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

FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR

BY THE ENTREPRENEUR

April 2014 £4.50

VINCE CABLE

We meet the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, to talk about UK SMEs, the state of the economy, and women in business

The Budget reaction

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e Th ce e an su fin is

Find out what other entrepreneurs had to say about George Osborne’s announcement

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49 iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter 14 Letters

Talk image

22 TALK strategy

16 News & events

61 The branding column Rich With

TALK Success

63 Falling back in love How to get CRM right

21 Starting a business? Here’s your checklist 22 Vince Cable Interview with the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and skills 30 Take one company Metcalfe’s Food Company 33 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer 34 The Business Show Preview 37 Book reviews 138 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?

65 Seven steps to write a business plan Essential tips

95 Chrisopher Ward: watch face with personality How the company achieved success 96 Look the business: in the bag Fashion 98 Get ready for the slopes Hot spot: Momentum Ski Festval 101 We love Our favourites

talk technology 105 The accelerator Jon Bradford, the tech expert

66 The Budget: reactions Find out what entrepreneurs think

107 The cloud is not secure… Common cloud myths busted

71 Why are exhibitions useful? Entrepreneurs have their say

109 Importance of user experience Tips for web design

73 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems 75 Six questions to ask before you buy a business Tips for buying a business

talk MARKETING

111 How to manage IT Co-ordinating projects 112 Time to be open minded? Benefits of open source communication 115 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps

talk MONEY

77 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

39 The funding expert The Budget – expectations vs. reality

79 Ten steps of Twitter Step six: be human

45 NDAs and confidentiality agreements Legal issues

81 Marketers can rebrand feminism The fourth wave

47 Cash flow: the engine that drives business By Powwownow

83 10 reasons managers should be social savvy Social media tips

49 The smarter way to finance your business? Factoring and invoice discounting

talk people

talk aDVICE

87 The people column Lee McQueen

126 Direct numbers

89 Flexible working rights extended HR Insight

131 Doodle direct

90 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the founders of PetShopBowl.co.uk

136 Talk Business directory

53 A day in the life Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient 54 Foundations for good business Building a tech start-up 57 Tax tips for business Tax planning 58 Step one: negotiating a profitable deal Series by Simplify The Law

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93 Woman and van removals Q&A with Van Girls

116 Gadgets Samsung S4 vs. S5

TALK FRANCHISE 119 Franchise news 123 Spotlight Cleanhome Domestic Cleaning 125 The fran man Buying an existing franchise

128 Capital space 134 Recruitment genius

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editor’s letter

Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business

EDITOR

Dawn Murden dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com

DESIGN

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

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

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

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

MANAGING DIRECTOR Stuart McCreery

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.

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Happy New (financial) Year his month sees the end of one financial year and the beginning of another. Last month the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne unveiled what has been coined as “the election budget” – with decisions aimed to influence the ballot boxes. However, as usual the Budget was met with mixed responses across the nation. As George said, this was a Budget for the makers, the doers and the savers. But what about SMEs? How are you affected? One example is Corporation Tax. This will definitely benefit larger profitable companies because they will receive the reduced rate of 20%. However start-ups and small businesses will be paying the same. Is that fair? On page 39, our funding expert, Julian Smith talks about the expectations he had of the Budget and what he had hoped for, and then gives his reaction on what actually happened. Not quite sure what to make of the Budget? Turn to page 66 to read what other entrepreneurs thought about it. A key figure in Government for SMEs is Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills. He has been the Secretary since 2010, and is often featured in the media

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commentating on the future for SMEs. Read our interview with the Secretary on page 22. With all this talk of finance, if you’re worried about your cash flow, turn to page 49 to read about factoring and invoice discounting, and how it could benefit your company. On top of this we feature all our great columnists, and plenty more advice on how to grow your business. Take care of business for now,

@TalkBusinessMag

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Contributors & LETTERS

Money makers, movers and shakers

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Jonathan Brewer is a former solicitor at Pinsent Masons and CMS Cameron McKenna. Having completed his MBA at Imperial College Business School, he joined legal publisher, LexisNexis, where he quickly became a UK board director. Here, Jon built a team of 50 lawyers and technologists to create a class-leading legal online know-how product built around legal work flows. From his career as a litigator and experience in running his businesses, Jon has hands-on experience of the contractual issues that you need to address in order to keep the money rolling in. He also knows how you can resolve the disputes that have a habit of arising if you haven’t addressed your legal issues earlier.

Emi Gal is founder & CEO of Brainient, an ad-tech company headquartered in London, with offices in Bucharest and New York.  Prior to Brainient, Emi started two other technology businesses and advised or invested in various start-ups. He is also one of the founding members of Digital Catalyst Fund, an early stage venture fund that helps technology start-ups source tech talent in Romania. Emi is an occasional columnist for The Daily Telegraph, The Kernel, and TechCrunch Europe, and also writes a blog. Outside his business interests, Emi loves waking up early, quantified selfexperiments, sports and languages.

Read his column on negotiating a profitable deal on page 58.

Turn to page 21 to read Emi’s start-up check list.

Graeme Freeman is co-founder and director of Freeman Clarke. The company is made up of a team of fractional (parttime) IT directors; they work for for small- and medium-sized businesses. He founded Freeman Clarke having both run his own businesses and worked for many years for large corporates, including Logica (now part of CGI), and BBC Worldwide. Read his blog here: freemanclarke.co.uk/blog Read his article on how to manage IT projects successfully on page 111.

Vince Cable has been Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills since 2010. He has also been the MP for Twickenham since 1997. He joined the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet in 1999 as spokesman on Trade and Industry after a spell as a junior Treasury spokesman. He was the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor from November 2003 until May 2010 and was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats until May 2010. Before this Vince worked for Shell International and in 1995 became Shell’s chief economist. On page 22, Dawn Murden asks Vince about SMEs, the economy and women in business.

APRIL 2014

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MAILBOX

If you’d like to send us your thoughts about Talk Business, or anything else that’s happening on the SME scene, just get in touch: email: dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com. snail mail: Aston Greenlake Publishing Limited, William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodfield Terrace, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, CM24 8AJ.

This month our readers are talking about staff tax perks, the Budget and LinkedIn

Melody’s big news

Dear editor, I really enjoyed reading about past Apprentice contestant, Melody Hossaini [Face on the cover, March]. She’s very inspirational. Shortly after I read the article, I had a look on her blog and found out she was pregnant too. Congratulations to her and her husband. Amy Timber Owner of Amy’s Bakery

R OF E T T E L MONTH THE

Following your review After reading your review of the book, Click.ology: What Works in Online Shopping and How Your Business Can Use Consumer Psychology to Succeed, I went out and bought it. I run a e-commerce business selling office supplies and I haven’t been able to put it down! Click.ology fan

Cashing in on the tax perks The article, Increasing salaries without a pay rise, [March’14] was very informative. It’s important for entrepreneurs like myself to keep up with things like this. My staff are very important to the business, and it’s imperative I reward them for their hard work and remind them they are valued. Martin Jones

Tweets 0F the month... @ThamesValleyExp  IT’s #FF - Here’s to our #TVExpo #Partners @TValleyChamber @WWLimited @MacWindsor @WindsorRaces @BaylisMedia @TalkBusinessMag @4nhq  @PortsmouthExpo Don’t forget to pick up your free copies of @TalkBusinessMag available at the Registration Desk and in the Cafe Area at #PBE14 @HullbusinessGur What does the Budget mean for SMEs? via @talkbusinessmag http://ow.ly/uMgp6  @Done4USocialMed LinkedIn hits 15 million members in the UK via @talkbusinessmag http://ow.ly/uzVAh  @WOTBFestival National Magazine @TalkBusinessMag have a feature on @triciadesigns10. Well done Tricia from all at #WOTB http://bit.ly/1ejTjNQ  @norma_lou @TalkBusinessMag Great article on the hows & whys of #website #translation, I love that you covered the #transcreation aspect - a fab read! @brandamplifier From @DawnMurden at @TalkBusinessMag Dragon Kelly Hopen becomes ambassador for #BusinessisGreatBritain campaign http://bit.ly/1g5YhBY  @GingerKidd_sf  Cloud computing helps 62% of UK start-ups scale as they grow, driving 25-75% increases in profits http://bit.ly/1j8V441 @talkbusinessmag

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APRIL 2014

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NEWS & EVENTS

Dates for the diary

Business Junction Networking Events 9 April The Fable, Holborn 16 April Imperial College, London 24 April VIA, Canary Wharf businessjunction.co.uk

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

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

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

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

Sterling Integrity 8 May Kingsholme Rugby Club, Gloucester 16 May The Village Hotel, Solihull 6 June The Village Hotel, Swansea sterlingintegrity.co.uk

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

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

The Mobile Innovations Awards July 8 Grosvenor House Hotel, London themobileinnovationsawards.com

Branson starts search for Britain’s best new business VIRGIN MEDIA PIONEERS – the online community for entrepreneurs – has launched its annual, nationwide search to find Britain’s best up-and-coming business leaders. Founded by Virgin Media in 2010, the free peer-to-peer network supports more than 6,000 young people, providing mentoring, advice and business opportunities. This year there are two chances for innovators to “pitch to Rich” and a panel of judges in The Start Up Award and The Innovation Award. The winning prize package for each award includes £5,000 of investment plus mentoring, including legal, branding and marketing advice, as well as an opportunity for the winners to build their network and raise their profile in order to further their prospects. Tom Mockridge, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, said: ‘The online world is powering Britain’s

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economic growth and transforming the prospects of young entrepreneurs. Our network puts Virgin Media at the heart of this information super highway, and with Virgin Media Pioneers, we provide opportunities for them to accelerate their ambitions as we champion the next generation of digital innovators.’ Sir Richard Branson, pioneer-at-large of Virgin Media Pioneers and founder of the Virgin Group, said: ‘Starting a business with very little capital is something I can relate to, but with a little backing early on and the right idea, anything is possible. I’m looking forward to meeting more of Britain’s best young entrepreneurs through the Start Up Award. The Innovation Award is about propelling the next great British tech business forward, so we’re looking for disruptive businesses who could one day give Silicon Valley a run for their money.’

The call for written entries is open, and five entrepreneurs will be shortlisted for each award and asked to prepare pitch videos to face a public vote. The entrepreneurs with the most votes by 22 April will then pitch on 13 May at the Branson family home in Oxfordshire. To enter, or to find out more about Virgin Media Pioneers, go to virginmediapioneers.com or on Twitter @VMPioneers #Pitch2Rich or Facebook @VirginMediaPioneers.

APRIL 2014

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Mumpreneurs take advantage of fellow mums’ skills to boost growth

AS SHADOW CHILDCARE Minister, Lucy Powell says that mothers working part time are often more productive than other employees, mumpreneurs working with GrowthAccelerator have extolled the virtues of employing other mums. Mumpreneur, Cara Sayer runs SnoozeShade, the sun and sleep aid for prams, car seats and cots. Despite the products being sold worldwide in stores such as Tesco and John Lewis, she is the only employee and relies on the skills of a team of mum freelancers to keep the business’ cogs turning. ‘Using freelancers allows me to manage peaks and troughs in the business,’ she explains. ‘My network of mums means I have access to some very talented women with a wide array of skills that I normally couldn’t afford – they work from home, and I don’t mind when they do the work as long as it’s done. Keith Angus, a growth coach at GrowthAccelerator says: ‘Employing a flexible workforce is a great strategy for smaller growing businesses to plug skills gaps as and when necessary. Mums are often an untapped pool of

talent, and many of these companies can really benefit from taking advantage of their skills. As these businesses have shown, mums can

provide ideal support to free up the business owner to spend more time working on, not in, the company, which is vital for enabling business growth.’

60% of small businesses expecting to see growth in 2014 RESEARCH HAS REVEALED SMEs in the north are more likely to invest than those in south.

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A study of 1,000 SME owners by funding specialist, Bibby Financial Services, shows that despite 60% of businesses throughout the country expecting to see growth in 2014, a regional divide has emerged with more SMEs in the north of England looking to invest than their counterparts in the Midlands and the south. The survey reveals that exactly half of SME owners in the north east of England said they are planning to invest, but this figure fell to 35% in the south west and just 31% in the West Midlands. In addition, there is significant disparity throughout the rest of mainland UK as 42% of firms in Scotland are looking to invest in 2014, compared to less than a third (30%) in Wales.

Edward Winterton, commercial director at Bibby Financial Services said: ‘It’s positive to find that so many businesses are expecting to achieve growth this year, but it’s interesting to see that more SMEs in the north are planning to invest than those throughout the rest of the country. ‘It seems that businesses in the Midlands and south of England are counting on organically rising demand as a way of achieving growth, whereas businesses in the north are taking growth into their own hands by investing for the future. ‘More and more businesses are turning to invoice finance to enable them to unlock value in outstanding invoices; providing cashflow available for investment in recruitment, new product development and sales and marketing.’

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27/02/2014 09:57


START-UP CHECKLIST

TALK SUCCESS

Starting a business? Here’s your to-do list MAKE/OFFER GOODS OR SERVICES PEOPLE WANT It’s a competitive global market; invest your time researching it. Only build something you know people will buy. Know your customers – and your competitors – by getting out there and meeting them. ALWAYS ASK FOR FEEDBACK When you’re building your business, it is incredibly important to test your product. Use your friends, family, network and potential customers for feedback from the start. This will save you bigger problems down the line. BUILD YOUR TEAM WISELY Recruitment is hard and it takes time. In a start-up, your first few hires are crucial for your business. Invest your time wisely – hire people you feel you can have a beer with and who will be as passionate about your start-up as you are.

Emi Gal, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Brainient – a company that helps brands such as Channel 4 and FOX create interactive video advertising – shares his start-up checklist

DON’T FRET ABOUT YOUR LOCATION At Brainient, we are headquartered in London, have a technology team in Romania, investors from the UK and Silicon Valley, and clients as far away as India. It doesn’t really matter where everyone is based, the internet has enabled all companies to go global. LISTEN AND BE PATIENT People with plenty of patience are wiser because they take the time to listen. As a founder, you need to learn this sooner rather than later. Some things can only be learnt from experience but the more you listen, the quicker you will learn.

network of opportunity. Do your research to find the best accelerator program for you. The benefits are numerous; credibility, validation, focus and momentum to name a few. HAVE FUN! Fun is a great motivator. Walk into work with a smile and chances are you’ll be more productive. Lead your team by example and have fun every day! Contact: jacobbailey.com

BE AMBITIOUS, BUT PLAN Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Investors will respect you for aiming high, but back it up with a thorough road map of how you plan to get there. Think about how you will scale, and make a five-year plan not a one-year. CONSIDER AN ACCELERATOR There are a host of accelerators out there to consider if you want to kick start your business and open yourself to a new

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Vince Cable Dawn Murden meets Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, to talk about UK SMEs, the state of the economy, and his opinion on the Budget

very SME owner knows who Vince Cable is. He has been Secretary of State for Business Innovations and Skills since 2010. He has also been MP for Twickenham since 1997. He joined the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet in 1999 as spokesman on trade and industry after a spell as a junior treasury spokesman. He was the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor from November 2003 until May 2010, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats until May 2010. Before this, Vince worked for Shell International, and in 1995 became Shell’s chief economist. Vince Cable, quite rightly, is featured frequently in the media

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commenting on UK business, the economy and what the Government is doing to help to improve the health of both. This is our finance issue, marking the end of one financial year and the beginning of another, so we asked Vince Cable about UK SMEs, the state of the economy and his opinion on the Budget. WHAT, IN YOUR EYES, ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES A START-UP ENTREPRENEUR, OR AN SME OWNER NEEDS TO FOCUS ON? Accessing finance is a vital part of setting up and growing a business. For those in the very early stages, Start-Up Loans [featured on page 51] offers

lending to help get a business idea off the ground, and in just over a year has already helped more than 14,000 businesses get up and running. For those firms that have been going for some time, many will be daunted by the prospect of going to their bank for credit. The Government is supporting the growth and development of alternative finance, such as peer-to-peer lending, which offers small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) a viable alternative to the high street lenders – as do new and emerging banks – which help to provide diversity in the lending market and give small firms choice in what finance options are most suitable to them.

10/04/2014 11:44


INTERVIEW

DO YOU THINK THE ECONOMY IS BECOMING MORE STABLE ON THE WHOLE? OR DO WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO? We are beginning to see signs that a real recovery is taking place, and the confidence of small businesses, particularly those with ambitions to grow, has received a boost. But we need to make sure this optimism can be translated into a long term sustainable, balanced recovery without repeating the mistakes of the past.

For someone starting their own business, it’s important they receive the right support and advice to turn their idea into reality. The Mentor Challenge Fund is a new £2.6 million fund, which will help small businesses receive expert help from those in the same industry as them. Small firms can also access support and advice from a network of 26,000 mentors across the country. For those businesses with high growth potential, the GrowthAccelerator scheme provides guidance to businesses to help them move to the next level – helping them build a successful growth strategy, identify suitable sources of finance and get the most out of a firm’s employees.

DO YOU THINK THERE IS A LACK OF COMMERCIAL LENDING FOR SMES? IF SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP THIS SITUATION? WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING? Yes, there is a serious problem of SME commercial lending. I am confident that the measures we are taking via increased competition and business bank funding will bear fruit: promoting new challenger banks and new kinds of lending like crowd funding, and creating incentives for risk capital. The British Business Bank brings together £2.9 billion of existing finance schemes with £1 billion of new capital. We have just invested £40 million from the Business Bank into peer-to-peer lender, Funding Circle, and this should lead to around £450 million being lent to SMEs. So, there is still a serious problem on business lending, but it has been recognised and we are doing something about it. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ALTERNATIVE FUNDING METHODS THAT ARE NOW BECOMING MORE MAINSTREAM FOR SMES AND START-UPS, SUCH AS PENSION FUNDING AND CROWD SOURCING? IS THIS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY? I want to see more alternative lenders in the market, whether they are alternative finance

TALK SUCCESS

providers or new banks. Crowd-funding, peer-to-peer lenders and invoice finance lenders are becoming more popular, and have the ability to lend to thousands of small firms seeking finance. Newer banks are also becoming more prevalent as SMEs realise they don’t just have to go to the main high street banks for finance. We have started to see challenger banks like Handelsbank and MetroBank enter the SME lending market, which is encouraging, because at the moment 78% of SME lending is concentrated in the hands of the big four banks. Increasing competition will boost innovation, and help small businesses form strong relationships with their lender - and will hopefully prevent the type of mis-selling scandals we have seen in recent years.

We are beginning to see signs that a real recovery is taking place

THE RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT IS 7.2% ACCORDING TO ONS. WHAT CAN SMES DO TO IMPROVE THIS RATE? Small- and medium-sized businesses employ around 14 million people, and are important job creators. To make it easier for SMEs to take on new staff, Government has brought in a range of measures to make this easier. This includes cutting £2,000 from the National Insurance bills of 1.25 million businesses and charities from April 2014; bringing in major employment law reforms to simplify the process of taking on and managing staff; and providing grants of £1,500 for new employers taking on apprentices. I also launched the Business is GREAT campaign last year, which aims to inspire small businesses to grow, including through hiring, and helps firms find the Government support schemes available to help them.

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10/04/2014 11:44


TALK SUCCESS INTERVIEW

LAST WEEK WAS NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK, WHICH YOU HAVE SHOWN YOU’RE IN SUPPORT OF. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR SMES TO EMBRACE APPRENTICESHIPS? HOW WILL IT HELP THEIR COMPANIES AND THE ECONOMY? Taking on an apprentice can be a real game-changer for a business, and can be of particular value to small- and medium-sized firms. Taking on an apprentice will not only help a firm develop the quality of their skills base, but apprentices boosted UK businesses by £1.8 billion last year, with every company taking on an apprentice reporting an average £2,000 boost to their bottom line. Grants are available to help small businesses take on apprentices, and it’s especially good that a fifth of SMEs plan to take on at least one apprentice in the next year.

THERE IS STILL A LACK OF WOMEN IN BUSINESS. ATTITUDES ARE CHANGING, BUT SLOWLY. HOW, IN YOUR OPINION, COULD WE SPEED

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There is still a serious problem on business lending

UP THIS PROCESS AND ENCOURAGE MORE FEMALES INTO BUSINESS? I SAW IN THE PRESS YOU SAID ALLFEMALE SHORTLISTS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN FTSE 100 COMPANIES LOOKING TO RECRUIT SENIOR POSTS – IS THAT AN IMPORTANT START? If we’re going to build a stronger, more sustainable economy then we need to make sure that we tap into the widest talent pool available. As a Government,

we are committed to making sure that as many women as possible have the opportunity to fulfil their full potential in their careers. That is why we’re

making sure that the modern workplace fits the modern world. We’re bringing in changes to shared parental leave, so mums can better their work and family lives, and extending the right to request flexible working to all employees. We’re taking action in response to the Women’s Business Council’s recommendations to help unblock the talent pipeline that for so long has restricted women from reaching the most senior levels in business. This programme of concerted action aims to drive the ambition and aspiration of girls; support women at all stages of their careers; help women set up their own businesses. For ambitious female entrepreneurs, they can benefit from the range of support and advice schemes offered by the Government. 40% of the loans given out by the Start-Up Loans company were to female-led businesses, and one fifth of all small firms are run by women. Making sure that we have more diversity in our top boardrooms is something we are seeing good progress in since the Davies Review in 2011. Women now represent more than one in five of FTSE board position, but of course that number should be higher. That is why I have asked the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to advise on the legality of

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TALK SUCCESS INTERVIEW

headhunters recommending all-female shortlists. We are on the home straight in achieving the 25% target by 2015, but Government, companies, investors and headhunters all need to play their part to get over the finish line. THERE HAS BEEN MUCH IN THE MEDIA ABOUT THE PAY GAP. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING TO PROMOTE EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN AT WORK? Businesses need to take responsibility for ensuring their workplace is an equal one. Government is asking business leaders to be more transparent about pay and help develop women’s progression, by signing up to Think, Act, Report – a voluntary initiative that encourages companies to think about how to offer equal opportunities for women. Government will continue to work with businesses, because the cultural shift that is needed won’t happen unless they work with Government to remove the barriers that hold women back and ensure that every woman can fulfil their full potential. THE EXPENSES SCANDAL DAMAGED THE REPUTATION OF POLITICAL LEADERS AND THE GOVERNMENT? IS THAT DAMAGE STILL BEING REPAIRED? Yes. We have seen a crisis of trust in many big institutions the public has hitherto relied on, from the banks to energy companies and the police. Politics has also been severely damaged by the expenses and various lobbying scandals, which have not showed politicians in the best light. This is disappointing as the vast majority of MPs and Peers are hardworking public servants and the mistakes of a few have meant that all have been tarnished with the same brush.

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Industry has a responsibility to reduce the harm caused by carbon emissions

It is the responsibility of all politicians to work towards restoring trust. Transparency and openness is one very powerful way of doing this. That is why I publish prominently any information relating to my expenses on my constituency website, so people can hold me to account. I also – like all other Government Ministers – publish a list of journalists and media owners I meet and any hospitality I receive. We’re the first government to do this, and we hope this will go some way to restoring the trust that was lost by the public we serve. IF YOU COULD DECIDE THE BUDGET – HOW WOULD YOU HELP UK BUSINESSES? I know that top of the list of concerns for many UK businesses are energy costs. While industry has a responsibility to reduce the harm caused by carbon emissions, I recognise that a balance needs to be struck. That is why I am making the case to the Treasury for further relief measures in the Budget. I also want to see continued support for the things I have championed for the last four years – skills, apprenticeships, science and support for small businesses.

THERE HAS BEEN RISE IN THE NUMBER OF UK SOCIAL ENTERPRISES, AND SOME BUSINESS COMMENTATORS ARE SAYING THERE IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE REVOLUTION. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON SOCIAL ENTERPRISES? SHOULD MORE START-UPS FOCUS ON A SOCIAL BOTTOM LINE? Social enterprises make a major contribution to the economy as businesses and employers: there are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing £18.5 billion in GVA and employing almost one million people. They also provide a challenger business model in public services and in the private sector, delivering innovations to solve intractable social problems and helping to increase economic resilience, often in disadvantaged places. My department is working with the Cabinet Office to promote the growth of social enterprise and ensure that social enterprises have the best chance of success. Contact: gov.uk/government/ organisations/department-forbusiness-innovation-skills vincentcable.org.uk/en/ Twitter: @vincecable

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TALK SUCCESS TAKE ONE COMPANY

obert Jakobi is a persistent and ambitious man. He went to the University of Pennsylvania, which in America is ranked with Harvard, and started his career on Wall Street. While working in hedge funding, Robert launched his own business, a healthy snack food company, which made dry roast edamame snacks covered in chocolate or yoghurt – named Pod bites. ‘Having spent many years in the US, I recognised there was a gap in the UK market,’ he tells me. ‘Edamame has always been popular in Japanese restaurants, but no one had exploited the market in the UK. They are healthy alternative to chocolate raisins or peanuts.’ Robert launched the snack in a number of stores, including Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. But there were two places he really wanted to get the snack into; Pret A Manger, the popular handmade natural food shop, and Itsu, a sushi restaurant. Two food places he felt were perfect for the market Pod bites was targeting. So he contacted Julian Metcalfe, the founder of Itsu, and co-founder of Pret A Manger, consistently determined to pitch his product. ‘I had been bombarding him for five months, calling or emailing him over 10 times a day,’ he says. ‘When he finally called me back, I thought it was one of my friends playing a prank!’ Julian had started Metcalfe Skinny Popcorn as a bit of a hobby, and because he thought there was a market for gourmet popcorn (he was certainly onto something). He was simply selling the products in his companies, Itsu, and Pret A Manger. Robert met Julian about Pod bites, and on their second

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Poppi n’ success Dawn Murden meets Robert Jakobi, managing director of Metcalfe’s Food Company, and finds out why persistence pays off

When he finally called me back, I thought it was one of my friends playing a prank!

meeting left with more than he had bargained for: a new venture. ‘He asked me to take on the popcorn company,’ Robert says. ‘He liked my perseverance, the fact I had a financial background and had started my own business already – he thought I was entrepreneurial.’ Robert joined as a shareholder and managing director. The name changed from Metcalfe Skinny Popcorn to Metcalfe’s Food Company, so they could expand the offering. At the time Robert joined, the company was making £300,000 a year, selling its products to Itsu and Pret A Manger; now it turns over £1 million and is stocked in a range of shops, from Sainsbury’s to Topshop. When Robert came on board he was the only employee and

has been building the perfect team for two and a half years – a team he is very proud of. The company’s colourful marketing and packaging makes it a popular option and a healthier alternative to crisps and cakes. There is a growing range of products, from Skinny Topcorn (popcorn topped with flavours) and Skinny Corn’ers the popcorn’s nacho cousin. Breaking into the food industry isn’t easy and Robert encountered challenges when he took charge of the popcorn company. ‘It required a lot of time and patience, as it takes ages to get into supermarkets,’ Robert says. ‘The food market is a stable industry, but it’s a hard industry to get into, and it doesn’t happen overnight.’

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‘A lot of people thought I was mad for leaving my financial job,’ he says. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, Robert says one of the best aspects is that you are in control of your own destiny. ‘You’ve created something yourself,’ he says. ‘You’re not working for a large corporate company where you’re a piece of meat. ‘You are building something of value, and it’s really rewarding.’ And, he said, the worst thing about running your own business is the risks. ‘There’s always a chance I might not go anywhere, or your team might leave,’ he said. When it comes to advice, Robert says a key attribute is perseverance, and we can totally appreciate why, when it seems it was one of the main reason he became the managing director of Metcalfe’s Food Company. ‘Don’t give up, keep pestering,’ he says. ‘It’s never easy – life isn’t easy. ‘If you’ve got a good product and a good brand you should believe in yourself – don’t take no for an answer.’ He also says he valued his American education. ‘Americans have a different work approach – they are more serious, and don’t expect as much holiday. ‘I also feel Americans don’t resent success – it’s all about the “American dream”, whereas here in the UK we can be quite envious of success.’ Metcalfe’s is 12 months away from launching in America, something that has required Robert to do a lot of travelling. The future will also see the brand enter Europe, in France, Spain, and Belgium – something Robert is very excited about. ‘You have to be strategic when launching abroad, and this has required a lot of time

030_031 SUCCESS Metacalf.**ga**.indd 41

and planning,’ he says. Metcalfe’s sponsors various charity events and it has also partnered with Clic Sargent, the charity that helps children and young people with cancer. ‘We need to give back to the community,’ Robert says. ‘And we have donated a minimum of £30,000 to the charity already.’ Metcalfe’s is also planning to boost brand awareness in the UK with a £1 million television advert campaign – so keep your eyes peeled. And as for Pod bites, well Robert got his wish and the product is being sold under the Itsu brand.

Vital statistics Company founded: May 2009, I joined in October 2010. Start-up capital: £100,000 spent on a popcorn maker (before I joined). Turnover: £10m+. Profit: May 2013 – 7% net profit. Profitable this year, but no exact figures at the time of writing. Growth rate: Gone from £300,000 turnover to £10m+ in three years. Growth rate of 100% and on the Sunday Times’ Fast Track 100 programme. Biggest achievement: The team I’ve built. There is an average age of 26, we have eight Oxbridge grads, and they are all entrepreneurial, smart people.

Contact: metcalfesskinny.com

A lot of people thought I was mad for leaving my financial job

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27/03/2014 11:52


UP-AND-COMING

TALK SUCCESS

Introducing

Svietlana Lavrentidi This month we interview Svietlana Lavrentidi, founder of the Entrepreneurial Women’s Network he Entrepreneurial Women’s Network is for females who run start-up business, and those who have been entrepreneurs for a long time. It’s goal is to create connections that matter.

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WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? I have been helping Entrepreneurs in London, which is Europe’s biggest entrepreneurial meet-up site. The organiser saw that I had a potential for networking and making contacts, so he promoted me to co-organiser. A lot of the times if you are woman, men will not take you seriously. I got the idea to create this so that women could bounce ideas of each other and develop relationships. We could form a sort of sisterhood of entrepreneurial women. WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Go for it. Start taking action. If you have an idea and you are passionate about it, set it into action. Practice is the best way. Find people that can help you if there are things you cannot do yourself, otherwise you will just end up a dreamer and not get anywhere. IF YOU WEREN’T AN ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING TODAY? This is where I want to be. I

wanted to be a singer when I was a child. Instead of singing, I am trying to do something bigger. I am creating a network and inspiring women. There is nothing I would rather be than an entrepreneur and a business owner.

There is nothing I would rather be than an entrepreneur and a business owner

WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? I want to make the Entrepreneurial Women’s Network worldwide so women all over the world can connect. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? The hardest thing was to find my biggest passion. I ended up spending time and money on things that I really did not want to do. I wanted to make money, but I did not know where to start. HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? At this point 50% of my agenda is of what I have to do and what I like to do, the other 50% is money. Like everyone, I have bills to pay and I need to live. I do not believe that people are not motivated by money. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT? It was definitely the launch party. When my mum hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. That moment was worth all the hassle. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE? To unite women worldwide. I want to make the group into a membership site by next year. I also want to connect as many women as I can; making a difference - that is what matters. Contact: svietlanalavrentidi.com

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TALK SUCCESS THE BUSINESS SHOW

The biggest exhibition

for anyone starting or growing a business ould you like to be in the same room as 25,000 potential customers? That’s the opportunity The Business Show offers your business, with everyone from start-ups to SMEs and beyond scouring the show floor for new products, services and partnerships to grow their businesses fast. With so many ambitious business people in one place 360 exhibitors, 260 seminars, 132 workshop sessions and nine live show features across two days - the atmosphere is always electric. You can sense real business deals being done all around you. Exhibiting at The Business Show gives you the chance to meet key influencers and decision makers face to face. It’s one of the most efficient, effective and successful marketing activities. Where else can you get in a room with so many prospects actively looking for suppliers, information and guidance? It’s an unrivalled opportunity for you to make an outstanding personal impression with your hottest new prospects, whether you want to make sales on the day, or gather a host of quality leads for the sales team. The face to face nature of the conversation allows you to qualify the leads in detail and know exactly who to call first

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The UK’s biggest business show returns to ExCeL, London in May. We caught up with event organiser, the Prysm Group, about what exhibitors can expect from the thirty first meeting when you’re back in the office. That’s why nearly 80% of exhibitors at November’s show have already rebooked for May.

You can sense real business deals being done all around you

WHAT’S AT THE SHOW? You will find a unique blend of the biggest businesses alongside innovative SMEs and cutting edge business solutions. Alongside the 360 marketleading exhibitors, the two days are also packed with a schedule of seminars and workshops giving visitors the chance to learn new skills and strategies. These sessions also give exhibitors the chance to extend their reach and brand extension

to an attentive audience by delivering compelling content that the visitor will truly value. The seminar schedule is led by a stellar line up of keynote speakers, with the leading lights of industry delivering keynote seminars on topics ranging from inspiring stories to how to build a multi-million pound business from your back bedroom. Previous speakers have included BBC ‘Dragons’, James Caan and Doug Richard; David Gold; and Clive Rich, the £10 billion negotiator, as well as representatives from London Stock Exchange, PayPal and FaceBook.

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THE BUSINESS SHOW

TALK SUCCESS

Manager & PA; Global Enterprise Mobility, Workforce & Travel Management 2014; Business Intelligence & Analytics Live; and Going Global.

The Business Show’s workshop schedule is now more comprehensive than ever, covering everything from how to rank at the top of Google, generating sales leads, and franchising, to the benefits of a business mentor. The workshops are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of business in the 21st Century, with new subjects that include cloud computing and SEO. There’s a huge range of networking features at every Business Show, giving visitors the chance to make the contacts they need to progress their businesses. Opportunities range from swapping business cards at Business Connections to Speed Networking, Facetime, The Boardroom, Tweet Meet, and the 4Networking 121 Roadshow. Two live features give visitors the chance to make their pitch for investment, whether they are start-ups or established SMEs, with Midas Touch and Angels Den. And if the visitors are ready to buy or sell a business, they can do that too, with Businesses For Sale Live.

ADDED VALUE Since its launch in 2000, The Business Show has helped more British businesses to start or grow than any other business exhibition or conference. It remains dedicated to supporting your business in any position, in any industry. Part of that vision in 2014 is realised by additional shows that are co-located with The Business Show, offering exhibitors an extended audience of high quality crossover delegates. These visitors are leaders in their own sector, drawn to ExCeL by the lure of a specialist show. And while they’re on site, many of them attend The Business Show, too. These key leaders and decision makers represent a great opportunity for any exhibitor at The Business Show by providing a route into a market sector that you might not have the chance to engage with otherwise. Running alongside The Business Show and Business Startup this May will be: Accountex; Legalex; Sales Innovation Expo; Office

Previous speakers have included BBC ‘Dragons’ James Caan and Doug Richard

FREE TICKETS The Business Show can help your business with everything it needs to start or grow in 2014 or beyond. If you’re in business – or want to be – then you need to be at The Business Show at ExCeL London, 15-16 May 2014. Tickets are completely free from thebusinessshow.co.uk or call 08000 686970.

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BOOK REVIEWS

Book reviews Stickier Marketing [second edition] How to Win Customers in a

Our verdict:

About the authors: Mico Yul is an intelligence coach, global keynote speaker and analytics blogger. Stephanie Diamond is a former marketing director for AOL, founder of MarketingMessageMindset.com, and the author of seven business books.

Our verdict:

We say: Grant says the world wide web has commoditised the world, and being good at what you do is the minimum entry level to be allowed to compete – this is very powerful advice. It’s not about what your business does, it’s about how it does it, and who you do it for. Stickier Marketing is published by Kopan Page, priced at £19.99 in paperback.

Data Visualization for Dummies by Mico Yuk & Stephanie Diamond

Digital Age by Grant Leboff

About the author: Grant Leboff is founder of Sticker Marketing Ltd., a consulting firm that advises clients on sales and marketing strategies, building their brand and positioning it as a market leader in the particular sector.

TALK SUCCESS

You Can’t Plant aCreate Tree in Space the Conditions for You and Your Organisation to Thrive by Neil Hope with Dominic Will

We say: Big data are big buzz words, but how do you present data in an easy-to-understand and visually compelling manner? It’s a huge challenge faced by many companies. This straightforward colour guide will help you present data in a easyto-read and interesting manner. Data Visualization for Dummies is published by Wiley, priced at £24.99 in paperback.

Our verdict:

About the authors: Neil Hope and Dominic Will are the joint managing directors of HOME Fundraising, a successful fundraising company. Their new book reveals how their new model for leadership has developed. We say: This is a good guide to getting the most out of individuals and groups. These two unconventional leaders share their hands on, real world experiences. They have achieved commercial success and are worth listening to. You can’t Plant a Tree in Space is published by pighog, priced at £14.99 in paperback.

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

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vs. reality nlike most articles, I have written this one in two parts – the first part before the Budget was announced, and the second part reviewing the decisions taken.

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WHAT WILL GEORGE UNVEIL? This is the last Budget where the decisions will have time to be felt before the next general election. Also, the Government is about half way through a tenyear programme to eliminate the budget deficit. For those reasons, neither should we expect significant changes in this Budget nor would the Chancellor have much wiggle room to take such action given the over-riding objective to

eliminate the deficit, meaning austerity will continue to be a key watchword. The one factor, which mitigates against that, is the fact that trends over the last six months are moving in a positive direction and the risks, to inflation, growth and the deficit in the short term are more weighted to the upside. I would expect some small giveaways and policies that are consistent with this Government’s pro enterprise and innovation stance. On the positive side for employers and entrepreneurs, the Chancellor is expected to make it easier for companies to recruit talent by increasing the age threshold before employers need to pay National Insurance.

money

Budget – expectations

Our funding expert, Julian Smith talks about the expectations he had pre-Budget, and what really happened

The Chancellor is expected to make it easier for companies to recruit talent

To encourage companies to invest in technology and IP, we could see an increase in R&D tax credits and an increase in grants for technology investment. Exporting companies are expected to benefit from new initiatives. The SEIS scheme, which allows young investors backing young companies to benefit from 50% Income Tax relief, could see its £150,000 ceiling raised. Finally, the Chancellor is also expected to make a small increase in the personal income tax allowance. On the flip side, I would expect to see a continued crack down on tax evasion as well as another bump in the higher stamp duty threshold.

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TALK MONEY FUNDING EXPERT

This is a budget for the makers, the doers and the savers

POST-BUDGET ‘This is a budget for the makers, the doers and the savers,’ George Osborne, 19 March 2014 Well, in the short 60-minute speech from the dispatch box, the Chancellor unveiled a series of measures that were broadly consistent with the pro business expectations, which have been welcomed by the likes of the CBI and the IoD. In certain areas, like the case of pensions, we even got fireworks with the most radical reform of the

industry in 50 years. One of the concerns going into this budget is that economic growth is being generated from increased consumer spending rather than increases in productivity, which, relative to other major economies, remains poor. A range of measures was introduced to encourage greater investment, to increase efficiency and to support export initiatives. So what were the business headlines?

BENEFICIARY GROUP MEASURE - Doubled Government export finance to £3bn at a rate one third Exporters -

lower than before. Reduction in long haul air passenger duty making it cheaper to access key export markets.

Manufacturers, big energy users

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£7bn package to cut energy costs.

Local businesses

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Extension of business rate discounts for 3 years in enterprise zones.

Tech/IP businesses Investing businesses Small businesses Start-ups

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Extension of R&D tax credit rate from 11% to 14.5%.

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Doubling of the annual investment allowance from £250k to £500k, increasing tax relief for investing companies.

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Extension of grants to support 100,000 more apprentices.

-

SEIS scheme, which has proven popular with new companies and investors alike, made permanent but no increase in £150,000 ceiling.

So other than the lifting of the age below which NI is not paid by employers, we got most of what I was looking for, including the increase in the personal income tax threshold. It is clear that this Government is trying to foster an environment, which encourages business investment, increases

40

productivity and the development of successful export businesses. Having lost much IP and manufacturing prowess overseas during the last decade, that sounds like a constructive direction of travel for Great British business. Contact: thefundingexpert.co.uk Twitter: @lefundingexpert

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27/03/2014 12:48


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LEGAL TALK SUCCESS

WHAT IS AN NDA? An NDA is a legally binding document that is the first step to protecting your ideas and intellectual property when sharing valuable and confidential information with individuals and businesses. It is the easiest way of ensuring that information is not compromised, made public, or exploited. It also means that in the event of a breach of contract, you can take legal action to implement any solution needed to rectify or prevent further breaches, and recover damages. WHY DO YOU NEED AN NDA? You may have a brilliant business or creative idea, along with the strategy on how it will be brought to market or implemented, or important business plans, marketing information or financials and statistics that are at the crux of your business. At some point you will need to share some of this information with others to help further the growth of your company, but you do not wish for such valuable information to be made public or fall into the wrong hands. An NDA will allow you to discuss confidential information openly without fear of it later being misused or shared without your authorisation. WHICH TYPE OF NDA DO YOU NEED? If you are sharing information, use a One-Way Confidentiality Agreement to protect your intellectual property. This should cover the terms under which the confidential information can be used, those allowed to receive the information, the restrictions placed on it to maintain confidentiality, as well as remedies and damages should there be a breach of contract.

NDAs & confidentiality agreements? Mark Edwards, general manager at Rocket Lawyer, an online legal service, discusses how to make sense of NDAs and confidentiality agreements You do not wish for such valuable information to be made public or fall into the wrong hands

If both parties are exchanging sensitive information, use a Mutual Confidentiality Agreement, which covers, all the aforementioned, but ensures full protection for both parties. An NDA like this allows you to get to know each other better, so you can decide whether to enter into a longer term deal or partnership.When you first start sharing information, or if you frequently do so, and quickly need to agree an NDA to protect your information, use a Letter of Confidentiality. This document provides the same level of protection, but is ideal for less formal situations or when time is of the essence. WHERE DO YOU GO TO CREATE A NDA? It’s important that you have confidence in your confidentiality agreement and that it has been properly drafted – if not, you are putting your business at risk. Always create a tailored agreement to fit the specific

needs of your business; that way you ensure all aspects of your confidential information are protected, leaving nothing to chance. Plus, it needn’t be complicated, time consuming or expensive, which are the most common reasons cited for not creating such a simple legal document. A legal service that provides start-ups and small businesses with easy-to-create, professional legal documents online and help from affordable specialist lawyers, allows you to create your own bespoke NDA from a template that has been drafted by a lawyer via an online interview process, in your own time and in as little as 10 minutes. Drafted carefully and dutifully signed off by the relevant parties, the NDA is the first, and single most effective legal document there is to protect the interests of your start-up or small business. Protect it before you share it. Contact: rocketlawyer.co.uk

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Bringing a Finance Director solution to your Business sMe Finance Partners are a team of Finance Directors that work within small and medium sized businesses on a flexible part time basis. We are industry experienced, qualified accountants with the knowledge and expertise to deliver what your business needs. We work in partnership with business owners and directors to grow, develop and maximize the value of their business.

Our fixed fee Services are all encompassing and include: • • • • • •

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We work with your existing staff or place our own resources including bookkeepers, analysts, Finance Managers into your business at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time staff.

E: Info@smefp.co.uk T: 02920 782548 W: www.smefp.co.uk

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POWWOWNOW TALK MONEY

ash flow is paramount to a successful business, especially a start-up or small business. But no matter what stage your business is at, cash flow must remain the focus of your financial outlook. If cash is the fuel that drives a company forward, then cash flow is the engine. Without good cash flow management, a business cannot move forward. Here are my top tips for ensuring good cash flow and how to make sure your business never has to worry.

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1. MINIMISE DEBTOR DAYS Every business experiences a gap between invoicing and payment, the key is to minimise these gaps and ensure they remain stable. One excellent way to do this is to establish direct debit as a business norm for collecting receipts. It allows a business to scale up without increasing the costs required to collect the debt, while also providing a stable inflow of cash, from which all payments can be made. There can often be resistance to direct debit. If you experience this from your customers, you should take time to understand their reasons, as there will probably be a counter-argument to put their mind at ease. One of the biggest misconceptions of direct debit is that the payee loses control; in fact the opposite is true. Many people don’t know that once a direct debit has been made, a payee can quickly and easily have it returned by contacting their bank. With this in mind businesses should only use direct debit for small value, high volume transactions. 2. SET CASH FLOW TARGETS Setting targets for your credit controllers is an excellent

Cash flow: the engine that drives business Andrew Johnson, finance director at Powwownow, gives tips on managing your cash flow

Without good cash flow management a business cannot move forward

way to ensure that cash flow is given the attention necessary, and provide a level of satisfaction and ownership to hit and beat these targets. To work as a motivator, you must be able to give an upto-date understanding of performance versus targets. One way to do this is by preparing and maintaining a cash flow forecast that is updated weekly; this provides an accurate outlook for the next 6-12 months. 3. ESTABLISH CLEAR PAYMENT TERMS Establishing clear payment terms from the outset is important. If you don’t know what your payment terms are, it is difficult to know when you are going to get paid and when to advise those who need to pay you. If you want to reduce the chances of delayed or missed payments, make sure your payment terms are up to date. In my view, it is good business to pay within 30 days of an activity or service received.

4. INVOICE QUICKLY Cash flow isn’t just about external factors, there are some internal factors that influence cash flow too, like when to invoice. If you issue invoices via email, they can be received immediately and you also have a record of them being sent. That way, payment can be made quickly and there is no reliance on the post. 5. TECHNOLOGY As well as email, using technology can make managing cash flow much simpler. Cloudbased services, Excel documents all allow you to free up time and keep track of cash flow. Cloud technology also allows you to keep track of cash flow no matter where you are, accessing accounts from any location. This is especially good if you have a team that works remotely. Reliable technology allows you to keep on top of cash flow and make sure you never miss a payment. Contact: powwownow.co.uk

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CASH FLOW

TALK MONEY

A smarter way to finance your business?

he British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recently upgraded its GDP growth forecast to 2.8% for 2014, and 2.5% for 2015/2016. This is great news for the nation’s SMEs. However, it highlights a severe problem. Businesses need to invest if they are to capitalise on the fresh opportunities created by such growth – but the funds are still not forthcoming from the traditional sources, such as banks overdrafts and loans. BCC director general, John Longworth recently commented, saying: ‘Britain is simply not investing enough,’ and ‘There is also more to do in securing access to finance for growing firms.’ On March 11, Vivienne Dews, chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading, also raised concerns over the lack of competition in the retail banking sector, and suggested that work may need to be done to give SMEs a broader choice of finance providers.

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Nick Smith, recently appointed group sales director of Ultimate Finance, explains why more SMEs are waking up to the benefits of asset based finance

Work may need to be done to give SMEs a broader choice of finance providers

32%. In the last year alone, there has been an 11% increase. WHAT IS ASSET BASED FINANCE? Asset based finance takes several forms, but the most popular is invoice finance. There are, broadly speaking, two versions – factoring and

invoice discounting. Both enable a company to release up to 90% of the money tied up in their unpaid invoices – the difference being that with invoice discounting they continue to manage their own credit control, while with factoring, the lender supports this function.

SMES TURNING TO ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS Many SMEs are taking the initiative themselves and exploring alternative solutions. The Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), whose members account for 98% of the industry, have reported significant growth. ABFAs figures for the last quarter of 2013 show advances by its members of £18.3 billion, up from £13.9 billion in December 2009 - an impressive jump of

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TALK MONEY CASH FLOW

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ASSET BASED FINANCE SOLUTIONS? The most obvious is cash availability. Asset based lenders are eager to help, have funds available and make the cash relatively easy to access – the same cannot be said for traditional bank lending. In some instances the asset based lender may help a company that has been refused cash by a bank – this can make all the difference between that business being able to capitalise on an opportunity and having to turn it down. In other situations, the SME may decide that the process of applying for a traditional overdraft or loan is simply too laborious and time consuming – the bank might have eventually helped them, but the SME prefers to approach an asset based lender because it’s quicker, easier and quite possibly cheaper. DRAMATICALLY SPEEDS UP YOUR CASH FLOW Instead of waiting 30, 60, 90, or even 120 days for payment, invoice finance means you can access practically all of the money owed to you almost as soon as you issue the invoice. It removes your most pressing cash flow problems and provides essential working capital. GOOD FOR GROWTH A traditional overdraft comes with a limit, and as your business grows you’ll have to go back to the bank for an extension. With invoice finance the more invoices you issue, the more funds become available. Factoring also solves a major headache. Instead of trying to manage the credit control function yourself, or employing a finance department, the business can outsource the entire job to a team of experts. This keeps the organisation lean and enables them to concentrate

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THE BENEFITS OF INVOICE FINANCE AT A GLANCE • Improves cash flow by releasing up to 90% of the money a company has tied up in its unpaid invoices. • Easier to access and more readily available than a traditional overdraft or loan. • As the business grows, so do the funds available. • Enables a business to boost efficiency by outsourcing its credit control function. • Online systems make it easy for a business to immediately see what funds are available to it. • Adds value at every stage of an SMEs supply chain.

on those parts of the business where their particular skills lie, and which actually generate revenue and growth. EASY TO SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU HAVE AVAILABLE With invoice finance you’ll have access to an online system that provides all the account information you need – you can see, in real time, the status of every invoice and how much cash is available to you at that moment. IMPROVES YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT A traditional overdraft or loan just gives you cash, but with invoice finance the provider

With invoice finance the provider becomes a close partner who provides valuable practical assistance at every stage

becomes a close partner who provides valuable practical assistance at every stage of the supply chain. For instance, Ultimate Finance offers an integrated invoice finance and trade finance facility that makes it easy to buy goods from abroad without the usual cash flow challenges. Likewise, our dedicated service for recruitment consultancies offers clients a state-of-the-art online timesheet system. Given all these benefits it’s not surprising that asset based finance solutions are becoming increasing popular with the UK’s SMEs. Contact: ultimatefinance.co.uk

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START-UP LOANS

TALK MONEY

A day in The life

DEAR DIARY, I wake up at this time, but unfortunately I’m not a morning person, so I start my morning by reading emails I’ve received overnight on my phone. I then look through Aphrodite and Ares’ Twitter feed. I send a tweet out to all of our followers to start the day.

08:45

I get ready, make sure I have something to eat, and then get my orders from the day before all wrapped up and packaged. Once they are all in A&A-branded packaging, I go to the post office to send them to customers.

10:00

I use this time to update the website. I edit the website myself, so I put a lot of time aside to make sure it looks the best it can. Taking stock photos and product descriptions can be a lengthy process, so I try to put a few hours a day into making sure it looks its best. This, in essence, is what is going to attract new and returning customers, so it is critical.

12:00

Social networking is really important for modern-day marketing. I take an hour to upload new photographs, inspirational quotes and fashion pictures to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. With this I can reach out to a lot more people on a daily basis. It’s a great way to interact with people and build

15:00

This month our Start-Up Loan recipient, Hannah Proctor reveals a typical day running her online vintage shop

In Profile Entrepreneur: Hannah Proctor Business: Aphrodite and Ares Clothing Web: aphroditeandaresclothing.com Concept: An online vintage fashion store. Start-Up Loan: £10,000 relationships. Tumblr is also a big yes for fashion forward followers! Tumblr is a fantastic platform for being a bit more adventurous. I update Tumblr every few days to keep it looking fresh. I have a small photo shoot with new pieces, and my own fashion ideas for a new blog post on the site. I put the photos on to my Mac, edit them, and write a small piece to go with the post. I link the website into every post I write; it’s a great free advertising platform.

16:00

I hear back from a successful blogger in LA, and she’s keen to do a blog post on A&A. This is great news for me. It means quite a lot of exposure for the site. I pick out some vintage and apparel pieces to send over to her so she can post them to her blog.

19:00

next season. I search for new vintage pieces from all over the world via the internet, and get new inspiration. I make sure everything is up to date with the website, and check how many hits I’ve had today. I’m ready for bed by this time, but it takes a while for me to switch off. I reply to any emails on my phone, and finally get some sleep!

23:00

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

I do research on up-and-coming trends, and see what designers predict will be coming “in” for

20:00

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TALK MONEY START-UPS

Foundations for good business W ith technology as it stands today, it has never been so easy to set up a new business venture. It’s possible to have a great idea in the morning and be fully registered, compliant and even have a bank account by lunchtime. However, speed does not always give the best tax result or the optimum business structure. Having established whether a concept is viable, the key drivers for the majority of tech start-ups are cost control, equity structuring, rewards, and exit planning. In some circumstances, it can prove to be commercially and fiscally advantageous to use a combination of trading or ownership vehicles e.g. a holding company to protect intellectual property, or a limited liability partnership for early stage loss utilisation. Other entities are available, including offshore vehicles that may be necessary to access other markets or provide a compliance vehicle. However, in 99% of cases, the default trading vehicle for tech businesses is a limited company, and this is explored in more detail below. With all incorporations, there are basically two chosen routes – an off the shelf company, or a bespoke new company. With the former you are merely acquiring something that already exists and has a history, albeit subscriber shares being issued. With the latter, it is a new creation that records you as first director and

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Tim Housden, tax director at THP Accountants, a specialist in corporate and personal tax planning, explains how to build a prosperous business from the bottom up

Making the wrong decision between these two options can cost tax

shareholder. Bizarrely, something as simple as making the wrong decision between these two options can cost tax. A number of problems can arise from those very first share issues when the company is formed, and from other fundraising rounds as well. Amongst, and possibly the most commonly complained about, are valuation and tax problems with HM Revenue and Customs, disparity with perceivably too much dividend or capital being paid to the wrong shareholders, and excessive personal tax being paid as a result of missed remuneration extraction opportunities. From third parties, the gripes generally include failure to achieve venture capital reliefs via Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or its more exciting younger sister, Seed EIS (SEIS), or missing opportunities to lock in and reward key staff via the very tax advantaged, Government approved Enterprise Management Incentive scheme (EMI). The above are all avoidable problems if proactive advice is sought before final decisions are enacted. Before charging ahead and incorporating a new company, it is worth considering some different areas that may have an impact later: • Be clear on what you are intending to achieve from the business. If it is a growth

rather than lifestyle business, make a decision on what percentage of the business you are ultimately prepared to give to other shareholders, investors or employees to achieve your goal, and in what timeline. • Prioritise any family and friend tax planning issues before founder shares are issued. It’s usually too late closing the stable door once the horse has bolted. • Ensure that any external funding is as tax attractive as possible for the investor e.g. EIS or SEIS. One mistake in the history or paper trail can cause lost tax relief and unhappy investors. • External funding invariably creates a need for some form of due diligence. This is a protection for not only the investor, but the company and other shareholders as well. Paper trail and compliance is generally key, so don’t forget that legal fees need to be paid. • If you intend to have employees, try to tie in key personnel with tax advantaged option schemes. EMI, for example, can be subject to forfeiture or only exercisable on the sale of the business, meaning no immediate equity issue and no unwanted shareholder if the employee leaves. • Regularly review how remuneration and benefits

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are drawn. Structuring effectively can lead to a higher net personal disposable income at no extra cost to the business, i.e. less tax and National Insurance burden for the company and the individuals concerned. • Don’t forget that tax law changes. “Being cute” today does not always have the desired effect in five years’ time. Watch for legislative change and talk to your professional advisors on a regular basis. If you do need money to get the venture off the ground, is it better to finance it all personally, raise money from external shareholders, or traditional loan and finance mechanisms, such as banks or mortgages? Part of the decision process here is clearly what funds are available and at what cost. From the investor’s point of view, it is gambling, and they have to balance their risk and reward too. As in life, business is “fluid” as well. Allow for the unexpected, but don’t always use it as an excuse to prevent you from doing something. The best ideas of today and

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tomorrow are probably concepts that were thought of a long time ago, but were sidelined as technological or scientific proof at that time rendered them unachievable. Research and development tax credits are only available to a limited company. Like all Government approved schemes, the legislation is quite harsh in determining what makes a qualifying activity. If you don’t understand what your accountant or adviser is explaining, ask again. As owner of the business, you are responsible for making informed decisions, which is difficult to do if you don’t understand what the problem is or what the information means. That said, a good adviser should ensure that the information and explanations are relevant to you and in a format that will give you the detail you need. In some respects, it is easier to approach building a business

As owner of the business you are responsible for making informed decisions

like building a wall. Good foundations are necessary, and it generally helps to know how high you want the wall, what colour the bricks will be and what the purpose of the wall is. Trying to change things afterwards can be nigh on impossible and, in some cases, you have to demolish and start again. Good professional help and guidance during the life of the business should ensure that it is fit for purpose and lasts as long as it should. Contact: thpcity.co.uk

27/03/2014 12:55


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28/03/2014 11:02


TAX PLANNING TALK MONEY

Tax tips for businesses MAKE SURE YOU’RE PAYING THE CORRECT TAX RATE However basic it sounds, you should consider the rate of tax you are paying. For the year from 1 April 2013, taxable profits of up to £300,000 in a limited company are taxed at a rate of 20%, the next tranche at 23.75%, and over £1.5 million, at 23%. These figures are lower if there are “associated companies”. After 31 March 2014, these rates become 20%, 21.25% and 21% respectively, so there is incentive to defer taxable profits where possible.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (R&D) TAX RELIEF Arguably the most underclaimed (and valuable) tax relief available to limited companies is R&D tax relief, providing a deduction of 225% of eligible costs. Few companies address this, thinking it’s only for high-tech businesses, when actually any company making improvements to products or installing new technology can claim this relief. Claims can be made within two years of a company’s year end, so SMEs need to act on this quickly to achieve refunds and reduce corporation tax bills. MAKE A PENSION CONTRIBUTION Taxable profits are generally reduced by making pension investments, so consider doing this before the end of the financial year. Typically, the owners of a business need to see contributions made before 6 April to utilise their pension’s annual allowance (which falls from £50,000 to £40,000 this April). Self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) are popular with many company owner directors.

Chris Barrington, tax partner at Jackson Stephen LLP, discusses top tax tips for businesses as the financial year draws to a close relief for the business. You could also consider whether a final bonus or dividend should be awarded, depending on available distributable profits, taxable profits and how much cash needs to be left in the business for future reinvestment. There’s some number crunching involved in this process but usually a dividend on top of a “threshold wage” will be the most tax efficient regular means of extracting profits for most business owners. There may be other more effective means however, which you should discuss with your advisor.

SMEs need to act on this quickly to achieve refunds and reduce corporation tax bills

PLAN YOUR SPEND ON CAPITAL ITEMS Bringing forward qualifying capital expenditure to take advantage of the £250,000, 100% Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) can help reduce your annual tax bill. Are there any items you will be required to purchase for your business in the next few months? At present the AIA is anticipated to drop back down to £25,000 per annum from 1 January 2015, so it’s important to plan for capital expenditure now. This could potentially cut thousands off your annual tax bill. MAKE THE MOST OF PERSONAL ALLOWANCES AND BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS Many small business owners have the option to pay a small salary to a spouse or family member if they have an active role in running the business. This maximises the use of personal tax allowances while providing

CHECK TAX INCENTIVES AVAILABLE TO YOU A range of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) reliefs are widely available to business owners, shareholders, and partners. CGT is due when you dispose of business assets – whether that be sell, give away or exchange. The rules for each relief are different – some assets may count as business assets for one relief but not for others. Available reliefs include, but are not limited to, Entrepreneur’s Relief, Business Asset Roll-Over Relief, Incorporation Relief and Disincorporation Relief. Some reliefs are put into place automatically but some have to be claimed, so it’s worth checking with a professional adviser, which you will be required to claim for personally. There are also popular Government-generated schemes designed to give small businesses tax breaks, including the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). Contact: jacksonstephen.co.uk

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Step one: Negotiating a profitable deal M any of us gloss over legal considerations as we drive a deal forward; laws feel complicated, we don’t want to get slowed down and, when lawyers are involved, things get expensive (and law is dull - we can’t argue with that.) But being aware of the impact of dull law on a deal will lower your cost of sale, stop things going wrong and increase your profit. And profit is interesting, right? Over the next six months’ we’ll provide you with simple profitprotecting hints and tips on what to do – and what not to do – over the lifetime of a commercial deal: 1. Negotiating a profitable deal: take three steps to set things up properly. 2. Agreeing contracts: draft T&Cs to avoid costly future problems. 3. Dealing with consumers: avoid the pitfalls to protect sales and reputation. 4. Delivering the product or service: manage the contract to maintain margin.

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Jonathan Brewer, co-founder of simplifythelaw.co.uk, a company that helps SMEs solve legal issues free, discusses six ways to increase your profit, legally

It’s easy to become complacent about the financial strength of your business

5. Resolving disputes: act swiftly and decisively to protect relationships and minimise losses. 6. Generating more profit: build on the success of your deal. And if you don’t have the time to read the hints and tips, do cut out and keep our monthly checklist of key steps to reduce cost, address risk and protect profit on your deals. For each of the next six months, we’ll talk you through the key legal issues that you need to address if you’re to keep your deals on track towards profit. NEGOTIATING A PROFITABLE DEAL: TAKE THREE STEPS TO SET THINGS UP PROPERLY 1. CHEQUES AND BALANCES It’s easy to become complacent about the financial strength of your business partners particularly where you have an established relationship.

Carrying out financial checks before entering contracts and repeating such checks during the course of a contract doesn’t just avoid legal problems; it’s good common sense. Which checks and searches you carry out will depend on your industry knowledge and personal knowledge of the organisation you are dealing with. So: • Check company accounts. • Get references and/or consider third party guarantees. • Check credit ratings – and monitor them, particularly with new suppliers. • Don’t ignore industry rumours about financial difficulties – investigate and question the organisation involved if appropriate. • Insolvencies in your supply chain can lead to breaches of your contractual obligations - ensure you have a backup plan.

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SIMPLIFY THE LAW

TALK MONEY

For every deal, ask yourself 13 questions and take the luck out of turning a profit

An NDA acts as a disincentive to others to use that information to create value for themselves

2. RECORD DEALS Surprises lead to delays in signing the contract, and nasty surprises mean deals fall through. So it makes financial sense to use Heads of Terms to record the key features of the deal to be negotiated and ensure everyone is on the same page from the outset. Heads of Terms’ sets out the basis of the deal in broad terms ahead of signing a negotiated contract. However, you need to make sure that you do not inadvertently drift into a binding contract on the basis of the Heads of Terms alone (if they are not intended to be legally binding). This is fertile ground for disputes. And disputes get costly! You can quickly draft Heads of Terms (that are explicitly binding or non-binding) for free, and do without lawyers, via our website. 3. PROTECTION RACKETS You can’t expect to win a deal

if you don’t give the other party some insight into what you do and how you do it, in order to get them interested. But you need to protect that confidential information as that’s part of the future value of your business. The law automatically protects some information but it’s best to use a nondisclosure agreement, known as a NDA. An NDA acts as a disincentive to others to use that information to create value for themselves, and may also provide you with a means of compensation should they exploit it without permission. You can quickly draft an NDA for free, and without lawyers, on our website. For more information and to draft the above mentioned contracts visit: simplifythelaw.co.uk

1. Who reviews the commercial pros and cons of entering into a contract? 2. Who checks the creditworthiness and accounts of the other party? 3. Who checks you have the capabilities to deliver what you are contracting for? 4. Who checks you have the capacity to deliver what you are contracting for? 5. Who ensures suppliers or sub-contractors can deliver on time and on budget? 6. Who checks the quality of workmanship or goods from suppliers and sub-contractors? 7. Who sorts out the contract paperwork? 8. Who checks that your terms and conditions are appropriate and included in the contract? 9. Who sends out, negotiates or accepts the quotations under the contract? 10. Who records the details of an agreement to carry out work or supply goods under the contract? 11. Who confirms that agreement with the other party? 12. Who administers the contracts? 13. Who ensures staff refer to contracts regularly, including if a problem arises? If your answer to any of the questions is “I don’t know” or “no one”, then: 1. Consider who in your business has the appropriate experience to carry out the role. 2. Allocate responsibility. 3. Provide training and support to them.

Next month: Agreeing contracts: draft T&Cs to avoid costly future problems.

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Under your nose

Strategy

ccording to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2012, rank and file employees have far more credibility than executives within the same company. The office receptionist often has a more realistic opinion of the firm than her boss. To the executives, this is simultaneously a slap in the face and an easy claim to rebut. However, canny firms can use this to their advantage, morphing these workers into raving brand ambassadors. As consumers, after we’ve listened to our friends’ recommendations, we want to listen to people who are involved with the company at a grass roots level, not some paid PR or a celebrity who is paid thousands to spout miracle claims. We want to see what the company really stands for rather than a veneered press-friendly coating. On social media, although we listen to brands directly, we are far more involved when other people advocate it. And while nothing is better than testimonials from real life customers, a good second arm of brand advocacy is always going to be your staff. It’s important to have a way of connecting your employees to the goal of the organisation, in a meaningful way. When employees feel they are important, or have worth

Rich With, creative director of The Grow Creative Company, says there are those who will sing the praises of your brand - as long as you treat them right

A good second arm of brand advocacy is always going to be your staff

within your organisation, it affects performance across the board – and can lead to 25% lower staff turnover, 22% higher productivity and 22% higher profitability. Yes these are statistics, but in real terms it shouldn’t take much to improve employee engagement by just 5%, and gain the benefits that follow on from it. According to Gallup, “millenials”, (the 16-25s) are increasingly driven by mission and purpose, and opportunities to learn and grow. It’s also noted that this age group is the highest in transient worker terms perhaps not surprisingly they flit from role to role, but why is that? Is it that staff are disengaged, or is it that companies are too slow in responding to inspire and motivate them? By creating a culture in which people want to work, a great working environment, an ethical approach to social responsibility, access to the latest technology, and the room to make decisions for themselves, it

will empower them to be more creative for your company and your customers. Of course, it also happens if each member of staff is rewarded and celebrated for each thing they do well, whether it’s a graze box or a weekend away. If these rewards see a return that engages employees even more, then it’s money well spent. Let your staff engage with your clients on social media, let this communication reinforce the culture of the company, and allow them both to offer suggestions of how things can be improved and ensure that suggestions are taken on board. Give your staff the opportunity to share ideas and the best talent will not only stick around, but actively seek you out. By creating a well rounded mission and vision that is communicated across the organisation you’ll breed your brand champions, and that applies to both your staff - who’ll stick around longer and put more effort into their work, as well as clients who will buy more. Contact: justgrow.co

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 14:08


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27/03/2014 14:40


CRM

t is a truth universally acknowledged that your first CRM deployment is more likely to fail than succeed – 63% of CRM initiatives fail, according to a 2013 survey by Merkle Group Inc. Just like your first love, despite the hopes, excitement and expectation, a mixture of naivety and youthful exuberance means the first foray into CRM is unlikely to stand the test of time.

I

HAPPY EVER AFTER It is sad but true that just a tiny percentage of first loves lead to happy ever after. As we have discovered over the past two decades, the same is true of the first CRM deployment. While organisations begin with high hopes and excitement about improving sales and marketing activity and driving measurable financial benefit, a slow realisation dawns that the reality is less compelling than initially expected. So what goes wrong? GOOD REASONING With a CRM deployment, it is very easy to lose focus on the real objectives. Why is the business investing in CRM? To increase revenue; to cut costs – or both? Sadly in the excitement around new tools, it is far too easy to forget this underpinning goal. It is essential to continually reassess, focus and retain perspective on the fundamental requirements. PARTNER No relationship will succeed if there is a mismatch. From a CRM perspective, the right partner can ensure the right approach to the project and reduce the impact of issues on the business. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY Just as no one can take a parttime approach to a relationship

TALK STRATEGY

Fal ling bac k in John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks, which delivers CRM and business applications to the mid-market, insists on learning from the failures and getting CRM right It is very easy to lose focus on the real objectives

and expect it to succeed, a CRM project is far more likely to be successful if it is the sole responsibility of an individual. LEARN FROM THE PAST There are always some aspects of the first implementation that lead to good outcomes. Success second time around is about taking the positives from that first experience and being objective about the negatives – and that includes recognising the role the business played in the outcome. CONCLUSION Much of this advice is common sense – but when the rosetint wears off it is tempting

to over-react and assume the worst. Retaining focus on the objectives, the reason for the original CRM investment and gaining advice as to how best to achieve that goal is imperative. However, not all relationships or CRM solutions can be saved. It may be a wrench to walk away from that first CRM solution, but the business has changed and grown. Just like your first love, the first system you buy may not stand the test of time. And there are plenty of other solutions to fall in love with – and like an older, more experienced lover, just learn from your mistakes and make sure it works second time around.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 10:39


PLANNING

TALK STRATEGY

7 steps to write a business plan ome people take weeks, even months to write a business plan. Those plans can often turn into 20, 30, 50 even 100+ page documents, which just end up gathering dust. Whether you are in the start-up phase of your business, or more established, your business plan should be a living, breathing document – one that you re-visit time and again. Just the thought of writing a business plan can feel overwhelming. But, it needn’t be onerous. It does, however, need to be a practical road map to propel your business forward. So, where do you start? Here are the sever ‘R’s for producing a practical business plan.

S

1. THE REAL PROBLEMS YOU CAN SOLVE What are the real problems you can solve for customers and clients? Can you quantify the impact that these problems and issues are having for your prospective customer, or for their business? How can you demonstrate that your solution costs less than their problem? 2. THE RECIPIENTS OF YOUR PRODUCT AND SERVICE Who are your ideal clients?

Fraser Hay, founder of Grow Your Business Club and author of six business books, gives his tips on writing a business plan Write a written profile of who you want to work with. Consider the criteria that you want them to meet – geography, size, number of employees, turnover, profit, sector.

Your business plan should be a living, breathing document

3. THE ROUTES TO MARKET Think about which online, offline and mobile routes to market you will use to target your intended audience. Will you blog, engage with them on social networks, use email marketing? What about SMS, delivering workshops or seminars, using QR codes? 4. REVENUE STREAMS Think wider than your product or service. What about all the intellectual capital that you have? Can you productise and monetise your intellectual capital by producing digital assets too? 5. ROI Don’t just focus on revenue you want to achieve in the next 12 months. How many leads will give you the sales to provide the revenue you want? How much website traffic do you need to

give you the conversions you want and the profit you need? 6. RESOURCES Don’t forget the resources you will require to implement your plan and achieve your goals. Think in strategic, operational and tactical terms regarding the human, technical and financial resources. 7. REQUIRED STEPS Ok, so you’ve documented your vision in terms of who you want to target, the problems you solve, how you will make money and what you need to resource your idea. Now, translate that strategic vision into a tactical plan of action with timescales and milestones. You need to document your model, vision and strategy simply so that you, your team, stakeholders and investors can address each of the seven R’s. If that only takes one or two pages of A4, then so much, the better – just keep it practical. Contact: growyourbusinessclub.co.uk

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 14:13


TALK STRATEGY THE BUDGET

The Budget:

reactions Dawn Murden asked entrepreneurs to give their opinion on the 2014 Budget

‘Announcing that his penultimate Budget before next year’s General Election is for makers, doers and savers, George Osborne has made a clear and bold distinction between the haves and have nots. ‘Far from helping those who really need it – such as those in low income jobs, rehabilitated people seeking work after illness and disability, and those unable to work, this budget leaves already vulnerable people even more exposed.’ Lorraine Podmore, welfare benefits specialist at financial advisor, Frenkel Topping 

‘There are a number of positive changes for SMBs who are the growth engine of the economy. Anything that reduces the costs or red tape for SMBs is a good thing, so we welcome reduced Corporation tax and employment allowance. ‘As a company heavily invested in new technology, we are happy no up front tax will need to be paid when investing in the future.’ Robert Gorby, marketing director at Powwownow, conference call company

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‘From a business point of view, it’s more good news with business rates being discounted and enhanced capital allowances extended in enterprise zones for the next three years. It’s also positive to note that the Government will extend grants for small businesses to support 100,000 more apprenticeships.’ Daniel Todaro, managing director of marketing agency, Gekko

‘Osborne’s export message was one of the key features of his 2014 Budget review and the Government has set itself ambitious, though widely perceived as unrealistic, targets to boost overseas trade. ‘The Chancellor has pledged to lower the rate of air duty on longhaul flights in an effort to boost trade with China and India, among others. Support for new flight routes from regional airports, such as Liverpool, Leeds and Inverness was also revealed in the Budget, which Osborne hopes will form better links to global customers. ‘However, the Budget didn’t address one of the major factors holding SMEs back from growing overseas: scandalous FX costs imposed on SMEs by the banks. On top of these fees, UK exporters have to manage the high volatility levels of foreign exchange rates, mainly through FX hedging, yet another costly and complex product when executed through banks and brokers.’ Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder Kantox, a Forex start-up

APRIL 2014

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27/03/2014 14:13


THE BUDGET

‘It was refreshing to hear that boosting UK exports was top of Chancellor, George Osborne’s Budget address today. For any business serious about scale and accelerating growth, expanding into new markets and territories is key to success. Recently, CBI reported that small- and mediumsized businesses (SMBs) are 11% more likely to survive if they export, yet only one in five are actually trading outside the UK. Today’s announcement that available export finance will be doubled to £3bn, with interest rates reduced by a third, is a clear step in the right direction.’ Sarah Shields, executive director and GM of consumer, small and medium enterprise, Dell UK

‘As Budgets go, I’d rate it a 7/10. I think it was a popularity budget. They’re trying to win friends, and why not? You can feel it on every sales floor across the country; we are moving into a stronger economy. But we need something to continue the momentum, not stifle it, and this Budget is trying to do that. It’s positive and it’s clearly a step in the right direction. ‘However, I still think that a flat rate of tax would go some way to solving the problem we have of international players coming into our market and taking their profits elsewhere. We need to make it easier for smaller firms to compete with those huge FTSE 100 companies, who are able to send money to parent companies offshore. We need to level the playing field. This Budget doesn’t go far enough to address that even though it did mention tax avoidance.’ Lawrence Jones, CEO of IT firm, UKFast

‘This year’s budget offers a positive platform for businesses to grow. The main question, though, is what is restricting their growth and what changes do they need to make? From my past experience, many businesses will be focusing on negatives today, such as a rise in minimum wage. But the reality is that the cost of living will continue to rise, as will the cost of doing business.’ Peter Boolkah, business coach

TALK STRATEGY

‘In my opinion this was the most well thought out and balanced Budget in living memory. George Osborne inherited an economy in 2010 where the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury famously left a note for his successor saying something like, “Good Luck, there is no money left”. ‘It has taken Osborne, with the help of the British people of course, three years to turn the economy around and set it on course for major growth. Diverting from this course now would be catastrophic and put us back where we were instead of being the fastest growing economy in the developed world. ‘There is something in it for many sections of society. I particularly like the further help being given to SMEs through the Tax Credit programme. Without enterprise, the economy can’t grow, and those all-important jobs created.’ Dr Stephen Fear, businessman and British Library’s entrepreneur in residence and ambassador

‘Yet again George Osborne hasn’t really got it in relation to what entrepreneurs want and need. The promise of Degree-level apprenticeships sounds a fine thing, but good agencies in the creative sector already have links with universities to bring talent into our sector through curriculum activity and or graduate training schemes. The problems that face entrepreneurs are perennial and I can’t see much relief from this Budget. ‘Access to capital remains tough as banks are still intransigent. Cash flow is the lifeblood of small firms, but they are being squeezed by lengthy payment terms from big business on one side, and an unsympathetic HMRC on the other. Its new powers in the Budget are touted as being to track down fat cats, but in my experience it’s the small fry who get hammered.’ David Poole, joint managing director, LIFE, an independent integrated agency

‘The budget announcement has revealed some interesting measures taken by the Government to keep the economy moving, and there are several specific aspects, which I feel will work well. ‘The news that the Government will continue to compensate energy-intensive industries for higher electricity prices is also welcome. This energy is being used to create things and drive the economy, and making this more affordable for British manufacturers can only help output in the long term. ‘This is a positive budget aimed at ensuring sustainable growth and one which I welcome from a core industry perspective.’ Amit Bhatia, chairman of Hope Construction Materials

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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New Franchise of the Year Phil Collett and Chris Roberts of Belvoir Bury, affectionately known as ‘The Bury Boys,’ give their reactions to winning one of Belvoir’s top awards! Q. How did it feel for Belvoir Bury to be shortlisted as a finalist? Amazing! We felt really honoured to be recognised for the efforts we have put into our business over the past 12 months.

Q. What has been your biggest achievement? Achieving breakeven point before year-end and completing 144 move-ins during the first year.

Q. How important is good customer service to you? We strongly agree with Belvoir’s core values and display them on the office wall for all can see. Customer service can be measured by how many word of mouth referrals you get. You know if somebody says: “This person recommended you” that the customer service you provided has had an impact and this is why they are in front of you looking for the same level of service that you offered their friend/ family member. We always give everybody 110% of our efforts, as this is how we want to be treated by others. As landlords and tenants ourselves we know the level of service we want.

Q. How are you faring against local competitors and how do you stay ahead of the game? Each week we are ranked between first and third for new instructions on Rightmove. We have joined all local networking meetings and are part of the town’s “Best of Bury”

Q. What does winning this award mean to you? It means the world! No words can really describe how we feel but it is a massive achievement and we have put so much hard work into our branch that this will motivate our team and encourage us so to do even better in 2014!

Q. What impact will winning a Belvoir award have on your business and your team? We can hardly find words to describe the impact! It will just prove to the team that Belvoir sees us as the best new start and that their contribution toward us winning has not gone unnoticed from franchisor level.

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marketing scheme, which we believe helps to give us the edge.

Q. What are your future plans? We have recently taken on a second branch in Oldham. This office has had a couple of owners in the past and we can see the huge potential it has. Oldham has just been linked to Manchester city centre, which we think could mean that it will be the next town to grow fast! We aim to be the number one agency

of choice in the town and will give it all our efforts to make this happen. Within the next two years we would like a third territory in a larger town so that we may open a main office and a satellite. work into our branch that this will motivate our team and encourage us so to do even better in 2014! belvoirfranchise.com

28/03/2014 10:31 09:57


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28/03/2014 11:07


THE BUSINESS SHOW

TALK STRATEGY

Why are exhibitions useful?

With The Business Show just around the corner, Talk Business asked four business leaders why they think exhibitions are important

‘Yes, I believe exhibitions are vital for all sectors of business in the UK. These types of events make it very easy for owners, managing directors or CEO’s to see the latest in technology and solutions offerings from suppliers. They can choose who to see at an exhibition and spend as much time as they need to explore the best offerings from suppliers. Exhibitions are a platform to showcase the latest industry trends from leading suppliers and manufacturers.’ Andrew Hall, marketing manager, OKI Systems Contact: oki.co.uk

‘Exhibitions are relevant for businesses, especially those that have an exclusively online presence. These exhibitions are a great opportunity for businesses to spread awareness of their brand to a new demographic that have a real interest in their product and services. They enable online companies to interact with people in a new way; allowing customers to put a face to your business. In turn, this humanises your brand, enabling interaction on a one-to-one basis to give advice and allowing you to give extra insight, giving your customers a chance to put a face to your brand and to connect with real people.’ Nick Leech, group marketing director, 123-reg Contact: 123-reg.co.uk

‘BusinessesForSale.com has attended The Business show for the past three years, and we’ve found it a great place to educate entrepreneurs that buying a business is as much an option as starting one from scratch. The number of attendees at the show alone make it stand out from any other show we attend during the year, and we’ve always been impressed with the quality of legitimate business owners who attend the show. We run our BusinessesForSale.com Live seminar hall at the show, and have found this to be an excellent way to generate high quality leads.’ Rufus Bazely, marketing manager, BusinessForSale.com

‘The Business Show is a great event for ActionCOACH. We get to show off our assets away from our normal recruitment and marketing processes. Getting to meet potential franchise partners and potential clients face to face, and engage them in what we do is highly effective. Not only do we get to answer any questions or queries they may have in person, but we also get to see whether they are a suitable candidate for our business model, by getting a good feel for them. We run regular workshops and seminars at the show giving prospects a transparent insight into our business and a chance to meet with an Action business coach/ franchise partner.’ Ian Christelow, co-founder, ActionCOACH UK Contact: actioncoach.com

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 15:24


Sponsored Article

BOOKKEEPING:

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pend on bookkeeping is traditionally considered to be money we could better spend elsewhere. But for a small business, failing to put your accounts into the hands of professionals can have a serious impact. And getting the right support can give you the focus and control you’ll need for your business to succeed. Brian Senior believes it’s possible to get that support at a lower cost than ever before. Here, he explains how…. A haircut, according to my barber, is a negative spend for most people. We all know it needs doing, but most of us (especially blokes) put it off. I asked him why. “Because people don’t like spending the money. They all feel like they could buy something a lot better than a haircut with it…..” After 25 years of running businesses small and large, I’ve come to the conclusion that most business owners and managers feel the same way about bookkeeping and accounting. It doesn’t seem to help much, it costs money, and – let’s face it - we just object to the fact that we need it. So we either ignore it, or buy the equivalent of a “cut your own hair at home” kit with a pair of sharp scissors and some clippers. Yet every year, businesses fail because of poor bookkeeping and accounting. Everything from not getting VAT or self assessment returns in on time to failing to collect money from clients can massively impact a business. Putting bookkeeping and accounting into the hands of professionals can make a world of difference, getting the hair out of your eyes so you can focus on what you do best. Some of the fastest growing businesses we know have “outsourced” their finance team to save money and improve the focus of the business. But how about the cost? Some businesses are being charged silly money for basic accounting or bookkeeping; this is one service it definitely pays to shop around for. And don’t feel restricted by distance; these days you really don’t need someone sitting in your office. “Virtual”, or remote bookkeeping uses the internet to bridge the gap between your location and the bookkeeper, and is becoming much more widespread. A range of options exist for remote bookkeeping, giving you full control of both the cost and your records.

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The bottom line; how much is it worth? Prices vary depending on whether you’re happy to take the plunge and go online, and on the size of your business. But typically, our clients save around a third of the cost of employing a bookkeeper in house when they move to us. Well worth the effort.

Brian Senior retired from energy trading in 2004 and is a Director on the Board of several companies and charities. In 2012 he started Whitehill Business Services to offer low cost professional services to small and medium sized businesses.

2014/03/25 10:09 AM


ADVICE

TALK STRATEGY

The Sales Doctor

Sales Doctor, Tony Morris says presentations and meetings are key to get staff off to a great start

Q: A:

Dear Sales Doctor, We’ve just had a couple of new sales staff members start at our small company. What is the best way to introduce them to the company, and get them to hit the ground running? There are two recommendations I’d make to embed new starters in and get them to hit the floor running; whilst helping developing your existing sales team at the same time. Firstly, I’d get the existing sales team to deliver individual 10- to 15-minute presentations on the company. They should cover areas such as: 1. Mission statement and what that means to them and the customers. 2. The USP’s (unique selling points) of the company. 3. The features and benefits of the company.

4. How it positions itself in the market, and the key differentiators to competitors. 5. The biggest objections they face and how they overcome them. 6. The culture of the company and what standards they must adhere to. This will achieve three things. Firstly, it will ensure the existing sales team have the right level of knowledge required, and it may identify some training gaps. Secondly it will educate the new sales force. Thirdly it will improve the confidence of the existing sales force. The second thing I’d suggest is to get the new sales members to attend meetings with the existing sales team and rotate, so they all get an opportunity to learn from different styles. Once they’ve all attended meetings, the new sales members should present their findings to the rest of the team, covering areas such as: 1. The best questions to ask. 2. The best way to build rapport with a new prospect. 3. The best way to deliver features and benefits of the company. 4. How to handle certain objections. 5. How to deliver the USP’s. 6. How to gain commitment. By getting the new sales team to present their findings, it will ensure they have actually taken things on board, and it will educate the other new sales members if things are raised that they may not have seen. Good luck. Tony Morris, Sales Doctor

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

Need a diagnosis?

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

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 14:20


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HOW DO YOU FEEL

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act: Most people – business owners and business buyers, do not like sales, or sales people or anything that is called selling!!! Why? Because stereotypes and old school stories pervade the memory and too many people have been ripped off! “Business From The Heart” Today’s modern world is shifting. There is a growing conscious awareness that the old ‘hunter’ mindset was and is destructive in the long term. When someone ‘hunts’ there must be a prey…and no-one wants to be preyed upon. The whole energy is wrong.

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Ben Kench, author of Selling For Dummies is a leading authority on selling and small business within the UK and he says “Business owners and sales leaders have got to wake up and change. There has to be a truth and a caring approach for success to be achievable in the longer term. Sales teams and organisations that simply ‘push’ relentlessly for figures are alienating their client base.” Todays media is sadly full of stories about banks ripping us off, furniture retailers and food retailers misleading with their claims and all sorts of trades being exposed for sharp tactics and misleading adverts. Promotions echo all around with products and services that frankly just do not do that which they say they will. And we are ALL fed up! Every one if us is a consumer too…and we are all fed up and more wary! Loud headlines, glossy ‘its all perfect’ sales angles and ‘buy now discounts’ just arouse our ‘rip-off radar’. If you want your business to grow, learn a different approach style. “When there is less emphasis on the sale and more emphasis on the clients return, …backed with a genuine Guarantee and service that shows and demonstrates a caring mindset, business is extremely profitable” says Ben…”but the buyer can sense when it isn’t true” ‘From The Heart’ is a business

approach that feels more than it thinks. It approaches decisions and styles with humanity not coldness of pure figures…and it is working now more than ever before. “If you wish to dramatically increase your business fortunes this year, switch to sharing not hunting, caring not selling and acting from a feeling centre not pure thinking base”” is Ben’s advice and his clients are certainly enjoying profound returns as a result! If you want to know more and chat with Ben about your business or sales team connect on: ben@benkench.com and www.benkench.com/from-the-heart

27/03/2014 13:51


BUY A BUSINESS

TALK STRATEGY

here are a few basic things that need to be considered before you buy a business. They may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how often they’re overlooked. Check the following six points to see if you’re ready to take the plunge.

T

1. ARE YOU SUITED TO RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? Weigh up the pros and cons before deciding to go down the route of business ownership. To run a business successfully, you need to be able to motivate yourself and others. While some people like to be in control of their routine and thrive on the challenges of running their own business, others prefer the comparatively structured and secure environment that paid employment can provide. Which are you? 2. DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR BUSINESS IN MIND? It’s important to have an interest in the type of business if you are to enjoy working at it. You might already have a specific type of business in mind, or you may simply like the idea of being your own boss. Consider your personal interests and hobbies, as well as the types of business available. Don’t just concentrate on the economics and perceived profitability. 3. DO YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES? As well as your skills and experience, it is important for any prospective business owner to have a sound understanding of the general areas in which they excel, and those that they may need assistance with. If you’re a capable teacher, you may want to consider a business where this skill can be utilised; if you’re a technophile,

6 questions to

ask before you buy a business Matt Skinner, editor of BusinessesForSale.com, advises the questions you need to ask yourself before you invest in a business consider how this could be put to advantage.

It’s important to have an interest in the type of business if you are to enjoy working at it

4. ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH TAKING RISKS? If you are the type to be easily worried by changing circumstances and financial insecurity, you may want to reconsider the idea of business ownership. Any prospective business owner needs to be comfortable with the idea of risk. Even under favourable circumstances, owning your own business can be a disquieting endeavour. If you have a family, you also need to consider their involvement, and how your decisions will affect them.  5. DO YOU HAVE THE FINANCE TO BUY A BUSINESS? This may sound like a nobrainer, but there’s more to consider here than; “Are you in a secure enough financial position to be able to buy a

business without jeopardising your personal circumstances?” Whether through a loan or other options, you need to be able to raise the necessary finance. Are there businesses available for sale within your budget? Can you manage a period with little or no income? 6. ARE YOU PREPARED TO PUT IN LONG HOURS? Frequently, building up a business takes a good deal of time and energy, which often means long working hours. Many people go into business by themselves thinking that they will have more free time and more leisure to spend pursuing other interests. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. Many new business owners find themselves with complicated schedules and less free time than they had previously. Contact: businessesforsale.com

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

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27/03/2014 14:25


Exhibitions • Portable Displays • Engagement • Live Events

Building Brands with exhibition stands

If you are looking for a new supplier for your exhibition or live event needs why not get in touch with us. We create innovative re-useable solutions from our extensive range of systems that are designed to deliver results and add value to your business. Purchase or rental. If you have a brief or are considering exhibiting soon, call us now for a free 3D design.

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

call:

0845 415 4709

email: info@skylinewhitespace.com look: www.skylinewhitespace.com

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27/03/2014 10/03/2014 10:43 12:46


mARKETING

Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, discusses how important language is in business

Good communication, good business O ne of my favourite Facebook memes reads, “I like cooking my family and my pets. Use commas. Don’t be a psycho.” It cracks me up every time. But to be honest, it’s not really funny. I used to think that text speak and grammatical errors were just a generational thing. I thought I was just getting old and out of fashion. But it turns out there’s an epidemic that is just as popular with baby boomers and generation x-ers, as it is with teens and millennials. I knew there was a real problem when men started telling me they wanted to date me because I write out full words and sentences. Call me crazy, but I don’t think liking a woman because she can put together a sentence should be a “thing”. It should be the norm. I started asking around and found that the problem isn’t just limited to texting. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors are rife in business emails, collateral, social media profiles and more. How can you possibly expect anyone to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself and

How can you possibly expect anyone to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself and your business seriously?

your business seriously? Why would anyone believe you work hard if you are too lazy to press spell check? Who would ever invest their money or trust you when you can’t even communicate at a basic level? If you’re guilty of these mistakes, then you are most likely chasing business away on a regular basis. To help protect you, here are three of my biggest grammar, punctuation, and spelling pet peeves and fun facts. A LOT VS. ALOT “A lot” is two words, not one. There is a very talented artist named, Allie Brosh who wrote and illustrated a hysterical blog where she proposes that an Alot is a furry fictional monster. I highly recommend you Google it. It’s very funny. COMMAS IN A LIST Many people think that there is no comma before the “and” at the end of a list. Using the example above, they may write, “I like cooking, my family and my pets.” This has become commonly acceptable, however, the correct punctuation is, “I like cooking, my family, and my pets.” The reason the comma

was deleted and accepted goes back to the war. Newspapers had to find a way to cut back on costs, so they saved on ink by deleting this comma. These printing problems are no longer relevant, so there’s no excuse not to use this comma. TXT SPK CmUnik8shn skills r critical 2 run a sucSful biz. If u can’t get ur msg across, u wil fail. If ppl nEd a transl8r 2 interpret ur messages, u wiL fail. It’s frustrating 4 d reader & duz not mak u L%k kewl or trendy, u jst L%k illiterate. It’s simple. Learn to communicate well and you’ll gain respect and get more business.

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

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27/03/2014 06/03/2014 11:17 15:22


TEN STEPS OF TWITTER

TALK MARKETING

Ten steps of Twitter Step six: Be human

Dawn Murden sets out to improve the Talk Business Twitter – follow our journey and improve yours too ast month, Joel from Brandwatch told me to focus on scheduling tweets, in order to reach more people at different times. ‘We run a B2B company like yourself, and we thought that most people would read our tweets during work hours,’ Joel said. ‘However, we have been scheduling tweets for weekends and evenings that have been getting a great deal of interest.’ So Joel instructed me to pick popular tweets from that week and schedule them for evenings and weekends. This advice couldn’t have had better timing, as I had some annual leave and a business trip booked, and although others update Twitter from time to time, it is mainly co-ordinated by me. I researched our most popular tweets and coupled

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them with a selection of tweets I wanted to raise the profile of. Using Tweetdeck, I just copied and pasted the tweet into the editor and scheduled it for the time I wanted. It worked brilliantly. We had plenty of favourites, re-tweets and a different audience were being pushed to our website. ‘I’m glad it worked,’ Joel said. ‘Now, let’s talk business for this month. I want you to focus on being more human.’ In the past I had put “Dawn” or “Ed” at the end of tweets, but because it’s me tweeting all the time, I phased that out. ‘Yeah, you don’t need the name then,’ Joel said. ‘What I want you to do is take pictures of the office, meetings or events you attend.’ Joel explained that using the #InsideBrandwatch and then tweeting about something in the

Tweeting about something in the office, like a birthday or a funny debate, has been hugely popular

office, like a birthday or a funny debate, has been hugely popular. ‘One of our most retweeted tweets was a question in the office about what you’d rather have; £1 million or a machine that dispensed 5p coins anytime you wanted, forever.’ After deciding, I was in the majority and chose the £1 million, Joel went on to say it’s about displaying to your followers you’re not a corporate company, you’re a group of friendly humans, who are approachable. You are a friend on their feed. He went on to say it’s important to build an office culture. When it comes to do’s and don’ts for Brandwatch, do’s are sharing their Friday office playlist, while don’ts include not swearing, unless it’s contained within a quote. Of course, it’s about finding your company’s identity. For the next month I’ll be tweeting about meetings, events and our office culture. Brandwatch solutions are used by leading brands and agencies around the globe, including organisations such as Dell, Kellogg’s, and Digitas. Contact: brandwatch.com

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I run a design agency – Top Left Design - and we create a LOT of websites. Our websites are bespoke designed ones, and quality is as important to us as it is to our clients. We don’t want to be held back when it comes to design and effective communication. We want to see our designs come to life – and the websites we make have to work hard for our clients. Which is exactly why we use Wordpress to build entire websites, and it always comes up trumps for its ease of use, flexibility, and integration with SEO, social media and blogging.

Just because it’s open source, doesn’t mean “totally free” or “you need to press this magic button and hey presto, there’s your website”

There are many benefits of using WordPress. I will list some now for you.

You still have to either learn about how to download the files, install the database, and upload the files again. Or you need a coder to do it for you. The basics are usually done in a couple of hours and the customisation can take a few days – depending on how much customisation you want. But if you aren’t up for the challenge, send it to us and one of our WordPress coders will do it for you.

Traditionally associated with blogging, you can actually use WordPress for your whole website – which means your whole website can be updatable by you through the same easy to use system.

Wordpress is “open source”. This means that the source code is available for coders all over the world (and maybe on other planets, who knows!) to use. They can download, tweak, use, update, improve, add to and reshape it - this is why so many add ons and plugins have been developed.

It makes updating your website a doddle – we train clients on how to update their WordPress sites within an hour and a half session.

It has lots of built-in SEO features, so you can add keywords to lots of parts of each page and image.

It’s flexible – you can have a completely bespoke design, or choose a pre-existing theme – and there are many plugins to take care of more functional features – like membership areas, e-commerce, and search.

If you want to have a bespoke design, you can have one! This is the type of website we do most often. It takes longer to create this than installing a template theme because we do a lot of consultancy for our clients businesses. A bespoke website with WordPress means you get to have any design you like, one that works for your business, completely customised!

Now you know these things too! So folks, I hope you feel suitably “informed” and can now talk about WordPress at dinner parties and impress your friends and relatives! We would love to answer your questions so please email me at keren@topleftdesign.com with any query, worry or feedback that comes to your head!

You shouldn’t ignore your WordPress website – it needs love: You need to keep it upgraded to avoid issues with security/hackers/ things breaking. WordPress the company releases free upgrades but we recommend you still get a coder expert to carefully do the upgrade to ensure that additional plugins don’t stop working when you update the site. Keren Lerner | CEO, Top Left Design

020 7036 0560 www.topleftdesign.com team@topleftdesign.com twitter.com/topleftdesign

Illustrations by Tamlyn Hall

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27/03/2014 10:47


FOURTH WAVE FEMINISM TALK MARKETING

he fourth wave of feminism burst onto our Twitter feeds, Facebook walls and newspaper pages in 2013, and is still going strong. Around the world, a plethora of groups and individuals are debating, protesting and writing for gender equality, and it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore them. Despite this, there is still a stigma attached to the word “feminism” that may be preventing the movement from truly succeeding. Tell a stranger that you are a feminist and they are likely to respond with a look of shock or reproach, an attitude that has given rise to the abhorrent term, “feminazi”. This view is inconsistent with the current state of gender equality in the UK. You only need to look at the facts to realise that feminism is still absolutely necessary. In the UK, the full time gender pay gap is 10%, and 70% of people in national minimum wage jobs are women. Only 17% of board directors of FTSE 100 companies are women, and up to 30,000 women are sacked each year because they become pregnant. An average of two women per week are killed by a current or ex-partner, and up to three million women and girls every year experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other forms of violence.

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Marketers can re-brand feminism

James Boyd, leadership development consultant at Impact International, a learning and development company, discusses fourth wave feminism and the power of marketing

These campaigns have used social media to connect women and men living thousands of miles apart

Recent feminist campaigns have tackled these issues head on, with movements such as the Everyday Sexism Project and the No More Page 3 campaign drawing attention to the prevalence of gender inequality, both in the UK and across the globe. There are also organisations, such as The Women’s Room and Impact International, which aim to get women recognised as leaders and experts. These campaigns have used social media to connect women and men living thousands of miles apart, to harness their passion and energy and promote equality. So why does the stigma remain? Some have suggested that this is a branding issue; that different language, slogans and audiences need to be considered in order to make feminism more accessible. In 2013, Elle magazine realised that marketers could have a big impact on the image of feminism and launched a project to re-brand it. The idea was to promote feminism through a culturally responsible campaign that involved three feminist groups and three advertising agencies. Whilst some responses questioned the thinking behind the campaign, it certainly got people talking.

Marketers clearly have the power to spread values of gender equality through their campaigns. Their vast audiences offer the perfect opportunity to promote positive messages and make feminism more inclusive. Strong examples of this include Apple’s genderneutral adverts, Mini’s focus on quirkiness rather than masculinity and Nike’s “If You Let Me Play” campaign. While these campaigns are all from different industries, they all have one thing in common: they are inclusive. No gender is being alienated, intimidated or insulted by them, and they do not rely on lazy gender stereotyping to reach their audiences. Instead, they are using their marketing power as a means of promoting gender equality and spreading feminist values throughout the public consciousness. As a result, their potential market is twice as big and it has become clear that gender-based marketing is entirely unnecessary. By applying feminist values to campaigns, marketers can have a significant impact on how feminism as a movement is perceived. Contact: impactinternational.com/uk

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27/03/2014 14:30


DO WITHOUT LAWYERS

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

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17/02/2014 17:22


SOCIAL MEDIA

TALK MARKETING

earning to leverage social media is one of the top five ways managers can future-proof their success, according to new research by the CMI. The survey, which assessed the competencies of 750 of the UK’s top leaders, revealed that technology was the most common area of weakness, with more than two thirds of managers admitting they are ineffective at using social media. Are you among the anti-social 68%?

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1. LEARN TO LISTEN I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard CEOs and senior managers say that they know their company should be on Twitter but they don’t see the point in embracing it personally. The easiest way to get value from social media is through listening. Take the opportunity to follow conversations and find out what your customers, shareholders, competitors and prospects really think about your brand. Twitter can also help you to understand what is being said about competitors and keep abreast of trends and changes with your industry and market. 2. THEN TALK You are the spokesperson for your company in the media. Show your customers you value them by speaking to them directly through social channels. It’s likely that they are already talking about you, so get involved in the discussion. And I don’t just mean sending out automated sales tweets about your products. Talk knowledgeably about your industry and answer questions as they arise. Once you get more comfortable using social media, focus your time on engaging users with lots of followers or connections and who post

10 reasons why managers should be social savvy

Javier Burón, CEO of Twitter management platform, SocialBro explains why managers can’t afford to ignore social media insightful content. To do this effectively, consider using a social media analytics tool, which will help you to track down the influencers in your industry.

Find out what your customers, shareholders, competitors 3. DON’T FEAR DEBATE and prospects Everybody has heard about really think Twitter backlashes but these are

avoidable and the benefits of open discussion and (usually) constructive feedback outweigh the risks. If the criticism needs to be addressed by one of your team, take the conversation away from the eyes of the public by asking the complainant to send you their email address via direct message.

4. REMEMBER THE VALUE OF EXPERIENCE Many companies entrust social media activity to their most junior staff. While they may have more time in their schedule and seem more confident in the social sphere, they are unlikely to have the wealth of industry experience to engage in the kind of conversations that position your business as a leader in its field. Don’t hand the keys to your Twitter to someone who is under-qualified just because you think you’re too busy. You wouldn’t send them off to a business pitch without

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TALK MARKETING SOCIAL MEDIA

7. KEEP UP WITH YOUR TEAM Your employees, particularly younger members of staff, are likely to be active on social media. In order to manage them and be seen as relevant, you need to understand what they are doing online. While you may decide to keep your social engagement to a minimum, you can’t be an effective manager if you refuse to keep up with technology. 8. TRUST YOUR STAFF With an understanding of social media comes the confidence to empower your staff to experiment – within reason. Give them the time and support to try out new ideas, but remember to draw a line at anything that falls outside your company ethos. It sounds simple, but sometimes people need to be reminded not to insult your customers or use offensive language.

support, so don’t expect them to carry your online reputation alone either. 5. SOCIAL ISN’T ALL ABOUT TIME WASTING Yes, the internet is a wonderful thing for those with a tendency to procrastinate, and many CEOs cite lack of time as a reason for not using social media. But it’s just as easy to waste time going for coffee with someone who turns out to have nothing to bring to the table. Make your time go further by using social media to research the people you want to talk to on an individual basis. Start the conversation online, judge its worth and then decide whether or not to take several hours out of your day to meet them face to face.

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This is just one example of where doing social right can make everything else seem like a waste of time. Use social media wisely, taking advantage of time-saving management tools, and it can make you more efficient in the long run. 6. EXPAND YOUR NETWORK Twitter is a great way to make new contacts, helping you to build relationships with people in different cities - or even on another continent. Striking up a conversation on Twitter with someone you want to link up with can be just as valuable as attending a physical networking event. You can pick and choose the people you talk to, and you have the added benefit of being able to guarantee the quality of your coffee.

Constructive feedback outweigh the risks

9. DON’T FALL BEHIND Chances are, your more disruptive competitors are already pushing the boundaries on social media. You might be beating them now, but if you leave the field open for them online, you can bet that they will catch up with you, winning the most talented staff and stealing your customers. 10. SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T GOING AWAY Just like email and mobile phones, social media changed the way we work. You can try to ignore it but it isn’t going to disappear any time soon. Don’t be like those dinosaur directors who still write their email by hand to pass on to their PA. Get involved in the social conversation now and reap the benefits. Contact: socialbro.com

APRIL 2014

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27/03/2014 15:05


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 April networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). 5 august networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). Wed 2nd April 6-9pm

London Business Directory launch event and networking evening in Westminster at the Mall Galleries Nearest tube: Westminister The Mall, SW1Y 5BD networking lunch at the Grange Hotel at tower Hill More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/london-business-directory-launch-evening

Thurs 9th April Thurs 8th Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch in Holborn Viaduct at the Fable networking lunch at the roof Gardens & Babylon restaurant at High st. kensington 52 Holborn Viaduct , EC1A 2FD Nearest tube: Farringdon / St. Paul’s 99 High Street Kensington, W8 5SA Nearest tube: High Street Kensington Booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-at-holborn-viaduct

Thurs 1st Aug

Wed 14th Aug

45 Prescot Street, E1 8GP

Nearest tube: Tower Hill

networking lunch at Freemasons Hall at covent Garden

Wed 16th April 8-10am

Champagne networking breakfast at tube: Imperial College London 60 Taittinger Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ in South Kensington Nearest Holborn 170 Queen’s Gate, SW7 5HF Nearest tube: Gloucester Road / South Kensington networking lunch at the Happenstance at st. paul’s Booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/champagne-taittinger-networking-breakfast-in-bloomsbury

Thurs 24th April Thurs 29th Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch in Canary Wharf at VIA Bar and Restaurant lunch atRoad, dirtyE14dicks Liverpool tube: street West India Quay / Canary Wharf 2 The Port networking East Building, Hertsmere 4AY atNearest 202 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR Nearest tube: Liverpool Street booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-canary-wharf-4

Thurs 22nd Aug

1A Ludgate Hill, EC4M 7AA

Nearest tube: St Paul’s

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

www.businessjunction.co.uk 020 3667 6776

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28/03/2014 11:18


PEOPLE

Why use LinkedIn? ast month the professional social networking site, LinkedIn hit 15 million members in the UK. It’s very topical, and I think most businesses are looking at their social media strategy – I know we are. And if you’re not, you should be. Here’s why: LinkedIn is the business equivalent of Facebook. It’s crucial in recruitment to be on the site; in fact I don’t think we could function without it. Many people use it to showcase their skills – that’s how I used it for my personal page. Now businesses and people are beginning to showcase their services on their pages, including what they can offer people, it’s an online brochure, and advert – it’s an extension of their website. We have videos on our LinkedIn to showcase our business. One particular way we find LinkedIn really useful is for passive candidates. They may not be actively looking for a new role, but we can engage with them by sending a message, replying to a post, or just see something we have in common. In a way, it’s a bit like a dating website. You’re looking for

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Lee McQueen, founder of the Raw Talent Academy and BBC’s Apprentice season four winner, discusses how important LinkedIn is for his company It’s crucial in recruitment… in fact I don’t think we could function without it

synergy with your business and that person. If there are similarities you can get in touch. One sales person we found in the past was not actively seekinga role, and we managed to snap him up. Now he is achieving 180% of his target. Without LinkedIn, we would have never discovered him. We also find clients on LinkedIn too. HERE ARE MY TOP TIPS FOR USING LINKEDIN: 1. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT Are you looking for clients, new recruits, or do you just want to showcase your business? Decide what you want out of LinkedIn as it will help you author your profile. 2. MAKE IT INTERACTIVE Add videos, links, pictures, etc. We have a video of our Academy process. You need to have at least one picture on your profile – otherwise you don’t look like a real person/company.

3. APPROACH PEOPLE If you see someone who could be a potential client or recruit, contact them saying why you are interested. Say if they’re not interested, no harm done, but that it would be good to talk. 4. DON’T USE ADVERTISING It didn’t work for us, so I wouldn’t suggest it. I would suggest setting up groups and forums instead. It’s much more engaging. 5. POST REGULARLY You need to look active, so post. Share interesting news, pictures, stories, and so on.

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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27/03/2014 15:09


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28/03/2014 11:46


HR INSIGHT

ew flexible working rights are expected to be introduced on 30 June 2014, allowing all employees, regardless of whether they have caring responsibilities or not, to have the right to request a different working pattern.

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WHAT WILL THE IMPACT OF THE NEW RIGHTS BE? The extended right to request flexible working is likely to result in a significant increase in the amount of flexible working applications to employers.

Employee flexible working rights extended Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, discusses the new flexible working rights expected to be introduced in June

GOOD FOR THE BUSINESS The good news is that the current procedures are being relaxed, allowing employers to consider requests in a “reasonable manner and timescale” only. We are expecting a new ACAS Code of Practice to be published, which will set out “good practice” for employers when considering applications, with rejections again being based around the requirements of the business. ISSUES FOR THE BUSINESS While this relaxation is good news, employees will be able to assert you have been unreasonable if you reject their application, or if they think it has taken you too long to consider their request. Penalties will include possible orders to reconsider the application, and to award up to eight weeks’ pay. However, the employee may also resign, claiming constructive dismissal or discrimination. Employers are strongly advised to follow the ACAS Code before there is definitive case law in this area, to consult properly with employees on their requests and to keep comprehensive records of how they arrived at any decision.

TALK PEOPLE

Penalties will include possible orders to reconsider the application and to award up to eight weeks’ pay

REVIEW YOUR POLICY As soon as the ACAS Code is published, look to review your policies around flexible working, especially if they are currently contractual. Your new policy should comply with this Code to minimise the risk of employment disputes developing, but should not tie you in to protracted procedures that may not be warranted going forward. Get ready though – we’re expecting to see a big increase.

1. The employee sending the required information of the dispute to ACAS. 2. ACAS forwarding the information to a conciliator. 3. The conciliator contacting the employer and trying to broker a settlement between the employer and employee for a conciliation period, probably one month. 4. If unsuccessful, ACAS certificating this and advising that a claim can be brought.

CHANGES TO TRIBUNAL CLAIMS In addition, new requirements for conciliation become operational from April 2014, and mandatory from May; and we’re expecting a deluge of requests from employees once the new flexible working rights are introduced from June 2014. Employers get ready!

RECEIVED COMMUNICATION FROM ACAS? This is the first sign that someone is considering bringing a tribunal claim. There is absolutely no obligation on an employer to settle a claim, and each employer will have their own views on whether settlement is a good option or not. However, employers would be well advised to try to engage in the conciliation process. Remember that from April 2014, tribunals have the power to make employers, who lose tribunal claims, pay up to £5,000 if there are aggravating features (which have not been defined) to the case.

ACAS INVOLVEMENT As part of the Government’s drive to reduce the burden on the tribunal system, there will now be a duty on the parties to attempt early conciliation with ACAS before a claim can be brought to an employment tribunal. A four-stage process is being introduced next month involving:

Contact: hrinsight.co.uk

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27/03/2014 15:11


TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur L exi Tamasan and her partner, Adam Taylor founded their company, PetShopBowl.co.uk, in 2010 with a £5,000 grant from The Prince’s Trust. Now PetShopBowl.co.uk is the UK’s leading online pet retailer with a multi million-pound turnover.

DAY ONE: ENGAGING WITH PET PARENTS When we first started PetShopBowl.co.uk, the retail side of the business was very capital-intensive and took up a lot of our funds. This meant that social media became one of our key ways to engage with our pet parents. Since then it has become a mainstay in our marketing campaign. Every Monday, I spend a considerable time overviewing the week’s social media activity and looking at the content we need to create to engage with our core audience. This includes any upcoming special occasions or dates, stories in the news that we can react to, as well as making sure that we inform customers about current or upcoming offers. A key part of our philosophy at PetShopBowl.co.uk is to know and engage with our individual customers. Facebook has proven to be a great way for us to do this. For example, a few months ago, a customer’s dog sadly passed away, and we

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Lexi Tamasan, founder of PetShopBowl.co.uk, reveals a typical week running her pet retail business

This received more than 1,000 likes and somebody even wrote a poem for the mourning pet parent

APRIL 2014

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SECRET DIARY

posted a message about it. This received more than 1,000 likes and somebody even wrote a poem for the mourning pet parent. DAY TWO: THE WAREHOUSE Last year, I decided to cancel my gym membership. I get my workout from lifting and packing boxes in the warehouse. And that’s how I spend most of this morning. More people than expected have taken advantage of our sale on our repeat subscription service; Bottomless Bowl. It allows them to automatically receive repeat food deliveries every few weeks. The frequency is set by the customer, so we’ve been driving forklift trucks and packing items to get them out. Last year, we decided that we were going to launch an app. The intention was that pet parents would be able to order food wherever and whenever they wanted. As a result, I’ve been on the phone to app developers from across the globe trying to find the best partner for us to work with. I spend several hours in the afternoon finalising the right person for the job, and then running through the brief with them. DAY THREE: MARKETING AND CSR After some heavy rain last night, Adam (co-founder) and I are in early to check that there was no damage to the warehouse or any of the products. Just when we thought that we were safe, we discover a number of dry dog food bags that have split and therefore can’t be sold. Unrelated to the rain. Luckily, after some posts on Facebook, we manage to donate the bags to the team at the UK German Shepherd Rescue

TALK PEOPLE

We manage to donate the bags to the team at the UK German Shepherd Rescue Centre

Centre. It’s a good feeling being able to give unsaleable food to a good home - there were twenty big bags there, and ultimately they would just have to be binned. Even though I can drive a forklift truck and pack with the best of them, my real forte is marketing, and so I am quite relieved when my Outlook diary reminded me about a conference call with our PR agency. Unfortunately, that’s all top secret so I can’t talk about it too much, but there’s an exciting launch on the way. Watch this space! The rest of the day is spent on making sure our packing design is in line with our brand identity and philosophy. All outgoing packages now have a joke on the bottom, and include details about our Facebook, encouraging pet parents to post photos of their pets with our branded boxes. DAY FOUR: ADMIN This is the one day of the week that I think all entrepreneurs will identify with. Bookkeeping. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous, but it’s the heart and soul of any business and needs to be regularly kept up to date. Luckily, I get to break it up with a few interviews for

three graduate positions to assist on key accounts. DAY FIVE: E-COMMERCE PetShopBowl.co.uk is a friendly, family-run business and it’s important to remember that above all else, we are an e-tailer. It’s important that we make it as easy as possible for consumers to purchase from us. So whilst our app is in development, we need to make sure our mobile site is fully optimised to allow consumers to purchase products easily and securely across both iPhone and Android systems. As a result, my morning was spent looking at the back office for PetShopBowl.co.uk and making sure that the full website experience translates across to the mobile version. For customers to be able to order these items though, we first need to order them from Mars and Nestle. So, I spent most of my afternoon forecasting what foods and accessories we will need and when they arrive at PetShopBowl.co.uk HQ. This ensures that there is always a strong flow of products through our warehouse. Important, as food products are obviously perishable. Contact: petshopbowl.co.uk

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Q&A VAN GIRLS

WHEN WAS THE COMPANY FOUNDED? The company was founded in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I actually got our first van. I got a booking for a really exciting job taking a lingerie company to a trade fair, so I thought I’d better get a van. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS? The idea for Van Girls was formed when I was working as a fire fighter at London Fire Brigade. I started wondering what I could do that would earn me a bit of extra pocket money on my days off. I had always watched The Apprentice and thought I could do better than them (as everyone does when they’re watching). When I had the eureka moment of a woman and van service to rival the well known man and van, I couldn’t help but get over-excited and decide to make it huge. I was strong, practical and I loved people – it was perfect. EXPLAIN YOUR USP? Home grown in London, Van Girls offers a welcome spin on the traditional man and van removals service. The allfemale Van Girls team offers a uniquely trustworthy, efficient and personal approach to transporting your most precious possessions. And what really sets us apart is that people actually enjoy moving with us! WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET INVOLVED WITH BRAN AMPLIFIER, A MARKETING BOOTCAMP RUN BY, AND FOR, WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS? A friend saw a tweet about applications, and I had reached a point with the business where I felt frustrated with my ability to promote the message of the company. When I found out that a boot camp run by inspirational

TALK PEOPLE

Woman and van removals

Dawn Murden meets Emma Lanman, founder of Van Girls, the award-winning all-female removal company women was available, with participation based on selection rather than a fee, and which would help with the skills I needed in brand, PR and business success, I thought it was perfect for me. I’ve gained a group of friends who are all trying to make their business vision a reality and are ready to support each other. I’ve learnt some invaluable lessons about how to go about gaining press coverage, concisely expressing our brand values, and communicating them effectively through social media. Finally, I have made some great business connections as a result of the process.

The all-female Van Girls team offers a uniquely trustworthy, efficient and personal approach

DID YOU EXPECT TO BE ONE OF THE AWARD WINNERS AT THE BRAND AMPLIFIER AWARDS? When it came to the pitch I was more nervous than I was expecting, my hands were shaking, and my voice was wobbly. I ran out of time and had to really rush the last section. I saw on the day how hard all the other women had worked. I went into the evening feeling grateful for having had such a great experience. Once the first four awards had been given, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be walking away with an award and was ready to clap the winner of the

top prize. I couldn’t believe it when they called my name and gave a shell-shocked acceptance speech. It felt incredible to win. WILL YOU STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE WOMEN FROM BA? I hope we will continue to meet and support each other. I’ve made strong connections and, as a group, we can offer r inspiration, advice and enthusiasm. HOW WILL THE FUNDING YOU WON HELP YOUR COMPANY? At this stage, it means a great deal to have an injection of money that I can ring fence for amplifying our brand WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR VAN GIRLS? Big things I hope. I want Van Girls to establish the concept of a “woman and van” service as an alternative by positioning ourselves among the biggest players in small removals in London and eventually in other UK cities. I want us to build on art moving and commercial services until we have three large, distinct services under one umbrella brand. I want people to say: “I need a Van Girl” as readily as they would “I need a man and van”. Contact: vangirls.co.uk Contact: brandamplifier.co.uk

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Christopher Ward: A watch face with personality

We speak to Mike France, co-founder of Christopher Ward, about the company’s success and how it was achieved en years ago, Mike France and the two co-founders of British watch company, Christopher Ward, set out to carve their own path in the luxury watch market, with an online business model that created a new synergy of quality, value and service in a market dominated by elite brands. With its own UK in-house design team and Swiss workshops, the company gave watch enthusiasts access to levels of technical quality previously limited to only the most elite - and expensive - brands in the world. As the world’s first purely online retailer of luxury watches, the online world not only supports its retail sales but also the development of the brand’s personality. Mike France explains three key aspects of how that was done:

outstanding personal service, not only through the product quality and satisfaction guarantees we give – including a 60-day no quibble, no cost returns policy – but also in the way that we interact with the customer online. The website is clear, simple and attractive, and as well as being the retail hub of the brand, it’s the key source of information and interaction with the customer, including articles, reviews and blogs. We use it to share our passion, not only for watches, but also for the things that interest us and we think will interest them too – which can be anything from Formula 1 to Bob Dylan to Buckminster Fuller!

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1. CUSTOMER CONNECTION Very few online operators master the complexity of virtual service, even in the luxury categories. We set out to establish a new benchmark. We place huge emphasis on giving

This was a global marketing first as a brand name had never been used in this way before

2. A VOICE FOR THE CUSTOMER The CW Forum was actually launched by a CW fan for CW fans and we have never tried to exert any editorial control. The fans know what they want from the brand, and they know what they want to share on the forum. We have the confidence that our watches deliver what true watch lovers want and we take on board the advice and suggestions we get from the forum. 

3. CREATIVE CHALLENGERS Our CW Challengers programme covers anything from sport to the arts, and is a way to support people who are credible challengers in their chosen field but lack the necessary financial backing. These people express the values and spirit that drive the CW brand; independence, and commitment to succeed. This month, for example, young British yachtsman, Sam Brearey is in action in the World Championships in Thailand in his CW-sponsored boat, and is deep in training for the 2016 Olympics. Last year we were the main sponsor of a remarkable team of young graduates who set out on a 6,500-mile round trip to conquer an unclimbed peak in Tajikistan. Our customers followed their amazing journey online, and we had the peak formally named as Mount Christopher Ward. This was a global marketing first, as a brand name had never been used in this way before. We began the CW journey around the very time that Facebook launched, so the Tajikistan expedition is a perfect example of how social media has been an increasingly important element of our online presence. Contact: christopherward.co.uk

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FASHION

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Maroon holdall, £24.99, A-Shu.co.uk

Heart for Heart handbag, £175, Folli Follie

M&S Collection bag, £39.50, Marks & Spencer

Metalic clasp handbag, £17.99, Deichmann UK

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27/03/2014 16:07


Get ready for T the slopes Dawn Murden reviews The City Ski Championships at the Momentum Ski Festival 2014, and gives you the 2015 dates for your diary

he Momentum Ski Festival and the 15th City Ski Championships took place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana from Thursday 13 March to Sunday 16, 2014. The event also included the Financial Times Alpine Business Forum. This year’s festival saw 250 people taking part in racing at the City Ski Championships, debating at the FT Alpine Business Forum, and taking part in a full complement of après-ski events featuring fantastic bands. There was a exciting mix of attendees. There were business leaders there to network or get to know clients, groups of staff taking full advantage of a great incentive while building bonds with colleagues, and sponsor businesses growing connections with the event or other businesses in attendance. THE FOUNDERS The Momentum Ski Festival was founded by Loredana Barindelli and Amin Momen in 1996. They had experience in the ski industry dating back to 1986 – and believed passionately they could offer their corporate clients a complete service with maximum flexibility. THE LOCATION The festival took place in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, a few hours’ from both Geneva and Zurich airports by train or car. Crans boasts some of the most breathtaking views of the Alps, from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. It’s south facing so it gets plenty of sun too. This can make the snow a little soft at the bottom of the mountain – so it’s worth getting out on the piste early before the snow gets soft. There are a whole host of great restaurants, bars and hotels to choose from as well. It’s no wonder the Momentum Ski Festival keeps returning to this location! THE BANDS 14 Carat Grapefruit and The Elements kicked off a full programme of après-ski events on the Thursday evening. Friday early evening

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HOT SPOTS

featured 29 Fingers, then Saxmaniax on Saturday. After the awards ceremony on the last night, Rick Parfitt junior – son of Status Quo’s singer/guitarist – made sure the dance floor stayed packed by playing hits from Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll to Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. After the encores, DJ Ibba lead the party into the early hours of the morning. THE RACING The competition kicked off on the Friday under a beautiful blue sky with the slopes in good condition for the Radar Trap event. One at a time, competitors pushed off from the start hut with the sole aim of recording the fastest speed. A crack team of Montana Ski School instructors was on hand in the afternoon, offering racing tips before the start of the legendary Accenture Dual Slalom. Teams of four battled it out on the Nationale piste, normally a testing World Cup track for such champions as Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the course, spectators looked on whilst they enjoyed a superb lunch of raclette washed down with local Swiss Valais wines. As Saturday arrived, so did the big race – the individual giant slalom sponsored by JEANRICHARD and Snow+Rock. For those that didn’t compete in the races and wanted to improve their technique (like me) you are free to ski before, during and after the races and carve out your own path on the piste. I preferred heading up to the glacier early, then finding my way down to the Nationale to watch a spot of racing while eating lunch, before heading off to après ski in the late afternoon. However, it’s worth noting that no mater what level you are, you are encouraged to race. I’ve promised to compete next time. THE DEBATING Even though it was mostly skiing, partying and informal networking, there was also the Alpine Business

Forum, run in association with the FT. Hosted by FT Weekend Magazine deputy editor, Ravi Mattu, 2014‘s discussion topic was “The New World Of Work (A Brave New World?)”. On the panel was the Olympic gold medallist, Amy Williams MBE, as well as acclaimed author, Robyn Scott, author and researcher, Marc de Rond, and Bruno Grande, COO of JEANRICHARD. More than 70 delegates packed the conference room for the absorbing session at the Hotel de l’Etrier. The panellist’s stories were very interesting and it was worth attending. However I felt the forum could have benefitted from a better structure, as I felt it didn’t really go anywhere, and there was no time for questions. THE FINALE The gala dinner and awards ceremony on the Saturday at Centre Le Regent was a great finale to a fun, action-packed three days of skiing and networking. After spending the previous two days of racing commentating live from the slopes, BBC broadcaster, Matt Chilton returned to host the awards. Momentum Ski founder, Amin Momen celebrated another successful event, announcing his delight in more than £7,000 raised in charitable donations for Borne. I asked founder, Amin why the event is good for staff incentives and networking. He said: ‘The Championships is a great experience for racers of all levels; you can organise your own race too. Accenture has its own competition. ‘The festival gives you the chance to get quality face time with your colleagues or clients, while you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery. ‘People are very approachable and you can mix with your colleagues, other businesses, like suppliers, and there is a real mix of sectors too.’ I would highly recommend this event to any small business looking to make new business connections or as a staff incentive. Perhaps you could offer this, instead of a staff bonus? Contact: momentumski.com/festival

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Next year’s event takes place from 12-15 March 2015. Book now to avoid disappointment at: momentumski.com/festival/ book

Partners: Financial Times, Accenture, JEANRICHARD, Snow+Rock, Borne, Dare 2b, RKHHarrison, Cavendish Ware, Crans Montana, Valais Tourism, College Group, Valet Alpin, Taking the Piste and Switzerland Tourism. Travel partners: Swiss, Zurich Airport, Swiss Travel System, Europcar, Swisscom, and American Express.

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We e travel th e r tu a fe nth, we ke going on This mo m ls to a breeze. essentia a s ip tr s busines Enjoy!

IN THE BAG When you go away, a durable bag is essential. It’s also handy if it’s lightweight, especially if you’re going on a long journey. This Lite Graphite set from Debenham’s is perfect. With a medium suitcase at £89, cabin case at £69 and a flight bag at £32. Contact: debenhams.com

MAKE NOTE Sometimes you’ll have to jot down trains times, directions, etc., without a lot of notice, so it’s worth having a travel journal on you at all times to make those important notes. This notepad is priced at £8. Contact: paperchase.co.uk

GET ORGANISED The Apple & Bee eco travel wallet is great for storing plane, train and bus tickets, your wallet, credit cards and so on. It’s only £24.99 Contact: appleandbee.com

LOOK YOUR BEST Ensure you look your best for every client meeting or event with this pocket mirror. It may sounds vain, but first impressions are important, and if you have something in your teeth or make up smeared on your face – you’re not looking your best. Priced at £6. Contact: marksandspencer.com

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Theaccelerator t is that time when we become overly fixated on increases to tax on wine, beer, and cigarettes as the Chancellor stands up to announce the Budget for 2014. Whilst mainstream media concentrate on Mr and Mrs Jones, a middle class family with 2.3 kids, who drink two bottles of wine a week and have a joint income of £40,000, I will look at some meaningful changes to impact start-ups. The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) that was launched in April 2012 has been a massive success in attracting early stage investment capital to start-ups – particularly in the tech sector – has now been made permanent. To date, it is estimated that £135 million has been raised by 1,600 companies with an average investment of around £85,000. The key tax benefits of SEIS are the ability of an investor to receive up to 50% of the investment back as a tax credit (i.e. 50p in the £1). If the investor has a capital gain they can get tax relief against half of the gain (i.e. 14p in the £1). In addition, if the business subsequently goes bust, the investor can claim a further 45% tax relief against the balance of the unclaimed investment (i.e. 22.5p in the £1). However, in the event that the business is successful, any gain on the sale of the shares will be free of capital gains tax. So what does all of this mean? If a business is successful, any gain is tax free and the investor can claim up to 64% tax credits against their investment. If the business goes bust, the investor

I

technology

,

Our tech columnist, Jon Bradford, managing director of Techstars, discusses the Budget’s influence on start-ups

The Budget is a doubleedged sword

can claim up to 86.5% tax credits against their investment. It is my hope that SEIS becomes increasingly more attractive to new businesses outside of the tech sector, with crowdfunding services such as Seedrs and Crowdcube. An even more interesting development is that the Government is exploring options for SEIS/EIS to apply to investments in the form of convertible loans. This is something I know that various members of the tech community have been lobbying Government about, and demonstrates their willingness to listen to the community and respond positively towards its suggestions. The key difference between a convertible loan versus equity for a start-up, is the ability to draw on the funds much faster. Alongside this, the Chancellor announced tax credit for research and development will rise from 11% to 14.5% in April 2014. Whilst a modest increase, it will allow start-ups to claim a larger tax refund for those businesses that are non-profit making.  This is equally valuable for both early and larger stage businesses, which are reinvesting in new and innovative products. Finally, a small but important change to the ISA regulation will now include peer-to-peer lending as being allowable. Innovative UK businesses such as Funding Circle have helped more than 30,000 people

lend more than £240m to SMEs over the last three years. While this form of saving may not be for mainstream savers, it does provide significantly greater returns. Moreover, this new service has helped to provide essential capital to SMEs throughout the UK, while it remains challenging to access funds from high street banks.  The Budget is a double-edged sword. It has provided certainty around SEIS and increased the relief to R&D tax credits. Moreover, it has indirectly provided support to some of the UK’s most innovative startups in the finance sector.  Contact: techstars.com Twitter: @jd

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

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THE CLOUD

t its most basic, cloud computing is the delivery of services over the internet. These services range from email (Gmail etc.) and applications to data backup, storage and disaster recovery. The benefits of backing up data and restoring it over a wide area network connection (the internet), include speed, reliability and flexibility, yet a lack of understanding is preventing some businesses from making the switch to a cloud solution. Here we debunk three of the most common myths:

A

MYTH 1: THE CLOUD IS NOT SECURE When you purchase a cloud backup and disaster recovery solution from a managed service provider (MSP), you sign a service level agreement (SLA), which defines the services that it will provide to you. It will also confirm what security measures will be taken. The most secure services will include AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard) data encryption and a confirmation that data will remain safely encrypted while in the data centre. Similarly, in the event of a restore, the backup data should remain encrypted until the member of staff at your business who is responsible for your unique encryption key, enters a pass code. No-one, not even your provider, will be able to decrypt your data at any point. If managed properly using the security measures described here, then the cloud is a very secure way to back up your data. It’s worth checking out the testimonials and track record of your MSP but remember, MSPs stake their reputation on the security of your data, so they will do their best to ensure it remains safe.

TALK TECHNOLOGY

The cloud is not secureyth m

Aad Dekkers, EMEA director of marketing at EVault, a provider of backup and disaster recovery solutions, busts common cloud myths

The cloud is a very secure way to back up your data

MYTH 2: THE CLOUD IS EXPENSIVE The belief that the cloud is expensive arises from the ongoing operational expenditure (OpEx) associated with a managed service. What the myth doesn’t take into account is that the cloud requires no capital expenditure (CapEx). There’s no need to purchase and install hardware, software or consumables such as tapes. Plus, businesses relying on tape or pure disk storage have to contend with potential unexpected costs when hardware breaks down, and still need to actively maintain their solutions. Those using the cloud have all costs clearly laid out in a regular subscription. They can choose to increase or decrease costs depending on use of the service, but there are no hidden costs. MYTH 3: YOU CAN’T ACHIEVE REGULATORY COMPLIANCE IN CLOUD ENVIRONMENTS If you work in an industry that requires data compliance, e.g. healthcare or retail, then you need to confirm that your backup solution meets industry requirements. Meeting compliance can be tough – there is no denying that – but the standards bodies are

increasingly recognising the importance of cloud and are trying to help. The PCI Security Standards Council (retail sector), for example, recently laid out guidelines for PCI DSS compliance in the cloud. If your provider tells you they can meet compliance standards, make sure this is written into the SLA. It is your responsibility to ensure the provider maintains regulatory controls. These are three of the most common myths surrounding the use of the cloud for backing up data, and the truths outlined should allay any concerns. However, if the MSP isn’t able to reassure you with all the correct documentation, service records and SLAs, then take your business elsewhere. Contacting a manufacturer that supplies MSPs with backup technology directly, allows them to put you in touch with one of their reputable partners. This can be the best option as you have it on authority they’re the best technology partners for your business, from the producers of the technology itself. Contact: evault.com/uk

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WEB DESIGN

TALK PEOPLE

Importance of user experience I n today’s digital age, it’s most likely the first touch point we have with new customers, and one of the most dominant in building relationships with existing customers, is your website. First impressions count, and if a prospective customer has a poor online experience with you, then they will naturally associate negative feelings to your brand and products – regardless of their quality. Negative brand perception will not only impact on one channel – but will be carried through across all touch points and interactions, making it much more difficult to convert a prospect. Getting the user experience right (or UX as you will hear it termed) is crucial and has been proven to increase conversions and revenue. And that makes sense, as surely the easier and more straightforward you make it for customers to interact with you online, the more they will. If your website is easier to use and more engaging than your competitors’, they will instinctively use your website.

SO WHAT IS UX? Many people get a little confused between usability and user experience. Ensuring your site is usable is, of course, important, but the user experience encompasses much more. It is about how the user feels when they visit and use your website, the perception they get in terms of your brand,

Rob Manning, managing director of Jacob Bailey, a marketing and communications company, discusses the importance of user experience led web design

Many people get a little confused between usability and user experience

and how well the website is suited to their requirements. This means UX goes further than just the navigation; the page layout and the way it functions to ensure that the content is right, the design and the imagery is engaging, that the tone of voice is right and that it really communicates to a user that this website understands them as an individual. SO HOW CAN WE SUM THIS UP? One tool we find really helpful to guide UX thinking when designing websites is Peter Morville’s UX honeycomb.

USEFUL USABLE

DESIRABLE VALUABLE ACCESSIBLE

FINDABLE CREDIBLE

The honeycomb gives us a set of criteria against which we can measure our website to ensure we achieve a great UX. We can ask ourselves: • Is it useful – do I get the information I need? • Can I use it – does the site behave as I expect? • Can I find what I am looking for easily? • Does it look credible; is it positioning our brand correctly? • Is it accessible; are we compliant to the regulations? • Am I engaged, is the website design and content desirable, do I want to read it? If you get these elements right, then you can be comfortable that you are delivering a good user experience. When you get the UX right, your website will be valued by your customers, which means they will become repeat visitors. In turn, they will be more likely to convert, therefore increasing that all-important return on investment when it comes to your digital budget. Contact: jacobbailey.com

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

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

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IT PROJECTS

ccording to Boston Consulting Group, around 20% of IT projects fail and only about onethird can be described as successful in terms of time, costs and meeting expectations. Managing IT projects is clearly not for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re not an IT expert. Yet it is often tempting for SMEs to take on IT projects themselves, often with the proprietor or CEO personally in charge. Clearly, that’s a tall order when even highly experienced IT managers often struggle. That said, IT projects are often made or broken by the way they are set up. We see four critical steps that should help SMEs manage IT projects more successfully. Firstly, someone at the most senior level – whether it is the CEO or another board member – must personally own the project and be genuinely interested. They need to have time to understand it, nurture it and have the ultimate authority to make decisions. The day-today management should ideally be handled by someone who has adequate time and sees it as their priority, rather than something they do if they get any spare time. Secondly, the desired business outcomes must be agreed, and the scope of the project defined against those objectives. Desired business outcomes might be to reduce administrative costs by 10% or to enable the company

A

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Manage IT projects successfully Graeme Freeman, co-founder of Freeman Clarke, a team of fractional IT and part-time directors for SMEs, discusses how to manage IT projects successfully within a growth business

The cloud is a very secure way to back up your data

to publish a new product catalogue within four weeks, for example. The new IT system should not be seen as a business outcome in its own right: it is a means to an end. If the proposed project cannot answer the question of its purpose, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. A clear, big picture view will also help define requirements, ensure that all the right people are engaged, and guide the project road map to completion. Thirdly, as the saying goes, “what gets reported, gets done”. Successful IT projects demand regular reports that are actually read and acted upon. It may seem a little counter intuitive, but reports should not focus on work to date, but on the remaining tasks and timescales. Finally, it is critical to have a control loop to track that progress is being made towards delivering the desired outcomes, and that

deadlines are met. Without tight control, focus is easily lost and the project scope can get diluted. Worse, people’s attention will be diverted as they lose sight of the promised benefits. Historically, IT projects were run using a simple “waterfall” model, but some projects are well suited to “agile” project management. But care is needed, as “agile” can be a buzzword that some IT suppliers like to use to avoid difficult questions, and keep going until funds run out. Good agile project management can enable SMEs to retain control and focus expenditure on the things that will add most value. However the project is managed, it’s always worth celebrating its completion as a team. It’s also a good time to learn from success and consider how to replicate the success next time around. Contact: evault.com/uk

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TALK PEOPLE COMMUNICATIONS

Time to be open minded about

?

James Passingham, technical services director at independent managed communications provider, Foehn, explains why more businesses are opening their eyes to open source communications ore and more businesses are turning to open source IT and telephony solutions for a variety of reasons, among them significant cost savings and the flexibility to manage systems such as scaling up or down, according to business needs. But what exactly is open source, and why are companies choosing to go this route over proprietary solutions? And isn’t open source, by its very nature, inherently more risky

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Isn’t open source more risky and less reliable than tried and tested technologies?

and less reliable than tried and tested technologies? Open source is reference to software where the software code is available publicly for use or modification from its original design. Programmers create, share and improve the code as part of a wider programming community. The community is well supported with hundreds of contributors continuously adding lines of code. Open source IT and telephony solutions are nothing new, and have been successfully

deployed in more businesses than you might imagine. The growing popularity of open source is partly because of the attractiveness of lower costs, and not getting locked into proprietary vendors, and also because the approach offers great flexibility. These are some of the reasons why, in March this year, the UK Government mandated a preference for open source software for future digital developments. This is the first time that Government has

APRIL 2014

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COMMUNICATIONS

expressed a formal preference for open source over proprietary software, and demonstrates just how popular it has become in the public sector as well as the private one. The open source alternative to traditional types of telephony means that businesses starting out no longer need a physical telephone switch. Similarly, companies that are small to medium in size, but growing and looking to reduce operational costs, can benefit from an open source system. And organisations simply looking to reduce their costs and have a more modern telephone system in place can also benefit. For example, Women’s Pioneer Housing Association chose open source after deciding to upgrade its telephone system as its existing one was creaking at the seams and limiting to its business operations.  It was also looking to reduce the cost of its telecoms bills. As well as providing the Association’s staff with new telephony features, the new system provided complete transparency of telecoms costs to give it control of the bills. When Low Cost Travel Group’s call centre revenue rocketed from £2m to £70m per annum in the space of just five years, it outgrew its original phone system in both functionality and capacity. A new system was needed to cope with complex queuing/ routing requirements and the business demand for actionable intelligence. The Group considered a range of technologies and eventually settled on an open source solution, which was significantly lower than those offered by larger telecoms providers. This included a centralised Asterisk-based call centre system integrating a

Open source is becoming more popular, as the Government’s recent announcement shows

sophisticated IVR with dynamic, flexible call routing, queuing and reporting. Two hundred hard phones were transferred to 370 soft phone licenses to enable disaster recovery and homeworking initiatives, as well as an installation of a redundant system to provide resilience against the unlikely event of another crash or failure. As a result of the implementation, call centre conversion increased by 20% and call handling productivity by 25%. Customer retention also increased by 40%. Organisations like Women’s Pioneer and Low Cost Travel have reaped the benefits of the move to open source, but many have been reluctant to choose this option because of perceived risks, such as security, unreliability, and lack of committed support and maintenance. Technology – be it open source or proprietary – is always at risk. No evidence exists to suggest that open source is less secure; just because source code is freely available does not make it more vulnerable. In fact, the opposite is often the case as a wider community of developers is constantly improving the product. The open source community provides access to a wide range of developers and end users, allowing for fast identification and resolution to any security issues. A traditional criticism of open source software being less reliable is also becoming mythical as we witness open source software driving innovation with rock solid reliability and feature richness. The development time to innovate and resolve issues is also often shorter, as reliance on a single vendor is negated. Support and maintenance issues have all but disappeared because specialist

TALK PEOPLE

providers of open source solutions provide very high levels of expertise, guidance and commercial support. The arguments for open source have become more compelling, particularly in the current economic climate, but whether or not a business should consider open source will depend on its own circumstances. For example, if a company has requisite skills and capabilities in house – or can buy them in – then it should definitely review its existing set-up to examine whether cost savings can be made and greater functionality of its telephone system added. Timing is also a consideration. There may be a tipping point, where a company decides to review its existing telephony set up because of a change in the company’s circumstances, such as moving offices or increasing in size. There is no doubt that open source is becoming more popular, as the Government’s recent announcement shows. Businesses of all sizes are well placed to take advantage of open source because it affords them tangible benefits, including operational cost reductions, greater flexibility, and telephony features and functionality that would otherwise come with a big price tag. 

Contact: foehn.co.uk

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APPS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

I’ve got an app for that… This month our we’ve chosen apps to help you access your files on the go, and coordinate your finances

Google Drive Price: FREE Compatible with: Android and iOS The gist: Google Drive lets you create, share and keep all your stuff in one place. Upload all your files – even the big ones – and you can access them anywhere, on your computer, iPhone, or Android phone. Quickly upload and share a photo with a friend 1,000 miles away. Read

and edit the most up-to-date version of your Google document whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go. Make items available offline so you can view them while you’re on a plane. No matter what happens to your devices, even if your iPhone inadvertently goes for a swim, your files are safely stored in Google Drive. Downloadable from: drive.google.com

InDinero Price: FREE Compatible with: Android and iOS The gist: Created in 2010 by two university students, Jessica Mah and Andy Su, InDinero is an easy way to keep track of business cash flow and manage day-to-day finances. The

app syncs to bank accounts and credit cards, and helps business predict future cash flow according to past cash flow trends. The popular web app has completed 2.5 million transactions and received around £730,000 in seed funding. Downloadable from: indinero.com

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Old & new: Samsung S4 Vs. S5

Samsung has unveiled its new S5 smartphone. How does it compare to the successful S4, and is it worth upgrading right away?

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GADGETS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Samsung S5 Price: Sim-free from £500. Display size: 5.1”. Weight: 145g.

it has a low amount of water- and dust-proofing.

Processor: 2.5GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 801 Cons: Still plasticky, gold colour is ugly, it’s expensive. Highlighted features:16 megapixel camera, 5.1-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, They say: “The first thing you will notice about Android 4.4 with Touchwiz, fingerprint sensor, the latest Galaxy smartphone is its new striking and heart rate monitor. design, which comes in a choice of colours… beneath the perforated exterior are more eye-Pros: over the S4: Better camera, more powerful catching features; like the new camera. It has the processor, new grippy design, comes in four colours, world’s fastest auto-focus speed, at only 0.3 seconds, and Selective Focus”.

Samsung S4 Price: Sim-free from £350. Display size: 5”. Weight: 130g. Processor: 1.6GHz Exynox 5 Processor Octacore. Highlighted features: 13 megapixel camera, Full HD super AMOLED screen, Air View and Gesture, Smart Pause and Scroll, Infa red remote, temperature and humidity sensors. Pros: Stunning 5-inch full HD screen, lots of great features, powerful processor. Cons: Plasticky design.

They say: “The Galaxy S4is our most awarded smartphone. With a battery that came top in the Which? smartphone battery test, it has staying power to cope with even the most demanding user.”

Our verdict: If you’re a Samsung fan and currently have the S3 or S4, there’s no doubt you will want to upgrade to the S5. The S5 is superior to the S4 – it has a better camera, a faster processor, better battery life and some fantastic features like next gen wi-fi, plus a fingerprint and heart rate sensor. However, if you don’t have the budget for a shiny new phone, then although the S5 boasts great features, it’s worth waiting for the price to drop. But if you’re due an upgrade, the S5 is definitely a strong contender for your next phone.

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fRANCHISE

fRANCHISE NEWS Double care award win for Home Instead

Viva Espana: Pitman Training launches first Spanish centre YORKSHIRE-BASED TRAINING provider, Pitman Training has continued its growth, expanding its international presence by opening the first centre in Spain this month. Heading the Barcelona Pitman Training centre is Marta Garcia – a former Pitman student herself. Marta, who came to England in 2003, studied effective business

communication at Pitman Training in Holburn in 2004. She said: ‘It’s time Pitman Training gave the opportunity to change careers, transform lives and maximise staff potential to the citizens of Barcelona. ‘I think people who train at Pitman Training can boost their career, as it happened to me. After I completed the course I found my dream job in London.’

The Creation Station shortlisted for more awards CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY FRANCHISE, The Creation Station, has been shortlisted for three national accolades in the annual What’s On 4 Little Ones Awards, which are voted for by parents and open to children’s services and activities providers around the UK.

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HOME INSTEAD SENIOR Care has announced a double win at the prestigious LaingBuisson Independent Specialist Care Awards, collecting both the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Early Intervention and Prevention awards. In an evening celebrating outstanding innovators and performers in the UK specialist care sector, it was both franchisee and franchisor who received top awards. The first award went to Sam and Trevor Brocklebank, co-founders of Home Instead Senior Care UK, in the Entrepreneur of the Year category. The accolade is in recognition of their impressive business skills aligned with their contribution and dedication to making quality care services available to thousands of older people across the UK. The second was for Early Intervention and Prevention Care where the team from the Home Instead Senior Care office in Wirral, Merseyside was crowned winner. Led by franchisees, Mike and Catharine Chalton, the team demonstrated how they are delivering an effective preventive service that has enabled them to facilitate a quick discharge from hospital (within 16 hours) for their clients, once they are medically fit to return home. Trevor Brocklebank commented: ‘It was wonderful to win our award, but we were doubly proud that our offices have also been recognised for the great work they are doing. We all work as a team, sharing the same ethos in wanting to make a difference and to change the face of ageing. ‘It’s all about caring for our older people, providing quality care services so they can remain living in their own homes.’

Sarah Cressall, founder and managing director of The Creation Station, said: ‘We are delighted to have reached the finals for three awards. We are passionate about providing unique classes that gives parents and their children a shared, creative and educational experience.’

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

T

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

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

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

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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.

CUSTOMER STORIES

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

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Contact: Emma Downes T: 01530 513307 E: edownes@thezipyard.co.uk W: www.thezipyard.co.uk

12/03/2014 10:21


Buy a sandwich

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Why buy a sandwich franchise? • The British ‘on the go’ sandwich market is currently valued at £3 billion • 1.8 billion sandwiches are bought in the UK every year • A healthier fast food option

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

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SPOTLIGHT

WHY DID YOU PICK THE FRANCHISING BUSINESS MODEL? I picked the franchising business model as I wanted to run my own business while enjoying the security of being part of a larger organisation and working with colleagues. I was also keen to work locally and avoid having to commute. In my previous roles I’ve always loved building business and training my teams to be strong, commercially astute business people, and watching them succeed in their own areas/accounts. Franchising gives me the ability to do both these things. I particularly enjoy working with franchisees because they have invested their own money into their business and are determined to succeed, which is good for clients and good for business. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO FRANCHISEES? Franchising offers a proven business model, which gives franchisees the ability to go into an industry in which they have no previous experience, and succeed in it. They also have the back-up and support of a franchisor, who is running their own successful franchise business too, so the franchisee knows that they have the experience to help and support them. Franchising also provides a network of colleagues and the opportunity to work with a franchisor you can collaborate with. Being able to contribute and shape the future direction of the business empowers people, and they also benefit from expertise and assistance in areas they perhaps don’t have, such as accountancy, technology and social media, while learning new skills. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF FRANCHISING A BUSINESS?

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TALK FRANCHISE

Under the spotlight Cleanhome Domestic Cleaning Karen Kelly, founder and managing director of Cleanhome Domestic Cleaning, tells us why she left Virgin to set up her business, and what it can offer franchisees There are two main challenges we face, which are properly channelling the energy of the franchisees to make sure that everyone continues to pull in the same direction, while also ensuring that the franchise/franchisee support keeps developing and innovating.

When I left Virgin, Richard Branson came to my home to try to persuade me to go back

WHAT WILL FRANCHISEES GET FOR THEIR MONEY? By investing in Cleanhome, franchisees benefit from the biggest launch package in the industry, which includes training, and our bespoke, internet-based GENESYS system, which has been developed to make the franchises run smoothly and efficiently and help them to grow their business from day one. On top of all that they also have the opportunity to work with a franchisor who has a strong business background and whose priority is for each of the Cleanhome franchise businesses to become successful. DO YOU OFFER TRAINING AND SUPPORT?  Absolutely! We believe that training and support is essential to the success of Cleanhome. We understand that the key to our success is a strong franchisee network and the training and continuous support we provide are all focused on ensuring each franchisees succeeds.

HOW MUCH WILL A FRANCHISE SET ME BACK? £9995 +VAT WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISE?  We want the Cleanhome brand to be synonymous with quality, and we will continue to differentiate our business on that basis. Our priority is to continue to build a strong, successful network across the UK and we will continue to develop the GENESYS system and harness new technologies. I am passionate about Cleanhome and won’t rest until every one of our franchisees is running an outstandingly successful business and until every potential customer in the UK has local access to a Cleanhome business.   WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN BUSINESS?  As a franchisor, every time a franchisee succeeds it fills me with pride!  On a personal basis, when I left Virgin, Richard Branson came to my home to try to persuade me to go back - and to know that the person I most respect in business and who has inspired me, valued me to that extent, also fills me with pride.

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THE FRAN MAN

ast month I touched on purchasing an existing franchise when discussing investment requirements. For many people there are significant advantages in taking over an established franchise. Firstly, let’s look at why a franchise may become available, and what to be aware of. Buying a second-hand business is not too different to buying anything that has been pre-owned, such as a car. Unlike a vehicle, the value should have increased significantly from the original purchase price, but there are bargains to be had. First questions should be: why is the business being sold? How long has the vendor operated it? What is the local reputation of the business? What is the potential to grow it? How strong is the franchisor and the franchise system? Unfortunately, many prospective purchasers are focussed (possibly through their accountant) on the turnover, the profit and the sale price as a multiple of the net profit. The reasons a franchise comes onto the market are often personal to the owner, e.g. reaching retirement, ill health, family issues, and so on. Other good and valid reasons may include alternative business opportunities that have arisen, or that the franchisee has “outgrown” that particular business and wants to move up to a more substantial business; having been a successful owner/

Buying an existing franchise

L

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TALK FRANCHISE

Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, gives his advice on buying an existing franchise

The multiple of net profit ... while important may not be as relevant as the intangibles

operator, he now wants the challenge of a business with staff, premises and so on. Unfortunately, there are occasions when a franchise comes onto the market because it is not working for the franchisee. Sometimes these businesses may be available at, or even below, the cost of setting up a new franchise, and can represent a bargain, but in those cases it is essential to evaluate the franchisor and franchise system rigorously and find out whether the brand is damaged locally. When buying into an existing franchise operation, the multiple of net profit (or operating profit/ EBITDA being a better guide), while important, may not be as relevant as the intangibles, such as the value of being part of a reputable, successful, well known franchise, or the local reputation of the franchisee and his business. In particular, the potential for future growth (with the assistance and support of the franchisor) can be a major factor. Reaching a realistic price for an existing franchised business can be different from an independent

business, and not all accountants understand that. An ethical franchisor will not allow the vendor to sell at an unrealistic price, too high and they know that they have to work with the purchaser in the future so will ensure it is reasonable. Too low and it could damage their brand reputation, so the key message is evaluate the franchisor (as you would for a new franchise). If satisfied that they are ethical and supportive of their franchisees, then work closer with them than the vendor to understand, not only the purchase price, but also any additional costs, legal transfer costs, training costs, lease transfers, and so on. Finally, the best advice can be found by using a specialist broker. This is the seventh instalment in a series of articles written by Tony Mundella, who has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. Next month Tony will give advice on psychometrics in the recruitment of franchisees. Contact: franman.co.uk

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TALK ADVICE DIRECT NUMBERS

ou wouldn’t charge your customers an entrance fee to get into your shop, would you? So why then do so many businesses and organisations still overcharge their customers for contacting them by phone? A lot of companies are still using 084 and 087 numbers for their main sales or customer service lines, and this is angering their customers. If I want to call a travel company and book a holiday for £1,000, I don’t see why I have to pay up to 40p per minute for the honour of doing it using my mobile if the company is using a 0844 number as its main contact number. Yes, this premium phone charge is mainly down to my mobile operator, but the travel company should also shoulder a lot of the blame as it’s its choice to use this number. Is the money it makes in revenue from the 0844 number really worth more than a customer sale - or even customer satisfaction? There is hope on the horizon for consumers everywhere as the Government will be banning most businesses from using these numbers from June this year. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will force some organisations to migrate away from 084 and 087 number ranges that they currently use for in-bound customer service or helpdesk lines. Good news for consumers all round, but don’t get too excited yet, as there are some exclusions to this – financial services, property sector and Government helplines are not covered by this proposal. Also, this only applies to customer services and complaint lines so these numbers can still be used for sales calls, tech helpdesks or

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The Government will be banning most businesses from using these numbers

business-to-business calls. It’s a step in the right direction anyhow and businesses should really look at how their customers are contacting them and make an educated decision on whether they want their customers to pay. We are seeing a lot of businesses and organisations

switching to the new customerfriendly 03 number range and that is a positive thing. HMRC, BBC, OXFAM and many other organisations are migrating to these new UK-wide 03 numbers in their droves. 03 numbers will become the number of choice for most businesses as they are

Is your number up? As a business, should you be charging your customers a premium to call you? Omar Shah, director at Direct Numbers highlights a change that will benefit consumers and businesses

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DIRECT NUMBERS

charged the same as a geographic 01/02 number, meaning they’ll be free if you get free minutes with your phone package. As more organisations and businesses start switching to 03 numbers, then consumers will become more familiar with them and learn to trust them.

It wouldn’t hurt for them to put themselves in their customers shoes

Businesses should look at the way they want their customers to contact them - and it wouldn’t hurt for them to put themselves in their customers’ shoes to see how they would feel if the only number they had to call is a 0844 number if they wanted to make a complaint or raise a fault.

TALK ADVICE

Companies need to get clever with the numbers they use and where they are placed, for example, freephone numbers are great for generating sales and marketing calls, but if you are targeting mobile customers by placing a 0800 freephone number on your mobile site, then this is wasted. Most will be calling from their mobiles – you’re trying to do the right thing by paying for your customers to contact you, but the mobile networks will, nine times out of ten, charge your customers for calling freephone numbers. So, in this scenario, where you have a mobile site you should really consider switching your freephone or 08 contact number to a 03 number. By doing this you should save your customers some money that will make them happy, and happy customers tend to stick around. So looking forward into the not-so-distant future, organisations and businesses will still be interacting with customers over the phone, and hopefully not overcharging them for the privilege of doing so. We should see businesses moving to a “one platform” model, whereby all their queries are funnelled into a single point so it doesn’t matter if a customer query is coming in by phone call, face to face in store, email, letter or by social media interaction – they will all be picked up and dealt with efficiently at zero - or very little - cost to the customer. Far from simply being a means of contact, a phone number can speak volumes about a business, with associated costs and functions that could have an impact on why and when customers dial, so it’s imperative to choose your numbers wisely. Contact: directnumbers.co.uk

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TALK ADVICE CAPITALSPACE

ot so long ago, setting up a business meant following a set - and somewhat restrictive path. Build a client base, rent an office, and get by with the shackles of costly overheads. But it’s a story that is thankfully becoming less and less relevant in today’s digital world. In fact, something of a revolution has taken place, and the adjective “working” is no longer confined to four familiar walls. Traditional working is old news. Start-ups don’t need a fulltime office to be professional, and instead have the freedom to prioritise productivity with a refreshing attitude to getting things done. Two factors are responsible for this shift in working practices: mobile technology, and an overhaul of popular opinion. With a little forward thinking and the tools to back it up, we can now work in a chameleonic way - choosing where, when and how we do our jobs for the good of our business.

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FREEDOM AND FLEXIBILITY Flexible, remote working is about more than simply being whimsical. It’s about recognising that productivity is not tied to a specific location. We cannot predict where we will feel comfortable working from one day to the next, and without a fixed office we have the freedom to explore this further. One day a breezy park bench will sharpen our thoughts more than a warm and cosy office. Other days, the opposite will be true. Working practices have been liberated to take advantage of our humanity; most of us cannot work efficiently if we are tied to the same old desk day in, day out. But that is OK. EMPOWERED BY TECHNOLOGY This new way of working is made possible by technology.

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It’s about recognising that productivity is not tied to a specific location

Mobile devices - tablets, smartphones, 3G-ready laptops - allow us to carry out our jobs from anywhere with an internet connection. Free wi-fi zones and 3G - or even 4G - networks mean we can respond to emails from cafes, trains, pubs, and even the hairdresser’s. We no longer need to spend time commuting to an office half an hour away to respond to a simple client enquiry; it’s all done right here, right now. PCs are not a necessary weapon in the arsenal of a business, either. The cloud enables us to access files from anywhere, at any time, using a web-enabled device. Cast your mind back to the pre-cloud days: you’re working from home, but don’t have access to the files you need. You have to phone a colleague, ask them to log in to your office computer, and forward an obscure file saved

in a long-forgotten Windows folder. Thank goodness those clunky working days are over. Expensive software and costly computer programmes are no longer needed either: the likes of Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel can all be replaced by Google Drive and Gmail, or other free web applications. OFFICE SPACE ON TAP While we may be happy working from home or the local breakfast spot, an important client meeting calls for a professional office space; one with visitor parking, friendly reception staff, a meeting room and conferencing facilities. Very few businesses need, or can afford, these facilities all of the time, but most companies will benefit from access to this when a groundbreaking deal is about to be made, or a new client is ready to be wooed. Offices still have relevance, but on an ad-hoc basis.

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Lesley Hickmott, marketing facilitator at CapitalSpace, an office solutions provider, talks about liberated working and why it matters

Breaking the shackles of tradition Virtual office space provides this flexibility, allowing businesses to pay for facilities by the day, or even by the hour. Often located in a prime business location, small and fledgling companies can take advantage of a prestigious address without the associated price tag. Many virtual offices offer call and mail handling, the use of meeting rooms and desk space for a small monthly fee or a pay-as-you-go option. It’s the professional facade - backed up by a solid infrastructure - which many businesses crave but do not need or want on a full time basis. This is what we offer at CapitalSpace; bespoke packages to suit the needs of a business - whether that’s four hours’ meeting room hire a month, or telephone answering for 30 or more calls per day. LOGOTAG is a CapitalSpace virtual office customer, and an innovative retail solution,

which offers a fully bespoke social media window tag designed to attract footfall and get online communities to connect with the business. LOGOTAG is also a recent winner of Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday Award. Richard Baldock, managing director of LOGOTAG says: ‘We have really benefited from having a virtual office solution at Waterhouse Business Centre. This option was perfect for our young start-up business. From my perspective, the virtual office solution was an ideal match for my requirements. ‘I wanted to cleanly separate my personal address and online presence with my business, and also have a dedicated team who could answer my calls. For my business this is a perfect combination, as I don’t need a physical location at this point in my business plan, as the majority of my products are sold via my

site and via social media channels across the UK and Europe, so the physical office just isn’t needed. ‘For a young, agile business without a depth of funds, the virtual office is a great solution and offers meeting rooms and hospitality when the need arises to host client meetings. My virtual office also provides outbound postal services, which are ideal for me to save any lengthy queues at the local post office.’

Virtual office space provides this flexibility: allowing businesses to pay for facilities by the day, or even by the hour

FREEDOM TO FLOURISH There’s no doubt that this shift in working practices is for the better. Businesses now have the freedom to flourish without worrying about the next rent payment; freeing the mind for productive and creative working. Shaking off the shackles of tradition, technology is paving the way for a responsive, innovative and liberated business world. Contact: capitalspace.co.uk

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Amazing franchise opportunities Bartercard...

When you invest in a Bartercard Business Development Consultancy, you are investing in a trusted, well-established brand and an innovative business solution. Bartercard is a Global Trade Exchange of 55,000 card holders, who are small to medium sized businesses that use the solution to pay their cash expenses using their own products and services. This then enables them to retain cash, to grow and protect the business.

Ultimately, as a sales business, you are in control of your future and Bartercard becomes your product partner

As a Business Development Consultant with Bartercard you will have the unique opportunity to help businesses grow and be a key player in their future success. You will meet with business owners and demonstrate how Bartercard will guarantee to bring them new customers – how many companies can promise that – and you will show them how they can utilise an interest free line of credit that is given to all members to purchase a wide range of products and services that they need and use in their business but for which they are currently using valuable cash. Further, you will show them how it is the new customers that Bartercard brings that actually pay for all these purchases so in reality it is their own product or service that funds spending on day to day expenses rather than valuable cash. At a time when traditional forms of borrowing are severely restricted, Bartercard provides the perfect solution to business growth. If you are a highly driven, sales focused individual with a modest amount to invest, the potential returns are enormous! Contact Neil Slinn today for a discussion, via Neil.Slinn@uk.bartercard.com

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DOODLEDIRECT

nimated marketing videos are a powerful communication tool with the potential to reach millions of customers quickly and cheaply with your message. It is now possible for businesses of all sizes to capture new audiences in a fun and engaging way with a marketing tool that outlasts traditional printed material. Here’s how to ensure your business can get ahead with an animated marketing video...

A

KEEP YOUR VIDEO AS CONCISE AS POSSIBLE The most effective videos are 45–60 seconds (100 – 150 words) in length. Any shorter and you may not have communicated your message entirely. Any longer and you run the risk of your viewer not watching the video to the end. Your video should encourage your audience to visit your website, where they can find more information about your products and services, and make an enquiry or a purchase. BE CLEAR ABOUT THE PRODUCTS/SERVICES YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL Selecting a maximum of three products will allow you ample time to include them in the video. With more than that, you may well overload your audience. If you feel that you need to include more products, consider creating separate videos. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE Are you speaking to top level executives, or teenage sports fans? In either case, make sure you are speaking a language they can easily comprehend. Avoid using jargon where possible, to guarantee that your viewer has fully understood your message.

TALK ADVICE

Video killed the radio star

Kym Jay, creative director at DoodleDirect, a company that makes whiteboard animation videos, gives her top tips on video marketing

CREATE A SCRIPT Most animation companies offer copywriting as part of the production service. However, if you would prefer to write your own script, ensure it contains the following information:

Your video should encourage your audience to visit your website

WHO YOU ARE: Set up the video for your chosen audience. “Welcome to Baseline Print services – the UK’s leading design and print services.” THE PROBLEM: Outline the problem that your product/service currently solves using a conversational tone, speaking directly to your audience. “Are you looking for a reliable, low cost, high quality printing service?” THE SOLUTION: Outline the value of your product or service. “Baseline Print Services provides total

design and printing solutions to help you with your daily endeavours, and let you concentrate on what you do best...running your business. We offer full design and print services, including business stationary, signage, and branded products.” KEY FEATURES/BENEFITS: Briefly detail the key features of your products/services. “Our dedicated account team will work to understand your business and your requirements. Using the latest technology, we can offer a low cost, high quality design and print service with a 72-hour turnaround.” A CALL TO ACTION: Let your viewer know what you’d like them to do next. “For a full list of our services, visit our website now, or get in

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touch with an account manager on 0800-123-4567”. A CLOSING LINE: Finish with your logo and your strapline (if you have one) to cement your brand. “Baseline Print services – high quality printing, on time and in budget.” TO VOICE, OR NOT TO VOICE? In animated video, the illustrations do much of the talking – however, a voice can allow for better communication with your viewer as they can passively absorb the communication, and are more likely to do so. You can include key words or phrases using text within the animation frames to highlight any particularly important parts of your message.

Many production companies now offer professional voiceover services as part of the animation package. If you are choosing to record your own voice-over, it can be a challenge to achieve the high quality you would normally get using professional studio equipment, however to obtain the best quality sound at home you should: • Use as high quality microphone as possible. • Record alone in a small room or enclosed space to avoid echo and background noises. • Keep the distance between your mouth and the microphone at approximately six inches. If, at any point, you need to speak louder, back away an inch or so from the recording device.

• Avoid speaking directly into the microphone, and speak either slightly to the left or right of the recording device to prevent breathing or other unwanted sounds from being recorded.

The aim is to get as many people as possible to see your video, and there are a number of ways you can showcase it

AFTER A BIT OF MAGIC FROM YOUR CHOSEN PRODUCTION COMPANY, YOU NOW HAVE THE PERFECT ANIMATED MARKETING VIDEO – SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT? The aim is to get as many people as possible to see your video, and there are a number of ways you can showcase it: • Upload your animation to an online video platform (i.e. YouTube or Vimeo Pro) to allow you to send or embed the video via a simple link, whilst helping to boost your SEO rankings. Be sure to provide a detailed and accurate title and description for your video, and include associated tags (keywords) that are directly relevant. • Embed the video on the home page of your website. • Post the link on all of your social media accounts (twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.). • Send it to your existing customer base via your opt-in email list. • Promote your video to clients that you have established relationships with. Ask them to watch your video and share it with their online connections. • Utilise your PR skills by sending press releases to bloggers, editors, and reporters, to generate further coverage in mainstream media and blogs relative to your target audience. It’s time to get your animated video out there for the world to see, and grab the attention of potential customers worldwide. Contact: DoodleDirect.com

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RECRUITMENT

TALK ADVICE

AREEXPECTATIONS REALISTIC? M BUSINESS OWNERS’

ost business owners have an idea of who they wish to recruit. But unfortunately their list of requirements could be too restrictive. Sometimes the perfect candidate simply does not exist. And applicants they thought were not right for the business could be the best available. When looking to recruit, business owners should first consider the size of their talent pool. There are approximately 2.3 million people looking for work in the UK. How many of

Geoff Newman, managing director of RecruitmentGenius.com, which helps find the best staff for £199 or less, says you need to be realistic when recruiting

Aside from talent pool size, business owners should never forget that recruitment is competitive

IN PROFILE Recruitment Genius is the UK’s largest flat-fee recruitment company, and has helped fill more than 59,704 jobs for 8,800-plus UK companies. It can broadcast your job on all of the UK’s best job boards. For a minimal investment you can find out if your expectations are too high, whilst gaining a good understanding of market conditions along the way. No business owner wants to waste time composing person specifications and job descriptions, choosing the best job sites, advertising the job, filtering CVs and interviewing – only to realise that the perfect person does not exist in the real world of work. That is why it is important that job requirements are kept realistic, and to accept that there is no such thing as perfect.

those live near to their company? Of that percentage how many of those have the required skills? If the talent pool is too small then their list of requirements should be revised. To start, they should differentiate what is essential and what is desirable. For example, is being a whizz at a particular software vital, or is it just a bonus? Some business owners make the mistake of wanting too much experience. This automatically excludes a large proportion of candidates - especially younger candidates who may lack experience but could bring new perspective. Although having years’ of experience is beneficial, it is important not to overlook other applicants, who could have great potential. Instead they should realistically consider if someone with slightly less experience could be just as good. Furthermore, business owners should consider offering training if they are having trouble finding the right candidate. Training ensures new members of staff meet exact requirements and standards. If competitors are

filling the same job but offer training, then it’s a no brainer for who will have greater recruitment success. Aside from talent pool size, business owners should never forget that recruitment is competitive. Therefore they need to analyse the competition by reviewing similar vacancies on job boards. Business owners should question why good candidates would choose them over a competitor. In order to really succeed at recruiting, businesses should assess how their job advertisement compares and their expectations need stay realistic throughout. It’s important to take into consideration the cost of the job remaining unfilled. Organisations may not grow as quickly, or resources may not be available to fulfill customer requirements. If cost is too high, then expectations certainly should to be revised again. However if requirements cannot be compromised then a recruitment service may be beneficial.

Contact: recruitmentgenius.com

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DIRECTORY APRIL 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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APRIL 2014

DIRECTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Finance and accounting. T: 0845 6805156

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

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TALK SUCCESS AND FINALLY...

/

He said she said This month, the entrepreneurs are tweeting about Joey Essex, successful apprentices and George Osborne being a fox. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Lord Sugar @Lord_Sugar 2 years ago today @ inventor_tom launched @stylfile. Now he’s sold nearly a Million products, enough to fill 58 AMS1s pic.twitter. com/XcrR3QRn26 Lord Sugar loves singing the praises of his apprentices – well done Tom Pellereau.

Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne The man with the little red box is a bit of a fox trah lah lah, trah lah lah Duncan Bannatyne must have been happy about the Budget; so much so he’s calling George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer a fox.

Will King @KingofShaves ...and will they leave Joey Essex in Africa? We can only hope. #educatingjoey Will King is clearly not a fan of the Essex boy made famous by the “reality” TV show The Only Way Is Essex

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Piers Linney @pierslinney Thanks to @ LeviRootsMusic 4 a fantastic birthday cook up - food, music, laughs & quite a bit of rum. One Love! @pjfoundation @ dragonjones Piers Linney put some music into his birthday food with the man who made Reggae Reggae Sauce famous. Claire Young @ClaireLYoung Nice article about people hiring birth photographers, unsure I would want piccies taking but each to their own http://bit. ly/1oA8rgL The pictures are actually quite conservative, but we can understand why Claire is not keen! Grimacing pictures aren’t the best. James Caan @jamescaan I’m in the office every Saturday for the most important 2 hours of my week - find out why in my latest LinkedIn blog http://linkd.in/1mfdtAI Have a read to find out why the former Dragon has been so busy. No rest for the wicked.

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Profile for Talk Business

Talk Business Magazine April 2014  

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

Talk Business Magazine April 2014  

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

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