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
September 2013 £4.50
‘SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy ’ James Caan on start-ups, fame and how his business was built on love
The future is flexible Three decades of office evolution
Campaign catastrophes Remember these promotional fails?
Enter the dragon
Meet the Den’s newest hotshot
SMEs require specialist expertise from a dedicated account manager who understands your company’s unique travel patterns, needs and budget If you’ve never been properly walked through the benefits of professionally managed travel, your business is at a major disadvantage. Expert business travel management can open up a world of savings and efficiencies for your organisation. There is a common misperception that SMEs can secure the cheapest business travel by booking directly with suppliers. The Internet revolution, combined with low-cost carriers and budget hotels, has certainly changed the way in which SMEs view their travel. But as time-strapped CEOs and Personal Assistants spend countless hours trawling the Internet for fares and managing their own travel arrangements, are the benefits really what they seem? While there are many cost reduction strategies which can be applied to an organisation’s travel programme, for businesses with a small-to-medium sized travel spend, the secret to success is knowing what the best strategies are and how they can be applied to your individual business. Corporate Traveller will work with you to design a set of cost reduction strategies specific to your business needs, which may include: 1. Working with a dedicated account manager, offering a personal and flexible service 2. Access to the widest range of best priced product 3. Improving how your company travels as a whole 4. Working with you on cost saving strategies 5. Traveller safety strategies 1. Dedicated account manager, offering personal and flexible service When it comes to business travel nothing beats having a travel expert on board. Our dedicated Account Managers are highly experienced, commercially driven and have exceptional product knowledge
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to deliver airfare and land product options which will have an immediate impact on your bottom line. Partner with an expert and your business can expect travel management, advice and strategies tailored specifically for your business. Your business will benefit from high-touch travel assistance delivered by a dedicated account manager or small team which develop an in-depth understanding of your business, to look after your every travel need. 2. Access to the widest range of best priced product As the 3rd largest travel retailer in the world, the Flight Centre group has the global negotiating strength to give you access to the widest range of product at the best rates. In addition, by utilising multiproduct platforms to source air, hotel and car hire, your dedicated travel expert can deliver a rapid turnaround on these globally competitive prices. Multi-channel product sourcing is very handy during times of high traveller demand, crisis situations or travel disruptions – as it means your travellers will always have options no matter what is happening in the travel industry. 3. Improving how your company travels as a whole Corporate Traveller will work with you to create efficiencies at every phase of the travel process. Are all of your booking, buying, account management and expense management procedures operating as efficiently as possible? The first step in creating efficiencies on your travel is to work with the one accountant manager. From here your business can look at options to simplify and streamline your processes with offline and where appropriate, online solutions. The less time you spend on organising travel, the more time you’ll have to focus on your core business.
4. Working with you on cost saving strategies Significant savings can be achieved for your business, as a result of simple changes to the way you manage your travel bookings. Our expert account managers will work with your business and offer advice on the best ways to save you and your company time and money. Industry studies prove there are a number of strategies companies can use to drive savings on their air, hotel and car hire spend. By implementing ‘best practice’ booking, buying and operating processes, your business is in an excellent position to leverage savings through smarter travel management. 5. Traveller safety strategies Risk management planning is a vital part of protecting your business travellers. We can assist you in your duty of care to employees who are on the move or planning to travel. We offer 24/7 emergency assistance – it is vital that your travelling employees have access to personal and experienced travel managers whenever they need it! Safety and security has always been an important aspect of business travel. Major disruptions to the global travel industry in the past few years have made traveller safety and security one of the most talked about topics in corporate travel. When it comes to traveller safety the involvement of an experienced travel manager is a crucial part of managing the risks of a mobile workforce. In the event of an emergency, you need to be able to track the location of your travellers quickly and efficiently. This visibility is only possible when flights and accommodation are booked through one central source. Bring a Corporate Traveller expert on board and improve how your company travels as a whole.
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iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter 13 Letters 15 News & events
49 The branding column Rich With
93 Build a personal brand Business image
51 An hour in business Time management
94 Look the business: toneon-tone Fashion
54 The future is flexible The changing workplace 57 Success overseas Trading abroad 59 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems 60 Working from home Adam Caplan
talk MARKETING 63 The marketing column Kimberly Davis 66 Optimise your website SEO
70 Where to share? Social media
18 Being stubborn works CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw and former Dragon, James Caan
74 Campaign catastrophes Promotions 77 The MD microscope Q&A with Gavin Cockerill, MD of Flyerzone
26 Take one company Bulldog Skincare 29 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer
31 Business tips from an unlikely place Book preview
79 The zero hours contract Contracts 80 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the rigthchoicefunerals.co.uk founder
32 Enter the dragon Piers Linney Q&A 35 Book reviews 138 He said/she said What are our entrepreneurs saying this month?
talk MONEY 37 The Funding Expert Introduction to Julian Smith
96 Hot spots Locations for SMEs 99 We love… Best bits
talk technology 101 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column 103 Join cloud 9 Cloud computing 106 Protect your business Data backup 110 Working from phone Mobile phones 113 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 114 Belkin Vs. Logitech This month’s best iPad keyboards
TALK FRANCHISE 119 Franchise news 121 Spotlight WPA 123 Why franchise? Introduction to Tony Mundella 125 Take one franchisee Luigi Forgione, Papa John’s
85 The dynamic workplace HR Insight
87 Get flexible working right Flexible working
89 Snow patrol Pendo Deals Event
128 Working Capital Partners 134 Host Europe Group 136 Talk Business Directory
39 Need cash? The EFG Loan 41 Nip claims in the bud Tribunal changes 43 A day in the life Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient 45 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements
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87 23/08/2013 12:23
Make the right choice...
Grow your business with us Basepoint Business Centres provide a wide range of high quality workspaces to let, including serviced and managed offices, workshops and studios. We have spaces suitable for almost every business use imaginable, with very flexible easy in and easy out terms. Along with our many other additional benefits, we can save you time and money when compared to more conventional leased space. facebook.com/basepointbusinesscentres twitter.com/@Basepoint_Cntrs basepoint.co.uk
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The flexible future his editor’s letter is being written while I’m on a train, travellling down to Brighton for the weekend. Not because my boss is making me do overtime (lucky me) but because I can, and I wanted to. Drafting this on my iPad as the Shard and London Bridge fade into the distance is a perfect example of how we can work from anywhere, whenever we want. This issue, we wanted to study how the working environment has changed. Our Face on the cover James Caan, former Dragon and founder of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, recalls how he started his first company in a windowless office with a copy of the Yellow Pages in 1985. By contrast, on page 32 I interviewed new Dragon in the BBC den, Piers Linney, who is founder of Outsourcery, a company that offers cloud computing services – arguably one of the biggest breakthrough technologies in the last five years. Portable laptops, tablets and smartphones have also changed the way we work and on page 110, Xenious Thrasyvoulou, founder of PeoplePerHour, explains how easy it is to work from phone. Technology is undoubtedly one of the biggest changes to the workplace, but can we sometimes put too much faith in it? If your system crashes, are you protected? Turn to page 106 to find out how to choose the right data backup provider.
Today’s modern workplace is full of flexible options, and there has been a rise in zero hour contracts. With more than a million UK workers on this sometimes-controversial practice, turn to page 79 to read about its pros and cons. Finally, turn to page 54 to read The future is flexible, my investigation of how the workplace has changed over the last 30 years. Take care of business for now.
Dawn Murden, Editor
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Contributors & LETTERS
Katie King is managing director of Zoodikers Consulting, a public relations and social media agency based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. During her career, which has spanned more than 23 years, she has advised NHS Trusts, BT, Orange and hundreds of start-ups and SMEs. She is a respected industry commentator, who is regularly featured on BBC TV and radio, and at industry conferences.
Julian Smith is founder of The Funding Expert, offering workshops, consultations and public speaking on finance. He has been advising companies for more than 18 years on how to position themselves for investors, raising business finance, mergers and acquisitions. Julian has worked with many of the leading companies in the UK, including those in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices.
Tony Mundella is founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, and has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. He has been a franchisor in a variety of different industry sectors, and since 2006 he has operated his own consultancy business advising both franchisors and franchisees. Tony has worked with franchises offering fast food outlets, property services, childcare and many others.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou is founder and CEO of online freelancer marketplace, PeoplePerHour. Xenios started his career as an engineer in a FTSE 100 company. Within six months he realised he was allergic to the bureaucracy of large corporations. After, Xenios began creating a service that allowed time-starved individuals to outsource work to multi-skilled individuals on a “per hour” basis. In 2007, PeoplePerHour was born. Today it has more than 450,000 registered users.
Turn to page 70 to read Katie’s definition of the seven main social media sites so you can judge which is best for your business.
Read Julian’s first article of a series in the Talk Money section on page 37.
On page 123, Tony discusses why franchising is a great way to own and run a business.
Xenios discusses how you can work from anywhere using a smartphone on page 110.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org snail mail: Aston Greenlake, 6 Mitre Passage, 8th floor, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER
This month, our readers have praised our new Talk Image section and Twitter competitions, plus given some sound business advice on the economy
Not out of the woods yet
Dear Editor, News that The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has raised its predictions for UK growth – estimating that the economy will grow by 1.2 per cent this year and 1.8 per cent in 2014 – up from 0.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent – will certainly come as welcome news, but business owners should remain prudent. In my own experience, SME business owners have remained optimistic about their own businesses relative to the overall economic picture and have adapted and evolved to succeed. And while optimism in your own business and about the economy is of course a good thing, so is caution – we are not out of the woods yet. Getting the balance right and navigating the pitfalls of recovery are critical. We don’t want an unsustainable debt-fuelled recovery and neither can we afford to simply pull away the life support machine. The economy is in early stages of recovery, and what we need is a carefully managed transition back to normality underpinned by solid and prudent business practices. Yours faithfully, Bob Bradley Chairman, MD2MD
OF R E T T LE MONTH THE
Practice what you preach
Dear Dawn, I’m pleased to see more activity on your Twitter and I love the competitions so far. You’ve run a lot of articles on social media and it’s good to see you taking your own advice. Plus it’s even better for us to take a few minutes out of our busy days to win some prizes! Keep the prizes coming, Harriet
The right image
Hi Talk Business, When I turned to your new Talk Image section at first I was sceptical about a fashion section, but I have to say it looked great. The design was really eye-catching, the colours worked well and there was a good selection of clothes of different prices, for both males and females. Looking forward to seeing what you do next. Best wishes, John Price
Tweets 0F the month... @118alison It’s arrived! Great way to spend a Monday morning with a coffee @TalkBusinessMag love this #magazine @KronosUK Great to see @DawnMurden from @TalkBusinessMag modelling her brand new @Forever21 sunglasses #KronosForever21 @PendoDeals Get a 25% discount on a years subscription to @TalkBusinessMag 80,000 subscribers can’t be wrong @Boost4Biz #BiziTalk @MailToMobile Just been having a look – very interesting series of articles! 1 of directors, Simon, contributed to the piece on high sts. @TheBusinessShow We’re delighted to have @TalkBusinessMag on board as partners @pca_plus @GuyMucklow talks to @TalkBusinessMag about bootstrapping a business @TalkBusinessMag Congratulations to @littlelaurensbl The winner of our Friday iPad case #competition @TalkBusinessMag #Compeition time. RT and follow us for a chance to win #McAfee All Access – online protection for your small business worth £75.99 @sezzan done and fingers crossed x
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NEWS & EVENTS
Dates for the diary Business Junction networking events 18 September Asia House, Marylebone 25 September The Hippodrome, Leicester Square businessjunction.co.uk/events ad:tech 11-12 September Olympia, London ad-techlondon.co.uk The Sterling Integrity Show 13 September The Future Inn Hotel, Bristol 27 September Sixways Stadium, Worcester sterlingintegrity.co.uk eCommerce Awards 2 October Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk/page. cfm/link=250
eCommerce Expo 2-3 October Olympia, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk
National Sales Awards 7 November Troxy, London nationalsalesawards.com
Successful Selling Expo 17 October RICOH, Coventry sales-expo.co.uk
Southampton Business Show 7 November Ageas Bowl, Southampton southamptonbusinessshow.co.uk
Apps World 22-23 October Earls Court, London apps-world.net/Europe
National Business Awards 12 November Grosvenor Park, London nationalbusinessawards.co.uk
The Spain Start-up and Investor Summit October 2013 Date & venue TBC spain-startup.com Kent 2020 Vision StartUp Live 23 October Kent Event Centre, Maidstone kent2020startup.co.uk
32% of UK SMEs do not have social media strategy 32% OF BUSINESSES in the UK don’t have a social media strategy in place, according to a report by design, marketing and print specialist, Catalogues 4 Business (C4B). Its report, Channel Vision (Version 2.0), questioned more than 100 organisations in the UK. The report was drawn from a diverse mix of businesses, both B2B and B2C, and a combination of industry sectors. It found social media has risen in the past year with more than two thirds implementing it into their organisations, but alarmingly, one third still don’t have a plan in place. Ian Simpson, managing director at C4B comments: ‘Nowadays, social media and digital marketing has become such a wide trend and it’s so
shocking that some businesses still haven’t deployed it. ‘You would currently expect all
companies to have social media within their mix, and more importantly have a purpose and end goal in mind.’
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Micro-business owners work average of 52 hours a week
Government strengthens UK’s position in offshore wind industry THE GOVERNMENT PUBLISHED a long-term strategy that will strengthen the UK’s position in the offshore wind industry last month. The multi-million pound investment has the potential to unlock £7 billion in the economy by 2020. Investments by the Government will include £20 million from the Regional Growth Fund to improve the UK wind industry’s supply chain, and £46 million to join up innovation between industry, Government and academia and help companies to bring new products to market. Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Energy Secretary, Ed Davey
launched the strategy during a visit to officially open the Lincs wind farm off the coast of Lincolnshire, developed by Centrica with its project partners, DONG Energy and Siemens. The UK currently has more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined. The offshore wind industrial strategy aims to grow UK supply chain manufacturing so that more of the work and jobs can be done here. The industry has the potential to create 30,000 jobs here and contribute £7 billion to the economy by 2020. Exports have the potential to add even more to these economic benefits.
MICRO-BUSINESS OWNERS are working an average of 52 hours a week, according to research by Penelope, a call handling solution for small businesses. The company’s research found that entrepreneurs in London were found to be working the longest week at 61 hours, compared to those in Scotland who were working an average of 46. It also found business owners in construction managed to work a 62hour week on average. The trend of working long hours shows no sign of decreasing as evidenced by the recent employment statistics from the Office of National Statistics, which show a 0.3% increase in the hours worked in the last three months alone. Ed Reeves, co-founder of Penelope said: ‘Being the owner of a micro business means taking on multiple roles and being every thing to every customer. ‘Many micro-business owners are both time- and cash-strapped, they need to make the most of every day because the amount of time being squeezed into the working week is enormous.’
What employees wear can affect promotion MORE THAN THREE quarters (76%) of HR directors believe that an employees’ style of dress at work influences their chance of promotion, according to new research undertaken by recruitment specialist, OfficeTeam. This figure rises to 89% for medium-sized companies. 44% of HR directors think employees wear inappropriate or unusual clothing to work “very” or “somewhat” often. Rachel Stockell, senior manager at OfficeTeam said: ‘In an ideal world, employees would be judged primarily on the merit of their work. ‘However, as our research shows, what you wear can have an effect on your chances of promotion, and so it is important to dress the part.’
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INSPIRING BETTER BUSINESS
“Red tape inspired me.” “This is my story”
“I started programming when I was 10 years old. My dream was to work for the biggest technology companies in the world. Years later having successfully worked for many of them, I started to get fed up with the amount of internal politics and red tape I dealt with day after day. It’s a cliché, but I really felt like a small cog in a big machine. I craved to be part of a company where my ideas and passion meant something and above all made a difference in driving the business forward.
FISCAL Technologies gave me that opportunity to make it happen, and over the past four years I’m working harder than ever, but loving every minute of it. Building relationships with trusted suppliers is essential to business growth. Our long partnership with Fasthosts has always delivered reliability, security and ﬂexibility when we needed it the most. Howard Durdle CTO FISCAL Technologies ®
Find out more at fasthosts.co.uk/inspire or call 0808 1686 777 DEDICATED SERVERS • VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVERS • WEB HOSTING • DOMAIN NAMES • EXCHANGE EMAIL • RESELLER HOSTING
TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER
being Stubborn WORKS He’s a serial entrepreneur, CEO of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, and is worth an approximate £70m. Former Dragon James Caan tells Dawn Murden about his determination for success and how his business was built on love
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FACE ON THE COVER
ver since he came onto our screens breathing fiery business advice and looking for lucrative investments in BBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2007, James Caan has been a household name. Everyone knows who the British-Pakistani entrepreneur is. But what do we know about the man himself? When I first spoke to James Caan, one thing was clear, he’s one determined individual. But this was the case from a very young age. His father owned a successful leather goods company and one day hoped James would take it over. However, James wanted to make it on his own, and even though he came from a liberal Muslim family, this was unheard of at the time. ‘I was a very stubborn individual,’ he told me. So at age 16, James left home before he began his O-levels. James was born Nazim Khan, but when he watched The Godfather and saw Caan on the credits it struck him that he could spell his name differently. His friends started calling him James Caan and a few years later he changed his name by deed poll, much to his father’s disapproval. The first company James started was with his now wife Aisha. She wanted to set up her own boutique, so James acquired £30,000 via credit cards and overdrafts and made her dream come true. At 21, they tied the knot and now have two children together. With the profits from the boutique he set up recruitment company, Alexander Mann in 1985, which he sold in 2002. Then in 2004 he set up Mayfairbased private equity firm, Hamilton Bradshaw, which has a reported revenue of around £400 million. James was born to be an entrepreneur, and he agrees;
‘I can’t honestly think of anything else I’d rather be doing!’ he said. When James left Dragons’ Den there were reports of spats with fellow dragon, Duncan Bannatyne, but James said he left to concentrate on his business and charity work. And so, Hamilton Bradshaw continues to grow, while his charity, the James Caan Foundation, promotes greater awareness of issues facing the developing world. He is a partner of a long list of companies as well as chairing the Government-funded Start Up Loans scheme, which helps young people across the UK start their own businesses. [See page 43 for our regular coverage of loan recipients.] He also continues to be a TV personality with his own series on CNBC, The Business Class where he discusses the key issues facing SMEs today. As you see he’s a busy man so I was lucky to grab him for a chat! I UNDERSTAND YOUR FATHER WAS AN ENTREPRENEUR. WHY DID YOU SET UP ON YOUR OWN RATHER THAN JOINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS? I’ve known from a young age that I wanted to stand on my own two feet, do my own
thing and make it myself. Naturally my father wasn’t very pleased, and from then on my determination grew even more. I had to prove that I could be a success without him, that I had made the right decision. Keep in mind I had moved out as well, which was unheard of in our culture at the time. I was a very stubborn individual.
In a bid to impress [his wife], I offered to help her start a clothing boutique business. I didn’t actually have the money, so I took out three separate credit cards
WHEN YOU LAUNCHED YOUR BUSINESS HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START-UP CASH? There are now many ways in which start-ups can secure finance. But when I started out things were different so I had to be creative. The first business I started was actually with Aisha, who is now my wife. In a bid to impress her, I offered to help her start a clothing boutique business. I didn’t actually have the money, so I took out three separate credit cards with banks that had overdraft facilities. I didn’t tell her, and before I knew it, I had £30,000 to help her start her business. Once the business I had with Aisha was going well, I started up Alexander Mann from some of the profits. However, I always followed the principle of not taking more out of the business then it could afford. At that time all I needed
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FACE ON THE COVER
to start a recruitment agency was an office, a telephone and a copy of the Yellow Pages. I rented a tiny, windowless office the size of a broom cupboard in Pall Mall and got calling.
I had been in the position of starting up. Even now, when we are established as a leading private equity firm, I am regularly in the office late at nights and on weekends.
WAS YOUR SUCCESS INSTANT OR HARD WON? It’s definitely hard work; you rarely get instant success in business. In particular, the early days of my first business were extremely difficult – I didn’t have a brand or track record, so I experienced countless rejections. I went for a walk one day and then realised how I should alter my pitch. From there things started to kick on. It still took many years of hard work to get to the point where Alexander Mann became a global brand with a multi-million pound turnover. When I started my current business, Hamilton Bradshaw, in some ways it was even more difficult because it had been quite a few years since
WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO FIRST-TIME BUSINESSES THAT ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES IN THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE? Having good cash flow is essential at any time, but particularly in the current climate. The success of a business will come down to the liquidity, and I would advise business owners to look carefully at the money going in and out of the company. Tighten up things like payment terms and look at how you can make your business more efficient. However, self-belief is just as important. Rather than listening to all the doom and gloom, have faith in your business and look at what you can do to help yourself through any difficulties.
The success of a business will come down to the liquidity, and I would advise business owners to look carefully at the money going in and out
WHAT’S THE BEST AND WORST THINGS ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? I love the adrenalin of doing deals and the ability to be my own boss. I think every entrepreneur feels the same. You have the opportunity to control what you do – you can turn your passion into a business and what you earn. The worst thing would probably be the fact that, particularly at the start, things can be lonely. You are often having to manage everything yourself; and this is why I wish I had a mentor in my early days. It’s something I passionately encourage all entrepreneurs to do. Having somebody experienced who can offer you advice is invaluable. DID YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME ON BBC’S DRAGONS’ DEN? HAVE YOU WATCHED THE NEW SERIES? WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE NEW DRAGONS? Shows such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice are a great way to approach the problems
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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER
Vital statistics I’m watching: White Collar and The Godfather I’m reading: Steve Jobs’ biography I’m listening to: Will.I.Am I’m surfing: Interactive Investor Portfolio on my iPad mini
that SMEs and entrepreneurs face today. I thoroughly enjoyed being on Dragons’ Den and found it exhilarating to meet such diverse entrepreneurs with incredible ideas. Kelly and Piers have a great reputation in their industries, and I can’t wait to see what businesses they invest in. YOU ALSO HAD YOUR SERIES ON CNBC, THE BUSINESS CLASS. DO YOU ENJOY BEING ON TELEVISION? I do enjoy it, although my main focus will always be the day job. A lot of the time it can be good for business, and not just from a profile point of view. I am an
investor and am always on the lookout for opportunities, so what Dragons’ Den did was allow me to be in an environment where I had access to these opportunities. To get hundreds of people pitching ideas to me was a great experience. I hope to do more TV in the very near future. [Watch this space!] EVERY MONTH WE FEATURE A START UP LOAN RECIPIENT, THE SCHEME CHAIRED BY YOU. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK INVESTING IN UK SMES IS? As far as I am concerned, small businesses are the lifeblood
As far as I am concerned, small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy
of our economy. I have always been a keen supporter of them, and the fact that we now have more than 4.8 million SMEs in the country shows that Britain is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. We should be doing everything we can to encourage them to grow, and I think the Government schemes in place now, such as Start Up Loans, are a big help towards this. The more SMEs we can encourage, the more jobs they will create so I can only see positive outcomes from backing them. Contact: james-caan.com
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TALK SUCCESS TAKE ONE COMPANY
Man’s best friend
Co-founder Simon Duffy tells Dawn Murden how he came up with Bulldog – the UK’s fastest growing skincare brand for men
any of us complain about the products and services we use and claim we could make them better. The difference between mere mortals and the great entrepreneurs is that an entrepreneur doesn’t just complain – they put their money where their mouth is. And that’s exactly what Simon Duffy of Bulldog Skincare did. He was living abroad at the time with his girlfriend Annabel and working at an innovation consultancy, when something struck him. ‘Annabel liked a particular skincare brand, which she
could only get from one shop. ‘As she picked out her organic products, I browsed the shop,’ Simon says. ‘There was a huge range of organic products for women but none for men. ‘In fact, there were no straightforward products for men with natural ingredients.’ The more he thought about it, the more frustrated he felt. ‘There were no products I loved,’ he says. ‘I tried various products over the years but had no loyalty to any of them. ‘All the big players in skincare looked and felt the same; it seemed impossible to pick a product out of an endless sea of blues, black and greys.’
All the big players in skincare looked and felt the same; it seemed impossible to pick a product out of an endless sea of blues, black and greys
Simon made it his mission to solve this problem, not just for him but also for the many men out there who felt the same way as he did about skincare. He met his friend Rhodri Ferrier, who became co-founder, in a pub a few days later to discuss his business idea. First they had to come up with a name – something that would tear them apart from the other brands. A long list of names were suggested but Bulldog fit the bill. ‘The British bulldog is no David Beckham lookalike, he’s a little overweight and lazy but he’s a loyal, dear companion – he’s man’s best friend, which is what
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TAKE ONE COMPANY
Vital statistics Company founded: February 2005, launched with Sainsbury’s in June 2007. Start up capital: £1.2m Turnover: £6m Profit: N/A Growth rate: Last year £3m turnover, which has doubled this year. Biggest achievement: There are four; overcoming the challenge of creating a skincare brand, which was purposebuilt for men, with all natural ingredients, at great value, with wide distribution. we wanted the products to be,’ says Simon. ‘Other brands boast impossibly ripped abs, but the bulldog is real and masculine.’ Getting Bulldog off the ground wasn’t easy, and Simon says he has empathy for other entrepreneurs trying to secure funding. ‘We met 80 to 100 prospective investors and we were not backed so many times,’ he says. ‘Eventually, 18 investors bought into our ambition.’ The products took two painstaking years to research, design and develop. Not only did Bulldog want to be man’s best friend, but a friend to animals as well. (I can almost hear Simon’s Brussels Griffon, Bruno bark in agreement in the background.) ‘Not only did we want to be natural and organic, we also wanted to be vegan and cruelty-free,’ Simon says. ‘Our
brand loves animals; it’s the way we see the world. ‘There are lots of non-viable options available, the beauty industry needs to catch up – it’s disgraceful when you look into it, like animal protein from slaughter houses being used in shampoos.’ Bulldog has received recognition for its natural and cruelty-free credentials after being rated as the top brand across the male and female skincare categories in the Ethical Company Organisation’s 2012 Good Shopping Guide. And it’s also the first male-only brand to be certified as cruelty-free. Once the products were formulated, packaged and ready for market they had to find a distributor. ‘We had to jump plenty of hurdles,’ he says. ‘I had stuff to juggle in my personal life too, I’d moved back to England and married Annabel.’ But in June 2007, Bulldog had its big break when Sainsbury’s agreed to stock the products. ‘We met with the beauty manager and took the products into the warehouse,’ Simon says. ‘Then eight weeks later we got a call to say they were landing in 350 stores nationwide, it was fantastic news.’ After that, things really took off for Bulldog. In June 2008, Waitrose, Ocado and Tesco came on board, and in 2009 so did Boots. This year, when Morrison’s started stocking the products, they were already being exported to more than 13 countries. But Simon says there’s still so much more to do. ‘Bulldog is the fastest growing skincare brand in the UK for men, but we’ve only just begun,’ he says. ‘We want to be the biggest men’s skincare brand in the world.’
The British bulldog is no David Beckham lookalike he’s man’s best friend, which is what we wanted the products to be
Simon loves the products and uses them himself, but he wanted to provide a product for all men. With more than 10,000 stores stocking Bulldog nationwide, and a very healthy £6 million turnover it’s obvious that many men feel Bulldog is their best friend. And it’s also true that some of the best products are born out of dissatisfaction. Contact: meetthebulldog.com
My life I’m watching: Top of the Lake on BBC Two. I’m reading: 1914-1918: The History of the First World War by David Stevenson and the Game of Thrones book set. I’m listening to: I love Radio Four in the morning and 5Live for sport. I’m surfing: BBC Sport and I read Seth Godin’s update.
026_027 SUCCESS Bulldog Skincare.ga.indd 41
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ome of the most interesting cities around the world, full of culture and history, are unfortunately also full of pickpockets. According to TripAdvisor, the top cities worldwide to be vigilant in include Barcelona, Rome and Athens. Josh Okungbaiye and his brother John are very optimistic about the world, and enthusiastic about exploring it. But they noticed the average rucksack was easy for thieves to get into and so launched High Spirit, a company that produces pickpocket-proof bags.
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? The idea came as an epiphany to us in a New York taxi. We had noticed that the standard backpack made it very easy for pickpockets to gain access to victims’ possessions, so we decided to revolutionise the backpack to prevent this from happening. WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Just do it. Do your research, contact potential suppliers and ask questions. Test your idea to see if it gains traction on a smaller scale. We also think it’s very important to have mentors. Our mentors have played a
Shell LiveWIRE winner, Josh Okungbaiye is co-founder of High Spirit, the company that makes pickpocket-proof bags huge role in our personal and professional development. WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB? We think every job is valuable, no matter how small or big. They all play a role in creating the big picture. WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? To have lunch with Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Fry, Jay Z, Barack Obama and Kanye West. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Remaining nimble, and constantly being creative in order to maintain momentum and increase brand exposure. WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? The work and the need to please our customers; they come first.
Winning investment from Richard Branson and winning the Grand Ideas Shell Live Wire Award. It’s confirmed to us that we are on the right track
HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? Solving a problem and making people’s lives a little better motivates us much more than money. Money comes and goes, but solving problems with sustainable solutions lasts a lot longer. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? We would say winning investment from Richard Branson and winning the Grand Ideas Shell LiveWIRE Award. It’s confirmed to us that we are on the right track, and has inspired us to stay driven in order to enhance people’s lives. TELL US ABOUT YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE. We aim to become global and be a leading brand in the travel accessories market. Contact: highspiritbags.com
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Business tips from an unlikely place T
August Turak, founder of two successful US software companies, Raliegh Group International and Elsinore Technologies, reveals the business secrets he learnt from Trappist monks he first time I drove through the gates of Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina in 1996, the monastery’s beauty, tranquility, and poignant silence instantly settled over me like a magical mist. I have been returning to Mepkin ever since, sometimes for months at a time. As a monastic guest, I temporarily live the life of a Trappist monk, and while I go primarily for spiritual reasons, as an entrepreneur, I am fascinated by monastic life. Mepkin and other monasteries throughout the world, run highly successful businesses, and over the years I have found myself coming to answer many questions I have. How do a couple of dozen aged monks, working only part time and largely in silence, achieve such amazing business success? Why have monastic businesses thrived for more than 1,500 years when modern corporate success is so fleeting? How do monasteries produce and sell commodities like fruitcakes, beer, eggs, mushrooms and cheese with the kind of pricing power usually associated with dominant brands? How do monks compete so successfully in the open market while maintaining only the highest ethical standards and commitment to quality? And, most importantly, how can we
apply these Trappist techniques to our secular corporations, non-profits, families and even our personal lives with equally explosive results? The short answer is that the monks have discovered an amazing secret: it is in our own self-interest to forget our self-interest. Paradoxically, the reason for Mepkin’s business success is that the monks are not actually in business at all. Instead they are utterly committed to a high, overarching mission and a management philosophy I refer to as “service and selflessness”. Business success for the monks is merely the byproduct of a life well lived. The monks are not profit driven people who happen to think about higher purpose once in a while. They are people passionately committed to their mission of selfless service to God and others, who happen to have a business. Business success for the monks is merely the by-product of living a life of service and selflessness. Service and selflessness lies at the heart of the monastic tradition and every Trappist business success. This 1,500 yearold monastic tradition represents an ancient, yet emergent socioeconomic model that can teach us how to keep what is positive and productive about capitalism, while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions.
Why have monastic businesses thrived for more than 1,500 years when modern corporate success is so fleeting?
Competition Want to read more about the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey? We’ve got six copies of August Turak’s book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, published by Columbia Business School, to give away. Simply email your address to dawn.murden@astongreenlake. com stating ‘Trappist monks’ in the subject line. The first six entries will receive a free copy of the book, worth £19.95, by post.
031 SUCCESS Trappist Monks.ga.indd 31
Enter the Dragon Dawn Murden grills Piers Linney, new Dragon in the Den and founder of cloud computing provider, Outsourcery
hether you love it or loathe it, you can’t deny that BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den has become increasingly influential in business culture since it first aired in 2005. Everyone knows Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis and James Caan. And we’ve all heard of the Dragons who stepped in for a season or two, like Richard Farleigh and Hilary Devey. Well, last month, the Dragons came back on our screens for the 11th series of the show. With Hilary Devey leaving after one series and Theo Paphitis stepping down after an unforgettable seven years (we’ll miss: “I’m not going to spend my children’s inheritance on this.”), there are two new faces sitting
032_033 SUCCESS Piers Linney.ga.indd 40
in those infamous chairs; interior designer Kelly Hoppen and founder of cloud computing provider Outsourcery, Piers Linney. Shortly after host Evan Davis introduced the Dragons on the fist episode, Piers joined forces with fellow newcomer, Kelly Hoppen. Each of them invested £30,000 for a 10% share of Australian beauty brand, Skinny Tan, beating the other longstanding Dragons to the deal. Kelly Hoppen Interiors is known worldwide and she’s often pictured in the newspapers with Victoria Beckham, but who is Piers Linney? We met him to find out… WAS OUTSOURCERY YOUR FIRST BUSINESS? I’ve been involved in many companies, as I’m a professional investor. I’ve
I asked Richard Branson for advice and he thought it was a great idea, so I said yes
always been interested in technology and media and I believe the cloud has been an evolution. I bought the cloud company as an investment. At first I wasn’t involved but then I saw it had a future. We built the whole platform from scratch on email, phone, and so on, and it became more sophisticated. WAS YOUR SUCCESS INSTANT OR WAS IT MORE HARD WON? We made mistakes along the way and learnt a lot. We had to make a bold decision and part with the past completely and focus on the future. It was difficult building from scratch, it means we have no legacy - all we do is cloud. WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST STRUGGLES YOU FACED? AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE? People. Trying to transform the team for the new business was difficult. A core team made it and were able to grasp the technical ability. We also had to spend a huge amount of time finding funding. WHAT COMPANIES USE YOUR SERVICES? At first we sold through our partners, and then we allowed small localised resellers in 2011 and 2012. We have real traction with bigger companies as they consume more. They also analyse the benefits more positively. The public sector is a huge opportunity, which we’re building on. We do provide our services to many SMEs too, usually to companies with between 20 and 100+ employees, and the smaller SMEs have been buying our apps. One of the biggest challenges for SMEs is their incumbent providers cannot facilitate the cloud.
PIERS LINNEY Q&A
WHEN WERE YOU FIRST APPROACHED TO APPEAR ON DRAGONS’ DEN? AND WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? At the end of last year. I’d been on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire before, where I’d worked in a young offenders institution. I asked Richard Branson for advice and he thought it was a great idea, so I said yes. But to be honest, could I really have said no? In my view you either grasp opportunities or you don’t – just like what happens in the Den. HAD YOU WATCHED THE SHOW BEFORE? DID YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE MOMENTS? I watched it at the beginning and will always remember Levi Roots. This season is really different. It’s an iconic programme that has very much become a part of business culture, but I think it needed an update. TELL US ABOUT THIS SEASON. All of the Dragons are so interesting and everyone brings something different to the table. The dynamic works well. There’s a big focus on human interest, family and business life. WOULD YOU SAY THE SHOW REPRESENTS REAL BUSINESS? Definitely, just in an “entertainment wrapper”. It’s funny when you watch the show back, as it’s edited down a lot. A session can last two hours and yet on TV it’s edited to only 12 minutes. And when the camera stops rolling, we get down to business, diligence, money, and the future. We’re making real investments and helping real businesses, it’s all very real. WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING FOR ON THE SHOW? I went into the Den open minded, simply looking for great people who I could
invest in. And I have made several investments. I have a background in venture capital investments, so I soon got into the swing of it. But I wasn’t just looking for a great product or service, I was looking for people I could invest in. As you’ll have seen, my investments were across the board.
It’s edited down a lot, a session can last two hours and yet on TV it’s only 12 minutes
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PERSONALITIES OF ALL THE DRAGONS, INCLUDING YOURSELF? Personas have been created for all the Dragons over the years. I would say I’m firm but fair and approachable. DID YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE STEPPING INTO THE BOOTS OF THEO PAPHITIS AND HILARY DEVEY? A little bit. There was a lot to take in. But I’m me in the Den and I just got on with it. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO ANYONE WANTING TO APPEAR ON DRAGONS’ DEN? You need to know your stuff. If you don’t, you’ll get taken apart, as you’ll see with a few of the contestants. You need to know your revenue and margin; you also need to know who you are, what you’re doing and where you’re going. But everyone is different; some start off nervous and warm into their pitch, others start confident, then lose it. It’s hard to know which way a pitch is going to go. WILL YOU BE RETURNING NEXT SEASON? I can’t say. (We’ll just have to wait and see.) Watch the new Dragons’ Den series on BBC Two, Sundays at 8pm or on BBC iPlayer. Contact: outsourcery.co.uk
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Are you in need of HR and Health & Safety Support at an affordable price, with 24 hour online access and on call support? Look no further! Revera SOS offers a unique combination of HR and H&S support via our secure online portal that is specifically tailored to your business. Our product offers instant access to upto-date HR and H&S information, relevant workplace legislations, template policies & procedures, sample letters and training modules on key business issues, to support you and your management team. You can also have the extra assurances of telephone, email and onsite support from highly-skilled, fully qualified professionals.
Why do you need us? With people come complications…and Revera SOS gives you and your managers the tools to deal with issues quickly and effectively, whilst providing support and coaching to people who may not have been in such situations before. Revera SOS offers the answers to your HR and Health & Safety issues, and we provide a level of support tailored specifically to your business requirements. Whilst there are plenty of products that offer advice, Revera SOS offers a modern and dedicated service that is
specifically designed for SMEs. We can also undertake ad-hoc project work and assist with the complete implementation of HR and H&S – please contact our team for further information.
• Our most popular package with SMEs. You are comfortable with HR and H&S, however you would benefit from the assurance of accessing our portal and having the ability to download documents and information which is updated with new legislation and relevant to your business, without trawling through search engines and finding out-of-date and incorrect information. £49.00 per month
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We use a simple traffic light system on our portal to identify the potential difficulties associated with each action and we have used this model to create 3 levels of service:
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How To Talk To Absolutely Anyone Confident Communication in Every Situation By Mark Rhodes The author, Mark Rhodes made his fortune setting up a successful software company, which he sold in 2011. Since then he has made it his mission to find out how he achieved this success and pass that wisdom on to others. He is now a business mentor and his clients include The Body Shop and DK. He has also been picked to be a mentor for the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy, a joint venture between the EBA and James Caan. He says: This book is for those who want to improve their communications skills and achieve better outcomes from a host of business situations. From disputes to delegation, winning
more business or creating more sales, dealing with appraisals to being more effective at networking events – this book will give users the confidence needed to manage communications skills in all situations. It will teach you how to be more relaxed in social situations, and how to build rapport with others, overcoming barriers that, in turn, can have a huge impact on the outcomes of every interaction.
Our verdict: We say: This book is a bible for anyone who needs help with their communication skills and confidence. How To Talk To Absolutely Anyone is published by Wiley, priced at £10.99 in paperback and e-book
Introducing Entrepreneurship A Practical Guide By Alison Price and David Price Alison Price is a specialist in leadership development, a chartered occupational psychologist, university lecturer in business psychology and previously, a senior management development specialist at a FTSE50 financial company. David Price is a senior manager and has led awardwinning teams within prestigious financial organisations. He is qualified in coaching and management, and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute. They say: The book offers expert insights, case studies and advice to begin your entrepreneurial journey. It reveals stories of the world’s greatest
entrepreneurs, distilling the key points into down-toearth, realistic advice and technique that will help you turn your passions into a thriving business venture. We say: This pocketsized book is a practical bargain that will help every entrepreneur, and we love the tips at the end of every section. Introducing Entrepreneurship is published by Icon Books, priced at £6.99 in paperback and £4.99 in e-book 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!
035 SUCCESS Book Review.ga.indd 55
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The Funding Expert
Funding expert Julian Smith discusses business shares and what owners need to consider
TO RAISE EQUITY OR NOT, THAT IS THE QUESTION Imagine as a parent, you needed to sell a share in your child in order to help fund their education before they were able to turn profitable and cash generative in their own right. A scary thought, but if you had no choice, you’d think long and hard about who you would choose and how to go about it. Many entrepreneurs will have to cross this bridge at some point and open their capital base to achieve their strategic and financial objectives. While equity is cheap in cash terms (unlike debt), it will prove to be more expensive longer term because of the value upside you give away.
Once you have raised equity from external sources, things will never quite be the same again
at seed stage, most focus on growth capital opportunities. The crowd is another word for the general public – investing in young companies has been democratised through the development of crowdfunding platforms, enabling individuals to invest directly in showcased opportunities. Which route you choose will depend on a number of factors: what stage you are at, how much capital you need, your type of business, and what non-financial benefits you are looking for. Many companies combine two sources.
WHY? Maybe you need to fund a period of operating losses before your business turns profitable, or you want to expand in a particular market. A good encompassing reason is that it accelerates the business development in a way that would not otherwise be achieved.
BENEFITS POSSIBLE Certain angel investors have specific industry experience and may be able to provide mentoring support. VC firms may contribute industry expertise, a useful network or geographic access. The crowd, whilst individually small and without influence, may collectively provide a useful vanguard of advocates for B2C companies.
WHO? The three main sources are angel investors, VC and the crowd. Angel investors are wealthy individual investors putting their own money to work across a portfolio of early stage companies. They are often former entrepreneurs, and typically invest in early stage opportunities. VC firms are professional asset managers managing third party money. While some invest
RIGHTS RELINQUISHED Once you have raised equity from external sources, things will never quite be the same again. There will always be a degree of external accountability and influence. Generally speaking, VCs and angels will look for protections and rights built into their shareholder documents, commensurate with their ownership share. Professional assistance is advisable to help
you navigate this negotiation from a commercial and a legal perspective. IN SUMMARY Raising equity for a business for the first time can be both daunting and time consuming. However, it can also be hugely rewarding in forming long term relationships, which contribute to the success of the business, and capital that super-charges the development of the company. By raising equity you are inviting people to be part of your extended business family – its worth taking time to ensure that you positively consider the right investors for the right reasons. Julian Smith is The Funding Expert, offering workshops, consultations and public speaking on finance. He has been advising companies for more than 18 years on how to position themselves for investors, raising business finance, mergers and acquisitions.
037 MONEY Julian.ga.indd 51
A BUSINESS NEEDS AFFORDABLE Our devices are manufactured to the highest standards of quality and technology. We are so convinced of the quality and reliability of our products that we offer an extension of the standard warranty to 3 years on all our products.
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Print Smart. Print OKI 29/08/2013 15:39
THE EFG LOAN
Need cash? WHAT IS IT? The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) is a Government loan guarantee scheme to enable lending to SMEs that can demonstrate they have sufficient cash flow to meet lenders loan affordability requirements, but are lacking adequate security to obtain a commercial bank loan. Since EFG was launched in January 2009, more than 20,000 SMEs have been offered loans, generating more than £2bn worth of additional lending, and there is currently £500m of funding available. All of the main high street banks, plus a number of other lending institutions, offer EFG loans, which are provided with the support of a Government guarantee. They provide businesses with funding that they might not otherwise have had access to, and can be used in a variety of ways – from employing and retaining staff to investing in new equipment or work space. It can also be used to help fund day-to-day running costs. Businesses from almost every sector can apply, and past recipients of EFG funding range from digital design agencies to
Turned down for a commercial bank loan? Dawn Murden has the facts about the EFG. Is it a viable option for you?
per annum premium, which is in addition to the fees and charges applied by the lender.
construction firms and furniture manufacturers. EFG is principally used to support loans of between £1,000 and £1 million, with repayment terms between three months and 10 years. EFG also supports overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, which have shorter repayment terms of two years and three years respectively. HOW IT WORKS AND WHO CAN APPLY All EFG loans are provided by the participating lenders using their own funds. The Government provides the lender with a 75% guarantee for each loan, but the borrower remains liable for repayment of 100% of the loan. EFG loans are available to a wide variety of businesses. However, the following criteria apply: • The business must have an annual turnover of less than £41m, but there is no limit on the number of employees. • The business activity being financed must take place in the UK, although the SME itself might be foreign owned or registered abroad. • The borrower contributes to the cost by paying a 2%
Since EFG was launched in January 2009, more than 20,000 SMEs have been offered loans
HOW TO APPLY A business will always apply for a commercial loan before EFG is considered. If a business meets the lenders’ loan affordability requirements, and would have been offered a traditional bank business loan if they had adequate security, then EFG is worth considering. Business owners should ask about EFG during their loan application. EFG loans have already helped more than 20,000 businesses gain access to essential funding – could yours be next? WHEN DOES IT NEED TO BE PAID BACK? EFG loans have repayment terms of between three months and 10 years. Lenders follow their standard commercial lending practice, meaning the majority of EFG loans will be repaid on a monthly basis. Lenders have the flexibility to offer capital repayment holidays and bullet repayments (where the business pays back the loan in a lump sum at the end of the term) if they so desire. Want hear about the EFG loan first hand? We asked Dave Armstrong, MD of Overtec what the loan did for him. Read it here: talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk/2013/08/the-efg-loan/
039 MONEY EFG Loans**.g**.indd 51
Cloud Accounting Customer Case Study Surfaccounts is the fastest cloud based accounts package around. Surfaccounts is an easy-to-use, low-cost accounts package for SMEs, sole-traders and start-up companies. It allows secure access to your accounts anytime, anywhere and on any device. Surfaccounts covers more than just accounts; it also contains integrated CRM offering you more functionality with a better overall view of your business Recognising the need for both businesses and accountants to be more efficient and to maximise their profit Surfaccounts allows both sides to do this effortlessly. Getting your accounts ready has never been easier.
Features include: • • •
Creating stylish invoices Tracking new sales opportunities Bank and Cash management
Managing your diary and activities Live view of key figures and balances
Surf user Dr. Gabriela Mercik says: “I work with a number of prominent clinics in Harley Street, London and I am always on the road. As I had serious problems with accessibility it was for this reason I signed up to Surfaccounts. Using Surfaccounts allows me to access my accounts 24/7 and gives me the ability to raise invoices whilst with my clients from my iPad. I have been using Surfaccounts for a few months now and have already posted thousands of transactions.” “Accessibility has been key. I can see more of what is going on with the accounts as it allows me access anytime anywhere with a real time look at our figures which works great as I am always on the road”. “Surfaccounts has made invoicing clients very easy. Emailing orders and invoices via secure links works great. This allows me to work closely with our accountant and complete management accounts, Reconciliations and returns in record time. If I have any problems I can ask our accountant Donald Pottie.”
About Dermagenica Dermagenica is the distributor for many brands, one of which is PDO Threads face lift and Dermaheal products. Products range: • Non Surgical Beauty Lift by PDO Threads • Dr. Gabriela Magic Face Lift Serum • Dermaheal HL (Hair Restoration) • Dermaheal SB (Skin Brightening) • Dermaheal HSR (Skin Rejuvenation with Hyaluronic Acid) • Dermaheal SR (Skin Rejuvenation) • Dermaheal LL (Lypolisis) • Advanced Lipo Laser for fat reduction As well as distribution Dermagenica also work with Hebe Anti-Aging and Aesthetic clinic run by Dr. Mercik and Dermagenica provide courses throughout the UK and Ireland for Doctors and Nurses. Some of Dermagenica’s recent accomplishments include: • Nominated for ‘Best Anti-Aging Clinic Team’ • Nanopeptide Mesotherapy finalist for ‘Best Anti-Aging Product’ at the My Face My Body Awards 2013. • Hebe Clinic, run by Dr. Mercik nominated as the ‘Best Aesthetic Clinic’ • Dr. Gabriela Mercik finalist in the ‘Best Aesthetic Practitioner’ 2013 by Cosmetic News.
Accountant Donald Pottie says: “As a Surfaccounts partner I knew Surfaccounts would be ideal for Dermagenica and other clients. We have implemented Surfaccounts in over 30 different businesses so far and will continue to recommend this to our clients.” www.dermagenica.co.uk
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hile hardly cutting the swathes of red tape the Government promised, recent changes to the employment tribunal system bring good news for businesses, the most important being more opportunities to nip weak claims in the bud. Now, of course, most of these changes are taking place behind the scenes, involving administrative adjustments, but there are still important changes to make a note of. For starters, the introduction of fees means claimants will now have to pay a £250 or £160 issue fee, depending on the type of the claim, followed by a £950 or £230 hearing fee should the claim proceed to tribunal. Designed to reduce the number of misconceived claims, this has been trumpeted as the big win for business, however with many claimants eligible for reductions in costs, or funded by trade unions or insurance companies, the reality is that the real victims may be the ever-pinched middle, for whom the potential compensation might not outweigh the investment risk. More obvious changes however are the new “sift” stage and merging of case management discussions (CMDs) with prehearing reviews (PHRs). Taking the sifting stage first, this is where an employment judge will
Michael Salter, employment law specialist at myBarrister talks about the recent changes to the employment tribunal system Designed to reduce the number of misconceived claims, this has been trumpeted as the big win for business
review the claimant’s initial claim form and respondent’s response to that claim to decide whether a case is arguable. The judge will have the power to strike weak cases out on the basis of the paperwork alone. The benefit to industry is clear: if the employer’s defence is strong and clearly pleaded then the “sift” provides businesses with an immediate opportunity to deal a knockout blow to unmeritorious claims, and avoid unnecessary expense. By combining CMDs with PHRs, the Government has also put an end to the frustrating delays, which meant businesses would have to wait weeks – even months – between their purely administrative case management discussion and the later prehearing review, which carries the power to strike a claim. The delays and costs occasioned by such separate hearings would often put employers off seeking PHR’s, so this new amalgamation of the two processes is a great move to alleviate stress and reduce costs for businesses, both directly in terms of potential legal fees, as well as the indirect cost to businesses from time lost by diverting the attention of senior managers. Other recent changes in the law and tribunal practice include the increase in
minimum service from one to two years for an employee to claim unfair dismissal, except in cases of whistleblowing, harassment, discrimination and other specified exclusions; the intention being to improve flexibility and give SMEs confidence to hire new staff. Another is the ruling to make pre-termination settlement negotiations and agreements inadmissible in some forms of tribunal claim. It is hoped that this will encourage resolution by allowing those involved to consider, or make an offer without the fear of it being used against them, or later seen as an admission of a lack of confidence in their case. Combined, these changes, are positive steps for business, providing early-stage opportunities to oppose a weak or unmeritorious claims. But companies can’t afford to be complacent. In fact the more time you invest in due diligence, keeping a clear paper trail and following appropriate dismissal procedure, the more you stand to benefit from these changes. Contact: thisismybarrister.com Like this? Read this: talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/ 2013/08/employment-tribunal-changes
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For businesses who owe money Types of Commercial Debt we may be able to help with: • Tax Related, HMRC • Unpaid Invoices • Hire Purchase Debts • Dishonoured Contracts/Agreements • Commercial Rates Bills • Insurance Cases • Business Premises Mortgage/Rent Arrears • Secured and Unsecured Loans • Credit reports for company’s and individuals
Debit Chain Resolution:
“I can’t pay you, I’ve not been paid yet myself!!!” How many times have you heard this or a similar phrase?
Monetary Solutions: • Typical PCS collection types • Invoice payments collection • Property rental income
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TALK MONEY START-UP LOANS
A day in the life
This month our Start-Up Loan recipient reveals a typical day at her recently opened fancy dress shop
ran has just opened Fancy Dress Fanatics, in Bristol. Working with her grandmother, Jo Lindsay, who has made costumes for Pinewood Studios, Glyndebourne Opera House, and the BBC over a career spanning 50 years - Fran and her fiancé Simon aim to continue a family legacy by keeping the costume business alive.
DEAR DIARY… I check my Twitter, emails and eat breakfast while watching the news. I also write my to-do list. Since I started my own business, I get so many ideas I’m updating the list morning, noon and night!
Arrive at the shop for 9am (although it doesn’t open until 10) as I have an order coming in. When I open, someone brings back a hire costume, and I pack it into a bag ready to be washed and steamed. I had another four costumes arrive from my grandmother over the weekend (two Snow Whites and two ringmasters), so I give them a quick steam to get rid of the creases and get a price tag on them.
Then I call the customers whose orders have come in. Letting customers order costumes through me is proving popular. Although I have a big shop and a lot of stock, I’ll never be able to cover every fancy dress possibility. It’s another helpful addition to the service, which I hope will allow me to compete with what’s available online.
I finish off the flyers I’ve been designing over the last couple of days, which is difficult as I’m not much of a designer, but having only just opened I need to do as much in house as I can to keep the costs down.
In Profile > Entrepreneur: Fran Gore > Business: Fancy Dress Fanatics > Web: fancydressfanatics.co.uk > Concept: A fancy dress website with a wide range of costumes, including ‘80s outfits, pirates, historical figures and more. As well as the website they have a shop based in Bristol. > Start-Up Loan: £9,900
I get cracking on my e-commerce site, which I’ve been working on bit by bit for weeks now. I really want to get it online by this weekend, but with so much to do in the day and looking after customers as and when they come in, it’s going to take a few late nights!
The shop is due to close, but I’m still buried in working on my site, so I just stay open a little late – if I’m sat here I might as well let customers pop in, as any of
those browsing will hopefully remember the shop next time they have a fancy dress event. Finally, I sit down to eat with Simon - eating late has become a regular thing over the last few weeks. But it doesn’t feel like work and I can’t believe how happy I am running my own business.
The Start Up Loans Company is a Government-backed scheme that provides a funding and mentoring solution for budding entrepreneurs aged 18-30, to help their business succeed. With the help of this initiative, more than 30 new businesses are started daily. Contact: startuploans.co.uk
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Before you sign on the dotted line … Can’t afford a lawyer? Ask yourself key questions to get everything in order, NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers says THE IMPORTANCE OF ASKING POWERFUL QUESTIONS Most small businesses can’t always afford to have a lawyer as part of their business team. When getting investment or selling later on, often documents, registrations or practices may be missing. If you keep these six key legal questions in mind, you may reduce your exposure to unnecessary risks, increase your company’s value, reduce legal costs and have a significant portion of the information required on a sale. 1: ARE YOUR COMPANY RECORDS UP TO DATE? If you go on to sell your business, you will add time and money to a transaction by having to find minutes, resolutions and background documents that can be stored regularly. Decide what is most important and put a system in place to collate, store and keep your corporate records current. Use your accountant, if necessary.
2: WHAT ARE YOUR KEY OR MATERIAL CORPORATE AND COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS? Companies don’t always store, document, and organise oral and written material agreements, contracts, or commitments. Know which contracts are material to you and check them for burdensome terms in advance. For example, if you intend to sell your business, make sure that you do not need the consent of your supplier if there is a “change of control” of your company. 3: WHO ARE YOUR KEY PERSONNEL? Keep an up-to-date list of all employees, consultants or contractors who are employed or contracted by your business. Ensure that everyone has signed a formal written agreement, and document and maintain details of their roles and responsibilities, payment terms and any key conversations with respect to their employment, especially those people who are essential.
If you keep these six key legal questions in mind you may reduce your exposure to unnecessary risks.
4: ARE YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS REGISTERED? I have previously mentioned the importance of correctly registering all of a company’s intellectual property rights, which may include trademarks, patents or design rights and this will certainly be taken into account when determining the value of your company. 5: ARE THERE OUTSTANDING DISPUTES OR LITIGATION? Every company wants to prevent complaints, disputes or litigation – but they do happen and can take up valuable time, money and energy. However, having systems and processes in place to deal with complaints or legal issues quickly and mitigating further loss is important and having adequate insurance cover for the incident and legal costs is good planning. 6: ARE YOU REGISTERED FOR DATA PROTECTION? Data protection is a big issue for companies that request and store personal information. It is easy to check with the Information Protection Commissioner whether registration is required, at www.ico.org.uk. If you want to learn more about building a business and legal systems with an exit strategy in mind, then come to our event, Building For Exit: A Business Owner’s Guide to Grants, Getting Investment and Grasping the Law (see details on our website). Contact: navistarlegal.com Twitter: @NaviStar
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TAKING THE PAIN ™ OUT OF PAYROLL What is Netpayroll? Netpayroll.co.uk is a web-based payroll outsourcing solution providing payroll services to companies of all sizes. Netpayroll ensures that its service runs seamlessly alongside existing company processes with access to payroll reports and payslips whenever, and wherever, they are required. Types of Netpayroll Netpayroll essentially offers two services: 1. Fully Managed Payroll Bureau Service 1. Self-Service Payroll Both services are time-flexible so whether your payroll requirement is weekly, bi-weekly, four-weekly or monthly, Netpayroll can adjust to suit your needs. Netpayroll’s Fully-Managed Bureau Service Netpayroll’s Fully-Managed Bureau Service is for clients who want minimal involvement in processing payroll. The client provides their staff details and monthly gross pay values and Netpayroll staff take care of the rest. This includes: • processing the data and delivering payslips • pay reports via the web portal to the client • enabling timely payment of staff and monthly PAYE deductions to HMRC.
Netpayroll’s Self-Service Netpayroll’s Self-Service payroll solution is for clients who primarily have simple payroll requirements that can be easily processed by the client, for example, a company with one or two staff. The service is designed to be cost-effective so that clients can keep payroll processing costs down. Self-Service can be operated directly by the client with the benefit of full support, either by phone or email, from one of the Company’s Payroll Assistants who are available to answer any queries or questions that might arise . Self-Service is ideal for the SME market and/or companies who want to manage their own payroll at a low cost, with the comfort and benefit of professional support. Netpayroll and RTI Compliance Whichever solution you choose, once the payroll is processed and approved, Netpayroll staff handle
all of your RTI requirements. This includes: • monthly submissions to HMRC by E-Filing • All statutory returns and notices, including P14, P35, P45, P46, P6, P9, SL1, P11D, P11D(b) etc., which are built into the Netpayroll website and auto-compiled. Benefits of Netpayroll 1. Tried and tested Processes & Systems that have consistently scored 100% in e-filing returns and auto-tax code updates, over the last 3 years (HMRC Statistics). 2. Cost effective solutions for all payroll requirements, whether your company is composed of one employee or many hundred employees. 3. Price-scaled and multifunctional to suit your needs and requirements – do as much payroll, or as little, as you like. 4. Supported by a team of payroll professionals available to answer any questions or queries. 5. Fast, efficient and 100% userfriendly, as you will discover from our innovative website: www. netpayroll.co.uk For more information, get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483 747100
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Strategy ecently, I’ve had a rush of new businesses approach us about our branding services. While their enthusiasm is commendable, there are massive gaps in their understanding of what a brand is, what it can achieve, and how to implement it. There are some amazing new businesses out there, ripe for moulding into an industryconquering brand. However, they often need to take a reality check and analyse their aims. Think about your market who are you aiming at? Narrow it down and identify the sort of people you want to appeal to. Then look at the message you want to give them. What is your offer? How do you want to make them feel, and what do you want them to do? Then finally, use the media you think will grab their attention the quickest. I asked a business how they planned to market themselves, “As cheaply as possible” came the reply, then they added “through social media”. Firstly, if you can’t be bothered to invest anything in your marketing, you are already fighting one-handed. And while social media has its advantages, for most businesses it’s unlikely to be the zenith of your marketing mix. If, like the client mentioned above, one of your niches is pensioners interested
Get real about branding, says Rich With, founder of creative agency, Hoot
Get realistic. Your budget is equivalent to a weekly shop for a family of mice on the Atkins
in tea dances, then I’d say a comprehensive Twitter campaign will be as effective as a chocolate teapot. Don’t look to cast the widest net possible. Not everyone likes fizzy drinks, fast food or The Sun newspaper. These products aim their appeal at consumers they know are likely to buy, and don’t worry about the ones that won’t. It’s all very well that you’ve got a vague idea for a new service that’s “going to revolutionise the club scene”. (People want to dance and get drunk - don’t overthink it) but asking me to sign a non-disclosure agreement is only going to reinforce in my mind, your naivety. Get realistic. Your budget is equivalent to a weekly shop for a family of mice on the Atkins. Don’t believe I should want to work for you because: a. “It’ll be good for your portfolio”. It’s fine, thank you. b. We should help you out because you’re a new business. *sigh* c. “You never know what it might lead to”. No, but I have a good idea you’ll never take my calls once you’ve got what you want. If you want to be taken seriously by your branding or creative agency, don’t use the following phrases in any meeting or brief:
“It needs to have impact”. As opposed to no impact? “Can you just superimpose my head on that body?” No, just no. “I can get this done in India or China for £25.” Taxi for cheapskate! “I’m not paying for a photographer; use these shots I took.” Crummy photos taken on your first gen’ Blackberry isn’t going to cut it. Have a realistic expectation of what you want your brand to achieve. Think about your budget, think about what you want it to stand for and under no circumstances, ever use the phrase “blue-sky thinking”.
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An hour in business Louise Bruce, managing director of Big Red Box PR – inspired by a previous Talk Business article – reveals how you can claw back the hours
he July issue of Talk Business had an article by Daniel Priestley which I found inspirational. It implored entrepreneurs to employ someone “even if it’s only a cleaner”, and it struck me that this simple statement was incredibly valuable advice. Possibly, like many of you, I’m slightly stuck. I love working for myself, business is good, but I could do with a few more hours in the day to devote to my clients. However, I don’t really want to get into the realms of employing full-time staff. What if business takes a dip? What if they went sick or were just plain useless? Having read Daniel’s words of wisdom, I can now see it’s obvious, don’t employ someone, just outsource various tasks from your personal and working life. Imagine how much more you could achieve in business if you didn’t have to get home to walk the dog or clean the house? An hour in business is a long time. Plus, as long as the service costs less than you earn per hour, then it’s worth it. So who is out there to help? I found three small UK companies that could help you free up some valuable time.
I’d be lying if I didn’t get a little buzz every time I heard someone else doing my vacuuming
THE CLEANER I’d be lying if I didn’t get a little buzz every time I heard someone else doing my vacuuming, plus they do a better job than me anyway! The company: Merry Maids Website: merrymaids.co.uk What do they do? ‘We provide a professional domestic and commercial cleaning service, by uniformed staff, complete with a service guarantee. Merry Maids clean weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly, or can even do one-off deep cleans. We work for many professional and self employed customers and we’re increasingly being asked to help them keep on top of their cleaning, allowing them to focus on growing and
nurturing their businesses,’ company representative Barbara Roberts said. How much does it cost per hour? An hour’s cleaning will cost approximately £25, depending on the size of the rooms. Client verdict: ‘Merry Maids has helped me establish my business. Working from home has its advantages, but it can be easy to get distracted by a dirty bathroom or lounge floor in need of a vacuum. While Merry Maids are keeping my home clean and sparkly, I’m busy working in my office with only the kettle and a potential cuppa to distract me. I couldn’t do it without them,’ Elaine Hunter-Whitnell of Love Marketing said.
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TALK STRATEGY TIME MANAGEMENT
THE BOOKKEEPER Who doesn’t dread the quarterly VAT payments or the end-ofyear tax return? Boxes and files filled with ageing receipts and invoices. Days spent pulling your hair out as GCSE maths fails you completely. Get a bookkeeper to save a huge amount of your time. The company: Cloud Bookkeeping Website: cloudbookkeeping.co.uk What do they do? ‘We provide outsourced bookkeeping services using all the latest cloud software. We visit our clients to collect the paperwork, process it, produce profit and loss reports, VAT returns, monies due from customers and monies due to supplier reports. At the year-end, we make it easy for our clients by dealing with all the year-end stuff by liaising
directly with our client’s accountant on their behalf to hand over the year-end files and answer their queries,’ company representative Mandy Bagot said. How much does it cost per hour? £20 Client verdict: ‘Until now, our accounts have always slipped down the priority list and we’d end up with a frantic and stressful few days around tax return time. This year, Cloud Bookkeeping came and collected our plastic bag stuffed full of invoices, bank statements and receipts, and returned a few days later with a beautifully organised folder and our records prepared and ready to go straight to our accountant. It took a huge amount of pressure off us and has resulted in one happy accountant,’ Miranda Crerar founder of Relish Pictures said.
Who doesn’t dread the quarterly VAT payments or the endof-year tax return?
THE DOG WALKER Say you have a dog that needs a good walk every day, at least an hour. Added up, that’s seven hours a week, around 30 hours a month, and 45 days a year. That’s time you could be working on your business. Or, perhaps you hate leaving your pet alone while you attend meetings and exhibitions? The company: Doggies Day Out Website: doggiesdayout.co.uk What do they do? ‘We provide a range of flexible, professional pet care services, including dog walking/boarding. We see our relationship with clients as that of friends helping them out with their pets and, although not part of our general service, we have even sorted out leaks, repaired locks and delivered spare keys when the need has arisen. Many of our clients call us lifesavers because leaving pets home alone can be stressful, but when they’re with us they know they are happy and safe, meaning they can get on with running their business more effectively,’ company representative, Sam Watts said. How much does it cost per hour? One hour dog walk = £12 Dog day care = £15 Dog home boarding = £18 Client verdict: ‘As a self employed person and the owner of two very lively American Bulldogs, I’m not sure where I’d be without Doggies Day Out. I drop them off at 8am and pick them up at the end of the day, safe in the knowledge that they have been walked and well looked after and come home happy and exhausted; long may our relationship continue,’ Julie Rubenzer founder of SS Training said.
051_052 STRATEGY Hour in Business.ga.indd 54
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stay out front 5% of Businesses do extraordinarily well during a recession, while the rest struggle Why? Because they adapt very quickly and in a lot of subtle ways. Instead of taking a financial hit, many of them raise their prices as they win more business. It doesn’t matter what size your business is, or the sectors and locations you operate in. To achieve greater success you just need to take a number of small actions in a systematic way. Find out what the 5% do differently and how the stay out front toolkit can help you join them. Get a copy of the free booklet “100 things that successful businesses do to thrive in a downturn”
Get your copy now: www.stayoutfront.com/100success
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The future is flexible How has the office environment changed over the last 30 years? Dawn Murden investigates
he office environment has changed immeasurably over the last 30 years, and even if you cut this number down to 10 or five, the changes are still considerable. Malcolm Glynn, head of marketing at Konica Minolta Business Solutions, a digital print solutions company, casts his mind back to what the office used to be like. ‘25 years ago the office was quite an isolating place – one phone, one notepad, and perhaps a computer terminal displaying line after line of numbers that made sense to somebody somewhere,’ he recalls. ‘There was the odd personal computer, printer and fax machine, generally “owned” by a few honoured people and not to be touched by the masses.’ The PC became more prevalent through the 1980s and 1990s, then the biggest change came with email and the introduction of a more collaborative office, with staff sharing work and resources, like printers. But even in the 1990s most offices started out very humbly. Much like our cover star
James Caan [page 18], James Knight started his company, Printerland, which resells printers and ink cartridges, in 1993 with a desk, phone and a copy of the Yellow Pages. His business strategy was ploughing through the directory, which, despite its digital counterpart Yell.com, is reportedly struggling to stay afloat. ‘Slowly technology became more integrated, not only in my office, but with my customers too,’ James says. ‘In the last 10 years, the growth in technology has boomed, it develops so quickly that the “latest” products never stay that way for long.’ ‘Now we have a noisy and vibrant office with 32 staff, and I’m working on the road most of the time. ‘Smartphones, tablets laptops and portable printers mean that I don’t need to be in the office – this is the change that I think will have the most impact over the next decade.’ Most of the significant changes of the traditional office can be attributed to technology, from the initial introduction of the internet and PCs making the environment
20 years ago, the office was detached from home – it was a formal, hierarchical space
more collaborative, right up to the present day with the established use of wi-fi, smartphones, tablets, and BYOD (bring your own device) in a number of companies, making “working from anywhere” possible. Clive Lucking, chief executive at Fourfront Group, a commercial interior specialist, says: ‘20 years ago, the office was detached from home – it was a formal, hierarchical space; now the tech savvy, who have grown up with technology, don’t have the division between work and home - they want a work space that is less conventional.’ There is not only a rise of people working from home, there is also a change in environment, with many CEOs moving on to the office floor – in the style of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and Lord Alan Sugar. There is also an increase in shared offices, with different working spaces like lounges and group rooms – popular with start-up businesses and freelancers who need a hub. ‘The workplace of today is diverse and no longer confined to the physical office,’ says Olly
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THE CHANGING WORKPLACE
Olsen, founder of The Office Group, which provides offices and meeting rooms throughout London. ‘Increasingly, the need for different types of spaces for varying types of working is being realised. ‘Forward thinking companies like Google are already facilitating this through the creation of communal work and lounge spaces.’ One of the biggest technological introductions of the past five years has been cloud computing. Andy Burton, founder of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), says: ‘Cloud has fundamentally changed the limits of how and when we work – it’s empowering staff to do their work efficiently, wherever and whenever they like from whichever device they like.’ ‘And we have only seen the beginning of the cloud influence.’ As well as the technological factors, there are also social influences. Angela Roach, founder of The Hotel Nanny, an agency that provides hotel
guests with a high-end nanny service, launched her business while raising a young family. ‘There are now more opportunities for women to work around family commitments,’ she says. ‘I have a virtual PA to manage everyday enquiries, a marketing consultant to increase brand awareness and I work from home.’ Many managers have introduced flexible working and say it helps retain staff. Jonathon Kini, director of Vodafone, says: ‘Our survey found there is a direct correlation between flexible working and increased productivity.’ And Andrew Burgess, managing director of IT company, JMC IT, agrees. ‘We found that giving staff the ability to work around their personal commitments gives them a real sense of loyalty and commitment,’ he says. ‘Productivity also increases when people work from home – when you offer a culture of respect and trust you gain more.’ ‘But it can be a leap of faith for some employers.’
We found that giving staff the ability to work around their personal commitments gives them a real sense of loyalty and commitment
Flexible working can help ease the time and money spent commuting and help decrease staff absences. Of course many employers might worry that employees don’t work as hard at home as they would in the office. And Dr Lynda Shaw, Phd Psychology argues that our brains are just not built to manage the information overload the modern workplace creates. ‘Information overload negatively affects our neurotransmitters, which regulates our thinking, motivation and memory,’ she says. This aside, the buzzword for the modern work place is “flexibility”. Take Talk Business for example; I sit at a desk in the office Monday to Friday, but I check my emails from home, and we have other staff members who work from home, using services like Dropbox to share files. Some changes are permanent (it’s safe to say the Yellow Pages won’t be a key strategy anymore) but the beauty of flexible, modern working is that companies, employers and employees can adapt, and pick and choose what works for them.
Figures for thought £0.5bn – cost to UK economy due to snow related absences 56 minutes – average time a Londoner spends commuting 131 million – number of days lost due to sickness in UK in 2012 77% – employees work in an organisation that offers some sort of flexible working £5,746 – average cost of a desk in the UK 89% – increase in the number of shared workspaces globally in the last 12 months Statistics taken from the Office of National Statistics, Vodafone and The Office Group.
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he past few years have seen an increasing number of companies focusing their attention on entering lucrative overseas markets, in the hopes of conquering untapped customer bases. There are many benefits for these businesses – primarily a much larger share of the world market. However, entering a new country can be complex, and companies must have the right approach.
CHOOSE YOUR MARKET Although it may seem like a good idea to jump into international trading, it is vital to take a more measured approach to avoid the pitfalls that have crushed countless other attempts to engage foreign customers. Businesses must not simply follow the crowd when it comes to international expansion – just because others have had success in the US or the UK, it doesn’t mean your company will by default. A crucial first step is to find out where your services are needed, and what your company has to offer that would provide value to that particular market. Paid-for demographic research will help ensure you enter a market where there is a receptive customer audience. This type of research can be worth its weight in gold when it throws up unexpected challenges, or opportunities. UNDERSTAND THE MARKET Different cultures have always had different ways of doing business – but on a far more basic level, they use language differently, have different
Gavin Page, international business director at offshoring company Excelerate360, reveals his top tips for taking your product and services abroad
Just because others have had success in the US or the UK, it doesn’t mean your company will by default
seasonal shopping habits, and have varying levels of uptake of particular technologies that we take for granted in the UK. Entrepreneurs should tailor their international offerings to local tastes and requirements, which could include regional weather or religious practices; this makes international customers feel valued, rather than alienated. Marketing messages should meet local customer needs – don’t assume the key benefit is the same in all locations or that the messages you use in one location are suitable for another. Be aware of local cultural issues, and even legal ones. GAIN KEY CONTACTS A strong business network can be the key to successful international expansion for many entrepreneurs – this is due to the goldmine of local knowledge and expertise that can be gained from companies that are already in the market. LinkedIn is a great tool for companies wanting to launch into foreign territories. Entrepreneurs
can find complementary businesses to connect with, and these relationships will form a solid foundation of experience and support. ADAPT The ability to adapt to foreign markets is perhaps the most important of all in contributing to long-term overseas success. After the initial enthusiasm of launch, it is at this point that adaptability will mean the difference between abrupt failure and enduring customer loyalty. For example, localising products to the market is often necessary; some of the largest and most successful brands in the world have different product ranges in Asia than they do in the UK (for example, Wasabiflavoured Kit Kat), and it is this attention to detail that ensures an appetite for their products in every country they trade in. In short, create a flexible take-to-market model and be agile, especially in the initial period of trading. Contact: excelerate360.com
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The Sales Doctor Not hitting your targets? The sales doctor says look back on all you’ve achieved for a boost
Dear sales doctor, For the last three months I haven’t been able to hit my targets and I’ve completely lost my confidence. My colleagues keep telling me to snap out of it, but I can’t shake my self-doubt. What do I do? This is 100% natural, and in sales you always have peaks and troughs, it’s part of the game. The key is how you are viewing the last three months. I am a strong believer that in sales there is no such thing as failure; it’s all feedback. So rather than look at it as what have you lost, view it as what knowledge have you gained - you’ve learned what’s not working and what requires tweaking in your approach. Equally you would have found some companies that you just can’t work with for whatever reason. Although this doesn’t help you hit your target, you had to contact these companies at some point, at least they have now been called and you can move on to the next prospects. Therefore it is not a wasted call, again it’s part of the process.
During the past three months you would have identified some companies that you may not be able to work with now, although they are now in your pipeline of activity. You have probably found out who the key decision maker is, which supplier they current work with, any pitfalls with their supplier, costings, etc. Focus on what you have achieved, as opposed to what you have not achieved. When football managers have a motivational team talk, they often choose to do this in the trophy room. The reason for this is they like the team to be surrounded by past success. It’s a great reminder that they can do it and have done it! As sales people it’s important to continuously remind ourselves of our past success and to never forget that. I recommend keeping a record of all our wins, no matter how big or small, so we can look back at these and keep our confidence up. TONY MORRIS, sales doctor
Tony Morris is the director of The Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London. He is the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book based on real life situations from which you can learn techniques and put them straight into practice. Contact: tony-morris.co.uk
Need a diagnosis?
Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ‘FAO the sales doctor’: dawn.murden@ astongreenlake.com
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TALK STRATEGY MOTIVATION
Working from home To work from home, high motivation is essential, says coach Adam Caplan. Here he picks apart motivation, what it means and how we get it odern technology allows many of us to conduct our business out of the office. It’s incredibly easy to work from home. However, it can be very distracting. If you’re not motivated, working from home can be a disaster.
MOTIVATION CAN BE DEFINED AS: A force that leads people to attempt to satisfy important needs (although I’d be more inclined to exchange the word needs for wants). And a drive from within that prompts action. Motivation comes from within; therefore, it’s up to us. When you are working in the office, you may have external motivational pressures that force you to concentrate. Your managers, colleagues or staff, are great examples of external motivators. At home, you have only the internal motivators to get you going. Motivation is the engine that powers us. If we are motivated to do something, then we will do it. If our motivation is low, we will be far less likely to do it. This article might inspire you to consider making changes, but you will be the one who motivates yourself to start the process and continue it.
If you’re not motivated, working from home can be a disaster
MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS (PYRAMID RIGHT) Abraham Maslow created this in 1943 in his paper,The Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow’s Hierarchy is important to take on board. Different things motivate us at different times, and this does greatly depend on our mental, emotional and physical state. Once we have met our basic primary needs - eating, sleeping and so on, we seek to satisfy our secondary needs, which are those of safety. For some people, their need for job security comes in here. For others, it’s not so important. As we satisfy our basic needs, we are able to consider higher levels of needs. The third level of needs is that of love and belonging, for example friends and family.
Moving up into the fourth level, the esteem level, selfesteem, having the respect and appreciation from others as well as being able to respect and appreciate others, enjoying one’s achievements and having genuine self confidence is all present when you’re at this level. The fifth, and top level is the self-awareness or self-actualisation level. It covers morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, and mindfulness. Here you are truly self aware and enlightened. You’re aware of everything and in control of your emotional landscape. The basic physiological requirements relate to our instincts for survival. When we are born we instinctively want to live. Later, when we’ve
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gained self-awareness and the concept of motivation has been activated within us, we advance beyond pure instinct and become much more complex. Motivation is the driving force in our lives. Other than our primal instincts, it is the most powerful force we have. As babies, our concepts of motivation are less developed and so our primal urges are much stronger. Hence the desire to survive is paramount. When a baby is hungry, it cries until it is satisfied. As we develop, we learn to
control these primal instincts and act accordingly. For example, if we are hungry as adults, we learn to wait until it’s a suitable time to eat. Our motivation to be a part of acceptable society means that we conform to the accepted standards of behaviour.
You can see that human motivation is pretty powerful stuff
Our motivation to behave well can now be said to have risen above these primal urges. Our very survival now depends on our motivation to live, not as earlier in our lives, on our primal urges. Motivation can, and does, transcend our primal instinct to survive. A recently widowed person is, unfortunately, four times more likely to die than the average person of the same age. We want to live, and so we do. When we no longer have that motivation, we sometimes fade away. Having a strong motivation will therefore mean that you live a longer and more productive life. It is the will to live that gets people through extraordinary hardships. Take Aron Lee Ralston as an example, who performed amputation surgery on himself so that he could escape from being trapped under a boulder. It’s worth a read of Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man if you want an account of how man can survive in the worst possible situation. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is another classic. There is a new book that will join: The Rugmaker of Mazare-Sharif by Najaf Mazari. If you haven’t read them, please do, they are amazing books.
You can see that human motivation is pretty powerful stuff. It really shouldn’t be too difficult then to stay focused all day while working from home should it? High levels of inner motivation are required to work from home. You have to understand why you want to work from home, and what you’ll get out of it. When working from home, write down your motivation for doing this, why you want to work from home, what you want to get out of it and then list out your daily goals. Each time you achieve one; you’ll increase your motivation. Nothing motivates more than succeeding - and achieving goals is exactly that. If you can understand your motivation for doing anything, it makes it much easier to set your goals, and ultimately means you’ll achieve more and be happier while doing it. Contact: cellularattitude.co.uk Adam Caplan runs international sales training company, Cellular Attitude, as well as his sales recruitment company, Unique Sales Professionals, based in Leicester Square. He provides pre-trained sales staff to businesses as well as delivering his unique brand of sales training.
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marketing) haven Kimberly Davis of Sarsaparilla Marketing jetted off to Sicily. In addition to recharging her batteries she returned with useful tips ow, it’s not often that For example, when I first While all its competitors have reduced their prices, Hotel Imperiale’s prices have gone up
a hotel impresses me, but there’s a darn good reason why the Hotel Imperiale in Taormina, Sicily has been growing 30% each year, despite the recession. It’s not just the infinity pool, stunning views, helpful staff, and delicious food. There are three things make Hotel Imperiale special and successful: Identity – It’s a five-star luxury hotel that offers a five-star service, at a five-star price. While all its competitors have reduced prices, Hotel Imperiale’s have gone up. The team knows who they are, who their customers are, and are happy to focus on being the best in that niche. Doing thankless things – Successful businesses go that extra mile to do things that most people never even notice. But these things are what make a good experience great.
walked in, the staff knew who I was and welcomed me by name (and it wasn’t from The Apprentice, they did their homework). I was welcomed by name wherever I went, which made me feel cherished as a customer. Strong USP and brand – Hotel Imperiale is the “first and only” hotel to incorporate local materials, symbols, and colours throughout the property. They use volcanic rock from nearby Mount Etna in all the flooring, baths and walls, have tiling with Sicilian patterns in the bathroom and rooms are stunning green and orange. It gives the hotel charm and character you don’t get elsewhere. When I booked this trip, all I wanted was a clear blue sea and lovely food. That’s it. Instead, I had one of the most amazing trips of my life.
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TALK MARKETING KIMBERLY DAVIS
Before leaving, I contacted the Italian Tourist Board for brochures. But I received nothing that gave me any idea of what it could offer me. Even at the hotel, all I was given was a leaflet with two-sentence blurbs about excursions. I booked the Aeolian Islands and the sunset trip to Etna, with low expectations. Next thing I knew, I was 12,000 metres up on top of an active volcano, walking along craters, watching steam pour out behind me while the sun set below me. I walked on black sand beaches, and so much more. Needless to say, the tourism board could really use a serious marketing overhaul. (I’ll be sending them a copy of this article!) As entrepreneurs, we are often unable to switch off, but it’s vital that we do. You have to get out of your normal environment and completely detach. I didn’t think I could ignore my phone and emails, but I did. At first it was scary, but by the end, I felt liberated. Everything will be okay when you return. In fact, it will be better, as you’ll be full of life and focused. So, when you take that break, may I recommend the Hotel Imperiale? Be sure to tell them I sent you and send me your photos and thoughts. Ciao!
Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, author, and speaker. Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com
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TALK MARKETING SEO
Optimise your website James Doncaster, search marketing manager of White Space Design, explains how to perfect your SEO strategy
earch Engine Optimisation (SEO) has, for many years, been seen as a dark art peddled by snake oil salesmen who cheerfully tell you that you are guaranteed a number one spot in Google in no time. Thankfully, this viewpoint is now redundant. The way to make SEO work for your business is to think of the processes as a marketing tool. Forget about religiously gunning for a number one spot for a specific keyword – and focus on business goals, which increased search visibility can help you attain. This is all very well, you may be saying, but what is SEO? This is a good question, and everybody has a different answer but, put simply – good SEO should increase the visibility of your business’ content and proposition towards the right audience who are more likely to help you achieve your business goals.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE? Before you start optimising your content, or employ an SEO agency – ask yourself the question – what is the purpose
of your site? Is it to deliver key information about your business services to a specific audience? Is it to drive sales or leads? There will usually be a number of goals, not just one. Write these down in priority order; you’ll find this useful in focusing your attention and budget to those areas most important to the success of your site. For example, you may run an e-commerce site with a busy merchandising calendar launching seasonal products at different times of the year. The window of opportunity for channelling consumer interest for some of these products is likely to be slim, so ensuring your products are visible in search results before the consumer demand, should be high up on your list of priorities. FOCUS ON THE USER EXPERIENCE A good SEO strategy is one that makes life simple. Search engines should be able to find and index your content easily. But more importantly, it should be user-friendly. Best practice guidelines from Google constantly emphasise the need to focus on the
Put simply – good SEO should increase the visibility of your business’ content and proposition towards the right audience
user, from delivering unique engaging content, to ensuring site navigation is as intuitive as possible. This may sound simple, because it should be. However, it is often the case SEO strategies become muddled. Everybody has an opinion; there are thousands of blog posts from various “experts” offering differing viewpoints. Do not be afraid to stick to your website goals, and try not to deviate from these priorities. These goals should always be behind every change or piece of content on your website. WHO ARE YOU TARGETING? For an effective SEO strategy, it’s important to define who your audience is and the makeup of the demographic who are likely to visit your site. This is because, if you’re going to focus on the user experience, you need to know who your likely visitors are. Once you have a solid idea, you’ll need to ensure your content on site is matched up to the tone of voice and vocabulary of your target audience. This is because your potential visitors will be typing in keywords into search engines
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in an attempt to find content that answers their search query. In addition, your site’s blog posts and articles should be written with your audience and their vocabulary in mind. You should make a proactive effort to include well searched for keywords within your website copy – by using tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends, you can judge if a keyword is popular, and also gain ideas about similar keywords you could use.
For an effective SEO strategy, it’s important to define who your audience is and the make-up of the demographic who are likely to visit your site
HOW DO YOU ACTION YOUR PLAN? So you know who your audience is, and you have your defined goals. What next? There are essentially three main parts to an SEO strategy. Get your house in order - optimise your site from a technical perspective as much as possible. Do a cost benefit analysis on technical changes, as some changes may prove to be price-prohibitive and yield little benefit. Optimise your content and future content; ensure that your copy, articles and blogs on site are keyword-researched and relevant to your site’s audience. Concentrate on outreach and promotion - ensure your social media efforts, PR and marketing activities are working towards the same goal. HOW SHOULD YOU MEASURE SUCCESS? First of all, ensure you have a good analytics package installed. Google Analytics is a market leading, easy-toinstall, free service, which provides excellent insight into your visitor statistics. It is possible to set up “conversion goals” within analytics, which automatically log when somebody sends an inquiry through a contact form, or
downloads an online brochure. If possible, it’s effective to track your business goals through your online analytics package. Your measurement of success is down to what you find important, be it pure visitor
numbers, revenue, number of leads, or how many pages each visitor views. Do not worry too much about the micro-details; keep your business goals and visitor experience in mind.
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TALK MARKETING SOCIAL MEDIA
ou are what you share. Social media has become an integral part of our lives as individuals, and it is transforming the way we do business. Social media allows big companies to act small again, and therefore develop more personalised relationships with their target audience. Many business owners and marketing managers are becoming increasingly familiar with the big players: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These platforms have now been joined by a variety of others offering different features and USPs, leaving the social media arena saturated. These platforms are changing the marketing landscape, and businesses that do not stay up to date could be left behind. But what network is best for you? Hereâ€™s my breakdown.
to share? Katie King, managing director of social media agency Zoodikers Consulting, defines the main seven social media sites so you can judge which is best for your business
Twitter arrived on the social media scene in 2006, and now has more than 140 million registered users. Twitter is popular for its micro-blogging approach that enables the user to quickly share news and attach a photo or video. It is a great tool for businesses of all sizes as it enables you to reach out globally to an unlimited number of people with a punchy, 140-character message. International and local companies, both consumer and business-focused, are all exploiting the benefits of Twitter by growing and engaging their target audience. Think: To the point.
Facebook, once an internal university project, has now surpassed one billion registered users globally, spanning all age groups. B2C companies predominantly use Facebook to take advantage of the combination of mass and direct marketing, with an estimated 77% of B2C companies acquiring customers from Facebook. These companies are successfully able to deepen engagement with their target audience, as well as drive traffic to their websites through the use of organic campaigns or sponsored posts. Think: Business and consumer barrier removal.
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LinkedIn, born in 2002, is predominantly used as a professional networking tool. For the individual, the profile function is a current eCV. Individuals and businesses are both able to develop their networks, discover opportunities and get the latest industry news. LinkedIn enables businesses to create their own page where they can provide company details and post job opportunities. The group feature also promotes open discussion between members in order to generate buzz and create thought leadership. Think: Networking and B2B lead generation.
Google+ is one of the newest social media platforms, but with more than 359 million active users, its numbers surpass Twitter. Google Circles is the new way of organising people by their social group (friends, family & colleagues, etc.), allowing users to control the audience of their posts. The Hangouts feature enables users to run webinars, conduct meetings and video-chat with friends. Although many businesses have mentioned its similarities with Facebook, its clean and simple interface, as well as the sheer number of users that have already joined, puts Google+ in a very attractive position. Businesses using Google+ can also benefit from enhanced search engine results. Think: Tailored content.
Pinterest attracts its users through its visually appealing way of sharing information with followers. Instead of users trawling through long blogs, users are able to scroll through photos that are, to coin a phrase, “worth 1000 words”, and re-pin the photos to their profile. Pinterest can be a great platform for small businesses to develop relationships and engage with their customers. How-to photos can be pinned, as well as new company products, making it a great tool for retail businesses. Businesses can also encourage user-generated content by creating competitions and opening up customer boards. Think: Getting involved with customers.
Instagram is one of the most popular photo and video apps available. It was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion just two years after creation. This enhanced Facebook’s photo-sharing attraction. Instagram users are able to add filters to their photos and videos, and share through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Beyond sharing photos, the business benefits of Instagram are yet to be established. However the launch of Instagram profiles, a desktop interface, has enabled predominantly B2C companies to further market their products and brand, especially those posting creative and innovative photos that are of interest. Think: Visual company story.
Vine is a dedicated video app that enables its users to create and post video clips of up to six seconds. It was founded in 2012, and by the end of the year Twitter purchased Vine. Similar to Instagram, Vine’s videos can be shared through Twitter and Facebook, and the follower/following function works in the same way as Twitter. Due to its six second limit, Vine is a social media tool that demands creativity. All businesses can utilise this tool to create six second adverts that cover anything from case studies to company trivia. Think: Fun, creative burst.
Talk Business tip You may have mastered the main sites but how do you know you’re reaching your audience? Klout is a free online service where you can check and monitor your level of influence via social media sites. It gives you a number between one to 100. Theo Paphitis has 82, while Barack Obama has 99. At the time of writing ours was 51 – we’re going to follow their tips to raise our game. Watch this space. Contact: klout.com
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*The OďŹƒce for National Statistics
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TALK MARKETING PROMOTIONS
Campaign catastrophes Dawn Murden looks at some of the biggest promotional fails around the globe
FREE FLIGHT FIASCO Many of you may remember this one. In 1993 the British division of The Hoover Company was carrying a large surplus stock of washing machines and vacuum cleaners. So they gave away free air tickets to customers who purchased £100 or more worth of products. Initially, the airline tickets were two round-trip tickets to Europe, but later expanded to the US. With US flights costing a great deal more than £100, customers (understandably) flocked to buy appliances and claim their free flights. But the company hadn’t anticipated the enormous response from consumers. It was overwhelmed with demand for tickets (and new appliances) and while customers spent around £100, the flights cost Hoover £500! The legal case lasted six years and cost the company almost £50m. HAVE A VIRUS ON US In 2006, McDonalds gave away 10,000 MP3 players in Japan. But winners got much more than they bargained for – as well as 10 free songs, the players contained a nasty virus. If they connected their new music player to their computers, the worm could
infect the computer and steal personal data. As soon as McDonald’s realised, it warned prizewinners and offered software that could remove the virus. It also offered winners the chance to swap their MP3 player for a new replacement. Mind you, after all that, I think I would have just paid for an iPod! EVERYONE’S A WINNER “Today you could be a millionaire!” Pepsi’s adverts proclaimed across Philippine newspapers, radio and television in 1992. Pepsi printed numbers on bottles caps and offered one million pesos (around £51,000) to the lucky winner of the lottery-style draw. When 349 was announced on the nightly news as the winning ticket, thousands of winners came forward. Pepsi had printed 800,000 caps with 349 on them. Pepsi paid a bit of cash for each cap, and angry customers attacked bottling plants and trucks.
Owner, Rachel Brown vastly underestimated the popularity of the deal and was inundated when 8,500 people signed up for the £6.50 bargain. She ended up losing between £2.50 and £3 on each batch she sold, and had to pay £12,000 for the extra costs of hiring staff and sending the products out, wiping out her profit for the year. Mrs Brown said that the experience was “without doubt, the worst business decision I have ever made”.
It was overwhelmed with demand for tickets (and new appliances) and while customers spent around £100, the flights cost Hoover £500!
THE COUPON CURSE The Need a Cake Bakery in Reading, Berkshire, launched an offer via the money-saving website Groupon, which offered a 75% discount on 12 cupcakes, normally worth £26.
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Get it right Jeremy Stern, managing director of PromoVeritas, the global independent promotional verification and compliance specialist, gives his five tips on promotion success
he word “promotion” can cover anything from a simple discount coupon to a prize draw, a competition or a complex Willy Wonkastyle instant win promotion. All are useful tools in the marketer’s toolbox. However they also carry risks – and can be detrimental to both brand reputations and budgets (as you’ve just read). In order to protect your promotion and avoid disappointed consumers, or getting into trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), I suggest the following tips:1. Take the time to plan your promotion carefully from start to finish. Split your timeline into three phases – pre-promotion, live phase and post promotion. Develop all three timelines at the very start of the promotion. If you aren’t spending equal amounts of time planning each of the three phases, then you should think hard about whether you are missing anything. 2. Invest in solid terms and conditions – good terms and conditions will save you time and money. They are vital evidence that you have thought through the entire promotion. And remember, you can’t change your T&Cs once they are published, so begin with the end in mind! Good T&Cs will limit questions you get about the
promotion and make it harder for consumers and fraudsters to manipulate your promotion. At a minimum, your terms and conditions must include a start and end date for the promotion, together with any exclusions or limits, how to enter, prize details and promoter contact details. Writing terms is a skill, so use someone who is good at it. 3. Try to rip off your own promotion – people will often try to defraud your promotion. One can buy 10,000 Facebook likes for about £60, which can be a problem if you are running a voting-based Facebook promotion. Or scampers will try to hack your servers to find the winning codes for your promotions, or cheats will submit photos copied from professional image sites in order to try to win photo competitions. Coupons are cash, and if not well managed it is very easy for a box to disappear at any point along the supply chain or for people to try photocopying or printing vouchers themselves. Think like a fraudster, and make sure your terms and conditions give you the ability to protect yourself. 4. Read the Committee of Advertising Practice code – the CAP Code is an industry code that is enforced by the ASA and all marketing activities
in the UK need to adhere to it. It’s there to protect brands as much as to protect consumers. Failures may not result in major formal sanctions, but social media makes it very easy for a little problem to be magnified and gain public awareness. 5. Think about your budget – have you got enough budget to cover realistic response rates. Unless you take precautions you could find that your entire budget has gone in an instant because a promotion was more popular than anticipated. As marketing director at Sega, I remember having to cancel vital pre-Christmas promotions, all because a summer campaign exceeded forecasts by a mile. We took a hammering at Christmas too! Consider taking out promotional insurance or a fixed fee deal with a specialist, and make sure that you protect yourself with solid terms and conditions.
Try to rip off your own promotion – people will often try to defraud your promotion
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The MD microscope HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS? I’d often be handed flyers for start-up or small businesses that had been put together by someone on a Microsoft Office package or Photoshop. Quite often, the general message got lost and the look and feel gave a less professional impression. When I talked to people about why this was, the answer was nearly always the same. Either they didn’t have the budget or time to go to a professional graphic designer or they didn’t understand the impact of a poorly put together piece of promotional material. So we created a library of professional designs, created by real designers and made them editable for people to personalise online and have them printed. HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? Challenge number one was design content. We set out to build the largest library of online editable designs in the world. To encourage designers to contribute design work to the library, we pay a royalty every time one of their designs is sold. This has helped us grow the library to more than 100,000 designs across nine different languages. This means we have plenty of options for businesses looking to promote.
Dawn Murden caught up with Gavin Cockerill, managing director of Flyerzone, about marketing and what he watches on YouTube WHAT ARE YOUR THREE TOP MARKETING TIPS? 1) Precision: Keep your message clear, and above all, brief. Overloading with information can dilute your message and make it less likely to be understood. 2) Action: Be clear about what you want people to do after reading your marketing collateral. Are they supposed to contact you? Go to your website? Include directions that make the call to action easy for your intended audience to follow. 3) Relevance: Make sure that you are hitting the right notes for your intended audience. How well do you know them and know what they want? You don’t need to undertake extensive and expensive market research to do this; ask your existing customers.
Without it I wouldn’t have a business and I’d never be able to get any food in the house or watch YouTube clips of worlds funniest cats
for example, is likely to cost around £20 on Flyerzone, which is around a quarter of what a traditional graphic designer might charge. WHICH SINGLE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? The internet. Without it, I wouldn’t have a business and I’d never be able to get any food in the house or watch YouTube clips of worlds funniest cats. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR, AND WHY? I like red, it’s the colour of Flyerzone, and we chose it because it’s supposed to represent energy, motivation and stimulation. Contact: flyerzone.co.uk
DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY ETHOS IN NO MORE THAN SIX WORDS. Real design by real designers. HOW MUCH CAN FLYERZONE SAVE A TYPICAL CLIENT? A double-sided design containing three stock images
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The ZERO hour contract
Neil Pickering, marketing manager at workforce management company Kronos UK, looks at the debate around zero hour contracts ne consequence of the tough economic conditions is employers increasingly seeing the zero hour contract as a cost-effective solution to staffing issues and managing resources. Employees who sign a zero hour contract agree to be available for work as and when required, but no particular number of hours or times of work are specified. This arrangement has clear benefits for employers, but the issues around the legality and the implications on employees have led to concerns. Further investigations from a number of organisations are underway. Certainly zero hour contracts are very much on the business agenda, but is anyone really getting value from them?
AN ELEMENT OF CONTROL While it can be argued zero hour contracts can offer a quick fix for businesses in terms of flexibility, this is no substitute for control.
In the long run, organisations need accurate, real-time visibility across their whole workforce. Managers need to understand the importance of being in control of when employees are working, where they have been deployed and the skill sets at their disposal. Of course organisations will suffer from unexpected fluctuation in resourcing requirements, and there will be times when they will need to dramatically ramp up, or down, their employee base. But where employers have a well balanced workforce with a mix of full-time/parttime and flexible contracted employees, managed by a fit-for-purpose workforce management system, there should be no problem meeting customer demand. In comparison, widespread deployment of staff on zero hour contracts is actually an inefficient staffing solution, which could lead to wasted time and money and missed opportunities to improve the bottom line.
While it can be argued zero hours contracts can offer a quick fix for businesses in terms of flexibility, this is no substitute for control
MORALE AND ENGAGEMENT Managers need to review how their resourcing solutions affect staff morale and employee engagement. Itâ€™s vitally important to ensure that all employees still feel part of the overall organisational culture. Managers must create a culture of confidence among the workforce, and reiterate the value added by all workers, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or zero hour contractors. There is also an element of subjectivity from managers when scheduling employees, and this could result in an unfair spread of hours between zero contract staff, with some not receiving any shifts. This can be avoided by optimised scheduling software, where the process is completely fair to all employees involved and should be a consideration for the future. Where zero hour contracts are widespread, employee engagement will inevitably suffer and that negatively impacts on both productivity and customer service. WHERE NEXT? The future for zero hour contracts is far from certain. The widespread press attention and interest from Government, unions, and other organisations means that tighter legislation can only be a matter of time. Managers must look at more sustainable solutions. For example, review the technology they use to manage their workforce and how they interpret data. By doing this they can reduce the unpredictability and workforce challenges, which they may face in the future and the need for zero hours employees.
TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY
Secret diary of an entrepreneur K im Bird worked previously as a funeral arranger and as a bereavement support volunteer. After personal bereavement and years of research, Kim founded her website with one aim in mind – to provide a simple supportive service.
DAY 1: STILL LEARNING I am excited and daunted about the week ahead. On Friday we launch our new online service at the biennial National Funeral Exhibition, and unveil it to industry peers and professionals whose opinions really matter. The bereavement support side of the business has been established for a while but the comparison site has been ten years in the making and will be revealed in just four days. Later, I receive the final artwork for issue one of our not-for-profit magazine, Day by Day. Because of my own experiences, I am passionate about support and want to provide a library of information to help. I am delighted with the publication and the cover. I finalise the distribution list of GP surgeries, funeral directors, hospices and hospitals and give the printer the OK. A very quick turnaround is required. In the afternoon, I go to my web developer’s. I seem to be
Kim Bird, founder of the UK’s independent funeral comparison and review site rightchoicefunerals.com, give us an insight into her working week
Because of my own experiences, I am passionate about support and want to provide a library of information to help
living there at the moment as creating a national comparison and review site is a huge task. It seems that just as one part of the site is sorted, another opportunity to enhance it appears. I started this journey with good IT knowledge, but recognise there is always room to improve and learn more. It is amazing the different skills I am learning along the way, certainly a far wider and more interesting range than when I worked for someone else. This variety is what entrepreneurs thrive on when setting up a new venture. I finish the day signing off our brochure, popup stand and presentation. DAY 2: IN THE FAMILY I have been asked to write a piece for a leading industry funeral magazine, giving funeral directors ideas on how to market in the digital age. I have much to say about the subject, but to fit it into 500 words is not easy. Two hours later, the piece is complete and I run it past my PR agency. I’m pleased to get it back with only minor changes. After lunch I set off to Cardiff for a photoshoot. I loathe
having my picture taken. The photographer was brilliant and put me at ease. The photos came out well and we have enough to last a while, so mission accomplished. I took along a tin that my aunt left me. She, along with my grandmother, used to lay out the bodies in her neighbourhood. The tin is full of funeral memorial cards, many of them Victorian, all bursting with history. The bereaved would send printed memorial cards announcing their loss to family and friends, as this was far less distressing than writing. They help keep me focused on the sensitivity required and purpose of my business. DAY 3: CHARITY SUPPORT Today kicks off with a meeting with my mentor from Business Wales. I realised early on that setting up a business, especially in the early stages, could be very lonely. Everyone needs a sounding board and good advice from someone with experience. Mike has been invaluable since I started this journey, and we spend today’s session talking through the
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launch on Friday and setting goals for the event. Later, I have a rewarding afternoon liaising with the three charities we support: Late Spring, Winston’s Wish, and Macmillan Cancer Support. All our advertising revenue from the magazine goes to these outstanding organisations and I like to keep in contact with them to get updates on events or fundraising activities they’re running.
the doors open and the visitors pour in. Having a business idea is one thing but taking it to the next level and putting it under the spotlight for the industry to comment on is quite another. Delegates gave the service great feedback and started signing up their organisations to take part. I can’t express how satisfying that is after all the years of research and hard work that went before.
DAY 4: LAW AND ORDER I start the day meeting with my solicitor to review the terms and conditions that need to be in place for the website. I also have to approve the SLA for funeral providers. Then in the afternoon I meet my PR agency to discuss the launch and the plan for the next six months. They are a great team and have so much energy and creativity. It’s always a great day when we bounce ideas around and develop new angles. The nature of the business poses some creative challenges, the biggest of which is people’s reluctance to talk about death. But every family needs what I call the “kitchen table chat” to give everyone a chance to express their funeral wishes. Giving the deceased the funeral service you know they would have wanted is very fulfilling for the family, and I am convinced helps the grieving process. Later, I leave Cardiff and head for Warwickshire, the venue for tomorrow’s big event.
The nature of the business poses some creative challenges, the biggest of which is our reluctance to talk about death
DAY 5: JUST DESERTS The new pop-up stand is incredibly straightforward and looks fantastic. This is quite a moment – preparing to unveil the service that has dominated my life for so many years. But I don’t have too long to reflect as
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Creating Business Fusion The Sterling Integrity Show is a fantastic opportunity for business decision makers to grow their business by a combination of marketing, networking & exhibiting with positive and dynamic delegates and fellow exhibitors. The environment and ambiance is busy, fun, and friendly, whilst maintaining high levels of professionalism focused on bringing people together making a perfect platform for growing your business. Being non-industry specific, businesses from all backgrounds, find new and productive ways to help their business grow. Grow new contacts or develop existing relationships, discover new suppliers, reduce costs and gain valuable industry knowledge from our expert exhibitors & workshops.
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your business? Want to make new connections in the South? Then head to the Southampton Business Show on 7 November.
he Southampton Business Show is taking place at The Ageas Bowl on Thursday 7 November 2013 and is being supported by Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Talk Business Magazine. The free premier show, for small to medium sized businesses, has recently announced several key show features, for the B2B exhibition, including over 90 exhibition stands, work-place pension workshops, fantastic free seminars, a network cafe and speed networking with 4Networking. Matthew Larcome, Event Director at Memo Events, organisers of the Southampton Business Show, says: ‘Businesses across the country will be attending the business show in Southampton. It’s the largest business to business event South of London and a real showcase of what the region has to offer in terms of suppliers. We’re also delighted with our line-up of speakers including the brilliant Brad Burton, the guy who founded 4Networking and The Apprentice finalist, Neil Clough who just missed out on his chance of winning the reality TV show earlier this year.’ With up to 1,000 visitors expected to attend the one-day event, visiting the Southampton Business Show is your chance to gain new contacts and create real business opportunities. Visitors will also have the opportunity to network and find all the suppliers they need to save money and grow. Keynote speakers confirmed for the show include: Neil Clough – finalist on this year’s series of The Apprentice; Brad Burton – founder of the UK’s largest business network; and Ian Dickson – one of the country’s leading motivational speakers. Companies who are also looking to promote themselves in the South
are invited to exhibit at the business exhibition. Shell scheme stands are available from as little as £200 per square metre and will provide any business the chance to meet face to face with hundreds of potential customers, generate sales leads and raise regional awareness.
Further information on exhibiting your services at the Southampton Business Show can be obtained by contacting Event Director, Matthew Larcome at Memo Events on 01256 838386 or by emailing info@ memoevents.co.uk. To register for free tickets or to learn more about the business show, go to: southampton businessshow.co.uk
Focus on Networking
Keynote speakers for the business show in Southampton
The dynamic workplace Heather Manson, managing director of HR Insight, considers how the workplace has changed and the issues involved n the beginning, work meant getting into the office, sitting at your boxed-in desk all day, working, clock-watching and daydreaming, until going home, sometimes via the pub, then more of the same tomorrow. Today, the working environment has changed dramatically with the increased use of technology and also the demands of an altered work/ life balance. So what issues do employers face when ensuring employees are productive and not endangering the business?
THE OPEN PLAN OFFICE Open environments may create issues. How people are arranged so they can communicate without disrupting others and how to ensure confidentiality are all challenges employers face. Clearly, it is not acceptable to discuss a performance issue with an employee in the open office where others can hear the conversation, but is it really obvious when calling an employee to a quiet room for a chat? As managers sit closer to their employees, it is harder to discuss an employeeâ€™s failings
and then return to the open plan environment together, as if nothing happened. CHANGING LEGISLATION As the law changes in the next two years, we will see the right to request flexible working being extended to all employees, which means employers may have to think differently when looking at the working environment. This could eliminate some issues, but, as always, raise others. HOME OFFICE Increasingly, employees are working away from the office. Technologies, and the demands for a more flexible working environment, have increased the options for home working, raising a different range of HR concerns. Deciding who can work from home and how often, is the obvious but most overlooked issue. Requests to work from home can come from people who need to be in the office, whether for meetings, or supervising others. It becomes difficult to persuade them to be office bound when others get to stay home. Managing home workersâ€™
Today the working environment has changed dramatically with the increased use of technology and also the demands of an altered work/life balance
performance only really works for roles with defined outcomes, where the actual working hours are less important than results. Performance benchmarks are critical to ensure homeworkers are as productive as possible. THINK SAFE The company must ensure the working environment is safe and appropriate, both to prevent accidents, but also to protect the company data. If employers require homeworkers to use their personal computers for work, it is advisable to ensure they keep company data separate and private. Homeworkers may feel isolated and ignored, so employers should consider regular office-based meetings or events as part of the agreement to work from home. TECHNOLOGY Smartphones and tablets allow employees to remain in touch whilst travelling but also bring HR concerns. Think data protection and discrete phone conversations in public places and what others can see on their screens when out and about. Employers may require employees to pay for lost or damaged machines, and remember lost information could result in prosecution from the Information Commissioner. Employers should cover this in IT and disciplinary policies. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk
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Trustworthy, Effective, Tailored, Flexible & Assured We offer Tailored HR support packages for Small and Medium Enterprises... are you employing staff? Then get your key HR policies and practices in place. For instance, Contracts of Employment are critical, they may sound simple but get them wrong and they become potential time bombs for your business resulting in unnecessary costs, de-motivated workforce and loss of business reputation. Let us act as your recruitment partner… while you focus on your business critical matters let us act as your Trusted and Effective business partner: identifying the key skill sets you really need, establishing robust recruitment processes to find the right person and most importantly, identifying the motivations to recruit and retain the right people. An engaged workforce is productive, supportive and loyal: All thriving businesses are continually evolving and changing. This results in constant changes in the size and skill needs of your workforce. Our significant experience of developing methodology in growing and maintaining employee engagement allows your staff to understand and quickly adapt to change needs. Mediation support services: Unfortunately conflict exists in all workplaces at some point - this is when you really need an HR expert on your side. Experience shows that employers who can resolve conflict in a speedy and effective way, then create trust and respect within the workforce leading to increased productivity and performance. Mediation services quickly shift the process from conflict to good employee relationship development without the use of formal grievance procedures. Why choose HR Solutions 4 Business...clearly most SME’s don’t need full time HR staff and services and sometimes try to get by with unqualified people. With the ever growing mountain of legislation being place on business getting it wrong can be catastrophic. We offer our vast experience as a Packaged Project and/or a simple low cost Retained Service to suit your business needs. This allows us to provide an Assured, Flexible and affordable HR Solution. Why not give us a try: Just a 30 minute phone call or a short visit, after a few questions we build a picture of your business and establish if you have the right Policies, Processes and Practices in place for your type of business. Alternatively if you have a specific HR support need then do not hesitate to contact us via telephone or Email.
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o w r e k l i n b o w i r g e k l x i n b r i e g i x l g r e f h i l g t f t h e t t GGe Ray McGroarty, global director for enterprise UC Solutions at Polycom, breaks down what SMEs need to consider when implementing flexible working
lexible working is now becoming an important workplace trend in Britain. Many companies are now realising that by enforcing an “in office” policy, they can in fact hinder their chances of success. A recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found that 94% of UK businesses offer some form of flexible working, while another survey revealed that workers are up to 39% more productive when working from home than when they are in the office. Businesses are realising additional benefits ranging from decreased travel costs or a reduction in the number of people working in the office to an increased ability to recruit the best candidates for any role, regardless of their location. The benefits are well reported. But what does it actually take to introduce flexible working in a small company? To get the most out of a flexible working policy, employers and staff should be fully prepared. First of all, employees need to be able to access all shared resources, so connectivity is an important issue. This might be through
a VPN connection or cloud applications, but reliability is vital as any downtime will mean lost productivity. Employees also need to know who to contact if they do experience connectivity issues. Internet service providers supply varying bandwidths in different areas, so it’s important to consider the requirements of your employees and advise them to select their internet supplier carefully. Secondly, you need to make sure that your dispersed workforce can easily get hold of each other to be able to discuss ongoing work and share ideas. This can include basic tools, such as instant messaging services, or more sophisticated video collaboration technologies that simulate an office experience. In this way, handpicked teams can work together on projects from wherever they are. Modern video solutions are more suited than ever to collaboration as they allow for content sharing, meaning documents can be edited by all those involved in the meeting. Last but not least, one of the most important aspects for an SME to consider when
The benefits are well reported. But what does it actually take to introduce flexible working in a small company?
introducing flexible working is the culture shift. It’s essential to make all team members feel valued and supported, no matter where they are. Some employees worry they will be off radar if they work from home, and less likely to be promoted. Having regular line management meetings and appraisals is important as it confirms that the work they contribute is recognised and appreciated. Allowing your employees to work from home is a clear indicator of your trust in their ability to produce high quality work, but you may wish to set aside a regular day on which you meet face to face, until they become accustomed to working remotely. By adopting flexible working, SMEs can not only cut costs and increase productivity – they can dramatically improve their staff’s work-life balance, which can be instrumental in retaining valued employees. Everyone has different stages where a traditional nine-tofive routine may be more or less convenient, so by giving employees this choice SMEs can incentivise them to stay with the company long term.
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Talk Business teamed up with Pendo Deals to hold the coolest business networking event of the year he Talk Business team love getting out there and meeting people. We especially love networking events with a twist, so when recently launched website, Pendo Deals asked us to sponsor their Summer N’ Snow networking launch event at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, we jumped at the chance. The centre was rented out exclusively for the Talk Business and Pendo teams and 150 professionals. We carved the slope like pros (although our editor, Dawn did fall off the button lift and our sales and marketing manager, Scott spent some time on his back), and sledged down the Arctic Alley before meeting other attendees in the bar. There was also a raffle, which raised money for Fair Haven Hospice. Pendo Deals is going to build on the concept of networking with a twist, and we can’t wait to continue working with them. Of course, plenty of deals are secured in restaurants but there’s something unique about swapping business cards before challenging your prospective client to a race down the piste!
Contact: pendodeals.co.uk To see the rest of the photos, visit talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/2013/08/ pendo-deals-talk-business-ski-event
1. A pro jumping the Pendo Deals sign – sadly this is none of the Talk Business team. 2. Scott whizzing down the Arctic Alley. 3. Dawn trying to help Scott up. 4. Our MD Jay on the slope.
About Pendo Deals Pendo Deals is a deals website exclusively for the B2B market, offering a variety of selected deals with substantial discounts from exclusive suppliers (it’s a bit like Groupon for businesses). From 50% off social media marketing, a whopping 60% off team building days and 25% off a years’ subscription to Talk Business, Pendo offers huge savings on the stuff businesses need and want. It’s free to sign up to the Pendo community and enjoy these great savings, and it’s also free to promote an offer with them, helping you to boost sales, increase brand exposure, build online presence and gain targeted access to a niche, eager-to-buy audience.
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uilding an image is not pretending to be something we’re not, and it’s no substitute for sound knowledge and
skills, but a carefully managed image will help by giving a true reflection of your abilities – which we could call your personal brand. The key to developing your personal brand is to create a consistent message – how do you want others to see you? What do you want them to believe about you, before you even open your mouth? Think of three words to sum up how you would like others to see you. These words may change depending on the people or the occasion, but having these words in mind will help you choose, plan and shop for clothes. For example, your words might include: professional, authoritative, fun, approachable, successful, creative, knowledgeable, friendly, trendy, interesting or powerful. When you have chosen your words, think how the words
build a personal brand Expert image consultant, coach and trainer, Gail Morgan, discusses how to create the perfect personal brand
The key to developing your personal brand is to create a consistent message – how do you want others to see you?
might look as garments, outfits, and accessories or as part of your grooming – this will help you to select (and reject) items that don’t meet your criteria. It is important to remember that these attributes could look different depending on your industry or your clients. Professional in the city, banking or law will probably require you to wear a dark, tailored suit whereas professional in a creative industry could be a shirt/blouse with a smart pair of jeans. Another key element is great grooming – clean, neatly styled hair, great skin, clean clothes, subtle make-up, well maintained hands and nails. All these elements suggest that you take time and care over your appearance so you are likely to do the same in your work. If you want to be seen as authoritative and in control, use tailored garments and wear high contrasting light and dark colours together, for example a dark navy suit with a white shirt/top. Conversely to look more approachable, wear toneon-tone shades, for example a navy suit with a mid blue shirt/ top. When there are stark colour contrasts, or if you dress in black, this can act as a shield or barrier - perfect if you are giving a presentation but not so good if you are coaching and want to be seen as approachable. You can make your outfits interesting and creative with the use of accessories – an interesting necklace, a statement tie, great shoes or a colourful scarf.
Also be aware of the little things that can make or break your overall image – do you use a decent pen? Is your watch creating the right impression? Is your mobile, tablet, or laptop up to date? Although these things might not be important to you, they may be vital to the customer or client that you are meeting for the first time. Choosing these three words can really help you define your personal brand and get focussed - so think about how you want to be seen. And as Shakespeare once said: “Apparel oft proclaims the man”. Gail Morgan, AKA The Image Trainer, specialises in simplifying people’s wardrobes and helping them create their personal brand. Contact: theimagetrainer.co.uk
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TALK IMAGE FASHION
LOOK THE BUSINESS:
tone on tone BLUE Red Herring shirt, £18, Debenhams Trousers, £35, Marks & Spencer Blue tie, £9.50, Marks and Spencer
mens RED Collezione shirt, £35, Marks & Spencer Red Herring chinos, £30, Debenhams All Saint shoes, £135, Dune
Stockist details: marksandspencer.com; debenhams.com; dune.co.uk
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SHARE OPTIONS AND OTHER FASHION TEXT
TALK IMAGE TECHNOLOGY
Ladies and gentlemen, mixing and matching colour tones makes you look approachable - perfect for mentoring or customer service. So, add this tonal attire to your wardrobe.
BROWN Two-tone shirt, £25, Fifty Plus Linen chinos, £25, Marks & Spencer Laurel bag, £45, Monsoon
LADIES PURPLE Pleated Georgette blouse, £39, Kaleidoscope Lucy jeans, £45, Monsoon Banana heel, £45, Kaleidoscope
Stockist details: kaleidoscope.co.uk; monsoon.co.uk; fiftyplus.co.uk; marksandspencer.com
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TALK IMAGE LOCATIONS
Hot spots PRESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS
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
AWAY ON BUSINESS PRESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS Where? Located in the heart of Kensington, a short walk from shops, bars, restaurants and Earls Court. What? Beautifully designed luxury apartments, one bedroom or studio, with all the mod cons you need for a short or long stay. It’s the ideal alternative for a travelling professional seeking peace and privacy. Stays from £170 a night. Why choose Presidential Apartments? It’s your home from home, stocked with everything you need, including a flat screen TV, DVD player, all kitchen utensils, and a stylish bathroom. Perfect for a lone traveller, business partners, or families as some apartments can sleep up to four. Contact: presidentialapartments.co.uk
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EVENTS AND GATHERINGS HOLIDAY INN, STRATFORD Where? Stratford Westfield, a five-minute walk away from Stratford station. What? A range of seven fullyequipped, state-of-the-art conference rooms that would suit a training group for ten people or a meeting of 80. Why choose Holiday Inn? It boasts panoramic views of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the city skyline. Guests will have easy access to Canary Wharf and Kings Cross station. Contact: hilondonstratford.co.uk MEET AND EAT PREZZO Where? Prezzo has 180 branches all over Britain, from Aberdeen to Falmouth. What? An Ialian chain launched in 2000. Each restaurant is individually designed, often
within a listed building or near a place of interest. Why choose Prezzo? Eat Italian food in a comfortable and contemporary atmosphere for a reasonable price – around £25 a head for a three-course meal. If you’re trying to impress a client, choose somewhere swankier but it you want simple, fairly priced food with no frills, Prezzo is a good chain. Contact: prezzorestaurants.co.uk
THE OFFICE GROUP
HOLIDAY INN, STRATFORD
OFFICES AND HUBS THE OFFICE GROUP, EUSTON Where? One Euston Square, nearby Kings Cross St Pancras station. What? A hub in Euston offering individual offices with or without furnishings, meeting rooms, a boardroom, telephone booths, communal areas and ClubRooms. Why choose The Office Group? Whether you’re a company or freelancer who needs a traditional office, virtual office or a base for a few hours, The Office Group will have something for you. Work from an individual office, open tables, semi-private booths or lounges. Contact: theofficegroup.co.uk
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We love… This month, our best bits include a collection of erasable pens and a fun football table for the staff room. Enjoy! LOOK FLAWLESS Ladies, you’ve got a business event or an awards to attend, perhaps you’re even one of the nominees. You’re going to want to look your best, so try Dollz. They offer a great service for corporate events and red carpet awards and put you in touch with the best hair and make-up artists in your area. You can book stress-free online and they listen carefully to your needs. Contact: thedollz.co.uk/events FUN GOALS Have your employees ever complained that there’s nothing to do in the staff room? Do you want to be seen as a fun boss or perhaps organise more team bonding activities in the office? How about this Fireball ITSF Competition Football Table? At £875 it’s pricier than a TV or radio for the office, but we’re sure your staff would get hours of fun from it. Contact: libertygames.co.uk
THE PERFECT PEN Don’t you hate it when you have cross outs and scribbles all over your diary or notepad? Never cross out again with the Frixon erasable pen collection. The range of Pilot products allow you to cleanly erase and re-write. Simply remove mistakes with the eraser stud – the gel ink responds to heat generated by the eraser. Contact: pilot-frixion.eu
GRAPE GIFT If you need a gift for a client, customer, or even an incentive for your staff, you should give fromvineyardsdirect.com a go. The website offers a small range of delicious wines from France, Italy and Spain. Imported direct from growers and delivered to your door, the wines can be presented in a box and you can add a message too. Contact: fromvineyardsdirect.com/1gifts.php
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HELP YOURSELF ITâ€™S FREE
For free legal guidance and to draft your own documents, for free, visit
www.simplifythelaw.co.uk Simplify_Sept_FP_v1.indd 1
ou’d expect a techhead to say nothing less, but the modern office encapsulates the very best of 21st century achievement – it’s a microcosm of the technological leaps and bounds we’ve made over the past few years. We live in an age where everyone is expected to be accessible 24-hours a day, sevendays a week. Technology has not just allowed us to work more efficiently; it has revolutionised the environments in which businesses can be run, as well as transforming the ways in which we consume and digest information. It’s no exaggeration to say that the traditional brick-walled office will soon be a thing of the past – that’s in no small part thanks to tech. Take the mobile phone, which in the 1980s was just an expensive and impractical luxury reserved for the bankers and stockbrokers of Wall Street and the Square Mile. Fast-forward to today and the smartphone is an essential gadget of any professional. It’s impossible to imagine how we managed our lives without them, let alone our businesses. A cynic might say this has led to us working more than ever before, meaning even the personal lives of employees now lie at the mercy of employers.
Our man in the valley Our resident tech expert, David Richards reviews technology’s impact on the modern office But consider the further opportunities that technological advancements have allowed. My firm, WANdisco, is co-headquartered in Silicon Valley and Sheffield. Thanks to today’s technology, I’m able to wake up at my home in California and still work with colleagues in Yorkshire. Being able to meet with clients and manage staff on the other side of the world has given us complete control over how our business operates and, more importantly, how it expands. When we started, we were based solely in California. As we grew, we decided to move some operations overseas, setting up a separate office in the UK dedicated to software development. The best is yet to come for the offices of the 21st century. Developments in the big data market will soon transform the way in which firms interact with their customers – all by tapping into the large swathes of electronic information that’s being gathered every second of every day. As technology advances, we find ourselves in a situation where more data is being created than ever before –
it’s doubled in the last five years and is set to grow about 20% annually due to the speed at which the digital industry is developing. The next step for businesses – big and small – is working out how to break these large sets of data up in ways in which they can be useful. Tech developments have not only transformed the way the modern office is set up – they’ve altered the very DNA of the modern business. Contact: wandisco.com
Technology has not just allowed us to work more efficiently; it has revolutionised the environments in which businesses can be run David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both Silicon Valley and Sheffield.
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Join cloud 9
Russell Cook, managing director of cloud solution provider SIRE Technology, reveals the benefits of the cloud and what SMEs need to look for when choosing a provider here is a lot of talk about cloud computing but many SMEs may be wondering if this can really benefit them or is just for larger organisations. But the answer is yes. Cloud computing is the next stage in the internet’s evolution and, managed correctly, provides the means through which everything, from computing power to computing infrastructure, applications and business processes can be delivered to your business as a service, wherever and whenever you need it. It offers any organisation significant benefits, including flexibility and business continuity, regardless of its size or the nature of its business. Your IT systems need to be flexible to respond to everchanging demands of your business. Cloud systems can be easily expanded to match business development at a speed and cost that matches your requirements. This
T Cloud computing is the next stage in the internet’s evolution
delivers real improvements in terms of efficiency and peace of mind for your business. The old model of purchasing a server to do a job was based on estimates and business goals over the server’s predicted life time, so if, in three years time, the demands of the business were for a thousand users, then the system would be specified to deal with this. One of three scenarios would unfold; firstly, the sizing was correct but the server would be over specified for the first two years of its life. Secondly, the business would over-perform and the server would need upgrading or replacing before its useful life expectancy an unexpected expense, or thirdly, the business never reaches its goals and the server is under-used. BUSINESS CONTINUITY It is estimated that 50% of businesses do not have a business continuity
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TALK TECHNOLOGY CLOUD COMPUTING
programme. Protection of data was previously the realm of tape backups, but recently there is a move to use USB-type devices. There is no doubt that, as the technology gets smaller, the quantity of data is getting larger, as is the problem of storage and access. With a cloud-based solution, a realtime record of all your business activities can be secured and accessed within moments in the face of a disruption - and a key element of your continuity planning, is covered. This is reassuring for you and your customers, and meets the due diligence requirements of the directors and officers who will be liable if the data is lost and it is proven that no steps were taken to ensure data continuity. ELIMINATING CONCERNS AND SAVING SPACE Closely allied with business continuity is the 100% availability of uptime via cloud solutions, with no disruption to your service while backups and rebooting of physical systems takes place. Most clouds have built-in redundancy and coupled with the ability to change settings behind the scenes means that taking an application down for maintenance is almost unheard of.
Many software packages issue regular upgrades and enhancements, and there may be concerns as to whether existing hardware has the capacity to cope with the latest release. The cloud-based solution will take it in its stride, and is able to take some legacy systems and port them to a cloud service. Finally, physical space saving - even though unbelievable levels of processing power can now be housed in hand-held and desktop devices, businesses do need some space for IT. By moving this aspect of your business to the cloud, this is one concern that can be crossed off the list. One of the easiest aspects of a company’s IT operations to move into the cloud is test and development projects, for example having the ability to flex the system, from what might be the minimum requirements to what would be the performance on a larger platform. Moving to a data centre can bring immediate and significant energy savings and peace of mind alongside those benefits already discussed. The migration approach allows a hybrid of existing investment to work with cloud services, capitalising on existing assets and the flexibility of “pay as you grow” in the cloud.
No disruption to your service while backups and rebooting of physical systems takes place
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING A CLOUD SERVICE: • Check who owns the data cloud offerings may be cheap as they make money from your data. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. • What is the service level agreement (SLA)? What value is a 100% guarantee? Things may happen but what is the recourse? What are the charges? Take time to read and understand the SLA. • Who is ultimately responsible for the data protection? Can you get a file back? Put the cloud offered to the test. • What happens if the cloud provider goes into liquidation (or anyone in the chain)? • Ask to see where the data is held. If it is not in the UK, then how does any compliance affect you? • What support is available; are there real people to talk to or just an email ticketing system? There is no doubt that the cloud is the way forward for many organisations, but just like an old server, the space to expound its full virtues is limited on the page. Contact: sire.co.uk
If you like this, turn to page 32 to read our interview with founder of cloud solution provider, Outsoucery and new Dragon in the BBC Den; Piers Linney.
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DO YOU REALLY NEED AN OFFICE TODAY? A virtual office reduces your overheads and frees you to run your business. Why do you need a virtual office?
Why do you need London office?
You can work from home but have a business address. l There is always someone there to sign for mail or courier deliveries. l Have your own telephone number l Have your calls diverted to your number OR l Have your calls answered by a professional operator l Have your calls patched through to you or a message taken. l Have a fax2email service l Make use of our meeting rooms.
London presence for your business. offer a 30 day money back guarantee l Simple and quick to set up l Low monthly or discounted annual fees l London based team of telephone operators l Efficient handling of your calls and mail l A choice of four London addresses l Your own designated London telephone number l We
See our website for details and prices www.londonoffice.co.uk Telephone Robert on 020 8417 1452 to discuss your requirements. Email email@example.com Mention Talk Business magazine and we will give you 10% discount off your subscription fees
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Protect your business Lost data can cost thousands. John Dryden, chief technology officer at IT specialist, IT Lab explains how to choose a back-up provider
ll businesses require data back-up, especially as legal requirements begin to tighten and the volumes of data going through servers continues to increase. Backing up on traditional tapes used to be the norm, but this is no longer cost effective or reliable and certainly doesn’t meet with today’s compliance levels. IT is the most essential part of many companies – it’s the glue that holds all the vital processes and systems together. Should it falter, the losses can be substantial, both financially and for the reputation of the business. We operate in a global
marketplace, working with suppliers, clients and colleagues across varying continents and time zones. The ability to conduct business overseas has been made possible through constant advances in technology that allow effortless sharing of information. However, such advancements in technology have made us It’s reported highly reliant on it. This means that companies that should vital systems lose, on average falter, it can put a company £60,000 per out of action for days – loosing hour of down time following valuable working time, and often, valuable data or contacts. a system failure Although system failures cannot be avoided, by ensuring you have reliable backup
systems in place, you are protecting yourself as best you can. There are many options available for those looking into cloud back-up, with varying levels of cover depending on the needs of the business. It is important to remember that they are targeted at different audiences depending on their capabilities. Some are designed purely for consumers and others for large data centres housing vast amounts of information. At the budget end of the spectrum, cloud providers, Amazon and Microsoft Azure allow you to switch to their standby servers in the event of a disaster with your primary
106_107 TECHNOLOGY Data Backup.ga.indd 40
system. You only pay for their servers when you’re using them – which will hopefully be never. But for your really critical IT functions, where even a few minutes of down-time would be unacceptable, you will need to back up your data as you go. This raises the more difficult, technical challenge of getting your data to the remote site in near real time. For some businesses, losing even an hour worth of data or contacts could cost thousands and have huge knock-on effects for the company. Although this is a larger investment, you need to weigh up the cost of the initial expenditure versus the cost of losing vital data. It’s reported that companies lose, on average £60,000 per hour of down time following a system failure. When viewed this way, although there is an initial cost involved, initial output can save you a great deal of money in the long run. Having direct access to backups is vital, as hours lost in transit of physical back-ups is expensive and inconvenient. This is one of the key reasons that storing physically on tapes and housing externally has become so outdated. You need to ensure that the systems you have in place to restore your data take minutes rather than hours. Having both an onsite and offsite replication system gives you a “belt and braces” approach, which should cover you for even the most extreme cases of disaster recovery. However, for many SMEs, the ability to move their entire IT systems to cloud-based services, like Microsoft 365 and Google Apps has lessened the need to buy elaborate business continuity packages separately. The best cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) packages increasingly have business continuity built into them, automatically backing up data
106_107 TECHNOLOGY Data Backup.ga.indd 41
– either in the same data centre that hosts the primary server, or better still, in multiple locations so the risk is spread. Inevitably, it comes down to assessing your needs before you choose a provider; understand your business requirements, the level of desired protection as well as its priority on your list of overheads. In this tough market, it is about striking the balance between ensuring you are protected enough, but not over-paying for something you don’t need.
Top tips for choosing a provider • Choose a provider that matches your requirements, not a one-size-fits-all approach. • Calculate cost effectiveness – understand the cost of backing up versus the cost of a system failure to your business. • Reputation is key – make sure you are satisfied that the provider is reputable and comes with strong customer references. • Customer support – if you lack technologysavvy individuals in your company and need 24/7 telephone access to your providers then ensure this is what you are really getting. • Data protection is vital – making sure your provider fits your company compliance policies is key.
Having direct access to back-ups is vital, as hours lost in transit of physical back-ups is expensive and inconvenient
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BUSINESS JUNCTION, LONDON’S PREMIER BUSINESS NETWORK, INVITES YOU TO A FREE NETWORKING EVENT Business Junction Junctionisisoffering offeringallallTalk TalkBusiness Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our our 5 September 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). Thurs Thurs5th 1st Sept Aug
Networking lunch at the lunch Icon Baratatthe theGrange Empire Hotel at Tower Hill Networking 5-6 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA Nearest tube: Leciester SquareHill / Piccadilly 45 Prescot Street, E1 8GP Nearest tube: Tower
Thurs Sept Thurs12th 8th Aug
Networking lunch at Searcys Grand & Champagne Bar Restaurant at High St. Kensington Networking lunchStatPancras the Roof Gardens & Babylon Upper Concourse, Pancras International, N1C 4QL Nearest tube: Kings Cross 99 HighSt Street Kensington, W8 5SA Nearest tube: High Street Kensington
Wed Wed18th 14thSept Aug
Champagne Taittinger networking at AsiaHall House Networking lunch atbreakfast Freemasons at Covent Garden 63 New Cavendish 7LPWC2B 5AZ Nearest tube: Regent’s Park / Oxford Circus 60 Great Street QueenW1G Street, Nearest tube: Holborn
Thurs Thurs19th 22ndSept Aug
Networking lunch at Carriage Networking lunch34at The Happenstance at St. Paul’s 34 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London, SE1 7RG Nearest tube: Waterloo / Lambeth 1A Ludgate Hill, EC4M 7AA Nearest tube: St Paul’s North
Wed Sept Thurs25th 29th Aug
Networking evening at the University Women’s Networking lunch at Dirty DicksClub at Liverpool Street 202 Bishopsgate, Nearest tube: Street 2 Audley Square, W1K 1DB EC2M 4NR Nearest tube: Green ParkLiverpool / Hyde Park Corner
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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Working from phone Founder of online freelancer marketplace PeoplePerHour, Xenios Thrasyvoulou, discusses the ability to work from anywhere using smartphones and apps
obile phones have become increasingly integrated into our everyday lives – this is especially true of smartphones, which are now accessible to the masses. Constant technological innovation has meant that for many of us, our mobile phones are a vital tool that we simply cannot live without. For business owners, many are now finding their mobiles as valuable, if not more so, than their laptops as a day-to-day business tool. In a recent survey, more than half of all SME owners said that they spend at least two hours a day using their mobiles to run their business. With improved technology comes improved flexibility and this is no truer than with the concept of BYOD (bring your
own device), allowing staff to work remotely, from portable devices. For many businesses, allowing such flexibility can be beneficial – as it lessens the need for expensive premises and can offer staff a greater work/life balance. At a senior level, it can give the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, as well as the ability to use inconvenient time spent travelling more effectively. For busy SME owners, an hour spent in transit can be hugely costly and a poor use of time, but working from a mobile during this time, keeping on top of emails and making important calls when out of the office, can make all the difference. Even the commute to work can now be spent drafting copy or reviewing presentations.
Even the commute to work can now be spent drafting copy or reviewing presentations
Mobile devices are, for many, the central hub for storing all information – such as calendar appointments, emails, messages and travel documents. You can now use your phone to effectively manage your diary, send meeting requests, store tickets and itineraries, enabling you to use your phone as a one-stop-shop on any business trip. Gone are the days when you might arrive at the airport to find that you had forgotten to print your schedule or update the hotel of your new arrival time. In essence, you can manage any aspect that once required an office full of equipment, simply by using your smartphone, and its plethora of relevant business apps. But, with so many apps to choose from, what are the apps small business owners
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Quick read Mobile phones have become increasingly integrated into our everyday lives. In a recent survey, more than half of all SME owners said that they spend at least two hours a day using their mobiles to run their business. The five must-have business apps are: Google Drive, Evernote, Square, LinkedIn and Docusign. Other popular apps include Zendesk, Mint and Skype.
can’t do without? The five must-have business apps are: Google Drive, Evernote, Square, LinkedIn and Docusign. Other popular apps include Zendesk, Mint and Skype. These apps are all designed with the professional in mind, from easy storage of shareable docs, to a mobile wallet and even electronically signing documents with your own signature. Although the web version of networking site, LinkedIn, has always been popular, the addition of a mobile app has made staying connected with business contacts far easier. It allows you to connect instantly following a meeting or conference, or to view profiles for background knowledge prior to a meet. Skype has revolutionised the way we communicate, allowing free calls to people anywhere in the world. Interestingly, what started as a useful tool for backpackers to stay in touch
with their friends and family back home, has now become an essential business tool to chat freely with colleagues or have “face-to-face” meetings with clients, no matter what country they are in. This was greatly aided by Skype’s decision to launch a mobile app in 2010, allowing free international calls even when you are away from your desk or laptop. Social media management and marketing apps are a widely acknowledged favourite, with a growing number of small business owners using social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook to engage with customers and generate new business leads. These vital platforms, if used correctly, can increase awareness and drive custom to a business. They encourage customers to interact with a company, as well as being a great tool to
communicate brand messages, highlight offers or news, as well as gain essential feedback. Apps increase productivity because they are designed to be easy to use on portable devices. And the smart way to manage everything, from company finances to client relations and marketing, is to use the right tools – tools that save time, cost little and don’t require hours to set up or a manual to learn how to use. The fact that entrepreneurs can – thanks to apps – effectively run their businesses from their smartphones can only benefit the SME sector in the long run. The app is here to stay and the reliance on them is likely to grow, not wane amongst the SME business community where the need to be connected, organised and informed on the go is paramount.
What started as a useful tool for backpackers to stay in touch with their friends and family back home, has now become an essential business tool
110_111 TECHNOLOGY Working from Phone.ga.indd 41
We design, develop & distribute mobile ap If you’re thinking about a mobile app, your competitors probably are as well… Don’t get left behind. Speak to B60 today about proven, effective mobile app development to keep your business ahead of the game.
0844 488 3886
Because if you don’t, they will.
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I’ve got an app for that… This month’s apps help you start from scratch to produce the perfect business plan and keep your Facebook page updated and engaging
Business Plan & Start Startup Price: FREE Compatible with with: Android, iPhone and iPad The gist: Create the perfect business plan privately or with friends and co-founders with this app. It has numerous tutorials that will take you from planning, right up to starting a business.
You can download your business plan to email for free. And if you need support you can share, ask questions or seek advice in the entrepreneur community. It also has to-do lists, and reminders to keep you motivated and on track. It’s a mentor in your mobile. Downloadable from: problemio.com
Facebook Pages Manager Price: FREE Compatible with: Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad The gist: Trying hard to stay connected on social media, especially through a Facebook page? The Facebook Pages Manager could save you time and make your updates a lot easier. It allows you to post updates and photos
and respond to comments. You can reply to private messages and view your latest Page Insights, which allows you to see how many people have engaged with a particular post. You can also opt to get push notifications for new activity so you can always keep on top of your page. Downloadable from: facebook.com/mobile
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TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS
Battle of the brands
Need a keyboard for your iPad? Look no further than this sleek and stylish pair. Which one will you choose?
Belkin vs. Logitech
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Belkin Ultimate Keyboard iPad Case £99.99 Lightweight aluminium design, comfortable and well spaced keys for faster typing, folds flat for comfortable handheld use, and design enhances sound quality.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard ipad cover Price
£89.99 Designed to complement your iPad, pure white especially for the iPad, smooth and quiet typing, personalise with laser engraving, clever magnetic clip, and instantly turns on and off.
battery life Six months (when fully charged)
Depth: 6.4mm thin (keyboard only) Weight: 411g Compatible with iPad 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations. Three year warranty.
Depth: 7.3mm Weight: 208g Compatible with iPad and iPad 2 3rd and 4th generations. Three year warranty.
Wireless iPad keyboard and protective case in one, three viewing angles with precision-hold magnets for stability, and TruType key provide a laptop-like typing experience.
Super-thin screen cover, shortcuts and commands on keyboard, personalise your cover at no extra charge, and clever clip mechanism.
“Introducing the other half of your iPad, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. It’s the sleekest and seamless keyboard companion that loves your iPad almost as much as you do.”
“The thinnest, lightest, smartest iPad keyboard case. With a base made of aluminum alloy, our iPad case offers outstanding durability while maintaining a slim profile.
“The keyboard’s name doesn’t lie when it says it’s ultimate. It’s thin, super-stylish and very practical. It clicks into place quickly and easily and is very hardwearing.“
“This keyboard is designed for the iPad, matching the colours and style of the tablet perfectly. They’ve marketed the keyboard as if it’s the perfect partner for the iPad and they go well together.”
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Exhibition Stands • Portable Displays • Events
“Just to let you know that the show was a massive success and all the ideas you put in place helped to improve our sales!” Marketing Director Quantum Beauty (Lee Stafford)
On brand. On budget. Envoy system: clean aesthetics of modern architecture, setting a new benchmark for modular exhibition design.
Occasions tables: ideal for quick set-up in retail. Interchangeable graphics, accessories available.
Building Brands with exhibition stands
If you are a big brand with a need for big ideas or a small brand that needs to grow, we can help across the board. We design and build with passion. Local or global. Purchase or rental. Get in touch.
This 3m unit with header and inflator all from one bag in less than 5 mins
Skyline. Helping the World Trade
call: +44 (0)845 485 1454 email: firstname.lastname@example.org look: www.skylinewhitespace.com
WHAT ARE THE 3 KEY WAYS THAT ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE CAN IMPROVE MY BUSINESS?
inancials are the core aspects of any business or enterprise, regardless of its size, and software which helps to alleviate the difficulties often faced is always appreciated. Having a sound understanding of the situation a business finds itself in can be of vital importance should something go awry. After all, lossmaking ventures can end even more quickly than they began if the correct financial understanding is not in place. 1 - Simplicity Accounting software provides a simple solution, allowing the complex processes to be easily understood and increasing the general ease of accounting as a result. It will record income and expenditure and helps take care of VAT, tax and PAYE as well as dealing with the requirements of the Charity Commission. Spreadsheets are an ideal way of presenting information in a clear fashion which makes producing financial reports and related data for managers and trustees a lot more straightforward. Some software has the capability to carry out key tasks while some incorporate HMRC PAYE and RTI Recognition so that the user can be confident that all aspects of accountancy are being dealt with. New systems can also provide a unified view, eliminating the need for separate finance, payrolls, CRM, supply chains and service systems. 2 - Availability Software is a major benefit in ensuring that financial information is available as and when it is required, while it can also be relied upon for its accuracy. Most programs are designed to make sure the important information is included with surplus data often filtered out and available only if requested. This means the key information is presented at once, thus making
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it easier to understand. By doing this, the risks of figures being misinterpreted are lowered. 3 - Capacity A major factor to consider with accounting software is to ensure that the systems in place are large enough to cope with the size of the company. Large companies will require more complex systems so recognising that the situation of the company might soon change is important. Having the foresight to plan ahead enables simple solutions to any issues to be reached and ensures no unnecessary outlay is made with regards to accounting. With the need to check cash flows and overdrafts on a weekly basis and profit figures slightly less regularly, having an accountancy system in place that is easily manageable is the first step to ensuring success.
Liquid Accounts hassle-free software Liquid Accounts is a jargon free, easy to use online accounting system designed to help organise and manage financial accounts. Using the latest cloud-based technology, it provides access 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Using an internet connection and secure login in, it’s possible to keep track in real-time without the need to perform back-ups or updates. Liquid Accounts is the ultimate in reliability and flexibility – monthly subscriptions available from £15.99 per month. Trial the software for FREE for 14 days at www. liquidaccounts.net or call 0845 4507304 to arrange a demo.
Buy a pizza delivery franchise with
Why buy a pizza delivery franchise? A large market: 70% of Brits ate pizza in 2011 And a growing market: The home delivery market grew by 20% between 2006 and 2011
Even during a recession: Sales at Domino’s, the UK’s largest pizza delivery operator, jumped 8.4% year-on-year at the recession’s peak
That exploits the boom in smartphones: Mobile devices have
fuelled a surge in online sales, which have grown from £2 million a year in 2006 to more than £5 million in 2012
Visit FranchiseSales.com to find out more about buying a pizza franchise – and more! Talk Business Advert - April 2013 2.indd 1
fRANCHISE NEWS Finalists revealed for franchisee awards THE FINALISTS FOR the 2013 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards have been revealed. This year’s revamped format sees 17 finalists selected across five new categories, with the winners competing for the right to be crowned the UK’s overall Franchisee of the Year and take home £10,000, courtesy of HSBC. The winners will be announced at the ICC in Birmingham, on 3 October 2013. Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, said: ‘Every year we are excited by the quality of entrants for the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards, and this year is no exception.
‘These finalists are from a range of sectors, championing their expertise and successes in many aspects of franchising. ‘They have shown extraordinary levels of entrepreneurialism, commitment and drive, which we were thrilled to hear about - and which made this year’s selection process very challenging.’ Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising at HSBC, said: ‘This year’s finalists are exceptional, demonstrating how fantastic business success can develop from aligning their passion and enthusiasm with the support franchising brings. Visit thebfa.org for finalists.
High street accountancy franchise beat UK giants THE ACCOUNTANCY NETWORK TaxAsisist Accountants has beaten the UK’s top ten firms on growth in the latest national league tables. The firm, which provides tax and accountancy services to small businesses, recorded 12.4% growth in the Accountancy Age Top 50 listings, beating the “Big 4” international groups and achieving the fifth highest growth across the whole Top 50. The network was placed 25th in the table on UK fee income, which rose to £24.5 million. ‘This is testimony to the hard work of our 195 franchisees across the UK, and continued success of our business model,’ said Karl Sandall, CEO of TaxAssist Accountants. ‘We’re bucking the trend by offering a welcoming, straight-talking approach, with accountants in shop-front offices, right on the high street. ‘It’s obviously working well with our 45,000 small business customers across the country, who value the convenience as well as the service.’
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Anytime Fitness exercising growth plans ANYTIME FITNESS HAS shown rapid UK expansion with 13 new clubs opened in the past 12 months, taking the number of clubs to 16 in total. ‘Almost 70 territories have already been sold, and our growth is accelerating not slowing,’ Karl Dietrich, sales & marketing director, says. ‘For example, we currently have 16 clubs open in the UK and are aiming for 2225 sites open by the end of the year. ‘We provide our franchisees with all the support they need, including
help with premises, state-of-the-art technology, marketing and training to help them achieve both their and their members goals.’ With more than 2,245 clubs in 14 countries, and a club opening every working day around the world, the company has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2002. Karl expects that growth to continue in the UK, adding: ‘There really isn’t a better time to invest in Anytime Fitness.’
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Under the spotlight
Berkeley Harris, director of the national franchise team at medical insurer WPA, tells us how franchisees can make up to £40,000 in their first year HOW DOES IT WORK? Western Provident Association (WPA) is a medical insurer offering franchise opportunities that supply private healthcare solutions to individuals and companies of all sizes. The benefit of being a franchisee is being paid an initial fee for selling WPA’s products. Then you’re paid renewal fees for each year that the customer stays. And the whole time you are building a capital asset that you can sell at a later date. DO YOU PLAN TO EXPAND? We have 84 franchisees currently, with 120 territories UK-wide. I am looking for around 20 more franchisees in various locations around the UK. We currently have vacancies in Birmingham, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But there are vacant territories in various locations throughout the UK. WHAT IS THE START UP COST? The one-off franchise fee is £9,200. As a not-for-profit organisation, we don’t make money selling a franchise. We
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also ask for a fidelity bond of £2,500. The £2,500 fidelity bond is submitted to WPA on joining the national franchise team to satisfy our Treating Customers Fairly policy, in line with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance. This bond is returnable on leaving WPA or selling your franchise, plus any interest accrued. IS TRAINING SUPPORT PROVIDED? A new franchisee will receive a five-day residential training course in Taunton, after which the franchisee will be licensed to sell WPA products. We also provide each franchisee with an iPad and, more importantly, with a WPA iMobile App, allowing them to be more efficient when out and about visiting customers. One of the best things is the two-year mentoring programme. A successful franchisee is allocated to a new franchisee to hold their hand in the first two years, accompanying them on customer visits. There is no additional fee for this.
We also provide each franchisee with an iPad and, more importantly, with a WPA iMobile App
WHAT IS THE EARNINGS POTENTIAL LIKE? You’re constantly building a capital asset, which gets bigger each year. I would say between £30,000 and £40,000 would be an average for the first year of earnings, and that would increase by £8,000 to 10,000 per year. So after a few years, this is anywhere between £60,000 and £80,000. WHO IS WPA SEEKING? I’m looking for business professionals, willing to put the customer before the pound, and to build relationships with customers. If they have those attributes then we can teach the rest. Contact: wpafranchise.co.uk
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A FRANCHISE BUSINESS THAT HELPS YOUR LOCAL CHARITY RAISE VITAL FUNDS We support Charities across England Scotland and Wales with our Snack Boxes
OUR GOLD FRANCHISE PACKAGE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING: • Exclusive Territory • 2000 Snacks & Cakes • 100 Display Boxes with your Local Charity Branding • 100 Introduction Letters & Labels • 7 Car Stock Storage Bins
• • • •
A Cash Bag A Days Training at Head Office A Stationery Pack & Laminator 4 Polo Shirts with your Local Charity Branding • No Franchise or Management Fees to Pay
All you need to get your Business Running is Included
FOR A VERY LOW START UP FEE OF £2,250.00 + VAT ChariSnack Ltd, Unit 4 Velator Way, Baunton, Devon EX33 2DX
Sweet Treat.indd 1
T: 0845 1231132 | M: 07976 665724 Email: email@example.com Web: www.charisnack.co.uk
here are a number of myths and misconceptions around franchising and, understandably, many people are wary of becoming involved due to a lack of understanding and confusion. In the UK there is no specific legislation governing the structure and operation of a franchise. The word is used variously to describe the right to vote, the operation of a mainline rail service, branded car dealerships, or as we shall consider here, business format franchising, which is a method of growing a successful business as a franchisor or being part of that business with ownership and a degree of autonomy as a franchisee. Unfortunately, to some people franchising has bad connotations and can be seen as a rather dodgy method of doing business linked to pyramid selling and similar “get rich quick” schemes. There is no doubt that there have been, and continue to be, unethical business operators who call themselves franchisors. But just make their money out of a slick sales campaign, persuading people to buy into their “franchise” with promises of huge success and high returns, and fail to deliver any support or assistance once the franchisee has parted with the initial fee. However, the fact is that there are probably rogues in every industry sector, even highly regulated ones. And even though they exist, it does not mean that the concept is fundamentally flawed, as there are many very successful
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Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, discusses why franchising is a great way to own and run a business
There are an estimated 900 franchised systems operating in the UK, with around 37,000 operational units contributing £12.4 billion to the UK economy
franchise systems operating in the UK, providing a good return for the franchisee, a successful and profitable network for the franchisor and, in many cases, providing employment as well. In this series of articles I will look at both sides of the concept of business format franchising and endeavour to advise businesses that wish to expand and consider franchising as one option, how to do it ethically and successfully, as well as guiding would-be franchisees through avoiding the pitfalls, finding a franchise that is right for them and how to tell a good franchise from a bad franchise. According to Natwest and bfa franchise surveys, there are an estimated 900 franchised systems operating in the UK, with around 37,000 operational units, contributing £12.4 billion to the UK economy and employing
more than half a million people. More importantly, more than 80% of franchisees believe that being part of a franchised network has given them a competitive advantage, 90% of franchisees claim to be profitable and 89% are satisfied with the support that they receive from their franchisor. The overall message is that franchising works and is a great way to own and operate a business. This is the first of a series of articles written by Tony Mundella, who has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. He has been a franchisor in a variety of industry sectors, and since 2006 he has operated his own consultancy advising both franchisors and franchisees. Contact: franman.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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FARM BUSINESS INNOVATION 2013
TAKEAWAY INNOVATION EXPO 2013
TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE
Take one franchisee WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE PAPA JOHN’S? We used to own a fish shop in Harlow, and I had my own shop in Chingford as well. We were looking at how to expand and to join a company that was growing. We decided to join Papa John’s because we could see there was a future and we wanted to jump on the boat. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO PAPA JOHN’S? I’ve done it on my own and I’ve opened 10 different shops that have been closed and sold on, but I wanted something where I could build for the future, and I wanted to learn how to get to that stage. My first experience of Papa John’s was in America, and I loved the products. We looked into it and we decided to join. HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR SOCIAL LIFE AND FAMILY LIFE? It hasn’t changed my social life or family life. Because I’m married and have four kids, I knew about the work. But
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The pizza home delivery market is booming, growing by 20% between 2006 and 2011. Franchisee, Luigi Forgione tells us how he got into this lucrative market businesses, we can take our own wage and let the business run. If you start dipping, then you can’t move on.
I’ve changed from a worker to someone who manages other people. If you want to open a couple of shops, you need to learn how to manage people. DO YOU HAVE LONG TERM GOALS FOR THE BUSINESS? My long term goal is to open 10 outlets in five years. I’d like to be the best at what I do. I want to run a decent shop, I want to run a decent operation, where everyone is happy to work and the product is always 100%. HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO BUY A FRANCHISE? We borrowed some money off our personal assets and we invested it. We don’t take a wage out of it. We leave the money in the business so we can move on. Because we have other
We decided to join Papa John’s, because we could see there was a future and we wanted to jump on the boat
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRANCHISE? I think before people invest their money, they’ve got to know how the business runs, and they’ve got to know the hours and what it involves. It’s not just investing and walking away. You need to be involved and if you don’t have a background in food, then learn that background. Work in a shop for a little while and see what it’s like. Papa John’s is growing. In a few years time we should be right up there. It’s a good time to get involved.
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FROM Y–FRONTS TO YVES SAINT LAURENT – CUSTOMER SERVICE IN WAG LAND Richard McConnell, The ZipYard Altrincham
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.
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: email@example.com W: www.thezipyard.co.uk
TALK ADVICE WORKING CAPITAL PARTNERS
SME funding but not as we know it Perry Burns, managing director of Working Capital Partners, tells us what the company is doing to help SMEs find funding ntrepreneurs are increasingly looking towards alternative sources to fund their businesses, rather than to the traditional route of approaching their high street bank. Recent studies have found that banks are reluctant to lend to SMEs and to pass on cuts in interest rates. Companies such as Working Capital Partners (WCP) are responding to this situation and are lending to small businesses in ever increasing amounts. Addressing the challenges of traditional factoring with its fixed formula and rigid parameters, WCP provides a range of flexible working capital finance solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, from selective single invoice discounting through to the financing of a company’s total ledger. To do this, WCP completely re-engineered factoring and selective invoice discounting to make it appealing, affordable and accessible to the SME market. The service is fully selective, has no minimum monthly fee, works on a fully inclusive, preagreed simple flat fee structure without administration, refactoring, disbursement, termination or interest charges, but is fully credit insured.
Each request for funds is judged purely on the merits of the debtor and the nature of the debt, so the service is also available to start-ups and recovering companies. We allow companies to maintain their valuable client relationship by managing the credit collection process themselves and, unlike traditional factors, enables them to sell even their smallest invoices. In particular, WCP works with SMEs for which regular cash flow is critical to their survival. In many cases, if we did not provide finance they would be unable to continue. We notice an upturn at the end of each month when the demand for cash to meet payroll, rent and tax payments reaches a peak. As the banks have tightened their criteria and made it harder for SME’s to borrow, WCP has taken on numerous clients where there is a sound lending proposition, which the banks have been unable or unwilling to fund unless it is supported by tangible security. While WCP verifies every debt and ensures that its investments are properly secured, its policy is to be
£ Working Capital Partners is responding to this situation and are lending to small businesses in ever increasing amounts
flexible and helpful and to take a view on a proposition as long as it is properly supported and makes good commercial sense. WCP also helps companies to take on more business than would otherwise be possible, as many testimonials have shown (see right). In summary, WCP has taken a traditional financing tool and completely re-engineered it to address the market’s needs. We have made it simple to understand, affordable and penalty free. The simplicity and
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WORKING CAPITAL PARTNERS
Testimonials ‘I would like to tell you and all the team at Working Capital Partners how wonderful it has been to deal with such brilliant people since we stumbled across you in July of last year. All of you are easy to speak to and most important you do exactly what you say you are going to do, which is so rare in this day and age. It’s fair to say that we would never have been able to achieve what we did last year without the help, that you all provided in such a friendly and professional manner,’ Seamus Brennan, managing director of Everlast UPVC said. ‘Working Capital Partners has helped us to better manage the peaks and troughs of our cash flow. We have found them to offer a very flexible service, with a rapid response time and transparent procedures. While we do not factor every invoice, we find the service invaluable at certain times of the year. The systems they use are very simple and transparent,’ Jen Verdicchio, marketing director of EPUK said.
They believe that the more businesses that know about what they offer, the more will be able to use the product to support growth
cost effectiveness speaks for itself in our outstanding success to date. We believe that the more businesses that know about what we offer, the more will be able to use the product to support growth, create jobs and serve their customers. Our rapid growth since 2010 is testimony to the need for our service and the great benefit is has brought to so many entrepreneurs. Contact: workingcapitalpartners.co.uk
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Keep your books in order he summer sunshine may be a fading memory, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to fit in a muchdeserved holiday before business picks up again in the autumn. So, if you’ve been working all summer and fancy a late seasonal break, how can you make sure that your business’s accounts stay in good shape while you’re away?
TAKE PAYMENT DIGITALLY If you normally collect payment from your customers by cheque or in person, could you implement any easier ways to get paid while you’re away? For example, taking payments by online bank transfer, or using a service such as PayPal or GoCardless, will enable your customers to pay you easily and quickly in your absence. If you’re using FreeAgent to manage your accounts, you can include a direct link to services like PayPal or GoCardless on your invoices, and put your bank account details there too, so your customers can pay you quicker - which will not only help to reduce your administration but will keep your cash flow healthy, too. LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU’RE AWAY It’s hard to let everyone know in advance that you’re going to
Emily Coltman, chief accountant at FreeAgent, a company which provides an award-winning online accounting system, suggests ways to keep on top of the books when you’re away If you normally collect payment from your customers by cheque or in person, could you implement any easier ways to get paid while you’re away?
be away, so you may want to set up an email auto responder, letting people know that you’re away and when you’ll be back at work to avoid causing any potential frustration. You could also consider using a service such as Moneypenny to pick up your unanswered phone calls while you’re away.
But you may want to be cautious when publishing your holiday snaps and updates on Facebook or Twitter, particularly if you work from home and your address is available on the public record - for example, if your business is a limited company and it’s registered at your home address.
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TALK ADVICE FREEAGENT
PAY SUPPLIERS BEFORE YOU GO It’s also a good idea to make sure your books are up to date before you go, not only in terms of posting all your entries but also for paying your suppliers. If the supplier’s deadline for payment falls while you’re away, it’s better to pay them a bit early before you go - if your business’s cash flow permits - than to wait till you get back. You could come back to demanding letters from suppliers, and paying late can damage your relationship with them. PAY YOUR TAX BILLS BEFORE YOU GO Don’t forget to check whether you have any tax bills coming up for payment while you’re away and pay them before you go. The last thing you want to happen is to come back from holiday and find out that you didn’t pay your VAT return because the taxman doesn’t accept “being on holiday” as a reasonable excuse for late payment, and you’ll be liable to pay a fine. Check your accounting system to see if it allows you to check when your tax is due, and forecast the amount of tax you have to pay. For example, you can use FreeAgent’s tax timeline to see if there are any tax bills coming up for payment while you’re away. And you can also synchronise your FreeAgent tax timeline with your calendar - so that you don’t even have to log into your accounts to see if there’s a tax bill due while you’re on holiday. CLEAR YOUR PAPERWORK Before you take time off, make sure you’ve completed as much admin as you can. It’s not only very satisfying to clear a pile of paperwork, but it also means it won’t be there waiting to pounce when you get back from your
If the supplier’s deadline for payment falls while you’re away, it’s better to pay them a bit early before you go away
holiday. For example, make sure that your customer invoices are all created and sent before you go away for your holiday. This will encourage your customers to pay and keep your cash flow healthy. Knowing that this is off your desk should also help you relax. If you’re using a software package like FreeAgent, you can prepare your invoices in advance and schedule them to be sent on any date you like, and also get it to issue recurring invoices and chase non-payers while you’re away.
ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY Remember that making the right preparations and putting systems in place before you go away won’t just mean you have less tasks to do when you come back; it’ll ensure that you won’t have to worry about your books while you’re away and allow you to switch off and relax. You may also find that your cash flow is in a better state when you get back from your break than it was when you left. Contact: freeagent.com
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The domain name game Matt Mansell, head of domain strategy at Host Europe Group, 123-reg’s parent company, says your business’ website name is crucial
ithout a name, your identity is lost. A name is more than just an identifier; it has immediate impact. A name is what separates us from others and shows how we are unique. That same logic applies to your brand, your business and your website. On the web, names are everything and the success or failure of your business can depend on your choice of domain name, and how well you manage and protect your domain portfolio. Domain names are arguably still the cheapest asset your business will ever acquire, but are probably the most valuable – assuming your chosen
domain is well considered. No matter how great your site design is, or how effective your offline marketing may be, you are fighting a losing battle if you do not have the most appropriate domain to deliver your brand safely and effectively to market. With that being the case, it may seem a somewhat daunting task to find out which domains are right for your business, and which ones aren’t. The first thing you’ll need to decide is which top-level domain (TLD) to go for.
Domain names are arguably still the cheapest asset your business will ever acquire, but are THE BASICS probably the Your choice of TLD will most valuable make a big impact on how customers understand,
perceive and find your business. A TLD is the suffix or last segment of a domain name (the letters immediately following the final dot in an internet address), the most common worldwide example being .com. Each TLD is technically installed and managed on the internet by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). IANA is the technical arm of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); the body responsible for making sure we can all find each other on the internet. IANA technically makes sure we can type a vast range of TLD’s into our web browsers;
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domains being sold and re-sold on a daily basis, so it’s never too late to get your domain of choice. Furthermore, if the domain of your choice is currently not available you can always try to place a back order for it - so that when it does become available, you ensure you snap it up before someone else does. from country-code TLDs (ccTLD), such as Germany’s .de, to generic TLDs (gTLD), like .biz and .info. As a rule of thumb, the most important TLDs are the ones with the most registered volume: .com, .net, .org and of course your local TLD, which is .co.uk for the United Kingdom. COVER YOUR BASES Businesses shouldn’t underestimate the value of localising their domains for the territories in which they do business. Country-specific domains help to connect and build an affinity with the consumers from a specific locality and allow businesses to promote their local presence easier than they could do with a more general domain. If you see yourself expanding abroad, make sure you purchase the corresponding ccTLDs of those countries most important to your business. For example, if you were planning an expansion into France, snap up a .fr domain early on. BE FOUND ICANN is on the verge of opening up a significantly longer list of gTLDs, ranging from interests, like .book and .food, to the names of cities, like .NYC and .London. One of the primary benefits of selecting one of these new domains is that they offer businesses the opportunity to give your customers a taste before clicking through.
PROTECT YOUR BRAND The birth of the new range of TLDs will bring many benefits to businesses around the world. Currently there are 14 publically available gTLDs and 295 delegated and available ccTLDs, although not ever country will let just anyone register their ccTLD; it can get really quite complicated. With the domain market set to grow in the next twelve months, staying on top of brand protection is set to become even more difficult, especially for a small business, with limited resources and pressured time. By undertaking a simple review of available domains businesses you will be able to judge clearly how they can best protect your online presence. This can include common misspellings, different iterations of your name, and the most common top-level domains and to stake your claim to them early. This should be standard best practice for any business that is serious about controlling its brand on the web. Whether you decide to redirect these new domains to your main site, or host specific or local content on them, by controlling the domains you can best protect their brands, capture traffic going to those domains and improve search engine optimisation (SEO). YOUR IDEAL DOMAIN If you’ve got your heart set on a domain, and you find it’s already been snapped up, don’t despair. The marketplace is incredibly lively, with new and existing
It would be wrong to suggest that the domain market is saturated; certainly anyone with a business idea should not be put off
WHERE NEXT? Fortunately there are a number of online marketplaces where businesses can search available domains and register them as soon as they become available. That’s all very well if you know which ones are important, what’s growing fast and the many differing rules and requirements to registering a ccTLD; let alone making sure you get to keep it. If you don’t, then you’ll likely need an expert hand. That is why the Host Europe Group has launched BrandFortress, a new domain management service, aimed at taking the stress out of owning, managing and renewing all the domain names for a small or medium-sized business. Our team of experts will do the time consuming work and handle both the buying and management of your domain portfolio, allowing you to concentrate on the business of doing business. It would be wrong to suggest that the domain market is saturated; certainly anyone with a business idea should not be put off. Acquiring domains from a domain registrar is, in most cases, simple; acquiring and keeping the right ones can be tricky. The most important intellectual property your business will develop will rest in its online presence. Getting and protecting that brand online is something every business needs to get right while in its infancy, perfecting it as it grows. Contact: hosteuropegroup.com
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TALK SUCCESS AND FINALLY...
He said she said This month the entrepreneurs are tweeting about parenthood, Dragons’ Den and their love of Mondays. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Richard Branson @richardbranson If your mum glazes over when you describe a new venture, don’t bother. If she likes it, push on! #MumTest Good advice Richard. They do say mums know best. Lee McQueen @LeeMcQueen Just arrived at hospital for the birth of our identical twin girls this morning. Quite surreal but bloody exciting!!! Then later… Born 9:10 and 9:11 respectively… My identical twin girls… Lottty and Lois McQueen!! Congratulations Lee! You may have noticed Lee didn’t write for us this month – we agreed he needed time off but he’ll be back next month to tell us about juggling business and nappies.
Piers Linney @pierslinney I’m afraid to admit that I had a shoulder length perm back in the 80s! We can’t imagine this hairstyle on Piers after interviewing him this month [see page 32].
Will, King of Shaves @KingofShaves @pierslinney Nice entrance on @BBCDragonDen! Look fwd to judging with you on @SmartaHQ #smart100 We didn’t know our interviewees Will [February] and Piers [this issue] are judging together. Small world!
Lord Sugar @Lord_Sugar Very good kick off to the new season of Dragons Den. Peter and Duncan on form We’re talking about it; Will’s talking about it and so is Alan Sugar. #DragonsDen
Jacqueline Gold @Jacqueline_Gold Good morning Tweeters. Is it just me who loves Mondays? #raringtogo We know entrepreneurs love their jobs but we thought they would get #inevitableMondayblues like the rest of us.
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