He’s worked with big industry names like Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal, is head chef of three restaurants, has been the star of his own television documentary – and he’s just 20 years old. Luke started working at his local butcher’s when he was 12 and progressed very quickly. On the flipside the founders of Wahaca prove it’s never too late to follow your dream in our Take one company. Thomasina Miers tried her hand at marketing, advertising and fashion before discovering a love for Mexican food and enrolling in cookery school. After winning BBC’s

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MasterChef in 2005, she joined forces with Mark Selby who had worked behind the scenes in restaurants for years. The first Wahaca opened in Covent Garden in 2007, and they now have 12 locations in and around London. Some indie restaurants do phenomenally well, but is it difficult in today’s climate? On page 50, I ask the owners of small restaurants how they compete against big chains, such as Pizza Express, Wetherspoon and Costa. As the year draws to an end, we also rate the best gadgets of 2013 on page 106, and look back at our best interviews on page 26 and ask you to choose your favourite. Take care of business for now and enjoy the holidays.

Dawn Murden, editor

@TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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Contributors & LETTERS

Our culinary commentators

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Ben Fordham is founder of Mexican restaurant, Benito’s Hat. The first restaurant opened in Goodge Street in 2008, and since, another three restaurants have opened in New Row, Great Castle Street and King’s Cross Station. Ben started his career as a tax corporate lawyer following in his father’s footsteps. But after three years in that industry, he decided to follow his dream and open a Mexican restaurant. You may recognise Ben from ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

Nelson Sivalingam received a loan from Start Up Loans Company, a Government backed scheme providing mentoring and funding for budding entrepreneurs aged between 18-30 to help their business succeed. Former Dragon, James Caan chairs the company. Nelson Sivalingam received £15,000 so he could set up oneminutelondon.com, the online video guide to eating and drinking in London.

Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby are the brains behind the restaurant, Wahaca, which now has 12 locations in and around London. Tommi won BBC’s Masterchef in 2005 and had been working at a restaurant in Richmond, while Mark had come from a background working behind the scenes of restaurants and holiday companies. The pair were introduced through a mutual friend.

Richard Jones is vice president of national accounts of Groupon UK, the deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates/coupons usable at local or national companies. The site has 83 million subscribers. Richard is well placed to talk about the benefit Groupon can have for SMEs, and the opportunity it offers to reach new customers and iron out any peaks and troughs.

He reveals a typical week in his business on page 74

Read about his new venture on page 43

Turn to page 22 to read all about the past, present, and future of Wahaca

On page 50 he talks about how Groupon can help SMEs and indie restaurants

DECEMBER 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 want to learn more about the 2011 Bribery Act and past Apprentice contestants

The Bribery Act November’s feature Free holiday? Think again about The Bribery Act, which came into effect on 1 July 2011 was a much-needed wake up call. I work in PR and we often take journalists out for lunches or send them gifts, so this law is absolutely key for us. I would like to learn more though. Maybe read some real life case studies, or advice from lawyers, and so on. It’s so important but also a grey area.

R OF LETTEMONTH THE

Daniel Merton PR account director

Look who’s laughing now A week after I read about Rob Law the Face on the Cover in November’s issue I had to travel for business and I saw so many kids riding Trunkis in the airport! I have to say; they do look like fun. Well done to Rob. I especially love the fact he can say: “Look who’s laughing now!” to the Dragons. Meredith Clark

Tell me more Dear Talk Business, The Apprentice is in it’s ninth series now, with around 16 contestants on each show that’s 144 who’ve passed through the show, with just one being employed at the end of each series. Reading about Tim Campbell and the Bright Ideas Trust wetted my appetite for more updates. We know about Kimberly Davis and Lee McQueen as they write columns, but what about the others? More updates please! Kind regards, Nick Troy A Curious Businessman

Tweets 0F the month... @oasis1317 @TalkBusinessMag many thanks x well done other winners @lisadevaney @TalkBusinessMag thanks for the RT! Always happy to send the RT love back! @Midas_UK Useful advice about online business as featured in @TalkBusinessMag @TheBusinessShow @TalkBusinessMag that’s fantastic to hear Dawn! We’re looking forward to seeing you all! Please shout if there’s anything I can do! @TalkBusinessMag @TheBusinessShow Our preparations are going great thank you. We’re really looking forward to the show. – Dawn #TBS2013 @ThamesValleyExp @TalkBusinessMag Plz RT: 500+ businesses registered – Thusrday @steam_museum going 2 be huge! Thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk @hubworkspace @TalkBusinessMag Article of the day… From @ TalkBusinessMag bit.ly/1ap5qJQ @cloudbookkeep appears in @ TalkBusinessMag page 51 on how to save time by outsourcing to a bookkeeper @STLemma See why more #smallbiz use our #freelegalsupport to help them with legal matters, in @TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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NEWS & EVENTS

Dates for the diary Business Junction Networking Events 5 December Carom at Meza, Soho 11 December Arsenal Football Club 12 December Jewel, Covent Garden 17 December Brewers’ Hall 18 December The Langham businessjunction.co.uk Sterling Integrity 6 December International Legacy Hotel, Cardiff 31 January Crown Plaza, Birmingham

13 February The Future Inn, Bristol 7 March The Village Hotel, Coventry 1 May Regus Business Centre, Gloucester sterlingintegrity.co.uk The Franchise Show 14-15 February Excel, London thefranchiseshow.co.uk

Sales Job Expo 22 February London salesjobs-expo.com Online Retail Conferences 10 February Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington September Venue TBC orevents.com

Tech Startup Jobs Fair 20 February Innovation Warehouse, London techmeetups.com

Research reveals micro businesses are earning more RESEARCH ON NATIONAL Freelancers Day confirmed UK freelancers and micro businesses are invoicing nearly a third more than in 2011 – a strong indication of economic growth One-man-bands and micro businesses are leading the way in the UK’s economic growth according to new research by Crunch Accounting. In 2013, freelance and micro business owners invoiced on average £6,401 per month, a figure that has grown by 27.4% since 2011 (£5,024 invoiced on average per month in 2011 by Crunch freelance clients). The announcement coincided with National Freelancers Day, a UK-wide event that brings together and celebrates the Darren Fell, managing director and importance of the UK’s diverse freelance founder of Crunch Accounting said: ‘Our workforce, which includes approximately data shows that the UK’s 1.7 million 1.7m freelancers nationwide. freelancers and contractors are not only

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leading the way in terms of economic growth, but blowing away all other areas of the economy with a significant 27% growth in revenue.’

DECEMBER 2013

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25% of SMEs use personal finance to fund business ACCORDING TO FINDINGS published by Experian, the global information services company, a quarter of small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) directors are using personal finance for funding. This includes sources such as mortgages, credit cards and savings accounts to support their business. Experian surveyed a range of SMEs to better understand how they fund business ventures. Of those that had used personal finance, almost a third had used personal mortgages – and thus put their homes at risk – to fund their business, while 47% of SME directors said that they rely on high-interest personal credit cards for everyday business affairs. Personal bank accounts are frequently used by SME directors, with two thirds (65%) stating that they have drawn on funds directly from their current account and nearly half (48%) saying that they had dipped into their personal savings. Ade Potts, managing director, Experian’s SME business, UK&I, said: ‘This

Economic recovery will take number of years THE BANK OF ENGLAND’S chief economist, Spencer Dale told the BBC that the UK’s economic recovery would take a number of years. Spencer Dale sits on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which sets interest rates. And last month the nine members all voted to leave interest rates at the current 0.5%. The Bank’s plans for future interest rate rises have been watched since the Governor, Mark Carney, said he would not consider a rate

rise until unemployment fell to 7%. However, the Bank said last month that unemployment, has fallen faster than predicted, and the 7% level is not to be regarded as the immediate trigger for a rate hike. Spencer Dale then stressed that things are improving in regard to economic recovery. This echoes comments from the MPC minutes that the UK, in the Bank’s view, is in a “sustained recovery” and does not face major inflation risks.

research shows that SMEs are becoming increasingly resourceful when it comes to funding and are using a variety of different financing options that are available to them to set up or expand. ‘However, there are some key factors that SME directors should consider before

using personal finance sources. ‘Although it might initially seem like using personal funds for business purposes is the easiest route, it can affect personal credit records and leave them vulnerable, particularly when you consider people are using their homes as security.’

Spencer Dale also said that he doesn’t see a housin

Enjoy a tax-free Christmas party AS THE FESTIVE season approaches, ICAEW reminds employers that staff Christmas parties can be tax free. Every year, HMRC’s seasonal gift allows businesses to spend an annual tax-free amount of up to £150 per member of staff. Anita Monteith, ICAEW tax faculty technical manager, explains: ‘With businesses now starting to feel the effects from the mounting economic recovery, people have every right to want to celebrate Christmas after a busy year.’ The rules apply to any annual party or similar function, which must be open to staff generally or to workers at a particular location. The tax-free limit applies for a tax year, so if the

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employer puts on a summer party and a Christmas dinner, together costing less than £150 a head, both will be tax free. This is available to businesses of all sizes. The range of items that can be claimed under the £150 can also include accommodation and transport. However, one penny over this limit and the full amount spent will become liable to income tax and National Insurance for both staff and employer alike, the amount being taxed as a benefit. Gifts given to employees by bosses are taxable. Cash presents, such as Christmas bonuses or vouchers, also have to have tax and National Insurance contributions paid

through the PAYE system. That said, those bosses who prefer to give staff a present can pick up the tax bill on behalf of their employees by setting up a PAYE Settlement Agreement with their tax office. For further information please see hmrc.gov.uk

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 15:09 01/11/2013 10:54


TALK SUCCESS THE INTERVIEW

Hats off to the B chef

Luke Thomas has worked with industry titans like Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes and James Martin, and at age 20 he is already head chef of three restaurants. He spills the beans on his success to Dawn Murden

efore I met North Walesborn Luke Thomas, AKA Britain’s youngest head chef, I’d heard a lot about him. I’m a self-confessed foodie so he turned my head when he became chef patron of his first restaurant, Luke’s Dining Room, aged just 18. I’d seen the documentary about him on BBC Three and read a lot about him on the web; some of it good, some bad and some brilliant. Hotelier Mark Fuller has partnered with Luke on two restaurants; Luke’s Dining Room, within his hotel, Sanctum on the Green, in Berkshire, and Retro Feasts a pop-up in his Embassy Nightclub, Mayfair. When Mark met Luke through a friend, he likened him to celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, saying they both had “something about them”. ‘This little rosy-cheeked lad walked into my office, and he blew me away with his knowledge and conversation,’ Mark said. ‘It was like looking at a boy but talking to a 30-year-old.’ On meeting Luke I couldn’t agree more. He is eloquent, intelligent and wise. His fresh face and the fact that he admitted to loving The Only Way Is Essex were the only things giving away his age.

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When I was 12, I started working at the local Steve Vaughan butcher to learn more

‘I work hard, so I like watching something easygoing,’ he told me. ‘What could be more easy-going than watching people party?’ Luke began working in his local butcher at age 12, and this opened doors to work experience and training at the hotels and restaurants it supplied. He worked part-time and evenings while studying at school, and then for his level 1 & 2 NVQ in professional catering. In 2009 Luke entered the FutureChef competition and beat 7,500 applicants to get to the final cook-off, winning with his lamb with creamed savoy cabbage, and a double chocolate soufflé. The prize was work experience with chef Gary Rhodes. Luke didn’t get everything handed on a plate to him. His persistency paid off, as the previous year he came in third place. So did his networking skills, having the confidence to walk up to his culinary heroes, like Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal at conferences. ‘You don’t ask, you don’t get,’ he shrugged.

DECEMBER 2013

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TALK SUCCESS THE INTERVIEW

Most of the bad press I read about Luke was a reaction to his BBC documentary. ‘Everything went on camera, but they selected the stuff that would make good TV,’ Luke told me. And it’s true, as Luke was accused of being “overambitious” and “arrogant” and many viewers raved on Twitter, seeming to want his head on a platter. Yes, Luke is ambitious, but who is anyone to say he is overambitious? After all, he is head chef of three restaurants already. Imagine what he could achieve by age 40. And arrogant? He is sure of himself and confident, but is that a bad thing? I personally think his “all you can eat” ambition is inspiring. But you can judge for yourself… HOW DID YOU GET INTO COOKING? From age four I remember helping my parents in the kitchen. They cooked good, honest British food, like roast lamb with mint sauce. I always knew I wanted to work with food. When I was 12, I started working at the local Steve Vaughan butchers to learn more about food. The butcher supplied hotels and restaurants, one being the Soughton Hall Hotel in Flintshire, a boutique hotel with a restaurant. An opportunity arose for me to do some training there. I ended spending two and a half years there, and I fell in love with the food, and the buzz of a restaurant. At age 14, I went on to the Chester Grosvenor Hotel & Spa and stayed there until I left school. I balanced this with my studies and left school with eight GCSE’s, before completing my NVQ in professional catering. Later I gained experience at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, and three Michelin-starred restaurants.

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I also gained experience at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, and three Michelinstarred restaurants

WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THE KITCHEN? My food is British food, gastropub meets restaurant, that bistro style – that’s what I do. I cook what I like to eat; one of my favourite dishes is a Sunday roast, especially beef with lashings of horseradish. One of my restaurants – Retro Feasts, has the ethos of old school British food. It was inspired by the growing popularity in Americana old school food, like Bubble Dogs. I tried to emulate what they have done, but with British food. When I go out, I enjoy eating food that I won’t cook, like Japanese and pan-Asian.

WHEN WAS YOUR BIG BREAK? It all really took off when I won the FutureChef 2009 competition when I was 15 years old, after a two-hour cook off against 11 other finalists. On the judging panel was Brian Turner from BBC’s Ready Steady Cook, and chairing was David Mulcahy, Sodexo’s culinary director. It was an amazing opportunity, I met key industry leaders and it’s highly recognised. I realised there was no limit to where I could go. A BBC THREE DOCUMENTARY ENTITLED BRITAIN’S YOUNGEST HEAD CHEF AIRED LAST APRIL ABOUT YOU AND THE OPENING OF LUKE’S DINING ROOM. DID YOU ENJOY IT, AS THERE WAS A BIT OF NEGATIVE PRESS? It was a weird, yet amazing experience. It was great exposure, but there was also a lot of pressure. I was only 18 at the time, and my first restaurant was basically my first full-time job. They were filming 24/7 from day one. They wanted to interview you after a bad night. I did cringe at some bits, but would do it again. You can use TV to your advantage, for brand exposure, it just has to be managed carefully.

DECEMBER 2013

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TALK SUCCESS THE INTERVIEW

My life I’m watching: The Only Way Is Essex. I’m reading: cookbooks. I’m listening to: upbeat dance and chart music. I’m surfing: Facebook and Twitter. My guilty food pleasure: curry flavour Pot Noodle.

AS WELL AS YOUR DOCUMENTARY, YOU’VE APPEARED ON TV SEVERAL OTHER TIMES ON SHOWS INCLUDING BBC’S JUNIOR MASTERCHEF AND RUSSELL HOWARD’S GOOD NEWS. WHICH SHOW WAS YOUR FAVOURITE? I really enjoyed the Great British Menu on BBC Two. I also found Russell Howard’s show really rewarding. It was good fun but got the point over at the same time. I love comedy and felt I could be relaxed and open. YOU’VE GOT THREE MAJOR PROJECTS ON THE GO – TALK ME THROUGH LUKE’S DINING ROOM, LUKE’S BROADWAY AND RETRO FEASTS, AND THEIR INSPIRATION… Luke’s Dining room opened in March 2012. It’s a village pub turned boutique hotel, owned by Mark Fuller. Luke’s Dining Room is a standalone brand within the hotel. It’s fine dining with a casual relaxed atmosphere. It’s the British

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It all really took off when I won the FutureChef 2009 competition when I was 15

bistro thing – weekends are the best time for footfall. Then Luke’s Broadway, at the Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds opened in June 2013. It again has that British bistro feel. This time I’ve partnered with Puma Hotels. Partnering with hotels is great for chefs, as it enables a chef to set up at a good location, with guaranteed footfall and fewer overheads. I get to be the chef and concentrate on the food, the brand, and so on. The most recent project is Retro Feasts, which is a pop-up restaurant taking over the ground floor restaurant in the Embassy nightclub in Mayfair, also owned by Mark Fuller. There were seven months left of the Embassy nightclub so he said we should do something different with it. Mark suggested Cheeky Vimtos, pineapple and cheese on sticks, and chicken Kievs. It’s a throwback to retro food. HOW DID YOU GET THE START UP CASH FOR YOUR VENTURES? When partnering with a hotel, most of what you need is refurbishment costs, which can cost £20,000 or £30,000. Luckily, I partnered with Mark Fuller who put the money in. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE YOU’VE FACED? There are three places and just one of me; I can’t be everywhere at once. If there’s a problem, I want to be there, but I can’t. I don’t have an empire, and I don’t have a middle team so it’s all on me.

DO YOU FIND IT’S HARD TO GET TAKEN SERIOUSLY BECAUSE YOU’RE YOUNG? Sometimes, but you learn some people will always play you down and see ambition as a bad thing. I have a desire to succeed. I have three venues now for a reason, and if people don’t take me seriously, they don’t have to. YOU’VE WORKED WITH SOME BIG NAMES IN FOOD, INCLUDING JAMIE OLIVER, HESTON BLUMENTHAL AND JAMES MARTIN. HOW DID YOU GET THOSE CHANCES? I met them at conferences, events or met people that could put me in touch, or emailed them myself. I learned to network quickly. I remember seeing Heston at a conference, I was only 13 and I went up to him, I told him about what I was doing and two days later I was offered an opportunity to work with him. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Jamie Oliver and his family ethos inspires me, and of course, my partner Mark. When I’m down south we share an apartment in Wimbeldon. He says: “if you don’t start, you don’t finish.” YOUR FIRST COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT NEXT YEAR IN MAY. TELL US ABOUT IT… It’s about using the essentials you can grab from your local shop and eating British food together. I’ve deconstructed old favourites and reinvented them, like beans on toast with broad beans and ricotta. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU? Retro Feasts closes at the end of this year, but it will make a comeback, more permanently, with a larger offering. I can’t say too much – all will be revealed later. Contact: lukethomas.co.uk

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 02/09/2013 15:12 15:55


TALK SUCCESS TAKE ONE COMPANY

ack in 2006 Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby met for the first time in a pub. They were introduced by a mutual friend who knew they shared a similar spicy dream: owning their own Mexican restaurant. ‘Tommi had just won BBC Two’s Masterchef,’ Mark says. ‘She had wowed the judges with a Mexican dish.’ Before Tommi got into cooking, she’d tried her hand at VAT consultancy, digital strategy and marketing, before discovering a love for food and studying at the Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland. ‘When I finally discovered food as a career it was a revelation,’ she says. ‘I realised I was at my happiest when there where people around the table, waiting for me to feed them.’ She opened a cocktail bar in Mexico City in 2003, and then spent a year in Mexico learning about Mexican food. Following her Masterchef win, she spent six months at the Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, working for head chef, Skye Gyngell. Mark Selby had previously worked with Stelios Haji-loannou of easyJet, and Nando’s founders, Robert Brozin and Fernando Duarte. ‘I’d been working in restaurants and had learnt a lot from the guys that set up Nando’s in the UK – I was their right hand man,’ he says. ‘I also worked with Stelios on easyJet, easyHotels and so on.’ Tommi and Mark both wanted to own their own Mexican restaurant and had similar visions. ‘I’d travelled around Mexico when I was 18 and Tommi had lived there for a while,’ Mark says. ‘We both agreed there was lots of great Mexican food in Mexico and the States, but none here in the UK.

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The whole enchilada Dawn Murden meets Mark Selby and Tommi Miers, the duo behind Mexican market dining restaurant Wahaca

in securing their start-up cash, because his old colleagues at Nando’s became shareholders and they were completely aligned with the business and the vision. The duo spent a year planning the food, the brand, and their identity until they found the location for their first restaurant on Chandos Place in London’s Covent Garden. ‘The ethos of Wahaca was Mexican market dining in the

Tommi won BBC Two’s Masterchef... she wowed the judges with a Mexican dish ‘Tommi wanted to set up a sociable cantina, while I wanted to do something similar to Wagamama, with Mexican food.’ After chatting in the pub on that first meeting, Tommi and Mark agreed to embark on their culinary mission together, and three weeks later they jetted off to Mexico to research. ‘I remember when we visited the main square in Oaxaca [pronounced Wahaca], which is where we got our name and a lot of inspiration from,’ Marks says. ‘This was a special place for me as I got my A-Level results while I was there.’ Mark says the pair were lucky

UK with a focus on food and great value, with great cocktails and tequila and a vibrant atmosphere,’ says Mark. The first restaurant was very successful; within the first three weeks of opening in July 2007 there were three-hour queues out the door, but with this instant popularity came problems. ‘I’d developd all the recipes in my tiny kitchen in Shepherd’s Bush, and we were having to double and treble them every other day,’ says Tommi. ‘We had never operated a restaurant together and had limited experience.’ ‘We found customers were having a 50/50 experience and this wasn’t what we wanted.’

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Vital statistics Mark says. ‘We had to close a third of the restaurant to train more staff.’ Despite encountering problems at the start, the duo dealt with everything that came their way and the brand became known for all the right reasons, winning a number of accolades, including a Cool Brand Award in 2010, an International Interior Design Award in 2012, and the Good Chicken Award in 2013. The food and sociable experience translated to customers, and expansion was soon on the cards, with new restaurants opening in Canary Wharf, White City and then Soho. Now there are 11 restaurants in London and one in Kent. How did Wahaca attract a large following so quickly? Was it to do with their marketing? ‘We didn’t spend a penny on marketing in the traditional sense,’ Mark says. ‘Customers

We visited the main square in Oaxaca [pronounced Wahaca], which is where we got our name and a lot of inspiration

Company founded: We began trading in July 2007, but started planning a year and half before Start up capital: £1 million Turnover: £21 million last year Profit: Not disclosed Number of restaurants: 12 Growth rate: £9 million in 2012, £14 million in 2011 Biggest achievement: Great people. We focus on our team and their development and have some interesting and passionate people on board.

were having little Wahaca moments and spreading the word about their experience.’ With funky seating, arty walls and theatrical food presentation, there was plenty for people to talk about. ‘One little marketing tool that worked really well was giving away a matchbook filled with chilli seeds for customers to grow their own – it really took off on social media with plenty of pictures being posted on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook,’ Mark says. Tommi and Mark did face struggles right at the start, but say they never thought about giving up. They began trading during the recession and grew from an independent to a 12-restaurant chain rather quickly taking everything in their stride. They are doing exactly what they dreamed of doing; they’ve got the whole enchilada. Their advice to other SMEs is to avoid cutting costs just to cut

costs. ‘Don’t compromise on your vision either,’ Mark says. ‘Never go into a business unless you’re going to give it 100%.’ And that includes being 100% about your business partner. Even though they bring different strengths to the table they do everything together, whether it’s tasting food or choosing a new location. What does the future hold? ‘We’ve built a long-term sustainable business with a focus on the development and happiness of people who work for us,’ Mark says. ‘Every year we take all the managers to Mexico, we believe in giving rewards.’ They have also launched an offshoot of Wahaca called Burrito Mama at St Paul’s One New Change. Mark Selby and Tommi Miers are definitely two entrepreneurs to watch and learn from – they understand what ingredients make tasty Mexican food and a great restaurant business.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 09:34


THE MONEY MAKERS BUSINESS CLUB Are You a Money Maker?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” – African Proverb

FREE MEMBERSHIP A NBSL Peer-to Peer club open to all whether you are thinking of starting a business, are a start-up business, or are already trading. To join @TMMBC & for more information visit www.meetup.com/T_MMBC Noor Business Services Limited (NBSL) | 3 Shortlands, London W6 8DA | T - 020 3609 8721 | E - info@noorbizservices.co.uk | Twitter: @NoorBiz | @TMMBC Member of The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) left hand ad.indd 11

02/12/2013 15:14


Q&A MODBALL RALLY FOUNDER

‘If there’s no fun, theres no point.’ J

TALK SUCCESS

Dawn Murden met Jon Joseph Bourgerie, founder of the road trip party, Modball Rally, founded when he was a penniless graduate

on Joseph Bourgerie is founder of the Modball Rally, a road trip party, which takes place three times a year in 19 countries. Jon set up the Modball website by swapping his Playstation 2 when he was a penniless graduate. Now the company is worth more than £2 million.

EXPLAIN YOUR COMPANY AND WHAT IT DOES… Modball Rally is a huge road trip party for anyone aged 16 to 60. The 2013 Europe rally began in London by closing St James’s Square, where 180 cars lined up for the trip, with the finish line in Prague. On route, they partied in Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Milan, a rooftop in Venice, and more. WHEN WAS MODBALL FOUNDED? It started a year after I finished university in 2007. I’d travelled the world for a year and maxed out my credit, and then I got a junior job in advertising. I didn’t have a penny, I was eating Weetabix for dinner but I’d had the idea for Modball for a few years and wanted to get

it going. I sent an email round work asking if anyone could do web design. The last thing I had to sell was my Playstation 2 and 21 games – a colleague agreed to design the site in return for this.

I’ve asked myself; “how much money do I need in a year?” then I ask myself, “how can I earn that in a day?” because if I earn it in a day, then I can spend the next 364 days having fun.

HOW DID IT GROW? I had a five-year strategy, to make sure I was the leader in this niche – I studied advertising and marketing at university so I used that knowledge. The price started at £300 (now £1195, for Europe) per person, and I targeted anyone with a car. When Max Power magazine published a news piece about us, the rally sold out.

YOU MODEL YOURSELF ON RICHARD BRANSON. WHY? He has fun, and that’s what I like about him. Success isn’t just about money. If I break even, as long as everyone is paid and happy and we had fun – that’s cool.

SO, HOW DID YOU PERSUADE MODELS LIKE KELLY HALL AND DAISY WATTS TO ATTEND? A few of my friends knew models, and they wanted to come along; it grew from there. They’re good for the company and they have fun. DO YOU HAVE AN UNCONVENTIONAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS? Yes; if there’s no fun, there’s no point. Since I turned 23

YOUR HOBBIES ARE SURFING AND SKYDIVING. DO YOU LIKE RISK? Risk is only risk if you don’t know what you’re doing. Skydiving is my favourite hobby and I got my license in 2000. Have you ever been? [Me: no] I’m going to take you. [Watch this space!] It’s great having a hobby, most entrepreneurs say their hobby is work. WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T AN ENTREPRENEUR? I don’t think I am one – I’m just stupidly ambitious. Contact: modball.com

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TALK SUCCESS TB AWARDS

Faces We take a look back at this year’s Faces on the cover and interviews, and ask you to vote for your favourite

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of 2013

JANUARY Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company has had huge success. Six years on from modest roots, the company brings in more than £12 million a year, and even became the basis of an ad campaign for Google Chrome. Julie on saving money: ‘The logo I designed myself. The name, I came up with myself. The first website, I just Googled “how to make a website course free”. I taught myself over a few nights on the sofa, after the children had gone to bed.’

FEBRUARY Will King’s King of Shaves reached the age of 20 this year. Will revealed how he founded his company when he was made redundant, saying that he wanted to be his own boss and manufacture something in the UK. Will on being an entrepreneur: ‘Back then, I don’t think many people knew how to spell the word entrepreneur. You’d know Richard Branson and Bill Gates... but you certainly wouldn’t know who Stelios was.’

MARCH Matt Barrie is the man who said he won’t stop until one billion people are using his freelancing marketplace. Freelancer.co.uk was founded when Matt used a similar Swedish website called Getafreelancer. He thought the website was “rubbish” and wanted to improve on it and build an eBay-style website for jobs. Matt on the company’s future: ‘We want to be in every country, every language, every currency, with every job.’

APRIL Jacqueline Gold, chief executive of Ann Summers told us how important it is to reinvent yourself in retail to survive the cut-throat market. And that’s exactly what Jacqueline did by introducing Ann Summers’ parties. Jacqueline on changing the perception of the sex industry: ‘People had a lot of scepticism about it. I remember that one board member actually said: ‘This won’t work, women aren’t even interested in sex’. That was like a red rag to a bull!’

MAY Richard Farleigh We found out the former Dragon and Australian private investor had a thing for chess when he was younger. He was an introverted foster child and it helped his confidence grow. He also told us how he sifts through the hundreds of business proposals that come through his websites, and picks out the best to back. Richard on investing: ‘An average idea with a good person behind it appeals much more than the other way round.’

JUNE Francis Boulle. He may have seemed an unlikely match for Talk Business at first, best known for his antics on Made in Chelsea, but he came from an established family of entrepreneurs. He is a venture capitalist, founder of fundmine.com, an angel investment network, and author of a business book. Francis on his success: ‘The most important quality is being able to get up when you’ve fallen down.’

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 10:08


TB AWARDS 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

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

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

May 2013 £4.50

Virtual

RTI?

Planning for payroll changes

get prepared for the latest business policies

Location, location, location

reality Jump into the future with a virtual assistant

In or out?

New year, new rules:

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

June 2013 £4.50

April 2013 £4.50

Readyfor

2013

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

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

TALK BUSINESS MAY 2013

JANUARY 2013 £4.50

TALK BUSINESS APRIL 2013

TALK BUSINESS FEBRUARY 2013

TALK BUSINESS JANUARY 2013

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

TALK SUCCESS

The UK’s new business hotspots

Join the payroll debate and get set for RTI

Retail fail

In thebag

Talking evolution about an

Julie Deane on the meteoric rise of The Cambridge Satchel Company

social Business

Will you pay for Google Shopping?

To tweet or not to tweet

Marketing mistakes Show business

Richard Farleigh on choosing business over chess

Which advertising channels turn you off?

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09/01/2013 10:27

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Le geek, c’est chic?

Is the high street dead and buried?

boy

Navigating the funding landscape

Ann Summers chief executive, Jacqueline Gold, is the queen of reinvention

ISSUE 20

the big debate

King of Shaves founder Will King

ISSUE 19

ISSUE 17

ISSUE 16

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SHAVING LIVES

Chelsea

Here be dragons…

Made In Chelsea’s Francis Boulle proves his entrepreneurial mettle

Preview the best business shows coming up this summer

23/04/2013 14:58

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27/03/2013 10:40

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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JULY Charlie Mullins, plumber to the stars told us how he went from being an apprentice to growing his own business, Pimlico Plumbers, which turns over £18 million a year, and has a workforce of more than 200. It wasn’t easy and he reveals how, at one time, everything almost went down the plughole. Charlie on running a business: ‘You can’t run a business on your own; you need to delegate. I learnt I had to get other people on board to help me.’

AUGUST Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi, a credit cardsized, singleboard computer designed to encourage young people to get into programming. He also founded a charity of the same name to encourage future generations into the tech world. Eben on teaching tech: ‘There’s no point of putting a 25-year-old in front of a piano and expecting them to turn into Mozart. It’s easier to learn when we’re young.’

OCTOBER Karren Brady With a heavy focus on female entrepreneurs it only seemed right that we interviewed the UK’s most powerful businesswoman. Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman and vice-chair of West Ham FC told us about how her football club is making profit for the first time and what can hold women back in business. Karren on her first job: ‘Sweeping up hair in a salon when I was 16… everyone thought I was a kid, but by the end of the week I was running the place.’

NOVEMBER Rob Law When Theo Paphitis pulled the strap off Trixie the prototype Trunki suitcase, things went sour in the Dragons’ Den, and he walked away with no investment. Seven years after that awkward TV appearance, Trunki is stronger than ever. Two million cases have been sold in 97 countries, and the company turnover is £6.1 million. Rob Law on Dragons’ Den: ‘[It] was not a major event for me – we’ve had other mountains to climb, like the hand luggage ban in 2006.’

SEPTEMBER James Cann The former Dragon featured this month, telling us how being stubborn worked for him. He also revealed how his first venture was set up in a bid to impress the lady who is now his wife, and revealed how important cash flow is in business. James on money: ‘The success of a business will come down to the liquidity, and I would advise business owners to look carefully at the money going in and out.’ DECEMBER Luke Thomas This month we interview Britain’s youngest head chef on page 18.

Vote for your winner We want you to choose your

Face of 2013

To vote: Log on to talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/tb-awards Voting closes 16 December We will announce the winner on talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 19 December and in our January magazine.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 10:09


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02/12/2013 15:25


UP-AND-COMING

TALK SUCCESS

Introducing Amma Mensah This month we interview Amma Mensah, founder of Beyond the Classroom, who received help from Business Launchpad, the start-up programme for entrepreneurs aged 17-30

resource; the people around you have incredible gems to give you. But you will have to be open to learning from others; it will save you some time along the way.

mma Mensah founded Beyond the Classroom, an educational social enterprise. It works with schools and youth organisations to support formal curriculum learning. It uses theatre, music, dance, drama, mentoring, film and open dialogue as tools to teach life skills and knowledge.

A

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? I guess from personal experiences of my own schooling/coming of age journey, and working with young people in a range of settings. It became apparent to me that young people are not being adequately prepared for adult life. Academia is undeniably important, but what good is it without confidence, self-worth and independence? WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Just do it. There will never be a right time, so you have to create one. Open your eyes and ears to everyone around you. Your network is an invaluable

IF YOU WEREN’T AN ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING TODAY? Trying to become one.

You will have to be open to learning from others

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR WORST EVER JOB? Debt collection for a bank (which will remain nameless). I left because I could not agree with the ethics of their business operations. I feel a rant coming on, so I will leave this one at that. WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? I don’t have one, I just try to make sure that I live every day and not let life get in the way. I try to seize opportunities as they arise. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Letting go of inhibitions and the limiting thoughts of others, to follow my dreams.

My Life I’m watching: Harry Potter (it’s my guilty pleasure). I’m reading: Manuscript found in Accra by Paulo Coelho (which I highly recommend) and The female Brain by Louann Brizend. I’m listening to: Janelle Monae, Metropolis EP, Everything Everything, Arc, Lauryn Hill, and The Miseducation. I’m surfing: Youtube and TED. WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? The knowledge that I am my own boss; it is liberating. But it also means that the work will not get done unless I do it. HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? It doesn’t. Doing stuff is what motivates me. But unfortunately I need money to do stuff. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? I don’t think I’ve had it yet. Ask me again in two years maybe… My vision for the future is continued growth and social change. Contact: beyondtheclassroom.co.uk

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE A

s a country’s wealth changes, so does the way in which goods and produce are made and more importantly sold. America, in the primary stages of its conception was an industrial state. It created. It made. But most importantly it did so effectively and turned a profit. In fact it was so successful that it became the world power we know, dominating the globe financially. Which in turn happens to be the dream of most individuals involved in the world of business. So how has a country first colonised only 500 years ago become such an important financial figure in the world? To the point that in 2011, it exported $2.1 trillion of goods around the globe. Several key points led to this colossal expansion.

Industry Increases in production led to the US surpassing England as the world’s largest producer of steel. Along with innovations such as Henry Ford’s construction line helping to improve & innovate America’s industry as a whole. Imperialism Expansion led to resources being searched for in other

Accountz.DEC13.Adv.DPS.indd 40

countries. Leading to areas such as Alaska & Hawaii being bought or colonised by America for trade and resources.

War Sad to say… However the Spanish-American War treaty (1898) gave America control of Guam, The Philippines and Puerto Rico. As well as WW1, giving America a seat at the Versailles Peace Treaty, centralising America’s global position. Now our team at Accountz isn’t telling you to dominate the globe through war and imperialism… ‘Perhaps industry’… but what we want to point out is the way in which spending changes as a country grows in wealth. As a country’s income increases the change in sectorial structure is more noticeable. Leading to an increase in the service sector… currently 79.7% of American GDP composition. We see this everywhere. Service contracts are rife. Phone contracts, mortgages and gym memberships to name but a few… and why not! It’s great value for money and an amazing way of obtaining something that you can’t afford right now!

What we don’t agree with at Accountz, are companies only offering a particular form of payment. Boxing consumers in to a payment system that better suits the company not the client. We strive to be as transparent as possible and offer our accounting software in both forms of payment. Buy our software outright at 3 different price points and never pay again… Or pay a tiny sum each month for our top of the range product, Business Suite. With features like; Product Management for monitoring stock, Cost Centres for revealing which areas or products are the most profitable, Budgeting and Forecasting allowing you to plan effectively for the future, VAT submission direct and free of charge and Customer/Supplier tracking allowing you manage and monitor the spending habits of your contacts. Accountz software becomes more than your standard accountancy package… we help you run and take control of your business. Never make decisions on out of date financial information again. Don’t be forced into a payment method that doesn’t suit you! Make your own choice with Accountz. Products work on Mac, Windows & Linux operating platforms. Get in touch! Call 01354 691650 or e-mail support@ accountz.com.

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21/11/2013 19:14


The best books of 2013 Our top six business books of the year. From female leadership to big data – all are must-reads

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014 A Practical Manual For JobHunters & Career-Changers, by Richard N Bolles

Career expert, Richard N Bolles has now written 42 books, all with the same title. Every year he updates his guide about the current job market completely rewriting it so that it’s different from the last. This American book features insights into CV writing, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation, entrepreneurship and social media. But this is not just a job-hunting guide about the market; this book has allowed people to discover their unique gifts, skills and interests. We say: an inspiring read for any entrepreneur.

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Bend, Not Break A Life In Two Worlds, by Ping Fu

Big Data

A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work And Think, Ping Fu is one of the few women running a tech company in the US. Born by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger during China’s Cultural Revolution, she & Kenneth Cukier was separated from her family at age eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her young sister from the teenagers of Mao’s Red Guard. At 25, she escaped to the US with a small amount of cash and three phrases of English: thank you, hello and help. Within a year she had completed her English qualifications and started studying computer programming, rising to run the team behind Netscape. She then founded Geomagic, a company that has worked on major jobs from personalising prosthetic limbs, to repairing NASA spaceships. She is also a member of President Obama’s National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We say: incredible story of overcoming imprisonment and adversity to become a highly successful and inspiring individual.

Big data enables us to crunch an incomprehensible amount of information. It provides huge benefits, which are only just being discovered. From tracking vital signs to foresee deadly infections, predicting building fires, anticipating the best moment to buy a train ticket, seeing inflation and monitoring social media trends. But there is also a darker side to big data. Who will make the decisions - people or machines? How do you regulate algorithm? What will happen to privacy and confidentiality? In this book, two well-respected data experts reveal the reality of big data and equip the reader with tools for the next phase. We say: a fascinating and groundbreaking read venturing into the future of big data.

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 10:29


BOOK REVIEWS

Making it Happen Fred Goodwin, RBS And The Men Who Blew Up The British Economy, by Iain Martin

When RBS collapsed and was bailed out by the taxpayer in the financial crisis of October 2008, it played a leading role in tipping Britain into its deepest economic downturn. The economy shrank, lending froze, thousands lost their jobs, and Britons will be paying higher taxes for decades to pay the clean-up bill. How had a small Scottish bank grown so quickly to become a global financial giant that could do such damage when it collapsed? At the centre of the story was Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive. Not a banker by training, he was given control of RBS and set about trying to make it one of the biggest brands in the world. Based on more than 80 interviews, diaries and papers kept by those at the heart of the meltdown, this is the definitive account of the RBS disaster, which still casts a shadow over our economy. We say: If you want to truly understand why the economy is the way it is today – read this book.

The Athena Doctrine

TALK SUCCESS

The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for Your Small Business

How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future, by John Gerzema Powerful Promotion & Michael D’Antonio On A Shoestring, by Dee Blick A survey among 64,000 people in thirteen nations revealed two thirds feel the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. This marks a global trend away from the winner–takes–all, masculine approach to getting things done. Drawing from interviews at organisations in eighteen nations and at Fortune 500 boardrooms, the authors reveal how men and women alike are recognising significant value in traits commonly associated with women, such as nurturing, cooperation, communication, and sharing. This book shows why femininity is the new system to solve today’s toughest problems in business, education, government and more. We say: an interesting insight into how women and their “typical traits” can be the perfect model of success and leadership.

This straightforward book breaks down marketing theory into practical steps small businesses can take to achieve phenomenal marketing results. This book contains easy-toimplement strategies on marketing plans, copywriting, social media marketing, and public relations that will increase sales, prevent marketing mistakes, and build the foundations of a customer-driven brand. Author, Dee Blick has worked with SMEs for twenty-seven years. We say: before you spend a bomb on marketing, read this book – it will save you a lot of time and money. We know you’re busy so we’ve made it easy to grab just one or all of these books online in a few clicks. See our Amazon wish list here: www.amazon.co.uk/registry/ wishlist/6GVKIPHAMAW5

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 15:27


Our funding expe rt, Julian Smith says a busi ness plan is essential to driv e your venture forward

number of entrepreneurs have asked me whether they really need to have a business plan. They have a good business idea, have spent time brainstorming and fleshing out their thinking, have some numbers and a team, but they are reluctant to commit to a business plan.

A

A DETOX FOR BUSINESS Writing a business plan is not unlike doing a detox – you don’t like the idea of the process beforehand but feel a lot better afterwards. Whether starting out or not, I would recommend putting one together if you want to have a healthy business. The reasons are many: • If you need to raise money for your business, you are likely to be asked for one by your prospective lender or investor. • A business plan is a helpful document to share with any key members of the team that you are looking to recruit so that they can understand your vision. • You and the business will benefit from going through a disciplined process to clarify the thinking underpinning the business.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Business plan software or templates are available for £100 or less to do it yourself. I would not recommend outsourcing the writing of a business plan because, as I said earlier, a lot of the value is in the process. A more valuable use of money would be to work with someone who can help ensure that you go through the right steps and ask the right questions to produce a useful document. In terms of content, there are certain aspects of the business that need to covered: the vision and objectives, the market and competitive landscape, the marketing strategy and plan, the operational requirements, the risks and mitigating factors, and, of course, the financials. Importantly, the plan must have integrity; not only in terms of the way it is put together but how it hangs together for the financial forecasts to marry up with the assumptions made elsewhere in the document. It needs to be professionally presented with an executive summary, but it is not about perfection and should not take months to produce. Otherwise by the time you finish it, the plan will be out of date.

Writing a business plan is not unlike doing a detox – you don’t like the idea of the process beforehand but feel a lot better afterwards

money

Have you got it all planned?

IS IT WORTH IT? A properly thought through business plan is likely to save money in the long term and open more doors. To take the example of patent protection, which you might identify is a key risk as a result of the process. To process a patent filing costs about £250, whereas to ensure protection across Europe could cost around £30,000. The cost of not ensuring that protection could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue if a competitor chooses to take advantage of your lack of protection. For me, it is also the strength and confidence that a founder/ owner draws from having written the business plan that is the enabler for things to happen. The best business plans tell a story about the entrepreneur and the business. As Mike Harris, serial entrepreneur and founder of First Direct and Egg, among others, says: ‘New businesses get themselves talked into existence.’ The stronger the beliefs that underpin your vision and the more aware you are of your business objectively, the more likely it is that you will advance your business prospects.

Contact: thefundingexpert.co.uk

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26/09/2013 10:45


TRADING ABROAD

TALK MONEY

Made in CHINA

ong gone are the days when only large businesses and multi-national corporations were able to trade with China. Today, a growing number of SMEs are factoring in strategies to trade with, and sell to China’s 1.35 billion inhabitants. If you want to start selling to, or buying from China; read my practical advice for all you need to know about selling to Chinese consumers and sourcing from the nation’s large pool of manufacturers.

L

E-TRADING WITH CHINA China’s colossal e-commerce sector is growing so rapidly that retail experts are predicting it could become the biggest online shopping market in the world by 2014. That means that today, UK SMEs are able to sell directly to Chinese consumers online without even leaving the country. There are a number of things UK-based businesses can bear in mind to help make

James Hardy, head of Europe at Alibaba, an e-commerce platform for SMEs around the globe, advises on how to trade with China

A growing number of SMEs are factoring in strategies to trade with, and sell to China’s 1.35 billion inhabitants

their move into the Chinese market successful. DEVELOP A LONG TERM PLAN If you rush into selling to China without giving it enough thought, the chances are you will lose out to the thousands of other SMEs trying to make their own mark. Think about the whole selling process, including how goods will be delivered, as logistics can be complicated in China. GET THE RIGHT LEGAL ADVICE China has a notoriously difficult legal and administrative framework meaning companies wanting to trade there should seek professional help to navigate it. The EU SME Centre or UKTI website can help provide advice regarding issues such as licensing and variable investment entities.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PAYMENT METHOD The most common payment method for online goods in China is through a third party platform, which allows consumers to feel secure when making a purchase online, especially from a seller in another country. Payment platforms are also relatively straightforward to apply for and install on your own website. MAKE USE OF RESOURCES Selling via one of China’s existing online marketplaces, like Tmall.com, can help you reach consumers without having the headache of setting up your own e-commerce site in China. LOCALISE YOUR OFFERING There is a huge geographical spread in China, and e-commerce is growing fastest

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02/12/2013 10:35


TALK MONEY TRADING ABROAD

in the country’s smaller markets. It could be useful to tailor online strategies and product selection according to location, where possible. FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPLIER FOR YOUR BUSINESS China is bursting with factories offering high quality, cost effective manufactured goods. Finding suppliers online is a quick and easy way to find the right factory for your specific business needs. However, it can also feel overwhelming and risky, so take your time and research thoroughly before placing your order. BE AWARE OF WHO YOU’RE LIAISING WITH. In most cases the person you are initially speaking to may not be the final decision maker, so when they say “yes” or “no problem,” take it with a grain of salt and wait for the real reply from the owner or manager. ARE YOU ARE DEALING WITH THE FACTORY DIRECTLY OR AN AGENT? The factory will have the final say on what they are able to produce. Dealing with an agent can be time consuming, but they can also provide a great deal of variety as they may represent multiple suppliers. WHAT KIND OF SUPPLIER ARE YOU DEALING WITH? It’s hard to gauge exactly how a factory works when you are engaging online, so you may want to consider a factory audit, such as those offered on Alibaba. com, to find out exactly what kind of supplier you are dealing with. It can be money well spent and give you extra peace of mind before you sign a contract.

38

China is bursting with factories offering high quality, cost effective manufactured goods

HAVING THE BEST MATCHED SUPPLIER IS CRITICAL. All factories have MOQs (minimum order quantities), which will suit different importer’s requirements. You need to find a factory that suits your specific needs, so a factory that produces average orders of 100,000 units might not be right for your 5,000 piece order. Some suppliers are able to produce products to

your specifications or with minor modifications, while others simply provide premanufactured products for resale. Once you have confidence in the manufacturer and its products, some are happy to ship your products directly from their manufacturing facility to your end customers. Contact: alibaba.com

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 10:35


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02/12/2013 15:34


SMALL BUSINESS TAX SAVINGS

TALK MONEY

Multinationals paying just 0.5% tax. s HMRC continues to ramp up efforts to recover tax shortfalls, smaller businesses are being targeted aggressively with initiatives to detect underpayments and tax avoidance schemes. Yet some of the world’s largest and most successful companies are legitimately paying minimal tax on millions of pounds of profits. In the case of Google, it paid an effective tax rate of just 0.5% on total foreign profits of $8.1bn last year, of which just £11.2 million went to HMRC. Contrast this with the 20% tax paid by the vast majority of smaller companies and it hardly seems fair.

A

WHAT CAN BUSINESS OWNERS DO DIFFERENTLY IN 2014 TO REDUCE TAX BILLS? While some smaller companies may be able to copy the sophisticated tax planning strategies adopted by multinationals, they rarely have the resources to carry them out, or the profits to make them cost effective. However, there are a number of good Government-backed schemes to help business owners reduce tax liabilities in ways that are not regarded as tax avoidance. These include: R&D TAX CREDITS R&D tax credits allow companies to offset development costs for new

Is that fair? Lesley Stalker, a tax partner at accountancy firm RJP LLP, discusses how SMEs can cut their taxes in 2014

Google paid an effective tax rate of just 0.5% on total foreign profits of $8.1bn

innovation by either reducing their corporation tax bill or obtaining a cash rebate. Tax refunds claimed to date have amounted to tens of thousands of pounds and the relief now covers 225% of costs. ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT INCENTIVES (EMI) This provides employers with the opportunity to grant share options to employees, which they are able to exercise taxfree, on an eventual sale of the shares they have acquired. The employee will usually pay only 10% capital gains tax when the shares are exercised. ENHANCED CAPITAL ALLOWANCES (ECAS) ECAs are a special form of capital allowances, which enable a business to offset 100% of the cost of purchasing qualifying plant and machinery in the year of acquisition. This means the company can write off the full cost of any new plant or machinery against the business’s taxable profits in the financial year the purchase was made.

GROUP TAX RELIEFS These enable companies that are part of a larger group to transfer losses and certain deficits to companies within the same group. By transferring losses between companies, the tax affairs of the group can be managed to ensure corporation liabilities are minimised and cash flow is optimised. Companies under the same individual ownership, but not within a group, are not able to take advantage of these reliefs, and in some cases restructuring the companies into a group structure may be beneficial. Tempting as it may seem, entering into tax planning strategies that could be considered aggressive or deliberate tax avoidance, will only cause HMRC to enquire into your company’s affairs. Seek advice if you think your company pays a lot of tax and is missing opportunities to claim tax relief. Lesley Stalker is a tax partner at RJP LLP, an accountancy firm based in Surrey, which specialises in helping growing businesses. Contact: rjp.co.uk

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29/11/2013 17:29


START-UP LOANS

TALK MONEY

A day in

the life

This month our Start Up Loan recipient, Nelson Sivalingam tells us about One Minute London, the online video guide to eating and drinking in London

DEAR DIARY Wake up next to my phone blaring the most annoying alarm tone, and as per usual I tell myself that I have to change my nocturnal ways. I check my emails whilst still in bed. Then I browse the latest startup, tech and hospitality news while I munch on my bowl of Crunchy Nut. When I’m ready, I jump on the tube, and read Courage: The Art of Dangerous Living – it’s a must read!

07:00

First meeting of the day is with my mobile app developer. I go completely gaga over the mock-ups for the One Minute London app. Inspired by the slick designs and easyto-use interface, we start brainstorming further ideas to better the user experience – with every idea trying to push the envelope. We lay down a timeline for a future iteration skewed by my eagerness to unleash it on consumers ASAP.

10:00

I have a lunch meeting with another start up within the hospitality industry at one of our client restaurants. As

12:00

always, I’m fascinated by the story behind the start-up and inspired by the mutual passion to walk the less travelled road. New ideas for collaboration come to mind over delicious seafood spaghetti. I head over to meet one of the amazing new interns who has joined our team of sales experts. It’s her first client meeting and she’s evidently nervous. I try to put her at ease before we go in to the restaurant. The venue looks great and I know it’s definitely one I would like to have on board. I ask her to take the lead with the pitch, but assure her that I will be there to support if needs be. The manager of the restaurant turns out to be just as psyched about the idea of One Minute London as us – result!

14:00

Having spent most of my time behind a camera, attending a casting session for a TV documentary about entrepreneurs was rather strange. It was great to see the positive response to One Minute London from the other entrepreneurs there. I think running a business takes relentless optimism and regular bursts of paranoia – moments like this reaffirm both.

15:00

I pick up the camera equipment from the office and head to our client’s restaurant with my colleague for their filming session. We get there before the dinner rush to film the venue and an interview with the head chef. The restaurant starts filling up quickly and we film the venue in action, capturing the overall vibe. Then for my favourite bit – filming the food! They bring out their most popular dishes for us to film before we feast on some amazing dishes. Stuffed and satisfied with the shoot, we leave with a big smile!

18:00

Now back home, I finish off the edits for the videos we shot during the day, before uploading them to the website. Then in the early hours I stick on something to watch and fall asleep.

21:00

In Profile Entrepreneur: Nelson Sivalingam Business: One Minute London Web: oneminutelondon.com Concept: It is an online video guide to eating and drinking in London. Start-Up Loan: £15,000

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043 MONEY Start Up Loan Case Study.ga.indd 43

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CAREFUL CONTRACTS TALK MONEY

Before you sign on

the dotted line…

s a small business, cash doesn’t always flow, and a lack of cash can inhibit growth. Sometimes the solution may be to seek additional financing. Nowadays, there are many alternative debt and equity finance options. However, many small businesses give away equity at the first opportunity, without thinking about other options or the consequences. No matter how strapped you are for cash, always explore the options for finance in your business before agreeing to give anything to anyone.

A

HERE ARE A FEW GUIDELINES TO CONSIDER PRIOR TO RECEIVING EQUITY INVESTMENT: 1. NEVER GIVE AWAY EQUITY IN EXCHANGE FOR ANYTHING, EXCEPT CASH Ever heard the phrase; “there is no such thing as a free lunch”? That statement applies in this context because while skills and connections are useful, getting services for “free” will cost you in the long term. In some cases it is the administrative burden of additional shareholders (particularly those with less than 20%) or the restrictions placed on you by those shareholders. Also beware of shareholders who offer you a loan in exchange for equity. They expect the loan to be repaid

NaviStar Legal founder Jo Rogers lists her guidelines you should consider before receiving equity investment No matter how strapped you are for cash, always explore the options

and yet they will keep the shares for the life of the business. 2. KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH Do your own due diligence on the person providing the finance, understand who they are and the terms on which they will invest. Know what they expect as a shareholder and how you will deal with the relationship if it breaks down. 3. HAVE A METHOD OF VALUATION You will be amazed how many people pick a percentage out of the air. Decide on a consistent method to value the company, so that you can approximate the value of the shares you give away and you can appreciate the value that shareholder is receiving. 4. DO NOT ASSUME THAT PEOPLE ALWAYS WANT EQUITY This is a mistake people often make with incentivising staff. You may want to offer potential investors a profit or revenue share, and your staff may actually prefer a pay rise. 5. KEEP CONTROL If you intend to give away a large percentage of shares (20%+) then you can create new classes

of shares. Separate classes allow some shares to be non-voting, therefore those holding voting shares will remain in control of the company. 6. GET IT IN WRITING Unraveling shareholder relationships, particularly without a signed shareholder’s agreement can be painful. A written agreement helps all parties to be clear on the relationship up front. If you want some support with finance or equity matters, drop us a line at admin@ navistarlegal.com

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

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Strategy

Conspiracy, fivers and sweatshops umerous conversations with new clients about the very nature of their branding needs, has given rise to doubts in my mind about the nature of branding design. Branding has been the buzzword for months now, with every guru professing the need for companies to have a brand. As designers it seem we are compelled to talk about brand design as if it was something new, when arguably it’s just a semantic shift that stopped us calling ourselves “identity designers” and start talking about branding strategy. Design writer Adrian Shaughnessy’s recent essay gave me a jolt as I’d been concerned about trying to convince people about branding when really the topic of concern was their identity. To my mind the definition of branding is how you are seen, and how you want to be seen, by your clients. The problem with this definition (although I still maintain it’s a good definition) is the whole thing is subjective. One person’s view of your company is different to another’s. Primark’s brand is renowned for fantastic fashion at extremely reasonable prices, yet the flip side is, rightly or wrongly, it’s connected to Bangladeshi sweatshops, which

N

What is branding design? Rich With, creative director of The Grow Creative Company, isn’t sure he knows anymore Design should be a two-way dialogue between the agency and the client

dampens the feel-good spirit. Shaughnessy argues that brand strategists and other nondesigner folk have capitalised on the branding theory, pushing designers to the back and relegating us secondary, and in many cases even blaming us for the lack of results in a campaign. It’s understandable, as us designers can be a pain to work with. We don’t appreciate having a carefully constructed logo design ripped apart by a suit who doesn’t like a certain font. Coupled with the fact there are thousands of online essays on how your web or graphic designer knows nothing about the optimum way to design a website, and is even actively seeking to damage the return on investment for the client. These are clearly reductive, yet people still give them credence. Branding is more than just a logo, you can’t have a brand without one, but the skill of identity design is reduced when it’s claimed you can get a logo done for a fiver. Good design should be integral throughout your company. A good designer looks to solve a problem and to

enhance the user experience while also trying to make your brochure or website look beautiful. It’s a thankless task when many read blog posts on online marketing and think they have a better understanding of website design than a professional designer. There are some utterly fantastic brand designs being created right now by people who believe in their clients, who in turn have faith in them to create something wonderful. Design should be a two-way dialogue between the agency and the client, exploring possibilities and solving the problem. Have a little faith in us professionals.

Contact: justgrow.co

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02/12/2013 10:51


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27/09/2013 10:02:58


The chain reaction How do independent restaurants compete with the big chains? Dawn Murden investigates

he UK restaurant industry is worth £40 billion. The sector is diverse, ranging from top-end fine dining to quick service takeaway outlets, but the UK high streets tend to be dominated by chain restaurants. On almost every high street in this country, you can guarantee you’ll see a McDonalds, a Subway and a Pizza Express, just to name a few well-known chains. McDonald’s has more than 34,492 restaurants in the world, operating in more than 116 countries. Within the UK there are 1,200 restaurants, of which 600 are franchises. Subway has 40,735 restaurants in 102 countries and Pizza Express has more than 400 restaurants in the UK, and 40 in Europe, Hong Kong, India and the Middle East. Big chains appear to dominate the restaurant industry. They may

T

McDonald’s has more than 34,492 restaurants in the world, operating in more than 116 countries

050_052 STRATEGY Too Many Chains.**g**indd.indd 50

have started modestly at one time, but now, with the backing of tested infrastructure, finance, marketing budgets, well-known brand, secured suppliers and so on, they are able to pop up very quickly, in a location with plenty of footfall. Unlike small independents and SMEs, big chains have the benefit of a well known brand name like the instantly recognisable McDonald’s “M”, but they are also more likely to be able to afford that prime location, casting the smaller restaurants into the shadows. It’s not just the smaller restaurants that are overcast. There is even dominance within the chains; in total, the top 10 restaurants chains account for almost £7.3 billion, more than half (52.3%) of total turnover for the top 100 UK chains. Chains aren’t all bad. McDonalds alone employs 85,000 people in the UK, and around one million worldwide, and this, in a climate where unemployment is a major issue, can only be a positive thing for the economy on a whole. But there has been a rapid growth of branded concepts putting increasing pressure on independent restaurants. According to trade consultancy, CGA Strategy, 40% of independent restaurants now have a chain within one mile of their business.

02/12/2013 13:58


UK RESTAURANT TRADE

How do smaller restaurants and independent food outlets battle to compete with the chains every day? One benefit independents told me they have over the chains, is flexibility of supplier. Robert Shenton, joint proprietor of Brighton restaurants, Yum Yum Ninja and Riddle Finns I & II, said: ‘One of the many luxuries of being an independent restaurant is the huge variety of suppliers we have on offer; we are not tied into a supplier dictated by a chain. ‘Our product is locally sourced wherever possible, and making sure we have a great relationship with these suppliers is vital.’ Another is their high level of customer service and point of difference. Giorgio Bellanca, restaurant manager at Danes Yard Kitchen, said: ‘We pride ourselves on being totally unique – we provide a winning combination of excellent customer service alongside high quality food at reasonable prices, which is something the bigger restaurant chains can’t always deliver.’ Robert Shenton added: ‘Service is key for us – we tailor our service to every individual need. When was the last time you went to a chain and they remembered your name?’ ‘We can adapt the menu to personal tastes with ease, and in no way does this damage the brand, it just makes it stronger.’ Chains are able to put on deals and reduce their prices. How do smaller restaurants deal with this? Giogio Bellanca said: ‘Bigger chains mitigate their lessimpressive food by constantly offering discounted offers to keep diners coming back, while independents, like ours, can’t do that, but we work with Groupon once a quarter to create a special deal.

TALK STRATEGY

THE TOP TEN UK CHAIN RESTAURANTS 2010-2011 TURNOVER RANK

CHAIN

% UNIT % TURNOVER 2011 UK TURNOVER INCREASE FROM 2010 INCREASE FROM 2010 (£MILLION)

1

MCDONALD’S

1,872

2.3

2.8

2

WETHERSPOON

1,038

9.7

8.5

3

GREGGS

708

6.9

4.2

4

KFC

614

2.6

4.6

5

COSTA COFFEE

610

16.8

9.1

6

STARBUCK’S

561

2.3

4.6

7

PIZZA HUT

529

0.7

0.0

8

DOMINO’S PIZZA

496

9.5

8.9

9

SUBWAY

473

2.4

1.6

10

NANDO’S

390

9.1

8.0

95% of independent restaurants don’t have a mobile site, and only 40% have online menus

‘By sending out the offer to a large number of their subscribers in our local area, we’re able to entice both new and regular customers in without negatively impacting on our overall bottom line.’ Richard Jones, vice president of national accounts at Groupon UK also commented: ‘The benefit to most SMEs is that it gives then an opportunity to reach new customers and level out any peaks and troughs, particularly those quieter periods. ‘Once they get the customer in the door, they are able to crosssell and up-sell other services and our consultants can recommend the best way to do this.’ However one key trick independent restaurants are missing out on is the internet. According to research, 95% of independent restaurants don’t have a mobile site, and only 40% have online menus. When you consider that 50% of internet usage in the UK is done from mobile phones, surely this is detrimental to businesses? There are plenty of customers for both chains and independents, with 7.7 billion informal meals being eaten out every year in the UK, and the industry is expected to grow again to £47.5 billion in 2014.

Luke Thomas, The Interview on page 16 and head chef of three restaurants, including Luke’s Dining room says: ‘The big chains do make it difficult for independents, their buying power and infrastructure gives them the freedom and the money to succeed, but smaller chains like Burger and Lobster started off small and now they have five restaurants – they are chains too.’ Over recent years there has been an increase in the number of chains with a smaller average size of the chain. Some of the newer chains, like Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Leon, and the Clapham House Group are relatively small but very popular. The fastest growing chains in the full-service segment include Busaba Eathai (80.7%), Jamie’s Italian (77.3%) and Côte Restaurants (37.8%) – all of which have been founded in the last ten years. Busaba Eathai, interestingly, was new to the 2012 Leading 100 UK chains ranking as well. The smaller chains are great news and a real inspiration for independents because they prove that even the smallest burger place or natural fast food outlet can make it big. Statistics taken from: Allegra, Companies & Markets, CGA Strategy, Restaurant Science, UK National Statistics, Restaurant Science.

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02/12/2013 13:58


TALK STRATEGY UK PUB TRADE

Down the hatch Every week around 26 pubs close in Britain. Dawn Murden studies the decline of the local pub

PUBS IN NUMBERS: • 26 pubs close every week in Britain • More than 200 pubs have been converted into supermarkets since 2010 • The cost of beer for landlord through pubco tie can be 70% more than open market price • 9,682 pubs have closed in the last ten years • 63% of tied publicans see themselves running their pubs in three years’ time, compared to 78% non-tied

Between 2008 and 2012, the number of pubs dropped from 62,479 to 57,652

52

ne night your local landlord was a pulling pint; the next steel shutters were locked securely over the windows and doors. This is a story that has been replicated across the country: the decline of the local pub. Independent and tenanted pubs face more closures, pressure from off-trade and declining consumer engagement with wet-led formats (pubs who make the majority of their revenue from drinks rather than food). Earlier this year, it was estimated that 26 pubs were closing every week in Britain. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of pubs dropped from 62,479 to 57,652. The demise of these venues could be blamed on numerous reasons like the smoking ban, a change in drinking habits, cheap booze in supermarkets, and the rise of pub prices. The branded and managed pub restaurants are significantly out-performing the wider pub market, driving the increasing branded market share. Branded pubs have increased outlet share by 3.1% points to reach 16% by 2013. Value share has increased by 8.8% points to 48% since 2007, driven by the significant increase in food sales. According to research only 15% of consumers want to see a wider range of independent restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs, and JD Wetherspoon’s, which has a revenue of £1 billion, is the nation’s favourite restaurant brand for the first time. But it’s not just chains that are affecting pubs and pub

O

closures. Around 50% of pubs in the UK are owned by pub companies (pubcos), which are large property companies who lease pubs out to tenants to run as their own business. These pubs are contractually obliged to buy their beer only from the pubco preventing pub licensees buying on the open market – this is known as the beer tie. Recently during a House of Commons debate, Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland, who is campaigning for reform, described the two largest pubcos Enterprise and Punch Taverns as “zombie companies” which do not pay dividends and “have no growth or export potential”. He added: ‘They just about pay the cost of their debt by selling off their assets. That asset stripping is happening now – slash and burn.’ Some do survive under new ownership, but a huge number become supermarkets and flats. According to a survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) under the current system almost three in five tenants earn less than £10,000 a year, compared to just 25% of free-of-tie pub owners. Pubcos can be defended on the basis that the business model offers low cost entry with an opportunity to run a business, with the investment and support of a national pub company. Vince Cable is on the cusp of getting the Government to reform the pubco model. You can support the Fair Deal Campaign here: fairdealforyourlocal.com

Statistics from Public Policy Research, Campaign For Real Ale, The Fair Pint Campaign, Fair Deal For Your Local.

DECEMBER 2013

050_052 STRATEGY Too Many Chains.**g**indd.indd 52

02/12/2013 13:58


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

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02/12/2013 15:52


USING EVIDENCE

T

grow your business

How to

he key to creating product innovation, employee motivation and growth is applying the insight you get from understanding your market, your potential customers, and your staff. Evidence is a critical component in every decision maker’s toolkit. And it must be used by businesses of all sizes. Too often, gut feeling is relied on instead of taking an evidence-based approach. It is critical to avoid creating a selfish company, one whose references are all internal and whose key performance indicators are all of the lag variety – telling you what has happened not why things may be happening, and generally ignoring the messages your customers are giving you. Conducting thorough and well considered research is vital and can save you money in the long term – certainly, not understanding your markets or your customers will cost much more. Here’s how to use evidence to make improvements within your business, internally as well as externally, and ultimately help you grow your business.

TALK STRATEGY

DRIVING INTO NEW MARKETS Expanding into new markets, whether in the UK or another country, is high on many companies’ agendas, and is important for future growth. However, it’s not easy to achieve. Moving into unchartered waters can be a daunting and unfamiliar experience. This is where research can help. It can provide invaluable insight into what products or services these new markets and customers want and will highlight how you should adapt your strategy and approach in order to succeed. With about a third of business done overseas, UK research agencies can help.

Jane Frost CBE, CEO of the Market Research Society (MRS), says start with the evidence and create actionable insight

TAKING IT INTO THE BOARDROOM Insight is an important resource for everyone in the company – from the frontline to the boardroom. Research is of benefit to product developers when exploring or testing new concepts, and the finance director when deciding how best to allocate the budget. HR departments can also draw on evidence to understand their workforce and improve employee engagement and satisfaction. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BRIEF If you decide to commission an agency to conduct research, it’s important to have a specific and well considered brief in order to get the most for your money. Think about what exactly you need to find out and then aim to evaluate which suppliers have relevant experience. Real return on investment comes when time is spent up front, working on the questions you need to ask. Don’t plunge straight into an online survey without seeking advice on wording, question order or sampling – you can be led badly astray or left with results that do not answer your objective.

Too often, gut feeling is relied on instead of taking an evidencebased approach

AVOIDING SHORTCUTS Above all else, research should be ethical and accurate. There’s no point taking shortcuts as this will only end up costing you money in the long run. While up front cost is a major consideration, so is the quality of the research and the insight this gives you. Research that is sound, both ethically and commercially, will give you the evidence you need to make solid decisions. This, in turn, will enable future growth for your business. Contact: mrs.org.uk

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 11:01


SPONSORED ARTICLE

Information Overload:

THE FUTURE OF ECOMMERCE

I

a responsive site is likely to encourage users to stay on the site longer as the display immediately shrinks or expands to fit the display screen. Instead of simply clicking and adding to the basket, shoppers can now access an array of information about what they are actually buying. Detailed product specifications, a variety of high quality images and even related products are all great tools that retailers can use to encourage shoppers to buy. In this day and age transparency is key and companies are now increasing customer confidence by adding reviews to their product listings. Both product and merchant reviews have shown to increase conversation rates and increase brand trust. Applications such as Schema.org are also proving to be invaluable to webmasters, giving search engines additional information about pages which are used to improve the display of search results. Further additions to web pages such as social media integration have added another level to online shopping whereupon users can share and save their potential purchases.

n the first article in this series we examined how much the face of eCommerce was changing with more and more shoppers taking to the internet to purchase goods. With new technologies emerging all of the time, retailers are having to think outside of the box when it comes to showcasing their products.

The Curse of the Returns Rate

Although online shopping is on the increase, retailers are having to contend with high returns rates, averaging around 25%. This is due to the fact that it is impossible for shoppers to try on garments without visiting the store. Coupled with the inconsistency between retailers in terms of actual sizing, it is no surprise that many shoppers find themselves returning garments due to size issues. So how do you combat the problem? The answer can be found within the new immersive technologies that are currently being embraced by savvy ecommerce retailers. By making products more tailored to the individual, retailers are able to offer a more personal shopping experience through advancements in technology.

So how will the introduction of a more tailored shopping experience help retailers?

Putting You in the Online Shopping Experience

The fashion industry in particular has had to become even more creative in order to limit the amount of customers returning goods. Leading fashion retailers such as ASOS incorporate features such as multiple product views and virtual catwalks that show how a garment looks when worn by a model. Although this does offer customers a new perspective when choosing clothing, accessories or footwear, the one glaring flaw is that although the clothes may look great on a sample size model, the fit may not translate as well in reality. One of the exciting new additions to a retailer’s arsenal is the virtual changing room. This revolutionary eCommerce concept was first introduced by Total Immersion who created a Multifaceted Augmented Reality tool that allows users to ‘try on’ apparel through digital software. Using a web cam the software creates an image of how a product looks on the individual, whether it is a dress, a pair of glasses or jewellery - the software not only shows how it looks, it also allows users to see the way that it moves in real time. Big name retailers

Visual Soft.Dec13.Full.indd 40

such as Adidas, Hugo Boss, Superdry and LK Bennet are all set to introduce virtual changing rooms, with some overseas retailers already embracing the technology.

Shoppers are looking for more than just an image on a web page and to ensure they reach profitability, retailers are looking to reduce their returns rate. The key to both of these is increasing the amount of information shoppers are given about a product, offering a more individual experience that will encourage first time buyers to become return customers. Whether you embrace the new age of virtual changing rooms or give your website a facelift that incorporates these key responsive features, the competition to offer a truly tailored experience is fierce.

Information Overload

More sophisticated eCommerce sites enable retailers to offer customers a more sophisticated shopping experience. Responsive site designs that are created to adapt to whatever device is being used to view the web page, ensures that shoppers get the best possible view of products. With more people using mobile and tablet devices to shop online,

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

02/12/2013 18:42


ADAM CAPLAN

TALK STRATEGY

hen writing articles for business magazines, blogs and websites, I’m always asked about how I would improve a sales team’s figures and performance. I have delivered motivational talks and sales training in three continents, looking at how to improve a salesperson’s results. Recently I came across something new to me (although it’s as old as time, really) that has improved my performance spectacularly. I thought I was performing at a high level, yet this performance boost has made some real changes to how I operate as an entrepreneur. I’ve increased my activity by over a quarter, I’ve improved my mental clarity and I feel fantastic. What’s the secret? Quite simply, I’ve started running. It all started earlier this year when somebody I knew posted about the upcoming Jerusalem marathon in March 2014. Before I knew it, I’d mentioned it to my daughter who jumped at the idea and all of a sudden we’ve entered into a marathon! I just want to put something into perspective here; I’m no athlete. In fact, I tip the scales at 17.8 stone. That’s quite weighty. I have a knee that was destroyed in a motorbike accident in 2008 so I must avoid all impact exercise. I do swim two thousand metres in around forty five minutes four or five days a week, but running a marathon? I was fortunate in that I found an inspiring book called Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. Extremely motivational, importantly it talks about a running style that avoids injury. As I read this book I was suddenly alive to the possibilities that I could run this marathon. If I could do that, couldn’t I do just about anything? As he says in the

W

I’ve increased my activity by over a quarter, I’ve improved my mental clarity and I feel fantastic

Are you fit for work? This month sales author and coach, Adam Caplan tells us what has put a spring in his step and his business

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 11:06


TALK STRATEGY ADAM CAPLAN

book: ‘You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.’ So I started. Here’s an amazing thing. As I slowly made my way around the block, only being allowed by my trainer to do ten minutes at most, I found myself enjoying the experience. As Christopher puts it: ‘There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.’ After a month I was up to around an hour. Not very quick but very enjoyable. I had my business running epiphany after about six weeks of running for around half an hour to an hour five days a week. On this particular day I had a terrible headache. I had three knotty problems I was dealing with, and a major decision regarding our new offices to contemplate. I got home, tired and dispirited. Instead of pouring myself a glass of wine and drowning my sorrows, I put on my Vivos, and went for a run in the rain. As I was running and getting myself into that easy rhythm I’d been taught, I discovered something so wonderful I started laughing out loud. My headache had gone. I continued running. After about twenty minutes, with no effort on my part, the solutions to my knotty problems appeared one after the other. Pow! Pow! Pow! I roared with pleasure as I realised that it was the running process that was helping me solve my problems. My thoughts had clarity and I felt terrific. As soon as I thought about the major decision I had to

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I had my business running epiphany after about six weeks

make, I realised that I’d already made the decision. This was a massive “wow” moment. At the end of that run I knew nothing would ever be the same. If I need to make a decision, if I don’t feel 100%, if I want to give myself a boost, all I need to do is run. How does this affect you? Well, since I’ve been running, I have much more energy, more focus and I’m literally bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm for life. I’m full of those positive endorphins and it’s affecting my life in a very positive way. This also affects my business in a very positive way. Wouldn’t your business benefit from more positivity? I spoke to a client about this and he’s implemented a fit club for his sales reps. It’s been running for a month and already seeing some benefits for some of the reps in terms of attitude and energy. If you have a sales team, ask yourself; “Are they fit for work?” If they are not, maybe look at how you can help them get fit

so they can operate at a higher level for your business. Running is an excellent way to do this. It’s not expensive, can be organised for everyone to do it together for team building and is fun. I’m running a marathon with my daughter for charity, for physically and mentally handicapped children, in March next year. Here’s my sponsor page in case any readers would like to donate: run4shalva.org/view_profile. php?id=927 Why don’t you and your team do one together too? Thanks for reading and wish me luck! 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.

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 11:06


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ADVICE

The Sales Doctor

On the first day of Christmas you need to get that deal. So, sales doctor, Tony Morris sings the 12 questions you should ask on an inbound sales call 1. Who recommended you to (your company name)? This gets the source of the enquiry and gives the impression you receive many recommendations. 2. When selecting a partner (insert your product/service) what are the three most important things to you? 3. Aside from yourself, who else needs to get involved in making the decision? This identifies all decision makers that must be involved. 4. What are your key objectives that you would like to receive as a result of doing business with me? 5. Now I understand your objectives, please can you help me understand which are the three most important to you? 6. Let’s fast forward six months, how will you know if working with me was a success? This identifies the buyer’s real objectives. 7. What is the decision-making process within your organisation?

8. What time scales are you working towards? 9. What budget have you allocated for this project? 10. Which other companies have you spoken to about this project and what is your feedback on them compared to me so far? 11. What has prompted you to make this enquiry? 12. What are the biggest challenges within your (insert the area your product/service helps)? BONUS QUESTIONS FOR OUTBOUND: • If there were two areas you would change with your current supplier, what would they be? • When did you last review the market, to ensure you are receiving the best quality product and service and paying the right price? • If your current supplier let you down or couldn’t work within your time frames, who would you then go to in the market?

TALK STRATEGY

Tony Morris runs the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in London that helps companies all over the UK improve their sales teams’ performance, increase the average order value and the team’s conversion rates. Contact: tony-morris.co.uk Website: wedosalestraining.com

Need a diagnosis?

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

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19/11/2013 09:28


mARKETING

Slice of the

Apple pie T here’s no denying that Apple has created one of the most desirable brands in the world. Love it or hate it, nearly every business owner would confess that they would love to capture a piece of the Apple pie for their own business. Whenever Apple releases a new product, my phone rings off the hook with major media outlets wanting to interview me. They wonder; “How does Apple create such a strong and almost insane desire for its products, and how can others learn from this?” Here are some of my thoughts: 1. BETTER IS NOT NECESSARILY THE WINNER McDonalds does not make the best burger in the world, but it sells more burgers than anyone else. Likewise, Apple does not make the best phone in the world. Any techie would tell you that the Samsung products are superior in almost every way. Yet, the iPhones are the most desirable. Simply creating the world’s best product or service does not guarantee you sales and a top market spot. You need a successful marketing strategy if you want to create a successful business. These companies are masters at it.

Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, discusses the successful marketing of tech giant, Apple

Apple does not make the best phone in the world

2. YOU DON’T NEED A BIG BUDGET Apple barely spends any money on its marketing. In fact, it has ingeniously managed to get its affiliates (mainly mobile phone operators) to spend all the money on advertising, while it spend snothing. How? Apple cleverly creates its product and grants vendors permission to resell it. However, these vendors must follow strict branding rules, which explain exactly how any ad must look, what info it can contain, etc. This helps Apple maintain control and continuity across the brand. The network providers have no other choice but to follow these rules if they want to carry the best selling smartphone year after year. Any company that defies the rules finds that they are last on the list to receive stock. 3. SUPPLY AND DEMAND Apple has followed the basic rules of commerce and restricted the flow of stock for the iPhone. You’ll recall when it first came out, only one mobile phone provider was granted permission to resell the iPhones. As they were released into a wider market the next

time around, there were “stock problems” and the phones were only available on a first come, first served basis. As a result, people began to queue for miles and camp out to be one of the first people with the new and exclusive product. This generated huge amounts of media attention and Apple received tons of free publicity, including some from yours truly, which helped support its low cost marketing campaign.

4. IF YOU DO IT RIGHT, YOU DON’T NEED TO DO IT OVER One of my biggest pet peeves is when businesses make excuses about why they can’t do things right. They worry about spending money, yet they waste thousands of pounds on endless marketing mistakes. If you do your marketing right, it will cost little and pay for itself. Apple is living proof of this. It all comes down to a brilliant strategy. Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, author, and speaker. Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com

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02/12/2013 15:58


TEN STEPS OF TWITTER

TALK MARKETING

Ten steps of Twitter Step two: NET followers

Dawn Murden sets out to improve the Talk Business Twitter - follow our journey and improve yours too ll month I have been analysing our Twitter data using the Brandwatch tools, which I was taught to use over Skype. I started a new project and added the Talk Business Twitter, plus a couple of our competitors, to see how well we did against them. At first things started off slowly, because the data begins collecting from the day you set up the project. One of our competitors had more followers than us, and the other less. But after a couple of our competitions, we had 700 more followers than our main competitor, which I’d like to point out has been running longer than us. However, as Joel had taught me, it isn’t all about how many followers you have in total (as you can buy followers on the web), it’s about who follows you. Plus an important part of the data analysis tools shows how many NET followers you have, i.e. how many of your followers are actually engaging with you. When I started measuring this, we only had 10 NET followers, out of 3,000+. Clearly, I had to encourage our follows to engage – so I carried on retweeting interesting stories/tweets, getting into discussions, checking the # trends and tweeting about them, posting pictures, and tweeting

A

about business stories, from our site and others, like the BBC. Soon our number of NET followers crept up to 114 out of 4,219, a lot more than our competitors, one of which has -1 NET followers. At this point, the month had passed and it was time for a catch up with Joel Windels, marketing manager of EMEA Brandwatch. ‘You’ve done really well,’ he exclaimed. ‘Better than us, you’ve had 248 retweets from one post alone!’ But there was still a lot more to achieve, and like me, Joel wanted to concentrate on that NET number. Our followers were more engaged compared to competitors, but at the moment just 2.7% of our followers are engaging with us. So what could we do to encourage more interaction? ‘Pick three topics that represent the magazine,’ said Joel. My first topic was #SME both lower and upper case, which I

Our number of NET followers crept up to 114 out of 4,219, 100% more than our competitors

typed into the search bar and selected “Top”, which lists the most popular mentions of it, i.e. the posts from those with the most followers, the most retweets, etc. Now, Joel said I had to pick 50 people/tweets from each key word. Dominant people with a good amount of followers, but not so many they wouldn’t reply (I love retweeting Richard Branson for our readers, but let’s face it, with 3,647,272 followers he doesn’t have time to reply!), real people (not automotive services) and most importantly, interesting and relevant people/ companies who are interested in the same things as Talk Business. ‘If you get 25% engaging – that’s good,’ Joel said. So, I’ve made a Word doc. to list the 50 people/tweets from each topic I select and begin engaging with, and Joel and I will review this next month. Brandwatch solutions are used by leading brands and agencies around the globe, including organisations such as Dell, Kellogg’s, and Digitas.

Contact: brandwatch.com

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IN-HOUSE OR AGENCY

TALK MARKETING

Public relations:

what works for you? eputation is everything when it comes to driving growth in your business. It takes years to build and, these days, just minutes to destroy. This has never been more significant than with today’s “always-on” media. Yet frustratingly for many entrepreneurs and CEOs, despite the fact that it is one of your company’s biggest and most fragile assets, your reputation rests not with you, but in the hands of your most important stakeholders. It is a product of what is said about you, online and on the streets, by the people who interact with your business, your products and your services every day. So what’s the best way to handle it? As a business leader, what you can do is ensure that the decisions and actions you and your teams are making reflect and encourage the desired reputation you are trying to build. You can ensure that the opinions that are formed and articulated every day about your brand are the right ones, and that they reach the right people. The most effective way to do this is to ensure your core values are aligned with widespread company behaviour and then communicate the right content in the most appropriate way (for you). As we emerge from a period of economic uncertainty, many businesses are thinking about investing again in areas where they may previously have held back. With customers, prospects

R

Jennifer Janson, managing director of PR consultancy, Six Degrees talks about managing your business reputation through PR

You will have someone who can live and breathe your core values

and employees being bombarded by a maelstrom of messages via social media in particular, the need to invest in strategic reputation management is stronger than ever before. Recognising the importance of protecting and enhancing your reputation is one thing, but figuring out what to do

about it is quite another. Do you hire an expert in-house? Use an agency? Engage a freelancer? Do it yourself? There’s no easy answer: it comes down to a matter of understanding the weak points in your company and recognising what approach works best for you.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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TALK MARKETING IN-HOUSE OR AGENCY

BACK TO BASICS Even if they aren’t written down, core values exist in your business. They are most easily identified by asking yourself the question; how are things done around here? Identifying and embracing your business’s core values is critical to building a strong, defensible reputation strategy.

the benefits that come from some external advice, should not be underestimated

The next step is to look at company behaviour. Are your employees all acting in line with your core values, all the time? Do your product offers and service agreements support your values? Are they evident on your website and social media feeds (if you have them)? Once you know the scale of the challenge, it will be easier to determine the best route to take in terms of getting support. One of the real advantages of taking PR in house is that you will have someone who can live and breathe your core values, and be completely focused on your business alone. This is particularly important if there is a large internal communications job to be done. However, the value of an objective viewpoint, and the benefits that come from some external advice, should not be underestimated. Sometimes it can be difficult to see when we are not getting it quite right, and having someone devoted to your business from an external perspective can be priceless. Equally, with an agency you have access to a broad area of skills (creativity, strong writing, great media contacts and strategic understanding) that are difficult to find in a single individual. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons to consider external PR support. The knowledge that comes from working alongside experts in your field, with access to a specialised knowledge of the wider industry, and the opportunities for feedback and development that come along with it, is invaluable. WHAT ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS SAYING ABOUT YOU? Even if you are not using social media platforms to communicate, keeping your

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finger on the pulse and listening to what is being said about you, your competitors and your industry is key to building a strong reputation. However you do it, having access to third-party services and tools, such as media databases and monitoring services, is critical. Ensure you have someone on your team with the experience and insight to recognise a potential issue as it begins to bubble under, with the presence of mind to be able to respond appropriately if required. MEASURING UP It is critical to ensure that you are keeping track of the impact that your PR strategy is having on your business. Ultimately, it is up to you to check that you are getting a genuine return from your investment in PR, whether in house or agency. The KPIs that you set, whether you are looking at your net promoter score, customer feedback or a perception audit, media coverage or online engagement, should be right for you. However you measure it, ensuring that your investment is paying off is key to putting you in control of your PR strategy. And that, ultimately, it is contributing to your positive reputation among the audiences that matter most. Finding a way to manage and build your reputation is a matter of more than just deciding whether to go down the in-house or agency route. Your approach should be tailored to your business and the reputation you want to build. It all comes down to finding a person, or people, that you can trust to protect your most precious asset. Contact: sixdegreespr.com

DECEMBER 2013

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The print supplier with personality We all know a faceless online print company; you spend hours online trying to work out what printing you need, what specifications suit your needs, what promotional products will drive your business forward! This is where Blinky Media Printing Solutions steps in! We have a great team with more years of experience in the industry than some of us would like to admit, all of which you can tap into over the phone or over a cup of tea in our Docklands office. Providing all types of print from one off orders to on-going printing contracts, developing campaigns, helping with the design process, flyers, banners and pretty much every promotional product under the sun, as Tina would say ‘everything apart from real cars, but we can graphic them up!’ We work with a network of UK based suppliers along-side our ever growing in-house capabilities to provide great quality and value, quick turnarounds and variety all while maintaining our consistent high standards, plus you get a sweet with your receipt in the post! Our customers vary from huge international brands, charities, sole-traders, councils and the public sector all benefiting from the Blinky Media focus on providing value. So whatever your printing requirements and budget the Blinky Media team is at hand to work with you, making your marketing easier and giving it impact.

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02/12/2013 11:07


TALK MARKETING TEN TIPS TO GET MEDIA COVERAGE

Extra! Extra! Read all about you! N ational media coverage can convey the ultimate word-of-mouth recommendation about a product or service to millions of potential new customers. Savvy consumers understand that, unlike advertising, editorial comment can’t be bought. But for many businesses (including some PR agencies) winning this valuable editorial remains a mystery. Here are my top ten tips for winning coverage: 1. Tell, don’t sell. A major trap many businesses fall into is to approach their news releases as advertisements. Journalists aren’t ad men. If you go too heavy on the sales talk in your release, they will (quite rightly) tell you to ring

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Steve McComish, managing director at London PR and a former national news journalist, gives his top ten tips on winning free coverage in the national press the advertising department. That doesn’t mean your item can’t help you to sell, it can. It just means that you have to satisfy the journalist’s need for a story too.

2. Use your expertise as the starting point. All businesses know a lot about their own market, but most of them should All business es know shout about a lot about their own it a lot market, bu t most of louder. them shou ld shout If you’re about it a lot louder fed up with seeing a competitor described as the market leader, then take the initiative and start to shout about your own knowledge and achievements. 3. Don’t be afraid to be creative. The best PR campaigns mix expert comment with creativity. Our client, officebroker.com produces industry-leading stats on serviced office take-up across the UK, which has been very useful in winning coverage. But it is also happy to be creative and put out fun stories, such as Covert War In The Office – which looked at how workers conspire to get the best holidays.

4. Think about how you’ll hook them. You’ll need to be different. Brainstorm as a team and don’t limit yourself to what you know. Our client, NetVoucherCodes.co.uk recently enjoyed massive worldwide media coverage with a piece, which identified 50 names for the remote control.

5. Hit them quickly. If you are wondering why the press releases you’ve been issuing about your exciting company aren’t being picked up by national media, the simple answer probably is they aren’t even aware of them. Journalists are busy people, particularly at national level, and they only have the time to scan a press release. If you don’t grab them in the first sentence, you’ve lost them. 6. What’s the big news story in your industry? Our client, ecigarattedirect.co.uk has been campaigning against proposed regulations on electronic cigarettes. We were able to offer them around for comment, winning coverage in The Times, Metro and Sky News among many others. 7. Do you already have a high profile customer? Ask for a testimonial. Most small and medium-sized businesses

DECEMBER 2013

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believe they can’t afford celebrity endorsement. That may be true, but if you already have a high profile customer it can’t hurt to ask them for a testimonial – they might just say yes. Our client, Danz Spas recently supplied a hot tub to singer, Sophie Ellis Bextor. She was happy to provide a filmed testimonial. 8. Who is your ideal brand ambassador? Maybe you could make a story out of asking them to get on board? When baby gift retailer, My1stYears.com invited Harper, son of David and Victoria Beckham to become the face of the brand, it was

rewarded with more than 300 pieces of media coverage from across the world. The Beckham’s declined the offer but it still enjoyed a huge wave of free publicity. 9. Think outside the box. Which celebs would look good in your product? Put it to the vote. The online travel company, HolidayPlace. co.uk reached an audience of millions when it ran a competition to find Britain’s Bikini Body 2013. The title was won by The Only Way is Essex star, Lucy Mecklenburgh who then tweeted her 1.2 million followers saying how flattered she was.

Journalists are busy people… If you don’t grab them in the first sentence, you’ve lost them

10. Don’t limit yourself to the UK. Once you have your story prepared, it isn’t difficult to email the story out to the major overseas news gatherers. You could be rewarded with coverage and web links into your site from news channels across the globe. NetVoucherCodes. co.uk enjoyed plenty of media attention recently when it worked out the modern day cost of running a house like Downton Abbey, and expressed it in a compelling infographic. It also did the business in the US when it was converted to dollars. Contact: londonpragency.com

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TRAINING THAT TOUCHES

Boosting sales growth for 65 years

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02/12/2013 16:04


PEOPLE Lee McQueen, founder of the Raw Talent Academy and BBC’s Apprentice season four winner, discusses closing this year and looking to 2014

CLOSING THIS YEAR AND LOOKING AHEAD This month the year comes to an end, and for me it’s the end of my financial year. I want to give staff a break but there’s still a lot to think about and do. Not only is 2013 closing but we have to think about 2014, we have to plan ahead, look at our client base, the business, staffing issues, and so on. For 2014, only 40% of business is done and will come from existing clients, 60% will come from a client base we haven’t built yet. We’ve got 10% of our annual target to go – we need another £70,000 and we’ve only got five weeks left. However we can’t rush in business as that means we could come off short next year. The bar will rise in 2014, we will set new targets and I’ll also need new staff to achieve that. It’s a bit of a balancing act because we want to hit the ground running in 2014 and close 2013 successfully.

As well as the balancing act, you’re fully aware everyone needs a break

going in the first two weeks of January, so I can’t enforce a full office shutdown. I need at least a skeleton team in place over the holidays. How do I choose the people who stay? The staff that have used all of their holiday will stay. Other decisions on staff require compromise. One of my guys has 15 days’ holiday left, but he’s too important to the business to go off for that much of December, so we will work out a cash alternative, bonus, or days in lieu to incentivise him staying. Another staff member is getting married next year and needs more holiday then, so I’ll push his remaining days to next year. Of course you have to make sure you’re not out of pocket.

TINSEL TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS Start planning for the next year as soon as possible, by the middle of the last quarter, which for me is October. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it will give you a clearer focus on the year. Can you afford to close over the holidays? If not, how many members of staff do you need, who do you need, and when? If I were honest, I’d love the last day of work to be the 23rd December and send everyone home until the New Year, as the productivity during the holidays isn’t great. Be sure to make it worth their while with that incentive and explain to them it’s for the good of the business. Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

HAPPY HOLIDAYS As well as the balancing act, I’m fully aware everyone needs a break. But this year we have four projects that will get

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TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur B en Fordham started his career as a corporate tax lawyer, following in his father’s footsteps. But after three years he decided to follow his dream and open a Mexican restaurant, which reminded him of the great food he ate while studying in Texas. He now has four restaurants in London, and there’s a chance you may recognise Ben from ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent where he was wielding a machete and attempting to build the world’s biggest burrito! DAY 1: A PRODUCTIVE DAY Monday morning always starts early. I attempt to clear as much of the hangover work of the previous week so that I can start this week feeling positive. Once

Ben Fordham, founder of Mexican restaurant Benito’s Hat, reveals a typical week of eating burritos and footfall math

If 200 people buy a burrito each day then how many margaritas will we need to sell?

the restaurant doors are open there are always questions, so I need to be productive early. Monday is also the stocktaking day so the restaurants all need to submit their stock numbers from the previous week and we go through them all together to see what was good and bad. The goal is to keep Mondays as free as possible, to get through all of this admin so we can look forward to the week ahead, and the day’s tasks are not already spilling over into the next day. Eating at my desk is not a chore these days (pork burrito with black beans and salsa verde for me) so I push on through.

DAY 2: BURRITOS AND MARGARITAS I’m off to see properties today. An exciting opportunity near London Bridge came through last week and, the way that good sites move, I need to get down to see it straight away and see if we need to make an offer. The site was as good as expected so that means lunchtime is spent counting footfall (it’s as glamorous as that), and then trying to get to grips with the spreadsheet. For example, if 200 people buy a burrito each day then how many margaritas will we need to sell? I have a new ambassador to put through her ascension this evening (is she ready to go on the line?) so it’s off to Covent Garden for a burrito and a marg’. DAY 3: FOOD TESTER The highlight of today is undoubtedly recipe development. This is when I get Felipe Fuentes Cruz, the best Mexican chef in the country, to personally cook a whole variety of dishes for me to critique. They will all be good but I get to say what is the best and what needs tweaking to make it that bit better (and so I can have the chance to do it all again the next week).

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Felipe is in the final stages of completing our new, 10-strong salsa bar that we are launching with the Farringdon restaurant so there’s a bit of work to do on that. Today’s highlight is definitely the roasted pineapple and habanero although, surprisingly, the chipotle ketchup may make it onto the final list. I have a couple of assistant manager interviews to do at the end of the day; one put me in a great mood, the other less so. Surely they could have managed one smile during the whole 45-minute interview when I am basically looking to assess their customer service skills? Anyway, I’ve got to get back to relieve the nanny and see my kids now, so I’m hoping for some more smiles there. DAY 4: CABINET DAY Thursdays are tough days. This is the day of our Gabinete, which is Spanish for cabinet. Graham Ford, the chief executive, and I sit in a room and have everybody that needs to come to us to discuss whatever is needed. This week’s is particularly heavy, as we need to finalise the end-of-year accounts.

Later we have a fun creative session on the PR for the build up of the Farringdon launch. We’ll be talking through any operational issues, and then there’s the joys of an extraction issue at King’s Cross to work out, so Andy from Interduct, a specialist kitchen duct cleaner, will be in to explain the way through on that enlightening subject.

I get the best Mexican chef in the country to personally cook a whole variety of dishes for me to critique

DAY 5: FRIDAY ON THE LINE Friday is around quickly again as always. I always try to work Friday lunch on the line at one of the restaurants. It is the busiest period in the restaurants and, aside from it being the most enjoyable part of the week; it is also the only way to really understand what is going on at ground level. I have missed the last couple so I am determined to do it this time. I’m at the Creation (which means burrito wrapping) Position at Oxford Circus. It is as hectic as ever but the team are brilliant. Smiles all the way through and fantastic engagement with the customers, even when things get a little stressful! Contact: benitos-hat.com

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Creating Business Fusion The Sterling Integrity Show is a fantastic opportunity for business decision makers to grow their business by a combination of marketing, networking & exhibiting with positive and dynamic delegates and fellow exhibitors. The environment and ambiance is busy, fun, and friendly, whilst maintaining high levels of professionalism focused on bringing people together making a perfect platform for growing your business. Being non-industry specific, businesses from all backgrounds, find new and productive ways to help their business grow. Grow new contacts or develop existing relationships, discover new suppliers, reduce costs and gain valuable industry knowledge from our expert exhibitors & workshops.

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BUSINESS JUNCTION, LONDON’S PREMIER BUSINESS NETWORK, INVITES YOU TO A FREE NETWORKING EVENT Business Junction is offering all Talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our Business Junction is offering all Talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of 5 August networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). our 5 December networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). Thurs Thurs5th 1st Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at Carom at Meza Networking lunch at the Grange Hotel at Tower Hill Nearest tube: Piccadilly / Tottenham Court Road 100 Wardour W1F 0TN 45 Street, PrescotLondon, Street, E1 8GP Nearest tube: Tower Hill

Wed 11th Thurs 8thDec Aug 8-10am

Champagne Taittinger networking the Emirates StadiumRestaurant at High St. Kensington Networking lunch at breakfast the Roof at Gardens & Babylon Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London N5 1BU Nearest tube: Arsenal 99 High Street Kensington, W8 5SA Nearest tube: High Street Kensington

Thurs 12th Aug Dec Wed 14th 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at Jewel Covent Networking lunch at Garden Freemasons Hall at Covent Garden Covent 29-30 Maiden Lane, Covent London, WC2E 7JS Nearest tube: 60 Great Queen Garden, Street, WC2B 5AZ Nearest tube:Garden Holborn

Tues Dec Thurs17th 22nd Aug 12.30-2.30pm

ChristmasNetworking networking lunch at the Brewer’s Guild Hall lunch at The Happenstance at St. Paul’s Nearest tube: Moorgate / StPaul’s Paul’s Aldermanbury Square, Hill, London, 1A Ludgate EC4MEC2V 7AA7HR Nearest tube: St

Thurs 29th Aug Wed 18th Dec 5.30-9pm

lunch atatthe Dirty DicksHotel at Liverpool Street ChristmasNetworking networking evening Langham Bishopsgate, EC2M Nearest tube: Liverpool Street Nearest tube: Oxford Circus 1C Portland202 Place, London, W1B 1JA4NR

Please email Fiona@businessjunction.co.uk with the event you would like to attend and quoting the reference: Talkbusiness2/13 Now in its 12 year and with over 450 member companies, Business Junction is London’s leading independent business network. We run 80+ pan-London networking events each year including a weekly lunch, a monthly Champagne Taittinger breakfast and 6 evening events, all at different high quality central London venues.

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02/12/2013 11:15


Q&A BASEPOINT

The MD

TALK PEOPLE

Brian Andrews, managing director at Basepoint business centres reveals how all of the company’s profits go to charity

magnif er WHAT DOES BASEPOINT DO? Basepoint specialises in the development and operation of managed business, innovation and enterprise centres across southern England, the Midlands and Wales. The ACT Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of those in need, owns Basepoint. And as a result, Basepoint donates 100% of its profits to charity.

WHEN WAS THE COMPANY FOUNDED? Basepoint was formed in September 1988, to raise funds from the public to buy residential property to let under the assured tenancies legislation introduced by the Housing Act 1988. In 1993, the company elected to extend its interests into commercial property, and in September 1995 opened its first managed business centre at Romsey, Hampshire. Further centres in the same region followed, and we now own or operate 30 centres across the South East, the Midlands and Wales. WHAT’S YOUR TURNOVER, PROFIT, GROWTH RATE AND SO ON? Basepoint was acquired by The ACT Foundation, a grantmaking charity with a substantial portfolio of property investments, at the end of 2005. With the resources of its new parent behind it, the company continued its expansion programme and has added another 17 centres to the 13 owned and operated in 2005.

We have grown from the initial 16,000 sq ft, housing 30 businesses in Romsey to more than 700,000 sq ft, housing nearly 2,000 businesses in 30 centres today. Since being owned by ACT, Basepoint has donated £14.35m to charity, including more than £630,000 in the last four years by way of matched fundraising with local charities, supported by each of the Basepoint centre teams.

HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? Having a broad background with transferrable skills (I started as an electrician and worked in the pub trade before Basepoint) has helped me to deal with the challenges that running a business requires. I think there’s a lot to be said for a positive attitude and a logical approach, too! DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY ETHOS IN NO MORE THAN SIX WORDS. High quality flexible workspace for businesses. WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE EVER READ? The Third Eye by Ciril Hoskin. I read it when I was 15 and found it inspirational.

Basepoint is owned by The ACT Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of those in need

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR, AND WHY? Indigo, because it fits my personality of being confident and creative. DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRET OBSESSIONS? Well, I’d call them “hobbies” rather than obsessions, but I love cars, and I’m a bit of a collector – gold coins and pennies! NAME ONE THING YOU’D TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND... Pen and paper so I could write a book. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE TIP TO THOSE STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS? Just do it! WHAT’S YOUR PARTY TRICK? I can juggle!

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HR INSIGHT

Reward your staff H aving a reward strategy will help attract, develop, retain and motivate employees as well as incentivise. We often see clients worried about the costs and implementation of rewards. However, looking at “total reward” (salary plus bonus and benefits) and communicating this effectively can make you seem more generous than other competing employers.

SO WHAT ARE MY COMPETITORS PAYING? Knowing what your competitors are paying is important, not only in attracting high calibre staff but ensuring you retain the workforce that you have trained and developed to work well in their current roles. How do you find out? It may be as simple as speaking with local agencies or watching job boards. To get a more accurate picture, you may need to undertake pay benchmarking, the data will be more specific, matching your job specification against others in the market. INFLATIONARY INCREASES RETURNING As growth starts to return to the UK economy, the expectation of inflationary increases is back on the cards. Many employers have only been providing merit or market awards over the past three years but, as the job market becomes more buoyant, employers wanting to keep

Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, discusses how to reward your employees have different benefit options, or levels of contribution, for different staff. You could also consider a flexible benefits scheme, allowing employees to select from a range of benefits. Also consider salary sacrifice schemes; they offer large savings for employees, at little cost to the employer.

hold of their employees will have little choice but to start increasing salaries again in line with inflation. This, as measured by the consumer prices index (CPI), was continuing to run at 2.7% in September 2013.

ARE PERFORMANCE-RELATED PAY OR BONUSES AN OPTION? Employers fearful of adding inflation to the cost of salaries, especially after adding in the new pension cost, may want to consider introducing performance-related pay. So this does not add on to the holidaycost of employment, consider paying this as a bi-annual or annual bonus. Consideration should be given to whether this is contractual or discretionary, and in what instances it might be withheld. One-off bonuses are also a helpful tool, acknowledging great work has been performed, without increasing the long-term salary cost. To ensure that it does work to incentivise, bonuses should be stretching but achievable. MAKING BENEFITS WORK FOR YOU Different benefits might also be attractive to different staff – some may find the prospect of gym membership, childcare vouchers and cycle to work schemes a motivator; others may be more focused on private health schemes, income protection and higher pension contributions. You can

TALK PEOPLE

Knowing what your competitors are paying for similar positions is important

BE CREATIVE Do not be closed to the idea of benefits – some won’t cost you a penny! A discount at the local sandwich shop or fitness centre, negotiated by you on behalf of your employees, can give them a benefit that they would not get as an individual and can be marketed by you internally. Whatever you do in terms of benefits, communicate it all on an annual or bi-annual total rewards statement so that your employees, new and existing, see the whole picture of their remuneration.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 11:36


RETAINING TALENT

TALK PEOPLE

Ten tips for happy staff Michael Davies of LondonOffices.com lists his ten top tips on how businesses can retain talent anging on to great staff is essential in a tough trading climate. Yet in a recession it isn’t always easy to reward loyalty with increased pay. So here are ten other ways of retaining talent:

H

1. MAKE WORK FUN This may come as a shock but studies have shown happy workers are more productive than miserable staff. They are also less likely to leave. Not only that but they become great ambassadors for the company, telling everyone they know just how cool their workplace is. Companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook have all traded on their image as hip places to work, with astonishing success. You may not be a technology giant but that doesn’t mean your office can’t be cool too. There are limits though: a pinball table is OK as long as staff don’t play on it all day. Remember you still have clients to keep happy. 2. INVEST IN YOUR STAFF Good team members will show an interest in your business. Nurture that and they will help you to grow. Training providers offer some great deals at the moment, so there are no excuses for not investing in your best people. 3. FREE TEA, COFFEE AND BISCUITS This is such a simple thing to offer and it doesn’t cost very much at all, but it’s amazing how many firms charge their staff for basic refreshments, such as tea and coffee. If you

push the boat out and invest in some chocolate biscuits, they will love you forever. 4. EXTRA PAID LEAVE Reward long serving staff with extra annual leave when they reach milestones such as five, 10, 15 and 20 years with the company. As their experience grows, they should become more and more useful to your organisation, and so little overall productivity should be lost. In fact the gains from having happy, motivated staff will easily outweigh the days lost to the company. 5. HELP WITH PARKING / TRANSPORT TO AND FROM WORK Free workplace parking is a big plus for employees, but is not always easy for businesses in London. If you can’t provide it, think about helping out with Oyster cards or encouraging a cycle to work scheme. 6. TAKE THE TEAM OUT You spend a lot of time with these people but most of it is probably spent heads down working to deadlines for clients. As a business leader, you should make time to take the team out at least twice a year – once at Christmas and once in the summer. Team building paintball sessions are optional, but at least take them for a few drinks to let them know you value them.

Happy workers are more productive than miserable staff

7. INTRODUCE A PENSION SCHEME Every business, no matter how small, will soon have a legal obligation to roll out a pension scheme for employees. Don’t wait for the legal deadline – get yours set up early and let the staff know you are looking out for them long-term. 8. MARK LIFE EVENTS Getting married or having a baby are among the most important events in anyone’s life, so if this happens to someone in your team, make sure you mark it for them with a generous display of your affection. For example, don’t just send a bottle of Moet to the wedding venue – make it a case. It might cost a couple of hundred quid, but gestures like that buy loyalty much more than annual bonuses ever can. 9. CHILD CARE VOUCHERS Juggling child care is likely to be one of the major issues facing your employees. Make it easier for them by offering a workplace child care voucher scheme to help them save up to £1000 a year. 10. EYE CARE VOUCHERS Help with eye care is the most popular healthcare benefit offered by UK businesses. Office workers spend a huge amount of time staring at computer screens so offering employees vouchers they can redeem against optician costs will definitely catch their eye. Contact: londonoffices.com

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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?

Engaging with experienced HR Managers to help you navigate minefields is a solution and we’ve helped hundreds of employers both large and small deal with their complex employment contract, procedure, discipline, performance, redundancy and TUPE minefields. We take a pragmatic approach to HR, providing services tailored to your needs, often within fixed price service arrangements, ensuring that employment issues are managed effectively - helping you to steer through the minefield.

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02/12/2013 18:33


SOCIAL MEDIA RECRUITMENT

Tweets

TALK PEOPLE

All / No replies

Great Company @GreatCompany

5h

Employee needed – please share!

Business blogger Derin Clark tells us how to create an effective social media recruitment strategy ocial media recruitment is quickly growing in popularity, with many young professionals just as likely to click on to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook when looking for a new job as they would more traditional methods, like recruitment agencies. If you’ve only used social media sparingly before, it can be tempting to quickly start posting about new job vacancies, however in the long term it is better to take some time to sit back and create a social media recruitment strategy, which will be more effective. When creating your strategy keep these points in mind:

S

THE TONE When dealing with any form of social media, it is vital that you have a clear idea of what you want to say. Often, companies go wrong by not having a clear message or a unified voice in their social media posts, which can make potential candidates become confused about the company’s core principles and values. To prevent this, you must have a company policy in place about the tone of your business’ social media updates;

do you want to come across as friendly and creative, or professional and traditional? Ensure that all your posts match this tone and voice. THE CANDIDATE When crafting tweets, posts and updates advertising new roles, always keep in mind the sort of candidate you want to attract. You need to state the skills, experience and character you’re looking for or you could find your, and the candidates, You need to ls, time being wasted. state the skil nd a ce If you’ve successfully experien u’re yo followed the advice character above, you will already looking for have projected your company’s personality and values across your social media profiles, so potential candidates will have a good idea of what your business is like. Now you need to go further and provide candidates with information about what it’s like working at your company on a day-to-day basis. WHEN TO POST Deciding when you are going to add updates to your social media sites is going to have a big impact on when they are

seen, and by whom. A lot of the time potential candidates will already be in 9-5 jobs, so you are better updating your social media profiles during lunch breaks or after 6pm, when many people are getting home from work and checking their social media pages. Also consider adding more posts at the start of the week and even on Sunday night when many people are starting to think about the working week ahead. LEGAL WARNING It is important to keep in mind the legal issues surrounding social media recruitment. By looking at candidate’s social media pages and, as a result, their personal information, you could find yourself inadvertently breaking discrimination laws. So while social media recruitment is a great way of hiring new talent, it needs to be approached with careful thought. For more information and advice about recruiting through social media, check Octopus HR’s Recruiters’ Guide to Social Media: tinyurl.com/paxc2f4

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Swiss movement, English heart

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02/12/2013 16:13 22/11/2013 09:08


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Smart vs. casual How should a business owner dress? Goody Good Stuff’s Melissa Burton flies the flag for smart; while 4Networking’s Brad Burton thinks a suit is old school MELISSA BURTON, FOUNDER OF GOODY GOOD STUFF SWEETS, WEARS A SUIT WHILE WORKING FOR HOME ‘Clothes are very important because they unarguably affect the way we feel. When wearing business attire, people subconsciously behave in a more professional manner and take on a businesslike role. It also has a great effect on your confidence levels and puts you in the right mindset, which makes you more productive and efficient – especially when working in an environment with so many distractions. When I work from the comfort of my own home, dressing professionally helps me to sharpen the distinction between work mode and the more relaxed state of mind I have during my personal time. If I was to wake up and sit in front of the laptop wearing joggers and sweatshirt, I wouldn’t get through my todo list half as fast as when I’m dressed smartly. Whether I’m sitting in my living room or in a boardroom – when I’m wearing a pencil skirt, I mean business!’ Contact: goodygoodstuff.com

I stand on my word, my ability, my results, not my (in)ability to tie a double windsor knot

Dressing professionally helps me to sharpen the distinction between work mode and the more relaxed state of mind

BRAD BURTON, FOUNDER OF 4NETWORKING – WHICH RUNS MORE THAN 5000 BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS EACH YEAR – SPORTS JEANS, T-SHIRT, AND TRAINERS TO HIS MEETINGS ‘I recently met with the directors of a $1.2 billion business. What did I wear to our first meeting? Jeans, t-shirt and Adidas trainers. What would me wearing a suit have proven? That I know how to buy a £99 suit from Burtons? Or does it show a level of duplicity in my being something I am not to win business? Some would say wearing conventional business attire helps assert some level of commercial credibility. But I believe being 100% you is the biggest way to assert genuine credibility. If you are conforming to win business, what does that say? If you are genuinely happy wearing suits and ties, crack on. But if you are doing it because it’s what you have been conditioned to think is needed in business; why not try it my way, just once? Back to the international company, did I get the job? Yes. I stand and fall based on my word, my ability, my results, not my (in)ability to tie a double windsor knot. Contact: bradburton.biz

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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TALK IMAGE FASHION

Look the business: Ladies, if you’re wondering what to wear to your Christmas party look no further than these festive frocks

Limited edition lace trim dress £30, F&F at Tesco

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Alexon lace detailed peplum dress £150, Kaleidoscope

DECEMBER 2013

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FASHION

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Dress to impress Stockist details: clothingattesco.com, kaleidoscope.co.uk, peterhahn.co.uk, very.co.uk

Anna Aura dress ÂŁ135, Peter Hahn

Definition beaded contract collar dress ÂŁ39, Very.co.uk

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Tried and tested:

comedy

Dawn Murden and the team head to the highlight Comedy Club in Camden to sample a side-splitting work night out

W

e often publish articles about keeping staff happy. Our resident people columnist, Lee McQueen has mentioned incentives being a great way to keep staff content – from vouchers and bonuses to trips and outings. We’re a pretty tight team at Talk Business, but there are another two magazines published by our company Aston Greenlake, and even though we do get on well and often have a drink or two after work, we wanted to put staff incentives to the test. Over the coming months we’ll be sampling various staff incentives. Firstly we wanted to put the collective staff outing/ trip to the test, starting with a comedy club night.

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THE IDEA Watching comedy with work colleagues seemed perfect, especially as we had a new member of staff. It was something that would really break the ice. Of course everyone has different tastes, but if one person found a joke funny, while tumbleweed rolls across the silent room (apart from the cackle of one person), it would just make everyone laugh more. The team discovered we all have a very similar sense of humour. Even if we didn’t, comedy is light-hearted, fun and it’s not meant to be taken seriously. THE COMPANY highlight is one of the UK’s leading entertainment brands, bringing some of the best live

comedy, music and variety performances. highlight venues feature some of the best up-andcoming comedians. Every year 1,200 comedians entertain on stage across the venues. Michael McIntyre, Eddie Izzard, Kevin Bridges are just a few of those that have had customers in tears. THE VENUE highlight has five venues across the UK; as we’re based in London, we chose Camden. It’s right in the heart of Stables Market, surrounded by plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. highlight has a range of food you can order in advance or on the day too. Although this was tempting, we decided to sample a cool Camden burger

02/12/2013 11:43


LOCATIONS

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2-for-1 comedy tickets plus a free meal for all Talk Business readers place beforehand. It was closed during acts, but before and after the show, and during the intermission we had access to a well-stocked and reasonably-priced bar. THE COMEDIANS We were looked after and introduced to each comedian by compere, Diane Spencer. The comedians were Phil Walker, Steve Williams and Addy van der Borgh. Our favourite was Steve Williams who came on second – he has appeared on BBC’s Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadsow and is currently writing for Russell Howard’s Good News. THE VERDICT ‘Great venue – very atmospheric. The compere was a bit shrill, and act two was excellent. I liked his impression of a south London youth. Good bar prices and great location in the heart of Camden – perfect for those who want to go on somewhere after. I even enjoyed running the gauntlet of indie kids on the way from the tube station.’ Scott Manson, editor of Tempus Magazine. ‘My sides were hurting by

the end of the night.’ Scott Hartley, sales and marketing manager of Talk Business. ‘It was a great way to spend time with work colleagues and made a change from our usual work local.’ Charlotte Robins, office manager at Aston Greenlake. ‘It was a fantastic way to spend a low-cost, fun-filled night out. Over the course of the evening we had four comedians, each with unique and genuinely funny material. Thumbs up all round!’ Trystan Hurley, senior account manager of Talk Business. HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY? As featured in our October issue, highlight venues are currently offering Christmas packages. There are four packages to choose from; White, which gets you a comedy ticket and after-party, Silver, which adds a festive 2-course meal, Platinum, which adds two drink vouchers - or you can speak to the team to arrange a VIP bespoke package. Packages start from £25 per person.

We’ve teamed up with highlight Comedy Club to give you the gift of laughter in January. By using the exclusive code: TALKBIZ241, all Talk Business readers can get 2-for-1 tickets to see a hilarious Foster’s Comedy Live show at a highlight venue on Friday or Saturday nights, plus a free meal. To book your tickets, call the highlight box office on 0844 844 0044 or visit www. thehighlight.co.uk and enter your code at the checkout. This deal is valid from 4 January 2014 until 1 March 2014 at all highlight venues. Birmingham highlight, 259262 Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2HF Camden highlight, 11 East Yard, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AB Leeds highlight/Maluko, The Cube, Albion Street, Leeds LS2 8ER

Reading highlight, 110-117 Friar Street, Reading RG1 1EP Watford highlight, 76 The Parade, High Street, Watford, WD17 1AW

T & C’s: 1. Offer valid from 4 January 2014 until 1 March 2014. 2. Maximum party size of 18 adults. 3. Offer entitles you to one free ticket and one free meal when you buy a full price ticket to a Foster’s Comedy Live @ highlight night at all Highlight venues. 4. Offer can be redeemed online at www.thehighlight.co.uk or via the box office on 0844 844 0044, quoting the code TALKBIZ241. 5. Offer tickets subject to availability and must be booked in advance. 6. Full price tickets may be available to purchase when all the tickets under the offer have been sold. 7. A non-refundable booking fee of £1 per ticket applies to all tickets booked online, or £1.50 per ticket for tickets booked via the box office. 8. No cash alternative. 9. Over 18s only (ID may be required). 10. Management discretion for admission applies. 11. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers.

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We wanted a sector that translated globally without too many logistics problems

WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR CHRISTOPHER WARD COME FROM? In part it came about because at Early Learning Centre (ELC), we had developed a very successful online business having been one of the first major retail brands to launch a site back in 1998. I believed this was likely to be the growth channel rather than bricks and mortar for some time to come and decided to launch a “pure play” brand as a result. We wanted a sector that translated globally without too many logistics problems so ended up thinking about jewellery and watches. We loved watches more than diamond rings (much to our wives’ chagrin) and at the time there was no watch brand that existed only online. WHAT WAS THE GAP/ OPPORTUNITY YOU SAW IN LUXURY WATCHES? We were lucky enough to have access to

The story so far:

Christopher Ward

Talk Business grills Mike France, cofounder of English luxury watch brand, Christopher Ward on the brand and its journey since it was founded in 2004

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some big players in the luxury watch sector and when we discovered the multiples being added to cost prices by many of the brands (the biggest we came across was x34!), we believed there just had to be an opportunity for someone to come into the sector with a completely new, lower cost business model - cutting out the middle men and applying fair margins to allow pricing that gave more people access to premium quality timepieces. We have been described as “the people’s luxury watch brand” and that succinctly describes what we set out to achieve. WHAT WAS YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY IN ENTERING THE MARKET? We wanted to disrupt the status quo of the luxury watch market by offering a design and manufacturing excellence equivalent to those brands selling at many times the price. We also offered customer service levels that, despite being online or over the phone, are beyond anything the industry had seen. WHY DID YOU ADOPT THE ONLINE SALES ROUTE? Potentially it offered global reach, was likely to outgrow any other channel, and was less capital intensive than other channels. At the time, no one thought you could sell high value luxury items over the internet and therefore no one was really trying. We disagreed with this assumption (with little evidence other than instinct) and because the rest of the industry operates a wholesale model through other retailers,

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BRAND IN FOCUS

we immediately knew we could be half the price of our competition before we started.

No one thought you could sell high value luxury items over the internet

WHO ARE YOU TARGET CUSTOMERS? There is an English aesthetic to the design of our watches, but our uncompromising approach to precision engineering means they are all made in Switzerland to ensure the highest standards are guaranteed. We target discerning men and women who don’t need the reassurance of a ridiculously high price ticket. Without doubt, there is a huge and ever-increasing constituency of people who see through the marketing hype of many luxury brands and value products for their own sake rather than because of the logo attached. The internet has given the power of knowledge to the consumer and, because the different elements of watches can be well researched online, the customer is better able to compare what they are actually buying for the price than many other, less visible products. WHAT DOES THE CHRISTOPHER WARD BRAND STAND FOR? The customer. It may sound trite but we do feel that our raison d’etre is to deliver unequalled value and a total experience that is unrivalled. No pressure, then. WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Maintaining our focus. We are never short of ideas at CW and there’s always a danger that we set more hares running than we can actually manage, which could result in a diversion from the things that really matter – namely, product and people, particularly our customers. I sit on a couple of business

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advisory boards and see this happening all too frequently, and advise businesses that doing fewer things really well is usually far better than to do many things only adequately. Sometimes the saying “physician heal thyself” pops into my mind to remind me to accept my own advice when I go off on a tangent. HOW HAS CW PERFORMED? At present, we are doubling the size of the business every couple of years, or thereabouts and, importantly, we are doing this profitably. There’s still a long way to go before we can call ourselves “the Rolex of the internet” though. WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT? It’s too early to be reflecting on this too much, but the fact that there is a thriving business that gainfully employs a growing number of people where once there was nothing, gives me satisfaction if I think about it. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? We are determined to keep growing, and to do that we will need to remain curious but be prepared to take a few carefully calculated risks from time to time. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the business and we have a couple of big things up our sleeve, which, if they happen, will help build the platform for the next stage of the business growth as well as making some of our competitors sit up and really take notice of the English luxury watch brand that doesn’t play by the traditional rules. I can hardly wait!

Contact: christopherward.co.uk

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 16:14 30/07/2013 10:37


CHRISTMAS OFFICE SUPPLIES

we love…

This month we reveal our favourite office items to add a bit of festive cheer. Enjoy!

DECK THE DESKS Spread the Christmas cheer around the office by decorating. Debenhams and House of Fraser have some fantastic mini decorations including a 45cm pre-lit tree with berries for £22, and this penguin for £10 – everyone could have one on their desk. They have other seasonal decorations too, as we understand Christmas isn’t for everyone.

HAVE A TIPPLE Balbair Vintage 83 is a rich and warming whisky. Why not bring a bottle into the office as a quiz prize? Or perhaps you could save it for your favourite client or a member of staff who has over-performed, for Christmas. There are plenty to choose from in the range. Sold in The Whisky Shop, The Whisky Exchange, and selected Oddbins. Contact: balblair.com

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BRING ON THE BUBBLES This Champagne is a perfect gift or prize. Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV in its “night on the tiles” shimmering purple bottle is subtle and fresh with notes of white blossom, ripe peach and dried apricot. Priced at £47 from John Lewis and winedirect.co.uk

THE TRUE OFFICE PARTY Rather than spending £50+ per person on a meal out, some bosses opt for bigger Christmas bonuses and office parties. You could kit the office out with games like giant Jenga, chess and Twister, and hire caterers to come in. Sainsbury’s run a great party service with platters, sandwiches, subs and healthy options. Contact: tinyurl.com/pjxdas5

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02/12/2013 18:34


ome of the world’s largest companies and financial institutions have been exposed in recent weeks, with major deficiencies in the processing and storage of digital information running up costs that have spiralled into the millions. Unless the right preventative steps are taken, events of this sort will become more frequent as the world grows increasingly reliant on data. The climax came when trading on the Nasdaq was brought to a halt for almost three hours by a communications failure, with the trading system unable to process the sheer volume of information used to analyse trades and quotes. The full impact of the fallout was so severe that it resulted in a third fewer shares being traded in the US, on what should have been a day of routine trading on the exchange. The disruption sent brokers into panic as they tried to establish what had gone wrong, prompting concerned discussion about the fragility of one of the world’s leading exchanges. Experts estimated that when a system like the Nasdaq or the London Stock Exchange suffers an outage, losses could amount to $100m per minute. Google recently suffered an unplanned four-minute blackout that cut global internet traffic by 40%. Days later, Amazon’s US site was down for roughly thirty minutes, and has been estimated to have cost nearly $2 million. In both cases, the faults were caused by the collapse of the system designed to handle the large amounts of data being exchanged. Outages are not always accidental, with around

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tECHNOLOGY

Our man in the valley Our resident tech expert, David Richards warns about the perils of dirty data

Amazon’s US site was down for roughly thirty minutes, and has been estimated to have cost nearly $2 million

half planned to allow for system updates and routine maintenance. In each instance, however, financial losses are so large that business leaders are growing increasingly concerned about the threats posed by data blackouts, not to mention the financial risks involved with inefficient or reckless data management.  Many businesses now rely on being able to process and store vast amounts of digital information. For these firms, preventing communication failures of the kind witnessed by Google and Amazon has become an absolute priority. Certainly, avoiding dirty data that brought down the Nasdaq is now one of the most pressing challenges that any business faces.  Accessing reliable data is no longer just a concern for tech firms. More companies are using the vast electronic information being generated to better understand customer behaviour, predict trends and make more accurate analyses. Mark my words; this demand will increase. The analysis of reliable big data cannot be underestimated

– it will open up new avenues for economic growth and innovation across sectors. Big data analytics will bring an end to discovery by chance, allowing for breakthroughs than wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. But valuable conclusions can only be drawn if the data is clean, and real advances will only be made if data is 100% reliable.  As the world embraces the big data revolution, events of the sort witnessed by Nasdaq and Google recently will become more common unless companies take action to prevent the risk. This means investing in the systems that minimise the risks involved. Contact: wandisco.com

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

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

FIVE KEY STATISTICS THAT CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED

T

o survive and even thrive in this economic climate, your business needs to be aware of some potential dangers that can affect your chances of success. With competition a major factor for many businesses, it is now more important than ever, that your business is optimised and ready to succeed in the coming years ahead. Network London has helped many clients achieve growth, through increased IT optimisation, allowing business owners to focus on their core activities and grow their business with key systems being protected from downtime and failure. Network London has put together some key statistics that can help your business be more aware and to succeed. • Hacking of information held by businesses jumped globally from 8% in 2010 to a shocking 52% in 2012. It is now big business, driven by a desire to steal or resell sensitive material. • Almost 50% of managers say the cost of business has increased in the past year • 92% of large businesses reported a security incident • 72% of organisations had multiple occurrences of malicious software compromising sensitive information from inside the organisation • Nearly two thirds (61%) of UK small businesses fear a cyberattack and data loss incident These statistics illustrate some frightening hazards facing UK businesses, however, using best practices and implementing enterprise-standard systems, your business can be made safe in a costeffective way. How You Can Be Ahead Of Your Competition And Increase Revenues The above statistics highlight potential problem areas in your business, however there are 5 ways you can address them and gain an advantage over your competitors. • Consider moving business critical applications to a secure cloud system

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• Implement IT systems that meet any current/future compliance requirements • Save costs by outsourcing security expertise to safeguard your systems and data • Use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in your business to safeguard sensitive data from internal and external threats • Ensure user-level encryption is used for onsite systems and cloud hosting, to ensure safety of intellectual property and key data There are just 5 ways in which your business can combat growing threats to your business. By using an outsourced company that specialises

in protecting your assets, you can not only cut costs, but also make use of a team of IT experts that will work round-the-clock, to ensure peace of mind for your business systems. Network London is a boutique IT services company that delivers authentic solutions to combat security concerns of businesses and provide a secure cloud platform for businesses that want that extra level of reassurance. For a free 2 hour IT audit of your business, contact Lee Smith on 0844 884 5196, lee.smith@networklondon. co.uk or visit our website at www.networklondon.co.uk

02/12/2013 18:50


MEETINGS SURVEY

oday’s fast-paced business environment means there is a constant drive to improve productivity, enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Despite this focus by enterprises, there is still an area that defies the call: the meeting room. While there is a move towards a more mobile workforce, the fact remains that meetings continue to take up a great deal of time and may not be as efficient as needed. This was an issue brought up by a recent survey on obstacles to effective business meetings, conducted by visualisation specialist, Barco. The survey polled 255 UK business leaders and one of the overwhelming themes was that 47% of respondents spent half their week or more in meetings but only 18% felt the meetings were actually productive to any significant degree. Technology is evolving and changing the way organisations are conducting business. How can it be used to increase meeting room efficiency? The adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, for example, has the capacity to increase productivity, foster mobile and flexible working, as well as collaboration. However, in a meeting room setting this may be seen as more of a hindrance as different devices, smartphones, tablets, laptops, that run their own operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, and so on) may not be

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TALK TECHNOLOGY

Meetings need to be more productive Guy Coen, general manager of collaboration at global technology company, Barco talks about enhancing meeting room efficiencies through technology

Only 18% felt the meetings were actually productive to any significant degree

compatible with existing meeting room technology. Consider that the results of the survey indicated that technical issues in sharing information played a significant role in the lack of meeting efficiency – 19% said there were always technical issues, while a further 37% said there were often problems – there is definitely a call for meeting room technology that enables collaboration through compatibility, rather than provides a barrier to it. In addition, the lack of wireless connectivity and presence instead of cables and adaptors can also hinder efficiency. Devices must be plugged into the shared screen or meeting room system and often this requires changing configuration settings or calling on IT for assistance. In the survey, 45% of participants ask for help on a regular basis. Collaboration in meetings is gaining momentum and while BYOD can certainly enhance this, it is something that must be enabled by technology.

Different participants sharing a presentation screen at the same time could certainly add to a meeting, something reflected in the survey where an overwhelming 88% of respondents indicated meetings would be more effective if more than one person was able to use the screen at the same time. While the survey did identify other potential causes of meeting inefficiency, such as too many agenda points, lack of focus or too many people in attendance, there is a clear case to be made for the right meeting room technology enhancing meeting efficiency. This is particularly true considering the proliferation of the use of personal smart devices in the workplace. Organisations are implementing BYOD policies and mobile device management strategies, and when it comes to the different devices and operating systems that must be catered for, a new market segment has emerged. A complete overview of the results is available at: barco. com/meetingroomsurvey

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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02/12/2013 12:35


E-commerce

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search marketing

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02/12/2013 13:45


TALK TECHNOLOGY

You don’t need to create the next viral YouTube hit, but video will boost your brand, says Briarley Van Zyl, video production specialist at Render Positive our business likely already has a snazzy website to catch people’s attention, a Facebook page to garner social interaction, and a Twitter profile so you can keep your customers up to date every tweet of the way. If you’ve not considered video yet, why not?

Y

Having video content can help your search visibility while simultaneously promoting your website and brand

NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A VIRAL VIDEO You don’t need a viral hit on YouTube to be seen and heard in the vast jungle of the internet; just having video content can help your search visibility while simultaneously promoting your website and brand. Videos are online 24/7 and work even when you are not. So even if you cannot be there in person, an online video can.

1. MAKE YOUR BUSINESS AN AUTHORITY FIGURE WITHIN YOUR INDUSTRY Creating regular content, which people can subscribe to and expect every week or month, is key to making you look like an expert in your own field. A good example of this type of video is AO’s product reviews (http://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=MSGaIlqdbCw&list=TLDx DSm39l86A). AO has used high production values, allowing its audience to feel like the information they are about to hear is as sound as the set itself. The information they do give is not only technical, but personable. In this video she admits it isn’t the best looking tumble dryer but it does the job and she shows you how, in a way that

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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is simple and easily digestible to any viewer. 2. SHOW HOW OTHER USERS GET ON WITH YOUR PRODUCT Video is a social game, which people want to engage with. Review videos are a great way to show your market how great your product is. Outreaching and engaging with established bloggers, who often have their own army of followers, is a great way to get links in the description of a video, while an authority figure champions your products to a fresh audience. 3. SHOW POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS HOW TO USE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE Your own video FAQ segment can be packed full of keywords to bring your own product to the top of Google when a query which relates to it gets searched for. 4. TELL A STORY: WHAT IS YOUR BRAND AND WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL? Audiences want to be entertained, so product videos are not the only option you have. Is your business trying to start a movement within its market? Are you trying to reach people who might need your product but don’t know it yet? Tell them! Video is the best format to reach out and grab attention and create engagement in a way text cannot. POST, POST PRODUCTION Investing in rich media, like video, not only entices potential customers wanting to buy your product, but also makes them more likely to stay on your site longer, and even spend more. Products with

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Video is the best format to reach out and grab attention and create engagement good video content have twice as much of a conversion rate as having no video at all. So how do we ensure we are using the form of video to entice higher conversion rates? HOSTING Hosting your videos on your own website and not YouTube, is another way of keeping audience’s attention firmly on your site, without being tempted by your competitors’ videos. This can be done with services like Wistia (wistia.com) or VimeoPro (vimeo.com/pro). Having third party or selfhosted content means that it is easier for you to get rich snippets on Google. Rich snippets have become an important way to stand out among crowded search results by displaying an attractive video thumbnail which entices users to click on your website above all others. Hosting your videos doesn’t just give you greater control over where your content’s shared and seeded, but ensures that any link love or social authority you build will always remain on site. Video is never a one-sizefits-all strategy and each business - big or small - needs to decide how they are going to utilise rich media for their own means. Video can be informative or helpful; it can make you stand out from the crowd or draw in new audiences, and for these reasons it should be on your radar! Contact: renderpositive.com

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 12:39


FREE WEBSITE MOT Could your website be an “MOT failure”? Read on.

Is your website operating like a finely tuned machine, doing its job properly and making you lots of money? Very few websites come anywhere close. How about yours? We understand that you didn’t wake up this morning with the overwhelming desire to be the proud owner of a new website, but you do want more customers. Imagine if you could lift your conversion rate by just 5 percentage points from 5% to 10%. Doesn’t sound like a huge amount but… That could double your website revenue! And we want to help you do it. How can Plug and Play help me you ask? We want to help you maximise your conversion rate and therefore boost your revenue and profit. How? The first stage is Diagnosis. We’re offering you a FREE WEBSITE MOT. What the heck is a Website MOT? For your MOT we’ll check several crucial aspects of your website’s conversion rate optimisation and provide a free report on our findings and recommendations. Then you can decide on your next steps. But you need to act quickly. Due to demand we can only offer this service to the first 100 Customers. So visit www.pnplondon.co.uk/mot or call 020 8088 0198 now.

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Plug and Play Design Moorgate 3rd Floor, 6-8 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4BX 020 8088 0198 | neil@pnplondon.co.uk

Web Design - eCommerce – Landing Pages - Brochure Sites - Content Management – Social Media – Digital Marketing – CRM Applications – Responsive Design – PPC – Branding – SEO

The print supplier with personality We all know a faceless online print company; you spend hours online trying to work out what printing you need, what specifications suit your needs, what promotional products will drive your business forward! This is where Blinky Media Printing Solutions steps in! We have a great team with more years of experience in the industry than some of us would like to admit, all of which you can tap into over the phone or over a cup of tea in our Docklands office. Providing all types of print from one off orders to on-going printing contracts, developing campaigns, helping with the design process, flyers, banners and pretty much every promotional product under the sun, as Tina would say ‘everything apart from real cars, but we can graphic them up!’ We work with a network of UK based suppliers along-side our ever growing in-house capabilities to provide great quality and value, quick turnarounds and variety all while maintaining our consistent high standards, plus you get a sweet with your receipt in the post! Our customers vary from huge international brands, charities, sole-traders, councils and the public sector all benefiting from the Blinky Media focus on providing value. So whatever your printing requirements and budget the Blinky Media team is at hand to work with you, making your marketing easier and giving it impact.

0203 674 7235 | hello@blinkymedia.com

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www.blinkymedia.com

02/12/2013 17:58


TALK TECHNOLOGY WEB HOSTING

Richard Stevenson, head of PR at 1&1, tells us what you should look for in a web hosting provider ost business owners nowadays know that a strong web presence, eMarketing and placing a number of business processes online can often be instrumental to success when starting and growing a business. Indeed, recent research from the Google Consumer Survey has found that 56% of consumers do not trust a business without a website. Consumers seek engagement with SMEs before they buy. In fact, thanks to the surge in the popularity of smartphones, more and more Britons are browsing the web for businesses while on the move. It is nowadays easy to instantly research a business online, just from spotting their premises or van on the street.

M

ONLINE QUALITY AND RELIABILITY IS KEY Research from the 1&1 ‘Need for Speed Survey’ found that Britons waste two days a year waiting for slow websites to load. Furthermore, 71% of UK web users are still regularly inconvenienced by faulty websites. Some 38% of consumers have decided to avoid a company in the future as a result of finding a faulty website, and 44% of Britons are

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more critical towards website errors today than they were five years ago. Thus, a reliable, secure and innovative hosting provider is now an important partner for every business project. Nowadays, businesses should demand some key elements, like 99.99% uptime, secure data centres and geo-redundancy across two separate data centres to ensure your data and website is in safe hands. Additional benefits can include automatic daily backups, web space recovery and security updates for peace of mind. As research shows, the everyday performance of your website can directly impact your online sales and brand reputation. Today, a key factor for performance is the use of web applications and databases within your website. For example, resource-hungry web applications, such as some e-commerce solutions run on a shared hosting package, can too often mean slow speeds and a reduced website experience. Businesses can address this by selecting web hosting that has a guaranteed performance level, meaning guaranteed fast website loading times, website response times and database query results for their websites. Larger web hosts can offer

56% of consumers do not trust a business without a website

02/12/2013 12:42


WEB HOSTING

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Top five elements to look for in a hosting provider: > Security and reliability – hosting with geo-redundancy across multiple data centres > Performance – look for measures that guarantee high speed and uptime > Design – demand the latest development tools - web apps and widgets, mobile site builder, and premium software, such as Adobe Dreamweaver > Success – integrated marketing tools - SEO, SEM, newsletter tools, website analytics > Support/service – insist on access to 24/7 quality support guaranteed website performance in RAM, that can provide a performance level similar to that of server resources. The speed of websites can of course be reduced the further away a web surfer is from the server. Thus the connectivity that a web host offers has always been important. WEB BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE The way in which websites are built is changing, with greater use of integrated web apps. For example, WordPress is rapidly growing into an influential content management system for many small business websites. Web hosting today needs to be optimised for the web apps that you wish to use, and cater for your design ambitions today and tomorrow. For example, “click and build” applications make online sharing of social media, communication, presentations and multi-media easy and seamless. Some larger web hosts like 1&1 can offer you the ability to install apps in “safe” or “free” mode - safe mode offers the convenience of a managed platform – with the hosting provider performing critical security updates. As your website grows, you may need increased facilities for a web developer to adapt the apps with outside, self-made plug-ins, themes or code. For

the everyday performance of your website can directly impact your online sales and brand reputation such websites, a free mode is ideal, offering installation of an app within a few clicks, but with complete coding freedom. Customers can easily switch from “safe” mode to “free” mode as their needs change. It is important to have access to a library of best practice, preinstalled themes and plugins for top applications (such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Typo3 and Magento), as these deliver immediate solutions for enhancing mobile view, security and performance of a website. Furthermore, look for a web host that offers easy integration of HTML code snippets. After design comes online visibility, and the best web hosting packages will now include integrated tools for search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Website analytics or web statistics, also essential within a hosting package, will provide insight into visitors, their geographical location and popular pages – a vital way to measure the success of marketing efforts and for business development. Contact: 1and1.co.uk

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APPS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

I’ve got an app for that… This month we’ve chosen apps that will help you manage your time, and keep your address book in order and up to date

addappt Price: FREE Compatible with: Optimised for iPhone5, but also compatible with other iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch The gist: It’s a living address book maintained by your contacts privately, which syncs both ways with your phone’s native address book – created by early Microsoft and LinkedIn

employees. Contacts just need to update information once, and it is updated across all connected friends’ address books. You can also attach photos, create, edit and delete groups and group messaging, and find the local time for any contact in your address book. Downloadable from: addappt.com

Time Recording – Timesheet App Price: FREE Compatible with: Android The gist: If you are freelance or need to record/manage your time on particular jobs or projects, then this app will help you. You can check in and out, set tasks and assignments, and write daily detailed notes.

Plus you can back up and restore reports on your Google Drive and Dropbox, and sync the app with your Google calendar, but you can’t add your mileage or expenses. Downloadable from: http://tinyurl.com/ opn6zaq

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02/12/2013 12:47


TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS

best gadgets of 2013 We rate the best laptops, tablets and phones of this year

Macbook Pro (13-inch)

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite

Price: £1,099 Full specs at: apple.com Pros: Fantastic battery life, good screen, fast processor. Cons: If you’re not used to Apple operating system can take some time getting used to. Our ratings:

Price: From £599.95 Full specs at: samsung.com/uk Pros: Quick start-up, SideSync is a great feature if you have a Samsung mobile. Cons: Screen gets very dirty, trackpad feels cheap. Our ratings:

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

    

The laptops

Samsung Chromebook

Dell XPS Convertible Ultrabook

Lenovo IdeaPad u430 Touch

Price: From £229 Full specs at: samsung.com Pros: Cheap, and light. Cons: Everything operates through Google Chrome, insufficient power for HD. Our ratings:

Price: From £799.95 Full specs at: dell.com Pros: Keyboard not exposed, outstanding battery life. Cons: Too heavy to use as a portable tablet. Our ratings:

Price: From £799.99 Full specs at: shop.lenovo.com Pros: All day battery life, elegant design. Cons: only one USB port, resolution limited, quite heavy. Our ratings:

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

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Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

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Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

    

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 14:22


GADGETS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

The tablets iPad Mini

Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 10

Price: £269 Full specs at: apple.com/uk Pros: Great design, fantastic app store. Cons:: Screen could be sharper. Our ratings:

Price: £199 Full specs at: google.com Pros: Great screen, good value. Cons: Camera is poor, overall size feels small and fiddly. Our ratings:

Price: £319 Full specs at: google.com/nexus Pros: Great screen, and relatively easy to use. Good value. Cons: An uninspiring design. Our ratings:

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

    

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

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Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

    

Tesco Hudl

iPad Air

Price: £119 Full specs at: tesco.com/direct/hudl Pros: Great value for money, MicroSD card support – only £60 with Tesco Clubcard points. Cons: Poor camera, slightly sluggish performance. Our ratings:

Price:£399 Full specs at: apple.com/uk Pros: Light design, excellent screen, great battery life. Cons: Limited connectivity, pricey. Our ratings:

    

    

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

Processor: Portability: Looks: Screen: Battery life:

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02/12/2013 14:23


TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS

Samsung S4

LG G2

HTC One

Price: From £309.99 sim-free Full specs at samsung.com/ global/microsite/galaxys4 Pros: Stunning 5-inch full HD screen, lots of great features, powerful processor, great battery life. Cons: Plastic design, expensive. Our ratings:

Price: Price: From £499 sim-free Full specs at : lg.com/uk/ mobile-phones Pros: Strong battery life, and stunning edge-to-edge display. Cons: Cheap plastic build, awkward buttons. Our ratings:

Price: £499.99 sim-free Full specs at : htc.com Pros: Excellent build, ergonomic, great screen and good performance. Cons: keyboard needs visual refresh. Our ratings:

Processor: Battery life: Looks: camera:

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The mobiles iPhone 5S

Price: From £549 sim-free Full specs at: store.apple.com/uk Pros: Excellent build, ergonomic, great screen and good performance. Cons: poor battery life. Our ratings: Processor: Battery life: Looks: camera:

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Processor: Battery life: Looks: camera:

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Processor: Battery life: Looks: camera:

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Google Nexus 5 Price: From £199 sim-free Full specs at: google.com/ nexus/5 Pros: Excellent build, ergonomic, great screen and good performance. Cons: non-expandable memory and mediocre battery life. Our ratings: Processor: Battery life: Looks: camera:

   

DECEMBER 2013

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02/12/2013 14:23


SPONSORED ARTICLE

Thinking mobile H

as the web world come up with yet another thing for you to think about?

And it forces you to concentrate on what really matters: your content and the user’s experience.

Your motivation for considering mobile web could come from anywhere. Perhaps you know that your intended audience uses their commute to research potential suppliers, or perhaps you’ve just heard the big (and growing) statistics and want to stay on-trend.

So what do you, the site owner, need to watch out for? Conveniently enough, much the same as you should be watching for anyway:

Or maybe your boss told you to look into it. We experimented with different approaches to mobile web and settled on responsive website design as our favourite. A responsive website takes the same page with the same content - the same html markup - and allows it to be rendered differently depending on the size of the viewport. There are other methods out there - adaptive design, or a totally separate site for mobile and occasionally we’ll turn to those in the right circumstances. We like responsive design because it allows you to plan and work efficiently. Done well, it tends to have a low management overhead for the website owner.

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Content: you’re not trying to fill space, you’re trying to fulfil a need. If you have a problem with your content before you go mobile, going mobile won’t solve it; your content must work first. Design: different devices phones, tablets, laptops - have different interface challenges. But if it’s usable for someone on a smartphone, it’ll probably be usable for everyone else. Functionality: similarly, if your website contains a piece of functionality or interface for the user to interact with. Filling in a form, for example, or using an interactive map. These can be a challenge on small screens - are they really needed?

ABOUT US New Digital Partnership is a London-based web agency working with all shapes and sizes of clients across the SME sector. We provide free consultancy: if you’d like to discuss your requirements, look us up at www. newdigitalpartnership.co.uk, email info@newdigitalpartnership.com, or call 0203 102 5295.

The trick here, as you’ve probably gathered by now, is that by considering your mobile users properly, you’re making life easier for all of your users.

02/12/2013 19:00


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

T

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

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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.

29/07/2013 15:07


Sponsored Article

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

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

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

CUSTOMER STORIES

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

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

29/07/2013 15:07


Buy a coffee franchise with

Why buy a coffee franchise? Coffee is big business: 800,000 people in Britain buy coffee at least 4 times a week It makes lots of money: Total turnover for this sector reached £5.8bn in 2012 And it’s growing: Analysts predict that the chain market will grow at least 6% by 2017, hitting 7,000 outlets and £3.7bn in sales revenue.

Visit FranchiseSales.com to find out more about buying a coffee franchise – and more!

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13/11/2013 09:54 12/11/2013 16:59:27


fRANCHISE

fRANCHISE NEWS SureCare appoints BDM for northern expansion

iAutoUK signs first franchise ACCREDITED PROVISIONAL bfa member, iAutoUK, the independent car servicing franchise, has raced off the line with the announcement that its first franchisee, Kamran Saleem, has signed his franchise agreement. Kam will shortly open his brand new, state-of-the-art branch of iAutoUK in Solihull. iAutoUK founder, Andy Fox said: ‘The signing of our first franchisee marks a major milestone for iAutoUK and heralds what we expect to be an incredibly busy year in 2014. ‘We’re delighted that our first partner, Kam Saleem, will soon open his business in Solihull, and this will be followed by the launch of franchises in Croydon, Guildford and Dartford over the coming months.’ Kam Saleem commented: ‘We are

very thrilled and excited to be part of the iAutoUK franchising opportunity. ‘We have enjoyed the process so far and are looking forward to the year ahead in 2014, when we get the doors open to our first service centre in Solihull. ‘We intend to open more in the future with Andy and his team and hope to share in the success of iAutoUK.’ A survey in October 2013 by Motoring.co.uk found that confidence is rising among UK car buyers, resulting in an increased demand for premium marques like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. It’s an assessment that Andy Fox and his team certainly agree with; demand and interest at their company-owned branch in Coventry is very strong.

CARE COMPANY, SURECARE has appointed an experienced business development manager to help spearhead expansion in the north. Tracy Newcombe joins SureCare following a successful career of more than 20 years working in the care industry. Tracy will be responsible for helping existing SureCare franchises and branches grow as well as working with new franchises as they launch in the north. The Chester-based business currently has 27 franchises and three company-owned branches in England, but the plan is to increase the number of franchises to more than 50 within two years. Tracy Newcombe said: ‘I am joining SureCare at a very exciting time and am looking forward to helping our franchise owners and branches make the most of the comprehensive range of care services now offered by the company. ‘I am looking forward to playing my part in a company at the forefront of a rapidly changing care sector and ensuring that we meet the requirements of families today.’

British Franchise Directory available now

pizza delivery hise with

THE BRITISH FRANCHISE Directory & Guide 2014 is now available. It lists more than 1,500 franchises now trading in Britain, and includes articles by the leading franchise specialists. Whether you’re a prospective franchisee or franchisor, this franchise directory, which is now in its 30th year, is very useful. To make it easy for readers to draw up a short list of franchises they would like to consider, the directory lists them by trade category and alphabetically. Go here to order a copy: franchiseworld.co.uk/books

SPONSORED BY

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SPOTLIGHT

Under the spotlight

Matt Sidwell, Auditel HOW COMPETITIVE IS THE CONSULTANCY INDUSTRY? Management consultancy is a wide field. It covers specialist firms, which either deal with business coaching, sales and marketing techniques or in other areas. Auditel is one of the very few independent specialists in this field. We offer an Auditel business health check, which provides an in-depth analysis of business expenditures. Auditel’s approach is pro-active and long term, giving us preeminence in the field of cost and purchase management. AN AUDITEL FRANCHISE CURRENTLY COSTS £36,000. WHAT DO PROSPECTIVE FRANCHISEES GET FOR THEIR MONEY? Franchisees are given an award-winning training programme that lasts for the duration of their franchise business. Solutions-based training provides franchisees with residential, webinars, skills practice, multi-media and knowledge-based systems training. We also provide franchisees with their own personal website, Business Start-Up and on-going support from our Marketing Hub. Franchisees gain access to our managed partnership programme to build on lead generation, with the opportunity to work in project teams and joint ventures, plus a yearly national conference,

Matt Sidwell, network development director for Auditel, a cost management services franchise, discusses what it can offer franchisees

to which all franchisees are invited. Development is based around a “learn to earn” structure. They can feel safe in the knowledge that every day their ability will improve, meaning their opportunity to improve their income increases.

Our franchisees are usually senior management professionals who have come from careers in various sectors

TALK FRANCHISE

HOW MUCH CAN AN AUDITEL FRANCHISEE EXPECT TO MAKE? The average earnings of full time consultants with established business practices are over £100k PA, while some make over £200k. However, we build a personal business plan together with each new franchisee to incorporate their required level of earnings. WHAT SETS AUDITEL APART AS A B2B FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY? Over the years, Auditel has achieved a recognisable and respected brand in the field of cost and purchase management, which has enabled franchisees to develop their individual businesses. This success has been achieved through constant efforts to leverage the brand in public and private sectors through sponsorships, memberships, awards and exceptional savings for our clients.

Auditel is also a pioneer of ethical and sustainable cost management. Today, we have more than 3,700 clients nationwide. Many of our franchisees renew their franchises due to consistently achieving their financial goals and the quality of life they want for themselves and their families. WHAT IS THE SECRET OF AUDITEL’S SUCCESS? A commitment to excellence and trust. I believe our values are simple; treat colleagues with respect and share your knowledge, offer simple solutions, be a continual learner, seek the opportunity in every situation, and always strive to make a positive difference. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A FRANCHISEE? Candidates need strong communication skills, the ability to deal with senior business owners and managers. They must have patience, perseverance and resolve, and a determination to succeed. Our franchisees are usually senior management professionals who have come from careers in various sectors, including manufacturing, public sector, finance and banking, IT, insurance and marketing.

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FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES

UK

in the

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

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02/12/2013 16:45


THE FRAN MAN

TALK FRANCHISE

Growing pains strong franchisorfranchisee relationship must be based on mutual trust and respect, as I have already mentioned in my series of articles. However, as with all relationships, knowing how the other party is thinking, what is driving and motivating them will help in managing that relationship. Broadly speaking franchisees tend to go through a lifecycle, which can be equated to that of most human beings. The time taken to pass through them and how long they are in each stage will vary dependent on the individual and on the franchise system.

A

BABY The first stage, when a franchisee first starts up, they are very reliant on the franchisor, they need constant attention and nurturing. Time spent building bonds at this time and developing an open and trusting relationship will help to make the subsequent stages much easier. My advice to all franchisors is to give as much support at this stage as they can – it will pay off. CHILD This is when the franchisee is becoming more knowledgeable and confident; they want to start doing more on their own but still need monitoring and managing. The support at this stage is less intensive than the baby stage but still needs to be very supervisory. Care should

Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, discusses the lifecycle of a franchisee be taken that they do not go off following their own agenda, while being allowed to manage on their own and given greater freedoms and responsibility.

When a franchisee first starts up, they are reliant on the franchisor, they need constant attention and nurturing

TEENAGER The most difficult stage! At this point in the lifecycle, the franchisee thinks that they have learnt all there is to know about the business, may think that they know better than the franchisor, may not want to conform and follow the rules, or even want to make their own rules. As with people, some franchisees go through this part of their development without too much problem and while they might think that they can manage without the restrictions placed on them, will actually conform. If you have a “rebellious teenager” franchisee then clear, careful and sensitive managing will help them to pass through this stage and become mature. ADULT At this point, the franchisee becomes an equal partner, they have an established and stable business, they know the industry and can run their franchise with little supervision. This is when the franchisor can really start to reap rewards, the volume of business that the franchisee is transacting is higher so the royalties (assuming a percentage-

based management fee) is greater, but the requirement for support is lower, probably on a more equal footing and may involve listening to them if they have new ideas for developing the business. This lifecycle can occur within the first year or may take a number of years, but it is important that the franchisor understands where his franchisees are and how to work with them. Some say there is a fifth stage, old age and complacency, but I will cover that aspect in a future article.

This is the fourth instalment of a series of articles written by Tony Mundella who has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. Next month Tony writes about agreements. Contact: franman.co.uk Email: tony@franman.co.uk

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TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

TALK FRANCHISE

Take one franchisee

Richard Webb, Pack & Send Richard Webb, the Pack & Send Richmond area franchisee, tells us the steps to take when buying your first franchise WHERE DO YOU START? Firstly, you need to be happy with the notion of being a franchisee, because it’s not the same as owning your own business. Decide if you want to play it safe or be adventurous, do the research and judge things on a combination of the facts you get back and your instinctive gut feel. I found myself interested in Pack & Send in the early stages of my franchise research because I was getting the sense that there was real potential there. IS LOCATION IMPORTANT? You need a good territory. With a relatively new franchise business you can probably have some flexibility when you negotiate. And if you’re opening a retail franchise, you should find a store as early as you can. When you start looking you find that there are thousands of shops in your area, but probably only about 1% will fit the bill, so it’s worth

doing the work to find your location before going any further. WHAT ABOUT FINANCE? Sign the franchise agreement after you’ve discussed finance. I considered funding this myself entirely, which I could have done, but it would probably have been a bit of a burden financially, and I didn’t want to take a risk. So I decided to part-finance. On reflection, I think it is a good idea to get finance at an early stage because you never know when you’re going to need to borrow more money. If you haven’t got an existing relationship with a lender, it can be very difficult getting finance short-term. IS A FRANCHISE A BIG COMMITMENT? You have to be prepared to put long hours in, particularly in the first year, as there’s a lot of

time spent learning. You’ve got to put a lot of effort into it, but over time it will ease up. I also made a commitment to do a bit of everything at the very beginning. So I would drive the van, I’d do the packing, the consigning and the selling. As time goes on, that had to change. I wanted to experience what my drivers would, just so I’d know what it’s like. WHERE SHOULD YOU GET YOUR ADVICE? You have to Ask other franchisees be prepared questions, for example: to put long • “If you had your time again, hours in, would you do it again?” particularly in • “Does the franchise deliver the first year, the revenue profit that you as there’s a lot thought it was going to deliver of learning when you went into it?” • “Is the business growing as fast as you hoped it would grow?”

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ASK A QUESTION

Assessing a good opportunity ranchising is a crazy mixture of conformity and individuality that combines the best elements of big business and small operations. To be successful, a franchisee must comply with the franchise system, and yet such compliance will enable the franchisee to achieve a greater level of fulfilment.

F

THERE IS NO TEMPLATE FOR BEING A SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISEE – EXCEPT PERHAPS: • Willingness and propensity to work hard • An acknowledgement to follow and adopt the franchisor’s system • A desire to succeed A franchisor will always be on hand to provide knowledge and expertise on all the key areas of business, which franchisees can take as much or as little advantage of as they require. It is the ideal option for those less keen to take a big leap into the unknown. WHEN SELECTING A FRANCHISE THERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK: • Why do I want to run a business? Attaining greater job security, learning new skills, building a capital asset, and working with the family, are well documented reasons. • What am I good at? Sit down and evaluate your strengths

Now ask to visit/ speak with a number of their franchisees and ask them about the business

TALK FRANCHISE

Nigel Toplis, managing director of four major franchise companies, including Recognition Express, advises on how to assess a good franchise opportunity

and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes. You should look on a franchise as a longterm tenure. • What sort of person am I? It will help if you are positive, outgoing and energetic, if you like solving problems and see yourself as a self-starter and a team player. • What can I afford? Be sure you can afford both the initial fee and the time spent in training. ONCE YOU’VE IDENTIFIED A BUSINESS THAT: • Interests you • Uses your skills/experience • You can afford • Matches your aspirations • Then the next step is to find the right franchisor. 10 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK THE FRANCHISOR: • Do they have a solid trading history? • Are they financially sound? • Do they have a successful history? • Is there a genuine head office support structure? • What do they actually provide by way of support? • If the franchisor supplies product, what are the T’s and C’s? • What is their position in

the market? • Are projected cash flows realistic? Can they prove so? • Does the company have a finance facility with the banks? • How tough is their interview process? You should now be in a position where you have decided to become a business owner, you know the type of business and industry you want to be in, and you’ve chosen the franchisor. Now ask to visit/speak with a number of their franchisees and ask them about the business and the level of support they get. Next, do a business plan (possibly with the help of a good accountant), which explains what you hope to do, how much money you need to do it and how you propose to pay the money back. Finally approach the bank. The magic of franchising is that it combines an individual skill set, ambition, drive and energy with the tools, training, branding, support and proven business system of the franchise. Remember, you’re in franchising for yourself - but never by yourself.

Contact: thebardongroup.co.uk

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

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

EdenHR.Nov13.Full.indd 40

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

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

31/10/2013 17:18


CONCEPT TV

here was a time when TV advertising was only for big business, but now medium and even small businesses can take advantage of the influential power of TV advertising and emerging YouTube distribution. Over the last five years, the TV broadcasting platform has converged, with mobile devices and an “on-demand” mentality, thanks to the advances in smart technology. The result is the fragmentation of viewing audiences into smaller and more affordable target groups. The advances in consumer technology are the driving force behind the significant change in viewing expectations, which has led to a new wave of opportunities at the disposal of marketing managers and company directors. The digital switchover is now complete, and with smartphone contracts with internet available from only £10 per month, people now experience multi-channel on-demand TV content as part of their daily lives. It’s this change that has seen our clients invest in YouTube alongside TV activity – a strategy that is delivering measurable results at levels previously seen only from TV

T

TALK ADVICE

Why is TV

advertising

changing? Paul Emerton, TV advertising specialist and director at video marketing company, Concept TV, explains why SMEs need to invest in TV advertising

Recent studies have found that 41% of YouTube video is now shown on mobile devices

campaigns with big budgets. Recent studies have found that 41% of YouTube video is now shown on mobile devices and the number of people subscribing to YouTube channels has doubled in the last year, so it’s not surprising that we incorporate this into our strategies. This evolution has come at exactly the right time for

the TV advertising industry. As a result of the previous economic downturn, marketers have turned to an analytical approach to their advertising. This is unlikely to change as the economy recovers and spends increase. We were working on an intelligent algorithm for TV advertising analytics long before the economic situation

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TALK ADVICE CONCEPT TV

hit, so we were well prepared for the new and significant level of accountability required by modern business. Google changed the advertising game by showing where, when and why people responded to ads and that’s something our clients now expect. The result is better performance at a much lower cost. TV commercials cost far less to make now than they ever have. It makes sense to find the saturation point when something works. Likewise, when something doesn’t deliver, you want to

cut the wasted spend and re-invest positively. A combined TV and YouTube strategy, supported by analytics can help identify positive content and target responsive audiences, while maximising the value of the investment you’ve made in your TV commercial. Medicarn is a gym and fitness equipment brand that uses TV commercials in both conventional TV broadcasting and also as embedded video

content for specific products in Amazon, Ebay and microsite listings. Rod Fauvel, director of Medicarn believes this is the way forward and will be part of its ongoing strategy. ‘It worked brilliantly for us in the early days and is now something that we invest in as a matter of course. We also create instructional videos that improve the consumer experience, reduce logistics costs and really put our brand ahead of the competition.’

Eight tips to create the perfect TV advert: 1. Show the benefits of your proposition. Why would a consumer want to buy your product? 2. Maximise the value of your investment, embed your TV commercial on your website, share it on your social platforms and use adwords for video. 3. Speech must be clearly spoken and avoid loud distracting music. 4. Split your ad into a branded opening, a purposeful and descriptive middle, and an ending that features a call to action. 5. Animation is a great way of showing benefits, whereas live action is easy for the consumer to identify with. 6. Rights and royalties – avoid TV productions that require additional cash for on-going use and distribution on YouTube. 7. Use actors and environments that your target customer aspires to. 8. Don’t plan one TV ad. Plan a video strategy.

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Businesses must adapt ith 59% of small businesses now using tele-working as a form of flexible working - increasing from 46% in 2008 and only 14% in 2006 - businesses that haven’t embraced the change need to be prepared that they might be left behind. Remote and flexible working offers a huge number of benefits, not only for the employer in terms of reduced overheads and a wider talent pool, but also giving the employee a better work/ life balance. Powwownow undertook a survey in 2012, which found 59% of employees

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Businesses need to embrace the way technology is changing the world we work in, says Jacqui Keep, senior marketing executive at Powwownow, a free conference call service

Businesses need to obtain the best talent to stay ahead of competitors

believe that remote working is the future of business – an interesting statistic when you think of the likes of Yahoo and Hewlett Packard taking a step back from this approach. It almost seems backward for companies that were at the forefront of innovation and technological development a few years ago to revert to such old school thought when it comes to business operations. Flexibility is a necessity in the modern workplace. As

businesses need to obtain the best talent to stay ahead of competitors, but with budgets being cut, other “perks” are needed to make sure not only the best people are recruited, but that they also stay long term. Remote and flexible working plays to employees strengths. Some people like the quiet of working from home or an early morning or a late night in the office – playing to these strengths means you get the most from your team and it

DECEMBER 2013

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POWOWNOW

means your availability to customers or clients is longer than a standard 9am-5pm. If you have a set of staff that want to start at 7am and others that don’t want to finish until 8pm, then your availability to attack work and be productive increases. It also allows a whole new pool of talent to be accessed. The ability to be able to run a successful business with staff based on the merit of talent, not on geography or convenience – what a revelation for the business world, and especially business owners! The revolution of technology has also made it possible for the way we work to completely change. The adaptation of technology, such as smartphones, tablets, high speed broadband and Wi-Fi now allows businesses to be on the go 24/7. We live in a world which never switches off and where information can be accessed whenever – wherever. How

can businesses that tie people to a desk from 9am-5pm and then make them endure commuting chaos either side of that every day, all year, not be at a disadvantage. Broadband speeds continue to get better across the UK and Wi-Fi is now being offered freely across major cities and on London Underground stations. Long gone are the days of internet drop outs and pixelated images on video conferencing. High definition cameras and fantastic broadband speeds mean that people who invest in a flexible working approach and the technology can be in contact with each other as if they were in the same room. This means there is no need for all staff to come into an office. We no longer need expensive hardware, or dedicated conference rooms, or even offices for businesses to be able to function effectively. Remote working isn’t for everyone, and there will always

Long gone are the days of internet drop outs and pixelated images on video conferencing

TALK ADVICE

be a need for face-to-face meetings occasionally. Some people hate being at home and not having a team to bounce ideas around with, and others don’t mind the commute. But for those that do like to work remotely, having the options available means that you can get the most out of staff and ultimately the best for your business. Allowing a varied scope of working options for staff means there is a higher chance that productivity will be at its best, sickness levels will be reduced and staff will be happier, making the business more fruitful. Times are changing and today’s workforce has to adapt in order to stay ahead. We have an abundance of technology at our fingertips, which will only make it easier for businesses to streamline communications and in turn be in a better position to service customers and clients. Communication and collaboration technology is on its way to becoming and integral cog in the way businesses communicate. It’s up to businesses not to resist and embrace the change.

in profile Jacqui Keep is senior marketing executive at Powwownow, a leading free conference call service, with more than 240,000 people and businesses using the service across 15 global locations, including the UK, US and Europe. Customers include Bentley, BBC, Oxfam and Environ. Jacqui has been the key driver in delivering the strategic and commercially-focused content and social media marketing strategy. With a wealth of digital marketing experience spanning seven years, Jacqui has experience working in both B2B and B2C marketing channels.

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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

NOVEMBER 2013

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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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He said she said This month, the entrepreneurs are tweeting about Christmas carols and crackers, small business campaigns, and their mum’s underwear. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Deborah Meaden @DeborahMeaden Thanks @BillyandMargot Dogs already opened their Christmas crackers. When I say opened I mean devoured… thanks goodness it is good for them Deborah’s dogs have started Christmas early and eaten their venison treats from their crackers. They didn’t eat the joke or hat though, that would’ve been barking! Rob Law @trunkidaddy So not just going to be a @trunki daddy 20wk scan shows bun baking nicely [a scan pic is attached] Congratulations Rob, who was our FOTC in November’s issue. We’re sure it won’t be long until that globetrotting tot is Trunki-trained. Karren Brady @karren_brady I’m backing @David_ Cameron’s plans to help small businesses by cutting their NI join my Small Business campaign here: thesmallbusiness campaign.com We’ve signed up to get involved – why don’t you do the same?

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Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump No matter how far down a path you go, if it’s the wrong path, turn around and go back home – before it’s too late. Only too right in business. It’s never too late to admit you’re wrong and turn it all around.

Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne Get into the Christmas spirit with me & @ OpSmileUK at their carols service in London operationsmile.org.uk/ carols What could be better than singing carols and drinking mulled wine for a great cause? We’ll see you there Duncan! Peter Jones @dragonjones Shocking night. Deborah out of Strictly & then turned over to ITV only to see someone sitting on top of a piano in my Mums underwear…! Those who were glum about Deborah getting voted off Strictly were soon cheered up by Duncan’s description of Lady Gaga on X Factor!

DECEMBER 2013

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Profile for Talk Business

Talk Business December 2013  

This month, in The Hospitality Issue, we focus on the SME indie restaurants, takeaways and pubs. Luke Thomas, who is just 20 years old and...

Talk Business December 2013  

This month, in The Hospitality Issue, we focus on the SME indie restaurants, takeaways and pubs. Luke Thomas, who is just 20 years old and...

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