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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



July 2013 £4.50

Pipe dreams Charlie Mullins, the Pimlico Plumbers’ millions – and how it almost went down the plughole

400,000 zombie apps How to avoid the curse of the undownloaded

Buckle up Full-throttle marketing fit for the fast lane

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Our achievements 2012

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




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• We completed our latest Petrol Station promotion which saw more than 4,700 redemptions across the participating sites with 33% new customers that’s more than 1,700 new customers to Tesco hand car wash from one promotion OLD STYLE OLD STYLE • Our first National ClubCard promotion resulted in over 800 redemptions with four new customers per car wash on average • We are continuing our growth with one new site opening per week


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

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

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


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

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

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

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51 Contents

iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter

Focus on strategy 51 The branding column Rich With 53 Comedy of errors Strategy mistakes 56 Keeping your contacts Social media contacts

13 Letters 15 News & events

61 The Flexible approach Flexibility 62 Reaching your goals Adam Caplan 65 Email fail Email mistakes


18 Focus on Success 18 Plumber to the stars Founder of Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins 26 Take one company Goldgenie 29 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer 31 Awake your innner entrepreneur The entrepreneur mind

67 The marketing column Kimberly Davis 68 Out in the cold Cold calling 70 It’s not you, it’s me… Customer care 73 Bullseye Social marketing 75 Sites to excite Web design 79 The Sales doctor Solving your sales problems

102 Dawn of the dead Monetising apps 105 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 106 Lenovo vs Toshiba This month’s best desktop all-in-ones

109 Franchise news

86 The apprenticeship argument Apprenticeships

Focus on MONEY

89 If you’re happy and you know it Personal development

46 A day in the life… Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient

97 What’s in a name TLDs

81 The people column Lee McQueen

130 He said/she said What are our entrepreneurs saying this month?

44 Share the wealth Share options

94 Caught in a web Website hosting


35 Book reviews

41 Strange bedfellows PE vs VC

93 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column

Focus on people 83 A very long engagement Retaining talent

37 Do you take card? Payment options

Focus on technology

90 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of Sherbet Pip’s founder

111 Spotlight Recognition Express 114 Take one franchisee Really Awesome Coffee: Mike Woods 117 Mastering a franchise Marketing strategy

Focus on aDVICE 120 Orega 123 Freelancer 126 HR Insight


49 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements

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Editor’s letter

Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business


Dawn Murden dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com


Paul Christopher Daniels paul.daniels@astongreenlake.com Heather Rugeley heather.rugeley@astongreenlake.com

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


Scott Hartley scott.hartley@astongreenlake.com

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


Trystan Hurley trystan.hurley@astongreenlake.com

MANAGING DIRECTOR Jay Boisvert jay@astongreenlake.com

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

The bottom line? Never give up eing an entrepreneur is difficult. There’s so much to combat to keep your business, your dream, thriving. Economy woes, the uphill battle (and cost) of keeping up to date with ever-changing technology, and legal problems are all reported in the media. To be honest, you’d much rather sweep these issues under the carpet, because they seem like mountains, until you’ve devised a plan to tackle them. Once you have, they’re more like a scenic ride on a cable car. But what if the cable car malfunctions? Funding, inflation, hiring, firing... Then there’s your personal life to contend with, juggling kids, getting a mortgage, bereavements. What keeps you going? Our Face on the cover, Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, admits on page 18 he never wanted to be an entrepreneur. He wanted to be a plumber, but when demand grew he had the drive to expand and hire. On page 26, we also hear the incredible rags-to-riches story behind Goldgenie. Founder Laban Roomes hated struggling for money, but his


ambition manifested by age 12, by which time he was bringing home more money than his mother. Months back, I felt the sting of the recession when I was made redundant. At first, I was unable to see the light at the end of the unemployment tunnel. But finally, my ambition and drive got me here, editing Talk Business. The bottom line? Never give up. However, when times get really tough everyone needs support, and that’s what we’re here for. If you’re feeling uninspired, turn to page 29 to get your entrepreneurial brain ticking. As you do, you’ll notice a few changes to the mag, but every month we’ll still be supporting SMEs, bringing you the best interviews, tips and advice, for when times get tough. Take care of business for now.

Dawn Murden, editor


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The talent Elizabeth Smyth is EMEA marketing director of Marketo .
She is responsible for driving all aspects of the company’s demand generation, corporate communications, brand awareness, and go-tomarket strategy across the EMEA region. She has more than 15 years’ international experience in B2B marketing, gained in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. And has previously held diverse marketing roles at mega growth organisations, including salesforce.com, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. She is a frequent blogger and regular contributor to Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing. Read her advice on social marketing on page 73

Stephen Archer is a founding partner of UK business strategy and leadership consultancy, Spring Partnerships. With 30 years of business building, marketing and strategic implementation behind him, he has been described as: ‘The most accurate forecaster of the current recession in the UK.’ He has consulted for CEOs, boards and senior management of FTSE 100 and multinational companies, including Nestle, KPMG and Carlsberg. Stephen is also a regular commentator in the media, providing analysis on breaking news affecting businesses and the latest economic issues and trends.

Becky Patterson is the founder of Sherbet Pip and the director of Making Headlines. She has 20 years’ experience in PR and marketing, working in-house for a leading software company and at an agency before leaving to set up Byline Research. In 2011, Rebecca launched Making Headlines, which uses digital age economies of scale and distribution to bring affordable highquality professional services to start-ups and growing businesses, including workshops to help start-ups promote themselves on a shoestring. When not at work, you’ll find her either on a horse, or possibly in Ireland - buying one.

Read his tips for retaining talent on page 83

Read her business diary on page 90

Peter Boucher is commercial marketing director at Vodafone UK, where he works closely with businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to help them to find new and better ways of working. He originally joined Vodafone in 2002, and has since served in global brand marketing, as head of marketing for Vodafone live! and as marketing director and chief commercial officer at Vodafone Hungary. Prior to this, he worked in the food production and pharmaceuticals sectors, for companies including Unilever, Kraft Foods and GSK. Read his argument for adopting a more flexible approach on page 61

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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

The Talk Business mailbag was full to the brim with compliments this month – you’re making us blush! Thanks beloved readers, we heart you too

Happy customer

Hi, Talk Business has become my favourite magazine – I actually cannot get enough of it! Warmest Regards, Cheryl Effiom Manager, Jennings & Barrett

@CloudWSeries It's great to be working with @TalkBusinessMag for the #CloudWF on 26-27 June in London!

High street hopeful

Dear editor, I thoroughly enjoyed the optimism on display in your feature about the British high street last month [Death of the High Street, June]. After so much doom and gloom talk in the media, it was refreshing to hear from industry experts who had a different, more positive perspective on the matter. Personally, as a boutique owner in Bristol, I think the notion of high street retail is far from over. I work hard to offer an experience that it is impossible to replicate online. Of course, the growth of Internet shopping has impacted on my business, just as it has on everyone else’s. But that certainly doesn’t mean I have given up the fight for customers. Good service and great products means people will always come back and buy from me time and time again. Yours faithfully, Gemma Newman

Strength in numbers


Dear TB, I totally identified with Lee McQueen’s recent column [Growing up, June]. I recently had to make a really tough decision about whether or not I was going to take on another member of staff and grow my business – it felt like a huge gamble to take. On the one hand, I couldn’t handle any more business than I was doing, so there was no way to grow without an extra pair of hands. But on the other hand, I wasn’t sure I could guarantee getting in enough work to pay another person’s salary. It was a big financial responsibility, and not a decision to be taken lightly. In the end I took the plunge, but it was great to read that someone else had also been daunted when having to make that call. It’s still early days, but I reckon, on balance, it was worth it. Thanks, Ben

Tweets of the month... @StepUpFinance Succession Planning Strategy – The end is a very good place to begin #business via @TalkBusinessMag @rdwhite49 The White Paper Daily is out! Top stories today via @TalkBusinessMag @Evie_Jank Just about to start a webinar with @ApprenticeKim @TalkBusinessMag #MarketingSolutions #MarketingTrends @Crowdcube Nice feature in @TalkBusinessMag about finance, feat'ing @Crowdcube & @AlexKammAndSons @growthfunders Friday is best day for undertaking troublesome jobs & making bold decisions in business according to @TalkBusinessMag @sales_awards Also a special #FF to our partners @callcentrefocus @SI_MagUK @TheSMPshow @TalkBusinessMag #salesawards @businessawards #FF to all our partners @cranfieldmngmt @Telegraph @SkyNews @GrichanPartners @IHG @TheScotsman @BizMattersmag @TalkBusinessMag @LeeMcQueen Really excited to be part of @sales_awards again! I'm judging the 'Sale of Year' Award! via @TalkBusinessMag

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News & events

Dates for the diary The 5th Future of Wireless International Conference 1-2 July The Møller Centre, Cambridge www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/ futureofwireless The Sterling Integrity Show 5 July The Cheltenham Park Hotel, Cheltenham www.sterlingintegrity.co.uk The Meetings Show UK 9-11 July Olympia, London www.themeetingsshow.com Portsmouth Business Expo 11 July Pyramids Centre, Hampshire www.portsmouthbusinessexpo. co.uk

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

ad:tech 11-12 September Olympia, London www.ad-techlondon.co.uk

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

The Sterling Integrity Show 27 September The Future Inn Hotel, Bristol www.sterlingintegrity.co.uk/

The Business Show – UK 18 July Venue TBC www.thebusinessshow-uk. co.uk/forthcoming

eCommerce Expo 2-3 October Olympia, London www.ecommerceexpo.co.uk

Franchise Opportunities Live 6-7 September Radisson Blu Edwardian, London www.thebfa.org

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

Mobile security worry ACCORDING TO A survey by the security software company, Check Point, 79% of businesses experienced a mobile security incident in the past year. The incidents were found to be common and costly. Even 45% of the smaller businesses, with under 1,000 staff, said the incidents exceeded around £64,000 ($100,000) in costs. Findings suggest there’s a huge surge in personal mobile devices connecting to businesses networks, accessing emails and

customer data, yet just 23% were using security tools on their device. ‘The explosion of BYOD, mobile apps, and cloud services has created a herculean task to protect corporate information for businesses both large and small,’ said Tom Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies. ‘An effective mobile security strategy will focus on protecting corporate information on the multitude of devices, and implementing

proper secure access controls to information and applications on the go. Equally important is educating employees about best practices as [the] majority of businesses are more concerned with careless employees than cybercriminals.’ The report The Impact of Mobile Devises on Information Security surveyed almost 800 IT professionals in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, and Japan. The full report can be viewed on the Check Point website. talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 15

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News & events

SMEs hit by bank charges

£19m for energy entrepreneurs ENTREPRENEURS WITH INNOVATIVE ideas and products that are energy efficient and low in carbon generation, can now apply for a share of £19m in Government funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The funding is the second phase of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, which has already allocated £16m since autumn 2012, to help bring a range of low carbon products to market. Previous products include energy storage, tidal turbine testing, a thermally-insulating window and an eco power shower. ‘This funding will get ideas off the ground and into the market, create new green jobs, and help the UK get ahead in the innovation global race,’

said Edward Davey, Energy Secretary. ‘An ambitious and driven small business sector can steer the economic recovery in the right direction. ‘I want to see Britain’s brightest and best SMEs sending in their applications.’ The scheme seeks the best ideas from the public and private sector, and particularly wishes to assist SMEs and start-ups. The DECC expects to open calls for projects every four to six months until all of the funding has been allocated. £19m is now available on a completive, rolling basis to support projects up to a maximum of £1m. The deadline for the first call of applications is 12 July. For full information on how to apply visit the GOV.UK website.

HIGH BANK CHARGES are hurting business already struggling with cash flow issues, says new research carried out by the Forum of Private Business (FPB). The study also saw an increase in firms reporting that banks are asking for harmful levels of collateral in return for finance. According to the study, the main concern for SMEs remains the rising cost of doing business, which was cited by 42% of respondents taking part in the FPB’s cash flow and finance study - although this was higher last year, at 54%. Other concerns were cash flow, at 38%, and concern around access to finance, also increased from 17% to 23% this year. ‘As a financial concern, the rising cost of doing business has abated slightly, which perhaps ties in with inflation having fallen recently, but it’s clearly still a real and present issue for small firms,’ said the Forum’s chief executive, Phil Orford.

Business Secretary blasts BBC’s The Apprentice BUSINESS SECRETARY, VINCE Cable expressed his ‘reservations’ about Lord Sugar’s BBC One programme The Apprentice. ‘I know that The Apprentice is designed to be dramatic television viewing, but it has very little to do with apprentices – people who are doing a serious piece of vocational training,’ Vince Cable told The Daily Telegraph.

‘I worry whatever the attractions of the programme as a piece of TV theatre, it gives people a completely false impression about what being an apprentice actually involves.’ However Vince Cable felt differently about BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den, admitting it was “a much more realistic way of assessing the potential of small businesses”.

Secretary Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is trying to increase the number of apprenticeships, and wants to promote them as having equal importance to spending three years at a university. It’s hoped the number of people training in apprenticeships will double from 260,000 to 480,000 by 2022.

16 July 2013

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Focus on success FACE ON THE COVER

Reaching that pipe dream He’s nicknamed “plumber to the stars”, is worth an estimated £55m and was grilled by Peter Jones on BBC Two last month, but once upon a time, everything almost went down the plughole. Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers tells Dawn Murden how his business made a U-bend hen I think of plumbers, I think of scruffy men with their, ahem, bums hanging out from old faded jeans and big boxes of dirty wrenches. I can’t help it. Funnily enough, Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, actually agreed with me on this. Although, sporting a rather smart blue suit and Pimlico Plumbers branded tie combo I


could see Charlie couldn’t be further away from this grubby plumber stigma. ‘You wouldn’t want a dirty plumber coming into your house,’ he told me. ‘Appearance is extremely important to us.’ Charlie Mullins started off as your regular local plumber, but when demand for his services grew, he founded Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 and started employing. The company grew organically from a dingy

You wouldn’t want a dirty plumber coming into your house

basement location, and today turns over £18m a year, has a workforce of 200, and 160 branded vehicles on the road. Charlie said that grubby stigma is exactly the opposite of his company. So much so, he has an extensive bible of dos and don’ts for staff, and his Pimlico HQ is spotless – something Peter Jones couldn’t help commenting on when Charlie appeared on his BBC Two programme, Peter Jones meets… last month.

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SUCCESS ‘This plumbers yard is more like a showroom,’ Jones said, utterly astounded by how clean it was. On first glance his cleanliness may seem a little OCD, but there’s a good reason why Charlie runs such a tight ship. During the recession of the early 1990’s the premises Charlie owned lost three quarters of it’s value, Pimlico Plumbers sprung a leak, and was almost forced into liquidation. But he didn’t give up on his pipe dream. ‘Every member of staff that was with us at the time went, and I came up with our working guidelines,’ he said. ‘I changed everything.’ I always imagined if anyone boasted to me about having an annual £1m salary and two large properties in Kent and Marbella, I might feel a little resentful, but this was not the case when Charlie told me this. Why? Because underneath that dapper suit lies a normal bloke, and a boy who grew up in the poverty-stricken Rockingham Estate in London’s Elephant and Castle. He is a truly self-made millionaire, who went from fixing toilets to rubbing shoulders with the likes of Simon Cowell and Richard Branson, who are both customers of Pimlico Plumbers. Charlie is not afraid of hard graft, he works closely with two charities and is currently badgering Prime Minister David Cameron to accept his proposal on apprenticeships, to help tackle the unemployment rate of young people in the UK. Even though Charlie hasn’t changed a U-bend for his customers in 30 years, he’s constantly inspecting the plumbing wherever he goes. ‘I always check hotels,’ he told me. ‘I’m a bit of an odd ball, ain’t I?’ Not at all. Under the layers of success, after all, he is a plumber, and says it’s all he ever wanted to be.

When did you decide to become a plumber and why? When I was nine years old I saw Bill, the local plumber. He had a nice car, a nice house and a good lifestyle. I wanted that. I spoke to him and he told me if I became a plumber I’d have a job for life, so I started bunking off school to work with him. At first I was just digging holes to get pipes out of the ground or organising his tools, but soon I became an apprentice. My mind was made up, the seeds were sown and I knew it’s what I wanted to do.

Every member of staff that was with us at the time went, and I came up with our working guidelines

You left school at 15. Do you ever regret that decision? Yes, I should have left at 14. By that time I’d gotten everything I needed from school. I had no qualifications but I wanted to work. When you started as an apprentice, did you ever expect to, one day, own your own company? Never. I just wanted to be a plumber, I never thought I’d become an employer. When the demand for my services grew, I had to employ others, I couldn’t be everywhere at once. It was the only way forward.

How did you get your start-up cash? I just put everything I earned back into the company. After I employed a few people, I soon rented a room in a basement in Pimlico, then two rooms, then the whole basement. It grew organically. Was your success instant or hard won? Hard. For many years I struggled and it took a while before I started making any profit. Then when things started to pick up, the recession of the early 1990’s hit and I almost went bust. Many times I thought about packing it in, but every mistake made me learn something. The changes - like the Pimlico Bible containing strict employee guidelines about cleanliness - I put in place, made us evolve. What is your top tip for getting through tough times? You can’t do everything, and 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.

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Focus on Success FACE ON THE COVER

How did you market your business back then, and how do you continue to do so? At first it was word of mouth, and I still think there’s no better form of advertisement. If you do a good job, customers will recommend you, and they’ll come back. Around 80% of our customers have used us before. Next was the branded vehicles, when people see them driving around London they recognise them. Today I’d say the Internet is our biggest advertising cost. What would your advice be to first-time businesses that are experiencing difficulties in the current economic climate? If you feel you’re on a winning horse; don’t get off. Cut costs accordingly while you can, adapt your price and always put the customer first. Existing customers get you through the tough times, so whatever they need, a specific engineer, day, or time; we give it to them. What would you be if you weren’t an entrepreneur? A plumber, plain and simple. I don’t know anything about anything else. I came off the tools 30 years ago; I couldn’t be the orchestra and play the drum. I miss plumbing, and often check the pipes in hotels and look at plumbing for my family and friends when they ask. You’ve featured in several TV documentaries, including Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, BBC One’s Posh Plumbers, and most recently BBC Two’s Peter Jones meets…. Has TV helped or hindered your reputation? The first time I went on telly I was very nervous, but now I enjoy it. I’ve had tons of comments about my appearances from people of all ages, saying they find me inspirational. It’s built my profile and Peter Jones meets… was worth £3m in advertising for me.

I miss plumbing, and often check the pipes in hotels and look at plumbing for my family and friends when they ask

We portray ourselves as the best in London, so to be on these shows is fantastic; everyone knows us. What was your favourite programme? Definitely The Secret Millionaire. I had a tough life, but it made me realise just how unfortunate some people are. It was difficult to be on the show, but it was so rewarding. I got to work with these people and help them. The programme helped hundreds of people and had a real knock-on effect. Your nickname is “plumber to the stars” with celebrities like Daniel Craig and Simon Cowell on your books and dozens of celeb snaps on your website. What’s it like rubbing shoulders with stars? A few call into the office, but I’ve spoken to others on the phone or bump into them at events. I’ve met George Best,

Jonathon Ross and Simon Cowell in the past. It was a pleasure to meet Peter Jones recently, and to be honest I’m a little in awe of him. He’s a true star, he believes in investing in young people and I’d love to see him on BBC One’s The Apprentice in place of Alan Sugar. You believe in investing in young people too; is this partly due to your background? My apprenticeship was the best thing I ever did and I want to give something back. At the moment I’m working hard to get my Pimlico Common Sense Apprenticeship Proposal implemented by the Government. The scheme suggests the Government pay Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) directly to the employer of an apprentice. It costs employers about £45,000 to employ an apprentice for three years, so paying the JSA to them

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Focus on success FACE ON THE COVER

I want to take more of the share of London plumbing

will help towards those costs and the apprentice’s salary. I believe this is the way to reduce youth unemployment. I think Boris Johnson and David Cameron are sick of me, but I’m determined to get our proposal through. We already have 1000 signatures. I do a lot of charity work too; I’m the patron for The Prince’s Trust and sponsor and fundraise for The Rhys Daniels Trust. What’s the best and worst thing about being an entrepreneur? The worst is that people are quick to criticise and judge you. A lot of people want to shoot you down. The best; me and my family have a great lifestyle and good comments prevail the bad. To be honest 98% is good, and only 2% is bad.

Do you find it difficult to balance your work and personal life? Yes, but I’m lucky that my family are happy to be involved in the business. Over 10 of them work at Pimlico Plumbers, including my wife, kids and grandkids. What’s in the pipeline for Pimlico Plumbers? We want to expand geographically into more parts of London, further out to the M25, in places like Richmond and Wimbledon. I want to take more of the share of London plumbing.

Contact: pimlicoplumbers.com

My Life I’m watching: I’m not a huge telly fan but I’m loving Peter Jones meets… on BBC Two right now, and not just because I was on it! I’m reading: I read a lot of business books. I really enjoyed Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I’m listening to: I’m not much of a music man either – I sound boring, don’t I? I’ll say something cheesy like Cliff Richard for now. I’m surfing: I’m always looking up new start-up businesses.

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all for

ÂŁ199 or less

visit www.recruitmentgenius.com

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Starting a business is easy! Isn’t it? Starting or developing a business is exciting, but can be a very daunting experience for the best of us. Knowing your specialism is one thing but then you find you suddenly need to become an Accountant, Marketing Strategist, Sales Manager or a Human Resource Practitioner to run the business successfully. Whilst a lot of businesses will employ these experts to take these additional burdens off their shoulders, many other businesses will not be in a position to be able to do this. Therefore, Rachel Barratt, Director of HR Elite Limited provides us with some worthy Human Resource Advice and some top HR tips on managing your staff effectively and within the confines of scary and complex employment legislation. Contracts of Employment (Written Statement of Particulars) With the hustle and bustle of everything involved in starting or running a business, a lot of Companies fail to put in place essential legal documents. One that is often overlooked is the Contract of Employment. Not only is it a legal requirement that all employed staff should receive an Employment Contract within the first 2 months of their start date, it also sets out the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. The particulars of the Employment Contract can be provided in instalments but the initial Principle Statement must include certain information in one document. Following this, other required details can be provided in more suitable ways, e.g reference to policies and procedures or documents sent directly to the employee. Employee Handbooks Employee Handbooks are not essential but are highly recommended as they compliment the basic terms and conditions. A well written Handbook will contain more detail about certain policies and procedures, employee rights and employer expectations and will help form

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the overall contract of employment. Policies, procedures and guidance most commonly found in Employee Handbooks include; Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, Bullying and Harassment, Equal Opportunities, Health and Safety, Leave Policies, Flexible Working, Maternity and Parental Leave Policies and other policies and procedures relevant to the individual employer. It is advisable to implement these documents at the very beginning of a new business venture so that as a business develops it already has the correct policies and procedures in place. Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Employers sometimes become confused when wanting to dismiss an employee for an act of misconduct. It is a common assumption that if an employee is found ‘with their hand in the cookie jar’ so to speak, that they can instantly dismiss the employee. Whilst it is not a legal requirement that employers follow the ACAS Code of Practice, no matter how confident an employer is that misconduct has taken place they are still expected to follow a fair and reasonable process. If taken to Employment Tribunal failure to follow this Code may go against them. By following the ACAS Code of Practice employers should feel safe in the knowledge that they will not lose at Tribunal due to procedural incorrectness thus leaving them to concentrate on defending the claim at hand. (The ACAS Code of Practice can be found at www.acas.org.uk). In most circumstances employees need to qualify before they can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal, and have: • at least one year’s continuous service for employees in employment before 6th April 2012 • two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012. However, for claims regarding discrimination or breach of contract there is no qualifying period.

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HR Elites Top 3 HR Tips for July 2013 1. Know your legal obligations Changes to employment law are taking place all the time. The average award for a successful unfair dismissal claim is ÂŁ9,133 for 2011/2012 (HR Expert). Keeping abreast with changes to employment legislation will ensure that your business remains compliant and that your staff are being managed fairly and consistently. 2. Rewards do not just involve money! Financial rewards are only one way of rewarding and motivating your staff. Small businesses should make the most of non financial rewards. The most commonly cited non financial rewards are increased flexible working arrangements, changes to the working environment and the creation of interesting job roles.

induction, holding regular management and team meetings, performing regular appraisals and performance reviews and providing them with all the necessary information on how to perform their role adequately and information on the business go a long way in making an employee feel valued. Pop into the office for a chat and a cup of coffee or contact us by telephone or e mail at info@hrelite.co.uk and our friendly team will help you with any of your HR issues. HR Elite Limited will be a regular feature of Connected and will be providing regular HR tips and advice in this magazine over the coming year.

3. Value your employees If your staff feel valued they are more likely to perform their jobs well and stay loyal to the business. Providing your staff with a robust

Contact: Tel: 01206 848459 info@hrelite.co.uk | www.hrelite.co.uk

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Vital statistics

Focus on marketing TAKE ONE COMPANY

Company founded: January 1995 Start up capital: £1,500 Turnover: £1m Profit: £700,000 Growth rate: When we first went online I made about £1,000 a week, now it’s around £80,000 a month. Biggest achievement: It will always be paying off my Mum’s mortgage, because it spurred me on in business.

It’s a goldrush! Everyone loves a rags-to-riches story, and Laban Roomes’ tale is pure gold. His company, Goldgenie customises and sells gold-plated luxury items, popular with celebrities such as the Beckhams and Elton John – a far cry from his modest east London roots

ife is all about playing the hand you’re dealt, something Laban Roomes knows well. His Jamaican parents split when he was four years old and his mother brought Laban and his sister up single-handedly in Leytonstone. Life was tough, but at age nine, Laban refused to sit back and accept a life of free school dinners and missed opportunities. ‘Despite Mum working three jobs, we never had enough money – I was determined to change that. ‘One day I went out and brought some shears and knocked on our neighbours’ doors offering my services.’ Cutting hedges, washing cars – Laban did everything he could for money, and by age 12 he was bringing home more money than his mum. As he grew up, he started buying cars in the UK and selling them in Jamaica for a


profit. This venture was doing so well, that by age 19 he’d paid off his mum’s mortgage. A few years later he moved to Jamaica to concentrate on his business, but on arrival disaster struck. His business partner had sold all his assets behind his back and in England his mother was taken ill. ‘I returned to the UK with nothing but £80 in my pocket,’ says Laban. ‘I’d tried my hand at social work but was sick of that. ‘I knew I was good at selling.’ That’s when he remembered a man he’d seen gold-plating cars in America. ‘He gold-plated wheels and emblems and made $2,000 a day,’ Laban says. ‘I wanted to do this, but make more money.’ So Laban borrowed £1,500 from a friend, designed a portable 24ct. gold-plating machine, and Goldgenie was born. Determined to secure a big deal, and fed up with car dealerships ignoring his letters, he turned up at a

One of the biggest challenges was that my company grew too fast

Lexus car convention and gave a demonstration on gold-plating. ‘Overnight I had deals with 11 Lexus car dealerships and spent the next five years goldplating thousands of emblems,’ Laban says. ‘But one of the biggest challenges was that my company grew too fast. ‘I drove to every inch of the UK dressed in a boiler suit trying to meet demands. Then one day my van blew up on the way to Bristol. ‘I could have been inside it, by this time I had a wife and two sons to think about. It was time for the business to evolve.’ Laban decided to offer business opportunities, helping others set up on their own, while spreading the Goldgenie name and ultimately taking some of the work load off himself. ‘We gave entrepreneurs a plating machine and trained them – I felt like I was giving something back,’ Laban says.

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Focus on success TAKE ONE COMPANY

However, it wasn’t long before this gave something back to him. ‘One of our business opportunities had to close due family illness, so he asked me to take over,’ Laban says. ‘One of the first orders I picked up was gold-plating a Nokia 8800. ‘I saw a market in this, and I was right. I had to pitch a tent in the garden and recruit my wife and sons to deal with demands!’ Laban embraced this goldrush like an astute miner. Especially when he received an email from the organisers of the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles asking him to gold-plate 55 mobile phones to be given to the awards winners, which included Denzel Washington and Dame Helen Mirren. ‘My business was evolving like I’d hoped,’ Laban says. The business continued to grow, and in 2007 Laban agreed to go on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. ‘I’d been asked to go on the show twice before, but I’d refused out of fear. ‘I was terrified they’d ridicule me – then a good friend of mine passed away; I realised I had nothing to lose.’ None of the Dragons seemed interested, but when Laban gave his final plea he saw a sparkle in James Caan’s eyes before he agreed to invest £60,000. ‘It wasn’t about the money,’ says Laban. ‘It was about having him as a mentor, and he was worth his weight in gold – literally!’ Goldgenie began to offer international master franchises as well as low entry business opportunities in the UK. The product line also expanded, introducing iPhones and iPads, which Laban and his team embellished with Swarovski crystals and gold. ‘Soon our items were on the shelves in Harrods and Selfridges,’ Laban says. ‘James’ influence gave us the boost we needed.’

I had to grow up pretty quickly and I missed out on some things, but now life is in my hands

A number of celebrities, including Victoria and David Beckham, Elton John and Usain Bolt bought their own Goldgenie gold-plated BlackBerrys and iPhones too. ‘We gave David a gold iPod as a present when he got his 100th cap for England – it felt good to treat a fellow Leytonstone boy, plus Victoria has bought a number of our items.’ In 2011, Laban bought James’ share of the business, and as Caan once helped him, he now invests his time and money in aspiring entrepreneurs. ‘We’re always helping launch new business opportunities and franchises,’ Laban says. ‘We’re also looking to invest in new start-ups in a scheme we call “Online Dragon”.’ As well as investing in people, Goldgenie believes in guilt-free luxury and uses gold suppliers who share their values that human rights of miners must be respected and that the environmental impact must be kept to a minimum. Laban is ambitious and unstoppable, so it comes as no surprise he’s not starstruck

by his celebrity customers or blinded by success. ‘Of course my upbringing spurred me on, but I can’t imagine not being where I am today,’ Laban says. ‘I had to grow up pretty quickly and I missed out on some things, but now life is in my hands.’ Laban may not have had the best start in life, but it seems in business he dealt himself a royal flush, and now everything he touches turns to gold… Contact: goldgenie.com

My Life I’m watching: I love Lost, The Apprentice and Spartacus (there’s lots of gold in it!). I’m reading: Anything philisophical and inspirational. I loved the The Richest Man in Babylon by George S.Clason. I’m listening to: Everything from classical to hip hop – it depends on my mood. I’m surfing: I’m pretty nosey and find myself a little addicted to Facebook. I’ve been getting to grips with Twitter in the last few months too.

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Focus on success UP-AND-COMING


Bryn Powell

Eco-warrior and charity hero; just two of the things that come to mind while interviewing Shell LiveWIRE winner, Bryn Powell, co-founder of revolutionary business, Containers Hostels ryn Powell, co-founder of Containers Hostels, is one third of the talented trio that launched the world’s first eco-hostel made from converted shipping containers, in the heart of London. The hostel also has a charity programme that works with local and international charities to provide containers to areas in need.


Where did the idea come from? The idea was born about a year ago with my business partners, Nick and Tom. The initial idea was to create temporary, low cost accommodation in time for the London 2012 Olympics. We didn’t have the opportunity to implement the concept in time, but realised that the business was going to be viable in the long term. What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs trying to get an idea off the ground? On numerous occasions I’ve felt so out of my depth. I got by, by surrounding myself and seeking help from some very clever people. Combine that with an amazing business plan that has all the variables and virtually everything to do with your business covered, and you are onto a winner. A great business plan is the foundation of a great business, but keep updating it. I think the Containers team are on their 30th draft, and it won’t stop there.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be doing today? Most probably teaching. I love kids, and aiding in the development of future generations seems a pretty worthwhile job. What was your worst job? Probably being a painter and decorator. I always, somehow, managed to get paint on important items, often involving deductions from my wages. I got better though. As with everything - even business practice makes perfect. The learning curve at the beginning is steeper than a cliff face, but it levels off and soon you get the hang of it. What’s top of your bucket list? To complete a triathlon to the level of Ironman. That’s a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finally a marathon. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a young entrepreneur? Credibility. Some people don’t take you seriously when you’re young.

My Life > I’m watching: I’m always at the cinema. > I’m reading: Everything on Wikipedia. > I’m listening to: Anyone at Glastonbury Festival this year as I’m going. My guilty pleasure is BBC Radio 4. > I’m surfing: www.stumbleupon.com is perfect for procrastinating, but I do stumble across a lot of travel and tourism stuff, which I tweet about, or use for work ideas. almost unhealthily at times, motivates me to make it work, no matter what. What gets you out of bed in the morning? The excitement of being my own boss. What’s your vision for the future of Containers Hostels? To become the future blueprint of sustainable accommodation. Not only with a hostel chain in Europe and beyond, but also to expand into other areaas of ecofriendly accommodation. Contact: containershostels.com

How much does money motivate you? Not much, but both my business partners are money motivated. I hate losing, and the thought of losing my business, something I dote on

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Awake your inner entrepreneur Entrepreneur and author, Daniel Priestley sets seven challenges to wake up your entrepreneurial brain

eing an entrepreneur is about having the entrepreneur’s mindset. It’s about seeing a problem and recognising the opportunity that it creates. It’s about connecting the dots when you meet a new person who could be a perfect strategic partner. It’s about dealing with the stress of endless possibilities and being able to decide what deserves your focus the most. I want to give you some real life challenges that will automatically start to enhance your entrepreneurial brain so you can tune into the choices that will make your business a success. These challenges might not seem to relate to your industry or your business, but I promise you; they will wake up the part of you that is responsible for driving forward. I’ve recommended these challenges to numerous friends, and consistently the feedback is nothing short of transformational.


You probably started the business to have more freedom, so stop being a slave

Challenge 1: make three big calls Pick up the phone and call a person or an organisation who could take everything to the next level. Maybe it’s a dream customer that could triple your profits at a stroke, maybe it’s a celebrity that could endorse you,

or maybe it’s a distributor who could sell truck loads of your products. Don’t just do this once, do this every week. Sometimes the long shot comes off, but too often we learn to play small and never attempt to go big; it all starts with a phone call. Challenge 2: carry £500 on you at all times Sometimes we entrepreneurs feel like we’re in “survival mode”, and it makes us feel threatened, scared and alone. These emotions make us feel like we can’t take a risk or play big. When you carry £500 in cash, it’s hard to feel like you’re only just surviving, so your brain can relax and focus on the bigger picture. When you carry £500 in your pocket, you start to feel like £500 is, quite literally, “pocket money” and you feel more comfortable charging what you’re really worth. Challenge 3: put your prices up It’s been four years since the economy went into recession and most small businesses

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haven’t put their prices up since. It’s time to bump things up a level. When you put your prices up a little, you feel better and it forces you to think about how you’re adding more value to your clients. When you’re cheap, you begin to think that it’s OK to do an average job; putting your prices up keeps you on your toes and makes you commit to being more remarkable. Challenge 4: tune out from the news It’s good to be up to date and informed on world events, but when you watch the news every day, it adds more stress to your life that you really don’t need. Not only do you have your own business to worry about, but now you’re also worried about wars, disasters and politics as well. Far better to give your brain some downtime by going for a walk, cooking or listening to some music. While you’re at it, you might also want to cut back on TV dramas as well. I’m sure as an entrepreneur you have plenty of dramas of your own making.

Too often we learn to play small and never attempt to go big

Challenge 5: get your finances in order Be sure to have your business bank accounts separate to your personal accounts, and make sure your business pays you every month. In your personal banking, set up a few accounts for holidays, for investing, for predictable expenses and for charity. As soon as you pay yourself each month, split the money up into the different accounts. It will help you to get what you really want each year, rather than being random and reactive with money. Challenge 6: take holidays When you run a business, you can feel as if it’s your baby and you can’t leave it alone for a minute, let alone a week or two. If you don’t take holidays however, you will burn yourself out and begin to resent your business. You probably started the business to have more freedom, so stop being a slave and start taking some fun breaks. I promise you your best ideas will hit you when you’re relaxing by the seaside with a suitable drink in hand.

Challenge 7: hire someone The UK has 4.8 million smalland medium-sized businesses; if each hired one more person, the country would have full employment. Hiring someone feels risky when you’re small, but the key to becoming bigger is recognising you can’t do everything on your own. Find a person who can assist in making sales, get a bookkeeper, an executive assistant. Figure out who could help you to do more high value activities and get them on your team. At the very least, get a cleaner and use that time to work on your business so you can hire someone full-time. Use apprentice schemes and flexible workforce websites like Elance, so there’s no excuse not to recruit people who can help you to do a better job. With these seven challenges in place, you’ll start to wake up your entrepreneur brain and achieve more of the success you deserve. Good luck!

Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur who’s built and sold businesses in the US, UK, Australia and Singapore. His latest book Entrepreneur Revolution is full of exciting and practical strategies for building a successful small business. Contact: danielpriestley.wordpress.com

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Focus on success BOOK REVIEWS

ENTRECODE® UNLOCKING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL DNA How to start, grow and revitalise your business By David Hall What makes entrepreneurs unique? Well, that’s the question author, consultant and BAFTA broadcaster, David Hall has been striving to answer for the last 25 years. Hall says he’s finally cracked the code – or Entrecode, as he calls it – uncovering the traits and mindsets that distinguish entrepreneurs from mere mortals. No two entrepreneurs are the same, but Hall has uncovered the code which all successful entrepreneurs share.

He says: ‘By researching and working with hundreds of entrepreneurs we are able to present the inner secrets of the entrepreneurial mind, to unlock their code for creating successful businesses. The Entrecode findings will challenge and change your views on what entrepreneurs do to create a successful business. If you want your business to be a success, then read this book and learn from the best.’

We say: ‘David Hall is a well known author, consultant and entrepreneur who has lectured around the world on the subject of entrepreneurship, and won a BAFTA Award for his BBC1 business series, Winning. In his fourth book, Entrecode, Hall tackles entrepreneur streotypes head on – there’s not a Del Boy or Alan Sugar in sight. This book provides a rare insight and could be a game changer for any business.’

Our verdict: Entrecode is published by Management Books 2000, priced at £14.99 in paperback

THE MILLIONAIRE DROPOUT: Fire your boss. Do what you love. Reclaim your life! By Vince Stanzione Based on the author’s first-hand experience of bootstrapping himself out of failure, self-made millionaire Vince Stanzione’s The Millionaire Dropout is for anyone who wants to learn the secrets of increasing income and standard of living. Through a series of practical steps, Stanzione explores making money from virtually anywhere; using technology, automation and outsourcing to create an income without a conventional job. The book also explores money saving tips.

He says: ‘I love this quote from Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If like millions of others, you know deep down that you deserve to do better than where you are today, then this book is for you. Not based on oldfashioned theories or textbook scenarios, The Millionaire Dropout is based on tried and tested methods of increasing personal skills, increasing your wealth, and improving your lifestyle. These proven methods can help anyone.’

We say: ‘Vince Stanzione is active in telecommunications and financial trading, and former CEO of TV Commerce Holdings, a media and entertainment company, specialising in TV and mobile entertainment. The first few chapters of the book go back to basics as Stanzione concentrates on points like making good eye contact. This book would benefit someone at the start of their entrepreneurial journey, or a failing businessperson who needs a confidence boosting pep talk.’

Our verdict: The Millionaire Dropout is published by Wiley, priced at £12.99 in paperback and e-book We’ve got one of each book to give away for FREE. Be the first to follow and tweet us, quoting the book name @TalkBusinessMag & we’ll send you a free copy!

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Want to save time & money?


e know that time is money, and in today’s competitive market you want to be able to focus on what you do best! Revera SOS offers a unique combination of HR and H&S support via our secure online portal that is specifically tailored to your business. Our product offers instant access to up-to-date HR and H&S information, workplace legislation, template policies, procedures and letters, together with training modules on key business issues.

You can also have the extra assurances of telephone, email and onsite support from highly-skilled, fully qualified professionals. Why do you need us? With people come complications…and Revera SOS gives you the tools to manage issues quickly and effectively. Revera SOS offers the answers to your HR and Health & Safety issues, and we provide a level of support tailored to your business requirements. The number of unfair dismissal and discrimination claims is continuously increasing within the UK, and there are now over 89 million pages found when you search for accident claim companies online, so be prepared and keep your business protected!


• Our most popular package with SMEs. You’re comfortable with HR and H&S, however you would benefit from the assurance of accessing our portal and having the ability to download information which is updated with new legislation and relevant to your business, without trawling through search engines and finding out-of-date and incorrect information. £49.00 per month • Unlimited access to portal


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Now is the right time to invest in HR support - but we know that keeping costs low are of key importance, so as an exclusive offer to Talk Business readers if you sign up to one of our packages before 31st August 2013 you will receive a 50% discount on your SOS fee for the first 6 months*. To sign up, or to discuss further with one of our HR professionals please email us at enquiries@revera-sos.co.uk or visit the Revera SOS website at www.revera-sos.co.uk *Minimum contract term is 6 months Revera.indd 1

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Do you take card?

now so many options, it can be a challenge for SMEs to identify the option that is best suited to their company.

Chip and PIN A whole decade has now passed since the introduction of Chip and PIN, a technology that revolutionised the in-store payment process. Since replacing the swipe and sign method of customer identification, there has been a significant improvement in payment security; counterfeit Clive Kahn, CEO of CardSave, explores the demise of cash and card fraud has seen a drop of the payment technologies that have sprung up in its wake 63%. In 2004, this type of fraud accounted for 25% of all card fraud on UK-issued cards, but by 2010, it was just 13%. It has also led to improved transaction speeds. Faster transactions mean shorter queues, and n the last few years we this, coupled with the greater have seen a decline in security that Chip and PIN Innovative the popularity of cash; offers, has greatly improved SMEs can the days of carrying large overall customer experience. benefit from numbers of notes around Chip and PIN terminals this form of are apparently no more. are available in either fixed payment by The evidence for this or portable format. The assertion comes from a YouGov producing latter allows for even greater survey conducted last year. their own apps flexibility (important for It revealed that nearly three mobile businesses) and is made quarters of the British public possible through Bluetooth, carry £30 or less, on them General Packet Radio Service on average, yet almost all (GPRS) and Internet Protocol (93%) carry a credit or debit (IP) communications. card. And the respondents’ confidence in the future of Contactless payments cash is low, with more than half Contactless is a high speed believing it will become extinct payment technology that is at some point. quick and easy to use. In order For the small and mediumto make a payment, customers sized business owner, this data simply tap their contactless shows that it is crucial to offer card against a terminal without customers a range of payment the need to type in a pin solutions. If you don’t, then number. you risk losing customers. Contactless payment cards Almost 20% of people walked bring many benefits, the main out of a shop last year without one being speed. Faster even making their intended purchase than Chip and PIN, contactless because the retailer did not can also serve to further reduce accept cards. queue times. Despite the Following a flurry of benefits, an obvious concern technological innovation in is card fraud, so to protect recent years, there are now consumers against the use of a wide variety of payment stolen cards, customers are solutions for businesses to limited to a maximum number choose from. In fact, there are of daily uses. [head]


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Focus on money PAYMENT OPTIONS

After this they have to validate transactions using Chip and PIN. Additionally, contactless can only be used for purchases of £20 or less. Contactless was initially slow to take off; however, it has recently received a boost in popularity. As a result, RBS and NatWest have distributed two million contactless cards to their customers, adding to the estimated 26 million already in circulation. Near field communication Near field communication (NFC) technology takes advantage of the growth in smartphone popularity. To pay, the consumer places their NFC-enabled phone over a compatible device, which then sends their payment information wirelessly using electromagnetic radio fields. Aside from the benefits afforded by the speed of such transactions, NFC is also considered highly secure. When a credit card is linked to an NFC smartphone, data is stored on the phone in an encrypted format. If the phone is stolen then the individual can freeze or disable the payment account very easily. Consumers are also able to record payments on their phone, checking these against their bill, negating the need for paper receipts. Innovative SMEs can benefit from this form of payment by producing their own apps for loyalty schemes, promotions and discount vouchers, which in turn create a positive customer experience and drive consumer loyalty. Benefits aside, this type of payment has not yet proved as popular as Chip and PIN or contactless. The technology depends entirely on the smartphone having the capability to accept NFC, and it is interesting that Apple chose to leave the technology off its latest iPhone.

Consumers love technology and they jump on every new innovation that comes their way

Card reader Payment via card reader is also dependent on smartphones, as the technology works by connecting the card reader to a mobile device. The card reader connects to the smartphone, and the customer then inserts their card. Authorisation for the payment is made via a signature on the phone’s screen or by a Chip and PIN pad. This form of technology is particularly beneficial to micro-merchants and those who traditionally take cash payments for goods or services. Using the card reader, the merchant can accept payments of any size, with only small transaction fees, and they are not tied into a contract with the supplier. Mobile card readers can have a great impact on a business’ cash flow by preventing scenarios where the merchant has to spend time chasing customers to pay their debts. The options for customer payment are growing rapidly. What was a limited market just 10 years ago has now grown to a stage where customers and merchants are spoilt for choice; maybe this is why the popularity of cash is waning.

In their everyday lives, consumers love technology and they jump on every new innovation that comes their way. Some prove successful and others do not. Businesses should bear this in mind and consider all options when investing in payment technologies – principally whether there is adequate customer demand. When agreeing terms with new payment providers, it is important that merchants ensure they are futureproofed, and that the new payment provider agrees to upgrade the equipment to the latest technology at no cost to the merchant. At the very least, every merchant should offer Chip and PIN, as it is one payment technology that has more than proved its worth. With so many customers expecting cash to eventually die out, businesses can’t afford to ignore the different payment options. Clive Kahn is CEO of CardSave, provider of card payment solutions for small businesses Contact: cardsave.net

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Focus on money PE VS VC

Strange bedfellows… Can private equity and venture capital work together? Nick Hazell and Simon Walker, partners at international law firm, Taylor Wessing discussed how they make the perfect partners, post credit crunch istorically, the paths of private equity and venture capital investors rarely crossed. They worked in parallel spheres, targeting different companies in different sectors and at different stages in their development. However, one of the consequences of the global financial crisis for the investment community has been the real possibility of private equity and venture capital investors becoming direct competitors, or perhaps even co-investing in the growth capital space.


Before the world changed The typical target for venture capital investment has traditionally been an earlystage or start-up company with the potential for significant growth, but where revenues are not sufficient to support working capital needs. By investing the money (typically £15-£20m over two to three rounds) at an early stage, where the operating company’s valuation is relatively low, VCs hope

that their investments will grow rapidly and deliver large gains on ultimate exit. As a result, VC investments have tended to be concentrated in the technology, cleantech or life sciences sectors – areas with the most potential for dramatic growth. By contrast, private equity investment has tended to focus on mature companies. The PE business model, typically investing more than £25m for majority control, had, prior to the crisis, traditionally relied on the availability of large amounts of debt. Greater leverage means a smaller proportion of a fund’s own money is needed to acquire the operating target. The importance of high levels of leverage has meant that PE targets have to be mature operating companies with solid trading histories, regular cash flow and sufficient assets to persuade a bank to lend. As a result, there has generally been minimal focus among PE funds on the technology, cleantech or life sciences sectors to date.

There are new advantages opening up to VC and PE investors willing to work together

Then and now Compared to a start-up company that has the potential for growth in the long run, but is currently generating little or no profit during a recession, businesses with strong revenue growth are perceived to be a lot less of a risk. Therefore, even though backing such companies requires a higher initial investment, it is, in a sense, money better employed thanks to the greatly reduced risk. As a result, the venture capital community has been moving towards a preference for late, or at least later stage, deals. On the other hand, barriers that have traditionally stopped PE funds from investing in predominantly VC-backed sectors, such as technology, are gradually being removed. It is increasingly apparent that there are a number of technology companies now maturing beyond their earlier, riskier development stages,

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Focus on money PE VS VC

generating good revenues, consistent cash flow and delivering on proven business models, that still offer room for significant growth. In the light of continuing limitations on the availability of debt, these companies may offer the potential for generating returns that may no longer be available from traditional PE industry sectors. In fact, a recent report by accounting firm Grant Thornton found that more than half (58%) of UK private equity and venture capitalists anticipate that the volume of private equity investment in the technology sector is likely to increase over the next two years, with cloud and managed services seen as the most attractive sub sectors. Working together Converging on similar sectors, and forced by economic imperatives to seek out companies at a similar stage of development, VC and PE funds suddenly find themselves in competition with each other. However, there is scope for cooperation as well as competition. Established VC and PE business models may differ greatly on a number of fronts: sector focus, transaction

There is scope for cooperation as well as competition

structures, management incentives and levels of control. However, there are also some similarities. For example, levels of control required by VC and PE investors seem a lot more different at first glance than they tend to be in practice. VC transactions will usually be structured so that the founders of the business retain, initially at least, a significant, and sometimes the majority, shareholding. As a rule, a PE fund acquiring an operating company will almost always require a majority shareholding stake so that it has shareholder control. In reality though, despite the difference in the percentage of the target company held by VC and PE funds, the level of control is not that different; both will typically have the benefit of veto rights over any material decisions by the target company or its management. The continuing credit squeeze means that there are new advantages opening up to VC and PE investors willing to work together. From a private equity perspective, now that acquisition finance is significantly harder to come by

and risk management is a prime consideration for everyone, co-investing with VC funds offers the ability to spread risk through syndication. Meanwhile, VC funds looking to invest in late-stage deals may find a shortage of VC partners available. Conclusions The differences between VC and PE investment models are undeniable, yet it is evident that they are converging due to the changes imposed by the ongoing recession. As investors are forced to reconsider their strategies, to select the safest investments, private equity looks at sectors previously dominated by venture capital, whereas the VC community gravitates towards late-stage deals. A number of funds that worked in parallel realities until recently now find themselves in direct competition with each other. Competition, however, is not the only possibility. In some cases there are also advantages to VC and PE funds co-investing, and a mutual interest in that area is certainly noticeable. Nick Hazell heads the private equity team at Taylor Wessing LLP. He has represented a number of turnaround and buyout funds on their investments in the UK and internationally. Simon Walker is a partner at Taylor Wessing LLP. He specialises in advising those involved in the technology, cleantech and life sciences sectors, and has advised on a broad range of venture capital investments and M&A transactions. Contact: taylorwessing.com

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Focus on money SHARE OPTIONS

Share the wealth Join us as we take a tour through the confusing realm of tax efficient employee option schemes with John Leyden, director of Carbon Accountancy

elcome to the minefield of share options. The information below is based on tax rates effective from 6 April 2013 – that way it is hopefully relevant to you. If you have options, which you think may be affected by tax before then, you should consult a tax adviser just in case. I shall start by asking you a question – would you rather pay tax at a rate of 10%, 28% or 53.4%? Stupid question I know, but how your share options are structured will dictate the rate of tax you pay – you probably won’t be given a choice.


What are share options? A share option is simply an option to acquire a share at a future point in time, at a price that is set now. Share options relating to employment are granted to employees, say, after their first year of employment (when they have proved themselves), but they won’t be exercisable until some point later – maybe 25% of the options will be exercisable each year for the following four years. Provided the option exercise price is at least market price when the option was issued, you do not pay tax when you exercise the option – you pay tax when you sell the shares after exercising them. How are options structured? The tax will depend on how the share options are structured when they are granted. There

are basically two types of structure – approved and unapproved share options. Unapproved share options are options, which have been granted where HMRC has not approved them at the time of the grant of the options. These will generally be options in large quoted companies – FTSE 100 companies often incentivise their staff with large option awards. Approved share options are options which have been granted where HMRC has approved them at the time of the grant. These will generally be issued under an enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme. There are restrictions on the size and type of companies that can obtain approval – typically small trading companies will qualify, while large companies and companies that operate in the financial services, investment and property sectors will generally not qualify.

from the resulting net profit. Example (assuming a higher rate tax payer), you make a profit of £113,800 on the sale of the shares after exercising the options.

Proceeds Less employers’  NI Net  profit Income  tax  at  45% Employees’  National  Insurance  at  2% After  tax  profit Effective  tax  rate

How are options taxed? There are three possible tax regimes that apply to the majority of people with options: • Unapproved share options The profit you make on unapproved share options is taxed as income. Usually the company granting the option will require the employee to pay the employers’ National Insurance from the profit and then deduct income tax and employee’s National Insurance

Ensure you issue EMI scheme options if you can – putting a scheme in place is highly tax efficient

£ 113800 -­‐13800 -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐ 100000 -­‐45000 -­‐2000 -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐ 53000 ===== 0.534

• Approved EMI options in a former employer company The profit you make on approved share options is taxed as a capital gain. If you have left the company, then you will pay tax at 28% on all profits above your annual tax free amount. Assuming the taxpayer has used up the tax free allowance, the tax on a profit of £113,800 will be £31,864, leaving £81,936 after tax – he is £28,936 better off with approved share options. • Approved EMI options in your current employer company The profit you make on unapproved share options is taxed as a capital gain. If you are still in the employment of

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Focus on money SHARE OPTIONS


the company, then you will pay tax at 10% on all profits above your annual tax free amount – you can claim entrepreneur’s relief providing you were granted the options at least one year before you sell the shares. Assuming the taxpayer has used up the tax free allowance, the tax on a profit of £113,800 will be £11,380, leaving £102,420 after tax – he is £49,420 better off with approved share options.

How does this affect me? If your company is considering offering employees share options, then ensure you issue EMI scheme options if you can – putting a scheme in place is highly tax efficient for your employees. If you are an employee being offered share options, then find out if they are EMI scheme options and, if not, ask whether the company has considered them.

Would you rather pay tax at a rate of 10%, 28% or 53.4%?

John Leyden is director of Carbon Accountancy, a company that offers a full accountancy service, including bookkeeping, audits, company accounts and tax services, VAT advice and more. It works with small businesses as well as major international corporations, and makes sure that its clients receive straightforward language and easy to understand advice. Contact: carbonaccountancy.co.uk talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 45

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Focus on money START-UP LOANS

A day in the life …

am Amrani, 22, is the co-founder of TAMOCO. He and partner, Max Birner received a StartUp Loan to develop their international business, which brings previously inanimate adverts to life with NFC


Dear diary… When I’m up and ready I check my emails, and catch up on news while eating breakfast. On my journey to the office I prepare for meetings and check my schedule. I also make time for Twitter updates and have a flick through the LinkedIn feed.


At the office we have our team briefing. My co-founder, Max Birner and I have now recruited 11 members of staff. Our staff are busy from 9am to10am making their first sales calls.


My first conference call of the day is with one of the UK’s largest pub chains, which is interested in using NFC technology to connect with, and understand more about, its customers. Afterwards, I sit down with our creative team to develop new images for our website and interactive posters to showcase the many uses of NFC. Later, we have lunch as a team. This enables me to understand how their days are going and make sure they have everything they need.


Max and I leave the office to go to a meeting with a large drinks manufacturer to discuss how we can work


together and help promote its products using NFC. On the way to our next meeting, we debrief. The next meeting is with a global media agency, who we introduce our product to. They do not currently have any NFCbased initiatives and find the proposition compelling. The platform demonstration went well, and we have a follow-up next week. Back at the office, I’m checking emails when there’s a call from our Copenhagen office asking us to send over more tags, in preparation for an upcoming meeting with a large hardware chain.


After a development call with a consumer electronics brand in Latin America, it’s time for the last meeting of the day. One of the vice-presidents from a large network in the Middle East is visiting London and I managed to get some time with him to introduce TAMOCO.


Now it’s time for a working dinner. As usual I’ve got a long night ahead, as I’m programming tags for a campaign with an estate agent, going live in just two days. It’s all hands on deck before catching the penultimate train home at midnight.


I’m still awake and on the phone with our software developer, based in Seattle, to accommodate the huge eight-hour time difference. We need to work


This month it’s all about B2C interaction as we peek into the life of Sam Amrani, co-founder and executive chairman of the tag mobile company, TAMOCO

In Profile > Entrepreneur: Sam Amrani > Business: TAMOCO > Web: www.tamo.co > Concept: A portal that bridges the world between digital and physical platforms by allowing B2C organisations to interact with customers, using customised, geolocationbased advertising and function-based Near Field Communication (NFC) campaigns > Start-Up Loan: £5,000 on finalising our time-based and tap-based dynamic content tool, allowing content to change automatically based on the time of day or number of taps that tag has received. My day is done. It’s time to catch some sleep and get ready for another long day tomorrow. Amazingly, I am not tired, it never actually feels like work; it’s all good fun.


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Before you sign on the dotted line …

Finally, if a nonemployee creates your website or software for your company, check whether you actually own the copyright

All business owners will exit their company at some point, NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers says. Whatever the reason; make it profitable with her legal tips mentor once told me that all business owners will exit their business; it will either be intentional and predictable, for example through a sale or retirement, or it will be unintentional, through an untimely death. Whatever the reason, if you are a business owner and you haven’t yet considered your exit plan, then below are legal nuggets that may add value to your business on an exit:


Contracts and clients At a recent business sales master class, Rob Goddard of Evolution CBS told us that the number one reason for a company wanting to purchase another business is for a strong client base. Therefore, you need to ensure that all client agreements are consistently signed, either physically or electronically, and stored in a secure and systematic way, either on paper or online. You should also make sure that any standard customer terms and conditions are regularly reviewed by your team in line with changes to your business.

Intellectual property rights If you do intend to sell your business, then it’s worth looking into whether you can register any trademarks, patents or design rights, since these tend to increase the value of the business. In addition, your business plan, business model or any specific trade secrets vital to the running of your business will be a unique selling point. You will want to remember to sign, store and enforce any non-disclosure agreements with workers and suppliers, and ensure that only key staff members have access to certain confidential information. Finally, if a non-employee creates your website or software for your company, check whether you actually own the copyright. If no agreement is in place then the copyright (or the website domain) may be owned by your web designer. Legal and tax planning Get a tax expert and sales broker on board early to prevent unnecessary delays. Speak with tax advisors to assess the capital gains

implications of any purchase transaction as early as two years in advance of the sale. A good lawyer will be able to support in putting all contracts and registrations in place as you build your business, so hopefully there are no surprises when you come to sell. Progress, not perfection A business for sale can be more valuable as a work in progress; indeed some weaknesses (depending on their nature) are useful to demonstrate an opportunity for growth. Although you’ll want the systems, processes and procedures in place, you can leave some room for improvement. If you want to learn more about exit strategy then come to our event, Building For Exit: A Business Owner’s Guide to Grants, Getting Investment and Grasping the Law, in September. Visit planningforbusinessexit. eventbrite.com for more information. Contact: navistarlegal.com Twitter @NaviStar

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mARKETING Ride it out

Buckle up, says Rich With. Don’t be scared of white knuckles – it’s time to take those steps onto the marketing ride t an exhibition recently, one young chap dumbfounded me. When I asked him how he was going to get customers for his new start-up, he had some whimsical notion that this would happen “organically”, that packs of customers desperate for his services would find their path to his door. My mouth was ready to catch flies. If you are reading this magazine, you take your business seriously and think about ways to improve it, including marketing. You’ve figured it’s worth spending a grand if it gets you two back. But you’d be surprised at how many business owners don’t bother. They’ve resigned themselves to coasting along. There’s a phrase that keeps buzzing around my head “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, and it’s so true. Like lab rats at a food dispenser, they keep putting the same ad in the same publication, using the same keywords on Google, or expecting their website they had five years ago to engage their clients today. The business world is evolving at such a rate, there’s no time to be frightened – you have to buckle up and jump on the ride.


Communicate regularly It’s not your customers job to remember you – it’s up to you to remind them. Never has there been a better time to start a business, the Internet has made everything available at the touch of a button. Web design, copywriters, video experts and social media is available to everyone. The playing field is balanced in favour of small, nimble brands that can swiftly adapt and seize multiple opportunities. Small, but perfectly formed For many of us, our business would be transformed by gaining just an extra 10 regular customers. So why are we wasting time getting “likes” from random friends of friends on Facebook? Who is your product targeted at? What do they do? What do the like? Do your research. Then you’ll know where to place your brand and marketing so they see it. Keep it personal Target select customers with some personalised content tailored just for them. I’m not just talking about just their name, but pictures, music - you need to find out what makes your customers tick. Send them tailored content that will make them remember you.

The business world is evolving at such a rate there’s no time to be frightened – you have to buckle up and jump on the ride

Your website needs to be responsive How much of the traffic you receive to your website is accessed via a tablet or smartphone? If you don’t know, take a gander at your Google analytics. The proportion is sizeable, and is only set to grow. There are situations when a mobile site would be beneficial, but by and large you might be better off with a responsive site (one that automatically resizes itself to whichever device it’s being viewed on). Do it now before your rivals do. So go - craft an email, video or create an avatar of your ideal customer. All aboard the marketing ride.

Contact: gohoot.co.uk talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 51

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25/06/2013 14:51

Focus on strategy STRATEGY MISTAKES

Comedy of errors The seven mistakes entrepreneurs make that can kill their business: profitable growth specialist, Hilary Briggs warns against these strategy errors, which could spell disaster

s a business starts to grow, it’s crucial that your actions don’t strangle it in its infancy. By avoiding the mistakes that so many business owners make, you have a far greater chance of succeeding beyond the first two years. Hilary Briggs is a profitable growth specialist with more than 20 years of industrial experience, having held senior management positions at Rover Group, Whirlpool Corporation and The Laird Group. In her experience working with many business owners from a variety of sectors, she has identified seven key mistakes that business owners make again and again, that often lead to the death of their company:


1. One man band Many business owners fall into the trap of trying to do too much themselves, as they attempt to keep their costs to a minimum.

But ultimately, it can mean you get bogged down in day-to-day issues and fire-fighting. Many business owners kid themselves that everything is OK and only start to hire staff or outsource when the cracks are beginning to show. By then it can already be too late. 2. Lack of skills Many businesses are founded because the owner is good at something and enjoys doing it. What they forget is that a business requires many skills, like marketing and handling cash flow. As it grows, you’ll also need to develop systems and procedures, and perhaps even deal with internal politics. So learn to recognise where your skills and knowledge fall short, and take action to remedy this gap in your business. 3. Growing too quickly Typically, the owner’s passion and belief in the business is very

high, and sales come in. So, they gear up by expanding staff and premises – only to have to cut back as the sales increase turned out to be just a blip. Make sure you plan for any expansion – often business owners fail to do this. They celebrate the increase in business and then blame the banks for pulling the plug just when things were picking up. Many business The reality is; you need to sit owners refuse down with your bank manager and discuss the need for funding to face their several months in advance, to fears and avoid any panic requests.


4. No sounding board Many new businesses are too small to have a proper board or even a non executive director. Some issues are not appropriate to talk to staff about, and often partners and friends just don’t get it – and advisors may have only a narrow focus. So business owners end up in a silo on their own. This can be

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Focus on strategy STRATEGY MISTAKES

very damaging. Talking things through with others is important, as it may yield new perspectives – both positive and negative. 5. The wrong people It’s great if you’ve recognised and acted on the need to bring in external people; however, many business owners hire in their own image. This means the gaps in skills and knowledge are not filled. It’s also common for the recruitment to be left until the last minute (to save costs), and so a rush decision is made. It’s easy to rely on friends and family – who may be good enough in the early stages – but in the longer term they can be a constraint, and a very tricky problem to deal with later on. So before you hire anyone (staff or consultants), find out; how much real world experience do they have? Is it relevant to what you need? Are their skills and experience complementary to yours? Do they know their own limits? What networks and contacts do they bring? Will they let you talk to their clients to get a feel for how they work? Make sure you are comfortable with all these areas before committing yourself. 6. Lack of self awareness Many business owners refuse to face their fears and insecurities, often because they don’t want to appear stupid or expose a lack of knowledge. They don’t trust other people and want to hold onto everything themselves because they believe no one can do it as well as they can. They have a lack of awareness of their own personality, of their strengths and weaknesses, and their impact on others. Ultimately this means they are less able to build an appropriate team around them.

Recognise where your skills and knowledge fall short, and take action 7. Staying in the comfort zone to remedy It’s easy to stick with people you know and understand. But there’s this gap one downside: who’s challenging

you and testing your thinking? While it may well be uncomfortable to do this, it’s better than experiencing the discomfort of a major problem in the business because no one around you had the courage to be honest. Plan of action By avoiding, at least to some degree, these mistakes, your

business has a far greater chance of not just surviving, but thriving. Take a look at each of these areas and ask yourself some tough questions; and be honest. Your answers and any resulting actions you take could make all the difference to your future wealth and happiness. Contact: hilarybriggs.co.uk

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25/06/2013 14:54


Keeping Your When does a social media contact belong to your business? Andrew Lightburn, associate at hlw Keeble Hawson, reveals how you can stop rivals getting hold of your data Where social media is used for business purposes, it is essential to safeguard the ownership of contacts when the employee handling the account moves on. Employment law specialist, Andrew Lightburn, associate at hlw Keeble Hawson, explains how companies can avoid valuable data being transferred to a rival. Â s businesses strive to keep abreast of the rapidly changing social media trends and their impact on trading, the issue of who actually owns contacts and followers should not be neglected. Many companies encourage staff to market their services informally, by operating Twitter accounts centred around their jobs or about issues affecting their sector. Such accounts can quickly attract hundreds, even thousands of fans and followers, creating a very valuable marketing commodity, but what happens if the individual leaves the company? In the case of LinkedIn, although accounts can only be registered by an individual and not a company, there is little


doubt that the person’s job role will have helped them establish many of their contacts. Indeed, invitations to form a connection may have been sent via the email addresses stored within a workplace account. If the employee leaves, the company is entitled to demand that such contacts are deleted from the account. Of course, employees may disagree and this thorny issue has yet to come to trial in the UK. There are, however, clues as to how the first case will

The overriding principle is that contacts derived from employment belong to the employer

be decided. The law is likely to separate out ownership of a LinkedIn account from the ownership of the connections it contains. This is because the account is set up under a contract between the employee and LinkedIn, so as a third party, the employer cannot compel the employee to reveal the password or login details. However, the employer is likely to succeed in claiming ownership of contact details if it can prove that they amount to confidential information,

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which was obtained from the company’s database. This is because the database is protected in law as an asset of the company. An existing judgement in the English courts makes the situation much clearer over contacts within email accounts. It was decided that, where an employee keeps his or her contacts in their employer’s Outlook system, backed up on the employer’s server, the contact list will belong to the employer. This includes employees’ own contacts that had been obtained before joining the company. The overriding principle is that contacts derived from employment belong to the employer – whether within a LinkedIn account, an email folder or in hard copy – and they should be handed back when an employee leaves. With LinkedIn, the only way to

Even a technologysavvy organisation such as the BBC, has struggled to keep pace with developments

do this is for the employee to delete the relevant connections from his or her profile. The ownership of Twitter followers is more of a grey area, and employment lawyers will be watching legal developments closely. Even a technologysavvy organisation such as the BBC, has struggled to keep pace with developments, and was badly caught out last year when its well-known political journalist, Laura Kuenssberg left to take up a new position at ITV News. After amassing more than 60,000 followers on her BBC-branded Twitter account, she was able to take them with her simply by changing its name from @bbclaurak to @itvlaurak. How many of those followers had been attracted by the prestige and prominence of the BBC? A reasonable guess would be quite a few. Nevertheless, as the BBC had no provision within its social

media policy establishing ownership of Twitter followers, the organisation could do nothing to stop her. This case is a valuable reminder that employers should review employment contracts to ensure that they include robust confidential information clauses, including policies on contacts built up within LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook sites. This information should be emphasised by regular refresher sessions, at which employees are reminded of the policy relating to contacts made as a result of their role within the company. This message should be repeated when an employee leaves, and he or she should be asked to delete any relevant contacts and LinkedIn profiles, and to sign a declaration confirming that this has been done. With offices in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster, hlw Keeble Hawson is one of the region’s biggest law firms.  The firm is described by Legal 500 as a ‘key player in the South Yorkshire market’ and ‘with rave reviews for client service… streets ahead of many others.’ Highly regarded and with more than 200 years of history, experienced commercial and private client teams provide the very best support, guidance and technical advice to entrepreneurs, SMEs and individuals. In 2012 hlw Keeble Hawson acted for seven of the Top 30 Rapid Growth Companies and 36 of the Top 100 SMEs in South Yorkshire, and was commissioned to act for Harworth Estates in an awardwinning deal when RollsRoyce invested £11m in the new enterprise zone at South Yorkshire’s flagship Advanced Manufacturing Park. Contact: hlwkeeblehawson.co.uk

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WHY THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A NEED FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL 2012 was yet another year of global economic uncertainty and so far 2013 looks set to continue along the same path. The UK has narrowly avoided a triple dip recession and economic growth in the eurozone remains weak. Even China and India, whilst still burgeoning markets, experienced a slowdown in growth rates last year. But business travel is a barometer for economy and company executives are continuing to travel despite tighter budgets, despite developments in virtual meetings technology, and despite growing environmental concerns. Business travel is integral to international trade. These journeys create the deals and sustain the relationships that enable our economy to grow. Research shows that business travel improves corporate productivity yielding a return on investment of 10:1. No amount of video-conferencing will ever replace face-to-face meetings entirely. Indeed business travellers reckon, around 50 per cent of prospective customers are converted to new customers with an in-person meeting against 31 per cent without such a meeting. Our growing longevity also means that the number of over 50s expecting to work beyond retirement age has increased by 43% over the last two years. While the most common age of business travellers currently is 25 to 34 years old, there is a second peak among the older generation. Around 45% of business travellers aged 45 to 54 flew on business at some point last year. It’s also worth noting that business travel is not the biggest culprit when it comes to producing carbon emissions – aviation produces around 650 million tonnes per annum, compared with 30 billion tonnes emitted globally each year by burning fossil fuels. All of which means that company executives are not going to cut back on business trips any time soon. If anything their travel will increase as new markets emerge around the world.

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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 4 July networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). Thurs 4th July 12.30-2.30pm

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25/06/2013 14:57

Focus on strategy FLEXIBILITY

The flexible approach

Are you reaping the rewards of a more flexible business? Peter Boucher, enterprise marketing director for Vodafone UK, tells us why agility is key to winning more custom igures show the UK economy shrank by around 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012. What’s more, it is not expected to grow significantly in 2013. As a result, confidence remains low among many businesses as they fail to see an end in sight to the current economic difficulties. Despite this, there remains significant opportunity for those businesses which are agile enough to respond to this turbulent and ever-changing business environment. In our experience, many companies – particularly smaller businesses, that so often see opportunity where larger competitors only see risk – are talking about ‘adapting to survive’. By introducing new and better ways of working, these companies are managing to remain profitable even in the face of increasing overheads and squeezed margins. At their root, these better ways of working mean focusing on greater flexibility at all levels of the business. Whether in a back-office HR role or on the front line dealing with clients, businesses can reap the benefits of embracing this new approach. One area where greater flexibility is paying dividends is customer service. Industry analyst, Ovum estimates that every year UK companies lose about £15bn as a result of bad customer service. Conversely, 80% of consumers say they


spend more with companies where they’ve experienced good customer service. What’s more, with customers expecting a quicker response than ever and with the impatient generations Y and Z now expecting instant gratification; agility and responsiveness are a must. This has only been amplified by the rise of social media. Ultimately, greater flexibility can help keep these customers happy and consequently keep businesses afloat. For example, by equipping staff with mobile technology and enabling employees to work from any place at any time, rather than having to return to the office to work, staff can reply quickly and efficiently to customer queries and respond to emerging business situations. This ability to respond quickly can often mean the difference between losing or gaining customers, especially in what remains a buyer’s market. One example of this is Think Drinks, a small soft drinks company serving pubs and restaurants, which has been able to steal a march on its larger competitors. By linking smartphones to office applications and using cloud computing technology, customers who have a fault or issue can get through to an engineer straight away. The issue is often fixed within a few hours or less. By contrast, its

This ability to respond quickly can often mean the difference between losing or gaining customers

larger competitors have a longer process where customer calls are logged via an oversubscribed call centre, which can often be much more time-consuming. The company has recently won large contracts with national restaurant chains as a result of its flexible approach to customer service and ability to turn customer calls round extremely quickly. While the economy remains in dire straits, many businesses will continue to struggle. However, those that are willing to embrace change, adopt mobile technology, and implement new and better ways of working will take advantage of the uncertainty. When it comes to customer service, a more flexible approach can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

Contact: vodafone.co.uk/business

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Hitting the back of the net: sales author, coach and motivational speaker, Adam Caplan talks to us about reaching goals the SMART way

ave you ever thought about how you can reverse engineer your business based on what you want to achieve? This is a simple exercise, which, if you follow your plan to the letter, will enable you to reach any goal. The first task in the reverse engineering process is to decide what you want to achieve. It sounds obvious, but too many businesses ignore this simple and important aspect of sales and business. Goals help motivate you and keep you on track. Setting yourself goals is an important part of achieving more. Not setting goals is the equivalent of an archer wearing a blindfold or a footballer taking a penalty with his feet tied. How successful will they be in hitting the target? Or getting anywhere near it, for that matter? Whether they’re long or short-term, setting goals means you accomplish more. If you want to be a great salesperson, you need to become a goal making machine.


Not setting goals is the equivalent of an archer wearing a blindfold or a footballer taking a penalty with his feet tied

To make goals work for you, you need to consider the formal goal setting process, which goes by the acronym SMART. By setting SMART goals you’ll start to generate a feeling of success. This feeling is a powerful force, and you’ll be smashing that football into the back of the net.


You might consider criticism and praise from others as externally motivating forces, but you need to also create a forum within yourself, and offer yourself praise as well as criticism, and setting goals helps this.

pecific _____________

If our goals are generalised we may not be able to visualise them, and if we can’t see them, we won’t reach them. We need to define them in as much detail as we can. Here’s an example; “This year, I wish to earn an extra £20,000 in commission. I want to do this quarterly, so I

will need to earn £5,000 per quarter.” Now ask yourself, what you need to do to earn that £5,000. How many sales do you need to make? How many calls do you need to make per sale, per decision maker, and so on. The more you define it, the greater the odds of the goal being realised.

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___easurable __________

Having set a goal, we then need to know when we’ve achieved it, and measure it. With the sales goal, all you’d need to know is what your starting point is to earn commission, and know what sales you need to achieve to make that goal a reality.


You would then be able to monitor yourself regularly to see that you are moving towards the completion of your goal. This in itself is very motivating and will keep you focused. It will also remind you of how far you’ve come, which keeps you on track.

___________ __ttainable

We might think that we should set high targets for ourselves; however, if we set unatainable goals, we could get discouraged and give up. High achievers know this, and regularly set themselves goals that are both attainable and enable growth. Once that goal is achieved they


set another to stretch them further. They’ll have short, medium and longterm goals. It’s all about climbing the mountain one foot at a time. In our sales target example, earning £5,000 commission should be attainable. If it was earning £5,000 commission in one week, is this really attainable?

elevant _________ ____

Any goal you set has to be relevant and important to you, otherwise it will soon be forgotten about. You might see R standing for Realistic in some places, however this is incorrect. There are plenty of goals that I’ve

achieved that others have said were not realistic! Was it realistic for man to go to the moon? We have to stretch ourselves. Our sales target example illustrates this well. If you want to earn more money, this becomes very relevant.



All goals need a deadline, otherwise they are nothing but dreams. Setting a

deadline to your sales target means that you have plenty of focus to achieve it.

Focus on strategy GOAL GETTING

Have you ever had an internal monologue with yourself, saying something along the lines of “that was a silly thing to do” or “I’m annoyed at myself”? On the flip side, you should also congratulate yourself with a hearty internal “well done”. Motivating yourself by praising your accomplishments will make you want to do more, work harder and you’ll subsequently have more fun, as you’ll see more opportunities and possibilities. Demotivating yourself by constant self-criticism puts you in a very negative frame of mind. If you set SMART goals and achieve them, you afford yourself the opportunity to praise yourself for achieving the goal. If you get into the habit of self-praising, you’re generating positive thoughts and attitudes. I always use SMART goals in sales and business, but they can be used for anything from giving up smoking to learning a new sports skill. This is exactly how I run my business and one of the reasons it’s so successful. For more helpful hints, I have a free DVD to give away to all readers of Talk Business. Simply drop me an email at adam@ cellularattitude.co.uk to receive one. I look forward to seeing you soon. 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. He provides pre-trained sales staff to businesses as well as delivering his unique brand of sales training.

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Focus on strategy EMAIL MISTAKES

Email fail SendGrid gives us a run down of the six biggest mistakes businesses make when sending email s companies charge through the financial year with new business plans and goals, more often than not, owners are unaware of the potentially critical mistakes they made in 2012 – especially when it comes to sending email.   We see a lot of businesses making the same common mistakes, which are hindering the success of their email programmes. Email is arguably the most direct way of communicating with customers for many entrepreneurs today, and failure to do this well, can damage business reputation permanently. And what can loss of good reputation lead to? A big loss in revenue. With that in mind, we have provided some best practice email tips for the future that you should be implementing today.


 Personalising emails is effective when building trust with your current customers. It will also separate your emails from your competitors’, many of whom are looking to blast their emails to as many people as possible. It’s a mistake to think this will be effective if your email is simply addressed “Dear customer”. People like to feel special, not simply one of many. Spell check
 It might seem obvious, but it is actually surprising how often organisations ignore

spelling and grammar. Spelling mistakes make you look highly unprofessional and very lazy – two things that will encourage your customers to flag your emails as spam. The automated spell check tools won’t pick up everything. Always read through emails before sending. Monitoring
 It is no longer optional to monitor emails, it should be second nature. Monitoring delivery should be done on a daily basis. You need to identify and prevent failures, or you run the risk of wasting time, and losing revenue. We recommend adopting a cloud-based email platform that will help to monitor your emails quickly and efficiently. This will save you valuable time and help to drive the value of your business. Remove unresponsive customers ISPs use engagement metrics to help determine how effective your emails are to your recipients, so it is in your best interests to send emails to active subscribers. Delete unengaged subscribers from your lists. If they haven’t responded in 60 days, either remove them completely or put them into a re-engagement list. Test, test, test
 Although many organisations send mistake-free emails, this doesn’t mean they are working efficiently.

Spelling mistakes make you look highly unprofessional and very lazy

Test different offers to see if you can improve results by focusing on the most successful options. Constantly testing different routes to optimise your user base will produce a better email ROI. Optimise transactional emails
 Many marketers don’t realise that transactional emails - like purchase receipts, shipping confirmations and friend requests - have a much higher engagement with customers than traditional marketing and sales messages. Sharp marketers can take advantage of this with properly placed key messages that customers are sure to notice. Contact: sendgrid.com talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 65

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STOP THE CLOCK Are you wasting your time? Kimberley Davis says time is your most important asset. Here she tells you how to make the most of your minutes ime is the most valuable thing on this planet. But are you wasting your most important asset on the wrong things for your business? If you answered “yes”, you’re not alone. Most business owners are going through the same thing. If you’re ready maximise your time, and concentrate on the things that really matter, follow these tips:

Who is ready to buy? Who is going to spend a substantial amount of money in your business? These are the people who should have access to your time. As for the rest… find a way to speak to many people at once. Whether it’s webinars, emails, or your website; there are plenty of ways to build an audience so that you can pitch just one time, to many people.


Stop meeting every prospect one-to-one So many businesses waste endless hours meeting potential clients over coffee. They spend an hour pitching their services, building the relationship and trying to close the deal, only to learn that that person has no budget, went with someone cheaper, or took your ideas and decided to implement them in-house. Even worse, you spend endless hours pitching and planning to get the business and it only brings you a small fee that won’t even cover your costs and time. I’m not suggesting you should never set up a meeting, I’m simply recommending that you pick and choose who is worth your time.

But when it comes to your time, because you can’t see it, you are less inclined to charge for it

Don’t pitch for business Do you really want to apply for that Government job or grant? While I have no doubt that many of these grants and positions help companies, there are thousands of applicants per position, so the opportunities are few and far between. The application process can take months of your valuable time, and even if you do get the contract, it’s not secure. It would be much better to focus on creating an independent company with a consistent marketing to sales funnel, so you can call the shots and keep the business growing. Charge for your time Many businesses think it’s normal to sacrifice endless hours working for free. However, if you were creating

a tangible object and there were fees involved in producing this item, you’d be sure to pass on the expense. But when it comes to your time, because you can’t see it, you are less inclined to charge for it. Why? Every minute you spend on the business should be billable. You don’t need to itemise all of these items on a bill to your clients, but it should be included in your pricing. Many businesses, when they do the numbers, realise this too late. It’s only after all the time is lost, they realise they greatly undervalued their products and services, and now have nothing to show for it.

Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing. To find out more about Kimberly’s Complete Marketing Magnetism System™ and how to stop wasting valuable time, visit her website. Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com

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Out in

the cold

Sales expert, Andy Preston explains what steps you and your team need to take to get more appointments from cold calls ere I have listed seven tips for getting more appointments from your cold calls. Study them and pin this article up somewhere visible to make sure that you implement them. Make the techniques work for you, and I promise you’ll see a marked difference in your sales figures...


1. Stop thinking cold calling is dead There are a number of so-called experts out there saying that cold calling doesn’t work, that it’s dead and so on – but they’re wrong. Cold calling is still one of the best and most effective ways of getting new business, and it is far from dead. It has changed, yes, but it’s growing and is an area that continues to evolve. You need to be on top of what’s changing in order to stay ahead of the game and your competition. 2. Stop asking stupid questions This is one of the things that loses you credibility, rapport and respect straight away on a sales call – but what do I

mean by “stupid” questions? This basically means asking about things they don’t want to disclose, asking about things your competitors will also ask about, and asking questions that have no value for the recipient of the call. Questions such as: ‘When is your contract up for renewal?’, ‘How much do you currently pay’ and my personal favourite, ‘What will it take to get your business?’ These are all real life examples of questions from sales calls I’ve observed in the past month. 3. Have a strong reason for calling This is another thing the average salesperson fails to do. The prize for worst ever call reason goes to someone who I once heard say: ‘The reason for the call is to find out when your contract is up for renewal.’ Brilliant. Abject failure to understand tip number two! Your ability to grab your prospect’s attention is a major factor in whether you get a little more time on the call – and an important part of that is having a strong call reason.

Prospects can hear confidence and belief in your voice, and they notice when it’s missing

4. Call with confidence This part is often missing – particularly if the salespeople concerned are calling over a period of more than an hour. If they’re not careful, their motivation can drop off over time, and their confidence and belief can be affected in a negative way by just one bad call. Prospects can hear confidence and belief in your voice, and they notice when it’s missing. You need to persuade people to buy into you and what you offer. They need to have faith in you and trust that you know what you’re talking about. But if you don’t have strong belief and confidence, they won’t do either. Here’s an example of how vital this area is; I worked with an internal sales team last week whose role it is to get appointments for their field sales colleagues. Purely focusing on motivation, confidence and belief, we achieved a 60% increase in appointments. Note: I didn’t change anything about what they said, just their motivation, confidence and belief.

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5. Do some preparation It often astounds me how little preparation the average salesperson does. Like I mentioned above, cold calling is evolving, and you need to evolve with it to give yourself a good chance of success. No longer can you call companies with a name of the person you’re trying to reach and have a good success rate in terms of getting through to them, or getting appointments with them. The minimum preparation you should be doing prior to a call is to get the name of the decision maker, direct phone number and email where appropriate, an idea of your call reason and what you’re going to say, likely objections and how you’re going to handle them, plus access to your diary to book those appointments in. Remember, you need to know exactly the date and time that you’re trying to make the appointment for before you start to close – otherwise you’re affecting your chances of success. 6. Focus your time If you’re starting any sort of calling session, whether it’s cold or warm calling, make sure you’re focused before you start. This means eliminating any distractions. Far too many salespeople allow themselves to get interrupted during calling sessions, which then has a negative impact on the results they get from them – which falsely leads some people to the conclusion that it doesn’t work for them or they’re no good at it. Interruptions would include things like colleagues talking to them, incoming phone calls, emails, making a drink and so on. Particularly if the salesperson isn’t enjoying the

If you’re going to start a calling session, make sure you’re focused on it

session, they’ll take advantage of the interruption, therefore ruining their chances of success in the calling session. If you’re going to start a calling session, make sure you’re focused on it, as well as the end result you want to achieve. 7. Create some energy Another big mistake the average salesperson makes is sounding bored and tired. Remember, when you’re making a phone call, your voice is all you have to persuade people, so you need to have energy and enthusiasm in your voice in order to persuade others. The longer the calling session goes on, the more you have to be careful of your energy levels dipping. Sometimes short breaks between focused calling sessions actually produce better results, as well as the salesperson managing their energy levels during the session. Remember – if you’re going to bother making a call, make it sound like a good one. Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar. I look forward to hearing how you get on. Contact: andypreston.com

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Focus on marketing CUSTOMER CARE

It’s not you, it’s me… Brands often spend a lot of time communicating how amazing they are, and blowing their own trumpet. Ashley Carr, founder of Neo PR, discusses why businesses should focus their efforts on making customers feel special t might seem like the right thing to do, but blowing one’s own trumpet really hard can often lead to disenfranchised customers and disinterested prospects. After all, it’s not about you is it? But therein lies the rub – we are taught in business from the very early years, that headlinegrabbing figures of growth, size, and market domination are all good things. In fact, The City literally demands to know your quarter-on-quarter performance and woe betide those who underperform. But too easily in this environment, companies can get caught up in the “me” and forget about the “you”. Do your customers really want to be repeatedly told of your success – to be bludgeoned by unrelenting news of your size in the market and how many users or systems you have sold? Will they flock to your banner if you give them your latest profitability and revenue figures and tell them how really well you are doing, enjoying the benefits of their custom? Or do they actually want to hear about how you are going to help them get to the next level; help them to grow


and flourish in their particular market? All the time you are monologuing, you could be missing out on having a dialogue over, say, social media. This is where talking to your market about their needs can set you apart from your competition, and from those people who are determined to win the contest about who has the most users or systems sold – or for that matter, bells and whistles on their product or services. Your customers want to hear that you understand their market – that you understand their problems. They will sit up and listen if you can identify with the issues and drivers in their space, but they’ll be positively ecstatic if you can demonstrate that you are proactively pursuing a programme of activity in your product or service that actively addresses those needs. Talking to your market about their market – otherwise known as thought leadership – is where you separate yourself from the gaggle of other suppliers in your space. Being prepared to stand up and be counted in recognising your

Do your customers really want to be repeatedly told of your success...?

customers’ issues and needs, and highlighting that you can do something to help, will elevate you to market leader status: not based on your size, but based on your reputation. Yes, there remains a place for talking of your successes – of proof points with customer stories and case studies – but this should be the undertone, not the main thrust of your messaging machine. A well prepared and executed campaign of thought leadership will attract the attention of the commentators in your industry; the journalists and analysts whose job it is to talk to the market about the market. Give these valuable contacts the material they need, making it easy for them by giving it to them in a timely and consumable manner, and you’ll steal the lion’s share of their coverage, getting even more people pointing at you as the perceived market leader. Not because you are biggest – but because you demonstrate you truly understand the market. Understanding, actually, it’s you, not me… Contact: neopr.co.uk

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Why isn’t Facebook working for your business? Using facebook for business has pretty much become the norm, and businesses far across the world are waking up to the fact that your business absolutely must be using social media in some form or another, even if the only reason is to not get left behind.

Don’t do this: Be boring

Only ever talk about yourself

Ignore negative comments

Yep, it’s raining again. We can all see that because at some point during the day we have either been outside or looked out of the window. And even if we haven’t, we’re really not that bothered, and it’s depressing.

I’m sure that your business is fantastic, and your latest special offer is blinding, and you’ve had such an amazing week, and you’re super excited about your next meeting, and you can’t believe you have such an amazing company and your blah blah blah blah blah…have you zoned out yet? Yep, so have your fans.

Think that you’re sweeping it under the rug? Ignore it and it’ll go away? Maybe, but do you want to risk it? Negative comments on Facebook are like the really good metaphor that I should be using here but can’t think of one. They spread when left to their own devices, and give the impression that you probably have something to hide.

Get too personal Had a long day? It’s good to put your feet up with a nice cuppa right? No one is going to deny that after a long day, it’s your absolute right to put your feet up with a steaming hot cup of tea, hey, throw some chocolate digestives in there and you’ve got a civilised one person party going down. But leave it off the Facebook page. You might offend the coffee drinkers.

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25/06/2013 15:00 14:55

Focus on marketing SOCIAL MARKETING

Bullseye How to drive SME growth through targeted social marketing: Liz Smyth, EMEA marketing director of Marketo, explains why modern-day marketing is a far more sophisticated affair than bombarding prospects he days of “spray and pray” marketing activities, involving mass emails to large volumes of untargeted prospects, have long gone – although no doubt it’s still considered a strategy for some. Like every other area of business, marketing has become much more sophisticated and accountable, thanks to the advancement and adoption of new technologies. Marketing today is much less of a black art, and much more about an applied discipline. And thanks to the latest technology developments, it’s now also possible to measure the amount of revenue contribution that marketing is delivering back to the organisation, including measuring the all-important power of social media. The majority of small businesses and start-ups typically adopt an email marketing strategy with basic drip nurturing and simple scoring. That’s a great first step, but why stop there? Even a small marketing department of one can adopt more sophisticated marketing campaigns, that drive lead generation efforts. The best ones integrate marketing automation with social marketing. There are three key considerations for harnessing social marketing to help drive new business:


Marketing today is much less of a black art, and much more about an applied discipline

Personal recommendation People trust what their friends and peers have to say about a company much more than they trust what the company has to say about itself. Understanding how to tap into the power of peer-to-peer influence, to amplify the reach and impact of every marketing campaign drives both lead generation and revenue growth. Thanks to the fluid and real-time nature of social media, we can build community engagement initiatives and develop content with the purpose of education and information; this helps to establish early relationships with prospects online and earn their trust, so that they want to learn more about us. Social strategy Social is more than just a channel or tactic; it is a strategy that should be present in every aspect of marketing. In the past, marketers have thought of social marketing primarily as listening, responding, and publishing social updates. Although those are important, the real promise of the social explosion for marketers isn’t about updating a corporate feed; it’s about turning fans and customers into an army of powerful brand advocates. Rethink ROI In the world of social marketing, ROI is still evolving. In most cases, we have to

rethink traditional metrics to include the ways that people interact with social media. By leveraging peer-to-peer social engagement, marketers should look at metrics, such as brand lift, social engagement, and influencer reach. In marketing terms, “influencers” are individuals who have the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of their real or perceived authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. The growing practice of influencer marketing can measurably impact purchase decisions. Simply put, today’s marketers need to be social business professionals. Rather than creating social campaigns, every campaign should be social, and reach all the places where you’re already touching prospects – from your website and your landing pages, to Facebook and your emails. By incorporating social profiles of individuals, their sharing behaviours, and the impact to your bottom line, you can make all your lead scoring, nurturing and overall marketing activities even stronger and more effective.

Liz Smyth is EMEA marketing director for Marketo, provider of the leading cloud-based marketing software. For a free comprehensive best practice guide to driving social marketing ROI, download Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Social Marketing. Contact: uk.marketo.com talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 73

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24/06/2013 10:33

Sites to excite

What are the psychological secrets to success when it comes to designing your business’ website? What wording will work in your favour? What colours will catch the eye? Journalist Helen Coffey consults the experts o you’ve got on board with the website thing: you’ve built a site, you’ve turned it into another route to market, for people to buy your product or service, and you’ve even optimised your SEO. That should be enough to guarantee more paying customers, surely? Well, hopefully – but not necessarily. There is an entire arm of web design that concerns itself with the psychology behind the unconscious choices people make when they’re shopping online. Chris Dicken, founder of Random River Web Design, says: ‘When a new visitor arrives at your site, they will make up their mind in about three seconds about whether to go on and explore your product range.’ Believe it or not, the colour of your “Buy now!” button can make a huge difference to whether or not people make a purchase. The language you use, and the particular phrasing of


Even tiny changes in your call to action button can have a significant effect on conversions

your call to action, can attract or alienate clients. And the usability of your site – the level to which the process is intuitive – can impact massively on whether increased traffic leads to increased sales. ‘Considering the psychological drives of a target audience can have surprisingly positive effects on how users will utilise a website, how engaged they will become, and how frequently they will respond to calls to action,’ says Henry Lewington, MD at WebEden.co.uk. Join us as we take a magical mystery tour through the world of web design psychology… User friendly If visitors can’t figure out how to quickly access your product range, they will go elsewhere. Website usability is by far the most important aspect of website design and development; the interface design alone can cause the user an array of emotions that

range anywhere from calm and collected, to feeling angry and very frustrated. ‘Always err on the side of having too little content on your home page, rather than too much,’ says Chris. ‘Good ecommerce design is about putting as few barriers as possible between someone first arriving at the site and them clicking “add to cart”. ‘This isn’t just about the number of clicks – having too many distractions on a page will act as a barrier as it makes visitors unsure of what to click on.’ Keeping it simple, with straightforward navigation tabs and a limited range of options can make it easier for people to use your site; some tests have even shown the “less is more” theory means that cutting down the number of choices – whether that be places to click, tabs or flashing promotions – can immediately have a positive impact on customers committing to buy.

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Focus on marketing WEB DESIGN

Another trick of the trade is to arrange your home page to suit people’s natural reading pattern, according to Henry. ‘The majority of sites have logos in the top left corner, due to people commonly reading a website in a “Z” pattern. Always look to place the most important content within this reading pattern area.’ He also recommends sticking to the familiar: ‘Make sure all design features, including colours, images and text, complement and reinforce the message being delivered. Steering too far away from fundamental user expectations, commonly in a misplaced effort to be different or cutting edge, can be detrimental to success.’ Trust also has a big part to play in whether people choose to buy from you once they’re on your site – if you are asking them to enter their card details online, they have to be convinced that you and your business are kosher. Design plays a huge part in this. Gregory Ciotti, founder of Sparring Mind, a blog about psychology and content marketing, says: ‘For our clients, and for their clients, the Internet can still be a big, scary black hole their information goes into. ‘With this in mind, you can use design psychology to make your website look more trustworthy to the average visitor. Creating a site that puts visitors at ease means they’re more likely to sign up for an account, buy a product, or otherwise do business with you. ‘This can be done through a combination of design and the language used on the site.’ Language barrier Which brings us nicely on to language. Just as with your offline marketing, your language or tone of voice should reflect your brand – so by all means, if you run a quirky, off the wall creative agency, use language that is fun,

irreverent or witty. But don’t be seduced into thinking that the fact that it is online means that you should go crazy with exclamation marks, an informal tone and “fun” misspelt words (“bizness”, “good deals 4 u”, etc.), unless that is a true extension of your brand. If you are an accountancy firm, and the rest of your marketing is formal and traditional to imbue an air of authority and trustworthiness, stick to this when creating an online presence. This is not the time to get edgy – consistency is key. ‘Creating a website that puts visitors at ease can be done through a combination of design techniques and the nature of language used on the site,’ says Henry. ‘Make sure the language used is concise, professional and grammatically correct.’ This comes back to securing a site visitors trust. Ensure you write and edit your copy in a word processing program to catch any of the more obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, before pasting into your content management system. If no one on the team is much of a wordsmith, it might be worth hiring a freelance copywriter – a costeffective way of ensuring your site reads flawlessly. Colour to win customers ‘The psychology of colour is one of the more complex subjects in design psychology, and therefore could be the subject of its own in-depth editorial,’ says Henry. ‘Needless to say, colours used in a website can have a very significant impact on how visitors perceive it, and they must, at all times, act to reinforce any page’s core message.’ If you take a look at some of the leading businesses’ sites, you’ll quickly see that they use a strong, but typically limited colour palette. Indeed, Chris advises: ‘Don’t have too many colours in your site’s branding. Keep it neutral

with one or two other colours. That way your product images will really stand out and not be drowned out by the colours in the site.’ It’s easy to get carried away, but don’t get caught up in using a theme or array of colours that go off message and off brand. ‘Having a limited colour palette also means that you can use a contrasting colour for your main calls to action, such as your “add to cart” buttons. Whatever colour you use for your “add to cart” buttons, use the same colour for the other main actions such as “enter checkout”,’ adds Chris. When designing, also take into account the fact that the colour is not a fixed entity and may not display the same on every device. Use design Simon Wright, MD and psychology founder of Greenwich Design, to make says: ‘What is so often an issue for online is that colour is not your website quite so fixed. How an individual look more sets their device will influence trustworthy colour. Some of us like a dark to the average setting, others like it bright. visitor The individual can therefore influence the colour they see.’ Action stations Your call to action is everything. You need as many people as possible to click through to whatever action you want them to take – purchasing a product, requesting a call back, signing up to receive a brochure – if you want to make your website a real asset. To this end, much research has been done to investigate which calls to action work best. Andy Atalla, founder of online marketing agency, atom42 explains: ‘Research shows that even tiny changes in your call to action button can have a significant effect on conversions, so it’s worth carrying out ongoing tests. Although no two sites are the same, there are some general rules which can help you gain more conversions:

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Focus on marketing WEB DESIGN

Allowing white or negative space on a website can be an extremely powerful tool

Make your call to action stand out – it should be easy to spot as a separate, clickable button. Small design details, like choosing a stand-out colour and adding an extra arrow within the button can help. Convey the value the user will get from clicking, rather than the action of the click itself. For example, try “get newsletter” rather than “click here”. The more relevant the message, the better. Test different sizes and shapes for your button, but remember that bigger isn’t automatically better.’ If you’re looking for visitors to click through to buy a product from your site, there are also tricks of the trade you can use to help things along.

‘Visitors’ attention should be clearly directed towards the click to purchase. Allowing white or negative space on a website can be an extremely powerful tool in this process,’ advises Henry Lewington. And if you want to be really on trend? Looking to the future, the next big thing in web design is animation. ‘Being able to create simple movement can make a very static message so much more dynamic, and therefore appealing to investigate,’ asserts Simon Wright. What are you waiting for? Employ a sprinkling of design psychology, and transform your site from lacklustre to utterly clickable.

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25/06/2013 15:15

Focus on marketing ADVICE

The Sales Doctor Naming your price can leave a bitter taste when prospective customers question your value. The sales doctor says it doesn’t matter if your competitors are cheaper, spell out what it is you do and sell, sell, sell…

Q: A:

Dear sales doctor, An objection I often come across when selling is: ‘I like your product, but you’re too expensive.’ Is there such a thing as “too expensive”, or is this just an excuse to fob me off? What can you do to overcome this objection if you are already offering a very competitive rate for your product or service, and price slashing will simply mean you aren’t making a big enough profit margin? This problem is extremely common in sales. Instead of slashing your price, it’s about adding value to your product. Think about it: when a customer says “too expensive” what does that actually mean? To me there are four meanings available; firstly they can’t afford it, secondly they don’t see the value, thirdly they have seen it cheaper elsewhere or finally they are simply negotiating, because they can. Therefore my first question to your prospective customer when they say “you are too expensive” would be, “what are you comparing us against?” For example let’s imagine your product is £1,000 and your main competitor is £700,

so your prospective customer is comparing you to that competitor. You need to find out exactly what the customer gets for £700. Ask them to list everything that’s included in that price. Now your job now is to sell all the additional benefits you bring to the table for only £300. You have to explain exactly what you do and sell the difference. Then you are no longer talking about £1,000, but you are selling yourselves for £300. It’s very rare that both yours and your competitors’ offerings are identical, so you should be able to find at least three examples of additional benefits that you can offer over and above your competition. If you’re struggling I can give you one unique selling point for starters; you. I have to sell myself too, and when I do, I always say to my prospective customers: ‘There is no Tony Morris being offered and I will be your dedicated consultant, at your beck and call whenever you need me.’ Remember you can offer a lot more when negotiating, instead of just dropping your price. Until then, have the best sales day ever!

Tony Morris is the director of the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London. He is the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book based on real life situations from which you can learn techniques and put them straight into practice Contact: tony-morris.co.uk

Need a diagnosis?

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

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21/06/2013 10:19


Take stock and refocus

We’re over halfway through the year, and our resident people person and BBC’s The Apprentice season four winner, Lee McQueen, says this is the perfect time to take stock and refocus staff an you believe it’s July already? We’re already more than half way through the year, I’ve got two quarters under my belt, but where am I going? Even though I have monthly reviews; I’m taking stock. I need to kick off the next few months by energising my staff and setting new targets. So, I’m analysing and looking at my business objectives and planning the next five months of 2013.


Money, money, money I’m looking at my figures, percentages and targets. I need to address where I am, and decide where I want to be. As soon as I do, I know where I’m going, and therefore what the next five months hold. For me, marketing is always a big thing to look at. You set your budget for it at the beginning of the year; now how much have you got left? Unfortunately, marketing usually gets cut first. Do you need to hire? Sometimes hiring can be like a game of blackjack, do you “stick or twist”?

You won’t realise how important they are until they’ve gone, so don’t leave them questioning why they’re doing what they’re doing

I have ten people at my company, but we’re expanding. This month I’ve been busy interviewing. For me, expansion of staff is a key strategy. To be able to deliver what my business is promising, I need more people. Expansion can be daunting, but if you need more staff, you need more staff, so start looking for the perfect people. If you need a hand in lots of places but only have the money for one new member, hire someone versatile, for example in sales, a team leader who’s happy to jump on the phone when targets seems impossible.

Refocus your staff You may be expanding, but don’t let your current staff lose focus. You won’t realise how important they are until they’ve gone, so don’t leave them questioning why they’re doing what they’re doing. You need to boost their confidence. Working in recruitment, I’m a people person and have a great relationship with my staff. I often have big meetings or dinners where we chat about the business. Everyone loves incentives I don’t just offer what I think my staff might like, I ask them what they want. If they want a bottle of bubbly, fine, or a motor racing day, done. I’m a football fan (Spurs man) so we have a league table too; three points for over achievers, one for hitting targets and none for under achievers. The person on the bottom of the table will also have a wooden spoon on their desk. I find it encourages people; I reward those consistently at the top and have given away iPads and duvet days in the past. When the whole company has hit objectives I’ve taken us to Las Vegas. It really changes the game.

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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25/06/2013 15:19

Focus on people RETAINING TALENT

A very long engagement How do you keep employees engaged and motivated in a time of cost pressures and pay freezes? Stephen Archer, business analyst and director of Spring Partnerships, shares some much-needed advice ith little economic growth predicted for the next few years, businesses need to find new ways to motivate their people. Stephen Archer, business analyst and director of leadership consultancy Spring Partnerships, discusses how companies can engage and motivate their teams without financial rewards.


1. Separate morale from motivation
 During the past few years, pay freezes have been part and parcel of business life and, with little economic growth predicted, companies need to find new ways to motivate their people. Challenging times can be tough and can have a tangible effect on employee morale. However, it does not have to mean that it’s de-motivating for employees – especially in the face of good leadership and clear purpose. It’s vital to separate the concept of “morale”, which is how employees are feeling, from “motivation”, which is the ability to turn talent into productivity. With a clear sense of purpose to an organisation, and a shared mission to tough out the climate and make it someone else’s problem,

Employee engagement comes from developing leadership skills and roles in top talent

business leaders can seriously increase morale – and even raise it above the norm. How can that be? The spirit of cooperation and a shared fight is well understood in times of crisis, and the sense of mission

can really energise people and raise morale and the energy of the organisation. Low morale when turned into shared purpose can, in fact, be turned into not just higher morale but also higher motivation.

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Expertise: Our considerable experience in supporting SMEs enables us to support your business in: • Effectively managing any conduct or absence issues • Navigating the complexities of employment law by providing easy-tofollow guidance and advice • Maximising staff engagement through the implementation of robust recruitment and retention processes

• Successfully managing the workforce aspects of any restructure or downsizing • Developing your staff’s potential through effective training programmes • Maintaining legal compliance with respect to any employment issues, by ensuring that you have the correct policies, procedures and documentation.

If you are an SME and would like personalised and efficient HR advice and support, please contact:

Karen Wise Consulting Ltd, Tel: 07813 156 116, Email: info@karenwise.co.uk Website: www.karenwise.co.uk, Follow us: twitter.com/karenwise Karen Wise FPV2.indd 1

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Focus on people RETAINING TALENT

2. Leadership development
 Not everyone makes the switch from low to high morale easily, as fear and incredulity can get in the way. This is just one area where companies should focus their leadership development. One of the most sustainable routes to well-being, motivation and employee engagement comes from developing leadership skills and roles in top talent. In tough times, it’s the leaders that ensure that people are shepherded and supported emotionally through the journey. Leaders define the reality for employees in language that the employees can understand. They create the culture: “the way things are done and reacted to”. We all know how much our dayto-day experience of work is determined by the quality of the leadership we receive. Those leaders that are most invested in during tougher times are those that create the most engaged and effective teams. 3. Explore solutions
 In accepting that you may struggle to engage and motivate everyone, you accept that attention must be given to helping the doubters. It is not hard to create an environment in which people are led to see the scope of possibilities and the methods of attaining new goals. The payoff is, of course, that if people feel inspired then they are more likely to be confident and perform to a higher level and want to give their best. To achieve this, the team must be helped to focus on what is working well around the organisation, receive regular positive feedback, put success stories as the first agenda item in all meetings (especially the board meeting), and shift from discussing problems to highlighting successes and exploring solutions. This may sound trite but it works – very well. Most teams

in a company can also be taken through what we call “self designed change” programmes. These are always far more effective than other change programmes because the teams are the authors – they are not imposed upon. So sessions with teams where they brainstorm commercial or organisational improvements and develop the implementation plans, create programmes which are invariably motivational, engaging and productive, and very inexpensive to operate. 4. Employee survey results
 The information held within these surveys is absolute gold dust, and will help a business develop the right internal communications strategy, which will help create the positive “grapevine effect” and provide a solid foundation for sustainable engagement. It is too easy to dismiss employee survey results as a snapshot, and not a very accurate one at that. If that’s the case, then why was it done in the first place? Analysis and detailed interpretation of the employees’ views will give real insights into the employees’ perceptions of the working world. In turn, these beliefs that people express give you a window on the reasons for the behaviours that you see in the organisation all day. The perceptions may contain some negative views, but the voices of what people feel positive about should be extracted and built on. 5. Build your employer brand
 The “brand” concept is often misused, but brand is now rightly seen to go far beyond the product and packaging. The brand Virgin enjoys record numbers of job applicants thanks to its brand strength. Employers that create a reputation as an employer of choice for both

existing and potential staff enjoy the greatest engagement and motivation among their employees. They also involve staff in process improvement, making them feel more valued and more likely to intend to stay longer in the organisation. Moreover, staff are more likely to implement any subsequent process improvement because it will have come, initially, from them and their peers. The really winning employer brands get the benefits of the staff themselves being the ambassadors and advocates and promoting a positive and energised atmosphere.

The sense of mission can really energise people and raise morale

6. Create an honest culture
 Is there any other type of culture than an honest one? Sadly, all too often there is, but when the heat is on, the last thing that can be afforded is over-economy of information. Creation of 100% honesty about the business challenges ahead and the implications, will be understood far better than you may think and, above all, respected. It will create trust, ownership, loyalty, energy and a sense of team unity. Create working groups – new teams, which can get involved in different aspects of the turnaround mission and the remedies. This very high level of trust will establish very high levels of involvement and productivity. All of the above thinking is based on good leadership; without this, the journey through difficult times will doubtless be a lot bumpier than necessary. The stresses of wage freezes can be a cancerous drag on an organisation, or it can be turned into a genuine opportunity to engage employees and increase motivation and morale. Contact: spring-partnerships.com

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The apprenticeship argument For SMEs with limited resources, hiring an apprentice could be the perfect solution to expand your work force without breaking the bank. Rachael Fidler, MD of HTP Training, tells us more

With case study evidence, Rachael Fidler, managing director of HTP Training, explains why apprenticeship programmes are a win-win for SMEs. She explains how a well-designed apprenticeship programme ensures that a business can secure a member of staff who they can train, nurture and instil with the organisational culture right from the outset of the programme. There is also a £1,500 Government grant to support wage costs as a sweetener for SMEs looking to secure apprentices. For the apprentice, it provides them with a qualification and on-the-job training, allowing them to develop specific business skills that will have an immediate impact on their career prospects, future employability, and their self-esteem. n the current climate, with unemployment rates sky high, you would be forgiven for thinking that businesses are finding it easy to recruit staff. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular often struggle to find the right calibre of candidates with the right level of skills. Why? It is mainly because they lack the HR and training resources that larger organisations have – some SMEs may not be able to afford to advertise vacancies, let alone put in place a robust personnel


development process to up-skill existing staff. This is a dilemma SMEs face across the board – whether they are a telesales call centre, an online retailer, a manufacturer or even a B&B operator. If a business is unable to find the right talent, it is very likely to stifle growth and it impacts on the bottom line. Thankfully, a number of SMEs are turning to apprenticeships to fill this void. The 2012 Holt Report from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that, while 99% of businesses are SMEs, only 10% have taken on apprentices. Yes, 10% may be a small fraction – but that’s better than nothing, especially as apprenticeships offer an effective solution for SMEs looking to build a talent pipeline. The process of securing an apprentice begins with a training provider working in consultation with the employer to understand the specific requirements for the apprenticeship programme. Next, the training provider would advertise the apprenticeship vacancy – at no cost to the employer – and then begin shortlisting candidates. Applicants will be screened to ensure that they fit the requirements for the role, for example, having a passion for sales or a friendly approachable

manner for customer service. The most suitable candidates will then be sent over to the employer for interview. Once the applicant is selected, the next stage is for the training company to tailor the training framework with the employer to include units that meet the exact requirements of the employer. In a nutshell, the apprentice is moulded for the specific role within the business. And a dedicated training consultant from the apprenticeship training No wonder SMEs and ap- provider will help deliver the prenticeships skills and knowledge required for the role – just as an internal have been training manager would. described as To bridge the skills gap, SMEs a match made can now choose to develop their in heaven own programmes with a training provider, to build an effective talent pipeline and secure staff they could train, nurture and instil with the organisational culture from the start. Apprenticeships in management and leadership, customer service and sales have recently been particularly popular. Furthermore, to secure talent for senior roles, the National Apprenticeship Service, the body responsible for supporting and funding apprenticeships, introduced Higher Apprenticeships. This means that SMEs can effectively up-skill their apprentices to fill senior roles. No wonder SMEs

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and apprenticeships have been described as a match made in heaven. Last but not least, there is also the £1,500 Government grant to support wage costs as a sweetener for organisations looking to secure apprentices. To reap the full benefits of an apprenticeship, it is important to understand that an apprentice is a learner and requires an investment of not just finance, but also time. Be open and honest with the training provider, so they can design a robust framework, which can maximise the business benefits of an apprenticeship. And what are the benefits of apprenticeships to youngsters? With youth unemployment at record levels, an apprenticeship can play a pivotal role in helping them to secure on-the-job training and gain real world working skills while getting paid for it. Many unemployed youngsters complain that employers offer work to those who have experience – but of course, to gain experience, you would need to have worked in the first place. Apprenticeships are the solution to this classic catch-22 scenario. Going to university has for some time been seen as the norm. Politicians who were keen to be seen as encouraging upward social mobility promoted the virtues of graduate degrees and urged youngsters to go to university. It is easy to see why so many youngsters and their parents felt that a university degree was the ticket to a guaranteed job. Everyone deserves an education, but what most politicians fail to say is that quality education does not have to involve going to university. The fact is, there is no right or wrong form of higher education – what’s important is that the qualification can secure a successful career at the end of it. Any programme, vocational or academic, that helps SMEs to grow and helps youngsters to secure jobs, can only be a good thing for the economy. Contact:

A number of SMEs are turning to apprenticeships to fill this void

HTP was established in 2000 by Rachael Fidler. It specialises in the design and delivery of work-related training and services across a wide range of sectors, including hospitality and catering, management, retail, customer service and business administration, as well as designing specific programmes of study for individual employers. Contact: htptraining.com

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Cost effective HR solutions, supporting you make the right decisions within your business We offer a range of options for SME businesses, either on a retained or pay as you go basis, ensuring you are fully compliant in all aspects of HR. Opting for one of our retained services, you will also be provided with a fit for purpose employment contract and employee handbook and we will support and advise you on changes to employment law. Clients can also benefit from employment tribunal insurance, giving you complete peace of mind. The support we offer is business focussed, ensuring at all times we make commercial decisions that comply with employment legislation. We work with a range of clients throughout the UK, from London to St Andrews, ranging from 4 employees up to 150.

For your free HR health check, please contact us on 07917 130798 or email info@thehrbooth.co.uk


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If you’re happy and you know it Why a focus on personal development equals happier staff and improved productivity for your business, by Jonathan Richards, CEO of breatheHR usiness owners often eulogise about how their staff are their best asset, but how much time and effort actually goes into helping employees feel happy and engaged while at work? Structured personal development can play an incredibly important role in maintaining the focus, motivation and morale of employees. Without adequate training and development, staff can quickly lose motivation and become unengaged, which can negatively impact the morale, productivity, and ultimately the success, of the business itself. In my experience, continual staff mentoring and development has been at the heart of every successful team and business, which I have encountered. However, despite these demonstrable benefits, the Personal Development in the Workplace Study we recently commissioned with OnePoll, revealed that personal development is something which is being seriously neglected by business owners across the UK. The study surveyed 1,000 employees working within small to medium-sized companies across the UK, and revealed that almost half (47.6%) feel that their boss doesn’t take their personal development seriously, with a quarter (27.9%) admitting that they have never discussed


personal development or training with their boss. Let’s face it, people like to learn, and the majority of employees are likely to have areas and skills, which could be improved. As businesses, it’s only sensible to support staff development as it makes people feel wanted and gives them the skills they need to progress and, more importantly, be more productive. So why are companies neglecting staff development? The bottom The impact of the recession line is that could be a key contributory happy factor. Businesses have had a employees are tough time in recent years, with more likely concerns over paying wages to be high and keeping the business on an performing even keel taking precedence over spending already limited ones funds on staff development. However tough the economic climate might be, the bottom line is that happy employees are more likely to be high performing ones. An important starting point for business owners should be to think about how they can make an improvement to the individual working lives of their staff. This can be as simple as providing support and encouragement and taking the time to understand what it is they want to get out of their job. Providing training for your employees doesn’t need to be as time consuming and expensive as you might think. As a starter, each employee should have a

personal development plan. This will readily identify where the development gaps are. Next, think about all the training opportunities that you have available internally. It can be as simple as spending time with other members of the team, to learn about product and processes. If appropriate to your business, there are also various Government training grants or schemes available. For example, Growth Accelerator can help business owners and leaders with coaching skills. Every company is different and there is no silver bullet to instantly improve company morale or productivity, but by making a small improvement to each employee’s working life, you will dramatically improve performance. Contact: breatheHR.com

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Focus on people SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur Jelly Babies and gobstoppers: Becky Patterson, founder of online sweet gift shop, Sherbet Pip shares her sugary diary herbet Pip has one passion: sweets. The company, set up by Becky Patterson in 2012, is based in Lidlington, Bedfordshire. It sells creative gifts with a confectionary theme - from sweet-inspired jewellery to themed hampers and tasty treats. The company went from concept to more than 200 orders and 52,000 website hits, in just eight weeks.


Day 1: Manic Monday The studio has been thrown into chaos after spending the weekend at the Hertfordshire County Show, where we had our first ever exhibition stand. As well as the boxes that were thrown in a huge pile last night, the show has also given us much food for thought, product-wise. I really wanted to be part of the local craft tent, because it has a huge amount of footfall over the two days, and to see what people thought of our products. It’s easy to hide behind your website and just assume the reason why people are not buying your product is simply because they have not found your site. You can’t hear people ask questions, like “is this available in red” or “is it sold

individually online?” and this type of feedback is invaluable. The organisers of the show explained the only way I could be in the craft tent was if I made the product. We create the sweets and packaging but we obviously don’t make them, so that ruled them out. The same applied to our chocolate bath range. The only range that I make is the clay sweetie necklaces, which is more of a hobby. I booked the space anyway, and spent the next four weeks busy making necklaces in the shape of Flumps, Allsorts and Flying Saucers! Never did I imagine that I would sell out and cause sweetie hysteria. I would never have given the jewellery collection centre stage if the organisers hadn’t made me, and yet it might have been the best thing that could have happened to the business. Once the boxes are sorted I sit down with Francesca, who helps in the studio, and we plan how to expand the necklace range. That is the wonderful thing about owning your own business; you can make U-turns whenever you want, and no one gets in your way. We even

produce a mood board for the Too Sweet To Eat jewellery collection, and by the end of the day, the necklaces have their very own campaign. Day 2: Setting up shop After unpacking yesterday, Henry, who today begins by filling the is nine years boxes again as we prepare for old, recently two weeks in a pop up shop, launched the run by PopUp Britain. I have no idea how much stock I’ll need children’s range on the and although the brown tags site, called Not with string look very pretty, I spend the morning wishing Before Tea for a pricing gun. I am slightly apprehensive about what props I need for display purposes, having never had a shop before. I have been told that there is a retail guru on hand, which is just as well looking at the random props I have chosen! We make all the sweets on demand to ensure they are fresh, so I spend the afternoon making 50 jars of Mud & Worms, Aliens in Space and Fishing Jars. The courier arrives to collect the online orders, and then I upload today’s press coverage onto the site. An early night is needed; who knows what lies ahead in my first day of being a shopkeeper tomorrow?

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Focus on people SECRET DIARY

Day 3: Like mother, like son This morning I was running a workshop on how to promote your business for free. Funnily enough, Sherbet Pip was developed to be a case study for the Bedfordshire Jobs Hub to show a group of young, unemployed people how to set up a business and start trading in just eight weeks for under £200. My long term vision for this inspiration programme is to empower anyone with the confidence and knowledge that they can set up their own business, no matter what their background, and the Sherbet Pip story is perfect to illustrate this. Today’s course is for a group of six entrepreneurs, all at different stages with their business. Everyone left with a clear plan of what to do next, and pages of hints and tips. Afterwards I make a mad dash to pick up my son, Henry, from school as we’ve both been invited to the press launch and opening night at the shop.

My aim is to put the magic and excitement back into sweets… a very nice goal to have!

Henry, who is nine years old, recently launched the children’s range on the site, called Not Before Tea. This has attracted a huge amount of press attention, and despite what the cynics say; he designed and created the entire range, branding, and descriptions himself. We arrive ten minutes before the Mayor who cuts the ribbon. Henry is then whizzed off, accompanied by the Mayor, for a radio interview. I’m busy manning the counter, and keep my fingers crossed that he is sensible. They return and Henry has not only done the interview, but also managed to sell two of his products to the Mayor! Day 4: Sweets are sweet After a pretty full-on week, I spend the whole of today at my desk. I need to sort out a product brochure (I’ve been asked if we have one about 40 times over the past few weeks), and have a number of press samples to send out. We have

some very exciting celebrity orders for our retro hampers to dispatch, and our first ever order of children’s party bags. I am still very new to retail but loving every part of the process. My aim is to put the magic and excitement back into sweets… a very nice goal to have!

Contact: sherbetpip.co.uk

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Resident tech expert, David Richards says we’re a celebration nation that can revel too much in past glory, but believes anniversaries should inspire the future of British tech ritain had its fair share of celebrations last year. First we had the Queen’s Jubilee, then the London Olympics, and this summer we celebrate another, admittedly less popularly recognised, milestone. One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1913, a Sheffield lad and steelworker’s son by the name of Harry Brearley, made a cast of steel that contained 12.8% chromium, 0.24% carbon, 0.44% manganese and 0.2% silicon. Brearley was trying to produce a steel that was more resistant to wear and tear, and almost by accident, he stumbled on an invention that would, in many ways, come to define the century that followed: stainless steel. We spend so much of our time celebrating achievements of the past, this may be one reason why, 100 years on, Britain has lost its seat at the top table of technological performance. Nevertheless – and blame it on the party spirit – I can’t help but feel more optimistic than usual about the future of British tech. Yes, the systemic problems remain. In the absence of a strong community of equity investors, our talented technology graduates continue


I can’t help but feel more optimistic than usual about the future of British tech

to make the move to places like California, in search of capital. But the green shoots are there. Our public markets are becoming a home for more companies – an increasing number of them British. The London Stock Exchange’s AIM market in particular is showing signs of revival, following a pretty abysmal year of technology IPOs. As Marcus Stuttard, head of AIM, said recently: ‘For four years the thing missing has been confidence. Now it is here.’ It’s sad that the confidence had ever gone. For the right company, the markets in general, and the junior market in particular, have always offered fantastic opportunities for ambitious, high-growth firms. In AIM, we have something the US doesn’t; a low regulation market geared towards nimble companies seeking to capitalise and grow.


And the LSE’s new High Growth Segment (HGS) offers yet more hope for technology businesses looking to get a foot in the door, allowing entrepreneurs to raise capital while retaining up to 90% of their prized equity. To put it in context, here’s another anniversary for you. A year ago, my colleagues and I took WANdisco, the Sheffield and Silicon Valley headquartered company we founded in 2005, to float on AIM. Now, our share price has leapt 345% and we’ve raised the money we needed to make a successful entry into a new and profitable market. Only time will tell if our products will achieve the same levels of success as Brearley’s. But that this summer marks both the 100th anniversary of a timeless Sheffield invention, and the first birthday of our company’s life as a public company, makes for a sweet feeling. Revelling in past glory at the expense of present success is never a sound course of action, but birthdays are good times to take stock – and if Brearley’s invention can inspire another generation of British manufacturers, then we’re entitled to celebrate a little.

David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both the Silicon Valley and Sheffield. Contact: wandisco.com talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 93

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Focus on technology WEBSITE HOSTING

Caugh ti



Website hosting: don’t get caught out. Daniel Foster, director of web hosting company 34SP.com, tells us everything you need to know

What SMEs need to know about website legislation There are a multitude of factors that could put your business at risk; an experienced and well-funded competitor, a recession, problems with cash flow, all of which might be deemed beyond your control. And while all of these represent very real threats, what if the problem was something you could control? What if the problem was your own website? It may not be widely known in the business community, but failing to comply with the latest in online legislation may be incredibly damaging to both your business, and the bottom line. And as more and more businesses begin their days online, it has become increasingly more important to stay on top of new laws that can, and will affect your business if you aren’t vigilant. Breaking data protection laws will cost you It’s common knowledge among businesses that the Data

Protection Act was created in order to protect how the sensitive personal information they hold — about their customers, clients or staff — is used, monitored and shared. Well, you’d think that was the case. In 2013, Brunel University was tasked with carrying out some research. It came to the surprising conclusion that nearly half of the UK’s websites – 48% to be precise – are in breach of EU data protection laws and are inadvertently sharing their customers’ data. But any company found to be flouting the law will face very serious consequences. For instance, after having failed to address a vulnerability in its website, potentially exposing sensitive data, Sony was fined £250,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the body in charge of website legislation. However, it’s not just big businesses that are feeling the wrath of the ICO. At present, Internet estate agency, Virtual Property World, is being investigated by the ICO

for publishing the details of customers on its website. This includes their bank accounts, telephone numbers, addresses and house price purchase details. This could result, not only in a hefty fine for the business, but also a serious knock to its brand.

This could result, not only in a hefty fine for the business, but also a serious knock to its brand

Don’t be a cookie monster Another thing SMEs need to be aware of is the 2012 European Union Cookie Law, which companies trading within EU member states have had to comply with since May 2012. Don’t know what cookies are? In essence, they’re small files used to track the behaviour patterns and preferences of visitors to your site. Basically, they enable website owners to tailor future site visits so that the user’s experience is enhanced with relevant adverts, shopping basket suggestions and other personalised content. Put simply, EU cookie law requires that websites and the companies which own them must seek their visitors’ consent before placing a cookie on their computer.

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Focus on technology WEBSITE HOSTING

In general, this means asking your site’s visitors to tick a box indicating that they accept cookies on your site. It’s highly probable you’ll have experienced this yourself. However, not all websites have asked their visitors if they are happy to accept their cookies. To date, the ICO has been quite lenient about this, and only sent out warning letters to non-compliant businesses. Nevertheless, the ICO’s director of data protection, David Smith stressed that doing nothing about complying and hoping to get off lightly, is not an option. And although the maximum fine for failing to adhere to the new cookie legislation – £500,000 – is unlikely to be applied any time soon, the ICO has made it plain that it will be more assertive in the future. Money makes the world go round So, which other website legislation should you keep up to speed with to avoid potential penalties?

If you’re unsure, ask, there is always someone who can help

Ever since 1 December 2012, it’s been a requirement of UK law for even the smallest firms to meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Brought in by card companies, such as Visa and MasterCard following a number of high profile security breaches, the PCI DSS has been designed to bring greater standards to merchants which process card payments online. If this includes you, take note: companies that don’t comply with these regulations can receive hefty fines. Although a rather extreme example, the bank, Nationwide was last year fined £1m by the FSA for PCI DSS noncompliance; and with smaller companies facing fines of around £50,000, it’s not a risk the business owner should take. So, if you accept online payments, it’s imperative that you check that the web hosting company you use is compliant and will keep your users’

payment details safe, along with any other personal or sensitive data they might share with you. Any good web host should offer you a compliant hosting package that adheres to the PCI DSS, along with any updates. If your host doesn’t do this, seek out a new one. There’s so much to think about. How do I keep up? If you’re concerned that your site may be breaking the rules in some way, then probably the best place to swot up is the ICO website, a comprehensive source of information for all website legislation, which also alerts companies about any new changes. And for legislation such as the PCI DSS, speak to your host. Any good host will comply with the requirements for businesses for online payments and transfers. If you’re unsure, ask, there is always someone who can help. Contact: 34sp.com

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Focus on technology TLDs

What’s in a name Resetting of the Internet: are you ready? Ben Anderson, head of new gTLDs at NetNames, tells us how new domain names could provide an opportunity for your business brand

he introduction of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) signifies one of the biggest changes to the Internet since its inception, and a golden opportunity for a business and its online strategy. A decade ago, the dot com boom gave rise to a whole new industry and was the catalyst for an unprecedented growth period, with start-ups like Amazon and Google now recognised as some of the world’s largest companies. In the 1990s, .com, .net and .org were among the only suffixes that businesses could apply for, and no new suffixes were developed. However, the number of Internet domain name endings is set to dramatically increase in the coming months with suffixes such as .fitness, .flowers and .ninja all being launched in what is being hailed as the ‘resetting’ of the Internet. As a result, businesses will now have a chance to re-define their online presence and secure new web addresses that better reflect their service offerings.


Driving sales with TLDs With the rise of the Internet, it is vital that businesses are using the online power channels to engage customers and drive the sales life-cycle. The introduction of TLDs will have a significant impact on a business’ online strategy and provide a new opportunity for brand owners to protect and optimise their web presence. TLDs will make it easier for It will open up customers to search for services a wave of new and products. Most people opportunities currently browse the Internet for businesses using search engines, but with the launch of new generic to engage domain names, users will have more a whole new way of searching effectively the web, by simply typing domain names like londoncar. repair or bristol.cafe directly into the top bar. This will make it easier for businesses to make their websites more visible, and potentially less reliant on search engine rankings and SEO. A wave of opportunities Many companies have still not applied for any TLDs. However,

this should not be treated as a “wait-and-see” game. All it will take is one organisation, with a strong digital presence and enough influence to take the lead and demonstrate the potential of new domain names. Amazon appears to be leading the way, having already made 73 applications. As soon as consumers become accustomed to TLDs, it will open up a wave of new opportunities for businesses to engage more effectively with their customers and provide a measureable return on investment. For example, customers and suppliers will easily be able to identify a company’s website, the services it provides and have greater trust in a business’ online content, simply by looking at the web address. However, to take advantage of the benefits that TLDs offer, preparation is key to ensuring that companies are able to shape their digital footprint. Those that act early and rethink their domain name strategy now, will be ahead

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Focus on technology TLDs

of the game, and in a better position to enhance their online presence with the introduction of TLDs. Choosing your TLDs Previously, the prevailing wisdom surrounding domain name strategies was to buy all the available suffixes relevant to a company. However, with almost 600 generic and geographic TLDs (gTLDs) available, developing a domain name portfolio will become more costly for companies. Savvy organisations will therefore use TLDs as an opportunity to purchase those web addresses that provide business value and streamline domain name portfolios. To truly benefit from the introduction of TLDs, businesses need to prioritise the extensions that will have the greatest impact on their online web presence and be most relevant to their customer base. For example, a property management firm may want to consider .properties and a salon could benefit from a .hair or .spa web address. Companies will also need to consider which gTLDs their competitors will be registering. For instance, if Rolex has registered for rolex. watch, will Swatch also look to register swatch.watch? With this in mind, a business owner should look to register domain extensions that best reflect service offerings. The sheer amount of suffixes applied for, ranging from .support to .deliver and even .rodeo, means that companies should have no trouble finding relevant gTLDs to consider. Many businesses have already applied for some new TLDs and ICANN, the international organisation managing the new TLD program, held a prioritisation draw in December to decide which TLDs will be the first to emerge, with priority number one going to the Vatican’s application for .catholic. Now,

Businesses will now have a chance to re-define their online presence

the first new TLDs are expected to be launched in July, and an estimated 20 new strings will be delegated per week over the next two years. With the ever-increasing threat of cyber-squatters and domain name hijackers, business owners need to develop a strategy sooner rather than later to make

sure they are protecting their online assets. Those companies that adopt a proactive, precautionary attitude to TLDs by streamlining domain name portfolios will see the benefits of investing in their online presence, and lead the way in this new digital era. Contact: netnames.com

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Leapfrog your competitors for under ÂŁ1000

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Is your website outdated, hard to manage or not converting? Now is the time to consider a modern, professional, responsive site that you control and that generates results. Exclusive Discount for Talk Business Readers -- Limited oer (act now)

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Welcome to

social app d There are over 1 million apps available to download, but no easy way to locate the right one for your needs. As a result, we often struggle to find the right app unless we receive a personal recommendation... Introducing Loyd Mobile, a free social app discovery platform that allows you to rate apps, share with your network, see what apps your friends and favourite celebrities and brands are using, and navigate the ever-growing number of apps on the market in a fun, sociable way.   Loyd Mobile is great for consumers, helps developers to get their apps recognised and could be a powerful tool for your brand to connect to a vast, receptive and highly targeted audience. Contact us at info@loydmobile.co.uk for more information, or visit www.loydmobile.co.uk and sign up for our beta test today! Coming soon to Android™, Windows® Phone and iPhone®

www.loydmobile.co.uk Download. Enjoy. Share.

Copyright © 2013 Iamloydmobile ltd. All rights reserved. Nokia and Nokia Lumia 925 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nokia Corporation. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. Mic

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p discovery

rk of Google Inc. Microsoft, Windows and Windows Phone are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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Focus on technology APP MONETISATION

Dawn of the dead There are thousands of “zombie” apps lying dormant doing nothing for their owners. Dawn Murden asked Oliver Clark, UK director of mobile app marketing company, Fiksu: How do SMEs create a successful app in an overcrowded market place, and make profit? here are more than 70 apps on my phone, but how many of these do I use regularly? Six. And how many of these did I pay for? Just one. I’m not saying I’m a fair representation of the worldwide public, but those points set up my next point perfectly. Last July, Berlin-based mobile analytics and ad verification firm, Adeven confirmed almost two-thirds of the then 650,000 apps on the Apple App Store were left untouched. That’s 400,000 apps just sitting there, gathering dust. Nicknamed “zombie” apps, they are the living dead of the technology world, doing very little for the companies that produced them, and even less for the customers


they were aimed at. Since then, figures have grown and both Google Play and the App store now have around 800,000 apps – which means the number of “zombies” is bound to grow. With so many companies going wrong, launching a successful app can be a daunting prospect. But how can SMEs avoid apps? According to research company, Gartner, the global apps business is expected to make around £15bn in revenue this year. You deserve a piece of that pie. So, I asked Oliver Clark, UK director of mobile app marketing company, Fiksu, how to launch a successful, profitable app in today’s overcrowded marketplace…

Before a business even considers an app, they need to ask themselves: “is there a customer or market need for the app?”

According to the consumer knowledge company, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, both Google Play and the App Store have around 800,000 apps. Is it worth businesses launching an app in this overcrowded market place? Definitely, we’re never more than two or three metres away from our phones. They are the future. But before a business even considers an app, they need to ask themselves: “is there a customer or market need for the app?” The app needs to be present and engaging and take care of a need of an individual or group of people. If there is a need for the app, the market needs to be tested. What currently works and can you better it?

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Focus on technology APP MONETISATION

Apps are great for branding. It can get your brand on the home screen, and makes you memorable. However, it takes a lot to get on someone’s home screen. Most importantly, can your business survive without an app? An app probably won’t mean survival, or make most small businesses, but could it break you if it’s never downloaded? Research firm, Flurry found Android users spent 20% less time on apps than iOS users. What do you need to think about when developing an app? There is a lot to be considered. Will it be lifestyle or business? Will you go on Android, iOS, Windows, Amazon, or all of them? Will you choose adverts and make the app free or will you charge customers to download it? What will your app look like? But if you have assessed a market need and studied the current market, you should have some idea of these important decisions. Love it or loathe it; the Candy Crush Saga game has more than 15 million daily Facebook users worldwide, and the creator, King games now has more than 66 million users. Facebook is a big part of its marketing. Is social media key to marketing an app? At Fiksu, we believe social media is an extremely important part of marketing. It allows you to learn more about your audience than ever before, you can learn their habits and likes, and communicate with them in a different way. Even if it’s not your main marketing platform, you can use it for research. There are many different marketing strategies; sending emails, press releases, advertising, blogging and using social media. Unless you’re a huge brand, no one will search for your app so you have to tell potential customers about it through marketing.

In Profile Fiksu was founded in 2008 in the US, and born from the technologies, tools and expertise it developed to promote its own mobile app, Fluent News™ Reader. It now uses the formula to help mobile marketers with visibility, create downloads, and build a loyal user base for apps.

You need to look at the average a user would spend over a lifetime on your app, and your cost of delivering the service.

The technology research company, Gartner said the global apps business is expected to make around £15bn in revenue this year, up 62% from a year ago. But with just 2% of the top 250 publishers in the App Store being newcomers, how do SMEs get a piece of the pie? You need to look at the average a user would spend over a lifetime on your app, and your cost of delivering the service. Does the first outweigh the second? If it does, you should make a good profit. If not, rethink the app, or rethink launching it at all if the app has to be solely profit driven. Would the app have direct sales? Hailo [case study below] does, and this gives its app direct monetisation. Would you advertise on your app or charge? You need to work out what is best for your company and the product or service you’re delivering. Many companies don’t launch

the app solely for profit, but to complement the service they’re already providing. Decide why you’re launching it. Mobile app and marketing analytics company, Localytics found 26% of apps are used just once. How do you get users to come back? This is a very good question. You don’t just need users; you need loyal users. You need to engage your users and identify with them. What do they like? What are their activities and actions, and what are their diaries like? At Fiksu, we know social media is a great way of tracking this. This connects a lot with assessing the market need and the current market, and should help you build a good products, and therefore loyal users. You should track how successful your app is, and adapt and change it accordingly. Contact: fiksu.com

Success case study: Hailo Hailo - the app-based taxi service - was launched in London, November 2011 by three taxi drivers and three technology entrepreneurs. After researching mobile advertising and tracking, they found Fiksu, and began working with the company in Spring 2012. Today, more than 10,000 London cabbies are using the app, and it’s now available in London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, New York, Madrid and Barcelona.

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Focus on technology APPS

I’ve got an app for that… Doesn’t technology spoil us sometimes? With our top apps for July you can make those packed business trips so much simpler, and share your business card with a bump

Bump Price: FREE Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and Android The gist: Have you ever spontaneously met a great contact in a pub and had to scribble your contacts on a napkin after forgetting your business card? Well, with Bump you’ll never worry about that again. It’s a networking app that allows entrepreneurs to ditch traditional business cards for virtual ones. Users can trade

contact information, photos and files by simply “bumping” two smartphones together. The app works with computers, so you can sync all your important files onto your desktop too. To use Bump, both phones must have the app installed, but with more than 100 million downloads made all over the world you can be sure some of your key contacts are already using it. Downloadable from: https://bu.mp

TripIt Price: FREE Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 The gist: This is the perfect app for frequent travellers. Simply forward all of your hotel, airline, car rental and restaurant reservations to TripIt and it will magically organise all of your plans into one place. You’ll have access to them anytime and anywhere, on the website, your smartphone, or tablet – even if you’re offline.

You can also add notes, links and reccomendations and share your trip with colleagues, friends, and family, and sync with your calendar. This nifty app can add all the details you need, such as maps, directions, and weather – so you’ll know if that meeting is a short stroll away or if you need an umbrella. Downloadable from: www.tripit.com

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Focus on technology GADGETS

Battle of the brands:

Good things don’t always come in small packages, as these two titans prove. This month it’s all about kitting out your office with the perfect all-in-one desktop dreamboat

Lenovo vs Toshiba

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Focus on technology GADGETS

Lenovo A720 All-in-one £1399.99 27”, high-definition (1920x1080) display, 16:9 widescreen frameless and multi-touch support

25.9” x 19.3” x 8.9” (WxHxD), weight: 25.6lbs

We’re unashamed fans of Lenovo’s forward-thinking design. It’s almost space age with that super-sized tilting screen, and a minimalist stand, which doesn’t distract from the epic display

Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM Processor

8GB DDR3 - 1600MHz

‘The award-winning IdeaCentre A720 is a rare combination of up-to-the-minute technology and contemporary style. While it boasts a large, 27” screen, the A720 All-inOne is ultra-slim – the slimmest 27” desktop on the market at the time of its release – and a delight to use.’

Toshiba LX835 All-in-one Price screen dimension


From £926.65 23”, high definition(1920x1080) display, 16:9 aspect ratio, supports 1080p content

22.2” x 3.15” x 16.3” (WxHxD), weight: starting at 15lbs Not quite as flash as some of its allin-one desktop competitors, the best way to describe Toshiba’s offering is, well, cute. It toddles up on those little legs, with a friendly curved screen – think fun and functional, rather than breathtaking


3rd generation Intel® Core™ i73610QM 2.7G


Up to 16GB DDR3 - 1600MHz


‘Bring home a powerhouse. Now available with Windows 8, the allin-one desktop computer series will meet and exceed your entertainment, multi-media and productivity needs. Available in touchscreen, this PC features a stunning 23” diagonal, full HD screen and a surprisingly small footprint, maximising your desk space and delivering a clean look.’

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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.

For more information, please contact us at:

01527 574343


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fRANCHISE NEWS Franchisee of the Year Awards revamped THE 2013 BFA HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards have been revamped with five new national award catergories this year. The awards, now in its 24th year, showcase the UK’s most talented franchisees who have surpassed expectations and achieved exceptional results by promoting best business and practice values. Brian Smart, director of the bfa, said: ‘We have refreshed the catergories for entries to showcase inspirational stories from microbusiness franchises to highlighting long-serving professionals who have greatly impacted their businesses over a period of ten years or more.’ The overall bfa HSBC Franchisee of the year winner is chosen – and crowned the UK’s most outstanding

franchisee – from one of the winners of the following catergories: • Long-Serving Franchisee Award • Young Franchisee of the Year • Micro-business of the Year Award • Customer Service Franchisee Award • Female Franchisee of the Year Award The awards are open for entries, and the bfa is calling for franchisors to nominate their most accomplished franchisees to recognise their sucess. Franchisors have until the 12 July to nominate their chosen franchisees and finalists will be invited for an interview with the judging panel on 21-22 August. Winners will be anounced at a gala dinner at the ICC in Birmingham on 3 October.

Just Falafel to open 200 new stores in UK JUST FALAFEL, THE largest falafel chain in the world is now serving up in the UK with three London restaurants open in Monmouth Street, Baker Street and Hammersmith. The company plans to roll out a total of 200 outlets in the next five years, including Charing Cross, Croydon and Cambridge in the next few months.

Since the Middle Eastern brand opened its first store in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2007, it’s seen rapid growth and now has 33 operating stores, 50 locations under development and more than 800 franchises sold across 17 different countries. From a menu of three falafel sandwiches six years ago, it now has a comprehensive menu that gives the traditional Middle Eastern street food dish a global fast food makeover. UK CEO, Michael Biggins commented: ‘There has been a rising interest in authentic, healthy food in the UK over recent years, and we want to offer Brits a healthier fast food alternative.’

Franchise sector promising for aspiring investors FRANCHISE DEVELOPMENT SERVICES has revealed a range of brands are looking to recruit new franchisees. Opportunities include; Sásta, a fitness and weight loss specialist, Complete entertainment eXchnage (CeX), a second-hand electronics reseller, and well-known sandwich store franchise, SUBWAY. SUBWAY plans to grow its franchise in the UK from 1,500 stores to 2,000 over the next three years, while Sásta detailed plans for 10 flagship franchise outlets across the UK. CeX – launched six years ago – has grown to 195 outlets in the UK with more than 250 stores worldwide. Both CeX and Sásta are offering a buy-back scheme to encourage new franchisees. Professor Roy Seaman, managing director of Franchise Development Services, said: ‘The green shoots are springing up from just about every business sector. ‘They range from low cost opportunities for those looking for part-time opportunities, such as parents who have been looking after children and have certain time available to support their family as well as getting back into business.’

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Buy a pizza delivery franchise with

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

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

That exploits the boom in smartphones: Mobile devices have

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

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

11/04/2013 10:30:15

Focus on franchise SPOTLIGHT

Under the spotlight…

Recognition Express


Talk Business talks to the managing director of Recognition Express, Nigel Toplis, about why the franchise model is perfect for the brand recognition solution provider

Why did you pick the franchising business model? Recognition Express is part of The Bardon Group, which runs four franchised businesses. It was founded in 1979 and has 43 franchises operating across the UK and four master franchises across Europe. We specialise in badge manufacture, signs, business gift and promotional products; our clients include McDonald’s and British Airways. For many years I have been an advocate of the franchise model. It is an exceptional way to grow a brand, create new businesses and to develop capital wealth for all involved. What are the biggest challenges of franchising a business? Without a doubt, recruiting the right quality and quantity of franchisees. To build a successful franchise business, you have to select people who are a good fit for the model. Not everybody is suited to running their own business. People looking to take on a franchise should expect a rigorous interview process, as getting it wrong can prove to be a very costly process for everyone involved. What will franchisees get for their money? Most importantly, franchisees get the experience of the franchisor and the head office team. They get a proven business system with on-going support that covers all the key business areas, including marketing, sales, procurement,

technical and finance. And of course they get a licence to use the brand. Do you offer training and support? We are continually investing to ensure all the business systems are regularly updated, new collateral is added, and innovative marketing programmes are developed. All of our franchisees have access to on-going training as required, and the head office business support team is always on hand to advise them on any aspect of running their business.

People looking to take on a franchise should expect a rigorous interview process as getting it wrong can prove to be a very costly process for everyone involved.

How much will a franchise set me back? The total cost varies from £29,500 to £50,000 + VAT. What is your vision for the future of Recognition Express? We see all of The Bardon Group’s brands continuing to grow, both in the number of franchisees and in their trading performance. What has been your proudest moment? Recognition Express won the coveted bfa Franchisor of the Year Award. To win this prestigious award is testimony to the teams associated with them that I am proud to lead. Contact: recognition-express.com

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Sponsored Article


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

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

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

09/05/2013 15:25

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

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

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

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

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

09/05/2013 15:25

Focus on franchise TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

Take one franchisee:

Mike Woods,

Really Awesome Coffee

Former Army chef, Mike Woods, shares his experience of starting a mobile coffee franchise, his working hours, and who he thinks the franchise is suited to Why coffee? I’m a coffee lover, I drink coffee no matter what the weather, even in Afghanistan I used to drink coffee rather than cold drinks. When I first started, it was really cold, and hot drink sales were pretty good. Even though the weather has got a little bit better, sales have not really dropped off, and I can’t see it changing either. It’s a good business. The UK coffee shop market has doubled since 2006, hitting a £5.8bn turnover in 2012. What are the benefits, and the drawbacks? When I was in the forces I was away for seven or eight months at a time, where I couldn’t get home. Now I’m home every day. And even when I am pottering about at home, cleaning the van or doing paperwork, I’m still there, which is great for me and great for the kids. I go out in the van selling products, but then there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes; like having to get stock, sorting out orders and doing all the paperwork. I have to do all my own taxes too. I’m working less hours, but the drawback is that I’m pretty much on my own most of the day. I chat to a lot of the customers, but when I was in the forces, I was in a team and it was more social.

What are your working hours like? With franchising, you get out as much as you put in. I’m a big believer in that, in any job, but in franchising, and your own business, even more. You can’t rely on anyone else to do the hard graft. The working hours for me at first were hit and miss. When I first started setting this up last month, I was working 16 or 17 hours a day, but that was when I was looking through different companies, scouting suppliers, and working on the van. Now that it has died down a bit, and it’s all in place, everything is running along fine. Now I start early, but I finish early too.

The UK coffee shop market has doubled since 2006, hitting a £5.8 bn turnover in 2012

Who would the franchise suite? You’ve got to be sociable, open and bubbly. You can’t not speak to customers. Customers like to be spoken to, you need to engage with them, even if you don’t want to. It’s a good job if you like talking to people. If you’re a bit shy and you don’t really like talking to people you don’t know, it might not be a great job for you. I enjoy working with other people, so it’s good for me! Contact: reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk

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Stress Free Living Whether you want to reduce absenteeism and the chance of litigation, or improve productivity and your company’s public image, Stress Free Living has the answer. Stress Free Living offers: Consultancy Create, review or implement your Stress Management Policy to manage stress in your organisation Training Build stress awareness and resilience to keep your staff at peak performance Rehabilitation Effective therapy to get your staff back to work after a stress-related episode Services can be delivered in person, online or telephone to anywhere in the UK. Research from the Department of Work and pensions has shown that investment in employee wellbeing can deliver over ten times the outlay.

Dennis Richards is a Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist & a Corporate Stress Management Trainer.

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


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

Compatible with

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Focus on franchise MARKETING STRATEGY

Mastering a franchise ranchising is a great business move if you want to be self-employed and run your own operation without having to come up with a ground-breaking idea. Essentially, you bring an established brand to new markets, which allows you to take the reins and grow the business, but without the risks often associated with launching new start-ups. But before you embark on the journey, you need to carefully consider the brand’s existing reputation and decide if the business is something you feel passionately about. At a tradeshow in 2010, I met with Biothecare Estetika, a unique Spanish beauty brand that specialises in noninvasive beauty and aesthetic treatments, which was looking for a UK master franchisor. I was taken with the company straightaway and spotted the market opportunity for quality beauty treatments that deliver real results for customers. In order to win the business, it is critical to be determined and to show the brand how much passion and vision


Biothecare Estetika master franchisor, Barry Oakhill discusses how implementing a solid marketing strategy from day one is vital for franchise success you have, particularly when competition is rife. But you also have to do your homework. Be sure to visit the company in person and do your due diligence before pursuing the opportunity. You need to ask yourself if you can really replicate the brand in other markets. A positive mental attitude and ability to make things happen is essential in business. This, combined with a strong marketing strategy right from the start, will help ensure the success of the franchise. From my experience, here are my top tips to help you on your way: Location, location, location You can never underestimate the importance of location. When opening your own franchise store, you have to consider general demographics

No matter what your budget, you have to get the brand name out into the local market

of the specific area and how it will fit with the brand. Different cultures can bring about different levels of opportunity. It’s all about identifying your key target markets and opting for locations that will bring highest demand. A franchisee will be expected to know their local area well, as the franchisor or master franchisor will likely be led by you to some degree. This level of local expertise is vital as, ultimately, it is going to be your business – this is a real strength of franchising. Another factor to consider is footfall. If you’re a retail brand, ideally you want to be located in a prime high street location or busy shopping centre. You then have to weigh this up with rent prices and the costs for refurbishments and fittings. Sometimes it’s

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Focus on franchise MARKETING STRATEGY

better longer term to go with a quieter location that will have significantly less rental and business rate costs. This will mean significantly more work for the franchisee, but it should return them a better bottom line after the first 18-24 months. You can’t rush it; it takes time, and it pays off to be in the right location for your business. Getting off the ground It took eight months from my initial conversation with Biothecare to launch the first store in Bristol – but it wasn’t plain sailing. One of the first challenges you are likely to encounter is securing the four walls of the business. Commercial landlords and letting agents are a tough nut to crack, and extremely difficult to persuade for businesses that are unknown to the market. You have to be tenacious: don’t take no for an answer, and challenge them! The next hurdle is persuading the local council to get advertising and marketing consent. Again, these conversations are testing, and you have to keep persevering. In the end, I brought in a legal expert to help fight my case. If you lack experience in this area, hiring a professional or using existing contacts if money is tight - to seal the deal is really worthwhile. Marketing to the masses Having invested heavily in the Biothecare license, I had very limited money in the pot for marketing, but it is critical for business success. No matter what your budget, you have to get the brand name out into the local market and get customers through the doors. Through online research, I had seen that Groupon was helping businesses do just that. After careful planning with the Groupon account manager, the first deal went down a storm and sold over 150 vouchers – it’s

In Profile Biothecare Estétika is an international brand offering customers non-invasive beauty and aesthetic treatments, with 170 stores globally. In 2010, Barry Oakhill purchased the UK licence and opened the flagship store in Bristol. Since this initial opening, Barry has been UK master franchisor and now also works in international development with Biothecare. There are now 10 stores across the UK including London, Exeter, Birmingham, Cardiff, Cwmbran, Southampton, Leicester and Manchester, plus openings in North Africa and the Middle East. Additional UK stores are planned in the near future. a great way for new businesses to benefit from models that have a large and established customer base. However, you have to provide each and every customer with personalised experiences that encourage them to come back again and again, while cross selling and upselling as much as possible By providing the highest level of customer service, our stores have retained, on average, 5060% of our Groupon customers, which has made the partnership a key part of our launch strategy for each new franchise, and has supported the opening of 10 further stores across the UK. Going global In 2012, we decided to expand the Biothecare brand internationally. To do this, I worked with two other master franchisors, who have introduced the brand to the Middle East and Africa. Having local experts to manage this growth is a key advantage if you don’t possess in-depth knowledge of the different geographies you want to target. You need to account for different cultures and regulations that other countries have, and change marketing plans accordingly.

You have to be tenacious: don’t take no for an answer

Is it for you? There are many benefits to running a franchise, but you do need to be 100% sure on the business model and weigh up the pros and cons before making your decision. First and foremost, you have to really have passion for the brand and the drive and vision to make it a success, along with the marketing expertise to take it forward. Contact: biothecareestetika.com

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

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Your future depends on what you do today! Stop dreaming - Take Action - Contact us! Untitled-2 1

25/06/2013 17:21


Space to inspire [standfirst]

Can serviced offices function without the office? Zach Douglas, joint managing director of office environment provider, Orega, tells us how they can

orkers can now work from the moon. OK, not quite, but they can certainly work from almost anywhere on Earth, and studies show we are working better because of it. But how are serviced offices adapting as the working world becomes more mobile? The developments into wireless technology, tablets, downloadable apps, and mobile are shifting from personal gadgets to business necessities, resulting in workers being more mobile and more demanding on employers to provide the latest technology. Workers want to be able to use the innovative technologies they can now access at home,


and want the flexibility to work out of the office. The traditional office setup of the 1930s still exists today; most offices still assign a desk, computer and phone per person (representing a workstation) in a set location. However, working like this is becoming ever more restrictive in the productivity of a business but also utilising the skills of this generation as they enter the workplace. Surveys carried out by Cisco Systems show that allowing staff to work remotely improves productivity, but 45% of IT professionals are unprepared or struggling to implement mobile workforce systems, and haven’t considered serviced offices as an option.

Workers want to be able to use the innovative technologies they can now access at home, and want the flexibility to work out of the office

Can serviced offices, the definition of workstation, help? Some providers, like us at Orega, have embraced the new way of working as an opportunity, and have spent time with forward thinking experts exploring upgrades to their working environment and telecoms to enable companies to benefit from a mobile workforce. Serviced offices have always been known as the solution to the pressure of long leases and large floor plans for small or evolving businesses, which require flexibility. It is naĂŻve for serviced office providers to then limit what services we provide to the traditional desk, connection and handset. Yes, we ultimately sell workspace,

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Focus on Advice OREGA

but that space doesn’t need to be a single large office in one building, or a desk per person. It can be fluid, and we have invested in the technology to allow businesses to follow in the steps of massive corporates, which have created their own new age of flexible working that allows people to share desks and be mobile. Many organisations are struggling to know which technologies to support, but advanced serviced office operators like us, work alongside enterprise-level IT and telecoms specialists, and have the means to create an infrastructure that allows clients to work with the same technology in their offices, or elsewhere. So, what sort of solutions can come from a seller of office space? • Serviced offices don’t need to sell one large office. With a national provider, you have the option to set up a network of smaller offices for your teams to be able to access the most convenient. Orega has developed its own multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), which means its buildings are networked together so communication between the buildings works as an internal network. • Clients can use the business lounges instead of their office with access to free Wi-Fi and power points, alongside the usual cup of tea or coffee. • The handset; the annoyance for the mobile user, but not anymore. Providers like Orega have developed an app to sit alongside their handsets, which turns a mobile into the handset with access to all the fantastic features like call recording, discounted call prices and call centre services. The app runs through a cloud system so you could even call from abroad and pay the same as if you’d

been in your UK office. • Meeting rooms are equipped with projector screens and built-in sound systems so plug in your laptop and video-conference to get that face-to-face experience. • If your colleagues are constantly in and out of HQ, why not get the team a wireless access point. Orega’s points are now hidden in the walls so employees can be hooked up online wherever they sit in the building. Serviced offices are adapting fast to focus as much on innovative mobile technology as more physical office space, and providers like Orega who’s mission is to provide inspirational working environments, which energise businesses to succeed are excited to develop their service

Yes, we ultimately sell workspace, but that space doesn’t need to be a single large office in one building, or a desk per person

offering in a new direction. Businesses will always need a concrete block from which to run their business, but the rest of the workforce should dictate what they need and have access to it. Serviced office providers have the infrastructure to provide an array of technologies. To learn more about developments in serviced offices technologies, email nso@orega.com, call 01932 445016 or visit our website. Contact: orega.com

In Profile OREGA was founded in 2000 by Paul Finch and Zachary Douglas and offers a wide range of fully serviced or managed offices designed to meet the different needs of all types of businesses.

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Bespoke HR advice for the success of your business We pride ourselves in being: Honest We believe in being honest and ensure we give you all of the options to enable you to make an informed decision

Relevant We pride ourselves on knowing you and your business, so our advice is relevant and appropriate

Professional Our team consists of high quality professionally qualified individuals

Objective By using The HR Point you can ensure there is an objective voice, focused on achieving the best outcome

Informative We take pride in providing high quality advice

No nonsense We ensure that our advice is succinct and to the point

Trusted We build strong relationships with our clients

The HR Point provides bespoke HR solutions for small and medium size business. Call us: 01903 783584 Email us: admin@thehrpoint.co.uk Follow us on Twiter: @TheHRPoint Find us on Facebook: Facebook.com/thehrpoint www.thehrpoint.co.uk HR Point_July.indd 1

25/06/2013 17:08

Focus on Advice FREELANCER.CO.UK

Don’t get eaten Matt Barrie, founder of Freelancer.co.uk, tells us why even the multi-million pound companies have to take a leap in the Internet age before they get eaten

s I write this, industries across the world are undergoing spectacular transformation as software and the Internet disrupt incumbents at a pace never ever seen before. Yesterday’s titans, like Wal-mart, Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders, and Sony are waking up overnight to find their business gutted. The weapons of mass destruction? Websites, mobile phone apps, smart phones, and social media, which leave yesterday’s Goliaths to asphyxiate from their multibillion dollar supply chains and infrastructure. We are well and truly in a new age: the Internet age. Disruption is occurring everywhere: retail, labour markets, telecommunications, and marketing. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Forward looking, the transition from one paradigm to the next may not be so obvious, especially when burdened with inertia from legacy businesses; however in hindsight it’s usually quite obvious. 

 Imagine I told you I had a great idea for a business and


Their desire to change is stifled by the fact that the new model generates 10 times less revenue

wanted you to invest. My idea: we’re going to find really great websites, ones with niche, high-quality information about a specific topic. Then we’re going to print all these websites. That’s right, we’re going to go out to the forest, chop down lots of trees, and then print websites on them. We’ll then find hundreds of

big trucks, and load them up with hundreds of thousands of brochures, and ship them to every single suburb on Earth, where we are going to set up little shops that sell the dead trees. Of course, these websites keep updating, so we’re going to have to ship out a new set again on a monthly, weekly, sometimes daily basis. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? In the example of online, it’s over 10 times cheaper to ship versus print, it’s 10 times faster to break news, 10 times more convenient, you can access the entire library with only a web browser, and it’s much easier to search. 

 It’s often thought that incumbents don’t see disruptive technologies coming. That’s absolutely not the case - most of the time they are well aware of the new paradigm. Kodak invented the digital camera, but failed to capitalise on the idea before the eventual shift to digital photography. Incumbents are usually well aware and actively involved in developing the new paradigm. 
 Then why do they then fail? 
Disruption cuts both ways. Continuing our

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example, it’s now 10 times easier for advertisers to measure return on investment from buying an ad - you can simply track a purchase through someone clicking through a link - and it’s 10 times cheaper for new competitors to enter the market, who can do so cheaper, unburdened with legacy costs and infrastructure.

 This is something that the music industry knows too well. When music distribution changed from CD to the Internet, the marginal cost of production dropped to zero. Copying bits is free. The music industry was well aware of this; however, the sword of Damocles was hanging over their head. Do they embrace the Internet and jump in 100% to the new model, and thus render their existing manufacturing and distribution network worthless, spurring a change from CDs to mp3s, encouraging piracy, and potentially fatally as consumer behaviour changes? Or do they pan the new model; arguing that mp3s are somehow inferior, sue new digital entrants and any customer who downloads a song? 
 Big companies are weighed down by inertia. Their desire to change is stifled by the fact that the new model generates 10 times less revenue. So they undertake a token effort with a new business unit as they try to figure out a business model. What happens next is that in every resource allocation meeting, the old business units are still bringing home the bacon, so marketing budgets and headcount continue to follow the old models, not the new. Quarter on quarter, the old businesses slowly bring in less and less - and while the new businesses bring in more and more revenue, they usually don’t come anywhere near replacing the lost revenue from the old model.

They fail to realign, and then Apple comes in and eats your lunch. A complete outsider - someone with nothing to lose, who doesn’t care about the smaller opportunity in the new paradigm, one who can consider entering the industry even as a loss leader to sell something else (iPods, iPhones, iPads). They figure out that consumers really enjoy being able to instantly play any song that’s ever been recorded, on demand, for pennies, without having to catch a bus to a store to buy their music etched onto circles of plastic. They’re OK making a billion dollars, turning the incumbent ten billion dollar businesses into shipwrecks. New technology is in the process of disrupting every industry I can think of. Apple’s market cap is now bigger than Greece, Portugal and Spain combined. Amazon.com will soon be larger than Wal-Mart.  Sometimes you’ve just got to make the leap before you get eaten. Contact: freelancer.co.uk

They fail to realign, and then Apple comes in and eats your lunch

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

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Focus on Advice HR INSIGHT

How to hire Recruitment can be costly and challening. Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight tell us how to go about it and how HR Insight can help

Recruitment costs Consider this, if you were about to spend £50k, it would be a huge decision. One person can easily cost this in recruitment fees, induction and training, plus salary, National Insurance and benefits. The cost of making a poor recruitment decision can be disastrous for your business, and there are no guarantees of making the right one, even for experienced recruiters. Here’s how to avoid making a poor decision: To do list • Assess need to recruit, draft job description and person specification • Source applicants and screen CVs • Plan the interview and do any homework • Conduct first interviews, short-list and carry out skills and psychometric assessments • Conduct second interviews, make offer with time deadline for acceptance, then collect references • Forward “thank you, but no thank you” correspondence to unsuccessful applicants

based questions so you get an insight into their likely behaviours, as well as their skills and experience. Remember the stuff you can’t ask; applicants can make claims against you even at this stage if they think you are discriminating against them because of family, race, gender, disability, so steer clear of these. References Although not always easy to secure, do take references and ask specific questions. Explain the job you’re expecting the person to perform, and ask if they think they can do it. Ask how many days absence they’ve had in the last 12 months and whether they have had disciplinary action taken against them. Don’t take a reference hoping it’s going to be good; look for reasons why you would not appoint this person. It’s better to prevent a bad person from starting, than trying to manage them later on.

The cost of making a poor recruitment decision can be disastrous for your business, and there are no guarantees of making the right one

What contract? Do issue contracts regardless of how short the assignment is. You are legally obliged to set out an employee’s key terms of engagement within eight weeks of them starting, but go further than this and issue it to them for their acceptance at the point of offer. Then consider what type of contract you need…

The interview This is an essential part of the process. Consider the type of interview that might work best and what you need to have understood about the applicant at the end of your meeting. Involve more people if you have to. Ensure you ask evidence-

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Focus on Advice HR INSIGHT

• Permanent employee A long-term commitment to a post, an employee comes with contractual working hours, rights to paid holiday leave, statutory sick pay, maternity or paternity leave, and to notice periods. Give serious consideration to protecting your IP, provide restrictive covenants so your staff and clients cannot be enticed away, and be clear about confidentiality. • Contractors, freelancers and the self-employed Although they may wish to be self-employed for tax purposes, depending on the way that you manage the individual, HMRC may view it differently. If they are not providing their services via a limited company, you may be liable for National Insurance contributions and they may accrue employee rights. Consider the relationship and the control you may want to have over them (working hours, direction, work location, providing equipment) and make an informed decision. • Agency workers Workers who come to you via a recruitment consultancy become entitled, after 12 weeks of working for you, to comparable benefits as your own employees (including pay, holiday and any other benefits you may offer, such as medical insurance). • Casual workers These workers work for you on an ad hoc basis. Take care that, if a commitment is made and they start to work regularly, they will drift into achieving employee status,

How can HR Insight help? First line response: Dedicated phone number directing you to our team of HR advisors who provide over the telephone support, providing you with relevant letters and guidance with current issues as you require them. Employment foundation: Advising you on contractual changes as they arise and reviewing your policies, procedures and handbooks. Drafting your contracts and consulting with your employees. HRi consultancy: Assigned account manager who is an HR consultant, who you may use as your outsourced HR contact, available to be on hand to chair

with all of the associated rights including sick pay. Don’t forget they are still entitled to holiday pay; don’t wrap this up in the salary, show it as a separate payment on the payslip. Use 12.07% of earnings to calculate holiday pay for casual workers. • Fixed term employees If your engagement with a casual worker requires them to undertake work over a period of time, consider using a fixed term contract. They will be bound by notice periods and are much less likely to let you down. This means giving them the same terms as your comparable permanent employees but for a shorter, fixed term period. Don’t forget to set a contract end date. • Interns Don’t get caught out by interns offering their time for free. They have six years to claim the minimum wage - and accrued holiday pay - if they consider they were operating as a worker in your business. Use an intern agreement with a specific clause requiring them

meetings and provide ad hoc onsite support, including investigations and implementing initiatives. e-HR & payroll solutions: An HR data management system, which manages holidays, absence and employee history. Aligned to the system, we can provide confidential payroll processing and management. Legal team & D&O insurance: In-house legal team, assessing your legal claims and liability, preparing and defending employment tribunal cases, and drafting compromise agreements. Directors and officers Insurance may be provided should you wish, which covers you for these claims.

Ensure you ask evidence-based questions so you get an insight into their likely behaviours, as well as their skills and experience

to raise working issues at the time of the assignment. Having a short meeting with them each week to check their learning formally will help defend “worker” claims. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk 01708 758 958

In Profile

HR Insight was formed by Heather Matheson to bring a commercial business perspective to human resource management. She is joined by an expert team of consultants, employment law advisors and associates.

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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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

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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

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

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And finally HE SAID/SHE SAID


He said she said Bad jokes, bizarre strikes and beauty tips are all on offer from our leading entrepreneurs this month. Perhaps they’ve had a bit too much sun. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Lord Sugar @Lord_Sugar They were going to sell Venison but it was too deer Thank God you’re a better entrepreneur than you are a comedian, Alan, don’t give up the day job just yet.

Richard Branson @richardbranson Matt Damon, Bono & myself are on toilet strike – want to join us? Tempting, but no. Just…no.

Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis Tied up today in knickers, electricals & paperclips ! If we didn’t know you were talking about Boux Avenue, Robert Dyas and Ryman, that could sound a teeny bit dodgy, Theo…

Martha Lane Fox @Marthalanefox been attempting to write my maiden speech - the bar is pretty high Later… + btw “do it as karaoke” is v helpful advice thank you The House of Lords love a bit of a sing-song. It’s only a wonder that no one’s thought of doing a sing-along speech before.

Karren Brady @karren_brady For those of you that have asked, for the Baftas I used @tropicskincare... I’m not sure anyone did ask... But we did notice that Tropic Skin Care is co-owned by your Apprentice pal Lord Sugar. Coincidence?

Hilary Devey @HilaryDevey I would love to be PM for a month just to see how much change I could effect xxx Change like compulsory shoulder pads? We could definitely get behind that.

130 July 2013

138 SUCCESS He said She said.ga.indd 138

24/06/2013 14:00


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

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


Comprehensive comparison of Debt Collection Agencies (DCAs) Whether you are a business owner or a finance manager of an organisation large or small, bad debts and long outstanding bills can affect cash flow and profitability. So what do you do when you just can’t get paid, even when you have done everything right? ComparetheDCA.com takes into account the amount of each debt, the region and the type of debt to help you choose the agencies best suited to ensure you get paid. When you have signed up to the service, you will have access to all of the specialist services offered by each participating agency, to maximise the returns on your outstanding debts.

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ComparetheDCA.com Limited, 3 Assembly Square, Cardiff CF10 4PL Registered in England & Wales, Company Number 07694826 Copyright Š 2013 ComparetheDCA.com

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