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w w w . t a l k b u s i n e s s m a g a z i n e . c o . u k

For the entrepreneur

by the entrepreneur

March 2014 £4.50

‘The social

enterprise revolution’ Melody Hossaini on her passion for people and why kindness is the ultimate power

Going global SMEs can’t be lazy with language

Reward your staff

Increase salaries through tax perks

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C900 WO R L DTIMER Calibre JJ03 modification (Patent pending) of ETA 2893 self-winding movement / Personally assembled by Master Watchmaker, Johannes Jahnke and team at CW’s Swiss atelier / 2 x 24 hour time-zone display / 24 airport code identification and simultaneous world map indicator / 43mm, marine-grade, 316L polished steel case with sapphire crystal and transparent case-back / Ethically sourced, midnight blue, Louisiana alligator strap with Bader deployment

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20 Talk image 89 Improve your confidence Tips 90 Look the business: win a suit Fashion

iNSIDE 9 Editor’s letter 12 Letters 14 News & events

49 The branding column Rich With 51 Remember more Memory tips 52 It’s OK, everyone speaks English Don’t be lazy with language

TALK Success

55 Expanding overseas? Foreign exchange

19 Tell us what you think, and win a luxury stay Market research

57 Get the edge Market research tips

20 The social enterprise revolution Melody Hossaini, founder of InspirEnage 28 Take one company Living Word

61 Negotiation Adam Caplan 65 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems


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

67 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

32 Manchester Gateway for growth in the north west?

69 Ten steps of Twitter Step five: scheduling

35 Book reviews

73 The case for a multilingual website International expansion

37 League of extraordinary communicators Emails 130 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?


TALK strategy

talk MONEY 39 The funding expert Foreign language of finance 41 Is there really a funding crisis? SME funding 44 Increasing salaries without a pay rise Tax perks 47 A day in the life Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient

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77 Blinky: print with personality Print offer

talk people 79 The people column Lee McQueen 81 Brought to you by Basepoint Top 10 recruitment tips 83 TUPE or not TUPE? HR Insight 84 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the founders of Moo Moo Youth Marketing 87 Language isn’t just semantics By Powwownow

94 Hot spots Locations for SMEs 97 We love Our favourites

talk technology 99 The Accelerator Jon Bradford, the tech expert 101 Loyalty, data and mobile payments Payment technoogy 102 The smart stadium Fan experience 104 Call for back up Telephone losses 107 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 108 Must-have gadgets for SMEs Business needs

TALK FRANCHISE 111 Franchise news 115 Spotlight RED driving school 117 The fran man Thinking of investing in a franchise? 119 Take one franchisee Alex Markov, Nationwide Cleaners 120 What can I expect? Franchisor support

talk aDVICE 122 FPG 124 KYOCERA 126 Home Instead 128 Talk Business directory

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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

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

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


Circulation/subscriptions: UK £40, EUROPE £60, REST OF WORLD £95 Circulation enquiries: Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd T: 0203 617 4680 Talk Business is published 12 times a year by Aston Greenlake Publishing Limited William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, CM24 8AJ © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. No part of Talk Business may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor. Talk Business will make every effort to return picture material, but it is sent at owner’s risk. Due to the nature of the printing process, images can be subject to a variation of up to 15 per cent, therefore Aston Greenlake Publishing Limited cannot be held responsible for such variation.

Printed by

“Everyone speaks


hat do you think when you hear that phrase: “Everyone speaks English”? Do you agree? Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking so; after all it is one of the predominant languages in the world, with an estimated 800 million people speaking it. On the contrary, it is not the most popular language in the world. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Chinese is, with more than 1.1 billion using it daily. Taking that into account, perhaps when you hear this phrase, instead of agreement you shake your head in distaste. It’s no secret that many people around the world, including people from the UK themselves, believe that in this part of the globe we are lazy when it comes to language. I myself agree. But apart from remembering limited French from school and attempting (often badly) to ask for a glass of wine while staring at a phrase book on holiday, have I done anything about it? No. However, language is not something businesses can ignore. The internet has made the world smaller – so even if you’re not actively taking your offering overseas, even the smallest companies are visible in any country. And if you haven’t considered expanding abroad, for many companies you are not just restricting your success, you could be slowly strangling your business. On page 52 we investigate why it is detrimental to be lazy with language. Melody Hossaini, our Face on the cover, speaks five


languages. Born amidst war in Iran, she came to England at age 13, and despite not being able to speak English fully, she immersed herself in establishing a leading democratic youth organisation. The former candidate of BBC’s Apprentice reveals on page 20 how she runs the successful international social enterprise, InspirEngage. Remember, it’s not only important to focus on learning other languages and cultures, it’s imperative we use our mother tongue in the most positive way. Turn to page 37 to find out why we often forget basic manners in emails. I’ll leave you with some of my limited French. Prendre soin de l’entreprise,



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Contributors & LETTERS

Our regulars Lee McQueen won series four of BBC’s The Apprentice and now runs Raw Talent Academy, a recruitment company specialising in great sales people. It encourages organisations to look at the wider raw talent in the UK, not just graduates. Lee, who has more than 12 years’ experience working in recruitment and eight years as an employer of sales people, is passionate about giving job seekers an opportunity to earn a career. He’s a proud father of three daughters, and a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. Read his column on ironing out peaks and troughs on page 79.

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

Jon Bradford is the managing director of Techstars in London, and our new tech columnist. Alongside this, he is also a co-founder of f6s, a global community of start-up founders, and also tech.eu, a tech blog dedicated to start-ups in Europe. Prior to this, Jon has helped to start 12 multi-company accelerators, from Montreal to Moscow, including founding Europe’s first bootcamp accelerator in 2009, The Difference Engine, and subsequently Springboard, based in Cambridge and London. In a previous life, Jon trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen, and has worked in various start-ups and turnarounds.

Tony Morris is a sales trainer and co-founder of the Sales Doctor. He has 14 years’ experience in sales, both B2B and B2C, and has trained 1,500 sales professionals in a variety of industries. Alongside his business partner, Tony set up the Sales Doctor in May 2006. He started by cold calling to generate appointments, and within the first year. the Sales Doctor had 56 clients; this has continued to grow year-on-year. Tony’s ethos: you can sell any product or service with the right attitude and a well planned call structure. On page 65 he answers a tricky question about leaving your problems at the door.

Turn to page 67 to find out why Read the Accelerator’s Kimberly thinks the marketing introductory article on page 99. of Candy Crush is ingenious.


MARCH 2014

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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 Publishing Limited, William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, CM24 8AJ

This month, our readers are talking about how great the Gandys founders are, SME takeovers and the benefits of tax breaks

Leaving a legacy Dear editor, Reading about Rob and Paul Forkan the founders of Gandys flipflops [Face on the cover, February] was extremely moving and inspirational. I truly admire how they turned the ultimate negative into a positive. Leila Morrison Entrepreneur


Bring back tax breaks It was recently reported in the media that the BVCA says re-introducing tax breaks, such as the Corporate Venturing Scheme (CVS) will encourage more investment. The scheme was done away with in 2010 because it was under-used, but £132 million was invested in almost 600 companies over a ten-year period. I agree with the BVCA that the scheme should be brought back. An investor


I enjoyed reading your article about takeovers [SMES selling big, February]. It was very topical, especially when Facebook bought WhatsApp. The messaging service is used by 465 million users around the world, so when it went down a few days after the takeover, there was a huge uproar. One worry about takeovers like this, is that the founders have built a personality that makes the product; if Facebook doesn’t keep that ethos – I think the product will fail. Beth Harding Tech analyst


Tweets 0F the month... @prthewriteway #Leeds United fan and #Kerseys #solicitor Ross Burkitt shares his views over recent events with @TalkBusinessMag : http://bit.ly/1d92NLt @GrowthAccel Study by @breatheHR reveals info of when, why and how often employees at UK #SMEs call in sick http://bit.ly/1bp8Lwj  via @TalkBusinessMag @PortsmouthExpo Don’t forget to pick up your free copies of @TalkBusinessMag available at the Registration Desk and in the Cafe Area at #PBE14 on 20 March @liquidaccounts Great to be working with @TalkBusinessMag - see the our ad in this months issue @RealBizRescue @TalkBusinessMag looks great, we’ve created some awesome #inforgraphics of our own, but like this one @Basepoint_Cntrs @TalkBusinessMag great to see you @FranchiseShowUK 2014! @deeblick 30 minute break as yay my copy of @TalkBusinessMag has just arrived. Loving the Gandy flip flops story. Even the ads are relevant @cleankilluk Nice mention about being ‘green’ in @TalkBusinessMag on page 54. It has brightened up this very dark, wet day. http://fb.me/1bx7XP3Z9 

MARCH 2014

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Dates for the diary Business Junction Networking Events 5 March The Red Herring, St. Paul’s 13 March Rydges Kensington 18 March The British Museum, Bloomsbury businessjunction.co.uk

Internet Retailing Expo 26-27 March NEC Birmingham internetretailingexpo.com

Online Retail Conferences 16 September Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington orevents.com

Kent 2020 Vision Live 14 May Kent Event Centre, Maidstone kent2020live.co.uk

eCommerce Expo 1-2 October Olympia, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk

Sterling Integrity 7 March The Village Hotel, Coventry 28 March The Village Hotel, Cardiff 8 May Kingsholme Rugby Club, Gloucester sterlingintegrity.co.uk

The Business Show 2014 15-16 May ExCel London greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk

Successful Selling Expo 16 October RICOH, Coventry sales-expo.co.uk

Thames Valley Expo 12 June Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk

UK Government finances show £4.7bn surplus ACCORDING TO THE Office for National Statistics, Government finances for January showed a surplus of £4.7 billion. That was less than the £6 billion surplus recorded a year ago. For the financial year to date, Government borrowing was £90.7 billion, which was £4 billion lower than at the same point a year earlier. January usually records a surplus due to high tax receipts, but in most other months, the Government borrows more money than it receives. The total pile of Government debt now stands at £1.24 trillion, equivalent to 74.6% of the UK’s total economic output. The ONS figures are initial estimates and are subject to revision. They exclude the effect of bank bailouts. The £1.3bn fall in January’s surplus when comparing with a year earlier was


down to higher Government spending. Tax receipts from VAT and Stamp Duty were up slightly, but this was offset by a fall in receipts from income and corporation tax.

MARCH 2014

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Treasury committee announced inquiry into SME lending THE TREASURY COMMITTEE has announced that it will be conducting a short inquiry into SME lending. The inquiry will focus on three issues: access to finance for SMEs; the scope for opening up the sector to more competition; and the treatment of SMEs by banks. Commenting on the Committee’s inquiry, chairman of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, said: ‘SMEs report that they are struggling to secure adequate access to finance, from banks and elsewhere. It is vital to a sustainable economic recovery in the UK that this market be restored to working order. ‘Like individual customers, SMEs have been badly treated by their banks. The mis-selling of interest rate swaps caused huge detriment. Although redress is currently being provided,

many firms suffered significant losses. ‘SMEs are viewed as sophisticated customers by regulators when, in reality, many are not. The Committee will look at whether the scope and

remit of the regulators provide adequate protection.’ The first evidence session took place on Tuesday 25 February at the House of Commons.

Government urged to offer tax breaks to SME investors THE BVCA, WHICH represents the venture capital and private equity industries, has urged the Government to offer tax breaks to SME investors.


It said in its submission, ahead of this year’s budget, that the Government could consider reviving the Corporate Venturing Scheme, which was scrapped in 2010. It also called for reforms to entrepreneurs’ relief, specifically scrapping the 5% threshold, the employment test, and the £10 million lifetime limit, “to send a clear message to entrepreneurs that if they make a success of their business in the UK, they deserve to keep the proceeds for them and their team.” The BVCA’s submission said: “The debate at present encourages us to choose between one aspect or another of our political economy – SMEs or large businesses, bank debt or equity finance, infrastructure investment or exporting. But actually we must look at all of these in the round. “We want SMEs to become large businesses, and we want large businesses to invest in small ones to foster innovation. A healthy mix of equity and debt is more important

than prioritising one over the other.” The report follows calls by the CBI and London mayor, Boris Johnson for small businesses to consider using more equity finance, rather than relying on bank debt for funding. The report added: “It is worth highlighting that 90% of businesses that private equity and venture capital invest in are SMEs. As with every single private equity investment, our goal is the same, to help them grow. These SMEs are therefore the ones with high growth potential – the ones that can create the jobs the UK economy needs.” It also called for the lifting of visa restrictions on non-EU migrants with a degree in STEM subjects and the introduction of a tax credit for apprentices. Simon Hames, BVCA director general, commented: ‘By improving the flow of financing, getting more multi-nationals to use corporate venture capital and by incentivising employers to take on apprentices, the UK can ensure this recovery is a sustainable one.’

MARCH 2014

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win a luxury stay e want to know what you think of Talk Business Magazine. Do we print the right stories? Would you like to see more articles on finance or marketing? Do you like the design of the magazine? Can we do more online? Talk Business is the magazine for the entrepreneur by the entrepreneur and we want to continue to support you on starting and growing your business the way you want. So, please take just a few minutes to tell us what you think. As a thank you to those who take part in our short online survey, we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win a luxury stay at a Classic Lodges hotel of your choice.


THE PRIZE Classic Lodges is an independent and nationwide collection of 15 unique hotels that vary from a 700-year old coaching Inn in the Cotswolds, to a Georgian mansion on the Scottish border. Each of the 15 properties has something different to offer, but all maintain a certain style and luxury – from the country houses set in acres of landscaped grounds to the city centre hotels

with modern splendour. Fine dining is at the centre of every Classic Lodges hotel, such as the Grovefield House Hotel near Slough – a two-rosette hotel - where head chef, Imad draws upon Mediterranean influences to create innovative flavour combinations. The winner of this fantastic prize will enjoy a table d’hôte dinner at any of the 15 hotels before settling down for a good night’s sleep in a double or twin bedroom. A full breakfast

awaits in the morning to fuel the day before a stroll around the town or countryside locale. To take part in our short survey and enter the prize draw, visit: talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/ win-a-luxury-stay T&C’s: 1. The prize is based on two sharing a double/twin room, and can only be booked via central reservations line – 08456 038892. 2. The prize must be redeemed before the end of July 2014, and is subject to availability on selected dates. 3. The prize is not transferable and cannot be exchanged for a cash value.


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‘The social enterprise


Melody Hossaini is passionate about people, and this month her social enterprise InspirEngage International celebrates its fifth birthday. Dawn Murden meets the determined founder national newspaper once said Melody Hossaini must be 197years old to have done everything she has. You can perhaps forgive their accusing tone after a quick glance at her experience. Melody is a professional speaker, trainer and social entrepreneur who’s helped thousands of people get their life on the right track through her company, InspirEngage International. She was a candidate on series seven of The Apprentice and has received training from Al Gore and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. And that’s just a snippet of her success. Life didn’t get off to an easy start for Melody. She was born in war-stricken Iran, and moved to Turkey and Sweden, before settling in the UK at age 13. Despite not being able to speak English fully, she immersed herself in helping to set up the UK Youth Parliament. ‘I couldn’t understand why young people didn’t have a say


in things that affected their lives,’ she told me. ‘I felt an inherent sense of responsibility and had to do something.’ In 2005, she made history by becoming the first female, and ethic minority, to be elected chair of its board of trustees. Then in 2009, Melody set up the social enterprise, InspirEngage International, helping young people through skills development bootcamps all over the world. She set up the business with nothing but a Hotmail account. You may recognise Melody from BBC’s The Apprentice. She beat 75,000 applicants to become the first ever social entrepreneur on the show, where she displayed strong confidence that often lead to her being described as “ruthless” in the media. The press also accused her of “talking too much”. However, we were gripped and only happy to listen to everything Melody had to say. She is one confident, kind and inspirational entrepreneur.

WHAT DID YOU DO TO HELP ESTABLISH THE UK YOUTH PARLIAMENT? A group of volunteers and I collected thousands of signatures for a petition. I remember persuading the head teacher that the money from our next non-uniform day should go to the cause, when it did, it went in the local newspaper. I’d drag my mum to meetings on a Saturday. I think I drove everyone mad going on about it; however it soon got taken seriously when Tony Blair got involved.

It was working with the United Nations to support young people developing projects on climate change

YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS WITH £0 AND A HOTMAIL ACCOUNT – HOW? A product business needs funds, but a services business doesn’t. Instead, I had 10 years of experience in the youth sector. I worked from my bedroom with my email – I remember my email signature was “global youth sector consultant.” I didn’t really know I was a business at first. I was offering my services and experience contractually.


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HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE YOUTH SECTOR? A talented group of people and I established a democratic youth organisation - I worked on that for 13 years. In 2005, I made history by becoming the first female and ethnic minority, to be elected chair of its board of trustees. I did this alongside my law degree. I thought I wanted to be a human rights lawyer. I got a place at law school but decided not to take it. I didn’t want to be a government puppet; I wanted to promote change on the ground.

Vital statistics: Company founded: March 2009, incorporated 2011 Start-up capital: £100 Current turnover? Still a growing company. Current Net profit? N/A Growth rate: We are the first social enterprise to be embedded into the national curriculum – in September 2013, our courses have landed in three pioneer colleges, and we are in talks with many others. Biggest achievement: Our “Startup & Stilettos” scheme. It helps vunerable women, who may have suffered domestic violence or other issues, to become economically active through social enterprise.


INSPIRENGAGE’S OBJECTIVE IS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH DEVELOPMENT BOOTCAMPS. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO THIS? Partly my background. Struggle is a fine teacher, which not only makes you grateful for what you have, but also socially responsible in supporting others, Remember the riots in London? We watched 10-yearold boys steal televisions. However it’s not the boy’s fault, it’s our fault; it’s society’s fault. I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility, and had a passion for social justice. InspirEngage enables positive change by working with schools, colleges and universities, as well as businesses and communities. DID YOU REQUIRE ANY START-UP CASH? InspirEngage had never secured funding, until last year. The Department for Innovation & Skills recognised the value of what we are doing as a company, and their grant is helping us to expand. We would never stop doing what we’re doing due to lack of money, but, with this extra funding, it means we will be able to do much more, such as create employment for young people. There’s only so much you can do before you need more money. YOU’VE SURVIVED SOME PRETTY SCARY EXPERIENCES, SUCH AS BEING KIDNAPPED IN ABU DHABI. DO YOU THINK THESE EXPERIENCES HAVE MADE YOU STRONGER IN BUSINESS? To be honest, you just carry on. I keep calm and just do my best. I love what I do, but I encounter problems. None of us have all the answers, we continue to learn throughout our lives. The bad bits are just part of the

Photography: Paul Ward

I made history by becoming the first female, and ethnic minority, to be elected chair of its board of trustees

The first InspirEngage contract happened organically. I was meeting a contact and was introduced to their boss in the lobby. I asked what he was working on and he pulled out a pen and paper and drew a diagram. I said what I did and didn’t like, and he gave me the contract. Turns out it was working with the United Nations to support young people developing projects on climate change. You never know when your big break is going to come.

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journey. It’s not about failure. I hate that word, it sounds so final. It’s about trial and error. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT MARKETING THE BUSINESS? It grew organically through recommendations – I never knocked on a door or did mail-outs. Now, we’re huge social media fans, and we reach around 680,000 people through social channels. WHEN YOU CAME TO ENGLAND, YOUR ENGLISH WASN’T GREAT. NOW YOU CAN SPEAK FIVE LANGUAGES, DOES THIS HELP IN BUSINESS? An understanding of cultures is more important. We tailor our services to place. In Asia for example, it’s rude to point, stand up and take control of the room. It’s about getting the right

When I ran some training in the Middle East, the men thought I was just the person introducing the trainer

balance. Sometimes though, you have to impose your own rules. For example when I ran some training in the Middle East, the men thought I was just the person introducing the trainer. They also took a longer lunch, so I told them if they were late again they’d have to stand up and sing. After one person was forced to sing, they were never late again! WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING TRAINED BY ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU AND AL GORE? Al Gore needed people from various sectors, including the youth sector, to communicate the message from his An Inconvenient Truth documentary. I went for two days training. Alex Ferguson, the CEO of Shell, and Channel Four presenters were some of the other people there. I met Desmond Tutu at PeaceJam event. It’s an international education organisation whose mission is to create young leaders committed to positive change. I remember he stood up and said there were three things needed for peace. Then he said the first was sexy legs – he had a great sense of humour. WHAT WERE THE BEST AND WORST - ASPECTS


OF APPEARING ON THE APPRENTICE? The best thing was meeting my best friend, Felicity Jackson, and that I was the first social enterprise founder on the show. The worst was that it’s a TV show, edited, and portrays business as a dog-eat-dog world. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE TIP TO FELLOW BUSINESS OWNERS? I love the Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.” There is no one way to be successful, you need to find your own path. I also think kindness is the ultimate power. WHAT’S THE FUTURE FOR THE BUSINESS? I want to take the social enterprise revolution to a new level. Last year we joined a committee and helped open the first ever vocational training institution for women in Saudi Arabia. Contact: inspirengage.com Twitter: @Melody_Hossaini

MARCH 2014

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Holidays, Bank Holidays and Part Timers confusion and calculation. It’s a frequent question to our HR team, with many variations: • What is the holiday entitlement for a part timer? • How do we calculate bank holidays for someone who works two days a week? • What happens with holidays and the long term sick?


et’s start with the most recent change in the law around holidays: 1st October 2007 was the date when the Working Time Regulations (1998/1833) came into force. This gives 28 days (or 5.6 weeks) leave to people working 5 days per week.

As I’ve already said, there is no statutory right to take time off on a bank/ public holiday. The change that came into effect on 1.10.2007 means that all holiday calculations take place around the minimum 28 days leave (which includes the 8 public holidays).

It may come as a surprise, but there is no statutory right to have bank holidays off. So, these 28 days INCLUDE the 8 (occasionally more) bank holidays each year.

Let’s say your employee handbook states: ‘You are entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday in each complete holiday year inclusive of bank and public holidays’

The main issue managers have is calculating holiday entitlement for people who work part time. The full entitlement of 28 days per year is for 5 day/ week workers. So it is a simple calculation for different working patterns, see the table below:

A full time worker gets 28 days leave per year. If your holiday year starts on 1st January and they take off 1st January (bank holiday) and 2nd January (not usually a bank holiday in England and Wales) then they will have 26 days holiday left.

Days worked/ week

Days holiday per year

1 2 3 4

5.6 11.2 16.8 22.4

Another way of looking at this is that employees get 5.6 weeks of holiday during the year, whatever their normal working week is. So if they work 3 days per week they get 5.6 weeks of their normal working week (3 days per week) paid leave per year.

If that same worker used their remaining 26 days prior to Christmas and Boxing Day then they would not be entitled to take those days as paid leave. They would have to agree to work them, or take them as unpaid leave. Employers that are closed on Christmas/ Boxing Day should always give notice to employees that they have to take holidays on these days. Holiday requests should be refused if that would result in insufficient leave for those two days.

Sick Leave: Holiday leave accrues while an employee is off sick. If an employee is off for a full holiday year then they will have accrued 28 days of leave. That brings me on to my final point: Creating an annual leave policy that works for the business, is fair to employees, is applied equally and is legally compliant. There are a lot of factors to take into account. Examples include: • What has gone before (Custom and Practice) • Any changes that result in workers being worse off must be consulted on. • If policies are not applied equally to all workers then problems will follow. • Should leave be carried from one holiday year to the next? For how long? • Who grants holiday requests? • How do you deal with everyone in a team wanting the same days off? • Does holiday entitlement increase with length of service? I have only scratched the surface of this subject (our internal notes stretch to 34 pages of guidance!), So you can see there is a lot to consider over and above the legal minimum.

Hope that’s clear!

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Get FREE employment contract template Download now, valued at ÂŁ200 with detailed notes . Every employee needs their own written employment contract within 12 weeks of starting a job. It is the law. The penalty is a 25% uplift in any employment tribunal payouts. Ensure you are compliant by downloading our employment contract template. It comes with all the notes you need to fill in job titles, salary and all of the other legal requirements. Ensure you are compliant - download your copy now.

Author: Neil Atkinson has twenty years experience starting and growing businesses. He started Deminos in 2007 with his (CIPD Fellow) wife, Louise. The Deminos team now provide practical HR and Employment law advice & support to hundreds of businesses of all sizes from just one employee to thousands. For guidance on holidays or any other employee issues call us on

020 7870 1090 To download a compliant employment contract template with full guidance notes for free go to


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30/01/2014 16:33


hink of some of the most memorable brands and slogans; like Nike’s “Just do it” or McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it”. These brands are found all over the world, and an important part of going global is language. “I’m lovin’ it” is “ich liebe es” in German and “我就 喜” in Chinese for example. Going global isn’t about sticking some content on Google translator and hoping for the best. There are professional translation companies out there on a mission to grow your following from country to county, like translation specialist, Living Word. ‘Translation requires the perfect balance,’ Katharine Marr, founder of Living Word, says. ‘You have to interpret the original message, and convey that in the target language, whilst also creating text that is culturally appropriate to the audience.’ Katharine thinks it’s often difficult to explain how important translation and the understanding of different


Word UP Dawn Murden meets Katharine Marr, the founder of Living Word, a small translation specialist, which has worked with big brands like Chevrolet and Adidas

I devised a good business plan and a cash flow forecast before I approached the bank for a loan.

Vital statistics

Company founded: February 2004 Start-up capital: £5,000 bank loan Turnover: N/A Profit: N/A Growth rate: Compared to last year we’ve had 30% increase in sales, the year before that it was 10%. Biggest achievement: Getting the company off the ground out of nothing. If I was to choose a tangible agreement, it would be our 10 year working relationship with Chevrolet.


cultures is in business. ‘Sometime people don’t value translators as much as they should,’ she says. ‘They have a specific set of skills. ‘It’s easier to sell our services in Europe, but in England we find people tend to take the cheapest option.’ Prior to setting up her own company, Living Word in 2004, Katharine studied linguistics and French and worked for various translation agencies. She found the agencies she was working for were quite old fashioned and found it difficult to move to new technology. ‘I always knew I wanted to run my own company,’ Katharine says. ‘I identified problems with the companies I worked at, with the way they managed staff and their strategies. ‘Some of them still operated using fax – they were in the dark ages. I knew I could make things better technologically.’ Katharine spent a long time building up the business before she physically set up shop. ‘I devised a good business plan and a cash flow forecast before I approached the bank for a loan. ‘I thought it would be harder, but I did my research. You have to prove you’re worth it.’ Katharine came from a project management background and admits in the beginning it was hard – as she

had to learn to do everything. She admits today they are still a small team in-house, with a huge pool of freelance translators. However, Living Word has worked for huge brands, like Chevrolet, ABRSM, ASDA, Nokia and Adidas. ‘We concentrate on good communication; we are small and adaptable,’ she says. ‘Proof reading comes as part of the service and we use an in-cloud management system.’ ‘Having freelancers is great. Other agencies where I worked would hire translators when they were busy and make them redundant when business was slow – it wasn’t sustainable.’ Another way in which progress was promoted within the company was through GrowthAccelerator, a service lead by growth specialists to help business owners find new connections, routes to investment and new strategy ideas. ‘I decided to use the service after my accountant recommended it,’ says Katharine. ‘My mentor, Andrew has been great. He helped us a lot with the Chevrolet contract. We were used to small and medium contracts, rather than one big one – so he helped us adapt our processes to handle this in the right way.’ ‘Having the final responsibility – if it goes wrong it’s all on me,’ she says.

MARCH 2014

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What would Katharine’s advice be to other business owners? ‘If your product is good, people will pay. We survived the recession. Ignore the economy.’ The future looks very positive for Living Word. ‘We can pick and choose the clients we like now, and we want to focus on creative translation, adaption and market research.’ Contact: livingword.co.uk

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I’m watching: I just finished Breaking Bad, now I’m watching the American adaptation of The Office I’m reading: The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson I’m listening: Lots of different music, at the moment I like German music from the 1960s and ‘70s, and business podcasts. I’m surfing: Cooking and running websites, LinkedIn and life hacks.

We concentrate on good communication, we are small and adaptable

28/02/2014 09:20

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Daniella Goodman

This month we interview Daniella Goodman, founder of Little Linguists Nursery School

ittle Linguists Nursery School is a French bilingual nursery in south London, providing flexible, affordable care and education for children. It follows the “one person, one language” approach, with French teachers only speaking French with the children. This is one of the most recognised ways of teaching young children another language.


WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? Little Linguists is a combination of a decade of research into the learning capabilities of babies, with my passion for creating a unique opportunity for children to learn another language. I first encountered bilingualism studying Spanish in Barcelona. I was amazed by the fact that the only monolingual students were all English first language speakers, either from England or the USA. The majority of other students were multilingual, claiming their schooling systems promote language learning, and in some places it is compulsory.

WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Get a business mentor and never give up. It has taken me many years to get to where I am with my business. Do not let the word “no” discourage you. Work closely with your business mentor to find creative ways to achieve your goals. IF YOU WEREN’T AN ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING TODAY? Still working in multi-level marketing, which I believe is a great way to develop an additional income alongside a family or another job. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR WORST EVER JOB? The hardest job I had was working in a large baby store, which involved carrying a lot of heavy nappies. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Learning to deal with rejection.

The word “no” used to scare me, but I’ve learnt to embrace it and continue on to the next. WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? The thought that I need to read my emails before my son wakes up. HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? I wouldn’t say I am motivated by money; however I do need it to remain sustainable. I am more motivated by my passion to make Little Linguists a success.

I never thought I would achieve my goal at the beginning of this year

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? The grand opening of my nursery. I never thought I would achieve my goal at the beginning of this year, and it was nice to share the finished product with my nearest and dearest. It was lovely to meet the Mayor of Wandsworth, who also came along to cut our big red ribbon. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE? I would love to see Little Linguists go on to achieve its aim of introducing another language to young children, which carries with it many long term benefits. I also hope our bilingual parent and baby workshops will encourage parents to join in with their children’s learning and promote bilingualism. Contact: littlelinguistsnursery.co.uk


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Manchester: gateway for growth in the North West? We look at the growth of Manchester’s MediaCityUK and The Landing, a business incubation hub

anchester. Birthplace of the first computer, graphene and John Dalton’s atomic theory. This northern city is a place full of excitement, innovation and, most of all, entrepreneurial spirit. Greater Manchester has seen the investment of big business and major economic development during the past few years, highlighted by the transformation of Salford Quays and the creation of MediaCityUK, which includes anchor tenant, BBC and more recently, ITV Studios. With 206,815 enterprises calling the north west home, the region’s SME population is



Highlighted by the transformation of Salford Quays and the creation of MediaCityUK

on the rise, with high-growth companies increasing by 19% in the last year alone. One of the biggest draws for media enterprises and SMEs is Salford Quays’ booming MediaCityUK, which now houses an eclectic mix of 200 businesses. At the 2013 Salford Media Festival, writer of The Simpsons, Josh Weinstein, said: ‘Manchester has the potential to take over Los Angeles as a media hub.’ At the centre of this media revolution is The Landing. Situated at the heart of MediaCityUK, the digital hub fosters partnerships with global enterprises, supports visionary

digital SMEs and helps them to succeed in today’s everchanging world. Incubation schemes and enterprise support hubs, such as The Landing, often fuel economic growth. They are integral to the future of the UK’s business economy. According to UKBI, businesses in incubator schemes have an average success rate of 98%, and a further 87% are surviving after five years. The Landing has created a unique business proposition for SMEs by attracting global media organisations, including interactive media designers, engineers, software specialists and content producers. Now

MARCH 2014

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The Landing has created a unique business proposition for SMEs by attracting global media organisation at full capacity, The Landing houses a rich variety of tenants which are all benefitting from the opportunity to work alongside large media and technology organisations to drive product efficiency and develop new ways of working. It is also home to the region’s only “usability rooms” for testing and analysing games and interactive technologies, along with the UK’s only “digital workflow centre”. Based in The Landing is KMS Solutions, a digital health company, which pioneered its wearable safety device prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show [CES] in Las Vegas this month. KMS

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director, Louis-James Davis, describes the importance of enterprise communities for new businesses: ‘Hubs and incubator programmes provide an essential safe environment for young businesses to develop and fast track ideas into a commercial-ready stage through advice, mentoring and encouragement, which are as important as are establishing resources and financial support. ‘Location is key and The Landing at MediaCityUK is ideally placed with access routes to the city and technology and business universities that have been vital to the development of projects, allowing us to stay on track for our market launch this month. ‘The prestige of an office facility, such as The Landing, allows us to present the best possible image when talking to potential national and international partners and customers.’ Mobbra, an interactive event technology company based at The Landing has experienced growth since moving to MediaCityUK. President and founder, Will Walters, also credits location as the key ingredient. ‘Manchester’s digital economy is on an exponential rise, mainly due to re-establishing itself on the world stage with MediaCityUK,

which is attracting not only big global enterprises, but also upand-coming SMEs. ‘Not all enterprise hubs are located on prime real estate, but The Landing has achieved that. It is located at the heart of Manchester’s media economy; it provides a low-cost working environments, whilst also fostering strategic partnerships and access to business support.’ Jon Corner, CEO of The Landing, commented on the role that The Landing plays in driving SME growth in the north west: ‘Digital is no longer a division. It is integral to everything we do. Media content production and distribution has dissolved into transformative and pervasive digital communication tech (all things data). ‘What Greater Manchester has, unlike many other city regions, is enormous capacity in both areas. MediaCityUK and The Landing will play a key role in bringing this under a single eco-system, by collaborating with universities and wider education innovations, such as emerging University Technical Colleges (UTCs). ‘The economic impact of a unified approach in areas such as health, retail and financial services will be profound.’ Contact: thelanding.org.uk

27/02/2014 11:23

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Book reviews The PR Masterclass How to Develop a Public

The PR Masterclass is published by Wiley, priced at £16.99 in hardback and e-book.

Shopping and How Your Business Can Use Consumer Psychology to Succeed by Graham Jones

About the author: Graham Jones is a leading internet psychologist, based in the UK. He is also one of the first to investigate the way human behaviour has adapted to the online environment.

Our verdict:

We say: We think it’s great how Alex explains why most media campaigns fail. This book helps readers understand how to develop and pitch material that’s newsworthy, credible and rivals competitors.

Click.ology What Works in Online Our verdict:

Relations Strategy that Works! by Alex Singleton

About the author: Alex Singleton is a public relations strategist. Through consultancy, training and speaking, he helps organisations, large and small, all over the world. Companies such as Kellogg’s, Virgin Atlantic and FirstGroup, along with major charities and public bodies have turned to him for advice.


Beyond The Job Desciption How Managers and

We say: This book provides insights into what makes an online store really work. It’s packed with tips, guidance and real-life case studies – from online boutique beauty store, Bellabox, to the mighty Groupon. Click.ology is published by Notable Books, priced at £12.99 in paperback.

Employees can Navigate the True Demands of the Job by Jesse Sostrin Our verdict:

About the author: Jesse Sostrin is a consultant, writer and speaker. He is the founder of Sostrin Consulting, a leadership and organisation development practice. We say: This book is a must-read for those across all professional levels. It’s aimed at employees and managers – but will give business owners and managing directors good employee insight. It teaches employees and managers how to discover mutual agenda. Beyond The Job Description is published by Palgrave Macmillan, priced at £19.99 in paperback.

We’ve got one of each book to give away FREE. Be the first to follow and tweet us, quoting the book name @TalkBusinessMag & we’ll send you a free copy!


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The league of

extraordinary communicators e teach our children to say “please”, “thank you”, “hello” and “goodbye”, so why, when we come to work, do the majority of us forget what we’ve been taught? The rise of email as the primary business communication medium over the last 20 years, combined with the amount of work we all have on our plates, is eroding the quality of our business relationships. Consider this. Lying in bed in the morning, you grab your smartphone and check your emails. Overnight you’ve had 60 emails and the first one you read is a terse request from one of your colleagues asking for something. It has no salutation. There are no “pleases” or “thank yous”. They haven’t even taken the time to sign it off with their name. Your first reaction is animosity. You don’t feel like helping this person but you know you have to. Annoyed you send a terse reply. What you don’t know is that the colleague who sent you the email got 100 emails overnight and is standing on a packed commuter train bashing out two-thumbed replies on his Blackberry while trying not to inhale the armpit of the man standing next to him. He’s annoyed. You’re annoyed. Your dialogue reflects it and the cycle of animosity continues.


James Cotton, founder of digital creative agency, Onespacemedia, explores why we forget our manners in emails The pace of technical change demands that we work faster

No one wants to communicate this way but the pace of technical change demands that we work faster and faster. Speeding up the way we communicate is an obvious way to claw back more time in our day. Communication and the way we use language evolves we’ve even invented emoticons to append to sentences when we don’t think that the recipient will understand what we meant. That’s just lazy. We can still be human. Ultimately, business is about relationships, and good relationships are founded on good communication. Let’s not allow another generation of time-poor business people to erode the importance of communication. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Here are some tips to bear in mind before smashing out that twoword email with your thumbs.

BE RESPECTFUL We don’t answer a phone call by saying the name of the person who is calling, so why do we do it when we email? Use a friendly salutation and remember your manners. Your parents will be proud of you.

TAKE YOUR TIME There are too many distractions at work these days, but how you communicate is crucial. Think about how you want a conversation to develop and write your emails accordingly. This relationship is important so give it the time it deserves.

MAINTAIN LEVELS You’re sending friendly emails but others aren’t reciprocating. It’s too easy to feel animosity and respond in kind. Stick to your guns and stay friendly - know that you are doing everything you can to build a meaningful relationship.

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP Good business is founded on relationships. Maybe that email you’re writing doesn’t feel very important in the grand scheme of things, but it is. You are building a relationship that will lead to better business in the long run. READ IT BACK Poor grammar and spelling can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. You don’t have the time to write another email explaining yourself. Read your email back to yourself aloud before you send it.


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27/02/2014 11:39






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The foreign language of finance lthough many companies operate 100% within the UK from a demand and supply perspective, the chances are that the majority of businesses will have some exposure to overseas markets. This means dealing in different currencies. This is a good thing. A company exporting its products or services is likely to be selling more as it’s accessing additional geographic markets. This helps to grow its sales and potentially increase productivity (e.g. unit costs). The incentive to buy in certain elements of the supply chain is presumably driven by the existence of a cost advantage without compromising on product or service quality. However, any involvement with foreign currencies represents both an opportunity and a risk. Unfortunately, the opportunity is normally on the part of the bank or another financial intermediary to make a profit from the business, and the risk is on the part of the management that has to make a judgement either to allow the business to be exposed to the fluctuations in the currency, or to hedge out that risk by entering into an appropriate trade. In each situation, the problem can be broken down into two questions: what is the appropriate hedging strategy? And what is the cost of converting the overseas currency into the domestic currency? As an example, an exporter of UK boutique wines who


Our funding expert, Julian Smith talks currency and how to manage foreign exchange risks

What is the cost of converting the overseas currency into the domestic currency?

knows that it will be selling a certain number of cases for a given price to the US each year might chose to sell forward US dollars against sterling, because the company will know the price in GBP. The forward rate will be determined by the market and for a liquid market like US dollar/sterling, it should be fairly transparent. That said, it would be worth getting a couple of different prices or quotes to compare, as you would for an insurance policy. The reason that management teams choose to hedge foreign exchange exposures is to reduce the impact that any fluctuations will have on the business in that period. Hedging does not eliminate the risk, but simply delays the impact of those currency movements and provides more stability in the numbers. But let’s assume that the wine exporter did not want to hedge out that risk of movement, and waited until the invoices were paid, before converting the US dollars back to sterling. Obviously there would need to be a US dollar bank account to receive the invoiced amount, but then the company would need to convert the dollars to sterling to pay other costs. Again here, it is important to know what your bank might

charge you and how that compares against others. Look at all associated costs, including the rate, any commission and other “hidden” expenses. Historically, companies tended to keep all of these services with their relationship banks. More recently, increased focus on the cost of these services, reduced customer satisfaction, and a general mistrust of banks has led to companies, as well as consumers, shopping around. A quick glance at MoneySuperMarket’s business foreign exchange page will give you a sense for some of the different providers operating in this market. If you are dealing with foreign currencies, it is probably good news for your business. But make a conscious decision on how you are going to address any currency risks, and then make sure you are a smart user of financial services by benchmarking what you are being charged against alternative providers. Julian Smith offers workshops, consultations and public speaking on finance. He has been advising companies for more than 18 years on how to position themselves for investors, raising finance, mergers and acquisitions. Contact: thefundingexpert.co.uk Twitter: @lefundingexpert


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e u q e h c e Th n i is ! t s o p t he Frustrated by sluggish cashflow? We can release the money you have tied up in your unpaid invoices. This gives you extra working capital to grow your business and means you can concentrate on making money instead of chasing it.

Call 0800 121 7757 or email info@ultimatefinance.co.uk www.ultimatefinance.co.uk Untitled-3 1

31/01/2014 11:22



Is there really a

funding crisis rom Government programmes to private sector initiatives – access to finance for small businesses is firmly on today’s economic agenda. New schemes continue to surface, promising to provide simpler, more transparent routes to funding, while existing schemes expand and mature. The Government, for example, has pledged to double funding provided by Start Up Loans to meet higher than expected demand, and refocus its Funding for Lending scheme towards vital small business lending, and away from mortgages. With a seemingly broad array of options, and more than 450,000 businesses starting up this year alone, is it really so difficult to access funding in the UK? In search of an answer, a recent survey examining how entrepreneurs source funding revealed that access to finance is the single greatest obstacle to starting a company. Rather than turning to traditional routes to finance, such as bank lending, entrepreneurs are opting instead to self-fund or approach family and friends for investment. Each entrepreneur’s needs may be different, but any growing business looking to


Sarah Shields, executive director & general manager at Dell UK, discusses the availability of funding for SMEs

more than 450,000 businesses starting up this year alone

for small business?

access capital from banks or Government is facing the challenge of navigating the often time consuming, complex application processes and red tape. In response, the Government has made significant moves to break down some of the barriers to capital for new business ventures, especially in the last few years. The same survey showed that close to half of the entrepreneurs surveyed feel that the Government has a better understanding of the problems facing small businesses than it has done in the past five years (48%). Chancellor, George Osborne’s 2013 Autumn Statement was testament to that shift, announcing extended small business relief and, to the surprise of many, a muchneeded boost to the British high street with a 50% business rate discount for occupying unused shops – a recognition of the huge expense premises and office space can represent for young businesses.

But interestingly, the two main reasons entrepreneurs seek finance are for initial set-up costs or for expansion, including staff hires and expansion into new markets. Both are essential for establishing a business, but also for scale and the critical first three years. What businesses aren’t seeking investment for is IT. According to analyst firm Quocirca, less than a third are using financing for IT – despite the fact that IT can require significant financial investment and is an essential tool for expansion. Whatever the specifics of a business’s finance needs, help is out there. Capturing the wisdom of established business owners, industry experts and some of our own customers, here are a few tips to get entrepreneurs started on their financial journeys: DEMAND TRANSPARENCY It’s hard enough running a business, let alone getting to grips with the various, time consuming forms and


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application requirements for funding. It sounds obvious, but keep asking questions until you’re clear on what you need to provide. Even go so far as to ask for the contact details of a successful applicant. GET EDUCATED ON ALTERNATIVES Almost a third of those surveyed (32%), indicated they are interested in better understanding the alternatives than seeing bank funding improved. Angel investment and peer-to-peer lending schemes such as CrowdCube and Seedrs are great places to start.

Acc Qu ordin are ocirca g to a usi , les naly ng fin s than st firm anc ing a thir for d IT

ASK THE BANK FOR ADVICE Speaking at a think tank, Santander’s John Baldwin recommended small businesses don’t go for an overdraft right away. He recommends having a discussion with the bank about a business’s needs in exchange for advice on the best route with the best rates. TAP INTO BUSINESS NETWORKS During the same think tank on small business finance, Ariadne Capital founder, Julie Meyer, said ‘Entrepreneurs are generous people.’ And she’s right – there is no greater

resource than your peers. Entrepreneurs will often jump at the opportunity to help other business owners, since they have experienced first hand the value of this support. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE TECHNOLOGY Technology is at the heart of most businesses today. Whether you’re a high street shop with an online presence, or an exciting new app developer, you need secure tech solutions backing your business. IT can also make the all-important difference between you and the competition. The first recipient of the Dell Innovators

Credit Fund in the US, Current Motors, for example, was able to get to market six months faster than planned, ahead of its competition, thanks to technology funding. There’s no better time to be an entrepreneur in the UK. The nation is behind local businesses and that support is only set to strengthen. Businesses will continue to require funding in line with their growth ambitions, but it’s reassuring to know the money is out there. The challenge now is on making it easier for entrepreneurs to reach those all-important funds – at all stages of their growth to meet their evolving needs.

Survey distributed via email to Entrepreneur Country’s database of 35,000 members, with 204 surveys received within the timeframe of September 24 and October 11, 2013. Of the 43% who needed funding, 21.3% turned to family and friends, while 56% of the 57 who did not apply for bank funding, self-funded. Of the 43% who applied for funding, 41.4% used the funding for growth and 37% used the funding for set-up costs.


MARCH 2014

041_042 MONEY Funding Crisis.ga.indd 36

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Increasing salaries O Lesley Stalker, a tax partner at RJP LLP, outlines tax efficient options to give employees more for your money

More people will now be affected by the 40% tax rate because the point at which employees will be taxed is £32,011

ne of the difficult aspects of running a business today is having to make tough choices about salaries. It’s not uncommon to be faced with a requirement to cut employee pay levels or freeze them. According to the CIPD, more than 50% of companies have had to do just that. In addition to this, more people will now be affected by the 40% tax rate, because the point at which employees will be taxed is £32,011 for the 2013/2014 tax year, and will drop again to £31,866 for 2014/2015. This means even if you can offer staff a small salary increase, its impact may be minimal. Businesses need to find other ways to help their employees have more in their pay packets each month.

PERK 1: TAX-FREE LOANS One new Government-backed initiative is to allow employers to give staff tax efficient loans, which although not a new incentive, the amount available to borrow has just been increased. Starting from April 2014, employers can now give their staff a low- or no-interest loan to the value of £10,000 in any single tax year, without it being treated as a benefit in kind and taxed accordingly. No tax would be payable by the employee provided that the loan is ultimately re-paid in full. PERK 2: SALARY SACRIFICE SCHEMES Offering salary sacrifice schemes can be a good way

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without a pay rise to help employees have a bit more in their pay packets each month. Salary sacrifice works by allowing tax payers to purchase certain services (which are approved by HMRC), using their gross salary. This has the net effect of reducing the amount of income remaining that is taxable, and means the cost of the goods or services in real terms is slightly lower, since part of the cost would have included the tax paid up front. For higher rate tax payers especially, salary sacrifice can be a very cost effective way to access services, primarily as a result of the greater impact tax reduction has on the original purchase cost. WHAT TYPES OF SERVICES CAN BE BOUGHT WITH SALARY SACRIFICE? A good example of how to benefit from salary sacrifice is with childcare vouchers, used to pay for nursery fees or holiday club activities. This can mean a considerable cost saving, as each tax payer in the family could be eligible for £55 worth of childcare, paid for using gross earnings. Recently, the ability for higher rate tax payers to enter this scheme has been restricted, but all existing users remain unaffected and can continue to benefit from up to £440 a month of tax free childcare. Pension contributions and company car schemes are also benefits that can be offered through salary sacrifice. A note of caution to business owners is to review salary sacrifice schemes carefully before they are offered to employees. This is because, to be effective,

Offering salary sacrifice schemes can be a good way to help employees have a bit more in their pay packets each month

they require amendments to employee contracts and therefore employment law and minimum wage issues can arise. Another important consideration is whether using salary sacrifice has any implication on benefit entitlements, as it will have the effect of reducing taxable salary levels. This is something employees are not always immediately aware of. Before taking any steps towards introducing a salary sacrifice scheme, it is worth taking professional advice to ensure that all parties involved are fully aware of the implications. Due to the high levels of tax involved, company cars have fallen out of favour recently as an employee benefit. This isn’t always the case however, and it can be possible to have a relatively low benefit if the employee is provided with a vehicle that is classified as being environmentally friendly by HMRC. Currently, value in terms of a benefit in kind on a company car is determined by the list price of the car, combined with its CO2 emissions. For example, if the car has a zero emission level, there is a nil benefit in kind charge, and those cars with very low rates of emissions will attract a much lower tax charge. There are significant tax savings available to employers if they purchase zero or low emission vehicles for their employees, so the market and level of choice has expanded considerably, with the result that employees are being tempted

back by the type of cars available and the reduced tax costs. PERK 3: HOLIDAY BUYBACK Due to time pressures and workloads, employees can’t always manage to take their full holiday entitlement these days. To counter this, some companies have started to allow staff the option to carry forward their days. This can have a down side as it can mean an employee ends up with too many days to allocate for the following year, resulting in service issues. As an alternative, employers can offer to “buy back” any unused annual leave and give the employee the difference in their pay. Combining this with a salary sacrifice scheme can create another tax efficient route to making otherwise expensive benefits available to employees. Although holiday buyback will not be suitable for every company, it is a decent benefit and, in the right circumstances, can be made relatively tax efficient. Ultimately, what business owners need to understand from all this is that there are many ways to help an employee have access to more benefits and possibly even more disposable income, without having to give them an increase in pay. Due to the reduction in rate bands for the 40% tax rate, it may be more beneficial to consider alternatives, which mean more income in real terms because of lower taxes and a win-win for employers and employees. Contact: rjp.co.uk


044_045 MONEY Tax Perks.ga.indd 41


27/02/2014 12:11

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This month our Start Up Loan recipient, Lawson Cann reveals a typical day running his business, Soldier On Security

A day in The life DEAR DIARY, The alarm clock buzzes. A healthy mind requires a healthy body. This mantra is the start to my 30-minute daily routine of exercise. After this, I start getting ready to start the day. A healthy breakfast of oats sets me up for the day ahead.


I begin my daily commute to my office in Birmingham. The journey gives me a chance to plan for the day ahead, and allows me the opportunity to have some “me time”.


I arrive at the office and check my emails. I then review my plan for the day ahead to ensure it is as constructive as possible.


I call the mobile patrol driver to have a handover of any events that may have occurred over the weekend. I then follow these up accordingly. This may involve further investigation.


My business mentor arrives for a sit-down meeting on any issues that have occurred from the before week. We also discuss new ideas for Soldier On Security, and new potential clients that are to be approached.


In Profile Entrepreneur: Lawson Cann Business: Soldier On Security Web: soldieronsecurity.co.uk Concept: A security consultancy offering services including close protection and door supervision. Start-Up Loan: £4,000 I contact all sites to ascertain their security arrangements for the week ahead. This information is then emailed to me. This is then used to plan the staff rota.


I ring all security staff to make sure that they are all OK to work for the week ahead. I then do our weekly working rota for all staff. A copy of this is then emailed to all staff as well as the mobile patrol driver. It is essential to get this right and to ensure that a relief guard is always available. This takes a substantial amount of time on a Monday. I have a working lunch whilst doing this to make the most of my time.


I call all potential clients and arrange meetings for the week ahead. I also update the contact database, and ensure the all leads are dated to ensure correct and prompt follow up.


The day is nearly finished, but not before I do two random site visits. I take quality assurance very seriously and so check on two customer sites to ensure staff are correctly dressed in uniform and that all site instructions are being adhered to in line with company policy.


I begin my commute back home. I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my family and taking the dogs out for a walk.


The Start-Up Loans Company is a Government backed scheme that provides funding and mentoring for budding entrepreneurs to help their business succeed. With the help of this initiative, more than 30 new businesses are started daily in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Contact: startuploans.co.uk


047 MONEY Start Up Loan Case Study.ga.indd 49


27/02/2014 13:15

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Strategy JStone / Shutterstock.com; Photo Works / Shutterstock.com

Brand burn out

ook at his little face. Lovely Justin Bieber. Except he’s not, is he? Let’s face it, if he turned up on my doorstep to take out my daughter I’d have a .45 loaded and a shovel in my hand ready to dig up the patio. When he first started out all “Baby Babying” like he’s been on the pop and chocolate for a week, all the tweenage girls thought he was lovely. And so did their parents - this fresh faced Canadian belting out pop tunes, all clean, white and nonthreatening. He didn’t have tattoos (then) and he took his mum to the Grammys. Then it all went pearshaped. He started appearing in the press bothering simians, gobbling at paparazzi, turning up on stage a couple of hours late, drinking and driving. Likewise with Miley Cyrus. Just a few years ago she was all Disneyfied, wholesome and appealing to 11-yearold girls. Now she’s swinging about in the nip on heavy plant. Health and Safety must be beside themselves. Are they self destructive destined to end up in rehab, or die young?


Rich With, creative director of The Grow Creative Company, uses pop stars as an example to talk about how brands go wrong

It’s easy to sell to customers that have already bought from you

Or is this just a cynical ploy for record sales? Both of these started their career as children, appealing to a young demographic. But what happens when they and their audience get older? It’s easy to sell to customers that have already bought from you. Their fan base is growing with them. Those 12-year olds are now 15 and could be sneaking a crafty Benson between lessons, reading their Mum’s 50 Shades of Grey, and think anyone over the age of 25 is utterly ridiculous. They are quite simply trying to keep their clients. So why have these two seemingly innocent bedroom-wall idols gone from saint to sinner? Is this shift in behaviour and general unpleasant behaviour a creative ploy? I don’t buy that it’s a conscious decision on their part that after they’ve finished their set, they sit back with a cup of warm milk and a good book. There’s probably a swathe of reasons, not least struggling to deal with fame (all snark aside they are little more than children),

Svengali-like figures manipulating things, and being “encouraged” by the label as they start to get more column inches and tweets. However, it’s also the evolvement of their brands. All brands – and believe me both Bieber and Cyrus are very much brands – have to evolve to stay credible and recent. They (or their “people”) recognise this and are trying to stay in the public eye, because “those One Direction boys are a bit saucy, and by Jingo there’s five of them too”. The competition in the market has increased. Rather than take a long term look at the way in which their brand is heading, they are using shock value to appeal to their consumers while they still can, before they’re burnt out. It’s having an immediate impact, but how long is it before they have to evolve into an even more outrageous version in an effort to remain hip and credible? It’s important to keep on top of things. Pay attention to the new players in your industry, because they may well have a different angle on what you do and could be radically different, exciting and fresh. Contact: justgrow.co


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27/02/2014 13:22

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2014/02/06 5:23 PM



avid Thomas helps companies increase productivity, motivate their staff and sell more. He speaks publicly for 120 days a year, in more than 27 counties. Here he outlines his top tips for improving your memory:


THINK IN IMAGES If I give you the word breakfast, chances are you are thinking about food, not the black word “breakfast” on a white background. But how do your promotional brochures, operating procedures, staff training manuals and website look? Again, chances are they have too many words that people don’t read and cannot remember. Use more images - and the more emotive the better. Think of great adverts. They use lots of crazy, stupid, colourful, animated images. And with good reason. MEMORISE PRESENTATIONS USING THE “JOURNEY TECHNIQUE” Take the key points of your speech, create an image for each one and place them somewhere you often go. If you are going to talk about sales, imagine a boat sail billowing in your kitchen. Imagine Usain Bolt on a treadmill in the lounge to remind you to talk about performance. Go round the journey in your head several times before you stand up and present. Each image will give you approximately one or two minutes talk time when presenting on a topic you know well. REMEMBER NAMES USING THE “ASSOCIATION TECHNIQUE” Being able to remember names is a sensational professional skill. Whether it is staff or clients, everyone loves to hear the sound of their own name. How to do it? Take the name, turn it into an image and attach to the person. My name is David Thomas. Imagine me

Remember more David Thomas, a professional speaker, gives his top tips to improve your memory

swinging a sling (as in David and Goliath) while playing with a train track (Thomas the Tank Engine). Ridiculous? Yes. Memorable? Absolutely.

Break down information into the smallest bite sized chunks

LOOK FOR PATTERNS I used to have a phone number that was 835428 which neatly fell into the two sums 8-3=5 and 4x2=8. This might seem highly coincidental but with numbers, it is amazing how often there is some pattern or connectivity. ORGANISATION IS KEY Think of a going into a library and all the books are in a pile on the floor. That is how most people learn information. Pile it in their head then hope they can find it when they need it. But if you go into a library now and ask for a book, the librarian says; “Go to the fourth floor, to the far corner and look under 360s.” You get your book and away you go. Organisation is the key. So break down information into the smallest bite sized chunks.

SPELLING One thing that can make a businessman look a little silly is basic bad spelling, especially between similar words. Take stationery (office equipment) and stationary (static). I use the phrase “the car was stationary” to remind me that it is “ar”. REVIEWING INFORMATION No matter how powerful the memory technique is, you will still forget the information if you don’t go through it again for many months. Reviewing it helps cement it in. When it comes to names, put those of new people you meet into a notebook or a page on your phone. Go through them once a week and review the images you created for their name. Only takes a few seconds but will dramatically increase your ability to recall them when you meet again. Contact: themotivationspeaker.com


051 STRATEGY Memory Tips.ga.indd 41


27/02/2014 17:35

e often hear the phrase “everyone speaks English,” and it’s easy to identify where this phrase comes from. A large number of people do speak English. In fact, it is estimated 800 million people speak English around the world. However English is not the most spoken language. With more than 1.1 billion people, the most commonly spoken language is Chinese, English is second, and Spanish is third, with approximately 406 million able to speak the language. When it comes to the most popular native language, Chinese comes first again, but English and Spanish swap places. If your business offering is only in English, are you restricting your success? Ben Austin, CEO at Absolute Digital Media, an SEO specialist says: ‘To quote William Hague, which isn’t something I’m in the habit of; “Lack of language skills is diminishing Britain’s voice in the world.” Because English is one of the most predominantly spoken languages around the globe, there appears to be an attitude that we don’t need to bother learning anyone else’s language – they’ll learn ours. ‘Whilst Britain remains a dominant country in the world of business, it is true that this arrogance could begin to hold us back. The Government’s decision a few years back to make foreign language noncompulsory at GCSE level has not helped the situation.’ Jun Okumura, managing director of KYOCERA Document Solutions UK, agrees. ‘British people tend to think that English is a common business language globally. However, while many business people around the world speak English, very few fully understand the UK’s attitudes and culture, which means that


052_053 STRATEGY Language.**g**.indd 40

“It’s OK, everyone speaks English”

Should SMEs make more of an effort to learn other languages? Dawn Murden investigates why it is detrimental to be lazy with language

Lack of language skills is diminishing Britain’s voice in the world

while people may be speaking English to you it doesn’t mean that you are truly understood.’ Even if SMEs are not actively taking their offering abroad, language is something that should be considered. ‘The internet has made marketing global. Previously when it came to marketing, only the biggest international brands would carry out campaigns that would be seen worldwide,’ says Ben Austin. ‘However in today’s digital age even the smallest companies can be visible to anyone in any country, especially with the popularity of social media networks like Twitter. The internet continues to break down barriers in business and embracing other languages allows these to be broken down further.’ It’s too easy to become complacent, but when expanding overseas, whether it’s online translation, seeking

suppliers, imports and exports, or taking your whole offering to another country, learning that language must be considered. Rob Tominey, co-founder of Mainstage Travel, says: ‘There are two reasons to learn the language. Firstly, to get things done. While many of your contacts and suppliers will speak English, a number of them won’t. When we are researching a new potential destination to offer to customers, we look at every single possible supplier. We wouldn’t want to miss out on the best hotels or cheapest transfers just because we were not able to engage with nonEnglish speakers. ‘Secondly, it is polite. If you can say the first few sentences of conversation in the native language, and then speak English, it will show respect.’ However, George Lossius, CEO of Publishing Technology, a content solutions company,

27/02/2014 17:45


disagrees. ‘Learning a country’s language is a lot to ask. Having people who are already able to speak the native tongue is a much more realistic strategy. In most countries, it is absolutely essential to be able to converse in the local language.’ Sarah Lafferty, director and co-founder of Round Earth Consulting, a PR and communications company specialising in the enterprise software industry, says having someone on the ground is imperative. ‘I would go so far as to say that if expanding abroad, it is

downright arrogant and selfdefeating not to place someone in the local market who speaks the language fluently. Failing this, you are making everyone – customers, partners, staff, press – work much harder just to support your business, and the people you want to engage with might decide not to bother. It can also send the wrong message if it appears that you didn’t even consider hiring local talent.’ What is more important language or culture? Stephen Spitz, CEO of the Bretano Group, says: ‘Culture, for sure. As understanding

It is arrogant and selfdefeating not to place someone in the local market who speaks the language


culture and appreciating other peoples’ values, beliefs and religion is always going to be more important. Gaps in this can cause offence; not speaking languages is sometimes seen as naïve or lazy, but this is not considered offensive or disrespectful in my view.’ Sarah Lafferty says: ‘I think it is equally important to learn the culture, but it is nearly impossible to do so without first learning the language. Language itself tells you so much about culture. For example, there’s a beautiful word in Swedish called gökotta, which means to go outside early in the morning to hear the birds or appreciate nature. This tells you a lot about the Swedes and their love and respect for the environment.’ Language is not only an important consideration when thinking about your offering overseas. The UK is a multicultural state, comprised of four different countries, not to mention the number of people living in the UK who are not what you’d call “natives”. Paul Shackson, associate director at Good Relations Regional, a PR consultancy based in Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff, says: ‘In Wales, communicating in Welsh can be a real boost in the business world and, at times, an absolute necessity. For a business such as ours in the communications industry, it’s become essential to possess the capabilities to speak and write in both English and Welsh ,and we are constantly extolling the importance of the Welsh language to our clients. Certainly, when engaging with communities throughout Wales, to ignore the Welsh language is something you do at your peril.’ Statistics taken from: Guinness World Records.


052_053 STRATEGY Language.**g**.indd 41


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Expanding overseas? David Johnson, founding director of Halo Financial foreign exchange firm, offers his top 10 tips to help you save money, manage risk, and make the most of foreign exchange

Speak with your bank about foreign currency accounts. Having accounts in the relevant currencies offers greater flexibility over currency exchange and provides better control over payments and receipts.


If you open an overseas bank account, check whether there are any receiving fees for inbound transfers. Some banks, especially Spanish banks, can charge a percentage of the transferred amount and that can run into thousands of pounds in extra costs.

be invaluable. This is often lacking in online or call centre bank services, and staff at your local branch are unlikely to be foreign exchange experts.


For Euro payments within Europe, make sure your bank or broker uses SEPA transfers whenever possible. They offer much lower costs than traditional wire transfers and are just as speedy.


Start planning your currency requirements very early. Exchange rates move every second of the day and unexpected changes in exchange rates can be very costly.


Shop around amongst banks and brokers for the best service. That doesn’t just mean the cheapest exchange rate. If you are new to currency matters, good guidance and access to market expertise will


These usually offer 24hour cover, essential in a market, which never sleeps

Become familiar with the current state of the exchange rates that affect you. There are plenty of websites offering charts and news. You may prefer to speak with a specialist broker to get background information and access to historical exchange rate details.


Make use of the market’s own tools and techniques. Stop Loss and Limit Orders are offered by some brokers, which are excellent facilities to help you limit your risk and to take advantage of attractive exchange rates. Better still these usually offer 24-hour cover, essential in a market, which never sleeps.


Don’t think of your currency needs as “all or nothing”. It is often better to cover some of your requirements but leave room to take advantage of beneficial


exchange rate movements as and when they occur. If the exchange rate is attractive today but you don’t need to exchange your funds for up to two years ahead, you can use a Forward Contract to set a fixed exchange rate in place for that period. Not all brokers and few banks offer this service, but it may be worth seeking the facility for your needs.


If your currency requirements are sizable and long term planning is required, you may wish to use options. These allow you to choose whether to exercise your right to buy or sell at specified levels. They either cost a premium to secure or they are more complicated structures with positive and negative aspects. As a rule of thumb, if there is no premium, you need to ask: “what is the catch?”. There will be one and you need to know all the pros and cons before agreeing to the deal.


Contact: halofinancial.com


055 STRATEGY Expanding Overseas.ga.indd 59


27/02/2014 13:36

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arket research is an essential tool for any business looking to gain an edge over the competition. Do it right and you’ll gain valuable insights into new products you can develop that will have customers beating a path to your door. Do it wrong and you’ll be driving your Sinclair C5 to the dole office. Here are 10 tips to ensure your next market research drive is a success:


UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT TO LEARN Before you begin any market research, you need to have a clear understanding of your objectives as this will affect how you conduct your research. For example, if you are gauging the potential size of a market for a new dog toy in a particular town, you can use quantitative market research. However, if you wanted to find out possible improvements to existing dog toys, you’ll want to conduct qualitative research to actually understand the opinions of your market. USE EXISTING DATA If you need quantitative data there are loads of free sources and tools you can use. Some of my favourites are: The Adwords Keyword Planner tool will give you a guide to the number of people searching Google for a particular term every month. Google Trends will show how search volume for a particular term has changed over time. You can drill down by geography. The Office For National Statistics publishes masses of data on a regular basis. Excellent for information on the UK’s population and its businesses. Mintel publishes industry reports with trends and insight. You can buy these for about £1,500 per report. However the Westminster Reference Library

Get the David Richter, marketing manager for Octopus HR Software, which develops online HR systems for SMEs in the UK, gives his top ten tips on market research To get more responses, you might need to provide an incentive

provides free online access to Mintel’s Oxygen reports. Topsy is an online tool that allows you to search the Twittersphere for how frequently certain keywords are mentioned and break this down by country. You can even analyse the sentiment of the tweets. INCENTIVISE PEOPLE TO TAKE PART Few people delight in completing a survey for a few minutes, let alone a focus group for a couple of hours. To get

more responses you might need to provide an incentive; this could range from a free trial or sample of your product, payment on an hourly rate, or entry into a free prize draw. PROMOTE IT Most people won’t proactively look for surveys they can take part in. To get responses, you’ll need to let people know that you’re conducting research, what the research entails, and what’s in it for them. Consider promoting this via email,


057_058 STRATEGY Market Research.ga.indd 59


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social media, on your website, through friends and family and not forgetting your existing clients. If budget permits, you could even promote your survey in relevant magazines and websites. KEEP AN OPEN MIND It’s easy to hear only what you want to hear, even to engineer the market research in such a way that it biases responses in your favour. To keep an objective focus it’s a good idea to write down what you want to discover from your research. GET OUT OF THE BUILDING Steve Blank, author of Startup Owners Manual has a great saying; “There are no facts inside the building, only hypotheses, so get out of the building.” Don’t just send out a questionnaire or speak to people on the phone. If you want to really understand your market, you need to go out and visit them in their homes or in their offices. If you do this you’ll gain a much better understanding of what makes them tick than a survey could ever give. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Some types of question are going to lead to answers that are meaningless. For example, when trying to gauge demand for a new washing powder, you could simply ask participants of a focus group how likely they are to buy it if they saw it in a shop. The truth is the participants simply have no idea what they’re likely to do; some people might even try to avoid offending you and give you overly positive responses. Instead you could ask participants which brands of washing powder they’ve purchased in the past 12 months. Because it’s based on past actions, the responses are


more likely to be grounded in fact. If everyone has switched brands multiple times, then there’s a reasonable likelihood that they might choose yours if the conditions are right. If everyone has stuck with the same brand throughout the year, you know you’ve got a tough job on your hands to get them to change.

Pay attention; are they just giving you answers they think you want to hear?

USE MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCTS The purpose of the minimum viable product (MVP) is to get your product in front of customers as soon as possible so you can learn quickly. As its name suggests, the MVP is not the finished, all-singing, alldancing product, but has been developed to its most basic form, while still delivering the core features to the customer. It has two main benefits. Firstly, it helps your customers understand what it is you’re talking about so they’re able to provide useful feedback. Secondly, because it’s a bit rough around the edges, your customers are more likely to provide feedback rather than just being polite. Also, because you’ve not invested in creating what you think is the perfect product, you’re more likely to take your customer’s feedback on board. LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES Make sure you pay attention to people’s responses. Pay attention to their body language; are they just giving you answers they think you want to hear, or

does a feature you’ve explained genuinely excite them? Some questions are impossible to answer accurately with a survey or a focus group; instead you need to observe people in their natural environment. A great example of this is the story of James Averdieck who launched the Gü range of ready-made puddings. Before he poured his life savings into launching his business, James wanted to be as sure as possible that it would be a success. Of course he gained feedback from surveys and focus groups, but one answer still eluded him: would people actually buy it in a supermarket? The solution he came up with is ingenious in its simplicity. He printed up some sample packaging, snuck into his local Waitrose and, when nobody was looking, placed his empty boxes on the shelf in the chilled pudding section. He then lurked nearby and waited. Before long, a shopper came along and put one of his boxes in her shopping basket, giving him the confidence to launch a business that he would later sell for about £35 million. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH PARTICIPANTS Make sure you keep the contact details of people who participate. If you’re creating a product based on their feedback, there’s every chance they’ll want to buy it when you eventually launch. Contact: octopus-hr.co.uk

MARCH 2014

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Advanced negotiation is easy… if you know how Sales author and coach, Adam Caplan discusses how to advance your negotiation skills and close the sale ommunication skills. They are such buzzwords these days. How many CV’s proudly proclaim “I’m an excellent communicator”, yet when you meet them they are sadly lacking in this basic ability? I’ve been studying the forms of human communication for a number of years. There are many training programmes, books and thoughts about the subject of “advanced negotiation”. Many of them are worthy but some are a complete waste of your time. What does the ultimate negotiator do differently? I’ll answer that with a question. If you could control all


conversations, while the other person thought they were in control, would you be able to negotiate at will? If I could show you how to control all conversations, with everyone, would that be a skill you’d like to master? I appreciate that you all have excellent negotiations skills already. However, I’m going to show you something different. So I’d like you to approach this article with an open mind. The ability to control all conversations with others is not

a new skill. But hardly anyone uses this ability, and even fewer are aware of its power. It’s time to regain the ability that can change everything about your life, almost as soon as you start re-using it. “With great power comes great responsibility,” said Voltaire. In this case the responsibility is to yourself and your future. Controlling all situations is physically simple but psychologically challenging for some. Time to see what you’re made of. Imagine a conversation between a three-year-old child and a parent. As an adult or parent, you may have noticed that children, when they get to a certain age, start asking “why?” whenever they are told anything. The question “why” is used extensively by toddlers as they try and understand the world about them. It’s the main difference between humans and all other life on the planet. Only humans ask “why?” Questions are vital for communication, and even more so for negotiation. However, society conditions us not to ask why. Parents initiate this when

Questions are vital for communication, and even more so for negotiation


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faced with a child always asking “why”, they tell the child to “do as you are told and stop asking so many questions”. The child quickly learns to stop asking so many questions. The parent follows up this conditioning by letting the child know they can earn praise by answering their parents’ questions and avoid conflict by not asking any questions. This conditioning continues at school. The purpose of education seems to be to train students to pass exams by learning the answers. Qualifications and success in life is inextricably linked to the concept that success is having all the answers. Qualifications tend to lead to good jobs, good partners, nice cars, happy children, a nice house, and so on. This may be true for some people, yet in the art of negotiation, questions are powerful. The person asking questions is the person controlling the conversation. Easy to understand, yet it can be hard to break the intense social conditioning that has been going on all your life. So, how can you start changing your behavior? At the moment, when someone asks you a question, you will want to answer it. This is social conditioning coming into play. Negotiation starts by realising you need to be the one asking the questions. Advanced negotiators understand that in order to be great, you’ll need to be able to


When someone asks you a question, how long do you have to provide an answer?

handle questions as well as ask them. When someone asks you a question, how long do you have to provide an answer? Studies show that we have only a few seconds, perhaps three, before we start to look or feel stupid. Much of this stems from our school days, where teachers put us under pressure. That doesn’t give us much time to think of an answer, let alone come up with a question instead. How can we buy time to think of an answer without looking stupid or evasive, and take control of the conversation, with the other party believing they are still in control of the conversation? The answer to this one is not a question. The answer is assertive negotiation. IT’S A SIMPLE FIVE-STEP PROCESS The basic negotiation technique might be this: I’d like to discuss this situation. A more advanced technique (and one that’s used all over the world by the majority of negotiators) is this: I feel that our position is reasonable, so I’d like to discuss your position. The assertive selling method uses the three elements of assertiveness with a twist. The model is as follows: 1. ACKNOWLEDGE By acknowledging you are effectively “holding” the conversation, while at the same time showing the other person you’ve heard them. Use phrases like: “I appreciate

that your position is”, “or I understand that”. 2. HOWEVER Never say “but”, it’s negative and inhibits effective negotiation. “However” does exactly the same job without any downside. 3. THE SITUATION Here is where you state your current position and why it should be considered. By sandwiching this between acknowledging their position and the next stage, it starts entering the consciousness of the other person as a fact rather than an opinion. 4. SO, I WOULD LIKE Here is where you state what you would like to happen. Whether that is an interim “I would like to ask you some questions so we can find a mutually acceptable solution”, or a more emphatic “I would like you to accept my position”, it’s stating the next step in a polite, yet assertive manner. 5. WOULD THAT BE OK? Almost impossible to deflect that simple “closing” phrase that means you have kept control and moved on to the next part of the negotiation in a very soft yet ruthless manner. It’s almost impossible to say “no” to. Contact: usptraining.co.uk Adam Caplan runs Ups Training, a sales training and assessment business that specialises in training, assessing and developing salespeople. 

MARCH 2014

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ou may have read about the Government’s “Cutting Red Tape Challenge” aimed particularly at you, and feel at long last you may occasionally be able to cut corners. For example, for employers the Pre-Termination Negotiations and Settlement Agreements introduced on 29th July last year were hailed as “winding back the clock”, making it easier to talk openly with “problem” employees to bring their employment to a quick close. All well and good, you’d think, but look a little more closely and it becomes clear that it’s not so big a change or so quick and easy after all • There are risks involved in holding pre-termination negotiations - e.g. you must not behave “improperly” during such discussions, otherwise the employee can after all include these in a Tribunal as evidence; • The only major difference between Settlement Agreements and the Compromise Agreements they replaced is the freedom to hold pretermination negotiations before any formal “dispute” has arisen; • There are still financial costs involved for all employers, as specialist advice has to be received by the employee on the terms of the Settlement Agreement (as they did with Compromise Agreements) and the reasonable cost of this has to be met by employers, in addition to any legal advisory costs they themselves may incur; • There is a Statutory Code of Practice published by Acas to be followed, and the fact that this document is 88

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2014/02/26 PM 21/05/20134:27 08:55



The Sales Doctor

Sales Doctor, Tony Morris advises on how to leave your problems at the door and carry on selling

Q: A:

Dear Sales Doctor, I’m good at sales, but I’m finding it hard to leave my home stress at the door. It’s affecting my working life. Have you got any advice on how to focus?

This is extremely common and very challenging. In one way or another, everyone has home stress, some unfortunately worse than others. I think the initial thing is to appreciate everyone has home stress and you are not alone.

It’s part of life and it must be viewed the same as when we get rejected in sales; it’s part of the process. If we allowed every sales knockback to affect us, we would never pick up the phone or attend a sales meeting again. People handle home stress differently. To take away the stress I go to the gym or for a jog. I find the fresh air and the cardio really helps. Other people like to soak in a bath, read a book and take their mind off things. The lesson here is to do something, take action and try different things and see what works best for you. What many people do is focus on the home stress and worry about it, which of course only magnifies the problem. I suppose you could compare this to challenges that every entrepreneur faces in their business. The way they handle and overcome the challenge is the true strength of an entrepreneur. As opposed to stressing and worrying about it; they view it as an inevitable part of the process and learn how to handle it head on. I guarantee every successful entrepreneur has experienced their fair share of home stress, it’s just they learn how to handle it as part of everyday life. Don’t be scared of asking for support outside of your home. Many people feel it’s rude to ask, but there are people who would be only too happy to help.

Tony Morris is the director of the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London. He is also the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book with techniques you can put into practice. Contact: wedosalestraining.com

Need a diagnosis?

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


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SUPPLY AND DEMAND You only get five lives in Candy Crush. You can organically earn one new life every 30 minutes, but never more than five. Each game takes up to five minutes, so you can easily burn through your lives in minutes. Just as you’re getting the hang of it and are about to win, you are locked out of the system. Being denied access does crazy things to a person. The demand goes through the roof when the


’m not a big gamer unless it increases my skills, like Sudoko. But over the past year, I noticed my Facebook page was filled with Candy Crush requests and status updates. There were spoof photos posted about Candy Crush rehabilitation centres. People on the train, on the tube, in cafes, were all playing this game. Why? On Christmas 2013, my stepfather and my brother-in-law were playing in between opening presents and eating dinner. I had to know what magnetic force was convincing everyone to play this game. So I downloaded and played my first game. As I moved through the levels, it quickly became evident how this game seemed to be achieving global domination. They have an unmatched understanding of how to take marketing into a modern world. Here are some examples that you can apply to your business:

CANDY CRUSH To some it’s a fun game; to others it’s a waste of time. To Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, it’s a brilliant example of modern marketing supply is restricted. But Candy Crush has created two very clever solutions.

It essentially guarantees free and endorsed promotion to hundreds of people

PAY TO PLAY When you run out of lives on Candy Crush, you can wait for your lives to regenerate, but this is torture, so there are two other options to get you back in the game. One is to pay to play. For the very inexpensive price of £0.99, you can have a new set of lives. At this price point, it’s affordable for everyone. And of course, with the press of one button, it couldn’t be easier. And this, no doubt adds up to big bucks for Candy Crush. GO VIRAL The other option is to ask your Facebook friends to sponsor lives for you. This could be the most brilliant feature. It essentially guarantees free and endorsed promotion to hundreds of people for each player who choses this option. That quickly adds up to millions of people. Those who have never heard of it are introduced and then constantly reminded. Sooner or later they feel left out and curiosity gets them, as it did with me. And then those who are on it are reminded to go back and play. It’s pretty brilliant marketing. To pace your use, and keep your “addiction” going, Candy

Crush also implements another system which forces you to break every 10 games or so and play “quests” to unlock the next group of games. There are three quests and you can only play one quest at a time. So far, I’ve never paid or recommended the game. But it seems that I am the in a tiny minority. Though gaming is not my thing, I do take my hat off to the creators of Candy Crush. They are changing the face of social media for business and modern marketing. If you want mindless activity, play the game. If you want an example of the future of marketing, learn from the game.

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


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A whole different kettle of fish: 6 things every website needs to be do and have

It’s time to make those website changes that have been weighing on your conscience. They will take thought, planning and time, but the longer you procrastinate, the harder it will be. We are committed to helping you reap the rewards only a certain type of website can give you. Your site should be built in WordPress There’s a reason this is the most popular Content Management System around. It allows you to have a completely bespoke design or a high quality premium theme and it makes keeping your site up-to-date so easy.

Your site should be “responsive” More and more people are browsing on-the-go and if you aren’t planning to make your site easy to see and read on their devices you are falling behind. Responsive sites reformat to be easily seen and read on all devices.

Your website should look fresh and in keeping with “the times” Has it been more than 12 months since you had your site designed? Older design trends like drop shadows, bevels and gradients now look extremely dated. Excellent use of typography, flat design, simple use of colour, longer pages with visuals all along the way, more prominent use of video, and better use of white space all lift and modernise your website.

Your website (and you) should embrace “content marketing” For some, it means changing your website and your marketing plan so you have the right tools (a blog, social media channels and a content marketing plan). It also means going back to marketing basics – defining your audience and the key messages you want to communicate to them, as well as what you want people to believe about your business and feel about your brand, and then planning to create and share a mixture of educational content, stories and shareable content to distribute regularly across the channels your audience is on – in the form of reports, PDFs, ebooks, presentations, banners, video and infographics.

Don’t be overwhelmed Eek! This probably is a lot to do for 98.7% of you. However, you’re not alone (hence the high percentage mentioned in the previous sentence). Just work towards the changes above and you will see – it’s so worth it! And call us to help you out!

Your website should have a blog Having a blog on your site is a commitment, but the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks – and it’s really just how you look at it. Your blog allows you to raise awareness of your brand, show your expertise, and educate your audience. You can attract relevant traffic and you can exercise your marketing muscles.

Get in touch 020 7036 0560 www.topleftdesign.com team@topleftdesign.com twitter.com/topleftdesign

Your website should integrate Social Media And no, I don’t mean just sticking a Twitter icon on your homepage – or integrating a feed from Twitter or a like box. To integrate it means you have to have the right activity and behaviour on those channels - otherwise it’s better to hide that icon/link on your website (controversial, I know).

Keren Lerner | CEO, Top Left Design

Illustrations by Tamlyn Hall

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24/02/2014 16:26



Ten steps of Twitter Step five: Scheduling

Dawn Murden sets out to improve the Talk Business Twitter – follow our journey and improve yours too ast month, Joel from Brandwatch told me it was time to focus on driving people to the website. After my call with Joel, I used Google Analytics to see how many visitors had come to our website from social media over the past 12 months. I then worked out a mean average in order to set a target to hit monthly, and then increase that by 5% each month once we had consistently reached the mean target. After speaking to Joel, I put everything I have learned so far into practice. At this stage I have had four in-depth discussions with Joel on how to improve our Twitter – so if you have missed any of this series, please go back and read them to ensure you’re not missing out on any useful advice. It helps to implement strategy in stages.


Every working day for the last month, the first thing I’ve done is update Twitter with business news, then throughout the day I’ve tweeted about our news stories and features. I was very happy to report back to Joel this month about the progress. Rather than hitting the mean target we have smashed and exceeded it by 73%. And according to Google Analytics 32.77% of clicks coming through the social channels are coming from Twitter. Although, I did notice something. Joel had placed a particular importance on using Bitly to monitor the number of click per link, however the clicks on the Bitly links were low. ‘It’s safe to say it’s working, but not in the direct way we thought,’ Joel said. ‘The tweets are driving people to the homepage as detailed on your

We have been scheduling tweets for weekends and evenings that have been getting a great deal of interest

Twitter homepage, rather than the Bitly link.’ This month, Joel wants us to focus on scheduling. ‘We run a B2B company like yourself, and we thought that most people would read our tweets during work hours,’ Joel said. ‘However, we have been scheduling tweets for weekends and evenings that have been getting a great deal of interest.’ Joel said they were picking popular tweets from that week to re-post. ‘It’s not annoying anyone, as the tweets are reaching a whole new audience who check their Twitter at different times.’ At Talk Business, we use TweetDeck to update our Twitter, which has a facility that easily allows you to schedule each tweet to a particular time. There are also other free service like HootSuite and Buffer, and for bigger companies, Spredfast and Sprinklr. Every Friday I will pick 10-15 popular tweets using Brandwatch to re-post during the evenings and weekends, to reach a different audience. Brandwatch solutions are used by leading brands and agencies around the globe, including organisations such as Dell, Kellogg’s, and Digitas. Contact: brandwatch.com


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argeting new markets isn’t a surprising new strategy for businesses looking to grow. Yet few businesses seriously consider expanding into geographical markets outside of their home country, with research by Baker Tilly suggesting that less than a third (30%) of UK SMEs are active in overseas markets. The economic potential of using the Web to generate revenue is worth almost £27 trillion worldwide, yet websites with solely English content can only ever take advantage of a third of that figure, according to figures from Dakwak and CSA Research. Few businesses also see translating their website content into other languages as a way to grow online, with many SMEs believing an English website alone is enough when expanding into other countries. Considering that there are 2.4 billion web users speaking thousands of different languages and dialects globally, this mindset is a huge waste of a fantastic growth opportunity. So, why aren’t more businesses wising up to the incredible potential offered by producing website content in languages other than English? It’s worth looking at the reasons behind this outdated approach to language and dissecting why these assumptions no longer ring true:



The case for a multilingual website

Dipika Patel, head of content at leading content marketing agency, Axonn Media discusses the importance of multilingual web content

There are 2.4 billion web users speaking thousands of different languages

String more languages to your online bow, however, and you could potentially reach a much larger number of web users. For example, add Chinese content and you can instantly up your reach to half the online world (51%), while adding Spanish pages could allow you to reach six in ten web users worldwide. Striking research also shows that more than half (52%)

of global online shoppers will only buy from websites offering content in their own language, so ignoring their demands means businesses are set to miss out on significant potential revenue. IT COSTS TOO MUCH It’s easy to get hung up on the initial outlay without thinking about the potential return on

EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH This is a dangerous assumption to make for any business focusing on growth, especially when you delve into the statistics. In fact, as NewsReach’s interactive infographic How Far Does Your Content Reach? shows, an English website is capable of being understood by just a quarter (26%) of the world’s online population.


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Whoever you decide to go with, make sure they have a strategy tailored to your sector and your business goals for ensuring your trans-created content generates a return. Any agency or freelancer that simply sends you the content and leaves it at that is not worth working with. Be sure to inquire into the exact nature of their expertise and ask for examples of their work before agreeing to anything, and investigate their own website to see if they practice what they preach.

your investment, especially for start-ups and SMEs. A poor multilingual content strategy will result in very little in the way of returns, but executed in the right way, trans-created website content could result in greater conversion rates than you had ever dreamed of. A prime example is Hotels. com, which began targeting Brazilian and Portuguese markets through a website in Brazilian Portuguese because the number of Brazilian web users outnumbers Portuguese ones. However, they saw conversion rates soar into triple digits when they launched a website in European Portuguese specifically for users in Portugal. The facts speak for themselves and show the value in properly understanding who to target and in what language.


This leads on to how important it is to invest in the transcreation of content, rather than simply translating it, for the best results. The term means taking the essence of your message and creating content from scratch that feels native to your target audience’s culture, rather than clunky direct translation.

A poor multilingual content strategy will result in very little in the way of returns

SUMMARY When assessing the facts and figures surrounding the importance of tailoring international content for different markets, the statistics say it all. Do so correctly and you can engage with consumers worldwide, on their terms and in a way that makes them far more likely to buy from you. Fail to do so and they will simply look elsewhere. Be proactive, understanding who you want to target and why, and in the long term there’s no reason why any SME can’t source significant customers from overseas through their online content.

WE DON’T HAVE THE EXPERTISE The good news is that you don’t have to have an army of in-house translators to take advantage of multilingual content. Whether you work with an experienced freelancer or hire a content marketing agency with expertise in trans-creation, the knowledge and experience is easily accessible in other places, gifting you the time to concentrate on other projects.

MARCH 2014

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27/02/2014 13:57

Exhibitions • Portable Displays • Engagement • Live Events

Building Brands with inflatable stands! Skyline WindScape® A revolutionary display product that installs with the touch of a button! As “The Worlds’ First Air-Powered Exhibit System®” it is the fastest, easiest, and lightest exhibit system in the world. It was designed to alleviate the major pain points in the industry; it’s easy and fast to set up and dismantle (without tools!), it is light-weight, available with multiple accessories (such as lighting and stabilizing feet), all whilst lowering operating costs and providing graphic impact.

Flexibility! Reconfigure Components to Fit Varying Spaces

Why not get in touch and arrange a visit to our London showroom?

call: 0845 415 4661 email: info@skylinewhitespace.com look: www.skylinewhitespace.com


2014/02/26 11:01 AM 25/02/2014 18:40

symbian create

Creative marketing, Communication and design. Your point of difference. To view our full range of services visit: www.symbiancreate.co.uk or call 0844 880 6790 William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex CM24 8AJ

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 Business Junction is offering all talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our our 4 March networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). 5 august networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). Wed 5th Mar 12.30-2.30pm

Networking Lunch at The Red Herring Nearest tube: St. Paul’s 49 Gresham Street, EC2V 7EH networking lunch at the Grange Hotel at tower Hill Booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-at-st-paul

Thu 13th Mar Thurs 8th Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking Lunch at Rydges Hotel Kensington networking lunch at the roof Gardens & Babylon restaurant at High st. kensington 61 Gloucester Road, SW7 4PE Nearest tube: Gloucester Road 99 High Street Kensington, W8 5SA Nearest tube: High Street Kensington Booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-kensington-2

Thurs 1st Aug

Wed 14th Aug

45 Prescot Street, E1 8GP

Nearest tube: Tower Hill

networking lunch at Freemasons Hall at covent Garden

Tue 18th Mar 8-10am

Networking at the British Museum 60lunch Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ Nearest tube: Holborn Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG Nearest tube: Holborn / Tottenham Court Road networking lunch at the Happenstance at st. paul’s Booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/champagne-taittinger-networking-breakfast-in-bloomsbury

Thur 27th Mar Thurs 29th Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch Unity Kitchen Cafe & Events networking lunch at dirty atOlympic Liverpool Nearest tube: Stratford Timber Lodge, 1A Honour Lea Avenue, Queendicks Elizabeth Park,street Stratford, E20 1DY 202 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR Nearest tube: Liverpool Street booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-the-olympic-park-e20

Thurs 22nd Aug

1A Ludgate Hill, EC4M 7AA

Nearest tube: St Paul’s

Please email Fiona@businessjunction.co.uk with the event you would like to attend and quoting the reference: talkbusiness2/13 now in its 12 year and with over 450 member companies, Business Junction is London’s leading independent business network. we run 80+ pan-London networking events each year including a weekly lunch, a monthly champagne taittinger breakfast and 6 evening events, all at different high quality central London venues.

www.businessjunction.co.uk 020 3667 6776

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Blinky: print with personality WHEN DID YOU START BLINKY? Four years ago while I was at university. I was putting on events and needed lots of different services. I decided there was a better way – to start my own company, and have all those services in one place. WHAT SERVICE DO YOU OFFER? The company is a one-stop-shop for printing, offering everything from flyers and leaflets to posters and bespoke marketing and promotional materials like mugs, eco products, and more. Before we even offer our products, we give good guidance. We are against taking your money and running. We build sustainable relationships and our customers always come back because we’re friendly, honest and reliable. WHAT KIND OF ADVICE HAVE YOU GIVEN TO CLIENTS? One customer wanted to print hundreds of brochures and send them out to potential clients at £3 or £4 each. We advised them to send out presentation packs, which cost a lot less. Then if there was interest, they could order a brochure. WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING PROJECT YOU’VE WORKED ON FOR A CLIENT? Every year we dye 200 pairs of pants red and yellow for a holiday park. HOW BIG IS YOUR TEAM? There are three in our printing team, and we run another LED lighting company, and there are also three people on this team. WHAT IS YOUR MOST POPULAR SERVICE? It depends on the market really. We print lots of flyers, posters,

We speak to Chris Driscoll, the founder of Blinky Printing Solutions, about why he set up the company and the exclusive offer he’s giving Talk Business readers

booklets, cotton shopper bags, branded USBs, and so on. IN A WORLD WHERE DIGITAL SEEMS TO BE TAKING OVER MANY INDUSTRIES, WHY IS PRINT STILL A POPULAR OPTION? Business is great for us. Digital advertising and promotions are everywhere, but they are often not absorbed. It’s easily ignored online. If you really need something online, you can just search for it. If a flyer gets inserted into your hand, if it’s of interest you’ll look through it and keep it, or act on the call to action. With a flyer, you can target people face to face. However, we wouldn’t advise a client to give out a flyer at an exhibition. Everyone’s doing the same and it will just be thrown into a bag and forgotten about. Instead we give out packs. At The Business Show, we gave out 500 containing our bags, pads, pens and info folder – that way they use the contents and advertise for us as they walk round.

Blinky is offering all Talk Business readers two exclusive deals: (A) Up to 4 free set up screens when you order printed cotton shoppers, and (B) 5% discount for our printing or promotional products or services. T&C’s: 1. Offers valid from 1 March 2014 until 1 June 2014. 2. Offer A is for up to 4 free set up screens when you order printed cotton shoppers, worth £25 +VAT each. 3. Offer B is for a 5% discount for any of our printing or promotional products or services. 4. Both offers can be used in conjunction.  5. Both offers can only be used once per organisation or customer. The offers can be redeemed by contacting Blinky Media Ltd on 0203 674 7235 or emailing chris@blinkymedia. com, and using the code TalkB5. 6. All quotes and prices shown are valid for 30 days from date of publication (1 March 2014).

Contact: blinkymedia.com


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For free legal guidance and to draft your own documents, for free, visit

www.simplifythelaw.co.uk Simplify_Sept_FP_v1.indd 1

17/02/2014 17:22



d an

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This month Lee McQueen, founder of the Raw Talent Academy and BBC’s Apprentice season four winner, reveals how to iron out peaks and troughs in business his year started phenomenally well for us. In January, we banked £250,000. This was our target for the first quarter, and we smashed it in the first month. This was the perfect way to enter our fourth year of trading. I think one of the ways we achieved this was by strengthening our leadership team, by bringing on an operation director and a finance director. Before, we had a bit of a flat structure, we were lacking a bit of depth in leadership experience. Another reason we smashed it is due the demand for sales staff, especially so in the SME market. This year we are expecting growth. There is a boom in the recruitment sector, especially due to the huge growth within SMEs. Many companies want to grow by 10-20 members of staff, rather than one, and this is music to our ears.


Many companies want to grow by 10-20 members of staff, and this is music to our ears

We missed our target towards the back end of last year. But we smashed the target at the beginning of this year because a lot of the business dropped into this year. 60% of that £250,000 came from new business, while 40% came from repeat business - percentages I am very pleased with. How did I ensure the books were balanced when I was waiting for this business to come in? I always ensure the money for the last three months is not essential to the bottom line. I re-invest back into the business all through the year – only do I take dividends when the year is up. This is essential, and where, unfortunately, a lot of business owners go wrong. For example if your target was £250,00, and by the end of your financial year you only have £100,000, you have to pump it back in. You need to be business smart. The business comes first, you second. Think

of the long term gain, next year you could be £200,000 up. There are always peak and troughs though, especially in recruitment. Contractors and permanent staff by trend, tend not to be looking for work/ starting new jobs during Easter, summer and Christmas, whereas September, October and January are usually really busy. You have to be able to manage the peaks and troughs in business, essential to do so is a great team who understand the trends, and a great leadership team who can drive them.

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk


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oday’s competitive landscape means you need the right strategy to attract, recruit and keep talent. Here are our top 10 tips to help you do so:


BUILD A STRONG EMPLOYER BRAND Develop a core message that both current employees and future candidates can relate to. Make sure it truly resonates. Popular employer brands include: • career growth/opportunity • training and personal development • innovative company/ technology • work/life balance • family/community-oriented • fun work environment • green/environmentally conscious

0 s 1 p i p t o t T men t i u r c re

ent top m t i ru is Rec ives h s r ,g ige d T sident t e g n e a f C tres’ r in tale o r n a t to e irec ess C and re d , n t si re mo int Bu attrac e k o a o l t n B asep ods Jaso s, a B meth n 10 utio l o S craft their own career road maps gives them a sense of ownership and control, and ensures they remain engaged. Career entrepreneurship moves mind sets from “loyalty” to “commitment”. Loyalty mind sets only reward the longevity of service.

UNDERSTAND YOUR CURRENT CULTURE There is the culture you have and the culture you think you have. How do your current employees feel about your business? What characteristics fit best with your business? Try to plan ahead. RECOGNITION AND REWARD Nobody goes to work saying; “I want to be mediocre today.” Recognition is a vital part of meaningful work life. Recognising the achievements of a team or individual in a timely and appropriate manner encourages the right behaviour, and is ideal for promoting the benefits of continuous improvement and positive contributions. ESTABLISH CAREER ENTREPRENEURSHIP Empower your team to set their own career goals. Give them the tools to reach those goals and encourage them to measure the output of their activities. Encouraging personnel to


CREATE A FLEXIBLE ENVIRONMENT Nowadays, work/life balance is consistently rated as the most important aspect for attracting and retaining talent. Think about building flexibility into the core cultural values of your business.

How do your current employees feel about your business?

STREAMLINE YOUR HIRING PROCESS If everybody wants to be part of the decision-making process, the recruitment process can take months. Candidates respond positively when you streamline the process and give feedback quickly, even if they are unsuccessful. Acting quickly also gives you a competitive advantage over the competition. FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER Try to establish a long term relationship with a specialist recruitment provider. A good recruiter will understand your

business needs and act as a genuine extension of your business. ON BOARDING Once you have brought someone on board, remember the first 90 days are the most critical in ensuring they are successful and feel part of the business. Ask them to develop a 90day plan, and look to provide a mentor/buddy to help new starters adjust to their workplace. This increases the likelihood of engagement and commitment to their new team. UNDERSTANDING REAL DIVERSITY Real diversity means going beyond issues of gender, ethnicity, or age. It means embracing people who not only look different but think differently. There are a lot of talented people who have had their own businesses, work in different industries, or have experience outside your borders. BE AWESOME Life is short, so make your business awesome. People will then want to join you and, more importantly, they will want to stay.

Brought to you by


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27/02/2014 14:20

Sponsored Article

Accessible software for SMEs


oads Business Software’s mission statement is ‘To provide the same software, technology and opportunities given to larger business’s, to smaller enterprises at an affordable cost and 0% interest repayment packages, with no user licenses and no ongoing taxation on growth.’ Something Roads is passionate about is the support and provision of the benefits accessible to SME’s, about what business software can do for their business and what a huge impact saving around 2 days a week of administration tasks can have. We’re are looking to write three articles over the next three months, discussing the benefits of what good, affordable software can do for you. We would like to explain in this article the background of Roads, where we come from and why we have chosen to do what we do. Roads was founded in 2003 by Robert Pearson, whose IT education began in the 1970’s as an engineer trained to create early electronic measurement systems, data analysis and manufacturing Quality Control systems. Rob then spent 5 years as consultant for SCA Hygiene Products, initially on electronic trading (EDI/eCommerce) and was closely involved in several major projects including the Asda/WalMart merger and extensive specialist trading systems, including building data-warehouse MIS system integrating with Wal-Mart’s Retail Link facility.  Rob also created multi-location IT help desk call management system for them. Rob then worked with Molnlycke Healthcare on SAP/R3 migration project and extensive sales data collection, cleaning, and analysis system. Roads was later joined by Krzysztof Piszczek, previously a freelance programmer working on projects such as Radioactive@Home - a very successful international project, Plagiarism@Home, Chess@Home, he is also a member of the Polish BOINC Foundation. Krzysztof is a Windows, Linux and Android developer. He is also

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a Linux system administrator. Krzysztof specializes in system integration for trade sites such as Magento, Amazon, Ebay and OpenCart as an affiliated developer. From working with both large international corporations and small independent business’s and retailers, one thing that struck us most is the ability large business’s have to develop money saving technology, to reduce administration to a minimal and maximize growth and profit potential. In comparison to smaller business’s who are usually capped in their business growth by stacks of paperwork and by the amount of employee’s that the business can afford. Roads was born as a partnership between Rob and a local line marking company called Riggotts, a company with the ability and time to accept new contracts, but were restricted by the paperwork. They needed an integrated business management system building to release staff members into gaining new contracts, but the cost of commissioning such software easily stands at over 100k. In agreement for programming a complete bespoke management system, Rob negotiated to keep the copyright to the software to be able to market the technology to other SME’s.

Since then Riggotts has grown to be the UK’s largest and leading line marking company in the UK and has attributed its success to the implementation of the Roads System. Roads has since been developed to cater for both contract and retail business with full integrated complete management processes for all aspects of the business, in one place, automating business process to reduce the need for employee administration. Roads also features full business reporting systems, cloud or server access, android application access, Online and in store stock integration, CRM, file management, vehicle planning, virtual white boards, plus many other features that can be found on our business website or by contacting us for specific questions. Over the next two issues, Roads is going to discuss further the benefits of technology in businesses of every size and inform the market on what exactly is available and hopefully aid business’s in making the right choices first time. By Victoria Pearson, Sales and Marketing Director for Roads Business Software

Contact: rbsoftware.co.uk

2014/02/26 2:55 PM

HR Insight

mendments to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) or TUPE Regulations 2006, came into force on 1 February 2014. Some are effective immediately, but those relating to microbusinesses and employee liability information will come into force in 3-6 months’ time. These amendments have resulted from the Government’s drive to try to reduce red tape for employers; though the changes are more limited in scope than some had hoped, overall the changes are positive.



Relocation Previously, any dismissal relating to a change of location following a TUPE transfer, e.g. a redundancy, was considered to be potentially unfair. Now, if a business needs to move location after the transfer has taken place, the employees can be dismissed (with notice) and, as long as due process is followed, the dismissal will be considered to be fair. Dismissals It will remain automatically unfair to undertake a dismissal if the sole reason for the dismissal “is the transfer” (with no economic/ technical/organisational rationale) but some flexibility has been added, which may allow dismissals to be fair if the reason for the dismissal “is one connected with the transfer”. The aim is to allow companies greater flexibility to make changes to their workforce after a TUPE transfer, but it will be essential to follow a fair selection process, as only time will tell how the tribunals will interpret this. Pre-transfer consultation It will now be possible for the new employer to start consultation about potential redundancies after the TUPE transfer, before the transfer

TUPE OR NOT TUPE? New TUPE regulations? Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, reveals what it means date, as long as both parties agree to this. Previously it was not possible to start consulting with employees about potential redundancies until after the transfer, which could cause significant delays due to the minimum consultation times for any redundancy program affecting 20 or more employees.

The aim is to allow companies greater flexibility to make changes to their workforce after a TUPE transfer

Service provision changes Removing TUPE from applying when a service provision change occurred e.g. when a cleaning company loses a contract to another company, was also considered. The change was suggested to try to increase competition for tenders as it was thought smaller businesses may be reluctant to submit a tender if they may inherit “problem” employees. Instead it was decided to allow changes only if the work was to be carried out in a way that was “fundamentally” different. This provides another potential area for flexibility, which will, in

time, be defined more closely by the employment tribunals. Micro-businesses and consultation Where there is no recognised trades union, businesses with fewer than 10 employees will be able to consult with individuals rather than electing representatives. This only applies to businesses with fewer than 10 employees, not where less than 10 employees are transferring. Employee liability information Information about employees who are due to transfer to the new employer will now need to be provided at least 28 days in advance of the transfer (an increase from 14 days). This will provide more time for the new employer to assess potential liabilities and make appropriate preparations. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk


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Secret diary of an entrepreneur C harlotte Slater is managing director of Moo Moo Youth Marketing and founder of new community interest company, Urban Heard. Although working with young people may have its challenges, it also brings with it excitement and energy, thus meaning that no two days are the same.

Day one: Monday mayhem Today is a crazy day for the Moo Moo Youth Marketing team as we had six outreach events over the weekend so there are surveys to analyse, interventions to count, and update reports to write for our clients. With smoking cessation outreach in a youth centre, alcohol safety awareness in a shopping mall, a “choose better” campaign taking place in a community centre, and three opportunistic Chlamydia screening nighttime events, we are always guaranteed to have a busy Monday morning. The morning goes extremely quickly, but my team and I get through all the weekend’s events and update all our management systems and clients. I then have a meeting with a youth charity, which contacted me as they saw one of our workshops being delivered and wanted to work in partnership.


Charlotte Slater, managing director of Moo Moo Youth Marketing and founder of new community interest company, Urban Heard

I’m opinionated and good at identifying gaps in services for young people

I love working in partnership with organisations which can compliment what we do, and as this is a charity that uses art, graphics and design to help young people express themselves, it seemed to be a match made in heaven for our raising aspirations projects. After quickly re-checking the notes I made from their website, we had a great meeting. I finish the day by looking through the agenda for the meeting tomorrow and planning the day.

Day two: Meetings galore It’s an early start to the day, travelling to a needs assessment meeting for drugs and alcohol services with one of the local authorities we work with. All service providers and a selection of end users have been invited to discuss their views on how to improve the service. This is the type of thing I love, as I’m opinionated and good at identifying gaps in services for young people.

march 2014

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The topic is preventative services, so I am particularly excited as I have been running a pilot in this area for the last 10 months, which has gone brilliantly, and the commissioner is presenting our success to everyone. The meeting goes well, everyone seems behind our work and firm partnerships to make referral pathways better are formed. I was the only person representing youth, but this was great as I was really able to give insight into my experience of what young people need. A few gaps were identified and suggestions for improvements made. Unfortunately I have to rush off during lunch as I have a pitch with a firm of barristers; we are looking for private organisations to invest in a youth leadership and business programme we run. I meet my colleague from LMI International, who I am working in partnership with on this project, and have a quick run through, then we deliver the pitch. It went well and we are very optimistic. After a busy day, I look through emails, check in with my team leaders who have been working on events and then go home. Day three: Back to the office After a crazy day, I always try to be in the office to organise more events and look for new work. The morning is spent talking to our clients, printing company and organisations involved with the paraphernalia needed for the events. The client has not been able to get the graphics they needed to give to us, so it has put things back a couple of days. This is the frustrating part of our job, but I deal with it and suggest ways to ensure the campaign’s start date isn’t impacted. The rest of the day is spent writing a proposal for a new

The campaign involves them wearing onesies and a lab coat in a number of locations

service we have been asked to quote for. This is another aspect I love, as proposals allows you a chance to develop new ideas, while showing your uniqueness and added value. I research previous campaigns on the topic that have been delivered in other countries, and research the area that we are going to be working in. I then use my creativity to think of new ideas as well as updating any that we have previously delivered. I always try to give a minimum of three ideas to clients when writing proposals for campaigns, and offering online and offline solutions. I end the day by meeting the campaign ambassadors at a coffee shop to catch up on what they have been doing to organise a big alcohol awareness event. It’s always a nice meeting as they are aged between 14-18, and fantastic people with great ideas and loads of potential. Day four: Express yourself I meet my outreach team to deliver a briefing before a new campaign starts next week. It is a jovial briefing as the campaign involves them wearing onesies and a lab coat in a number of locations across Leicestershire. I train them up on the key messages of the campaign, and after a couple of role plays, they are confident and excited to start. An energetic start to the day puts me in a great mood to prepare a workshop I am delivering in a youth centre at the end of the day. It involves


working with 11 to 17-year olds in Birmingham, about healthy and unhealthy relationships. It has been commissioned by Spurgeons children’s charity, and is part of their work to do with sexually exploited children, particularly in relation to gangs. My technique with workshops is to make it as interactive and peer-led as possible. Therefore a peer worker attends with me, and the beginning involves educating them about the subject through games, quizzes and discussions. I then challenge them to produce a way of communicating a scenario through either a rap, poem, play or poster. They then have to present this at the end, which ignites more discussion. This works brilliantly as the young people learn whilst having fun and teaching their peers. I then pop back to the office and make sure things are sorted for the events taking place over the next three days. Day 5: Working mum I am a working mum, so I normally have Fridays off with my little girl, Grace. When she has her nap, I catch up on emails and contact staff who are doing events to make sure there are no final questions or issues. When Grace goes to sleep at 6:30pm, I look at things to do with the community interest company I am setting up called Urban Heard. I am aiming to have it up and running by April. Contact: mmym.co.uk


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CAN’T is easier to type than say People type tougher than they talk, so get them off email and on a conference call… then see how quickly those can’ts become cans. Instant, contract-free, hassle-free conference calling. #I AM ACAN


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Language isn’t just semantics ords are the cornerstone to any successful business; they evoke emotion, understanding and association. They allow certain phrases and words to become synonymous and identifiable with major brands. The wrong language can become a barrier to success. Why do you think Apple is so successful? Apple is a common everyday item that people know and are familiar with. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been anywhere nearly as successful had it been called the FiTaTAC700.


Focusing on Technology Brand language is very important, especially so when you focus on the language you use in technology. Technology software and hardware can be daunting to people when they are unaware of how to use it, that is why the language you use (such as the name of your product) needs to be simple and straightforward. In 2012, we were looking to launch our first collaboration tool, and undertook a series of focus groups to look into how the language of technology products can have an effect on how they are used. We focused on the pain

Robert Gorby, marketing director at Powwownow, reveals the language that could make your product

The emotional phrases outranked the technical terms 70% to 30%

points that businesses face, and how to overcome the barriers that stop customers from engaging with your products. Our research showed that when creating a collaboration product, the language that was used had a huge impact on whether people engaged with the product or not. It is probably assumed, and rightly so, that using emotional language resonates with people more than technical jargon, and therefore is more likely that people will interact with a product when it is portrayed as simple and straightforward. Powwownow’s research groups consisted of a range of small businesses, involving business owners, IT managers, office managers, operations managers and project managers. The focus group tested two language propositions: technical and emotional. The emotional phrases outranked the technical terms 70% to 30%. The language that you use can have a huge impact. Our research found that the most popular words were “easy, collaboration, communication, and sharing”

all simple, non-jargon words. With new technology coming in, people can often be scared or nervous about using it, but by using these emotive and friendly words, the take-up of products can be much greater. This is the main reason why, when developing our collaboration tool, the word “engage” was selected (Powwownow Engage). The software then became a friendly, “engaging” tool that people would want to interact with. Business owners could imagine they were using the service, and therefore the fear of interacting with the product was removed. Naming a new service or product, especially in technology, is so important and can have a huge impact on the success or failure of a business. So remember that when thinking about your next big idea. People need to resonate with it and adopt it into their life; opening up your language can play a huge part in its success. Contact: powwownow.co.uk


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Improve your confidence hether it’s securing investment for your start-up business, or nailing that interview for your dream job, speaking well has never been more important to business executives, especially in an increasingly competitive market. There are six key areas any speaker needs to consider, if they are to appear more confident and relaxed when they speak. Here are my top tips for helping you to deliver that killer speech or presentation that will wow your audience every time:


1. Dealing with nerves How can we stop our body from shaking when we feel nervous? There is a very simple answer to this; it is almost physically impossible for your body to shake if you squeeze your buttock muscles. It will stop shaking. And, by clenching those muscles you will take nervous tension away from your throat and relax your voice too. 2. A quick exercise to relax your voice before you speak Stand and face a wall. Place both hands on the wall about

Robin Kermode, a communication coach and founder of Zone2.co.uk consultancy, gives his confidence-boosting tips shoulder height and push really hard, as if you’re trying to push the wall a couple of metres in the direction you’re pushing. After pushing, stand normally and try speaking out loud. See how much more relaxed your voice sounds.

If you start speaking too quickly, it will look like you just want to get it over with

3. How to stand and what to do with your hands When we stand up to speak in public, our arms suddenly seem twice as long. Hold your hands lightly together in front of your stomach. This is the stance that most professional presenters prefer because it looks “open” and makes you feel relaxed. It’s a pose that means you are free to make gestures, and when you’ve finished the gesture, you can simply return your hands to their default position in front of your stomach. 4. How should we sit when presenting? Firstly, never trust the back of a chair. You can end up leaning too far back, which tightens your throat.

I recommend sitting forward on your chair, with your feet flat on the ground, leaning slightly forward. In this position, your neck and throat are relaxed and your lungs can move freely to give you enough air to speak, so that you won’t damage your voice. You’ll look and feel more “dynamic” if you sit in this position. 5. Wait two seconds before you speak If you start speaking too quickly, it will look like you just want to get it over with. So stand and wait two seconds before you speak – it will look like you are comfortable standing there and will give you an impressive natural authority. 6. Use your own voice Try to use your “own” voice rather than putting on a formal “public speaking” voice. Often this is as simple as not speaking too loudly at the audience. Speak as if you were talking with a group of friends.


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27/02/2014 16:30

suits you, sir Look the business:

Every gentleman needs a good working ensemble, be it for those meetings or everyday wear. Tux up with one of these

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1. Limited Collection suit, £99, shirt £19.50, tie & pocket square £12.50, Marks & Spencer 2. Suit jacket £80, matching trousers £40, shirt & tie set £28, Next 3. Remus Uono aubergine slim fit wool blend three-piece, £244.95, Harrison Brands 4. Sartorial suit, £249, Marks & Spencer


5. Brook Taverner Epsom navy multi stripe mix n’ match suit, £265, Harrison Brands



Stockists: harrisonbrands.co.uk, marksandspencer.com, next.co.uk


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27/02/2014 10:44

Talk IMAGE fashion give-away

arrison Brands is one of Scotland’s longest established family-run menswear businesses with decades of experience. Harrison Brands is thrilled to present an exciting range of well established menswear clothing, including a quality range of suits from up-and-coming brands. First opened in Hamilton in 1933 by Samuel Harrison, the same principles of high quality clothing and first class service, which have kept the business successful for more than 80 years, are still being maintained four generations later. It prides itself on the range of quality suits it has available. This is a company, which has embraced the modern times and has evolved into a modern source of men’s suits. As well as a retail store in Hamilton, Harrison Brands also offers an online store that showcases all of its menswear and suit choices. It uses social media channels to ensure that it is sourcing ontrend designers to keep its suit collection as current as possible. The business suits for men are classy, stylish and perfect for work and formal occasions. Designed to ensure you look and feel your best, in and out of the office. They are all available in a range of popular and striking colours. It’s the company’s mission to offer something for everyone’s sense of style and taste. Harrison Brands offers suits at discounted prices, but the quality doesn’t suffer.


Contact: harrisonbrands.co.uk


Suit up with Harrison Brands Talk Business has joined forces with Harrison Brands to give readers to chance to win a new suit

Talk Business freebie The suit we are offering one lucky winner is a quality suit from the Mix ‘n’ Match Green Label collection, from established menswear designer, Remus Uomo. The navy slim fit, mix ‘n’ match two-piece suit is worth £215 and is available in chest sizes 36” – 46”. The jacket is a single breasted, one-button design with traditional single flap side pockets, which can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. It also includes slim notched panels and side vents. To enter the competition simply visit: talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk/win-a-suit

MARCH 2014

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Jason Choy mem ad A4_Layout 1 03/08/2012 12:11 Page 1

“For me, it’s about high-calibre connections.” “I’ve been with the Institute of Directors (IoD) for almost ten years. Through my membership I have the opportunity of meeting senior, experienced and inspiring people across all sectors. We learn, we engage and share ideas with each other. We face the same challenges, the same pressures – we have the same questions – and I believe together we stand a better chance of surviving times like these. I get to have conversations I wouldn’t ordinarily have, with the space and amenities that impress, plus a host of extras from legal and tax advice, to great events. Do I think it’s a good idea to join the IoD? It’s a no-brainer – it’s invaluable.”

Jason Choy, Welcome Gate Member since 2002

Membership of the Institute of Directors provides: Free access to IoD meeting space • Local networking events across the UK • Free one-to-one business advice • National conferences, seminars and events • Free business information and research • Free business tax and legal advice • Your views represented to Government • Exclusive online networking

To find out more about the benefits of membership visit www.iod.com/benefits

Not a member of the IoD? To apply for membership, or for more information, please call 020 7766 8888 or visit www.iod.com

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07/08/2012 09:59

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

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Talk image

Opposite: Rowton Hotel & Spa. Above, clockwise: Le Bistrot Pierre, Radisson Blu in Edinburgh and Basepoint’s Camberley Centre

Meet and eat Le Bistrot Pierre Where? 11 locations all over the UK, including Derby, Cardiff, and Sheffield. What? A Bistro serving delicious and affordable French cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Why choose Le Bistrot Pierre? Each restaurant is styled in a way to complement the building, where customers can expect a personal, attentive service. They serve great French food, and there’s plenty of choice. We visited the Derby location, which was perfect for a client meeting. Contact: lebistrotpierre.co.uk Away on business Rowton Hotel & Spa Where? Chester, Cheshire

What? A luxury hotel and spa with 37 bedrooms, four conference rooms, a ballroom, restaurant, two bars, a swimming pool and health club. Why choose Rowton Hotel & Spa? It’s close to major rail, road and air links, yet sufficiently secluded to make working without distraction easy. Contact: rowtonhallhotel.co.uk Events and gatherings Radisson Blu, Edinburgh Where? High Street, Edinburgh. What? The Radisson Blu hotel, located in the centre of Edinburgh, has eight versatile conference and event rooms, with complimentary wi-fi, and on-site parking. Why choose the Radisson Blu? It currently has a special rate on

bookings made before 30 April 2014. Delegates will receive the Platinum package for the price of the Silver package. Contact: radissonblu.co.uk/ meetings/moreforless Offices and hubs Camberley Centre, Basepoint Where? Camberley, Surrey. What? A modern business centre providing 28,000 sq ft of space within 58 self-contained units, available on a short-, fixed- or long-term basis. Why choose Basepoint? The offices, meeting rooms and virtual offices suit any types of business, plus all of Basepoint’s profits go towards a charitable cause. Contact: basepoint.co.uk


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We love… This month, we feature superior office must-haves, from coffee machines to stylus pens. Enjoy!

OLD AND NEW This Shimla jewellery pen is not only a 1mm practical ballpoint, it’s a stylus too. You can easily switch from tablet to notepad while you work. It‘s stylish too – so it looks good when you’re out and about meeting clients, and it’s only £16. Contact: shimlajewellery.com

WAKEY WAKEY Sometimes employees and colleagues aren’t the same without their morning dose of caffeine. Coffee shops can be expensive and sometimes instant just doesn’t cut it. If you have a small office, why not treat them to this Morphy Richards machine for £50? Contact: debenhams.com

THROUGH THE WIRE This metal wires container is perfect for sorting those old letters and papers and is the perfect size to place on top of your desk. If you have a home office, it’s perfect. Priced at £19.95. Contact: dotcomgiftshop.com

TAKES THE BISCUIT Back in December we featured an article called Ten tips for happy staff by LondonOffices.com, and number three was free tea, coffee and biscuits. If you’ve bought the biscuits, you need somewhere to keep them. What about this jar from Dotcomgftshop for £12.95? Contact: dotcomgiftshop.com


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ilicon Valley does not have a monopoly on innovation and start-ups. It is my belief that in every community there is the latent potential for entrepreneurs. Sometimes entrepreneurship does not manifest itself in a form that we would regularly identify as part of a start-up culture, but it does nonetheless highlight the raw talent that exists. As a (by marriage) Geordie, it does not take long to realise the energy and drive of entrepreneurs in the north east of England – but I am referring to the bars and nightclubs that compete, both with each other and other city destinations, for stag and hen parties. In the world that I exist in, this is known as a leading edge indicator. An alternate way of thinking about it is when you are standing on a shoreline it may not be possible to see a ship, but you know it is there because you can see the waves that it is creating. To me, the vibrant entertainment industry that exists in the north east indicates the underlying potential of the region. As a “reformed” accountant, I jumped ship during the original dot com bubble, to become an early employee of a start-up that raised £15 million and subsequently went bust less than 18 months later. But it taught me many lessons, and in retrospect I now realise it was the trigger that freed me from the shackles of a corporate life. In the subsequent period, I went on to work in other startups, help start-ups raise funding and also invest in start-ups as




Meet our new tech columnist; Jon Bradford, managing director of Techstars, a company that provides funding and mentoring to up-and-coming tech companies

A startup that raised £15 million and subsequently went bust less than 18 months later

an early stage venture capitalist – all of which I did with moderate degrees of success. I refer to this as being a “master of none, but a tradesman of many”, but it put me in good stead for what happened next. Just over five years ago, while working as a venture capitalist, I recognised how hit and miss investing in early start-ups was. It involved a lot of meetings, coffee and crossing of fingers. It just felt a problem waiting to be fixed, not just as an investor but also for the start-ups looking for investment. I had come across the idea of “accelerators” that had just emerged in the US - that combined investing smaller sums of capital (circa £15,000) alongside an intensive 90-day bootcamp for 10 early stage companies supported by entrepreneurs as mentors. I managed to convince my funders of the merits of this new form of investment, which emerged as “The Difference Engine” – the first accelerator bootcamp programme outside of the US. It was initially based in Middlesbrough and then Sunderland. The twenty companies that participated in that programme have gone on to raise more than £10 million. I have subsequently gone on to run multiple other programmes, helping to support more than 100 companies and also help set up another 12 accelerators from Montreal to Moscow. Ironically, I now work

for one of the original US acceleration programmes I referred to earlier, Techstars – which is considered to be the best accelerator in the world. I have the best job in the world. I work and invest in some of the most exciting early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world here in the UK. It is both challenging and massively rewarding. Annually, I review 3,000 business plans, attend countless conferences, have endless discussions about the impact of technology - but mostly importantly, work side by side with our next generation of business leaders. Contact: techstars.com Twitter: @jd

Jon Bradford is managing director of Techstars in London. Alongside this he is also a co-founder of f6s, the largest community of start-up founders in the world, and also tech.eu, a dedicated tech blog for start-ups in Europe.


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23/12/2013 18/12/2013 10:03 14:38

mobile payments

Talk Technology

Loyalty, data and mobile payments ith economic uncertainty and an increasingly competitive landscape, it’s no secret businesses have suffered. Customers are less willing to part with their hard earned money, and many brands are turning to new methods to ensure that customers return and remain loyal. For example, numerous businesses have looked to secure long term customer growth through implementing a loyalty programme. These can often prove to be hugely successful, whilst also having a recognisable identity; think Tesco Clubcard. The reason that Tesco Clubcard is so effective is because it is able to tailor the rewards and


Ian Marsh, UK managing director of Payleven, a mobile payment company, talks about how loyalty cards can boost business

Mobile payment technologies offer scope to alter how they engage with their customers

incentives on offers to specific customers’ needs; a term labelled emotive loyalty – understanding individuals’ desires and emotions. Having loyalty programmes will give businesses the ability to gain key insight into their customers’ behaviour, which can then be channelled towards tailoring incentives that make customers return repeatedly. However, this sort of data analytics has often been the preserve of large companies with large budgets to match. Furthermore, smaller operations are becoming increasingly pressured by the proliferation of larger stores on the high street and the increasing dominance of e-commerce. Smaller businesses therefore, need to take a creative approach to ensuring customer loyalty. The increase of mobile technology - or more specifically the changing nature of mobile payments - has opened up space for this sort of loyalty programme, that also captures that much needed customer data. Furthermore, mobile technology has the advantage of

being flexible – a valued asset for small operations that need to be agile in how they do business.   This flexibility also translates into the structure of the loyalty schemes themselves. Mobile payment technologies offer scope to alter how they engage with their customers and the specifics of the loyalty scheme. For example, a start-up coffee shop might offer the sixth coffee free, or a beautician could offer a free manicure after the customer has visited five times. This is a vital element for the entrepreneurial small businessman, who doesn’t have to be tethered to restrictive pre-set incentives. Pairing this with in-built data capture functions, mobile payment technologies offer brands a way of engaging with customers on an emotive level; tailoring their offering and increasing the likelihood of ensuring customers return again and again. This results in a loyalty programme that is completely usable and seamlessly integrated with the payment system. Contact: payleven.co.uk


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27/02/2014 14:31

Talk Technology FAN EXPERIENCE

The smart

stadium I magine being able to connect with the thousands of customers you have in your place of business in real time as soon as they enter the sporting venue. The possibility to understand your customers, and deliver tailor-made content has never been as real. Skylab believes that in today’s world, venue owners and partners are continually trying to enhance their customers’ experience and enable venues to increase revenues through each seat. A smarter venue acts as a single entity, with integrated, interconnected subsystems, in which individual departments and external agencies communicate significant event information to an enterprise dashboard. It is well managed, with integrated physical and digital infrastructures that make sure fans experience unforgettable events comfortably and securely, and ultimately offers a far more engaging, social fan experience. Venues have to continue to innovate to entice people to gather and share experiences in person at the venue; experiences that they cannot get in the living room at home or at


Nigel Collier, managing director at leading innovation studio Skylab, discusses how venues and businesses can work together to engage spectators

Giving SMEs the opportunity to sell products to an engaged audience before, during and after a live event

the pub with friends. The fan’s experience is an integral factor to creating a smarter stadium. Recent technology does allow guests to engage with facilities, which allows their behaviour patterns to be tracked and venues to respond intelligently, magnifying sponsorship revenues and future opportunities for engagement. This technology also allows teams to expand their offering to fans beyond the front doors of a venue, and build brand loyalty over the long term. As a conduit, technology ensures that fans engage on their way to the stadium, and as they travel home, through pre- and post-game events. Paramount to allowing customer/stadium interaction is the continued national rollout of 4G, and wider adoption of free wi-fi by high street retailers and supermarkets, which will make 2014 the year that m-commerce finally joins the mainstream.

Recent figures from eMarketer suggest that mobile commerce sales alone are expected to top £17 billion by 2017, with an estimated 38.4 million people in the UK browsing products on smartphones or tablets this year. wi-fi ensures access to live feeds of unique information about a game while encouraging users to share experiences via social media, which presents an opportunity for venues to tailor content to fans and re-inforce the gathering of people with similar tastes and/or demographic. In-stadium apps can support this sharing of information and connect fans who attend an event with exclusive content. This technology is moving toward more centralised distribution nodes, ultimately extending connectivity. Third party SMEs are now providing infrastructure to make this possible in existing venues. Across sports, social media is the new frontier, bringing fans closer to the action and players,

MARCH 2014

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engaging sports fans even more with their favourite sports and athletes – whether at home or at the event. There are plenty of effective ways to achieve this, including clickable technology. With converging technology, it could eventually lead to adverts and engagement correlating to your specific city or postcode. But it could also lead to increased ticket sales and sponsorship awareness; as supporters get swept away in the euphoria of the moment, they are encouraged to continue supporting their team and are open to buying merchandise or tickets to the next match. They would be able to make impulse purchases through clickable, buy-now technology through smartphone apps and notifications of sporting successes. This can further translate into consolidating key sales opportunities at the sports ground, such as real time concessions, merchandise, and ticket ordering, as well as targeted promotions, advertisements and unique sponsor activations. As a result, the need to create a seamless and uninterrupted venue wi-fi experience for fans has become one of the primary focuses for industry executives, as well as giving SMEs the opportunity to sell products to an engaged audience before, during and after a live event. Data mining, coupled with robust wi-fi, allows teams to track the buying patterns of users to better understand stadium hot spots or the popularity of items. This information can be used to drive people to areas of the stadium where their friends are, or to try out new products or restaurants. It is not unreasonable to think that fans of the future will determine who they socialise with based on a particular brand they choose to associate

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with, which then reinforces their own particular identity, and further distinguishes the desire to attend an event rather than watch from home. As these concepts become plausible, facilities must be prepared to adapt to accommodate them. Such venues will then continue to create settings that draw communities together, foster a culture and engross fans. 2014 will be the year that forward thinking retailers see mobile not just as another retail channel, but instead as a personal gateway to the shopper that can inform, inspire and excite by enabling a richer and more targeted experience. The challenge for retailers is to centralise data, and in doing so, be able to realise the power of “the internet of things”. Our smartphones will act as “proximity sensors”, reacting to a consumer’s location, triggering a personalised treatment when the device enters a physical space. Harnessing this knowledge will aide retails and brands greatly.

As a personal gateway to the shopper that can inform, inspire and excite

Contact: studioskylab.com

27/02/2014 16:37

Talk Technology telephone losses

Call for back up Chris Potts, marketing director at ANT Telecom, examines the impact that a loss of telephone services can have on a company

he ongoing development and implementation of “disaster recovery” plans that prepare companies for unexpected technical failure, are both important and commonplace. But does corporate attention on disaster recovery place a disproportionate focus on IT resilience and maintaining the data network? With the telephone still regarded as the primary business communication tool, why is it that many companies still fail to integrate it into their disaster recovery plans? The financial and operational implications of telephone outage on business performance are huge. Conversely, the integration of leading-edge telephony systems into companies’ wider data networks not only offers major efficiency and productivity gains, it is also simple to implement and highly costeffective. Building redundancy and resilience into your telephony system is therefore critical. That way, if the unexpected happens or disaster strikes, your IT department is off the hook – but your phones don’t have to be.



Telephone systems must also adapt to the rise of employees bringing their own mobile devices

Caller waiting: counting the cost The potential impact of a loss of telephone service for businesses is significant. During the course of a typical year, most companies experience temporary failures in their telephone system. In more severe cases – often brought about by extreme weather, roadworks or terminal equipment failure – organisations can find their staff unable to get into the office, meaning that business grinds to a halt. Although the cost to individual organisations is largely unquantifiable, the absence of telephone communications can have a considerable effect on efficiency and productivity and, even more damagingly, a detrimental impact on customer service, brand reputation and, of course, sales revenues. But in the mobile age, the situation is totally avoidable if telephony is made an integral part of the data network – bringing office connectivity to all employees regardless of their location. With such a lot at stake, companies could do more to ensure that business continuity

strategies consider telephony. Primarily, a change in culture may be required. In the past decade, as the trend towards downsizing has gathered pace, responsibility for business telephony has shifted from the traditional telecoms manager to companies’ IT departments. But some IT staff still consider the telephone system to be separate from the data network and believe its management falls outside of the IT remit. As such, IT departments often fail to take a strategic approach to implementing telephony systems that match business needs. This means that many companies are not only exposed to the catastrophic implications of telephone downtime, they are also failing to recognise the added value that leading edge telephony systems can provide as part of a unified communications approach. Perhaps another reason why many businesses fail to lavish the same attention on the humble telephone system as they do to other aspects of IT infrastructure is the perceived reliability of telephony. The telephone system rarely fails.

MARCH 2014

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27/02/2014 16:48

telephone losses

But this apparent reliability risks an organisational complacency that can hold back business progress and, worse still, inadvertently perpetuate inefficiency. Crucially, when telephony does fail, the knockon repercussions are severe. The importance of stitching it into your disaster recovery plan is therefore critical. But why wait for failure before taking action? Companies typically invest in telephony every seven years. The drivers for change are common; most notably when a service level agreement has expired or extra capacity is required. But, with the impact of downtime so severe, building resilience and protection should be reason enough to consider making improvements. Better connected: benefits of telephony Beyond the obvious benefits of strengthening disaster recovery, updating the telephone system provides a great opportunity for companies to take advantage of additional functionality that can have a powerful effect on business performance. Telephony goes well beyond the traditional switchboard.

The drivers for change are common; most notably when a service level agreement has expired

Today’s systems are designed to support the emerging challenges of the modern business environment. In an era where mobile technology is facilitating a rapid increase in remote working, telephone systems must also adapt to the rise of employees bringing their own mobile devices to work. How are businesses ensuring that this practice is integrated into their telephony systems to deliver seamless communications? Likewise, in a global economy, videoconferencing is becoming an increasingly accessible and cost-effective way of managing internal and external communications “virtually” – reducing the expense of business travel and improving organisational productivity. Moreover, telephony systems that are integrated into the data network can provide powerful informatics to help companies manage their customers more effectively. Customer relationship management tools have become a key component in nurturing effective client relationships – but telephony can also play its part. Most old telephone systems rarely allow businesses to monitor in-bound call activity so that they are able to identify and process calls from key customers quickly and efficiently. This inability can have a negative impact on the customer experience and lead to poor customer retention. But this is avoidable. Modern telephony applications can generate real-time data to help improve customer contact and empower employees to process calls intelligently. This allows management to monitor call trends. An engaged tone To maximise the opportunities, companies could benefit

Talk Technology

from taking a more strategic approach to the development and management of telephone systems – and integrate telephony into their wider unified communications strategy. This will require greater collaboration between IT and stakeholders across a company, to identify business requirements and departmental needs, and establish how telephony can play its part in helping to meet them. More effective engagement between IT staff and individual departments can lead to the development of holistic telecoms systems that respond to authentic drivers for change and meet businesses’ strategic objectives. Irrespective of companies’ specific strategic needs – and the functionality enhancements that can help to deliver them – the most fundamental business requirement is that of business continuity. Resilience is not an option, it’s an obligation. In an increasingly mobile marketplace where the value of effective communications is high and the importance of customer service is even higher, the price of telephony failure is significant. Unnecessary and avoidable telephone downtime can have a highly destructive influence on organisational efficiency and productivity, as well as a negative impact on brand reputation, customer retention and long-term profitability. As global businesses cry out for robust disaster recovery plans and unified communications powered by sophisticated technologies, the traditional telephone could, quite literally, be well placed to answer the call. The decision to invest in telephony solutions that are aligned with modern business needs can no longer afford to be put on hold. Contact: anttele.com


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27/02/2014 16:48

Sponsored Article

UBER OFFICE Uber Office offers contemporary desk space for start-ups, freelancers and small businesses fostering business partnerships and development in an open co-working office environment.


ocated in the heart of one of Central London’s most historic districts, Belgravia, and situated a stone’s throw from Victoria Station with fantastic transportation links across London and the South of England. Uber Office is situated within easy access of the shopping and dining hubs of Sloane Square and Knightsbridge. 1 month contract. No deposit. No hidden costs. Complete transparency. Easy in, easy out. Belgravia, the first of 4 locations to open in 2014. Offering desk space from only £500 + VAT per month with no rolling contracts or advance payments. We have worked hard to ensure 30% of our space allows our residents to work and operate away from their desks Our concept offers: • Stimulating, inspiring and fun settings to work in alongside other freelancers or small business owners • An open working environment leading to mutually beneficial business partnerships, friendships and assistance to grow and nurture

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your business • Reduced levels of common office overheads (printing, broadband, maintenance staff, long lease agreements) • Great networking opportunities Uber Office Amenities: • Complimentary concierge service • High end furnishings and environment • Access to individually styled meeting rooms • OpenZones for collaboration breakout • Weekly networking socials • Free bean to cup organic coffee and selection of unlimited teas • Wifi and CAT5 connectivity • Secure corporate office building and receptionist • Prestigious SW1 address for your business • Quirky yet stylish event space available for private hire Uber Office offers state-of-the-art facilities and onsite concierge service in an environment of ultimate comfort and style, encouraging collaboration between businesses and individuals.

www.uberoffice.com 020 3397 7975

@uberoffice facebook.com/UberOffice

30/01/2014 16:34


Talk Technology

I’ve got an app for that… This month we’ve chosen apps to help you work remotely and manage your accounts on the go

LogMeIn Price: FREE (for 14 days) Compatible with: Android and iOS The gist: Working from home or on the go and need something from your computer? Remote access your PC or Mac over 3G or wi-fi from your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone with LogMeIn.

You can run your computer as if you’re sitting in front of it, and access files or run any application. You have to sign up for a 14-day trial, and after that, if you want to continue using the app you have to choose the package that suits you best. Downloadable from: secure.logmein. com/UK

FreshBooks cloud accounting Price: FREE Compatible with: Android and iOS The gist: Five million people already use this app to track time, organise expenses and invoice clients. The best part is it’s an app you can use to take care of your finances

when and wherever you need to. You can send invoices, get paid online, track billable time against projects, and see your hours in calendar view. It’s also very easy to use. Downloadable from: freshbooks.com


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27/02/2014 17:07

Must-have gadgets for SMEs

Dawn Murden outlines four gadgets all SMEs should invest in You may have thrown away you clunky old desktop computer and joined the smartphone revolution, but are you using technology to drive your business forward? Technology is no longer

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a luxury, but a necessity that can make you stand out, and improve work efficiency, especially if you have a small team. Here’s the technology we believe is essential for your SME:

27/02/2014 16:58


Talk Technology

Tablet The benefits of a tablet are endless. They are small and portable, meaning you can take them everywhere, and they boot up quickly. You can keep up to date with work on the go, be it on the train, or even on holiday if there’s an important issue that can’t wait. They are great for meetings and presentations too; you can take notes, and show colleagues important

documents. There are also a number of business apps you can download, many of which are free, that can help you run your business. Our favourite is the iPad mini with retina display from £319. It has 4G capability, a quality screen and a wide variety of apps. If you prefer an Android, check out the Google Nexus 7 and 10, from £199.

Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot With a small device known as a “hotspot”, a smallbusiness owner doesn’t need to worry about arranging a client meeting in a location with wi-fi. The device is essentially a mobile wireless router that allows you access

to the internet on the go. mobile wi-fi hotspots are available through most internet providers. We’ve found O2 offers a good deal, or you can buy a hotspot on the internet starting from around £30.

Professional document scanner Ever thought about having a paperless office? Imagine how much clutter you could clear by scanning all your receipts, business cards and invoices. With a document scanner you can scan all your loose paperwork, and

compile it into neat folders on your computer. We recommend the Epson Workforce Pro GT-S50 Document Scanner or the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Sheet-Fed Document Scanner, both in the £300-£400 range.

Portable projectors Pico (small) or hand-held projectors are perfect for presentations on the go. Some are small enough to fit in your pocket and weigh about half a kilo. Most devices work with mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras to project digital images on to a screen or a blank wall. Some have remote controls, internal memory and USB ports too. Visit personalprojector. co.uk - it has a good selection of pico, hand-held, and medium-sized projectors.


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27/02/2014 16:58

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! Untitled-1 1

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2014/02/12 2:25 PM

11/04/2013 10:30:15


fRANCHISE NEWS UK franchise awards opens for entries

Home Instead CEO interviewed by BBC CEO OF FRANCHISE company Home Instead Senior Care, Trevor Brocklebank made a series of appearances on BBC radio and television last month. He emphasised his standing in, and knowledge of the care sector in the UK. Trevor appeared on BBC Radio 4 to discuss the findings of a BBC investigation into the low rates being paid by councils to some home care providers. The airing of the show followed a day

of media appointments for Trevor at the BBC studios at Salford’s MediaCity to appear on BBC Breakfast and the BBC One O’Clock News. Home Instead [featured on page 126] has won numerous awards for the quality of its services, including being named bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year 2013, and judged as the most compliant home care provider in England by a Laing & Buisson report last August.

THE BFA HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards is now open for entries, and celebrates its 25th anniversary. This year’s categories have been revamped, launching five new honours alongside the main honour for the UK’s top overall franchisor. The move reflects the significant and growing contribution franchisors make in driving innovation, entrepreneurialism and export growth in the UK economy. The following awards are now open for entries: • bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award • Emerging Franchisor of the Year • Innovation Award • International Achievement Award • Brand of the Year • Franchisee Recruitment Award Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, said: ‘The awards showcase the country’s most outstanding franchise businesses, regardless of size or sector, championing them amongst their peers.’ Franchisors can enter all categories for which they qualify. Entry forms can be downloaded from: bit.ly/1hpX0Zd. The deadline for entries is 5pm on 28 March. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to a judging panel on 21-22 May where the successful franchisors will be determined.  Winners will be announced at Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire on 26 June.

Papa John’s to open 50 new UK stores PIZZA FRANCHISE, Papa John’s has announced it is on target to open 50 outlets this year. Last month the franchise opened stores in six locations - West Ealing, Bishop’s Stortford, Cheltenham, Durham, Warrington and Stafford. Papa John’s was established in 1984 and has more than 4,300 outlets worldwide, with 250 stores across Britain.

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Anthony Round, business development manager for Papa John’s commented: ‘The whole Papa John’s team is focused on UK growth for 2014. ‘We have some fantastic incentive deals currently on offer to support franchisees and get new outlets open and off to a great start, and these are proving particularly popular! There are many more

[stores] in the pipeline – so watch this space!’


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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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

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Why did you pick the franchising business model? Our franchise model is mutually beneficial and cost-efficient for both the franchisor and franchisee. Under our model, all driving instructors are partners of RED Driving School, remaining self-employed and responsible for their own business, consequently minimising RED’s fixed costs. Instructors typically teach a mix of pupils, which RED has provided for them, and those which they have sourced themselves through personal referrals. We utilise two principal franchise models: the full franchise model provides instructors with a car; and the brand franchise model allows driving instructors to use their own car. The deal that they get with both models is otherwise identical in all respects. Both models require the cars to be fully decal’ed and branded RED. What are the biggest challenges of franchising a business? The biggest challenge from the franchisor perspective is that the driving instructors aren’t staff or employees of RED Driving School. Although they are contracted to RED for a certain period of time, the franchisees are still selfemployed and, to a certain extent, independent. This can be tricky, as although we’re dealing with pupils on a day-to-day basis, legally and contractually the pupils’ relationship is with the franchisee. We place a huge amount of trust in our franchisees as it is our brand and reputation that is in the spotlight, so anything that is done to enhance or damage this is of great interest to management.

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Talk Franchise

Under the spotlight

Ian McIntosh, RED Driving School

Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, reveals what franchisees get with the business

Instructors typically teach a mix of pupils, which RED has provided for them, and those which they have sourced themselves

What will franchisees get for their money? Franchisees on the full deal get a fully maintained and insured dual-control car. Both the withand without-car franchises include an unlimited pupil supply, the support of RED’s instructor services, use of our integrated electronic booking diary, and of course, the right to use the RED Driving School brand, which has national pulling power.

for someone who has never had to fill in a tax return before.

Do you offer training and support? Most people are unlikely to have been self-employed before so our instructor services function is essential in providing franchisees with the level of support needed when making this transition. We have an accountancy service dedicated to driving instructors for the first three months too. This service is unique and offers a huge level of support

What is your vision for the future of the franchise? We have just over 1,200 franchisees at the moment. We want to continue to grow and have a business plan in place to drive that growth with a strong focus on customer service, value for our customers, great teaching and an emphasis on road safety.

How much will a franchise set me back? The cost of a franchise varies, but if you joined us now on the full franchise model, including the tuition vehicle having gone through your training programme with RED, your franchise fee would be £225 a week, and you would be contracted to RED for a year.

Contact: reddrivingschool.com


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Talk franchise

Thinking of investing in a franchise? Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, talks about investing in franchise as a company hile many businesses may be looking at developing and growing through franchising, there are a number of individuals who wish to set up their own business by taking on a franchise as a franchisee. What is perhaps less known is that there are opportunities for businesses to diversify by taking on a franchise, effectively as a franchisee. This month I will look at both these options, as many of the key elements are common. Market research and due diligence is essential in both cases. For an individual, this will involve assessing that there is a market for the services/ products on offer, that the area that they are considering has a demand but is not saturated with competitors, that the franchisor offers a sound and ethical product, a robust supply chain and a strong support network. Their accreditation by the British Franchise Association (thebfa.org) is a good indicator, and conversations with a number of existing franchisees is essential – be very aware of a franchise that will not allow free access to all their franchisees, in most networks you may find one or


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It is important to look at the environmental policy

two who are disgruntled or not performing, but if the majority are positive about their business and the support of the franchisor, then it is a reasonable assumption that the cause of the disagreement lies with the franchisee rather than the franchisor. For a corporate franchise, opportunities may lie in taking on a master licence for the whole country or a region, e.g. from an established franchise brand overseas. Many are US or Canadian based and there are a number from Australia as well as European brands. Most will expect the UK master licensee to establish a pilot operation in the UK and then franchise out from there, i.e. becoming a franchisor in their own right. Occasionally there may be scope for the UK master to expand through company-owned outlets or even licensees or agents. Alternatively, there are larger unit franchises that may suit an existing business operation as a method of expansion or diversification. Some well-established successful franchise operations have franchisees who, having built up their business in their area, now wish to retire or move on and are seeking to sell their

franchise as a going concern. These can be substantial operations that have been owner managed, and are ripe for further development by a company that understands the sector and has the resources to put a manager in place and move the business to the next level. However, the investor needs to be very aware of the brand control and possible restrictions in terms of geographical territory and products/services offered that may be imposed by the franchisor. One of the best sources for seeking out these opportunities is through a specialist broker such as Franchise Resales (franchiseresales.co.uk). Whether you are investing as an individual or a corporate, do your research and due diligence, talk to the professionals, the franchise sections of the banks, and specialist franchise lawyers before committing. This is the seventh instalment in a series of article written by Tony Mundella, who has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. Contact: franman.co.uk


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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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Take one franchisee

Alex Markov, Nationwide Cleaners We speak with Alex Markov, franchisee for Nationwide Cleaners, on what it takes to be a success in the sector What happened in your first few weeks as a franchisee? I was provided with all the templates, files and the training manual to show you how to run the business. When I started, I worked part-time, one or two days a week, as I had another job, but now I work only for Nationwide. What is your typical week like? Normally, I work Monday to Friday, although sometimes I work weekends as well. When I have time, I work. I don’t just work nine-to-five hours. But with this business, when I am tired, I can finish. Every week you must advertise your services as you are looking for cleaners and clients at the same time. Typically, I send cleaners to jobs and I carry out paperwork. I don’t clean or supervise any cleaning. I manage the business from home. How did you find your staff and how do you manage them? With a cleaning franchise you can do a lot of things yourself or you can delegate. At the beginning I did the advertising myself, leafleting, answering phone calls, and admin work. Now I have more clients and I hire promoters and administrators. We interview and register cleaners, and when we have a new job we allocate local cleaners

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to that job. We train the cleaners but we normally hire experienced cleaners with references. We also get feedback from clients as we must ensure that the clients are happy. What are your costs and overheads? I can work from home, so I can grow my business with low overheads. A typical Nationwide cleaning franchise costs £7,999 with no VAT. I needed a printer, which wasn’t very expensive, but I have no need for equipment or vehicles as the cleaning staff will provide their own. Everybody who is part of the Nationwide franchise has an accountant. I collect all of the paperwork – receipts and invoices – and enter the date in the files for that financial year, before sending these off to our accountant. How much can you earn in this business? You can decide how many hours you want to work and how much money you can earn. With this cleaning franchise, the majority of your income comes from direct debit payments from advance-paying clients.

Every week you must advertise your services

Nationwide states that some franchises can earn as much as £9,000 a month – which is more than £100,000 a year. And it seems that there is a high profit potential, partly due to the lower overheads associated with this type of work-from-home business. How do you see this industry? At the beginning, I wasn’t sure but I knew that I wanted to succeed. But I really like it because you can make your own decisions – and that is a nice feeling. I also have a close working relationship with my franchisor [and the founder] Peter Munro and can call him any time. Contact: nationwidecleaners.co.uk


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27/02/2014 17:27

Talk FRANCHISE Franchisor support

What can I expect? Nigel Toplis, managing director of four franchise companies, including Recognition Express, discusses what you can expect from a franchisor ifferent franchisors provide support in different ways and the range, depth, and frequency will depend on the organisation and on the individuals concerned. We run four businesses – Recognition Express, Kall Kwik, ComputerXplorers, and The ZipYard – that cover B2B, retail and education, and it is with that experience I detail below the range of support that you should find across franchisors.

Regular one-to-one reviews (monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annually, depending on the business) are an excellent way for a franchisee to get expert advice on the efficiency of their business.


Direct access to senior management and directors Running your own small business can be lonely, and it helps to be able to talk at a senior/strategic level and have the opportunity to bounce ideas around. Business planning It is important to get away from the minute-by-minute intensity of the business, to refocus and prioritise what needs to be done to continue to move the business forward. It is not the role of the franchisor to insist a franchisee does a business plan – rather the franchisor should take the position of a pseudo nonexecutive director and advise, guide and assist. Business review Having a business plan is a good start but you need to keep it alive by regularly reviewing the plan.


Be it collateral, tools, programmes or campaigns, the franchisor should be constantly evaluating support

Regular communications Keeping the network up to date with “what’s happening”; new ideas; marketing initiatives, and so on, is essential. Email newsletters and/or hard copy bulletins sent regularly are a good way to keep everybody informed and interested. Network meetings We try to get our franchisees together twice a year to share best practice, discuss issues/solutions, network and have presentations on new initiatives, campaigns, products and services. Conferences Similarly getting all franchisees together for a group conference has similar benefits to network meetings, but will also add recognition. On-site visits I personally try to meet with franchisees every week and I am a great believer in meeting face to face. Issues can be dealt with quickly; ideas can be discussed, debated, and put into action; initiatives can be chewed over and discussed or added to the to-do list.

Operational support Including; production – how the machines work, procurement – working with suppliers to get the best support available in terms of price, quality, delivery times, and so on. Plus technical advice and finance support. PR We use a PR agency to work with all our franchisees across all brands to gather local stories and to develop local awareness for franchisees, in addition to working on developing national brand exposure. Marketing Be it collateral, tools, programmes or campaigns, the franchisor should be constantly evaluating support, and as required introducing new tools for the franchisees   So, there you have it, ten component parts of the franchisor support pack. It is not finite, and some franchisors will have different support tools – but for me, support is about availability of the franchisor, interaction with franchisees, practical advice to support the system, and solid marketing and PR tools. It is then up to the franchisee whether they use the system. Contact: thebardongroup.co.uk

march 2014

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Legal help is invaluable Benjamin Posener, managing partner at FPG Solicitors, discusses the need for professional services when setting up a new business

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hen starting up a new business, many people do not take into account the value that can be gained from seeking assistance from legal and accountancy professionals from the offset. From a legal viewpoint, there is a large amount of assistance that can be provided: from drafting shareholder or


partnership agreements to drafting contracts for senior and junior employees. Having accurately formed and drafted agreements at the inception of a business will ensure that, if there are issues at a later date, these can easily be resolved. Further, if only one of the partners or directors will be running the business, curbs can be put in place for that person

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FPG Solicitors

in relation to what they can and can’t do, from the outset. This will ensure that they will not enter into contracts or do anything outside his/her remit. As well as agreements between the owners of a business and the staff, perhaps the most important legal document that is required by a business is the standard terms of business. Properly drafted standard terms of business will form the basis of the majority of your transactions, and can be amended easily should changes be needed for a bespoke transaction. It should also be reviewed regularly to reflect changes in your business procedures. Other legal services that can be of a great assistance to any new business are office manuals and staff handbooks. Together, these documents set out the procedures on which your business will run, and will include templates to assist in good accounting and bookkeeping practices. These documents will outline all business procedures, including financial management; policies on information, communication and technology; general office procedures; people management; risk management; holiday entitlement; absence policy; disciplinary procedures; and data protection. Having access and using the policies and procedures drafted by a legal professional will prove vital to the business’ initial success and its smooth running thereafter. New businesses often overlook important legal and regulatory issues, which they may have to work in line with. The Government is increasing regulation in nearly all potential areas of business, with sometimes complex rules, which have to

be abided with. These rules are often written in legalese and may not appear to make sense on occasion. Office manuals and employee handbooks can be drafted with a particular regulatory regime in mind, to ensure compliance with that regime. Should a business wish to go further, legal assistance can be provided in drafting compliance manuals to ensure that a business is compliant with all areas of the regulations. Of course not all businesses

are subject to a regulator. However, this does not mean that the business is not subject to regulations. The Health & Safety regime is relevant to all businesses and it is incumbent on all businesses to now take into account equality and diversity, and equal opportunities. Businesses must, at all times be looking out for potential breaches, which could cause short-term or long-term problems if not remedied. There may also be other

Other legal services that can be of a great assistance to any new business are office manuals and staff handbooks


issues to consider, such as money laundering. Whilst it is accepted that there are still many businesses which need to accept cash as part of their business, cash transactions are becoming increasingly less common, with bank transfer and card transactions being the norm. Nevertheless, effective money laundering procedures will ensure that no allegation is ever made against the business, or its owners. Alongside legal professionals, accountants will play an important role in any start-up business. An accountancy professional will be able to advise and assist in relation to tax planning, and also in relation to payroll. Certainly, it is a weight off one’s shoulders to know that the payroll is being competently dealt with, and that the business has the correct advisors to ensure that tax is paid correctly and legally. This will ensure that the feared knock on the door from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is unlikely to ever materialise. Business set up costs are always a consideration and it is very easy to decide not to use professional legal and accountancy services at the inception of a business. This decision is normally taken on a purely financial basis. However, as with many short-term financial decisions, little account is taken of the potential longterm savings. Putting in place proper contracts, office procedures, staff procedures and tax planning at the inception of a business will ultimately lead to a better run, and more financially prudent and hopefully profitable business. Contact: fpg-law.com


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27/02/2014 11:13

ECOSYS – still unique after 20 years

Steve Mitchell, group product marketing manager, KYOCERA Document Solutions, discusses eco-friendly printing

hile trends have come and gone over the last twenty-odd years, sustainability has never gone out of style. Sustainable printing can offer a business significant savings as well as reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint. Industry analyst, Gartner estimates that, on average, organisations spend 3% of their revenue on document production, and The Carbon Trust calculates that 15% of commercial energy is consumed by business machines. So


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The Carbon Trust calculates that 15% of commercial energy is consumed by business machines

optimising an organisation’s printing and copying fleet can help reduce both energy costs and carbon emissions. Yet for most organisations, consideration of the environmental impact of printing is confined to email footers asking staff to consider whether printing is really necessary, and the liberal distribution of recycling bins around the office. The more enlightened install energy efficient devices and set double-sided printing as default. Probably the most wasteful practice in any organisation is

printing documents and simply forgetting to collect them from the printer. Typically, 6% of printouts are not collected by their originator, which is both wasteful and carries security risks. Pull printing addresses this by requiring the user to either enter a code or present a proximity card before their print jobs are produced. However, despite all the precautions you can take to print in an environmentally friendly fashion and reduce print waste, the sustainability of the device you are printing from is key.

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In 1992, the Kyoto Protocol was five years away from being agreed and 13 years away from coming into force. Yet KYOCERA was already shipping the first ECOSYS sustainable printers. The ECOSYS name stands for: ECOlogy, ECOnomy and SYStem printing. With their long-life components, ECOSYS devices are designed to maximise durability and to minimise the total cost of ownership. The long-life components used are many times more durable than traditional alternatives meaning that in most cases the printer will have a lifespan of 30 to 50 times longer than other printers. An ECOSYS printer is quite unique because toner is its only consumable. When the toner runs out, all you need to replace is the actual toner cartridge. The “toner” cartridge that goes into non-KYOCERA printers often contains far more than toner; some can contain more than 60 separate parts. The low-waste design of ECOSYS printers means that 85% less waste is produced during the life of the printer. Additionally, the simpler, smaller and lighter toner boxes have a lower transport footprint than more complex alternatives. Over the last three years KYOCERA has further improved its long-life design and energy saving efforts to achieve a remarkable reduction in Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) values and CO2 emissions, compared to conventional printers. The company has also improved the operation noise of its printers making them five decibels quieter, increased energy savings and reduced the time required to recover the printer from standby to start printing. The benefits of ECOSYS extend beyond sustainability. A KYOCERA toner cartridge is simple and economical to produce and users of KYOCERA printers have benefitted from

85% less waste is produced during the life of the printer

over 20 years of exceptionally low printing costs. KYOCERA has consistently emphasised the importance of a printer’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as lifetime toner costs can be many times a printer’s purchase price. The Ticketyboo Consultancy specialises in eco design and environmental consultancy. Director and sustainable design consultant Mark Shayler believes that better products are developed with lifecycle thinking: ‘I’ve been running

tear-down workshops for 20 years and have taken apart hundreds of printers from most of the main brands. ‘In a recent tear down, I took apart a KYOCERA device. The build quality was excellent and this will undoubtedly increase the longevity of the unit. The machine has been built for long life and, as an added benefit, the moving parts from the toner cartridges are built into


the body of the machine. ‘This is genius. It means that when you change the toner, you aren’t throwing away a load of gubbins. Over the lifetime of the product, this saves a lot of resources and a lot of embedded carbon. ‘When tearing down the machine, I was struck by the simplicity of assembly. All screws were standard cross-heads, and most panels were clipped on. The in-mould labelled arrows on the panels showed where to pop

them off from and all materials were clearly labelled.’ The ECOSYS brand highlights our heritage in sustainable printing and the famously low environmental impact and low cost of ownership of our awardwinning ECOSYS technology, which is still unique after over twenty years. The “toner only” concept of the ECOSYS range improves reliability and dramatically reduces the overall printing expense by reducing direct and indirect costs generated through the lifetime of each device. In the latest ECOSYS devices, waste is significantly lowered and TEC values have been reduced by up to 40%. Contact: kyocera.co.uk


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28/02/2014 13:16

ome Instead Senior Care, the bfa HSBC Gold Franchisor of the Year Award winner, and Smith & Henderson Best Franchise, was brought to the UK in 2006 by Sam and Trevor Brocklebank and now has 150 successful franchises across the UK. Home Instead’s success is built on a unique and focused approach; it is the only national care company to specialise in providing at home, non-medical care to older people to enable them to remain living in their own homes. The reputation of a care provider is of paramount importance to anyone who is in need of professional care for a loved one; they want a name they can trust and Home Instead is now firmly established in that bracket. However, the knock-on effect of its growing reputation and raised profile is that franchisees are queuing up to be part of the company’s success.


Largest home care provider for older people Home Instead Senior Care in the UK is part of a multi-million dollar international company. The company’s approach to care is very different to “onesize-fits-all” care, which sees providers delivering task-based care in short duration calls. The care focuses on what the client wants, at a time they want, and by highly trained caregivers. The service includes companionship, personal care and home help, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The company also provides respite, convalescence and specialised Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Demand for its quality services combined with


Why should you consider a franchise?

Ruth Brown, head of franchise development at Home Instead Senior Care, reveals how the company is changing the reputation of elderly care The reputation of a care provider is of paramount importance

March 2014

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Home Instead Senior Care

healthcare information specialist, Laing & Buisson.

our ageing population provides a great opportunity for franchisees to grow their business. A proven management franchise model Its proven business model is tried and tested in more than eighteen countries and across 1,000 franchise offices, and has been refined over many years of continuous growth. Recognised and established global brand The business is recognised worldwide and is renowned for the outstanding support it provides to older people and their families. Everything it does is focused on older people, and it is this focus, which has been a major factor in making this such a successful and established brand. Providing quality award-winning care Home Instead Senior Care has won many care awards, including numerous winners and finalists in the prestigious Great British Care Awards. It is the number one home care provider according to a Care Compliance Monitor report from the UK’s leading

The company is leading the way in campaigning for better elderly care

Leading the way in thought leadership The company is leading the way in campaigning for better elderly care. Trevor Brocklebank is a champion of elderly care issues, regularly visiting the House of Lords and House of Commons, where he is actively involved in lobbying. He is UKHCA (United Kingdom Home Care Association) treasurer and was voted in the top 10 most influential people in social care. Trevor is also influential in the franchise industry, currently sits on the bfa board of directors, and is regularly invited to share his knowledge and experience at numerous franchise events. Franchisee support second to none The quality of care Home Instead delivers is matched by the quality of support given to its franchise owners. The support ranges from business development, marketing, care standards, financial management and IT support to name but a few.

First class training for owners and their teams From day one, franchise owners receive dedicated support starting with an initial 180-day bespoke training programme. There is then ongoing business development and care training for franchisees and their teams.

Talk advice

It is the only home care provider in the country with City & Guilds accreditation for a dementia training programme. Be part of a highly commended network Home Instead is the current bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year and its Wirral office was bfa Franchisee of the Year 2011. The company also received the accolade of Best Franchise in the Smith & Henderson Awards 2013, and was awarded five-star franchisee satisfaction status. Importantly these awards are based on the satisfaction feedback from franchisees. Great financial returns and support Home Instead will guide you through the process; through its banking partners, it will help you understand about financing a franchise and the support available to get started. Franchise owners can then go on and achieve solid levels of growth; the majority of established owners are achieving net profits of 15% - 20%. join a company that is changing the face of ageing Due to the rewarding nature of the business, not only will you be rewarded financially, you’ll also make a real difference to the lives of older people in your community. Home Instead is changing the face of ageing and you can be part of this unique and exciting business. Home Instead Senior Care is a management franchise so no care experience is needed. It is looking for ambitious individuals with a head for business, great people skills and lots of drive to succeed. Contact: homeinstead.co.uk/franchise


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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




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

If you would like to find out what an award winning accountancy firm could do for you, we are happy to provide a free, no obligation consultation. • Business start ups Tario in con re restem Company Name Here • Accountancy cuptat enlhimus aboris illat. Arum quae estrum • Auditillitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis destiam • Bookkeeping destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis • Taxation estem auria eperferum ent moditesed quias • Payrolluntiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. ipsumqu 01322000000 614681 T:T:00000 info@gary-sargeant.co.uk E:E:xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.co.uk W:www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk www.gary-sargeant.co.uk W:

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


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

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

MARCH 2014

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MARCH 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Finance and accounting. T: 0845 6805156

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

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


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He said she said Great customer service, inspirational moments and the weather have been featured in the entrepreneurs’ tweets this month. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Richard Branson @richardbranson If you are lucky enough to have it, then money is like manure. It might sound like I’m full of sh*t, but hear me out! If you don’t read Richard’s blog on Virgin – please start. They are thought provoking, useful, and above all, extremely entertaining!

Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne It is raining in the North East now & I cannot remember when it was this bad. Global warming on the rampage? Your guess is as good as anyone’s Duncan. We just hope you and the rest of the country have managed/are managing to stay safe.

Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis The top ten places entrepreneurs have their Eureka moment. Where do you have yours? #bathroommirrorwhen shaving Hair removal can be rather inspiring, we guess… We’re keen to find out where our readers have their “Eureka” moments. Tweet us.

Jacqueline Gold @Jacqueline_Gold Congratulations to @jessiejumbles, @dogsgoshopping and @TheBrownieBarUK for winning this week’s #WOW competition! It’s great to see successful entrepreneurs spreading the love. If you’re a female entrepreneur, check out Jacqueline’s #WOW competition – she promotes her favourites – great way of getting out there!

Karren Brady @karren_brady Congratulations – excellent customer service @amexuk – new card delivered in a few hours and someone actually answers the phone when you call A few hours? Wow, Karren must spend a lot on that triple platinum gold card.


James Caan @jamescaan Have an #SME question that you’d like answered in my Evening Standard column? askjames@standard.co.uk You heard James – email your small business questions. His advice could really help you.

MARCH 2014

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Profile for Talk Business

Talk Business Magazine March 2014  

Talk Business is bursting with inspiration, tips and advice to assist those entrepreneurs battling through the day-to-day struggles of the c...

Talk Business Magazine March 2014  

Talk Business is bursting with inspiration, tips and advice to assist those entrepreneurs battling through the day-to-day struggles of the c...