Talk Business Magazine August 2014

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BRAINS OR BRAWN? Which attributes make the perfect salesperson?

SHAKE IT UP What does your handshake say about you?

GETTING OFF THE BANDWAGON The Hoosiers tell the unusual story of how they wrestled their identity back from corporations to carve their own path to success 1

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INSIDE 11 Editor’s letter 12 Contributors 14 Letters 16 News & events 20 Question of the month Readers weigh in on Dragons Den TALK SUCCESS

TALK STRATEGY 47 Is your brand personable? Rich With 49 Born to sell Adam Caplan’s latest book extract 52 Social distortion The power of social media complaints 56 Out of office Is it time to say goodbye to the 9 to 5? 59 Why can’t we be friends? Why sales and marketing need

to get along

61 Better out than in 3 keys to successful outdoor

22 22 Make your own mark(eting) Kimberley Davis talks coffee and

crowdfunding with The Hoosiers

30 33 35

Take one company

Italian passion with San Carlo

Up and coming

The Grown Up Chocolate Company

Book reviews

TALK MONEY 37 The funding expert Perfecting your pitch 39 Monetising the cloud 40 6 ways to increase your profit legally 43 A day in the life Shortcuts children’s salon have

all the fun of the hair

45 Give me some credit Adam Aiken


advertising campaigns

TALK MARKETING 63 Go back to the future Kimberley Davis 64 Million dollar salesman What makes a perfect salesperson? 67 Lost in translation Cultural marketing clangers 69 10 steps of Twitter Step 9: Exploit your workforce 71 Gin it to win it Make the most of trade shows TALK PEOPLE 75 Lee McQueen Do as the germans do 77 Reading between the lines See through the CV bluster 80 Secret Diary A week with Sales Doctor Tony Morris 84 Flexy business Richard Cummings guide to flexible

working changes

86 Culture Chameleon 88 PA? Pah? Should you ditch the PA? TALK IMAGE 91 We love... Meetings 92 Shape what you see Win £150 to spend at Optical Express 95 A blend of old and new 10 years of Christopher Ward 96 Hotspots: Cambridge Locations for business stays,

TALK TECHNOLOGY 101 Tech Star John Bradford on choosing

the right personalities

103 I’ve got an App for that Our favourite business apps 104 There’s more in store What iBeacon technology

means for retailers

107 The green tax haven The era of the gas guzzler is over TALK FRANCHISE 109 Franchise news 110 Give cowboys the boot Beware rogue franchisees 114 The fran man Tony Mundella’s guide to

franchise opportunities

116 Building foundations How franchising can save

the high street

TALK ADVICE 119 Sales Doctor Your questions answered 121 How VoIP can benefit you 124 Beating the banks with P2P 127 6 scams of telephone providers 130 A perfect fit Make your website flexible 132 Talk Business directory TALK OPINION 134 He said/she said


eats and meets

98 You’ve got to hand it to them What your handshake says about you 9

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Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business


Luke Garner


Louise Salisbury




Trystan Hurley


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

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Fate is the food of fools In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt.


t is estimated that there are over 7 billion people in the world. Across the globe, that’s thousands and thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of professions, each one unique and different to the last. With such diversity you could be forgiven for thinking that you might not be able to learn anything from a grossly different profession, but often you’d be wrong. And it is as such with our cover story, The Hoosiers. In our day-to-day lives, with the daily grind of the commute and the responsibilities of mortgages, family etc., the last thing we may resonate with is successful pop stars. But at the core of every business, lie the same values, and The Hoosiers took it upon themselves to break free from their record label and strike out on their own, using novel and previously untested techniques to critical acclaim. It is a story many entrepreneurs may be familiar with. Having been held down by the 9-to5 day job and invariably, a boss who seems to be less qualified and competent than most of the workforce to do the job, they strike out on their own and take back their independence. The Hoosiers story is an inspiring tale for

all entrepreneurs, showing that you don’t always have to follow the path of those who went before you and often, success is there for those that are unafraid to take life by the scruff of the neck. Check out what they did on page 20. Growing as a business should be an exciting time as it usually indicates a run of success, but it can bring its own problems too. We take a look at how San Carlo’s Marcello DiStefano maintains brand identity when they open new restaurants on page 30, whilst Steve Bennett examines how to choose the perfect sales staff on page 65. Often when a new owner starts up a company, it is lack of knowledge, rather than lack of desire that causes problems. And many new start-ups have to run the gauntlet of getting noticed at trade shows, especially when trying to establish an initial following. Anno Distillers, makers of a premium Kentish gin, run down their top tips for success at trade shows on page 71.

Contact: luke.garner@ Tweet us @talkbusinessmag 11


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The EXPERTS Find out more about our contributors to Talk Business this month

Lee McQueen

won series four of BBC’s The Apprentice and now runs Raw Talent Academy Recruitment. It encourages organisations to look at the wider raw talent in the UK, not just graduates. Lee, who has more than 12 years’ experience working in recruitment and eight years as an employer of salespeople, is passionate about giving job seekers an opportunity to earn a career. He’s a proud father of three daughters, and a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. Read his column on apprentices on page 75.

Meera Sapra

is Senior Marketing Manager at Zoho, where she leads social media marketing. A Psychology graduate, Meera worked in the area of customer service and training for 7 years, before joining Zoho in 2008. Meera is passionate about social media and has also been featured in Wow Factor Asia’s list of ‘50 Indian women to follow on Twitter’. When she’s not working, Meera likes to spend her time reading or creating comics and art. Turn to page 86 to read Meera’s article on best practices when working remotely.

Jon Bradford is the managing director of Techstars in London, and our new tech columnist. Alongside this, he is co-founder of f6s, a global community of start-up founders, and also, a tech blog dedicated to start-ups in Europe. Prior to this, Jon has helped to start 12 multi-company accelerators, from Montreal to Moscow, including founding Europe’s first bootcamp accelerator in 2009, The Difference Engine, and subsequently Springboard, based in Cambridge and London. In a previous life, Jon trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen, and has worked in various start-ups and turnarounds. He has worked in London, throughout Europe, Australia and also the US. Read the Accelerator’s article on page 101.

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MAILBOX This month our readers are talking about our cover stars and their concerns over foreign investment

THE BEAT GOES ON Dear Talk Business mag, It brought back fond memories and was great to see Dion Dublin on the cover of the latest issue. He clearly dispels the myth that all footballers are unintelligent and it’s nice to see one of them doing something a bit different after their playing days are done. It’s also great to know that anyone can do it as long as they have a good idea and the drive to see it through. If you have a passion for something, go for it! Good luck to him! Simon H. Kent Thanks Simon. Dion was a great guy to interview, an inspiration to business owners everywhere and his enthusiasm for what he does really shines through. It just goes to show, you don’t have to be defined by other people’s expectations of you, so don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith!


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Simply write to us about anything business related that’s on your mind! Whether it be a comment on an article in Talk Business or something you’ve seen on the news, the best letter will be picked as our “Letter of the month” and will win the whole lot! Check out “We love...” on page 91 to see what you could win. Email editor@ or write us at: Letter of the month, Talk Business Magazine, William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex CM24 8AJ


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BALANCE TRANSFERS Hi, I’m really concerned about some of the developments in the news pages lately concerning foreign companies taking over British firms, particularly French transport group Keolis getting London’s Dockland’s Light Railway franchise. Our leaders in Downing Street should be doing everything they can to encourage British businesses and keep the income that we generate within our borders, not watching it be shipped out across Europe and into another countries back pockets! No wonder we have such a deficit to deal with if foreign companies are pilfering our profits! Andrew Smith Cardiff


of the month John Stein @JohnStein_TWF New #leadership book receives 5 STAR review from leading #entrepreneur pub @TalkBusinessMag http://www. khEtz8b5ei Author John Stein is clearly delighted by our opinion of his latest offering. Visit www.talkbusinessmagazine. to see the review

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NEWS Latest stories

NEWS Good things come to those who relax Many new businesses conceptualised whilst entrepreneur was on holiday


t seems that as we relax our brains become more free to create, following a study by Sandler Training (UK) that says one in five new start-up ideas were dreamt up whilst entrepreneurs were on holiday. With summer well underway, millions of workers across the UK will be in the process of jetting off for their summer holiday. But instead of switching off, many of these vacationers

will actually be planning the launch of their own business. Sandler Training (UK), a business development consultancy, commissioned the survey of 1,000 small business owners who have successfully been in business for five years, to get insight into what makes people start their own business, and the main obstacles they have to overcome in the first year. The research found that the main

issue that held small business owners back from starting their business was the need to take a salary (34%), followed by concerns on job security (25%), lack of knowledge on how to run a business (21%) and uncertainty about competition (19%). The average amount of time between thinking up an idea and starting a business is 6.3 months, but for 16% of small business owners, it took more than a year.

41% of Start-Up Loan recipients were previously unemployed The Start-Up Loans Company report highlights rags-to-riches stories


indings by the Start-Up Loans Company (SULCo) found that, from a survey of 500 loan recipients, the scheme’s first 18 months of operating saw nearly half of all loan recipients having been previously unemployed. 75% also said that mentoring and business support provided

improved their understanding of financial management and other key business skills. Commenting on the report, creative director of SULCo, Yasmina Siadatan said: “The StartUp Loans Company is delighted that the scheme is playing its part in the economic recovery. The fact that so many of the

loans have been issued to people previously unemployed goes some way to proving we can enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of the UK.� The Start-Up Loans Company is a government-funded initiative that provides start-up support in the form of a low-cost, repayable personal loan across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. 17 29

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NEWS Latest stories

NEWS Summer travel to cost UK businesses £170 million in roaming charges


espite recent EU regulations to control data roaming charges, according to data released by Wandera, the mobile data gateway, Brits are set to incur roaming costs of £500 million this summer. £170 million of that is set to be paid for by businesses, who will foot the bill for corporate data usage. With increased use of smartphones among businesses, company bills now account for 30% of carrier revenue. For businesses, whose staff use corporate devices when on holiday and overseas for work, data roaming presents a huge financial risk, especially as

Out of office, out of pocket the boundaries between work and home continue to blur. Instances of ‘bill shock’, where users do not realise they are incurring large costs abroad, are commonplace too, with many people unaware of the hidden costs of using their devices overseas. These events range from £40 up to £1,500, with an average cost of £650. Eldar Tuvey, CEO of Wandera

said: “It’s not realistic to stop people using their work devices overseas, but it doesn’t have to be an unknown quantity for businesses. The last thing an employee or MD wants to see is a huge bill. To avoid this, businesses should educate employees and have a clear policy for data roaming and acceptable use when travelling abroad.”

DATES FOR THE DIARY Sterling Integrity 11th September The Future Inn Hotel Bristol, BS1 3EN 25th September Worcester Cricket Ground WR2 4QQ Business Junction Networking Events 07 August The Roof Gardens & Babylon Restaurant, 99 High Street Kensington, London 13 August MWB Business Exchange 60 Cannon Street London

20 August The Kia Oval, Kennington London 28 August Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road , London Online Retail conferences 16th September Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington eCommerce Expo 1-2 October Olympia, London

Successful Selling Expo 16th October RICOH, Coventry IP Expo 8-9 October Excel, London South West Business expo 18th September The Steam Museum, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon

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Have reality TV shows such as Dragon’s Den made the public think it is easy to start and run a successful business?

THE NUMBERS GAME Here's what the rest of you thought:

43% Yes, it makes it seem easy

57% No, it doesn't

Each month we ask a selection of business leaders for their views on an aspect of business. This month, we're talking about "reality" TV shows. Yes, shows like Dragon’s Den have made people think two things: 1) you have to have investment to start a business and 2) that you can’t trust your own instinct on whether a business idea is any good. If a Dragon say it’s not, then you must assume it was a bad idea and retreat with your tail between your legs. JONATHAN KETTLE, FOUNDER, TAXI CODE

Setting up a business is never easy, but have reality TV shows made it seem easier? I don’t believe so. In the name of good TV, many wannabe entrepreneurs are ridiculed on shows like this, so how does that paint a picture that starting a business and getting funding is a ‘walk in the park’? That said, for those people out there who are convinced by shows like this, that creating a successful business is a bit of a breeze, they will likely face a big wake-up call. JERRY BRAND, MD, CATERNET

Yes. It gives the delusion that business success is simply down to a good idea and financial backing. It is not! The Dragon’s Den successes are very few, and mostly occur as a direct result of the publicity surrounding the show itself. CLIVE BIRNIE, CEO, SEVERN DELTA

I think the opposite applies. I think most people know that it’s all smoke and mirrors, and most of the deals don’t go through. The successful ones are as rare as hens teeth. TIM RYAN, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, UNA

Yes. Shows like this have created excitement for business, with more people being interested in start-ups and innovation. However this isn’t how real business works, nor is it the usual format to obtain funding. It’s good entertainment but not real life. It’s certainly not an easy process. PAUL LEES, CEO, POWWOWNOW


We ask if the economic downturn has caused more people to haggle over price? What do you think? Tell us your thoughts on Twitter @TalkBusinessMag

20 August 2014

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SUCCESS Face on the cover

Making your own mark(eting)

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SUCCESS Face on the cover

Former Apprentice star, Kimberly Davis recently caught up with "odd pop" rockers, The Hoosiers, to find out how they stole back their identity from the record labels and created a new, innovative way of marketing their product


It’s a bit like Dell computers they sell and then build to order. In a similar way, we sell and then market, so we’re never in a hole financially

he Hoosiers burst onto the music scene in 2007 with their number one album, The Trick to Life, which featured the hits Goodbye Mr. A and Worried About Ray. Shortly afterwards, they chose to walk away from their record company and become an independent SME. Since then, Irwin, Alan, Martin, and Sam have been redefining how music is marketed, sold, and succeeds. I caught up with them to find out just how they did it.

HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED? I: Alan and I were in our first band when we were about 15 years old. We met through friends - the old fashioned way. It feels novel now in the days of reality TV shows like The X-Factor.

HOW LONG BEFORE YOU FOUND SUCCESS? I: It was 13 years until we got anywhere. We ended up signing on benefits and working very bad jobs.

HOW DID YOU TURN THINGS AROUND? I: One of the main things was we started to work with the right people. I wouldn’t recommend throwing yourself into it if you haven’t got the right kind of infrastructure or people to support you. 23 23

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SUCCESS Face on the cover

The Hoosiers, left to right: Irwin Sparkes, Sam Swallow, Alfonso Sharland and Martin Skarendahl

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU’D MADE IT? I: When we got paid [laughter]. A: There was the day when we signed the record deal. As a kid playing music, that’s what you dream of.

YOU CREATED A UNIQUE SELLING POINT TO DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC. WHAT WAS IT? I: It was “odd pop”. A: We didn’t want to be tied with the pop lyrics at the time, which were usually always about love and that. So that was what was “odd” about it. I: As guys in our 20s, it wasn’t interesting to just have very generic chord changes, singing songs about loving someone until the sun runs cold. We had to capture each other’s imagination. There had to be a certain “oddity” to it.

THE TRICK TO LIFE WENT TO NUMBER ONE IN THE CHARTS.DESCRIBE THAT SUCCESS? M: I think, at the time, we got a little too caught up in it. Obviously, there are a lot of enjoyable moments, like playing a big festival for the first time. It’s exciting. But you go from making music to

The more we interact and give on social media, the more we get. There’s a lesson there for any business

selling music. You become a fulltime salesman. It’s not about the music anymore and that was hard.

unaware that we even had a second album.


A: Our management said, “Look, you have an album. See if you can get the album back from the record label. Leave the label and see what you can do on your own.” Which is what we tried. But we felt like we were running uphill through mud.

A: It felt really pressurised. Suddenly there’s a cash cow here and it needs to be properly milked. It was an awful lot of pressure to create hits. It was not a very creative environment to be in.

HOW DID THAT PRESSURE AFFECT YOU? A: I think everyone secondguessed everything. Once a little bit of doubt creeps in, suddenly everything’s being questioned.

WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES? I: We took too long. It was a couple of years and pop years are like dog years. Radio had moved on. Then the guy who signed us, literally, the week of the release, left the label. The guy who takes over has got his other bands, who he wants to prove himself with. He would take the money allocated for our marketing spend and put it on his acts. So, you end up with a toothless campaign. A lot of people were


HOW DID YOU BOUNCE BACK? A: We thought that, with fresh material and our energy, we could sell something. We now had control, so we started writing the third album.

HOW DO YOU COMPARE THAT ALBUM, THE NEW FROM NOWHERE, TO YOUR OTHER ALBUMS? M: I think in terms of albums, it’s the best one. The other albums have very shiny production, which happened that way because we didn’t have enough knowledge or control to make it sound the way we wanted at the time. If you don’t have the vision then you’re going to be taken for a ride by whoever is employed by the producer or engineer.

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t i u r c E RYour ar t x ne

a t S



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SUCCESS Face on the cover

somewhere. The idea was to write credits and thank everybody who had pre-ordered the album for already giving us their money and good faith. Also, we allowed them to take up space and have their own adverts in there.


Our management said, “Look, you have an album. Get it back from the record label and see what you can do on your own.” So we did

HOW DID YOU FIND THE FINANCE TO FUND THIS ALBUM WITHOUT THE LABEL BEHIND YOU? A: We decided to crowd fund. We were involved with the fans, so we didn’t need to get the loan with loads of interest from the record company, which leaves you free to make your own decisions. Once you’ve done your presales, then you know how much money you’ve got to spend, instead of the other way around where you spend and hope. It’s a bit like Dell computers. They sell and then build the computers to order. In a similar way, we sell and then market, knowing what we’ve got, so you’re never going to be in a hole. It’s nice as it takes the pressure out of it. All we need is a baseline of fans to buy this.

WERE YOU EVER WORRIED THEY WOULDN’T COME? A: Admittedly, there was a point where we thought, “maybe nobody will buy it”. S: But once they bought it in advance, you really want them to like it because they’ve already parted with their hard earned cash. Previously, if you were going to appeal to a new audience, you’d have your singles and then people would buy the album thinking, “I like those songs so hopefully I’m going to like whatever else I get”, whereas this time around they are buying it without any idea whatsoever.

So when we started getting messages when the album came out, saying “Oh it’s great”, it was a relief.

SOMEWHERE IN THE DISTANCE IS AN AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL ANTHEM. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE IN A MUCH MORE POSITIVE PLACE NOW? A: It’s nice to know that whatever situation you’re in, somewhere out there, there’s hope. Nobody can deny that. “Sweet, sweet hope, somewhere in the distance.”

THE VIDEO FEATURES YOUR FANS, WHICH WAS PART OF A BRILLIANT MARKETING PLAN. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO THAT? I: We really wanted to get people involved in the project, because, without them, there isn’t anything. All those people on our Facebook, Twitter, and mailing lists, they matter massively. We really need them and we wanted to make a collaborative video with them.

THAT WASN’T THE ONLY CREATIVE MARKETING YOU DID. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL NEWSPAPER? I: It seemed like we were missing an obvious trick having an album called The News From Nowhere, to not have a newspaper from

I: We have items on offer on our website. One of the packs we were giving away included people coming down to the studio and we would record them. On Fidget Brain, there’s a point where there are group vocals and that’s actually fans who came down to the studio.

WHAT’S BEEN THE RESPONSE? I: The response has been overwhelming. Especially seeing the number of people on social networks growing. The more we interact and give, the more we get. There’s a lesson there for any business. Without tools like social media, most bands wouldn’t have the facility to be able to get a record directly to the people that want it. You would fade away and that would be it.

IT SEEMS YOUR MODEL IS CATCHING ON AT THE LABELS? I: Now there’s projections from the head of Warner Entertainment talking about this segment of the pie being self-funded and directed to your consumer market going up to around £2 billion. I think that’s very encouraging. We’re very lucky to have fans that are keeping the fire going. Download a FREE HOOSIERS SONG now by going to Contact: To learn how Kimberly can help you MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR MARKETING, please visit or call 02071479960

26 August 2014 25

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SUCCESS Take one company

One big happy la famiglia Founded in Birmingham from humble beginnings by his father, Carlo DiStefano, in 1992, authentic Italian restaurant, San Carlo is a home to everyone from Hollywood stars to the man in the street. Marcello DiStefano describes how it expanded from one family-owned restaurant, to a UKrenowned brand with six locations, and how it managed to retain the same authentic feel along the way

If you promote from within, you stand a much better chance of keeping the ethos than with an outside hire, even if that person is highly qualified


ne of the most challenging times in the story of any business is making that leap from the original location, and expanding into a second venture. This is especially true in the restaurant trade, and nobody knows more about the challenges than managing director of San Carlo, Marcello DiStefano. “They say location, location, location, and they certainly aren’t wrong. If it is your first branch in a new place, and nobody knows you then you will die before you even get a chance if your location isn’t right. There has to be footfall in your area. Sometimes, people get complacent and think people will just turn up at their door. A good product and great service help enormously, but location is

first and foremost,” he explained. Once location has been addressed, often there is the issue of replicating a good thing at one location into another, whilst having to use completely different staff. “Any brand that looks to expand is going to face a lot of problems, especially when it comes to replicating the look and feel of the company. It’s not an easy task, but there are ways to do it,” explains Marcello, who phones us from one of the many restaurants his family owns across the UK. I can even hear chefs, with deep Italian baritones, shouting instructions across the kitchen in the background. “If you promote from within, you stand a much better chance of keeping the ethos than an outside hire, even if that person is highly qualified. Someone who is already

in the fold, knows the business well, they have invested in it, and it means something to them. They already know what it feels like to be a part of it all, and as such, they have the drive and desire to see it succeed,” said the stereotypically passionate Italian. “It is also important to do it at the right time. Too soon and you create overheads that are too high, too late and cracks will start to appear.” Having a strong identity and a passion for what you do is also a key to succeeding, according to Marcello. “Being Italian, we have this thing in life where your whole day is centred around lunch and dinner. The Italians like to sit down and savour meals, they make it a family affair, and that is the atmosphere we portray too.

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SUCCESS Take one company

It is very relaxed, not rushed, and the food is traditionally hearty. Growing up, we were very passionate about food and ingredients, it was something we were born with. Passion should guide everything you do.” Many businesses these days are passed on through the generations to other family members, and Marcello has experienced first hand what it is like to work with the very people you grew up with, day in and day out. “Working with family poses some interesting challenges, such as not wanting to upset those you care about, but it is also has advantages that you won’t get in other businesses. Everyone is more invested in the direction of the company and wants to see it succeed. You speak honestly between each other when the relationship is intimate, which is a positive. There aren’t the politics you get in other businesses as nobody is trying to get one over on anyone else. There are

obviously heated discussions at times, but that’s great because you can discuss important things. Nobody is keeping quiet because they’re worried about their job. Everyone has the same interests at heart, and above all, you can trust them. I think working with family is great!” chirped the managing director. “The hardest part of the job is managing people. You want to make sure everybody is happy, but you can’t treat them all the same, as everyone is different. Any business owner should treat their staff as individuals, otherwise they’ll soon find they end up with disaffected employees.” It may not have passed the notice of the regular television viewer, but programming today is saturated with food-based entertainment shows. From Master Chef to The Great British Bake-off, every time you flick the channel, there is a smorgasbord of cookery programmes, perhaps more so than ever before. And

The high street is changing. Even during the recession, there was a lot of growth in the casual dining sector

it is with the advent of such shows, and the move to a more European dining culture that has slowly crept in through our multicultural attitudes, that Marcello believes the restaurant business is booming, despite the difficulty in securing funding for start-ups these days. “The high street is changing. Even during the recession, there was a lot of growth in the casual dining sector. What we’re seeing is the old traditional stores, such as kitchen showrooms and music stores, dying off and being replaced by more and more dining options. Because people are travelling more and experiencing more, they want to know where there food has come from. I think this is very important and it is a lesson for all businesses, regardless of sector, to see how much the quality of your product matters to the customer today,” mused the Italian. “We might be making less margins today, because we spend more on getting quality, fresh produce, but it sets the best apart from the rest, and it is great that people are getting to know more about their food, thanks in part to this saturation of television cookery shows.” Whatever the reason, the high street certainly isn’t dying, it is merely evolving. That can only be good news for the future of San Carlo and the UK dining industry. Buon appetito! Contact: 31 31

28/07/2014 13:52




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30/07/2014 14:56

SUCCESS Up and coming

Here's to growing up! exported, and we’ve even sent some to Switzerland, which gives me enormous pride.

This month we indulge in a guilty pleasure with James Ecclestone, owner of the Grown Up Chocolate Company


etting up a business that makes chocolate might not sound like reinventing the wheel, but one young business that spotted a niche in the market is on course to make a million bars over the coming year – all by hand.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? My company makes chocolate for the top end of the hospitality industry, including the Dorchester, Grosvenor House, the Berkeley and other really nice properties. I’d been making 240,000 pieces a month by hand, but the business was really limited by the number of five-star properties in the country. About three years ago, I realised I’d reached saturation point. I was dependent on the hospitality industry and I needed to find another market.


I woke up with the idea of taking these bars we enjoyed as


children, and reworking them, but using the best possible ingredients, not filling them with oil, sugars and emulsifiers to get the price down. One of my biggest frustrations is that kids come out of catering college thinking that caramel comes out of a plastic bag. Our aim was to make a sumptuous treat by hand, based on the tastes and flavours of the chocolate we used to enjoy when we were young. I’m not ashamed to say that we haven’t scrimped on the calories. If you want to eat healthily, moderation is the key, not skimping on the luxuriousness of the product.

HOW DID YOU BRING THIS NEW PRODUCT TO AN ALREADY CROWDED MARKET? Our bars are relatively expensive compared with other chocolate, as they sell for between £1.49 and £2.50 each, but there isn’t really a similar product out there. We have focused on quality delicatessens and farm shops, as well as the Booths chain. Booths told us we’ve increased our volume in a sector that is declining overall, and we were their most successful launch in 10 years. About 60% of our bars are

We were working five double shifts a week, plus Saturdays, at our original premises. The challenge then was to supply the correct volume and be able to promote scarcity as a marketing ploy. It’s very hard as a small business, because you want to say yes to everybody. Our expansion can’t be meteoric as it is done by hand, so the output is always constrained. But you can put your business in as much danger by expanding too quickly as you can by shrinking it. When we moved to our new site earlier this year, the challenge became to fit it out with no bank borrowing, and become as productive as the original site, but with a less experienced team.

Booths told us we’ve increased our volume in a sector that is declining overall, and we were their most successful launch in 10 years

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BAR THAT YOU MAKE? That’s easy peanut caramel! Contact: www.thegrownupchocolate 33 33

22/07/2014 10:39

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LATEST releases

Book reviews

BOOK reviews The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth Entrepreneurship for Wierdos, Misfits and World Dominators

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

About the author: Chris Brogan is publisher and CEO of Owner Magazine, and a keynote speaker who has addressed crowds of thousands. His highlights include being on The Dr Phil Show, and once presenting to a princess. He has consulted with companies such as Disney, Microsoft and Google.

is often a unseen pressure, sometimes perpetrated by the business owners themselves, to be seen to conform to the accepted business methods and ways of doing things. Anyone who has felt this pressure, and maybe felt that they weren’t normal, or they were outcast, will find a sense of belonging in this book. It nobly celebrates the idea that sometimes, being different is what sets you apart from the crowd, and gives you the opportunity to be great, and that you should embrace it. As business books go, it is hard to find anything that comes close to this in both style and feel-good factor, and it is well worth picking up.

We say: Many people often feel unsure of themselves and their abilities, and this is true for many fledgling entrepreneurs also. There

The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth is published by Wiley, priced at £16.99 and is available as both a hardcover and an e-book.

by Chris Brogan Our verdict:

Dear Sales Doctor The 66 top answers to the sales questions you’re afraid to ask by Tony Morris Our verdict: About the author: Tony is the successful owner of The Sales Doctor, a sales training company that has taught thousands of people the key techniques of becoming a better salesperson. We say: Tony is a master of his craft and his insight into the profession of sales is unrivalled. Using his extensive knowledge and a collection of his Sales Doctor advice articles from Talk Business magazine, Tony has produced the definitive guide for solving almost any problem either a salesperson, or

those managing a sales team, will have. It is perfect for dipping in and out of whenever you have a specific problem that needs a solution, or just to be used as a guide to help improve your technique and increase sales. Covering topics that will be familiar to many in the sales profession, you’ll find it an invaluable piece of reading. Dear Sales Doctor is published by Filament Publishing, priced at £12.99 and is available as both a hardcover and e-book from www.wedosalestraining. Talk Business readers can get an exclusive 15% off a hard copy, along with 12 unique sales videos that provide practical advice on all areas of selling - absolutely FREE - by using the code “dearsalesdoctor” at the checkout. 35

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28/07/2014 13:54

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MONEY The funding expert

I got 99 problems, but a pitch ain’t one Money is everything in business, but how to get it? Funding expert, Julian Smith gives us his top tips for creating the perfect investment pitch


itching for business funding from angels or venture capital investors (VCs) is a competitive game. Large VCs in the UK will receive thousands of business propositions in a given year and perhaps only invest in a handful. So it makes sense to ensure that any time you are invited to pitch, you make the most of your window of opportunity. Despite the apparent long odds, you have the power to shorten them considerably by getting your preparation right. Here are my top tips to guide you as you seek to perfect your business pitch:

THE ELEVATOR PITCH Although the shortest in terms of content, it is by no means easy to get right. Named for delivering your pitch in the time it takes to complete an elevator journey, use that time to get an emotional hook into potential investors so that they want to know more. You cannot cover everything, so focus on three things: the problem you are solving; why your company is competitively advantaged; and why you have the right team to execute the strategy.

PROBLEM SOLVING AND PLEASURE GIVING Most people are motivated to buy something because it solves a problem, or it gives pleasure (improves the status quo). Therefore, it makes sense that the bigger the problem solved or pleasure delivered, the stronger the commercial case. Remember that when investors are investing, they are doing so believing that the business can generate a ten-fold return. Be bold and ambitious, but be realistic.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE “Why you?” What is it about the service or product that you are delivering that gives you a sustainable competitive advantage over existing competitors. As a small growth company, you should be especially mindful of how you can compete against larger companies in your space.

STAR TEAM It’s hard to underestimate the importance of the team. Most investors back winners, which is why second time entrepreneurs start with a

significant advantage. The business plan can - and probably will - change, but it is how the team responds to the changing dynamics that will makes the difference.

STORYTELLING Think about the flow of your pitch. It must hang together with a narrative that is easily recalled by the audience. Be wary of technical jargon, use real examples or case studies, and illustrate the traction that your business is gaining. Make sure the pitch is balanced with all of the ingredients to make a good story.

Most investors back winners, which is why second time entrepreneurs start with a significant advantage

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS Finally, don’t get lost in the vision and big picture. They are important, but so is the ability to dip into the detail. You will need to have a good sense for the key forecast numbers. What does your revenue profile look like? How will your costs grow? How much money do you need to raise and what will be achieved with it? Contact:


29/07/2014 14:39

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28/07/2014 17:43

MONEY Cloud billing

MONETISING the cloud Louis Hall, CEO of Cerillion Technologies looks at how cloud billing can make it happen for SMEs


he subscription business model is increasingly appealing to both start-ups and SMEs. In fact, many established businesses are already transitioning from selling products to becoming service providers, and entrepreneurs are frequently starting out with a servicebased approach from day one. Most are looking to rapidly monetise these service offerings. That’s why the prospect of tapping into a more predictable revenue stream based on subscriptions and creating a more valuable supplier-customer relationship is so attractive. Unfortunately, for many smaller companies, it is not easy to turn this vision into reality. Most start out with simple business ideas, which can easily be replicated. If a competitor enters the market, undercuts them on price, and develops goods or services at a cheaper location, differentiation becomes even harder to achieve. What small businesses need is a way of quickly and easily adding more strings to their bow, of bringing new

services to market and rapidly monetising them. They want to add more options for their customers; more flexibility around how they price and package their services, and upsell and cross-sell new offerings. And they want to be able to do all this while keeping overheads to a minimum. Unfortunately, doing all this is not as straightforward as it seems. A business model based on subscriptions and usage needs flexible pricing options - but traditional on-premise billing systems are typically too expensive or not agile enough to handle this requirement. It often takes years to implement, configure and integrate a traditional enterprise billing system with other applications, and a lot of capital will be spent before business benefits can be achieved. That’s likely to be an inhibitor for any SME with a monetisation agenda.

DELIVERING AGILITY Cloud billing can provide the answer here, slashing the time taken and the cost incurred in setting up new services, and giving SMEs and startups the chance to rapidly turn innovative ideas into monetised solutions. Moreover, implementation can be done inhouse in a matter of weeks, or even days, and companies need only start paying for the billing application once it’s being used commercially – both key benefits for SMEs and start-ups alike. SMEs also receive new features and enhancements

automatically as part of regular software updates, driving greater agility and the opportunity to continue innovating around new pricing and billing capabilities. The approach is also cost effective, as businesses don’t need to buy any hardware and they don’t pay separately for the hardware capacity they use - it all comes as part of the service. Equally, the commercial model is based on what is used, rather than on upfront software licensing and prohibitive implementation fees. So, for SMEs and start-ups looking to rapidly monetise their service offerings, there’s reason for optimism. Billing should no longer be a barrier to accessing this huge commercial opportunity. Now, thanks to the emergence of cloud-based solutions, billing has become a facilitator of an SME-driven subscription revolution.

Cloud billing can provide the answer, slashing the time taken to turn innovative ideas into monetised solutions



29/07/2014 14:43

MONEY Simplify the Law


When things go wrong... Simon Hetherington of, a company that helps SMEs solve legal issues without lawyers, explains step five of six - what to do if things go wrong with your deal WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A PROBLEM FIRST ARISES? This may sound a bit obvious – but check that it really is a problem. No business runs without a wrinkle or two, so be careful not to exaggerate the importance of what may turn out to be a small glitch. You don’t want to alarm your customers or suppliers, or have them thinking that you can’t handle the normal ups and downs of business life. As in most aspects of business, there’s a balance to be struck. You want to be aware of what’s going on as it can be embarrassing if you learn about your problems from customers. If you think something is not going smoothly, check it first before you swing into crisis management mode. Sometimes, of course, there is a problem and a dispute arises. Then you need to plan how to manage it.

DON’T MAKE MATTERS WORSE There are some basic principles to observe when things go awry. We know that tackling a dispute can be challenging and stressful, but you can exacerbate a difficult situation

if you don’t deal with problems as they arise – such as not responding to communications or failing to return phone calls. Even if you don’t have the answers yet, at least acknowledge the calls or complaints, and give a timescale, within which you’ll respond.

BASIC DISPUTE HOUSEKEEPING There are some straightforward things you should do when a dispute arises: • Make sure you know all about the issues – causes, dates, times, places and people. • Make sure you know all about the impact – what is the damage that this could do to your business, legally or financially? • Does anyone else need to know about it, particularly insurers? • Manage the communication with the other party strictly and professionally. • Be aware of the contractual obligations, which may affect the way you conduct the dispute. You need evidence: letters, e-mails, documents, invoices, meeting notes – anything to do with the matter in dispute. You probably have these accessible

within your business, but consider also whether anyone outside the business may have some knowledge of the situation. Third party evidence can be particularly persuasive, but remember that expert advice may cost you money that you cannot recover. Having well-maintained files, clear documents and complete evidence will strengthen your hand and improve the chances of settling matters before you get to court.

LOOK FOR RESOLUTION However you manage a dispute, remember that the outcome is the thing that matters most. Pointing the finger or apportioning blame is unlikely to help. Matters will also degenerate if your management team and staff do not cooperate in trying to resolve the dispute. A lack of support – whether perceived or actual – may lead to a refusal to acknowledge mistakes. If the dispute becomes, or looks like becoming, a legal matter, remember that the resolution of it may lie within your own hands. You can deal with many disputes yourself through negotiation, adjudication or mediation. However, if you come across complex legal arguments or don’t know which dispute resolution procedures to use, consult a solicitor.

Ensure that any settlement offers to the other party are made ‘without prejudice’. This means that the other party will not be able to refer to the offer if it goes to court

INFORMAL PROCEDURES If there is a mechanism laid out in the contract for

40 August 2014 40

22/07/2014 10:08

Having well-maintained files will strengthen your hand and improve the chances of settling matters before you get to court

resolving disputes between the parties, follow it properly, making sure that your team does so too. If there isn’t such a mechanism, consider contacting the other party to agree a means of mediation. Unless relations between you have broken down utterly, it’s not likely that anyone wants their dispute to end up in court. So try and exhaust all the informal means of sorting things out before you head for the courtroom. Discuss the issues with the other party, explain your position, and listen carefully to their response, and work out if there is scope for compromise. Ensure that any settlement offers to the other party are made ‘without prejudice’. This means that the other party will not be able to refer to the offer if the matter goes to court. If your informal settlement approaches have failed, there are still other resolution procedures before you need to go to court. Remember that: • The potential cost of the proceedings is an important factor in deciding how to proceed. You can learn some more about the hidden and not-so-hidden costs of disputes at Simplify the Law. • Some of the options for mediation and arbitration may require the other party’s consent. • Even if you start formal proceedings, there’s still scope for you to instigate further settlement discussion and negotiation with the other party.

IF NEGOTIATIONS DON’T WORK, WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? One of these may well work for your situation, but if you are in any

doubt, seek advice from a lawyer: • ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR):includes mediation, expert determination, early neutral evaluation and the Court Settlement Process. • MEDIATION: a confidential and private process in which an independent, neutral third party helps you reach a settlement, which is not binding until written up and signed by both parties. • ADJUDICATION: parties to a contract can refer their disputes to an adjudicator for a relatively quick, binding and enforceable adjudication award. • EXPERT DETERMINATION: an independent, impartial expert decides on a technical dispute. The expert’s decision is normally binding on the parties. • ARBITRATION: another formal process of dispute resolution, which can only be used if both parties agree that an arbitrator will decide on the dispute and that they will be bound by the resulting arbitration award. The procedure is more flexible than that imposed by the court. Arbitration is a private process. And finally: • LITIGATION: the formal process of making a claim, setting out your legal arguments, producing technical and factual evidence and, ultimately, presenting your case in court. Hopefully, you won’t need to get that far! Contact:


29/07/2014 15:07

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29/07/2014 12:49

MONEY Start-up loans

A day in the life 7:00 My two alarm clocks

go off, to the sound of “Daddy, is it breakfast time yet?” Once the kids’ breakfast is sorted, I have a cup of tea before sitting down with my eldest to do some reading before he goes off to school. My boys were my inspiration for ShortCuts. They’d always say they didn’t want to as it was boring every time I broached the subject of getting their hair cut. It’s also great to own a business that my kids find fun to be around.

7:45 My phone is constantly

going off, alerting me to appointment requests coming through Facebook. Most salons don’t allow people to book via social media, but I wanted to make booking appointments as easy as possible for our clients (well, our clients’ parents).


My stylists arrive, the kettle goes on for the second time today and we begin to go through the diary for the next few days. If it looks light, we put our heads together to work out how we can generate more appointments.


We open the doors to greet our first little clients. We are currently averaging 35 clients per day, some of which

This month our start-up loan recipient, David O'Neal, reveals a typical day running one of the most fun workplaces we've ever seen, ShortCuts Children's Salon travel for more than an hour to get to us. The mornings are slightly quieter than the after-school hours, but we are putting a marketing strategy together aimed towards stay-athome mums to rectify this.


I hold the weekly meeting with my party planner. We have a very busy month of birthday parties ahead, which is great as they form a major revenue stream.

12:00 I receive a call from

my business mentor to discuss how the first month of trading compares with our forecasted figures. The results have been fantastic! We have more than doubled our first month’s projected sales, and reduced our projected overheads by 10%. Having a business mentor has been really worthwhile, as it has made me re-visit certain aspects of the business plan that I would have otherwise overlooked.


I rush to a meeting I have with the local newspaper. They have been trying to sell advertising space to me at premium prices for weeks, and I have consistently batted them back. Today, I have secured a

In Profile

Entrepreneur: David O'Neal Business: ShortCuts Children's Salon Web: shortcutschildrenssalon Concept: A fun-filled environment for children to get their first experiences of getting their haircut. Start-up loan: £15,000 free editorial on the second page in one of Milton Keynes’ largest newspapers.


Now it’s time for one of my least favourite duties interviews! Due to a much better start than we anticipated, I am having to hire another stylist to work Saturdays, as last weekend we were inundated with clients.


Our final clients leave, but my day is not over as I have been invited to a networking event. It’s something I would usually avoid, as I hate not seeing my children before they go to bed. All I get out of it though, is a free cup of tea and some custard creams.


Home at last!



29/07/2014 14:42

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29/07/2014 17:06

MONEY Adam Aiken


redit cards are useful tools for personal spending but they can prove handy for businesses, too. For starters, they can assist with your cashflow. Depending on the card you opt for, you can get more than 50 days’ interest-free spending. You should always try to pay off your balance in full, but if you have a difficult month, you can pay off a smaller amount and wait to pay off the balance when your cashflow has improved.

KEEPING TRACK Credit cards can help keep track of your employees’ spending. It’s not simply about trust – after all, if you don’t trust employees, then you shouldn’t be letting them spend your money in the first place. A card statement gives you a full breakdown of all the expenses your employees have incurred each month, and it means they don’t have to waste time filling out fiddly expenses sheets to claim back money.

can lodge a claim for a refund from the card company. Section 75 covers purchases worth between £100 and £30,000, but there are some exceptions. Check the Financial Ombudsman Service’s website for more information.

BOOST YOUR CREDIT RATING As with individuals, all businesses have ratings that lenders use to help them decide whether to offer credit, and on what terms. Using credit cards wisely and not missing your monthly repayments will boost your company’s rating and increase the chances of securing future favourable credit deals. Although a start-up is likely to achieve a low credit limit initially, the proper use of the account will allow you to increase your limit over time, and that could prove extremely useful as your venture grows or you take on extra staff.

BE CAREFUL! Some cards can boost your cashflow by offering over 50 days of interest-free spending, allowing you to cover expenses until payments are received

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can permanently carry your debts over into the next month. The interest rates on outstanding balances will quickly hurt. And if you find you are relying on a credit card to keep your head above water, it’s a probable sign that you have wider financial problems. Building up more debt on plastic will only delay the inevitable, and make the final outcome even worse.

As long as they are used properly, credit cards can be flexible friends for your business, says money expert Adam Aiken

VALUE FOR MONEY Used wisely, credit cards can save you money. Some cards give reward points or cashback – sometimes worth up to 3%. In effect, this means you are getting a discount of up to 3% on all transactions.

EXTRA PROTECTION Another bonus that comes with spending on plastic is that it can give you added protection with your purchases. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the card issuer is sometimes jointly liable if there is something wrong with a product or service you have bought. So if you use a credit card to buy new office equipment, for example, but the supplier goes out of business before the equipment arrives, you

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Personally speaking Is your brand personable? It should be, says Rich With


o create a truly memorable brand you need to have awareness, and a good way of getting that awareness is by being ‘interesting’. This can be rather difficult considering that most of us SME owners spend every waking moment fretting about our business, our kids, the extinction of polar bears, or any number things that otherwise get in the way of us being ‘interesting’. Being interesting is subjective too. Some people find Jay-Z and his sister-in-law having a scrap in a lift utterly fascinating. Some people (presumably with massively high blood pressure, and an intolerance for anything deemed ‘different’), think that Nigel Farage is a scholarly individual who would do a ruddy good job of running the UK. The problem with giving your brand a personality is that it constantly needs to be entertaining, a business

raconteur if you will, whose erudite comments on Twitter make them sound like Peter Ustinov getting back from a weekend surfing tsunamis. With Elvis. And entertaining people into the idea of spending their money with you is not easy but, although the answer is relatively simple i.e. humanise your brand, the process of starting to think of it in terms of being more like a persona than an entity, isn’t. Starbucks for example, is known for supporting gay marriage in the US. They took a stand on an issue they saw as important to them and many of their clientele. Yes, they saw a dip in profits, but stood firm, believing that they had the moral high ground. This stance inevitably made them a few enemies, but also saw them gain admirers too. They recognised that many of their customers felt the same way as they did and acted accordingly. Bear in mind too that personalities in brands can be just as irritating as their real-life counterparts. Former Spice Girl, Mel B recently fronted a campaign for Perhaps 15 years ago, the UK would have found her personality refreshing and vibrant, but all we see is an annoying former pop-star who’s old enough to know better - probably not the feel Costabingo was aiming for. If a brand is to have a personality, then it needs to have beliefs. It needs to stand for something, and not just great customer service. It needs to have opinions that will ring true with its ideal customer base, make people sit up and say “Do you know what? That’s just what I was thinking!”. It needs to be an entity that people will want to emulate, hang around with, and be seen interacting with too. Going back to Farage; yes to many he is a buffoon, but to others he’s espousing their innermost desires, and that’s what we, as brand owners, need to do. We need to tap into, and engage with our clients on an emotional level, be their friend or someone they can look up to and admire. Then we’ll be truly personable.

If a brand is to have a personality, then it needs to have beliefs. It needs to stand for something, and not just great customer service

Contact: 47 47

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30/07/2014 11:00

STRATEGY Adam Caplan

chapter 4: Why do many people find selling difficult? Sales coach, Adam Caplan reveals a snippet of his book, Born To Sell – The Natural Sales Method


re you a salesperson or are you thinking about selling as a career? If so, it’s likely that you’ll have either found aspects of selling difficult or would have heard that selling can be hard. It is. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s a tough, tough environment, a real dog-eat-dog place where only the best survive and everyone else is beaten into submission. You better find an easier way to make your way in the world. Sorry, but selling isn’t for you. You’re not cut out for it. It’s only for those lucky few who have the personality and thick skin that makes them charming and charismatic and driven and successful in a job that has immense pressure. You’re not a salesperson. Move on. Still with me? OK, so it’s possible that you have heard the ‘sales is hard’ speech before. Personally, I’ve heard it a number of times in different guises, from different people, both from within and without the sales field. It’s utter rubbish of course. Sales can be hard, if you don’t know how to sell the right way. Sales can be almost impossible, if you actively sell the wrong way. It can be an unpleasant, unrewarding (both financially and emotionally) career, particularly if you are struggling. I’ve struggled. I’ve had times where I doubted myself and my abilities. I’ve had my dark days as a salesperson. 49

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28/07/2014 14:19

STRATEGY Adam Caplan

I’ve also worked through the difficulties and back into the light. I now run a sales training business, a training software business and a specialist sales recruitment business. I sell, train and write, every day. I’d say I was one of the best salespeople on the planet. My staff, who have benefitted from the sales training techniques in this book, have probably surpassed me, I’m delighted to say. I also consider YOU to be one of the best salespeople on the planet. Potentially. You see, I think that everyone who has a reasonable level of intelligence and articulation, can be a great salesperson. I have trained thousands of people and shown them how to improve their skills and lives as a salesperson. Unfortunately, not all of them make it, despite my best efforts and their best intentions at the time of the training session. It’s led me to wonder why some people find selling difficult and why some people never make the required changes to become the best of the best. The answers might surprise you. You see, there are some fundamental reasons why many people find selling difficult and it’s got NOTHING to do with what they are selling, or their sales patter, and EVERYTHING to do with their childhood. As well as being involved in sales and marketing since I was eleven years old, I’m also a qualified psychotherapist and trauma counselor. In my work in these fields as well as being a motivational speaker, I’ve been looking at the reasons why people behave the way they behave. This is relevant as the behavioural history of both buyers and sellers directly affect the sales process, in particular how people sell and how people react to salespeople. Let’s look at the first part of this: How people behave when they sell. How do some salespeople behave when they are selling? There’s a real misconception amongst many salespeople that negatively affects their abilities as a salesperson. This misconception is that ‘selling is hard’. In fact, if I were to ask most salespeople what the hardest part of selling is, many would reply with ‘cold calling’. Yet cold calling is a vital way for businesses to bring in new clients, increase sales and grow their business. If we can show how cold calling can be easy, surely that will make all of selling much easier? So, why do people find cold calling difficult? It’s all to do with our childhood and rejection. All of us have experienced rejection as a child. None of us particularly enjoyed that feeling. We are unable to deal with rejection as children and this inability to handle the experience makes us feel vulnerable and scared. We experience rejection many times as a child, often as a result of our asking for something that was subsequently denied us. This rejection (usually from our parents) was something that we often found difficult to understand. Our parents loved us, yet they didn’t give us what we wanted. Why? This caused many of us to stop asking questions. (In fact, much of this was as a result of our parents actively telling us to “Stop asking so many questions”.) Ultimately, as children we learn that asking too many questions is a bad thing. We also learn that if we ask questions we will experience rejection. If you are selling through cold calling, you will have to ask plenty of questions and you will, definitely, no matter how good you are, experience rejection! The real reason people find selling hard, is all to do with this fear of rejection and fear of asking questions because they could lead to rejection. This fear can often be stronger than the fear of failure, the fear of unemployment, the fear of no sales and the fear of no commission. The question is ‘how to overcome that fear’? That’s exactly what my book and my training platform is designed to answer!

Adam Caplan runs Ups Training, a sales training and assessment business that specialises in training, assessing and developing salespeople.

50 August 2014

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03/06/2014 15:04

STRATEGY Social distortion

Social distortion


ou can eat quite cheaply in Tuscany. We ordered an Easter menu on a country estate, about five miles away from the nearest city. It was tasty and not too expensive, but in the end we did not pay anything for our food. During a friendly conversation with the chef de cuisine, we criticised two of the five courses. As a result, the

whole menu was cancelled. I am without doubt an advocate of customer orientation, and a certain need for economy has not hurt any young family, but I did not want to eat for free. A sign of exaggerted customer orientation? My experience in Tuscany made me think; why does a restaurateur based on an isolated country estate give us his food for free due to minimal criticism? He was probably afraid

of bad online reviews, because his restaurant currently holds the top position in the rankings. This can swing quite quickly though, once a few customers start to post bad reviews. This can be seen in many companies. HR staff start to get nervous once applicants give bad ratings about either the company or the job application process, and it is the same with PR departments, put under

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STRATEGY Social distortion

pressure when mostly negative comments erupt over corporate social media channels. This negative component is hardly news to anyone, but the management of the coercive power of customers is an essential for daily business. I asked myself the following question: how are we able to deal with this power? Is there an ideal solution to distance oneself from the rating, establish an opposing power, or even prevent these types of ratings? In the 1950s, a lot of scientific work was done on the idea of power. Power has been limited, systematised

audience. This is a strategic recommendation in order to optimise conflicts, especially to reduce coercive power. This recommendation might sound banal in the first place, but the implications are essential for marketing and communication departments. Companies need to create awareness and resources to not only prevent conflicts from arising, but also identify and solve them. In particular, many companies only focus on the management of reward power - visits, activities, customer frequency, or revenue per customer. That’s what the

You need to ask yourself what you have done to generate such a negative reaction by the customer

coercive power situations is just as important as trying to prevent any negatives in the first place. And our restaurateur in Tuscany has reacted correctly. Through communication, he was able to nip this problem in the bud. There are various strategies to build countervailing power, as providers want to protect themselves from customers. The newest trend of creating so-called blacklists for problematic guests in the hotel industry, so that hotels can develop a countervailing power, is highly controversial. One example would be the online portal, guestchecker. com,

Dr. Michael Scholl, managing director at Homburg & Partner, looks at how the customer suddenly has a new power to wield over companies since the advent of social media and categorised. Further investigations deal with power and conflicts. Current topics dealing with coercive power showed similarities to the past - traders threatened suppliers with de-listing, suppliers threatened traders with non-delivery. Sometimes these threats were carried out, which was known as exercised coercive power. While reading through all these collected works, I concluded that communication can be regarded as the main solution for conflicts associated with power. My experience in Tuscany confirmed this, as we decided not to give a bad rating to the restaurant. Why? Mainly because the chef talked to us, told us about the starting difficulties and apologised. Communication is essential in these types of conflict, as especially critical restaurant reviews prove that positive communication helps – as opposed to negative or avoided communication. Qualitative, interactive, and transparent communication helps when intending to solve a conflict. Talk to your customers, listen to them, and admit potential errors. Being able to reveal a weakness means showing strength to your

core of a classical education in marketing and sales is all about. The reward is connected to positive experiences, incentives or variable salary. Coercive power is often forgotten by the companies due to its lack of attractiveness. The downside does exist, but is not always visible in terms of revenue - customers grow frustrated, but do not say so; traders recommend the products of your competitors and advise against the purchase of yours; online sellers place alternatives; Google provides other search results, and as such your downward trend in the review portal rankings continues. Moreover, the anonymity on the internet only supports some revenge campaigns on various social media channels. Providers who now feel vindicated should however sit back and wait. The exercise of a coercive power as vengeance for a previous incident with the provider is always preceded by a negative incident. As customers can’t be changed, you need to ask yourself what you have done to generate such a negative reaction by the customer. Coercive power is only being exercised when the organisation has given cause to this. Therefore, being self-critical and identifying

Anonymity on the internet only supports some revenge campaigns on various social media channels

which even promotes its services with the claim: “Check them out before they check in”. The countervailing power of customers, to avoid these type of hotels, is much higher. Providers should carefully think whether they want to risk annoying 99% of their customers, in order to protect themselves from the 1%, when using such sites. To sum up, dealing with coercive power requires a well thought out strategy. Attempting to take away the customers’ newly won power will be punished in the same way as trying to escape from the system, or build countervailing power. Companies need to cope with and accept coercive power, and the best strategy is to simply perform in an excellent manner. As a matter of fact, there are many companies dealing with it in a brilliant way, such as the hidden champions, which move up the customer rankings by performing excellently. Just ask our restaurateur in Tuscany. He might have had a bad day, but he has clearly understood the system! Contact: Eduard Mesares, Head of Communications, Homburg & Partner, eduard.mesares@ 53 53

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23/06/2014 13:03

STRATEGY 24/7 sales

Is it time to say goodbye to the 9-to-5?


ou might currently find yourself staying at the office after 5pm and checking your emails late at night, but would you count these as official trading hours? A new study by alldayPA shows us that more and more companies are beginning to trade at unconventional business hours to meet customer demand. It found that the volume of calls made on Sunday had significantly increased. In fact, the amount of calls made on what was previously seen as a day of rest,

grew more than on any other day of the week. The volume of calls made on Saturday also saw an increase, but it was slightly less than alldayPA recorded on Sundays. These new trends highlight the growing pressure that firms are under to make themselves available around the clock.

THE INFLUENCE OF RETAILERS Things began to change with the decline of Christian values in the UK. Many of us no longer see Sunday as a traditional day of rest.

The world never sleeps and customers are increasingly expecting demands to be met 24-hours a day. Suzanne Yates of alldayPA explores if the traditional 9-to-5 is dead

The Sunday Trading Act shook up the way we viewed our weekend back in 1994. What now seems like a basic shopper right was once an extremely controversial move. The Government had previously received a backlash for an earlier piece of legislation that would have allowed Sunday trading. Safe to say, the Shop Bill of 1986 was before its time. Current legislation dictates

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STRATEGY 24/7 sales

Beware - if you schedule tweets and they publish before you reply to customer enquiries, it may seem like you are ignoring customers

that we can trade for six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm. It took a while for people to adjust to these new laws, but these days it seems to be the norm. Shoppers have now developed an expectation that every business should be trading on Sunday.

CUSTOMER LIFESTYLE CHANGES Customers are also affected by the changes to our regular 9-to-5 routine. They themselves will be spending overtime at the office to meet their deadlines. This is part of a new deadline-driven culture that is sweeping across businesses trying to salvage cash flow after the recession. Customers are now too busy to call during the week, as they are focusing on their work life. The alldayPA study also shows us that mid-week calls have declined, which goes to show that the 9-to-5 routine may also be coming to an end for your customers. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all experienced a drop in volume of calls made, with Wednesday seeing the biggest decline.

SOCIAL MEDIA When it comes to customer service, you can’t always be there 24/7. However, being active on social media can give the illusion that you are. You can keep up to date on your phone and make regular checkups. You could also schedule tweets to post during the day (or night), with apps such as TweetDeck. However, being active on social media can lead to problems. According to NM Incite, 32% of customers expect a rapid response when complaining via social media.

Beware - if you have scheduled tweets via an app and they are published before you reply to customer service enquiries, it may look as if you are ignoring your customers. We also often forget the impact that unhappy customers can have, especially when they are publishing their bad experiences online. As the saying goes, bad news travels fast. If your unhappy customer posts on your company Facebook page or tweets you, it could potentially be seen by hundreds of their friends and family. It will also be online until they remove it and there is nothing you can do to take it down. We might check our own personal social media profiles regularly, but businesses don’t. Yet people still expect a speedy response. Unless you’re willing to spend your Sunday afternoons typing away on Twitter, you’re going to have to find a more effective way of dealing with the new influx of customer complaints and queries being made during the weekend. According to Clickfox, 40% of unresolved complaints through social media resulted in phone calls. If your customers find they cannot follow up their tweet with a phone call, they will quickly become unhappy with your service. Surely your only other option would be to open phone lines on Sunday?

• SCHEDULE CALLS WITH CLIENTS THROUGHOUT THE WEEK Making sure you contact clients in advance to see if they are having any issues means that you can solve the problem before it occurs. This would cut down on the amount of calls coming through at weekends and keep your customers happy.


Suzanne Yates writes for alldayPA, a professional, dedicated call handling service with 13 years’ experience.

The decline of 9-to-5 business hours doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think. There are a few options when it comes to dealing with the current demand. For instance, you can look to:

• OFFER MIDWEEK OUTOF-HOURS CALLING Allowing late night calls during week days would allow customers to call you when they return home from work. We’ve already mentioned that your customers are experiencing the decline of the 9-to-5 too, so opening phone lines later on week days could be a way of handling the demand.

Shoppers have now developed an expectation that every business should be trading on Sunday

• TRY OUTSOURCING By employing a call centre to answer your weekend customer service enquiries, you can preserve your weekends whilst being safe in the knowledge that a team of professionals are handling your calls. Outsourcing in this way can be an extremely cost-effective, no hassle option for SMEs. Recruiting a team of weekend staff to handle calls would just be out of the question, yet outsourcing is an efficient way to handle calls that won’t break your budget.

Contact: 57 57

28/07/2014 14:23


Top ten tips on employment law for budding entrepreneurs


ichard Branson with no experience in the airline industry started Virgin Atlantic in the 1980’s with one 747 and a bundle of enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit. He was able to achieve his dream of building an airline that pushed the boundaries of innovation with the creation of many new ideas which other airlines subsequently followed such as drive through check in, premium economy and beauty therapists on board planes. He built an environment which encouraged creativity and recognised that employees were his greatest asset in achieving success. He built a culture within the airline that encouraged improvement in the business by engaging employees to openly have a forum about their working life and regularly listening to them about how to make improvements to the airline. Do you want to be the next Richard Branson? – Jane Crosby, employment lawyer at Hart Brown solicitors gives her top ten tips to avoid the pitfalls for start up businesses when employing staff.


Contracts of employment: New businesses may be tempted to download contracts of employment from the internet but these documents may not always be tailored to individual business needs and also contain details of current employment law changes. Ensure you have properly drafted employment contracts in place that do not cause problems later on and seek advice on their implementation.


Staff Handbook: Have a comprehensive staff handbook in place which has policies suited to your business so that you and your employees are aware of what is expected of them and how to behave in the business.


Protect your Intellectual Property: It is easy to forget to protect the great idea you had in the first place when starting your business and by having post termination restriction in your contracts of employment and comprehensive

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Keep detailed records: If a business is able to manage its business effectively it should keep detailed records about training and development, appraisals and absenteeism. This may help by identifying problems within the workplace and also help to identify the key individuals who will benefit the business. Detailed records are likely to highlight particular departments which need training and development needs.

Keep up to date: It may sound simple but many employers forget to keep up to date with employment law changes and this could potentially be costly for any business. The landscape in employment is ever changing, some of the more recent changes include extension of rights to flexible working, changes to holiday pay calculations which include commission and the introduction of tribunal fees. A regular employment update from an employment specialist or organisation is essential because then further advice can be sought if needed.



intellectual property agreements is a priority for any entrepreneur.


Flexible working: Flexible working may be a benefit to a new employer by extending their opening hours so therefore benefiting working mothers and fathers and also helping the business to compete. Employers need to be aware that the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees on 30 June 2014, subject to employees meeting certain eligibility criteria. Employers need to have the correct procedures in place to deal with these requests as there is an ACAS code of practice which should be followed.


Training for managers: Larger organisations often have the benefit of an HR department but smaller businesses may not be able afford full time HR personnel so it is important to invest in training for managers to keep up to date with employment law changes .


Detailed dismissal and grievance procedures: If there is no alternative for employers but to follow a formal process to dismiss an employee, then employers should make sure that procedures are followed in accordance with any contractual obligations and the relevant policies contained in the staff handbook. Also employers should ensure that dismissal procedures are in accordance with ACAS procedures. If employers fail to follow these ACAS guidelines then this could result in an employee’s compensation award being increased by up to 25 per cent by the employment tribunal.

Engage the right adviser: Having the right professionals who understand your commercial needs is cost effective and essential for any business. They can keep you up to date with changes in the law and also having a person/individual who has a commercial sense can help provide practical as well as professional advice.

Have fun: Most of all have fun, in any business you sometimes forget the reason why you started the business in the first place and regularly engaging with everyone of your employees with effective communication can help. Regularly organising events which include all employees can help to generate the environment you want. You may not have the budget of Richard Branson but he recognises that a check in agent is just as important to the business as a pilot who is flying the plane. Get the culture right first and you are half way there to building a positive and successful business. We can work with you at Hart Brown to help build your business and if you require advice on this subject or any commercial advice then please contact one of our team on 01483 887766 or email

22/07/2014 10:51


Why can’t we be friends? The way to a harmonious business is for sales and marketing to become natural bedfellows, says Jacqui Keep of PowWowNow


ales and marketing historically don’t get on. There is a lack of understanding and respect from one team to the other. However, when these two departments don’t come together, this lack of alignment ends up hurting business performance. Time and again, organisations suffer as a result of the two teams being out of sync. There is no question that when sales and marketing do work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics. Research by The Harvard Business Review found: • The marketing function takes different forms in different companies at different product life-cycle stages, all of which can deeply affect the relationship between sales and marketing. • The strain between sales and marketing falls into two main categories: economic and cultural. • It’s not difficult for companies to assess the quality of the working relationship between sales and marketing. • Companies can take practical steps to move the

two functions into a more productive relationship, once they’ve established where the groups are starting from. So why is it important for these two departments to work cohesively? The entire point of a business is to sell. Without sales, there is no business, so the more effective the selling process is the more successful a company will be. marketing exists to make that sales process easier.

SO HOW CAN SALES AND MARKETING WORK TOGETHER BETTER? Communication – both teams have insightful knowledge that can help the other, and ultimately make more sales as a result. By communicating more on the issues - such as sales obstacles, objections, customer feedback, and competitor activity - the teams will become more well-rounded and insightful. Respect the brand - this means no homemade marketing materials with off-message content, made up taglines and manipulated logos. They ultimately look amateurish and unprofessional. Marketing develops the materials for sales to use, and this is how they

should be used. If there are materials that are needed, then speak to the marketing team and see if you can get what is needed to present to prospects. Develop goals and objectives together – although it is important to sit as two separate teams, having joint objectives means everyone can work towards one common goal. Agree which aspects marketing will contribute, and which sales will. This way you can review activity each quarter, and make sure you are on target for both your own team goals as well as wider company/group goals. Co-ordinate sales and marketing plans – if you have shared common goals and communicate regularly, this should flow on as a natural progression. By sharing plans and activities, both teams know the direction they are going in, and when they get stuck they can refer back to the plans to get back on track. Having an effective sales and marketing team essentially comes down to one simple thing: it’s really about communicating, both ways, continuously. Contact: 59 59

28/07/2014 14:27





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Better out than in Malcolm Stoodley, sales director at Exterion Media, discusses the three key questions that businesses need to ask for their outdoor advertising campaigns to be successful


n increasing number of businesses in the UK are using outdoor advertising to achieve fame in their local area, with 85% of people in the UK seeing outdoor advertising every week. So how can you get involved and raise the profile of your business? Firstly, you have to ask yourself three important questions:

WHY DO YOU WANT TO ADVERTISE? Every business requires advertising in some shape or form if revenue is to be increased; from improving your profile in the local area, to informing people of a current promotion. However, being fully aware of why advertising is needed will allow you to take full advantage of one of the most important attributes of Exterion Media - the differing amounts of dwell time that each outdoor advert type provides. For example, car drivers have almost a minute to read the adverts on the back of a bus, whilst adverts on London Underground platforms are typically seen for three minutes at a time as people

wait for their train. There are many other types of outdoor adverts, and selecting them carefully for your marketing needs is vital. For example, if you are looking to simply raise awareness of your business in the local area, those with a shorter dwell time will work best. Similarly, if you are looking for a higher level of engagement in order to explain what your business offers, or to highlight a current promotion, a higher dwell time will provide better results.

WHO DO YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR ADVERTISEMENTS? Who are your potential customers and what do they look like? Knowing this information is vital for two reasons: Firstly, it ensures that the tone of the advertisement is appropriate and appealing to the right people. Secondly, it makes sure that your adverts are placed in areas where your potential customers are going to be - ensuring minimal wastage and making sure that your marketing budget is working as hard as it can.

WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DO AFTER SEEING YOUR ADVERTISEMENT? Being clever about what you want people to do after seeing your advert is equally as important as knowing who your customer is. You may want people to visit your shop, go online to your site, or tell their friends about your business. Knowing the action that you want people to take allows you to make sure that your advert is designed to elicit the correct response. With every action, there’s a reaction. The great thing about advertising with Exterion Media is that the reaction is within your control. Some of the most successful outdoor advertisements have generated conversations across the world. By getting the message right, you can make sure that your business is well on the way to becoming famous in your local area.

85% of people in the UK seeing outdoor advertising at least once a week

Contact: 61 61

28/07/2014 14:29


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30/07/2014 12:41


Go back to the future Sometimes, doing things backwards is the way forwards, says marketing guru, Kimberly Davis


ne of the most common mistakes businesses make is that they create a product first and then try to sell it. Don’t believe me? It’s true. Creating and then selling is a dangerous game. Not only do you run the risk of having a warehouse full of products you can’t shift, but you could bankrupt your business before you even start. If you read my interview with The Hoosiers in this issue, you’ll have noticed that the band very wisely raised money for their new album first, and THEN went into the studio to create it. Smart move. They needed to know there was a demand for their new work before they started. They pre-sold the album through crowdfunding and used those pre-sales to take control over their business and their financials. Traditionally, artists would be given an advance loan by the label to create their album. Any success that came later would be used to pay back this loan. Quite often, there wouldn’t be anything left and the artist would be left penniless.

Businesses do the same when they get a loan from the banks or invest their own money to start their company. This can be a dangerous gamble that can put many out of business. As backwards as it sounds, the wise thing to do is to sell your product first and then only if there is a demand and the product sells - go back and create the product. Selling your product first allows you to test the market and see if people actually want to buy what you have. There is no point in wasting your time, energy, and money creating something that nobody wants. If the thought of selling something you don’t physically have yet feels wrong, don’t worry, you can ethically sell your product; just be honest! It’s okay to say, “We’re in the process of creating this amazing product and it’s due out in three months’ time. We want you to be the first in line to receive it. If you pre-order now you’ll receive x, y or z.” This will manage expectations, whilst getting them excited to be the first to receive your product. If for some reason the project

As backwards as it sounds, the wise thing to do is to sell your product first and then, if there is a demand, go back and create the product

falls through, you can always reimburse them. Most people who create flops are usually just a few tweaks away from creating a successful product. They just need to test the market to understand what to adjust. Be warned, sending out an email asking people if they will buy is different than actually selling the product. Many people will say “Yes, I’d love that” but aren’t willing to part with cash when the time comes. Test your market with pre-sales, and once you find the right formula, the sales will flood in. Then you can create your product with peace of mind, knowing that it will succeed. Ultimately, you’ll be able to build your business on facts and profits, instead of hope and debt. Download Kimberly’s FREE E-BOOK, “Deadly Marketing Mistakes Destroying Your Business Right Now (and you don’t) even know it)”, now at www. Contact:


29/07/2014 15:11

MARKETING Perfect sales staff

Million dollar salesman

You can rebuild them, stronger than ever before, says Steve Bennett, founder of The Genuine Gemstone Company

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MARKETING Perfect sales staff

Inexperienced salespeople take a scattergun approach to selling, cramming in many messages and hoping one resonates. As a result, the customer has nothing to focus on


here is never one exact way to sell effectively, and vastly different approaches can often have the same desired outcome - a sale. However, the most successful salespeople will likely share many similar attributes. Steve Bennett, CEO of The Genuine Gemstone Company, takes his experience of establishing 27 businesses and hiring hundreds of staff throughout his career, to evaluate what differentiates between a merely good and a great salesperson.

TRUSTWORTHINESS It goes without saying that understanding the customer and talking to them in their own language is the very foundation of successful selling. A lot of people use the word ‘rapport’ to describe how you develop a relationship with a consumer. I go beyond that and say that this relationship must be rooted in an authentic interest in the person you are selling to. Customers are wise to being sold to, and unless you care for the consumer, they will treat you as a salesperson, and put up defensive barriers. Instead, talk to them, get to

know their needs and build a level of trust before pouncing with your pitch.

KNOWLEDGE: One of the biggest barriers to gaining new customers is a lack of trust. Therefore a salesperson’s ability to build credibility through their knowledge will make a huge difference to their sales. Pass on knowledge to the customer so their buying experience is as interesting and informative as possible. If you don’t feel their hunger for more knowledge and new information, then they will not engage with you. If they don’t engage with you, they simply will not buy.

LINGUISTIC PERSUASION SKILLS As consumers, we don’t buy features, we buy benefits. The good car salesperson will not point out that the car has electric windows, but will focus on how effortlessly you can open the windows. The best salesperson knows that, even when the outcome is defined, it is still not enough to close the deal unless there is an element of desire. Focus on the benefits and outcomes to create a sense

of desire so that the desire to own what you are selling is stronger than the perceived consequence of not buying.

UNDERSTANDING Find a headline! Inexperienced salespeople take a scattergun approach to selling, cramming in as many messages, features and benefits as they can, and hoping one of them resonates. As a result, the customer has nothing they can focus on. Instead, the best salesperson gets to know their customers, understands their needs, and captures the customer’s attention by delivering a sole point of difference that matters to them. Developing a powerful headline can make the difference between selling something or not.

PASSION Passion will close the deal. People buy from those who have an infectious enthusiasm for what they do. If a pitch is not working, keep intensifying your genuine passion for your product, and it will undoubtedly lead to action. Contact:


29/07/2014 15:13

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29/07/2014 09:38 29/07/2014 13:47

MARKETING Lost in translation

Lost in translation Editor, Luke Garner collates the best (or should that be worst?) examples of marketing gone wrong from across the globe


e’ve all come across a word from a language that we’re unfamiliar with and, in an effort to find out what it means, typed it into an online translator. Often the result seems accurate but doesn’t really make sense as it doesn’t allow for the nuances of local dialect and grammar. Unfortunately for these brands, they probably didn’t bother to even check an online translating tool, as their embarrassing cross-border branding efforts demonstrate.

GREEN GIANT Parents across the world know how much of a struggle it can be to get kids to eat their vegetables, and apparently it is a problem that the makers of Green Giant sweetcorn have a solution to. Their “jolly” mascot doesn’t come across so friendly in Arabic, as he translates into the less appealing “intimidating green ogre”. If that doesn’t make your little ones sit up and start scoffing their five-a-day, then nothing will. Side effects of nightmares and bed-wetting are unconfirmed.


Either someone didn’t make the relevant checks or Coors nobly embarked on the most honest and disturbing ad campaign in history

What could be better than relaxing in the sunshine, perhaps in a nice Spanish villa, with a cold brewski? According to Molson Coors brewing company, the makers of Coors beer, that would be a case of the runs. You see, when they took their empowering slogan “Turn it loose” to the warmer climes of the Costa del Sol, it translated into “Suffer from diarrhoea”. Either someone didn’t make the relevant checks or Coors nobly embarked on the most honest and disturbing ad campaign in history.

CLAIROL Fashion is often a subjective thing, but it can be universally agreed that having some of the sticky brown stuff matted into your hair isn’t the

best look for anybody. Fortunately, nobody had to suffer such a fate, though some poor unsuspecting German women may have gotten an unpleasant Christmas present from a loved one. That’s because hair-care manufacturer, Clairol decided to import its popular US product, the “Mist Stick” curling irons into the German market. Once again the translators must have been on lunch at the approval stage, as “mist” actually means “manure” in Deutsch.

SEGA Teenagers across the globe often get derided by their parents for not going outside and instead sitting alone in their rooms playing video games. However, who can blame them when they are merely following instructions? Thanks to the slang translation of the word “Sega”, Italian gamers had the pleasure of *ahem* “playing with themselves” for hours, if you get what we mean...

IKEA One of many women’s favourite shopping experiences (and many a man’s worst nightmare), Ikea has always had a reputation for producing products whose Swedish names were a mouthful. However, nobody wanted a taste of the “Fartfull”, which didn’t have the same success in America as many of its other products.


29/07/2014 15:10

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22/07/2014 13:03

MARKETING 10 steps of Twitter


Step nine: exploit your workforce (nicely)

A simple email from the marketing team to the rest of the organisation, asking for help to promote the corporate message, can be surprisingly effective

Each month, Joel Windels of Brandwatch helps us to improve our Twitter feed with handy tips and advice. This month we’re looking at getting everybody involved in creating and sharing.


or many brands, social media is considered a discipline; a special area of expertise reserved for the marketing team, or perhaps the customer service department in more progressive organisations. The baffling part of this setup is that social media is not a discipline; not any more than email or telephony is. Think back to the 1950s when a handful of enterprises for the first time actually allowed customers to speak to them directly, or to the 1990s, when email contacts for companies were made publicly available. Executives and other departments considered these technologies valuable, but primarily as a dedicated skill assigned to a particular team, and not something for the entire company to be using. Now, every single employee has a dedicated phone number and email address. Clearly there are parallels with how social media is structured and perceived in many businesses today - a status that is unlikely to remain the same for much longer. Brands using an official Twitter account must begin with zero followers and zero engagement on all of their activity. It should be considered then, that the smartest brands can harness the power of their workforce to get a head start. At Brandwatch, we have almost 250 employees. Though some may choose to have only a limited or private social media presence, at least half enjoy a healthy following, and are actively involved with the goings-on and interests of the company.

A simple email or other call to arms from the marketing team to the rest of the organisation to help promote the corporate messaging can be surprisingly effective. Your workforce each has 100 followers on average, including dozens of potentially influential people that your corporate account is not reaching. Imagine just five of your colleagues opting to retweet your content. Then imagine those five each receive a retweet. In not very much time at all, and with a minimum of effort, your tweet has potentially been seen by 1,000 additional people. The specific tactics for utilising your headcount for social media benefit will vary dramatically depending upon the sector in which you operate, but writing a selection of draft tweets and nudging employees to engage with and share whenever you release a particularly interesting or important piece of content can go a long way. Some businesses are even incentivising the process, with leaderboards and prizes acting as powerful motivators for spreading the word. Even the likes of Xerox, Cisco and Salesforce spoke positively about the potency of this approach at this year’s SXSW. So, next time you’re launching a Twitter campaign, be sure not to overlook one of the biggest assets you have your employees. Contact:


29/07/2014 15:12

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MARKETING Trade Show Tips

Gin it to win it Kent-based maker of premium gin, Anno Distillers has forged itself a successful niche in a crowded market. Its Sales and Marketing manager, Kim Reason, gives us her top tips on how to stand out at trade shows and achieve success


Everyone wants to make money of course, but is that your only goal?

rade shows can be both exciting and daunting for any fledgling company with wares to peddle. Often there will be many similar-sized competitors in attendance too, especially at the bigger shows, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But there are ways to make sure you give yourself the best chance of being noticed and maximising sales. Here are a few tricks and tips that we’ve used to create a buzz in a crowded marketplace:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Attending the right show is essential; after all, they can be costly and, as a fledgling company, money can often be a scarce resource. There are thousands of different trade shows to choose from, so speak to others who have attended previously, to help you to decide which ones would be best for your business and will have the correct target audience. Also, for outdoor shows, try to check out the weather report. If your stand has no cover and a downpour is forecast, then your time at the show is likely to be a washout financially too. Be prepared!

PRE-SHOW MARKETING Letting current customers know that you are attending a show via communications such as an e-newsletter, social media and on your website, will ensure that you have some business already lined up before you even arrive. Also, consider having a show incentive so that regular customers have as much reason to visit the stand as potential new customers. Be bright and interesting they say you eat with your eyes, and the same is true of shopping. It is a visual experience and, no matter how good your product is, if you don’t appeal to a customer visually, then you’re unlikely to pique their interest for long

enough to sell your product to them. A bright and appealing stand will draw people’s interest from a distance, which is half the battle at a tradeshow. Our bright, colourful backdrop, which features the eye-catching bottle with splashes of vibrant greens, coppers and yellows behind it, often pulls people in before they even know what our product is.

APPEAL TO THE SENSES Customers want to interact with your brand through sight, touch, taste, smell, and feel. It adds to the show costs, but allowing potential customers to try before they buy is essential for any new company or product that many


29/07/2014 15:11

MARKETING Trade Show Tips

won’t have heard of. If your product is good, then you have to allow people to experience it for themselves and this will convert to sales.

BE ADAPTABLE They say you eat with your eyes, and the same is true of shopping. If you don’t appeal to a customer visually then you’re unlikely to pique their interest

There is nothing that tanks a show like not adapting to the crowd. At one particular show, we arrived expecting to sell bottles of gin. However, it was a lovely summer day, and many of the attendees were passers-by who just wanted a nice refreshing drink in the sunshine, not to be sold to. Therefore we had to change tactic quickly to pick up sales, so we grabbed some tonic water and started selling gin and tonics by the glass. Sales picked up and the show was a success in the end. It is fine to stick to a business plan and to make sure you don’t dilute the brand, but not everything should be nonnegotiable. If it isn’t working on a particular day, keep changing it until it does!

TWEET AND WIN! Whether it’s ‘On the rocks’, as part of a G&T, or however you take your tipple, make the most of summer with Anno Gin. The company has kindly donated a bottle of its premium gin for Talk Business to give away. To win, simply tweet us @TalkBusinessMag with the hashtag #AnnoGin and how you’d drink it if you won. *Please note, entrants must be over 18 years of age. See our website for full terms and conditions.

KNOW YOUR GOALS Everyone wants to make money of course, but is that your only goal? Do you also want to collect data, or perhaps use it as a marketing exercise? We always aim to cover the cost of attending the show, but sometimes you may want to accept that you won’t break even, as you will gain a lot more in the long-term by gaining exposure and getting the brand name out there, in addition to making key contacts.

UNDERSTAND WHO YOUR CUSTOMER IS Being from Kent, we, unsurprisingly, find that we sell well in Kent. The sense of pride many people have in where they live can often be a juicy hook to entice them into a purchase. However, when we are selling elsewhere, it is unlikely to be a draw. Telling a Bristolian that we are Kentbased is likely to elicit the response, “So what?”. Know what interests the customer in the area you are selling and focus on the correct USPs. For example, in somewhere like Birmingham, we find focussing on how good the product

quality is and the awards we have won, such as our Silver at the International World Spirits competition, works better.

RECORD YOUR RESULTS It is essential to understand if a show is a good return on your investment. Sometimes, returns will be direct, such as profit, others can be indirect leads such as collecting customer data who you can keep in contact with that may lead to sales later. The show rarely ends when the doors close, the post-show follow ups are an essential part of the show, not to be discarded. Also, use a fishbowl or similar to collect business cards and a sign-up sheet to attain email addresses for follow-up communications. Anno Distillers is the first company to distil gin in Kent for more than 200 years. Using its background from the world of science, the company hand-crafted a premium gin that amalgamates the greatest elements of the Kent countryside with the knowledge and expertise of alchemy. Contact:

72 August 2014 72

28/07/2014 14:35

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The Sterling Integrity Business Show is a fantastic opportunity at various locations throughout The Midlands, The South West, and South Wales.

• 23 October 2014 OXFORD SHOW Puma Hotel

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Business Junction, London’s premier Business network, invites you to a Free networkinG event Business Junction is offering all Talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of Business Junction is offering all talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our our 4 June 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). 7 August 2014 12.30-2.30pm

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PEOPLE Lee McQueen

Do as the Germans do Lee McQueen, founder of Raw Talent Academy and season-four winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice, says apprenticeships play a vital role in building a skilled workforce for the future


pting for an apprenticeship is a real alternative to a university education, and the importance of apprenticeships is something I am very passionate about. Back in the day, apprenticeships might have had a bit of a stigma attached to them. I think there was a bit of a feeling that they were suitable only for manual workers, and that anyone who was “clever” would go to university instead. But that stigma seems to be long gone, and today there are apprenticeships available in so many different sectors. There is a much wider pool for young people who are looking to find the right skills for employment. An apprenticeship is about much more than providing cheap labour for an employer. Fortunately, I think most employers have seen through that. An employer who takes on apprentices is far-sighted. It means you can train people the way you want to train them, instead of hiring people who have been trained elsewhere and who might

have learnt bad habits – or at least, habits that don’t fit your way of doing business. You can mould your future workforce and encourage them to work the way you want them to. It can be like a conveyor belt of good, young talent coming through. As an analogy, look at the German football team. They have just won the World Cup with a bunch of academy players who have come through the system. They have been brought through together, and now work really well as a team, and it’s enabled them to win the biggest prize in football. It’s the same in business. Having apprentices helps you get a stable labour force that you have helped to build, and you engender loyalty from that labour force because it was you who gave them their first break. And they know all about your customers and your company, not just the sector as a whole. If you want a short-term fix, get a contractor or a temp. But if you want a long-term solution, and you want your staff and business to grow, apprenticeships are a good way to help that happen.

Previously, there was a bit of a feeling that apprenticeships were for manual workers, and that anyone “clever” would go to university As far as the apprentices themselves are concerned, they get decent, widely-recognised qualifications, and they can enjoy valuable hands-on experience at the same time. And if a former apprentice decides to apply for a job elsewhere at some point, he or she will have a huge advantage over someone who doesn’t have that experience. They might not be getting paid as much as their co-workers to begin with, but they are being paid in terms of their education and their experience. It’s all about giving people opportunities and letting them flourish. We won’t have a successful economy if we don’t develop our youngsters, and apprenticeships are a big part of that. Contact: 75 75

28/07/2014 14:37

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22/07/2014 12:38

PEOPLE Reading between the lines

Readingbetweenthelines With almost one million unemployed young people in the UK, there is a whole wealth of talent out there for growing businesses to tap into, but how do you choose the best candidates? Jeremy Anderson, head of apprentice development at the Brathay Trust, explores what makes a CV stand out


o your business is growing, the workload is becoming unmanageable, and you’ve decided it’s time to take on an extra pair of hands. But, with a recent study suggesting that nearly one fifth of managers think the CVs they receive from young candidates all look the same, what should you be looking out for to separate the cream from the crop? Recruiting young people and education leavers can be tricky, with many having little or no relevant work experience to put on their CV. Added to that, in an increasingly competitive jobs market, business owners may find themselves receiving applications for entry level positions from both university graduates and school leavers. It is therefore unsurprising that a third of managers say it takes a lot of time to sift through the CVs they receive to find the gems. With time in short supply for SMEs, recruiters need to learn how to see beyond the obvious. One way businesses are doing this is by focusing more on young candidates so-called soft skills, i.e. the personal attributes that will enable them to do the job at hand. Indeed, a survey found that 38% of line managers want young people to put greater emphasis on their 77

personal achievements and real life experience in CVs. This, after all, is the information that will help differentiate one candidate from the next. So what should a business owner look for in a young applicant?

transferrable skills that might be useful in the workplace. Equally, a candidate could be encouraged to share more on their passion for a particular cause they support, and how they have championed this.



On paper, top grades may initially be appealing, but qualifications alone, whether academic or vocational, are not enough to judge a candidate’s merit. A lot can be said about an applicant by their personal interests and passions, and employers need to assess the personal qualities an applicant can bring to the table, both now and in the future. To do this, SMEs should encourage young applicants to share a story with them on their CV – getting them to open up and tell them about their lives. For example, a business could urge young people to go further than just listing a gap year or travel break on their CV. Instead detail how they organised travel arrangements, perhaps overcame any language problems or even whether they blogged about their experiences – these are all

A strong work ethic, commitment, communication skills, and team working skills are the personal attributes managers say they want most from young candidates. SMEs should actively look for examples of these in CVs. For instance a strong work ethic could be having had a part-time job from an early age, and commitment could be having had that same job for a number of years. Good communication skills can be easily identified by how the CV or application has been written, and also the way the candidate has interacted with the business during the application process. This can tell a business a lot about how professional they might be, and how they might go on to interact with clients, suppliers and other colleagues.

Young people with volunteering or community work under their belts go straight to the top of the interview pile

22/07/2014 10:27

PEOPLE Reading between the lines

DON’T JUST PLAY A GAME OF SNAP Looking for an exact match between a CV and a job description is not always going to get the best match for a job role. Just because on paper, someone doesn’t have the skills you are looking for, doesn’t mean they aren’t the best person for the job. When recruiting, a business should think more about the type of person they want to work for them, and look for those personal attributes on their CV. For instance, if it’s adaptability they want, this could be the young candidate that has lived in another country or, if it’s confidence, it could be the candidate that has done lots of public speaking.

The Brathay Trust is a charity, which aims to improve the life chances of children and young people. Each year it organises the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, the official search for the apprentice team of the year, which tests many of the softer skills employers look for. The 2014 winners were PepsiCo. To see what it took for them to win, or to register a team for the 2015 Challenge, go to

Top grades may be appealing, but qualifications alone are not enough to judge a candidate’s merit


GOOD CITIZENS One fifth of managers say that young people with volunteering or community work under their belts go straight to the top of the interview pile. This type of experience works two fold. Firstly, it shows that a candidate is proactive and open to doing something for others. Secondly, candidates that have volunteered will likely have developed some useful transferrable skills for use in the workplace.

GET THE BEST FROM YOUNG CANDIDATES Perhaps a bigger leap would be to change the approach to hiring young people. A standard application form is not always the most useful way to obtain the information you need, or to get the best from a young applicant. Businesses who want to be able to quickly differentiate between applicants could look to alter the structure of their application forms so as to focus more on the candidate’s life experiences and interests. Young people have much to offer SMEs, bringing with them a fresh approach and new ideas, as well as enabling businesses to grow and develop the skills they need to succeed. Spotting potential at the initial application stage is key to ensuring they get the chance they deserve to shine.

78 August 2014 78

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29/07/2014 09:44

PEOPLE Secret diary

Secret diary of an


“Who ya gonna call? Sales Doctor!” Whatever your sales dilemma, he has the answer. Tony Morris founded Sales Doctor in 2006, and now has more than 250 clients. The writer of “Coffee is for Closers” and “Dear Sales Doctor”, takes us through a typical week in his working life

DAY ONE FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL I always allocate one hour on Sunday evening to plan my week. This entails looking at my whereabouts, and seeing where I need to book additional meetings to make efficeint use of my time. I like to set goals for my week too, which I call ‘commitments’. I have three training days booked with different clients, so one of my commitments is to ask for referrals. I find 40% of my business comes from gaining referrals, of which 80% I proactively ask for. I train my clients how and when to ask for referrals, so it’s important that I do also.

DAY TWO FIT AND FULL I am a great believer in “a healthy body leads to a healthy mind”, so I get up at 6am to do my daily workout from the comfort of my own home. As I travel around the UK training companies, I have bought equipment that I can take with me so I can’t make the excuse

that I am always travelling and so can’t get to the gym. I always leave myself enough time to spend at least 15 minutes with my kids in the morning. I watch TV with them, have a cuddle in their bed, or have breakfast with them; this is by far the best part of my day. Today I am training a letting agent in Canary Wharf. I always arrive an hour before training, firstly, to get a healthy breakfast in me (a big plate of scrambled eggs), and secondly, to prepare the room for training. No matter what mood I am in, the delegates would never guess because I use a technique called ‘Act as if’, which I learned through my Neuro Linguistic Programming studies. It’s where you act as if you are the most enthusiastic, happy person in the room. By forcing yourself to act like this, you naturally start to do so. I find this rubs off really positively on the delegates, and creates a positive environment for training. My job is to educate and inspire a room full of negotiators, therefore the more passionate I can be, the better.

DAY THREE SALES PITCH AND PUTT One major perk of running my own business is I get to do some lovely things that many parents don’t get the opportunity to do, like take the kids to school. So, once I have made them breakfast, I take them off to school and nursery. As a business owner, I analyse where every single bit of business comes from. I have learned this is one of the most important parts of any business, because without this information, how can you possibly plan effectively? I have got it down to 21 different sources, ranging from Google adwords to email campaigns. In my recent sales meeting with my business partner last weekend, which we do every other week, it was apparent that networking contributed to 14% of our business. So, armed with this information, I have recently joined a local golf club to do some more networking and play a sport I love (and am currently horrendous at). This morning, I have my second golf lesson in an attempt to avoid embarrassment whilst networking on the links.

80 August 2014 80

22/07/2014 10:32

PEOPLE Secret diary

I use a technique called ‘Act as if’ to spread energy, where you act as if you are the most enthusiastic person in the room

DAY FOUR NO TIME TO WASTE! I am training a large waste management company today in Manchester, so up at 5am to get the train in time. I plan my train journeys very carefully as they are the ideal time to work on proposals, or carry out any administration, and today I have a two-and-a-half-hour train journey to get some work done. As a business owner it’s important to know what your hourly rate is. What are you worth? Once I learned that my hourly rate is more than £250, I questioned why was I doing my own invoicing when I could delegate that to a PA, who I pay £23 an hour? Part of today’s sales training was to develop the sales reps’ telephone manner and how they handle enquiries. To best prepare for this day, I carried out a selection of mystery calls last week, all of which were recorded, and we played those back in training and critiqued them as a group.


networking group, BNI, where we meet at 6:15am for a breakfast networking session. This is a great opportunity for me to help businesses in the room and, likewise, receive some great referrals for my business. This goes on until about 9am, and gives me time to get to my client. Today I am training a promotional merchandise company, where we are doing live cold calling to generate new business appointments. I have got the ten delegates to prepare a list of companies on their hit list

with contact names and numbers. To put the delegates at ease, I am always the first to get on the phone, so I can demonstrate the techniques working for real and we can critique my approach. As a sales trainer, it’s important that I am able to practice what I preach. Finally, after a long day, my weekend begins. I still have a list of tasks to do over the weekend before it all begins again on Sunday night, but sales never sleeps! Contact:

Tony’s latest book “Dear Sales Doctor: the 66 top answers to questions you’re too afraid to ask” is available now from Talk Business readers can get an exclusive 15% off a hard copy, along with 12 unique sales videos that provide practical advice on all areas of selling -absolutely FREE - by using the code “dearsalesdoctor” at the checkout.

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6 TOP TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BUZZ If networking at events makes you nervous, don’t psych yourself out with unrealistic expectations.You may not meet 20 new contacts or impress others with your best joke, and that’s okay. One quality conversation is more beneficial than 20 rushed superficial ones. • PREPARE Plan ahead and think of some good ideas for some icebreakers. Open-ended questions spur interesting conversations. • ASK FOR AN INTRODUCTION Tap your contacts, friends and family for introductions.You’ll get much further with an introduction from a common acquaintance than approaching someone out of the blue. • SHARE PERSONAL STORIES Sharing personal details helps for participating in the conversation and will help it to flow more naturally showing genuine interest is desirable to most people. • BUILD YOUR TWITTER COMMUNITIES Every time you exchange contact details get into the habit of searching for the person you just met on Twitter – their username is likely to be their own name or possibly their company name.

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Flexy business This month, HR Insight’s Richard Cummings breaks down the new changes to flexible working and how they might affect your business


ollowing the Government’s Consultation on Modern Workplaces, the right to request flexible working was extended to now include all employees, from 30 June 2014.

WHAT HAS CHANGED? The main implications are that all employees will have a statutory right to request flexible working, for any reason. The only eligibility criteria are that they must have 26 weeks of continuous employment by the date that they make the request, and must not have made another request within the last 12 months. The strict statutory procedure will be abolished and replaced with a requirement that employers consider flexible working requests in a “reasonable manner”. This means that although the right has been greatly extended, the Government has attempted to balance this with a more flexible employer-friendly process.

HOW SHOULD I NOW HANDLE NEW FLEXIBLE WORKING REQUESTS? To assist employers, ACAS has produced a code of practice on “Handling in a Reasonable Manner Requests to Work Flexibly”, and an accompanying guide. Although the process outlined in the code is not statutory, it will be taken into account by

employment tribunals when determining whether or not an employer has dealt with a flexible working request in a reasonable manner. The process for handling all flexible working requests should be as follows: Upon receipt of a written request, you should arrange to meet with the employee to discuss it. Please note that there is no longer a statutory right to be accompanied to any of these meetings, including appeals, but best practice states that this should be offered. If you intend to approve the request without the need for a meeting with the employee, then a meeting is not necessary. All requests should be considered in a nondiscriminatory way and can only be rejected for one, or more, of eight specific business reasons (which remain unchanged from the previous legislation). You must inform employees of the decision in writing as soon as possible. If the request is accepted (even with modifications) then you should discuss when and how the changes will be implemented. If you reject the request you must provide reasoning

in writing and allow the employee the right to appeal. Any appeal meeting should also give the staff member the right to be accompanied. The overall time period from receipt of the request to completion of the process (including any appeal) must be no longer than three months, unless an extension has been agreed by the employee. In conclusion, this change is likely to mean an increase in applications for flexible working and it will be essential that requests are managed in a fair and reasonable way to minimise the risk of employment disputes developing. If you already have a policy in place, you should review it in order to ensure that you are following the new guidelines.

Although the right has been greatly extended, Government has balanced this with a more flexible, employerfriendly process


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29/07/2014 09:47

PEOPLE Best practices when working remotely

CULTURE chameleon Meera Sapra, social media ambassador at Zoho, advises on the intricacies of working with different cultures


or six years, I’ve been working in a crosscultural environment across India and the US. Technology allows us to connect, regardless of location or time zone, but this convenience makes it easy to neglect the subtle cultural differences that can make or break a remote working relationship. Here are some best practices I’ve discovered on working together when we’re not all under the same roof.

GET ENOUGH FACE TIME Meeting your colleagues will help you gain a better understanding of another culture. In person, you can observe subtle non-verbal cues and mannerisms you might not otherwise understand. For example, work with us in India and you might discover the great “Indian head bobble”, a gesture that can mean “Good”, “I understand”, “yes”, “no”, or even “no, but I just don’t want to say it”. If you observe this long enough, you will start recognising the different meanings based on accompanying cues. Afterwards, you’ll find it’s easier to work over a chat window, email or portal such as Skype.

DON’T ASSUME YOU’RE BEING UNDERSTOOD When you communicate with a remote co-worker, don’t assume they’ve understood everything exactly as you intended - ideas can easily get lost in translation. In some Asian cultures, a belief that communication is about maintaining harmony might prevent them from openly conveying a misunderstanding, or lack of time or resources. Following up with a message clearly recapping the action items can avoid confusion.

WHEN IN DOUBT, BE POLITE What may be considered brief, business-like communication in one culture might be perceived as rude in another. Always err on the side of politeness - you might appear as over-polite, but you can always go back to being business-like once you know them better.

HAVE NON-WORK CONVERSATIONS We all know people are willing to go the extra mile for friends. When all your conversations revolve around work, it can be hard to build up all-important rapport with remote colleagues.

Start calls by chatting about non-work topics before you talk shop. Take an interest in your co-worker, exchange work-desk pictures, share a playlist or learn a few words of their language.

REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE IS UNIQUE Cultural stereotypes are mental roadblocks. You can never truly appreciate your colleague if you make assumptions based on their culture. In the same way that your skills and interests differ from those of your colleagues, so it will be for those working remotely in another city. Find out each person’s particular strengths and you’ll always know the best person for the job! At the end of the day, work is not about where you’re from, but what you can do together. That’s what makes for a great workplace culture. Zoho offers a comprehensive suite of cloud-based business and collaboration applications.

Stereotypes are mental roadblocks. You can never truly appreciate your colleagues if you make assumptions based on their culture


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29/07/2014 11:20


PA? Pah! A

while ago, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the intersection of two topics: PAs and calendar management. I realised that I had a very specific pet hate - getting passed over to a PA when arranging to meet someone. Every time I saw an email being copied to “my PA”, “my EA”, or a newfound term to describe what used to be known as a secretary, my heart sank. I would take a few deep breaths, and hope that this would be the one time that it goes smoothly. And then it inevitably wouldn’t. Now this all may seem like an exaggeration. In fact on a first read, it might seem absolutely ridiculous, but consider my reasoning fully before judging. First of all, what’s the point of a PA? A PA should simplify the life of their employer, allowing them to concentrate on matters they consider more urgent and relevant. Often, the role of a PA will include dealing with external parties. And in some cases that external party is me. Now the employer, when arranging a meeting, certainly does not want to cause additional hassle to this external party. The PA’s role is to simplify matters for both people involved. Life with him or her (we’ll use her from this point on as, statistically, this is more likely) should be better

than life without her. Personally, I come at this with the same approach – I want to simplify things for everyone involved. I want to make it easy for the person I’m meeting, I want to make it easy for the PA, and I’m pretty sure I have a process that’s extremely effective. What I absolutely don’t want is 20 emails going back and forth. Even worse, imagine if I passed their PA over to my PA and the two of them sat there bouncing emails and asking their employers until they finally found something that worked. Even thinking of the wasted (wo) man hours gets me riled up! Instead, I send them a link to my online calendar, and a starting date from which I’m available to meet. “Please suggest several free slots that work for both me and Mr. Smith, starting from 11th November, leaving at least an hour for travel.” I cannot imagine anything easier. I’ve just saved this PA half an hour of replying to emails. All they have to do is locate the slots, send them to me, and I’ll choose one. If there is only one, then we’ll go for that. In the word of the wannabe Russian meerkat - simples! And yet, nine times out of ten, this clearly efficient process breaks down. The PA never bothers to actually read the email. She sends a message saying “How about the 5th of

If you are willing to dedicate an hour to meet with someone, then that relationship is surely worth an extra ten seconds to exchange emails

Life is easier without a PA, argues Ivan Mazour, CEO of software company, Ometria

November?”, even though this is a week before I suggested, and clearly marked as a date on which I am in Istanbul (true story). So I have to respond and ask them to try again. Then they get back to me, I confirm a slot, and then I ask them to send a calendar invite. Inevitably I receive something along the lines of “Meeting with Ivan Mansour at the ARts Club” (true story again). Firstly, that is of no help at all as it doesn’t have the name of the person I’m meeting. Secondly, my full calendar is shared with a large number of people, so that is embarrassing for them to see both my misspelled name and the two capitals in a word. And thirdly, I can’t help letting the PA’s lack of professionalism rub off on the person who she works for. Now the person I am meeting is almost certainly not like that, but the fact is that every member of your organisation represents you, and your PA does so more than most. They’re a direct extension of you. So now any time I think of that person, I can’t help but remember that. They’ve been tainted, without even realising it. So in this process, time has been wasted, the person they are arranging a meeting with has been disappointed and they have shown themselves, and hence their principal, to be unprofessional. And that’s just what happens regularly. But

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Every member of your organisation represents you, and your PA does so more than most. They are a direct extension of you

that’s not it! Then you have the situation when the PA forgets to tell their boss, or doesn’t actually put it in their calendar, and I’m left sitting in a restaurant for half an hour on my own, before having to leave. Twice. (Sadly, another true story). Now I simply don’t see a way to avoid this, other than to not use a PA for managing a calendar. Or to get someone extremely diligent and professional, who will inevitably ask for the salary of four PAs. So my solution is simple; don’t use a PA to manage your calendar. I have many friends who could

easily hire one, but choose not to. They understand that technology has perfected this aspect of our lives, and that it’s simply not worth outsourcing. Every email is an opportunity to build a relationship with the other person. It’s an opportunity to see how they write, how they think and how they operate. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and build a rapport. If our business life is focused on achieving great things, then we are always trying to identify the people around us who share the same approach. If you are willing to

dedicate an hour to meet with someone, then that relationship is surely worth an extra ten seconds to exchange emails. They give you an insight into the other person before you meet. They set the meeting up so you are not strangers, just two people continuing an existing discussion. So, as a core principle in life, I choose to organise my own calendar. Yes it adds workload and stress to my life, but the benefits I’ve seen have been far greater. Contact: 89 89

22/07/2014 10:26

We have over 20 years experience in the property market. We design, build and manage properties across London.






We work with High Net Worth investors across the globe.











IMAGE We love...



We love... meetings Okay, so nobody really likes meetings, but this month we've got some great gadgets to make them a little more bearable, whether you're in the boardroom or on the road

WIN You can snap up all of the fantastic items on this page FREE. Simply write to us about anything business related that’s on your mind! Whether it be a comment on an article in Talk Business or something you’ve seen on the news, the best letter will be picked as our “Letter of the month” and will win the whole lot! Email or write us at: Letter of the month, Talk Business magazine, William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex CM24 8AJ


Good lu

BE-EZ LE BAG PRO SMARTPHONE PROJECTOR This awesome piece of gadgetry may just be a simple cardboard box, but don’t let looks deceive you - it packs a surprise! Turn your iPhone into a projector, and wow all of the execs at your next meeting. It’s great for showing off presentations or marketing videos, but you could just use it to show the best goals from the weekend to your mates in the office. Your call. Price: £15.99 Where can I buy it?:

Never forget a thing again with this superb backpack from BE-EZ. It took the designers more than a year to put together, but it was certainly worth the wait. With a sturdy body and waterproof outer, it can hold your laptop snugly, keeping it safe, along with all of your documents for that important presentation. Price: £90 Where can I buy it?:

SUPERTOOTH HD-VOICE How many languages can you speak? One? Two? Five? Well the Supertooth HD-VOICE in-car speakerphone works in a whopping 12 different languages, so you can take your meetings on the road, whatever your lingo. Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled phone, at the press of a button you can get crystal clear calls and hands-free conversation. HDVOICE has a charging time of just three hours, which allows for 20 hours talk and a huge 40 days stand-by time. So now. wherever you are there. is no excuse for missing an important call - or for you to pretend to be unavailable when your mother-in-law calls! Price: £59 Where can I buy it?: 91 91

28/07/2014 14:47

IMAGE Glasses for face shapes

Shape what you see


hoosing the perfect pair of face-flattering glasses is not a straightforward endeavour. With celebrities sporting the latest trends, spectacles are becoming a hot accessory. Factor in lifestyle, prescription and face shape, and the choice becomes almost overwhelming. So, where to begin? Mesha Tanna, clinical director at Optical Express, suggests starting with the five main face shapes and finding the frames to match.

Want to win a ÂŁ150 voucher redeemable against any frames at Optical Express?

Simply tweet us @TalkBusinessmag with a picture of yourself wearing glasses with the hashtag #Talkimage. Our favourite will Entries must win this great prize! be received no

later than 20th August 2014.

SQUARE FACE: Characterised by a strong jaw-line and broad forehead. Celebrities with this face shape include Demi Moore and Keira Knightley.

FRAMES: Look for slightly curved frames that sit high on the face to minimise the jaw line. Frames slightly wider than the face will help minimise the angular appearance of the face.

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IMAGE Glasses for face shapes

Frames and prices: Chopard - from £300 Eco frames - from £110 Kookai - from £120

ROUND FACE: The width and length of the face are in the same proportions. Celebrities with this face shape include Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz.

OVAL FACE: Considered to be the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions. Celebrities with this face shape include Jessica Alba and Julia Roberts.

FRAMES: Straight or angular lines, rectangular shapes, and dark colours, such as black or tortoiseshell will help minimise fullness and create angles. Avoid square or round shapes.

FRAMES: Frames that are as

RECTANGULAR FACE: Longer than it is wide and characterised by a long, straight cheek line and sometimes a longer nose. Celebrities with this shape include Sarah Jessica Parker and Gwyneth Paltrow.

HEART-SHAPED FACE: Wide in the eye and cheekbones, and narrowing in the chin. Celebrities with this face shape include Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

FRAMES: Frames should cover

or rimless frames with vertical elements. Square bottoms also help to balance out the face shape.

as much of the centre of the face as possible to minimise length, so look for frames that are deeper than they are wide. Designs on the temple of the frames also shorten the appearance of the face shape.

wide as the broadest part of the face keep the natural balance

FRAMES: Look for thin

Contact: 93 93

29/07/2014 10:20

Swiss movement, English heart

Swiss made / Worldwide limited edition of 500 pieces / ETA 2824-1 self-winding certified chronometer / 38 hour power reserve / Satin finish titanium case / Water resistant to 500 metres / Internal countdown bezel / Helium release valve by FIMM / AR08 anti-reflective, museum grade sapphire crystal / Deep-etched back plate engraving / SuperLuminovaTM hands and indexes / High-density rubber dive strap

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24/07/2014 11:54

IMAGE Christopher Ward

A blend of old and new Ten years ago, Mike France, Peter Ellis and Chris Ward, shared a Thames boat trip that launched an innovative and exciting new approach for the luxury watch sector. Blending the old ways of uncompromising quality, with the then-emerging new online market, Christopher Ward shares its journey of success with us


hristopher Ward (London) Limited was established in 2004 with a new business model for the luxury watch market; challenging the industry’s traditional approach by retailing as a pure-play digital business. The trio had the foresight to spot the potential for online luxury retailing. The luxury watch market offered a gap for creating high quality, affordable watches that defied what many customers perceived as the industry’s wildly excessive multiples on cost price, plus the added cost of middlemen. Their vision was for a cost-effective business model that made no compromises on quality, and a fanaticism for customer service. They saw the opportunity that the internet offered for new approaches and new ways to engage, excite, and satisfy the consumer. The brand has grown strongly, achieving growth of 30% per annum in each of the past four years. Around 40% of the brand’s sales are overseas - the US being the single largest market - and Christopher Ward now sells more mechanical watches than any other UK-based brand. The company’s long standing

marketing strapline, ‘Swiss movement, English heart’ expresses the emphasis on blending English spirit and aesthetics with the quality and reliability of Swiss-made movements. This quality was supported through cost-effective marketing programmes, including a powerful digital focus, that helped to keep prices down, not least by foregoing the tradition of paid celebrity endorsement. The people’s luxury watch brand was born. The brand’s power to surprise reached a stunning new high in this 10th anniversary year with the launch of Calibre SH21 – the company’s own in-house movement, an extraordinary achievement for a young brand of this scale. Created through a formal merger with Swiss production associate, Synergies Horlogères SA, Calibre SH21 provides a powerful new platform for Christopher Ward’s second decade and beyond. Amazingly, on hearing whispers of this development last year, the response of the CEO of a major Swiss luxury watch brand was, “What gives you the license to do that?” That response epitomises

the polar position taken by Christopher Ward as a brand, that focuses on what the customer wants and not on what is most comfortable for the industry. Christopher Ward regularly consults fans on designs - sometimes pulling models that get a poor response. With future industry supply lines potentially threatened by restrictions from the dominant supplier of movements, Swatch Group, Calibre SH21 provides Christopher Ward with a greater degree of independence and security to set its own path. Described as “perhaps the most important development for a British watch brand in the past 50 years”, Calibre SH21 gives the brand the platform to take its revolution further and strengthens a great British presence in luxury watch making. License or no license, the Christopher Ward revolution goes on!

Christopher Ward focuses on what the customer wants, regularly consulting fans on designs and sometimes pulling models that get a poor response

Contact: 95 95

28/07/2014 14:48

IMAGE Hot spots: Cambridge

Hot spots This month we head to Cambridgeshire for the best places to eat, greet, and lay your head in Cambridge and the surrounding area AWAY ON BUSINESS THE VARSITY HOTEL & SPA Where? Thompson’s Lane, Cambridge. Why? This four-star boutique hotel is located beside the picturesque River Cam, in the heart of Cambridge. The rooms are spacious, with many of the suites having panoramic glass windows, allowing unrivalled views and abundant natural light - perfect on those long summer evenings. But what really makes this stylish hotel special is the rooftop terrace, which, in the early evening becomes one of the most romantic spots in the city. With unrivalled 360-degree views of Cambridge (including the gloriously grand old colleges), after a long day at work, you can relax and unwind with a glass of Champagne or Pimms, and watch the sun slowly set over the rooftops. A lovely touch is the complimentary walking tour that the hotel offers with one of its experienced guides every Saturday, allowing you to soak up all of the culture of this historic city. As if that wasn’t enough, when the British summer brings its usual dose of downpour, head inside and pamper yourself in the luxurious spa. Equipped with a hot tub overlooking the River Cam, a full range of Elemis spa treatments, and a gymnasium, you can really let all of the stresses of life melt away - despite only being minutes from the city centre. Contact:

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IMAGE Hot spots: Cambridge


EVENTS, GATHERINGS & HUBS CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE Where? Trumpington Street, Cambridge. Why? If wow factor is what you’re after, then Corpus Christi College is hard to beat. It features the Old Court, a rare 14th Century medieval architectural gem, and the oldest surviving enclosed court in Cambridge, and is steeped in interesting history sure to delight guests. The 19th Century New Court dates from the foundation of the College, and provides the four traditional essentials of a college: a chapel, a library, a hall and a lodge for the Master. The approach to the New College provides a truly breathtaking view of the stunning towers and Neogothic architecture. It has a magnificent panelled hall, which seats 144, and is the perfect venue for a formal dinner to impress even the most discerning of employees, delegates and their guests. There are several smaller, elegant rooms available for meetings or enjoyment of the renowned cuisine, and all of the latest equipment to ensure your conference, awards dinner or other event is well received. Contact:

Where? 152-154 Hills Road, Cambridge. Why? Chef patron at Alimentum, Mark Poyton, has crafted cuisine worthy of the Michelin star that adorns the restaurant’s wall, with a range of menus that will astound and delight. The food is best described as modern European, and is prepared with passion, integrity, and originality using slow cooking techniques to accentuate flavour and texture. The menus are dictated by the seasons with the majority of the ingredients sourced locally. Of particular interest is the “Taste of Alimentum”, which comprises seven different dishes, and gives you a real feel for the county of Cambridgeshire. There is also an extensive wine list, with some of the world’s finest tipples at reasonable prices, and for the more discerning customer who wishes to entertain larger groups of clients, there is a private dining room that caters for up to 30 people. Bespoke menus can also be arranged for business functions, and there is free WiFi and multimedia facilities great for dinner and a meeting! With attentive, friendly, waiters and waitresses, all in a sumptuously chic setting, this fine dining experience is the perfect place to take family for a special meal, or to impress your business guests. Contact: 97 97

29/07/2014 15:45

IMAGE Handshakes

You’ve got to hand it to them Whether you're a finger crusher or a floppy fish, the way you grab another person's digits says a lot about you, both consciously and subconsciously. Editor Luke Garner helps to unravel the mysteries of handshakes with the help of business coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams


verybody has one, but we rarely give it a second thought. They are perhaps used almost every day by some people, and yet do you ever stop to think about what yours conveys about you? We

are of course talking about the humble handshake. We all know first impressions count and a handshake forms part of that. Luckily we are not shaking hands on a daily basis with people mastered in the art of objectively grading a

handshake. Unlike ‘handshake judges’ (yes they do exist), the majority of people are not monitoring the minutia of a handshake, but they are subjectively assessing your character. It is important to master the right handshake,

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IMAGE Handshakes

because in this fast paced world with change happening every second, you need to show that you can be counted on to have the right balance of stability, predictability and capability, making you an asset to any business venture or partnership. There are two elements to creating the perfect handshake that defines you. The first is the emotional element, and the second is technique.

can make a negative impact on even the most perfect of handshakes.”


EMOTION “Your handshake will consistently reveal your emotion in the moment until you decide to take action and change the way others are seeing you. Like with any emotion leaking out of your body, be it via facial micro-expressions or body language cues, handshakes provide insight to an observant recipient and are then subjectively translated to predict specific behaviours. If you are aware of your emotions and see them as action signals for change rather than feelings that consume you, then you can reduce the effect of your emotions leaking through your handshake,” explains Sloan.

HANDSHAKE TECHNIQUE If you do what you have always done, you will never achieve a different outcome. Sloan says that, “To be perceived more favourably you need to make subtle, but authentic changes to your handshake to highlight the more successful parts of your persona. Handshakes are fully adaptable and customisable with respect to strength, vigour, duration, eye contact, completeness of grip, however one should also pay attention to the finer details such as how rough hands, dirty fingernails or an un-manicured hand

Like any emotion from out of your body, handshakes provide insight to an observant recipient and are then subjectively translated to predict specific behaviours

Does what it says on the tin. A very neutral handshake, best used when both parties are friendly and wish to remain on equal terms, with little or no gamesmanship. Simply grab, not too firmly, and shake. Simple!

THE DOMINATOR This is where the dominant character literally takes the upper hand. By grabbing your palm and turning it upwards, with their hand on top, they intimidate the receiver. Sometimes you may want to allow the other person to have this dominance, such as when greeting your boss or a superior but, if you so choose, you can counter this type of handshake. Step forward with your left foot and then bring your right foot in front of the person so that you step into his or her personal space. This will force them to move back a bit and loosen their grip on the handshake, thus giving you a chance to turn your hand back over.


Used by opposite ends of the spectrum to convey strength and confidence, but can also put off the receiver. Aggressive, confident types like this handshake, which almost crushes the other person’s hand (hence knuckle grinder), as it puts them in a position of power and can intimidate others. Sometimes this is

useful when making sales, but you need to understand your target first. Contrastingly, those who lack confidence or are fearful of the other person will sometimes use this to hide these emotions and portray an outwardly strong demeanour.

THE DEAD FISH The appropriately named dead fish is one of the worst handshakes you can portray. Made worse when the hand is cold and sweaty, the shake is weak and limp, conveying low confidence. Usually the person administering this technique is nervous. If this is you, stop it now! Psych yourself up before meeting the person and focus on the positives of your personality to overcome any fear.

THE POLITICIAN Particularly popular with those in Westminster, this type sees the initiator place two hands around those of the receiver in order to appear to be trustworthy and honest. This can sometimes be tweaked so that the other hand goes on the receivers wrist or shoulder. Often representative of a hug, this should be avoided in particularly formal settings as it can be seen as too intimate and cause offense, but can be especially comforting when dealing with and greeting customers, setting them at ease (and often helping to extinguish aggression). So there you have it! It is time to stop thinking of your handshake as something you instinctively do to greet someone, but as a powerful weapon in your arsenal of business persuasion techniques. Contact: 99

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29/07/2014 13:03


Easy as


MD of Techstars, Jon Bradford, discusses what types of personalities you should hire for your fledgling business


etter a hole in your organisation, than an a**hole.” That was the conclusion of a recent workshop I participated in. Hiring decisions are one of the most important things a CEO has to do when building a worldclass business. For high growth businesses, this is even more stressful when you are constantly under the strain of satisfying demand, meeting external shareholders’ expectations, and managing overworked staff. But hiring the right people, rather than just anyone, is more critical. But let’s start at the beginning; those first key hires. It is your founding staff who will set the tone of the business, creating the cultural foundation from the very start. These core cultural values of the business will resonate throughout the organisation, far beyond the inception of the business and the original founder. There are many great examples of this, but one of the most obvious is Apple, whose products are highly likely to remain true to Steve Job’s obsession to detail far beyond his early demise.

Always hire smarter people than you - otherwise known as “A players”. These are the people who will drive up the average IQ of your business as it grows. The alternative hiring “B players” - can be a tragedy. B players are neither smart enough to challenge others around them, or push the business forward, but they are not bad enough to warrant being replaced either. As the boss, having the confidence to employ people smarter than you demonstrates a desire to build a solid business, unhindered by any personal inferiority complex. This approach sends a strong signal to the rest of the organisation about the sort of business you are building. Whilst you must not compromise on quality when hiring, you must hire for cultural fit over functional fit. Small differences of opinion that you might initially have with potential hires can (and probably will) create massive differences later. Those early doubts are often confirmed later. If in doubt, pass on the candidate. Titles can be toxic and difficult to recover from staff at later stages in the business. For most young businesses,

entrepreneurs give away “C-level” positions like jelly beans to offset a lesser salary. Don’t be afraid to start people at a lower title and allow them to grow into a higher position. Giving away those key C-level titles early will, more often than not, lead to a difficult conversation later when it is clear that your staff don’t have the capacity to grow faster than the business around them. Hire people as the “head of…”, or “director of…”, which allows you to hire VPs and C-levels above them if necessary. All of these lead to the need to hire slowly and thoughtfully. The wrong hire can be toxic, putting a business back and impacting staff morale. Remember, “better a hole in your organisation, than an a**hole.”

Employing people smarter than you demonstrates a desire to build a solid business, unhindered by any personal inferiority complex

Jon Bradford is managing director of Techstars in London. Alongside this he is also a co-founder of f6s, the largest community of startup founders in the world, and, a dedicated tech blog for start-ups in Europe. Contact: 101 101

28/07/2014 14:58


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29/07/2014 11:22


I’ve got an APP for that This month we're looking at apps that allow you to hitch a ride from anywhere, and those that allow you to read, sign and send documents while on the move



Price: FREE Compatibility: iOS, Android The gist: Standing in the rain, in an unfamiliar city, trying to flag down a taxi can be a thing of the past (well, the taxi part anyway - we don’t control the weather.) thanks to Uber. Request a ride and get picked up within minutes, with no reservation required. The app works in 70 major cities across the world, including London, Manchester and Dublin, and is always adding more. It allows you to select the fare that best meets your needs, choose a driver based on feedback from other users - meaning no more no-show taxis - and you can even go completely cashless and pay with your phone! Downloadable from:

Price: FREE Compatibility: iOS, Android, Blackberry The gist: When that important document comes through to your inbox, whether it be a rental agreement, customer contract, expenses form or anything else, Sign Easy does exactly what it says on the tin - allowing you to sign the document and email it to a recipient. Simply by using your finger or stylus to doodle your signature on your phone screen, you no longer have to worry about scanning documents on old office equipment, meaning you can get the vital things done on the go. Downloadable from: 103 103

28/07/2014 15:01


There’s more


Mike Flynn, CEO of Fast Web Media, discusses how retailers and other businesses can implement iBeacon technology to retain customers and enhance brand interaction


s digital marketers, we are always on the lookout for the next big thing, which has the potential to cause a stir within the industry. One of the major developments that grabbed our attention was the introduction of iBeacon, a brand name technology from Apple that enhances location awareness in mobile apps, through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). When a compatible device is near, a beacon can transmit content to it via BLE. By placing small transmitters or beacons around a building, relevant content can then

be pushed to a user’s mobile device as they walk nearby. So, what’s so exciting about this relatively simple technology? As people increasingly use smartphones to search ‘on the go’, iBeacon offers a perfect way for businesses to inform potential users about their services. With this in mind, it’s easy to see the possibilities for all kinds of businesses to use iBeacon as an on-premises marketing and analytics tool.

SOLVING PROBLEMS FOR RETAILERS iBeacons have the potential to help businesses retain and maintain good customer relationships. Within the retail sector, iBeacon technology is being applied as a method to overcome the threat of ‘showrooming’, whereby customers visit shops to examine products on the shelves before purchasing them at a lower price online. iBeacons present retailers with a viable solution to this growing problem; one which can not only entice customers into remaining in the store for longer periods of time, but also encourage them to interact with the brand online and offline

simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of purchase and long term loyalty. Several American retailers have so far used iBeacon technology to great success. For example, Macy’s was the first retailer to trial iBeacon technology across its stores in New York and San Francisco. The brand uses a mobile app to create ‘ShopBeacons’, enabling Macy’s to track shoppers’ movements throughout the store and produce different offers based on the floor or department the customer is in. When a shopper enters the store, their phone instantly recognises the beacon signal and reminds the shopper to open the mobile app in order to receive walk-in rewards. Department stores are often the easiest forum to test new technology of this kind, because they will likely have a larger following than smaller, independent stores. Many customers may already have the store’s app installed on their phone, providing a perfect basis from which to trial iBeacons. The nature of a department store also means that customers will be shopping for a range of items, and from that, retailers can better understand how consumers respond to offers.

Several American retailers have used iBeacon technology to great success, but the UK uptake of the technology seems slow

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There are possibilities for all kinds of businesses to use iBeacon as an onpremises marketing and analytics tool

EXTENDING THE REACH iBeacon technology is also helping businesses in other sectors to improve customer engagement. Since applying iBeacon technology to the museum’s app, Rubens House can take visitors on a journey through classical art, allowing them to navigate the galleries, interact with art pieces and find out more about individual paintings. Visitors use the app like an indoor GPS as they follow a personalised guided tour. In each room they are triggered to interact with the works of art, with the iBeacon sending visitors a push notification prompting of insights into the artworks.

LIGHTING THE BEACONS Despite these advantages, the UK uptake of the technology

seems slow. One reason for this may be the fact that iBeacon operates over Bluetooth. Some businesses are cautious that, for a lot of smartphone users, battery life is a precious commodity and they will do all they can to prolong it. In many cases, Bluetooth is the first thing to go in order to save battery, and while it is disabled the iBeacon is rendered useless to the user. There is also some concern over security; that it could be a possible vector for cyber attacks. While these concerns are valid, on balance it’s important not to let the threat of a data breach or battery issues dissuade businesses from adopting the technology. After all, if iBeacons gather pace, then consumers will demand phones with improved battery life to support their

‘always on’ Bluetooth usage. Similarly, in terms of data security, it would be a natural progression for developers to introduce robust safeguards for their applications. iBeacon technology has the potential to transform the way businesses operate. As long as the user has agreed to accept iBeacon transmissions through a brand’s native app, it will be possible to follow their postclick, real-world journey, direct them to a product, and give them an incentive to buy when they get there. As more ideas are created, the further the awareness will reach; and we predict it won’t be long until the term iBeacon is as mainstream as iPad. Contact: 105 105

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Do you have an idea that could tackle social problems in new and innovative ways? You may be a person with a brilliant idea or are part of an organisation or company looking to grow and increase the delivery potential of their social venture. The complex social problems our world now faces require an innovative and inspired approach to areas such as; criminal justice and crime prevention, safety and wellbeing, cultural change, job opportunities and community development. There are many organisations that are currently working to combat the problems in these areas, but may need access to investment, added support or additional skills in order to push for positive social change. The University of Northampton has been working in their unique capacity as the only Ashoka U Changemaker Campus in the UK to deliver socially innovative opportunities for all. Through multiple avenues of engagement with social enterprises and other organisations the university has supported previous candidates to attract new contracts in excess of £6m and investment in excess of £500k. The latest round of its Social Venture Builder (SVB) programme has incorporated the expertise and experience developed through years of engagement with social enterprise into an ‘incubator programme’ that works to build skills and competence, alongside developing investable and marketable social enterprising solutions. Using both an academic approach and work based learning, the SVB allows candidates to continue working and developing their organisation as they progress through the programme. Ideas and organisations from any sector are welcome to apply, and can target any area of social innovation whether local or global. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a real game changer, here is your chance to develop your ideas further, and to develop something that will be innovative, ground breaking and financially sustainable. For more information go to: Queries please contact

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29/07/2014 09:21

TECHNOLOGY Eco driving

The green tax haven The days of the gas-guzzling SUV are over. Today you can go green, save yourself money and still look the business with these three zero-rated, low-emission, tax-free beauties.

CITROEN DS3 1.6 E-HDI 115 AIRDREAM DSPORT PLUS VITAL STATS Best for: Staying young at heart Tax: £0 per annum (99g/km CO2 emissions) MPG: 61.4 urban/ 83.1 extra urban/ 74.4 combined Power: 115bhp 0-62: 9.7 seconds Price: £16,500 OTR The Citroen DS3 is the ultimate entry-level boys-toy - at a wallet saving price. It has enough space to fit the family shopping and get two little-un's in the rear seats - especially useful if you've not quite given up on your boy-racer dreams but often have the family in tow. Despite only having 115bhp, it is lightweight and nippy, especially in a city environment. Out on the motorway, a sixth gear means it can cruise along with an impressive 83.1 miles to the gallon. But the real drawing point of this car is its sporty looks. Younger execs will love the feel behind the wheel and the 17" Bellone black alloy wheels give it a mean edge. For the extremely frugal price you will be hard pushed to find anything nicer in its class.

VOLVO V60 D6 PLUG-IN HYBRID 2.4 VITAL STATS Best for: Comfortable commuting Tax: £0 per annum (48g/km CO2 emissions) MPG: 155mpg combined Power: 215bhp 0-62: 6.1 seconds Price: £49,975 OTR Somehow Volvo have managed to pack a whopping 215bhp into this executive’s dream. With hybrids often being seen as impractical and boring, Volvo have re-invented the wheel here, offering performance with economy (albeit with a hefty price-tag). A lightningquick 6.1 seconds from 0-62, and a top speed of 143 mph make this car very fun to drive, especially on long-stretches of motorway. Despite the gaudy numbers, the V60 D6 still gets a ridiculous 155 mpg. Yes, that’s 155 mpg. Zero-tax rated and a sleek, business-like design that still evokes an edgy, playful side, the V60 D6 Plugin Hybrid makes any commute exciting and fast.

TESLA MODEL S PERFORMANCE PLUS VITAL STATS Best for: Electric dreams Tax: £0 per annum (0g/km CO2 emissions) MPG: n/a Power: 416 bhp 0-62: 4.2 seconds Price: £83,000 Smooth, sleek... electric? You’d never guess from the outside, but the leap that electric technology has made is astounding with the Tesla Model S, giving the petrol-heads something to really think about. With a rigid body structure, nearly 50/50 weight distribution and a remarkably low centre of gravity, Model S offers the responsiveness and agility of a sports car, with the ride of a sedan. Tesla’s advanced electric powertrain delivers exhilarating performance. In 4.2 seconds, the Model S is travelling at 60 miles per hour, without hesitation and without a drop of petrol. It also provides a range of up to 300 miles, costing less than £5 to “fill up” and charging in under an hour, destroying the problem that most electric cars had up until now. A new era has dawned, and it is electrifying!

In 4.2 seconds, the Tesla Model S is travelling at 60 miles per hour, without hesitation and without a drop of petrol 107

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29/04/2014 10:20

FRANCHISE Franchise news

Franchise NEWS Franchisor of the Year 2014 winners revealed

Staffordshire-based AutoSmart walk away with two gongs at bfa awards


he 25th anniversary of the Franchisor of the Year Awards, held at Heythrop Park, certainly didn’t disappoint, as vehicle cleaning products provider, AutoSmart walked away with the top award. It is the third time in six years that it has won Franchisor of the Year, and the company impressed judges by continuing to break its own sales record, and maintaining the highest franchising standards, despite a

challenging market. It also achieved the Franchisee Recruitment award. Other winners on the night included home care provider, Right at Home, which scooped the Emerging Franchisor of the Year accolade, Chemex, which gained the Award for Innovation, and Kumon, snatching up the award for best brand. Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, commented: “This year’s entries continued a fine tradition by showcasing an overwhelming level of commitment, drive and diversity. Seeing franchisors from such a diverse range of sectors come together to celebrate their achievements is inspirational.” Finally, Pirtek took the award for International Achievement for its devotion to its international markets, which included senior staff learning new languages to immerse themselves in local culture. Contact:

A cut above the rest Former hairstylist, Scott Blyth becomes latest etyres franchisee


obile tyre fitting franchise, etyres has signed up its latest franchisee to run the Edinburgh operation - a former hairdresser with 20 years’ experience fraying fringes rather than fitting tyres. “After 20 years, my heart just wasn’t in hairdressing any more, and I am not someone who wants to spend my days doing a job I’m not excited about, or keen to push to a new level. A drastic change of career was needed,” said Scott. “I could see almost immediately that etyres had great

potential as a local business, and that it was a business I would enjoy being part of.” Launched in 1999, etyres claims to be the UK’s first online tyre franchise and specialises in mobile tyre fitting, with 52 territories across the country. Contact: www.etyresfranchise

One in four

...dreams of owning own business Good news for franchisors following the latest Big Issues for Small Businesses report


ccording to a survey carried out by Lloyds Bank Insurance, one in four employees hopes to some day own their own business. 83% of the 2,001 people asked believe that they would be more motivated, and 79% feel they would have greater job satisfaction if they were running their own business. The most common reasons for wanting to go it alone include having more control over worklife balance (51%), taking on a new challenge (46%) and making more money (41%). Yet a fear of risk taking is preventing 33% from breaking out and going it alone. This will be great news to franchisors as the franchising model whereby a lot of the risk is taken away through a recognised brand and support network - means these people are prime candidates to become franchisees. Contact:


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Give the cowboys THE BOOT This month, Matt Skinner of Dynamis asks “should you worry about being cheated by a franchisor?” and explains what safeguards you can take to ensure you avoid the dodgy cowboys.


t’s a legitimate concern – that a company posing as a reputable franchise will take your initial fee and head for the hills. Fortunately, the reality is that this rarely happens in the UK’s franchising community, and there are many ways to protect yourself from it ever occurring. Although there is no centralised regulation for franchises in this country (agreements are created under standard contract law and are subject to no sectorspecific guidelines), the British Franchise Association (BFA) and the Approved Franchise Association (AFA) are well respected advocates of selfregulation, and have helped create a strong and reputable franchise industry. If a franchise becomes a member, they are expected to follow a code of practice that will protect their reputation and reassure potential franchisees that they are investing in a bona-fide business opportunity. “I recommend that buyers do as much research as possible before any purchase. The BFA is always a great place to start and they are always willing

to help. You can be reassured that full members of the BFA are established franchised businesses with a proven track record. They have to be tested against strict criteria in order to qualify,” says Michelle Williams, franchise director at AutoSmart, which was the BFA’s Franchisor of the Year in 2012. The truth is that the vast majority of franchises in the UK offer attractive packages, which include training, ongoing advice and support, marketing strategies, exclusive territories and much more, all of which enables a new franchisee to expand their business and their earning potential - quickly, easily and with minimum fuss. Occasionally, a ‘cowboy’ franchise may come along and take advantage of unwitting investors but, if potential franchisees check that their franchisor has registered with a governing body and that their contract adheres to advised terms, there should be little room for foul play. It’s also highly recommended to look at existing franchisees’ loyalty to the business that you are planning to invest in. “Note how long franchisees

stay in the network for on average,” continues Michelle of AutoSmart. “The average length of time an Autosmart franchisee chooses to stay with us is 12 years. This is a great indicator to buyers, and to us, that we must be doing something right to induce such loyalty. If a franchise has a high turnaround then it should definitely be questioned.” The bottom line is that a franchisor’s ability to attract investment depends largely on achieving a respectable image, and their prospects are also reliant on the reputation of franchising as a whole. The industry is dedicated to maintaining this symbiotic relationship between investor confidence and market strength, so the odd opportunist can be easily spotted and avoided. As long as you do your due diligence before handing over any money or signing an agreement, then you should avoid falling victim to any unscrupulous businesses out there. Best of luck!

BFA members are expected to follow a code of practice that will protect their reputation and reassure potential franchisees



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Contact: Emma Downes T: 01530 513307 E: W:

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How to evaluate a franchise opportunity The Fran Man and founder of Franchise Management, Tony Mundella, looks at how franchisees view their prospects when entering the industry


ccasionally, I am asked by people considering a franchise; “what is the best franchise at the moment?” or “how much can I earn from this franchise?”. Both questions show a naivety about franchising from the prospect, possibly seeing it as an alternative to a job rather than an opportunity to run their own business. So, if you are interested in taking on a franchise, the first thing to evaluate is yourself, your motivations, ambitions and attitude. Having established that you understand the ups and downs of self employment, coupled with the restrictions that a franchise structure may impose (territory, product/service range, branding etc.), then how do you proceed with evaluating one franchise opportunity versus another? Firstly, one of the key parameters is investment level

– how much capital can you put into the business? This is not just the purchase fee for the franchise, but set up costs, purchase of equipment, vehicles, acquisition and fitout of property and, very importantly, working capital required to support the business and your drawings until it reaches break even. Having identified your investment level, the next step in filtering your options is type of business; b2b or b2c? Premises-based, van-based or work from home? Product or service delivery? Owneroperator or manager? And of course, industry sector (this might not be what you have been involved in before, but should be something that interests you). Having carried out this process, you should be left with a manageable number of franchises to consider. What is paramount now is to satisfy yourself on at least these five counts:


The franchisor is ethical, reputable and is a genuine business opportunity for you.


The market for the product/service exists in your area, at the prices you will have to charge to make the business viable.


You have the skills and experience (or will receive the appropriate training).


The returns from the business will be enough to support your lifestyle.


The business is sustainable, and will have a value as a going concern in five or ten years when you may wish to exit.

If you are interested in taking on a franchise, the first thing to evaluate is yourself, your motivations, ambitions and your attitude

Numbers two to five are all about your research locally and nationally. Time spent here is seldom wasted as you learn about the market, competitors and seasonality. To find out about the franchisor you can do market research through Companies House, trade organisations etc. which tells you about them and their sector. To find out about them as a franchisor,check with the British Franchise Association, consult with the franchise sections of banks (even if you don’t need to borrow, a bank that is reluctant to lend on a particular franchise system should bring up warning signs), and contact existing franchisees of the brand. If a significant portion of them are not happy, then beware! Contact: or 01622 844320 SECTION SPONSOR

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24/04/2014 17:34

FRANCHISE Nigel Toplis

ECONOMIC REGENERATION THROUGH FRANCHISING The physical regeneration of towns and villages depends primarily on two factors: the willingness of local authorities to create an environment which attracts developers, and to work with those who show an interest to minimise delay and uncertainty; along with a need to access entrepreneurs to exploit the opportunities created by the council/ developer partnership. The desire to run one’s own business infects far more people than is generally supposed. The problem for entrepreneurs is not just getting to first base; it is securing lift-off. One of the quicker ways for under-capitalised, would-be entrepreneurs to lose their money is to go into business on their own. As already mentioned, the casualty rate is extremely high.

Franchise guru, Nigel Toplis explores why your franchise business is vital to regeneration of the local area

Businesses don’t usually fail through lack of desire, but because owners don’t know everything, or where to go for what they don’t know


t has been my long held and passionate view that the franchising model offers a highly credible opportunity to assist in the regeneration of a local/regional (some would assert, national) economy. Franchising has proven to be successful at launching and sustaining profitable business. In the NatWest/bfa Survey of Franchising for 2013, research concluded that 90% of all franchises were still in business after two years, compared to 80% of non-franchise businesses that fail within two years. You may wonder why it is that the vast majority of

businesses fail within two years and yet so many franchise businesses succeed. People who go into business don’t usually fail through lack of desire, not working hard, poor ideas, no ambition, bad product – generally they fail because they don’t know everything, don’t know where to go for the things they don’t know, and can’t easily access intellect, best practice and advice. The very essence of a franchise of course is that you can access the knowledge, the key areas of best practice, the tools and training.


The answer lies in the peculiar nature of the franchising format. Under this method of doing business, an individual agrees to buy part of the action of an established firm with a proven business method. In return for the franchisee operating the business according to the prescribed system, the franchisor agrees to provide services and support to help the franchisee establish themselves and grow. The franchisee is not on his own, they have expert support and mentoring on tap, and franchisor staff to help them through difficult periods. Franchising offers a tried and tested means by which entrepreneurs can go into business with good prospects.

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FRANCHISE Nigel Toplis

in the identified region. • Develop opportunities for the creation of new social enterprises. • Ensure a quality supply of new entrants into the franchise sector. • Enable start-up and existing businesses to have access to the support that will enable them to grow and become prosperous. • Ensure that the development of the franchise sector will help encourage inward investment; reduce unemployment and contribute to the overall Jason Batterman/

This in turn offers towns and villages the prospect of a more stable business community. And that strengthens the communities in which they trade, because franchisees become active contributors to their wealth and well-being - not merely as employers and taxpayers, but also as participants in the local culture. Local inhabitants, businesses and support services will all gain long term sustainable benefit if we create a robust and vibrant local economy; one that is inhabited, nurtured and driven by the local population, for the benefit of the local population. Simply creating and investing in public works can only provide short term ‘blip’ benefits – unless there is a policy of continuous blip investment – which would seem silly! Therefore, by definition the single most effective means of enhancing a local economy has to be by creating local businesses, which will lead to local jobs, creating more local spend and taxes, which then highlights a true demand for public works spend, which in turn feeds into a demanding local economy adding oil to the machine. So, if the logic of economic regeneration via business development is accepted, the key question is how? Again, if we accept independent research that says 80% of non-franchised businesses fail within two years then the obvious route to at least consider is franchising. What then are the objectives of economic regeneration using the franchise model? We must: • Remove the barriers to selfemployment for those that are economically and/or socially excluded. • Explore and develop new opportunities for existing franchise operations to invest

economic growth. • Reduce an area’s overall level of unemployment. If we are going to make a significant impact on regenerating local and regional economies, then we must move away from the old solutions of singular capital projects and/or regional aid (supplying fish) and migrate to building local economies though the creation and development of local businesses, (supplying the fishing rods and the skills to catch the fish). We must of course be aware that simple financial investment will not in itself ensure long term success even if the vehicle is franchising. The involvement of academia, be it universities, FE colleges, management schools or other, is an additional critical piece of the jigsaw, for we must also provide education and coaching through a curriculum that enables people to gain the knowledge and skills to establish their own businesses.

Over 90% of all franchises were still in business after two years, compared to 80% of nonfranchise businesses that failed within two years



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29/07/2014 09:26

ADVICE The Sales doctor

The Sales DOCTOR Sales doctor, Tony Morris gives advice on how to keep sales coming from staff once they hit their commission limits Dear Sales doctor, There are grumblings from my sales staff that once they have hit their commission limit, they have no reason to keep selling. How can I appease them on a tight budget?


any sales people are motivated by money and the commission is the only thing that drives them day in and day out; however that’s not the case with ALL sales people. As their manager, I would find out what their real motivations are and make sure I help them achieve these and focus on these daily. It could be numerous things, such as job recognition, job progression, or job satisfaction. For those sales people that are commission-motivated, I would look to offer other things that don’t cost you anything. Examples of these could be: • Duvet days – allow the top sales person to come in late one day once they have exceeded their commission limit. • Extra holiday days. • Increase their sales territory so they have more business to go after. • Leave early on a Friday. • First pick on when they get to choose their holidays. • Get to drive the director’s car

for the weekend. • Trophies for the top performer/s. I would communicate the message that one day the commission structure may change, and you would want to reward the sales person who keeps grafting no matter what the situation is. Sometimes sales people should want to work hard for their company irrespective of the commission, as this dedication will be rewarded in one way or another. Obviously this doesn’t apply for a commission-only position, however I don’t believe there would be a limit to the commission in that situation. One idea that could work and doesn’t cost a fortune is a “sales ladder”. You decide on a list of categories that you would like to incentivise your team to achieve, such as: • Most amount of proactive referrals gained in the week. • Most meetings made in the week. • Most business closed in the week. • Highest deal closed in the week.

Tony Morris is the director of Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London. His new book, based on the Sales Doctor series, called “Dear Sales Doctor - the 66 top answers to the sales questions you’re afraid to ask”, is available now from • Most testimonials received in the week. You need to allocate points to each category i.e. 10 points = £1. Only the person with the highest points overall wins, which allows you to keep your costs down. You then turn the points into a financial figure and buy the individual a gift to the equivalent value. This should keep them motivated and hungry to keep selling, even if their commission limit has been reached.

NEED A DIAGNOSIS? Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ’FAO the sales doctor’: editor@talk 119 119

22/07/2014 09:45


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29/07/2014 16:05


Make your voice heard across the world Get ahead with VoIP and gain international presence before the bandwagon gets going


or the large majority of SME’s, gaining international market presence is at once the most important and most daunting goal they face. Without substantial marketing budgets or on-the-ground contacts, most companies believe that they have little choice other than focusing their energies on a social media campaign. But new advancements in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology offers companies the opportunity to gain market share and presence quickly and effectively with localised phone numbers in cities across the globe - all in a very short time span, for very minimal cost, and even less effort. So whilst social media has an essential role to play in

business, the cost required in terms of both time and money to gain any kind of market advantage is substantial. Many people incorrectly believe VoIP isn’t tried and tested enough to invest their time or trust in

IF IT’S BROKEN, FIX IT! But the truth is, there exists a lot of opposition to VoIP technology, due largely to the technology being very much in its infancy. Although VoIP is already well understood by those companies who seek to stay one step ahead, many people in positions of authority do not believe it’s tried and tested enough to invest their time and more importantly - their trust in. This point is valid for, despite the strides that VoIP has made thanks to the ever-improving reliability of

internet connections, it still has a long way to evolve and much to prove. At the top of the risklist are issues with insufficient bandwidth, resulting in poor call quality, dropped calls, jitter and static. All of which means that there are many people who are simply not comfortable putting their trust in a system, which could, in theory, cause significant damage to their business and brand. Furthermore, many companies are uncomfortable with the idea of in some way ‘misleading’ people that their global presence is significantly more widespread than it is, by posting localised phone numbers as though they’re actual offices owned and staffed by the company. 121 121

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KEEP CALM… AND AVOID CLICHÉS Business continues to change at an unprecedented rate. The effect of all this change is that the safe option isn’t safe anymore

The most important issue to be addressed is; how much significance does your company place on gaining international presence in the shortest possible time frame, and what steps is it prepared to take? I deliberately did not ask what steps your company is ‘comfortable’ with taking, because, in the modern world, any companies who seek and trust in ‘comfort’ are an endangered breed. But more about that later. That a system exists, which enables a company with very little budget to establish local phone numbers in major cities across the world, for no more than a few pounds each week, is incredible. Obviously certain considerations should be noted, such as the time differences at which other companies operate, but, with the added features available with most VoIP systems, there is no reason why these issues need hold you back. Once these numbers are set up, and given pride of place on your website homepage, every single visitor to your site – including your competition – will be aware of the advantages and credit afforded you by such a simple, yet seemingly hardearned endorsement.

edge is that you risk being cut sometimes, but cuts heal, and the companies that insist on waiting until every flaw has been ironed out will be forever rushing to catch up to the crowd. With the popularity of Skype and companies offering free videocalling services, such as Facebook, VoIP, in its many guises, is already in much more widespread use than most people realise.


So, it seems clear that the only consideration is what kind of company you need to be to get to where you want to go? One that clings to old models, methods and practices – or one that embraces new technologies? Trusting in the methods of some of the greatest business minds of the past 200 years was a solid formula for success for a long time, but it was a formula born from safety. There were none of the shortcuts of today. The internet has given everyone the opportunity to start their own business in their own time, for pennies, with almost no risk, and to advertise and market it for free. Business has changed, and continues to, change at an unprecedented rate. The effect of all this change is that the safe option isn’t safe anymore. Instead it is the ability to take calculated risks and step outside of the box THE INDUSTRIAL AGE HAS GONE. THE MINDSET that is going to set companies apart from the competition. MUST CHANGE For anyone wanting to know During the industrial age, more about the advantages VoIP business was easy. There was no offers, Google is your friend, competition from cheap labour in less developed corners of the and will confide in you gladly, for they are too numerous to world and Western economies go into here. But when looking were doing just fine. But the for a VoIP provider, be sure to industrial age is gone, there is consider the range of services and more competition than ever before, and so the industrialised applications that the provider can offer as standard, as these are far mindset must change. The mindset that worked so well more important and count for for so long is no more, and it is these far more in saved time and costs industrialised minds that would try than simply choosing the cheapest to convince you that VoIP is still an supplier. Choose someone with a unknown technology, which cannot proven record, satisfied customers the world over, and a solid be trusted and will cause many infrastructure refined over many costly mistakes before it proves years, such as Voipstudio, and you’ll its worth. be in safe hands. It’s as true in life as it is in business, that the secret to staying Contact: ahead is finding an edge. One of the dangers in looking for a sharp 122 August 2014 122

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‘You get the people element right in your organisation, engagement levels increase, productivity improves and it becomes easier to attract, retain and develop the best talent. The bottom line....profitability increases. We all know that, but sometimes you need assistance getting there. Pure Human Resources can help realise that potential and build your competitive advantage through individual, team and organisational capability. We can translate your business plans into a real life HR strategy or assist with a variety of operational challenges.’

Contracts of Employment Handbooks, Policies & Procedures Disciplinaries, Grievances & Investigations Redundancies, Restructures & TUPE

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29/05/2014 11:45

ADVICE Freedman and Partners

A new way to play Ivor Freedman Ivor Freedman, Senior partner of Freedman & Partners LLP, looks at how peer-to-peer Lending has become such a player in funding market, and how it shows no sign of stopping


he banking crisis of 2008, the so called “credit crunch” was unlike previous cyclical downturns. In all previous downturns, it was the bank customers that had problems. The banks themselves remained solid. On this occasion it was the banks that were in trouble. Governments found themselves compelled to step in and re-capitalise the banks with

taxpayers money and, at the same time, tightening the capital adequacy rules and bank regulation combined to produce a dramatic reduction in the capacity of the banks to continue lending to their traditional small business market. Concurrently, in an attempt to stimulate the economy, the Bank of England reduced and kept Base Rates at a record low 0.5% for a record period and their attempts to increase

the funds available for banks to lend to small businesses resulted in the rates of interest paid to depositors reducing to virtually zero. Borrowers couldn’t borrow and depositors couldn’t get a sensible return. All of this brought the economy to its knees and something had to change if the economy was to get out of this bind. The banks have dominated the small business

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ADVICE Freedman and Partners

The author is senior partner of Freedman & Partners LLP, leading sponsors on the Thincats Business Loan Network.

lending sector in the UK for generations, but this crisis provided the impetus for a range of new initiatives providing alternative sources of finance. Peer-to-peer lending is one of the most innovative solutions, attempting to bypass the banks completely.

WHAT IS PEER TO PEER LENDING? The best way to understand it is to consider it as a “meeting place in the cloud” where people who want to borrow money can meet people who want to lend. Most platforms operate an auction process where lenders bid to be part of a lending syndicate offering funds at different interest rates. The lowest bidders are selected to make up the syndicate and the result is that borrowers can borrow simply and lenders can get a better return than they can get from a bank. In 2005 the first ever peerto-peer lending platform, Zopa, was created. Set up to arrange personal loans between individuals, it has lent over £575m in personal loans in the UK. Starting in 2010, the Zopa example was used by two new platforms - Funding Circle and ThinCats - to establish

similar operations lending to businesses and in the process creating an entirely new way of funding businesses. In less than four years Funding Circle and ThinCats have loaned nearly £400m and the market sector is growing very rapidly, effectively doubling every six months or so. The UK leads the rest of the world in peer-to-business lending because of the regulatory environment. P2P lending became regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority on 1st April 2014. Most peer-to-peer lenders have adopted highly automated credit checking models to select suitable borrowers but ThinCats bucked that trend by using a network of ‘sponsors’ who behave like traditional bank managers, getting to know the borrowers and helping them overcome their financial constraints. Peer-to-peer lending is now a permanent feature of the business finance landscape. Her Majesty’s government is keen to foster it further and has provided funding and active encouragement to the sector, including plans to allow ISAs to invest in peerto-peer lending. Changes to pension legislation has

The best way to understand it is to consider it as a “meeting place in the cloud”

also seen a large increase of personal and corporate pension funds going through this channel. It is predicted that the peer-to-business market in the UK will exceed £3bn per annum by 2016 and will soon become a serious alternative to traditional banking. Whilst at present market supply and demand means that peer-to-peer lending is priced somewhat higher than a bank (if the bank would lend at all that is!), it is likely that peer-to-peer rates will fall as additional funds are attracted by the interest rates on offer, whilst the cost of bank lending should rise as the bank rate slowly returns to a more normal rate over the next few years. In summary, peer-to-peer lending is here to stay. It is a simple and viable new source of business funding which will dominate the market for business loans up to about £5m. It will soon be seen to be the avenue of choice for SMEs seeking to borrow up to this level, a market in which the banks find it hard to make money and will find it hard to compete in future. Contact: 125

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23/07/2014 17:36

ADVICE Equinox

WHAM, SCAM, thank you ma’am! Buyer beware! Some telephone providers love to take advantage of unsuspecting business owners. Dave Millet of Equinox helps you to avoid falling victim to the scammers


verywhere you look someone is trying to offer you some service or product for your business. They claim you can save ‘x amount’ over ‘y company’, but often the figures are so complicated that it can be a nightmare to comprehend just what the actual price is and what is involved in the deal. Unfortunately, many industries may try this on purpose, deliberately trapping you into contracts that are beneficial only to one party - them! One such industry that seems to be a minefield is that of the telephone service providers. Let’s take a look at some of the tricks they use to get you to sign on the dotted line, so hopefully you won’t fall foul of their games:

A more subtle ploy is to split the duration for different services, e.g. lines for five years and calls for two years, but with the focus on the latter and with small print saying pricing only relates if you take two or more services.

Advice: Sign one- or two-year deals unless there is a real significant advantage to do otherwise. Remember, prices tend to go down.




Some tricks include having a minimum term box on the front page, which the sales people are encouraged to leave blank, while on the reverse in the small print it says if minimum is blank, the contract is deemed to last five years. In some instances all the conversations prior to signature have been about one-year deals, but when the paperwork arrives, it has three years on it. Unfortunately people still sign without reading. 127 127

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ADVICE Equinox

Many suppliers will say their full list of prices and terms and conditions are on the web, knowing that most businesses won’t bother to read them


impressive. However, they also inflate the cost of the phones by a higher percentage. Advice: Always ask the supplier for a price list of the phones as well, and then compare to SIM-free phones on the web. Alternatively, ask for the cash equivalent - you will often find it is a lot lower (assuming they will give it to you!).


This looks enticing but beware the old maxim that there is ‘nothing free in this life’ applies. The usual practice is to imply there are savings on lines and calls without actually stating what the new prices are, or quoting for fewer services than are currently in place. You can find yourself paying £15,000 for something worth less than £3,000. To read about one scam perpetrated on a charity, visit charities-being-ripped-off Advice: Make sure the details of all services and prices are set out up front, so that you can get a clear understanding of what is being offered and what savings there are, if any.


Another trick is to compare prices with BT. However, BT’s standard business rates are effectively its price list and bear no comparison to what is offered in its normal deals. A second favourite ploy is a price comparison, which compares just one element, such as the line rental or UK calls. For example, one advertises 77% savings on landline rentals, but neglects to highlight that the price is for six months only in a two-year contract.

Another provider has setup charges for calls. This enables them to make a price promise on the actual call rates, and yet they often end up more expensive than others. And the final trick; the potential new supplier will make assumptions about your calls, which are deliberately inaccurate. Advice: To avoid being tricked, ask suppliers to re-price an existing contract in full and not make broad brush statements.

TERMS AND 4 OUR CONDITIONS ARE ON THE WEB Many suppliers will say their full list of prices and terms and conditions are on the web, knowing that most businesses won’t bother to read them. It also means you have no idea if they get changed after you sign up. Advice: Always ask for a full set to be mailed to you, and that way, if any changes are not notified to you, they are not applicable.


On larger business mobile deals, there will inevitably be a hardware fund with which to buy replacement handsets at the outset and during the contract. A favourite trick is to inflate the value of the hardware so that it looks more

Many suppliers charge outrageous penalties if you leave, and some send out nasty threatening letters to prevent customers leaving. However, they need to be reminded they must comply with Ofcom guidelines and, as a result, not make additional profits by not supplying the services. Advice: Always request, in writing, details of any penalties in the event of early termination and how they will be calculated. Challenge them then if they seem unfair, particularly if they are 100% of the remaining rentals and calls you would have made. Finally, before you sign, make sure the company is signed up to the Telecoms Ombudsman scheme, particularly if you employ less than ten people, as you get binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. In conclusion, if you are in any doubt about what you are signing up to, it is best to put into writing your interpretation of the contract and ask the company to confirm or deny. You should also state that the contents of the email supersedes the contract where there is a conflict. This should help to filter out some of the worst abuses, but also beware that if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is! Contact:

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22/07/2014 12:19


A site for sore eyes Bob Garbett of RMIS Group discusses the importance of responsive websites that work on any device


re you being responsive to her needs? If not, I would like to tell you why you should be, and how to approach such a delicate thing. Relax, this isn’t an article about dating, it’s far more exciting than that (well for some people anyway). Let’s take a minute to discuss the whys and wherefores of responsive websites. Many people may dismiss the need for such a thing, but they are unaware that it could save them a lot of money, so it is worth taking a moment or two to consider it. It’s amazing how many businesses that I deal with have no idea how important it is to have a responsive website (it really is). Okay, so what is a responsive website I hear you ask? Well it’s not one which smiles at you when you click on it, but one which flexes and adapts to fit any device - whether that be a PC, tablet, smartphone or something else - in such a way that you can read and use the website properly without having to zoom in, which can be most annoying! Of course, these things can cost money, and often the Web seems to be changing so fast that you feel like you will never catch up. However, if I were to

tell you that in our recent email lead generation campaigns, around 70% of all ‘opens’ were on a mobile device, would that change your view? The world has changed since the advent of the first websites, and so should your plan for dealing with these changes. It’s a fact that more and more people are reading and responding to emails and researching companies on their phone or tablet. This means that, if your site does not work well on such devices, you could be wasting money and losing a lot of business. For the customer it is a frustrating experience, and can reflect badly on your business as a whole, not just your website.

HELP! WHAT SHOULD I DO? Don’t panic, there is a relatively easy fix. First, get some professional advice from a web technology specialist. This is where most people fail, because they go to some Joe Bloggs they know who designs websites and they simply end up being sold another website, which turns out to be just as bad as what they have now. It’s amazing how expensive choosing the cheap option can sometimes be. Many designers will simply publish templates rather than understand how they should be constructed and make the necessary adjustments to suit the client’s needs. A professional web technologist

will be able to fully test your site against W3C Standards (a global standard for website design), and provide you with a strategy best suited to your needs and budget. We do not charge for this service so if you go to the right provider, you should not have to pay to get this done. The solution needn’t necessarily mean a complete website re-design, although this may be advised as part of the strategy in the longterm. It could be that you just need a responsive landing page (somewhere for people to go when they click on your lead generation emails to capture lead information), to allow you to start seeing better results on your click-through. Alternatively, it may be possible to make some adjustments to your existing website, which will improve the situation without too much fuss. Whatever you do, think of her needs and, you never know, she might just click on your site. Central London-based technology specialist, RMIS Group is opening its doors to London businesses wishing to have their website reviewed. The company will provide a detailed report and strategy completely free of charge (and won’t bug you afterwards). So feel free to pop in to the office in International House, Yarmouth Pl, Mayfair or call 0207 458 4088. Contact:

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29/07/2014 13:27

OPINION He said/she said

He said / she said This month the entrepreneurs are tweeting about the ultimate Apprentice showdown and rock-and-roll tea and biscuit sessions with famous musicians. Opinions (and spelling errors) are all their own Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis Opinions please twitter! Do you agree that entrepreneurship should be part of the national curriculum? The Dragon’s Den star asks his followers about the education of future generations. We have to agree that it should be, Theo!

Karren Brady @Karren_Brady Thank you for helping us to create what we believe is a fantastic crest - https://www. SN8Q6UDb8 … and thanks for all your positive feedback Football’s First Lady updates followers on the quest for a new crest for her club ,West Ham United. Great example of a business that asks it’s fans what they think!

Lee McQueen @LeeMcQueen We were talking about @bbcapprentice and @ jeremykyletv asked Who would win if the final was between @MichelleDewbs and me? Your thoughts.... Don’t worry Lee, we’ve got your back on this one! #TeamMcQueen .

Stephen Fear @FearStephen Leaders are Readers. #books are a vital ingredient in the progression of the human race. Knowledge leads all emancipation. @AuthorAlliance The phone-box millionaire lambasts the closure of public libraries. The next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders could be missing out.

Kim Davis @ApprenticeKim Amazing day spent with @ thehoosiersuk. They are as lovely as their music! Thanks guys! Here’s our selfie with cookies Marketing guru, Kim has a cuppa and some cookies with our cover stars, The Hoosiers. Who says this job doesn’t have perks?

Ivan Mazour @IvanMazour Guy in Starbucks - “The core of the proposition is: We take what’s good about Tinder and solve all that’s not great about Tinder” Ah, simple! With such a foolproof plan we think he should invest! Entrepreneur, Ivan discusses the problems with PAs on page 88.

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