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SPONSORED ARTICLE

WHY Relocate to JeRseY?

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ersey has a long-standing reputation for attracting successful individuals and companies to its beautiful shores. A location for those who want to work in a thriving, international centre of excellence, but who seek a life of more than just work – in our Island the work-life balance really is achievable. Finding a location that offers the very best tax advantages might be your driving force, but choosing a jurisdiction that is to become your home is about much more. The key is to settle somewhere that works for your wealth, but more importantly, works for you and your family too.

“The key is to settle somewhere that works for your wealth, but more importantly, works for you and your family too.”

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Jersey is internationally recognised as a highly reputable jurisdiction and well respected business centre, which is ideally positioned for you to invest, grow and prosper, providing the perfect location for your operations. With easy access to the UK, Europe and beyond Jersey is the ideal location for you, your family and your business. In Jersey there are no inheritance or capital gains taxes, corporate and personal tax rates are both set at very competitive levels, making sound financial sense to be based here. Jersey is becoming an incubator for a range of different industries – for the canny few it has stopped being the place where you go to retire, and become the place to build your business and create a platform for longer-term, international reach.

Locate Jersey is committed to the development and growth of enterprise and entrepreneurialism across all sector of the Jersey economy and inward investment necessary to ignite and sustain this. We are the government organisation responsible for promoting, attracting and retaining inward investment for Jersey. As part of the Department for Economic Development we advocate sustainable economic growth, diversification and generating employment within the Island. The Locate Jersey Team provides a comprehensive, confidential and free service to facilitate, support and guide companies and individuals through the process of moving and setting up their operations in Jersey – from pre-location information and advice, to aftercare once you are established. Get in touch Wayne Gallichan, Director of Inward Investment and International Trade Development: w.gallichan@gov.je


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locatejersey.com Locate Jersey provides free advice and support to you and your business in relocating to Jersey. Please contact Wayne Gallichan, Director, Inward Investment and International Trade Development: w.gallichan@gov.je


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Holidays, Bank Holidays and Part Timers - confusion and calculation. As I’ve already said, there is no statutory right to take time off on a bank/ public holiday. The change that came into effect on 1.10.2007 means that all holiday • What is the holiday entitlement for a calculations take place around the minimum part timer? • How do we calculate bank holidays for 28 days leave (which includes the 8 public someone who works two days a week? holidays). • What happens with holidays and the Let’s say your employee handbook states: long term sick? ‘You are entitled to 28 days’ paid Let’s start with the most recent change in the holiday in each complete holiday year inclusive of bank and public holidays’ law around holidays: 1st October 2007 was the date when the Working Time Regulations A full time worker gets 28 days leave per (1998/1833) came into force. This gives 28 year. If your holiday year starts on 1st days (or 5.6 weeks) leave to people working January and they take off 1st January (bank 5 days per week. holiday) and 2nd January (not usually a bank holiday in England and Wales) then It may come as a surprise, but there is no they will have 26 days holiday left. statutory right to have bank holidays If that same worker used their remaining off. So, these 28 days INCLUDE the 8 26 days prior to Christmas and Boxing Day (occasionally more) bank holidays each year. then they would not be entitled to take those days as paid leave. They would have The main issue managers have is calculating to agree to work them, or take them as holiday entitlement for people who work unpaid leave. part time. The full entitlement of 28 days per year is for 5 day/ week workers. So it Employers that are closed on Christmas/ is a simple calculation for different working Boxing Day should always give notice to patterns, see the table below: employees that they have to take holidays Days worked/ week Days holiday per year on these days. Holiday requests should be refused if that would result in insufficient 1 5.6 leave for those two days. 2 11.2 3 16.8 Sick Leave: Holiday leave accrues while an 4 22.4 employee is off sick. If an employee is off for a full holiday year then they will have Another way of looking at this is that accrued 28 days of leave. employees get 5.6 weeks of holiday during the year, whatever their normal working week That brings me on to my final point: is. So if they work 3 days per week they get Creating an annual leave policy that works 5.6 weeks of their normal working week (3 for the business, is fair to employees, is days per week) paid leave per year. applied equally and is legally compliant. It’s a frequent question to our HR team, with many variations:

I hope that’s clear!


Get FREE employment contract template. Download now, valued at £200 with detailed notes. Every employee needs their own written employment contract within 12 weeks of starting a job. It is the law. The penalty is a 25% uplift in any employment tribunal payouts. Ensure you are compliant by downloading our employment contract template. It comes with all the notes you need to fill in job titles, salary and all of the other legal requirements. Ensure you are compliant - download your copy now.

To download a compliant employment contract template with full guidance notes for free go to http://www.deminos.co.uk/emp There are a lot of factors to take into account. Examples include: • • • • • • •

What has gone before (Custom and Practice) Any changes that result in workers being worse off must be consulted on. If policies are not applied equally to all workers then problems will follow. Should leave be carried from one holiday year to the next? For how long? Who grants holiday requests? How do you deal with everyone in a team wanting the same days off? Does holiday entitlement increase with length of service?

I have only scratched the surface of this subject (our internal notes stretch to 34 pages of guidance!), So you can see there is a lot to consider over and above the legal minimum.

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

For guidance on holidays or any other employee issues call us on 020 7870 1090

Deminos HR, 60 Lombard St, London EC3V 9EA. Tel: 020 7870 1090 www.deminos.co.uk


iNSIDE 13 Editor’s letter

TALK strategy 51 The branding column Rich With 53 Four dyanmic steps Grow your business 55 Think like a start-up Back to basics

15 Letters 16 News & Events

59 Sweet smell of success Make it in retail 61 Hidden gem: Costa Rica Trade Abroad

20 TALK Success 20 Called for success Stephen Fear, the phonebox millionaire 26 Take one company Snap Fashion 31 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer 32 New Year, new business New Year’s resolutions 35 Face of 2013 Talk Business Awards 37 Book reviews 130 He said/she said What are the entrepreneurs saying this month?

talk MONEY 39 The Funding Expert Tomorrow’s money? 41 Cash, cheque, charge ✓ Card payments 45 Get back what’s yours! Debt management

55 Talk image 91 Dress for pitch success The Ideas Factory

63 Vision, team, strategy Business results

94 Look the business: All wrapped up Fashion

66 Why passion sells Adam Caplan

96 Hot spots Locations for SMEs

69 The Sales Doctor Solving your sales problems

98 We love… Our favourites

talk MARKETING

talk technology

71 The marketing column Kimberly Davis 74 Ten steps of Twitter Step three: Images 77 Seven trends for 2014 Social media

talk people 79 The people column Lee McQueen 80 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the Zoomer founders 83 Serial entrepreneur and investor Q&A James Olden

101 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column 103 Stop e-bandits Cyber crime 105 All present and correct Business like mission command 106 Technology to reach the top Web hosting 109 Heard of Hummingbird? Google 111 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 112 Seagate vs. WD Battle of the brands

TALK FRANCHISE

85 Increase productivity, not outgoings HR Insight

115 Franchise news

87 Unpaid internships cost more than reputation Employment law

120 The Fran Man Key agreement points

88 Networking is a necessity Social media

47 A day in the life Diary of a Start Up Loan recipient

117 Spotlight Wigwam Holidays

122 Take one franchisee Wilkins Chimney Sweep 124 16 reasons to franchise Nigel Toplis

talk aDVICE

49 Before you sign on the dotted line… Negotiation

126 Payment Gateway 128 Talk Business Directory

32


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

INTERN

Christian Muhika

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

ACCOUNT MANAGER

Aaron Whelan aaron.whelan@astongreenlake.com

MANAGING DIRECTOR Jay Boisvert jay@astongreenlake.com

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

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Back to basics ome businesses are born out of a great idea or invention, while others are founded to make the owners money. However, most ventures are started because the founder wanted to change something for the better, to improve an industry, solve a common problem, or in some cases, save the world. What was the reason you set up your company? Can you remember? Many companies forget about their roots as they grow. But your start-up attitude and passion should never be lost – it’s what can truly drive a business to new heights. Turn to page 55 to find out why even the big corporate companies are thinking like start-ups. If you’re a new business then it’s likely you eat and sleep that reason. But is that ethos part of your everyday business activity? Is it part of your vision? Success is all about your vision; your goals, your strategy; how you’ll achieve them, and your team; the people that make it all happen. All three need to be aligned, read how on page 63. Even though it’s important to keep your original inspiration close, companies have to grow and change. Stephen Fear started his business at age 14 in 1969. He had no home phone and had to use the old red phonebox on his council estate to make his first deal – it was basically his first office! Even though we asked him to pose with the icon of his past, his company has come a long way. Now, as the entrepreneur in residence at the British

S

Library he helps other SMEs start their journey. Read about our Face on the Cover’s 45year career on page 20. There are plenty more articles about achieving the best business results through simple means. This issue is about going back to basics, and what better time to do it? It’s 2014, a brand new year and time to plan the next 12 months. Have you got a business New Year’s resolution? If you need inspiration, 12 business owners share their resolutions with us on page 32. We’d love to hear yours over Twitter too. Take care of business for now.

Dawn Murden, editor

@TalkBusinessMag

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

13


Contributors & LETTERS

New Year contributors

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Geraldine Wilson is managing director of WorldPay Zinc. She has extensive experience of launching new products and opening new markets in the telco and media space, including launching the market leading Pay as You Talk product in the UK. Prior to WorldPay, Geraldine was CEO of the innovative global mobile telco Truphone, on the European management team at Yahoo! and held a variety of senior roles at Vodafone.

Richard Poole is the founder of Fluxx, a product and service innovation company. He has spent his career devoted to finding innovative ways of solving problems. He is a business and technology strategist and leader. And has 20 years of board level experience working with global blue-chip companies, and helping them use technology to build better businesses.

Jason Kluver founded The Ideas Factory (TIF) in 2010 along with Jonathan Willis and Heath Lansbury – with the mission to connect entrepreneurs with investors. As CEO Jason has helped build TIF into one of the UK’s leading private investor networks, with investors having raised £16 million for start-us in the past 26 months alone. Jason studied journalism and worked at Capital radio before joining a property investment group where he met business partner Heath.

Daniel Mitchel is the director of Lifeline IT, a support and consultancy service. He originally began working in accounting, and started his involvement in IT while working with specialist accounting software. He founded Dam I.T. in 1996 and it merged with Lifeline in 2002. Daniel focuses on new business, project management and consultancy. He has a special interest in global cyber security and regularly comments on this in the media.

She talks about how card payments can boost cash flow on page 41.

On page 55 he discusses why big companies should think like start-ups.

Read their tips on how to dress for pitch success on page 91.

Turn to page 103 to read his tips on how not to fall victim to cyber crime.

JANUARY 2014


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, 6 Mitre Passage, 8th floor, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER

This month our readers want to learn more about whiteboard animation and are congratulating Luke Thomas

Reward staff with impact Reward schemes can boost talent retention levels, as discussed in Ten Tips for Happy Staff [December]. However, the challenge that many businesses face is what type of reward to give. A reward that enables a staff member to invest in and improve their home is not only a long lasting reminder of the company, but also positions the business as one that is considerate towards an employee’s life both in and out of work. Natalie Vescia B2B marketing & client relationship manager Wickes

R OF LETTEMONTH THE

Melanie Stanford

Whatboard animation? We want to have a whiteboard animation designed for us to promote our company but the other founder isn’t keen and asks where we would put it. He raises a very good point. I know they are good, but how do you use them? Help! John Williams Founder of branding company

@1and1_UK 1&1 Featured in @TalkBusinessMag! See “Host With The Most” in the digital edition at 1&1u.com/9j @Be_TheBoss Get organised with @TalkBusinessMag in 2014! We’re giving away FREE wall planners to all who tweet hi (while stocks last) #giveaway

Little chef

Hi, I really enjoyed reading about Luke Thomas December’s main interview. I didn’t watch the BBC Three documentary about him, but I’d read some pretty bad press. He may be a little brash, especially at his age but he’s certainly successful. Well done to him!

Tweets 0F the month...

@taxtalkrjp ow.ly/rJx81 How can SMEs cut their tax in 2012? Lesley Stalker in @TalkBusinessMag @ORConferences #FF The @ORConferences media partners @TalkBusinessMag @EWDN_Russia @socialretail and our International Media Partner @myretailmedia @laurenwilden The worst (and funniest) transcription mistakes in business revealed by client @global_lingo! Via @TalkBusinessMag @Capiota @TalkBusinessMag Hi Dawn, it is concerning when you read how much SMEs are short, 90pc reporting a monthly cash flow shortage of up to £5,000 @RaffStu @TalkBusinessMag As usual loved the Dec issue, jam packed with great features and articles. Looking forward to more of the same in 2014.

talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk

15


NEWS & EVENTS

Dates for the diary Business Junction Networking Events 15 January Kettners, Soho 16 January Phoenix Artist Club, Cambridge Circus businessjunction.co.uk Sterling Integrity 31 January Crown Plaza, Birmingham 13 February The Future Inn, Bristol 7 March The Village Hotel, Coventry 1 May Regus Business Centre, Gloucester sterlingintegrity.co.uk

The Ideas Factory 6 February London 3 April London theideasfactory.com/events

The Franchise Show 14-15 February Excel, London thefranchiseshow.co.uk Sales Job Expo 22 February London salesjobs-expo.com Online Retail Conferences 10 February Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington September Venue TBC orevents.com

19% of employers have former apprentices at senior level APPRENTICESHIPS ARE TAKING employees all the way to the top. According to new research issued today by third annual City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list one in five employers currently have former apprentices working in senior management often at board level positions. Regionally, it is in the South West where a former apprentice’s career prospects are best, with 29% of companies in this area saying they have former apprentices working in senior management. This is followed by Yorkshire & The Humber and East Midlands, both with 26%. An apprentice’s chances of becoming a director is greatest in the construction industry, with 47% of businesses in this sector employing former apprentices. This is followed by manufacturing & engineering (43%), agriculture (33%) and energy and power (33%).

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JANUARY 2014

City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer, Damian Brown, of BT explains why so many former apprentices make the move into management: ‘Through learning on the job, apprentices develop skills which are directly relevant to how our business works. Matthew Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister said: ‘As we can see from this research, today’s apprentice

could be tomorrow’s board director. ‘Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice (96%) reports benefits to their business and the calibre of the companies included in this year’s Top 100 list just goes to show the breadth of employers who are now embracing Apprenticeships.’ For more information visit: icmresearch.com


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Branson to launch current account with Virgin Money THE BANKING ARM of Richard Branson’s business empire is set to take on Britain’s lucrative current account market, with the launch of a pilot among 3000 employees. According to Sky News, Virgin Money, one of the country’s fastest growing banks, has unveiled the trial ahead of the public launch scheduled for next year. This marks a potentially significant effort to encourage more competition in the current account market, with 80% of accounts currently supplied by the five biggest lenders; Governmentbacked Lloyds Banking Group, owner of HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, Barclays, HSBC, and Santander UK.

After the trial, Virgin Money will aim its current account at consumers who are insufficiently served by the major banks – offering a basic account with no fees or charges and free access to UK ATMs. According to analysts doing so is expected to be loss-making for Virgin Money, so the availability of the new current accounts is likely to be restricted to consumers who do not currently have a current account. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin Money chief executive, declined to comment on the plans but told Sky News: ‘Our entry into the current account market is a significant step on our quest to make banking better.’

Plastic banknotes set for 2016

SMEs optimistic about the year ahead ACCORDING TO COACHING service GrowthAccelerator, the leaders of the nation’s most ambitious businesses plan to boost investment in their people and their marketing efforts to achieve high growth in the year ahead. In a poll of its clients, around three quarters (73%) said they were feeling optimistic about the year ahead. When asked what they believed to be the biggest driver of revenue growth in 2014, over a third (39%) answered “investment in marketing”. Almost a quarter (22%) said that

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JANUARY 2014

increasing the size of their team would be the biggest revenue driver, but also believe it’s important to invest in their existing teams. They also say that developing a strong business plan is fundamental to their growth efforts, with over a third (34%) citing this as a key revenue driver for them in the year ahead. Stephen Peacock, national director at GrowthAccelerator, comments: ‘For all businesses looking to grow, planning is absolutely vital, and our clients are particularly aware of this.’

THE BANK OF England has announced plans to introduce plastic banknotes in 2016. The Bank argues the polymer notes stay will stay cleaner and are more secure than cotton paper notes, which have been around for more than 100 years. The £5 note will be the first to switch over to polymer. 20 countries have adopted the plastic notes already, which first came about in Australia in 1988. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said: ‘Polymer notes are the next step in the evolution of banknote design to meet that objective. ‘The quality of polymer notes is higher, they are more secure from counterfeiting, and they can be produced at lower cost to the taxpayer and the environment.’


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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

Called for success

The old red phonebox is an iconic British image, and it was Stephen Fear’s first office. Dawn Murden speaks to the self-made millionaire

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JANUARY 2014


aunching a business is difficult. Even in today’s climate despite our never-ending access to information, and instant connections via mobile phones and the web. Imagine trying to start a business in the 1960’s. Stephen Fear did. He lived on a council estate in Bristol and was the youngest of four children. From age 12 his entrepreneurial edge manifested. He began selling the pages of colouring books door-to-door for 30 times their profit, and went to the newsagent every morning to charge three times the price to cover absent paperboys. ‘I had a fragmented childhood and I was very hyperactive,’ Stephen told me. ‘I didn’t really like school.’ He taught himself a lot by reading. One day he spotted a classified advert for a cleaning formula in one of the newspapers he was delivering – a company in America was looking for a distributor in the UK. Stephen knew it would be a moneymaker. However he didn’t have a phone at home. Instead he used the local phonebox to call the company. After a lot of persuasion they sent him the formula and he began securing major contracts. ‘I was making more money than my dad by age 15,’ he said. Stephen founded the Fear Group in 1969 as an industrial chemical manufacturer and distributor, now it has evolved into an international trading business with interests in many sectors including manufacturing, hotels, property investment and the care industry. Stephen is as an ambassador for the British Library, and the official entrepreneur in residence. This enables him to champion new and existing businesses, and helps them

L

I was making more money than my dad by age 15

benefit from advice and guidance from Stephen and the resources at the Library’s Business and IP Centre. The Fear Group has become a family affair with Stephen’s son Leon overseeing the extended portfolio and investigating new projects. Stephen seems to be fearless when it comes to business. ‘Eggs have to be broken,’ is his motto. Although to me, it seems this ambitious self-starter has never put a foot wrong… DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? I was enterprising at age 12. I started buying number coded colouring books from WH Smith for 2s 5d – which today would be about 25p. I’d have them coloured in and then sell them door-to-door for £2-5 each, in a wealthy area. Soon I had queues of children from my school and our council estate wanting to colour them in for a cut of the profits. Every morning I also went to the local newsagent to find out if any of the paperboys hadn’t turned up. Usually around two or three hadn’t, especially in winter. I’d charge them three times as much for the round and end up doing two or three. HOW DID YOU USE A PHONEBOX TO START YOUR BUSINESS? While I was delivering papers I’d read the Financial Times and I remember seeing an article about cleaning ovens, it said if the UK got into the EEC/ common market then there would be more regulation on cleaning products. A few days later I read the classifieds and saw an ad for oven cleaner in New Jersey, US. I thought I could sell the cleaning product door-to-door with my paintings. I didn’t


TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

know anything about the US and we didn’t have a phone. So I called the operator using the payphone on our estate. She was so helpful, told me how many coins I’d need and agreed to put me through. I tried to strike a deal with them where they’d send me the formula; I’d make it, sell it and send them the shares. They expected and agent, not a 14-year-old kid. I went to the library and read everything I could about the US, like the Wall Street Journal. After three months I’d convinced them to send me the formula.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST SALE? I went to a major bread maker. I asked to speak to the manager but they said no. I sat outside drinking Tizer on the wall, when two men came out smoking. I told them I wasn’t selling but needed to demonstrate the cleaner on an oven. They let me do it and it worked so well they bought it. From there I sold it to more people and got major cleaning contracts with larger companies.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a genius; you just need to be consistent

HOW DID YOU GET BY IN BUSINESS BEING SO YOUNG? When I got my business cards printed I had “chairman” on them – but I was only 15 and this looked silly. I changed them to “president” but this looked ridiculous. In the end I had “trainee salesman” printed on them. It taught me a lesson that even though “chairman” was true, it wasn’t believable. Even now I still don’t have

“director” printed on my cards, I just have my name. WHEN DID YOU GET INTO PROPERTY? I saved my money and bought a townhouse when I was about 18. I rented out a couple of bedsits and lived in one of the flats myself. When the Channel Tunnel was built we built accommodation for thousands of workers – that was a big break for us and I was thrilled to be involved in such a huge part of history. WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST STRUGGLES AND CHALLENGES YOU FACED AS A NEW BUSINESS? The key to any business is sales, without it you don’t have a business. However, I never had a problem with sales or marketing. The main problem I’ve had is finding leaders – loyal, honest, enterprising people. I’ve been reasonably successful but I have made some mistakes. I employed one man who cost us £7 million because he left the roof off a major development! He was

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JANUARY 2014


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TALK SUCCESS FACE ON THE COVER

Vital Statistics Founded: 1969 Start-up capital: 2s 5d / 25p Formation: amalgamation/ confederation of SMEs (Profit not disclosed) Biggest achievement: Still here 45 years later!

about how much he enjoyed the visit.

an alcoholic but no one realised until mistakes had been made, you learn from that.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO FIRST-TIME BUSINESSES EXPERIENCING ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES? Keep your overheads as low as possible, and remember without sales there is no business. Don’t do everything on a margin, because if there’s swing everything could go wrong. Focus on sales and marketing equaling growth. Marketing is one side of the coin; leads, and sales is the other; leads converted into money.

YOU’VE GROWN A BUSINESS FROM VERY HUMBLE ROOTS. WHAT’S YOUR SECRET? Consistency. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a genius; you just need to be consistent. YOU ARE THE ENTREPRENEUR IN RESIDENCE AND AMBASSADOR OF THE BRITISH LIBRARY, WHAT DOES THIS ENTAIL? My role is to help with promoting and overseeing the enterprise programme. Many SMEs and micro-business with great ideas use the library for research. It has amazing archives, and mentoring services which help with development. The facilities are great and I’m an ambassador for all libraries really, as I used my local ones myself – to read the Wall Street Journal and other books when I was starting out. Last year I had lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip, and Philip came to see the library a few weeks back. He wrote a letter to me after

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JANUARY 2014

Last year I had lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip

I HEAR YOU’RE A HUGE FAN OF MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB… My mum was born in Stokeon-Trent so most of my family supported Man United. We’ve been season ticket holders for years, but we give our season tickets to a charity for disabled/ disadvantaged people, and to be honest they go more than us now. TECHNOLOGY HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE YOU STARTED OUT IN A PHONEBOX. HOW DO

YOU KEEP UP WITH CHANGE? I used to have a pager when they came out, but if someone rung me I’d have to stop at a phonebox – so they’ve been a big part of my business. I used to dream of having a mobile, and now everyone has one – it’s amazing. Some SMEs are miles ahead of me on the technology front. I use Twitter, but I’m not on Facebook or LinkedIn. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Me and my son Leon are launching an ethical homes project, which will increase the supply of affordable housing. The housing we are going to provide will be afford renting and shared equity to help people get on the property ladder. This is needed all over the UK, but especially in London, as there is a major skills shortage because London is becoming too expensive. I’ve written to Boris Johnson, calling for him to increase the supply of land – we can’t do this on our own. Contact: feargroup.com Twitter: @FearStephen


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Snap happy Y

ou’ve found a great jumper for a loved one’s birthday, problem is, it’s sold out and you don’t even know where to begin looking for a similar one. A few weeks later you’re flicking through a magazine when you spot an outfit perfect for that black tie event you’ve been fretting over, but the price tag is too steep. Take these two scenarios and add an app that allows you to photograph any item of clothing, and then use it to find something similar from various retailers: problems solved. Snap Fashion, founded by Jenny Griffiths does just this. Launched in 2011 in the heart of London’s Tech City near Shoreditch, Snap Fashion is a search engine that uses photos instead of words to find the perfect fashion matches. ‘I love reading fashion magazines and following trends and seeing how the catwalk styles filter down to the high street,’ Jenny says. ‘Fashion is so visual and sometimes it’s hard to explain what you’re looking for, it’s also hard to find a match to designer styles in your price range.’ ‘I thought about how everyone was walking around with a camera in their pocket, and it came to me; why not create an app where users can photograph what they like and find something similar?’ Despite never writing a single line of code before, Jenny decided to do a computer science course at Bristol University. ‘Lots of people said it was a boys’ subject, but I wanted to be

Dawn Murden meets Jenny Griffiths, the founder of Snap Fashion, a futuristic fashion search engine that uses images

Why not create an app where users can photograph what they like and find something similar?


TAKE ONE COMPANY

an animator or an inventor, those were my career dreams – and it seemed like the perfect way to achieve them,’ Jenny says. ‘I did my A-levels in maths, physics and English – so I had a mix of science and logic, and creativity.’ It was during this degree she developed the tools required to code Snap Fashion. The idea is simple. If you spot an item of clothing you like while browsing online, you log onto Snap Fashion, install the “Snap it” button onto your toolbar and “snap” the item you want to search. Alternatively you can upload a picture you’ve already saved. The site will then trawl through 150 retailers, including Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, and John Lewis, to find similar products in seconds. The iOS app can be used to take a photo while you’re out, like an outfit on a shop mannequin. It also has wishlist and it will let you know if items drop in price. ‘I developed all the code, but the user experience wasn’t great,’ Jenny says. Jenny left university and went into a project manager role at an engineering firm, but in the evenings she worked on Snap Fashion. ‘I don’t know how I managed it really, I just loved the product and I really wanted it to work,’ she says. ‘When I got funding, it was time to do it properly.’ She used the funding to perfect the user experience and look of Snap Fashion by employing the help of advisors. Jenny raised £400,000 of start-up cash. £100,000 came from the Technology Strategy Board, and $100,000 [approx £61,300] from Cisco – they were both competitions she found on Twitter. The rest came from VC funding. Jenny thought about giving up and says the hardest thing was leaving her full time job to

concentrate on her company. ‘My project manager job was well payed and I took a huge leap of faith leaving to concentrate on Snap Fashion,’ she says. But it has paid off. Snap Fashion has already attracted 220,000 users and is constantly growing. It has been featured in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Grazia, Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Fabulous, and The Sunday Times’ Style – to name just a few. Snap has also won awards and accolades, including The Sunday Times’ Top 15 Fashion Apps in the World 2013, Top Three New start-ups in Europe from the European Commission’s Tech All Stars 2013, and the Decoded Fashion London winner 2012. ‘The response has been fantastic,’ says Jenny. Now the hardest thing is finding the right people to work for her company. ‘We’re looking for people with a certain skill set, mainly developers for the app and website – but they are rare to find,’ Jenny says. Jenny hopes more females will study computer science, but said she’s used to being surrounded by men. ‘It both helps and hinders being a woman, sometimes you feel you have to prove yourself more,’ she says. Jenny has combined fashion and technology, and loves both aspects of the business. ‘I still work on the technology, but I also do a lot of the business development too; generating ideas, and getting brands and retailers on board,’ she says. She says one of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the flexibility, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. ‘If anything goes wrong, it’s all on my shoulders,’ she says. ‘You also have to learn how to take a lot of criticism.’ So what would Jenny’s advice

TALK SUCCESS

Vital statistics

Company founded: 2011, but started work on the technology in 2009. Start up capital: Bootstrapped for few years, then raised £400,000. Turnover: Not disclosed. Profit: Not disclosed. Growth rate: Grown to 220,000 users since September 2012. When we launched we worked with 70 retailers, now we have 150 on board. Biggest achievement: We’ve won awards, funding from the Technology Strategy Board and the Cisco Big Awards. On a personal level, just making an app people are downloading!

My project manager job was well payed and I took a huge leap of faith leaving

be to businesses starting out? ‘Get really good advisors, they’ve learnt from what you’re about to do and you can learn from them. Listen to everyone, but go with your gut instinct – it’s your choice, never give up.’ With Snap Fashion’s popularity constantly growing there is plenty in the pipeline. Jenny is currently working on an app for Android, and also in the process of launching Snap Fashion for men due to popular demand. ‘The Android app is set to launch in this year.’ Jenny says. ‘We also hope to move into other markets like homeware.’ Jenny says she can’t wait to see what happens in the next five years. ‘Imagine if you could wear a device like a Google Glass and blink at someone’s shoes to see where they’re from. Image search is the future.’

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TALK SUCCESS

Introducing Nathan Winch This month we interview Nathan Winch, founder of WinchPharma, an international pharmaceutical company athan Winch is founder of WinchPharma, a pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare company. It develops longstanding beneficial products for the medical sector in the areas of hygiene, clinical care and high-efficacy consumables.

credibility as they deserve, which is another reason why I networked to diversify my team both in experience and age. I would also advise; go for export as early as you can and keep it simple. People who complicate their business usually fail in the first three years.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? Having spent most of my early childhood in hospital due to a rare illness, biology, medicine and business became my only real passion. Towards the end of university, I started a company off the back of my Molecular Biology Honours degree and went from there.

WHAT IS TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? After selling my own company, probably to follow and help another young person through the same business cycle - and be there when they sell their company.

N

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? You must network. My company grew very rapidly when we started working with the NHS and other private institutions. Had it not been for my quick drafting in of a CEO and a managerial team from my networking activities, it might not have survived. People don’t grant young people with as much

Incentive for profit, and to make money is what drives the economy

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THAT YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Finance. It’s a tricky one, but luckily, I’d run a small company before, so I had a little savings for my current venture. You either have to get a big investor from the outset, or be careful with cash flow and earn your way out of the dog house. WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING? Being the chairman of an international, UK-based medical business. I love the

fact that a small company I started, which is now run by a very successful CEO who helps me get what I want out of the business in terms of performance, value and innovation, can be so fun! HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? A great deal, and it motivates all entrepreneurs, no matter what they say! If it didn’t, they would run a charity, not a business. Incentive for profit, and to make money is what drives the economy and competition, out of which arise innovation, lower prices, better products and services that benefit society. Running a successful business that helps deliver things that make people’s lives easier also drives me. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE? We have an exit route in mind. But my vision is to build a company similar to GlaxoSmithKline. Not necessarily to be a very well known company, but to produce products and brands that are household names. Contact: winchpharma.com

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TALK SUCCESS NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet? We’re not talking dieting and smoking, set a business goal. If you need inspiration, take it from these entrepreneurs…

‘To encourage businesses to improve their social media strategy. Businesses need to raise awareness of their offering and build their profile – social media is a key way to do this. Gone is the scattergun approach where organisations wanted to be seen across all channels. To achieve real cut through and good results, businesses need to choose the social media outlets that fit their organisation.’ John Starr, managing director of PR agency Clareville

‘We’ve spent the last year talking to our partners and customers to get a deeper understanding of their needs. As a result we have assembled a team of specialists who can meet these requirements. This year our focus will be to ensure that we use this new resource to improve and add value to our services.’ Chris Barling, chairman of Sellerdeck, a company that helps small retailers trade online

‘Having put in place a senior management team, who have been tasked with delivering to a very aggressive growth plan, my resolution is to channel tough conversations relating to performance through the management team and to focus instead on restricting my main communications with staff to keep their spirits high.’ Guy Mucklow, CEO and co-founder of software company Postcode Anywhere

‘To set up a £1 million start-up fund and to use it to invest in and launch at least two start-up businesses each week throughout 2014.’ Raj Dhonota is a serial entrepreneur and investor in start-up businesses


NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

‘I’m going to set priorities and not become overwhelmed. I plan to pick three things to do each day, and focus on getting them done. If I manage more, then great but starting the day with a list of 30 items or more (as I often do) just ends up being counterproductive. Any entrepreneur will know how hard it is to limit yourself especially when you are growing a business.’ Jessica Rose, founder of the London Jewellery School

‘My resolution for 2014 is to help businesses make the most of their groundbreaking ideas and innovations. It is one thing having a game changing idea, it is another thing entirely making sure that idea gets seen by the right people and is discussed and developed through to fruition.’ Simon Hill, MD of idea management software firm Wazoku

‘I’m going to ensure the company builds on past successes and we keep our efforts constant and unwavering. We are in an acquisition and growth mode; this can go astray without a continued focus and determination to keep on course.’ Davy Bal, chairman of DBS Law, a legal services provider for SME’s and individuals

‘In 2014 I’d like to get Crunch recognised with a “best place to work” award. We’ve grown the team by 43% in 2013 and we’re on track for similar expansion next year – now is definitely the right time to get some great incentives and employee perks in place.’ Darren Fell, managing director of Crunch Accounting

‘I want to create an environment and culture that encourages continuous improvement and development, ensuring that other members of the team can grow to become leaders in the organisation, eventually making my role redundant.’ Graham Ewart, managing director of healthcare manufacturer Direct Healthcare Services

‘Open a minimum of two international offices in Canada and UAE to capitalise on the immense growth we’ve seen in these markets and to be able to build better relationships with clients. ‘And to develop the senior team and create more opportunities for progression by releasing more responsibility to them and acting as an advisor whilst allowing them to implement the strategy.’ Craig Bines, founder of rengineeringjobs.com, an online recruitment site for the engineering industry

TALK SUCCESS

‘Spend more time with our existing, and potential, customers. It’s very tempting at this stage in our business journey to spend lots of time with the team or with our investors and partners. But it’s also critical to stay close to our customers, so we can remind ourselves why we started the company in the first place.’ Ed Molyneux, co-founder of FreeAgent, an online accountancy system for small businesses and freelancers

‘This is my third start-up and the sixth I have worked on, and they don’t get any easier. My resolution is; don’t launch any more startups. They are rewarding, but they also take their toll on your sleep, relationships and initially your bank balance. I’ll also be trying to find 15 minutes in each day to relax in 2014.’ Phil Cooper, Founder and CEO of Kippsy.com, London’s alternative to hotels

Feeling inspired? Why don’t you tweet your New Year’s Resolutions to us @TalkBusinessMag

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TALK BUSINESS AWARDS

TALK SUCCESS

Face2013 of

We asked you to vote for your favourite interviewee of 2013, the votes have been counted, and the winner is…

ast month we took a look back at our Faces on the Cover and interviews and invited you to vote for your favourite online in our poll. The votes have been counted and verified.

L

3RD PLACE

In joint third place is Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi, and Karren Brady of BBC’s The Apprentice and West Ham Football Club. 2ND PLACE In second place is Jacqueline Gold chief executive of Ann Summers. 1ST PLACE The winner, with 32% of the vote is Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers.

Focus on success FACE ON THE COVER

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

W

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

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

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

CHARLIE ON TALK BUSINESS MAGAZINE AND WINNING:

‘Being interviewed by Dawn for Talk Business back in the summer really sticks in my mind for her up front style. When she wants to get something out of you she just comes right out and asks – no beating about the bush. ‘I’m usually pretty honest in interviews but she had me admitting to almost losing my shirt in the early 90s, and hunting about behind the karzi in swanky hotels checking out the plumbing. ‘I’d also like to thank the editorial team at the magazine for producing such an appealing layout – people loved it and couldn’t seem to get enough of it. ‘A great job – and thanks very much to the readers for the award.’ As well as the accolade Charlie will receive Talk Business branded merchandise from Senator Pens, a tie from Reef Knots and a voucher for one of the creative dynamics seminars at Henley Business School. With thanks to: senatorglobal.com reefknots.com henley.ac.uk

18 July 2013

018_022 SUCCESS FOTC.ga.*NEW*indd 18

25/06/2013 15:59

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BOOK REVIEWS

Book reviews Talk Lean Shorter Meetings. Quicker

Data Visualization And Design by Randy Krum

About the author: Randy Krum is founder and president of InfoNewt, an infographic design and data visualisation company. He is also the creator of coolinfographics.com.

Our verdict:

About the author: Alan Palmer was educated at Oxford and INSEAD and has spent most of his career working for international advertising agency groups in London and Paris.

Talk Lean is published by Capstone, priced at £12.99 in paperback and e-book.

Cool Infographics Effective Communication With Our verdict:

Results. Better Relations. by Alan H. Palmer

We say: Time is short and sometimes we need to get to the point rather than waffle. This straightforward book helps you meet a middle ground in communicating frankly, courteously and effectively.

TALK SUCCESS

We say: Research shows that information is more quickly and easily understood when presented visually. This book explains how to create infographics that successfully communicate their message. Cool Infographics is published by Wiley, priced at £26.99 in paperback and e-book.

Change One Thing Make One Change And Embrace A More Happier You by Sue Hadfield Our verdict:

About the author: Sue Hadfield taught English in comprehensive schools for 20 years, and taught assertiveness to students, staff and parents. She has spent the last 10 years teaching adults assertiveness and personal development at Sussex University. We say: You want your business to be successful, but at what cost? Success doesn’t have to ruin your personal and family life. This book teaches you how to get the best of both worlds.

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!

Change One Thing is published by Capstone, priced at £9.99 in paperback.

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money

Tomorrow’s money? I n some circles, 2013 has been referred to as the “Year of Bitcoin”. If you’d invested £1,000 in Bitcoins at the beginning of the year, it would have been worth £38,380 at the time of going to print, according to MtGox, one of the leading Bitcoin exchanges. However, you shouldn’t be thinking about it as an alternative stored value for your savings. Even the official website (bitcoin.org) advises against this due to its youth and volatility of its price – in the last month alone the price of a Bitcoin has fluctuated between $430 and $1,200. At its simplest, Bitcoin is a de-centralised digital currency, based on open source software, enabling fast and secure electronic transfers of value anonymously. Unlike other currencies that can be subject to manipulation or other policies, no government or banking authority controls the issue of Bitcoins. Instead, anyone can create them using a Bitcoin miner app. But the algorithms underpinning the currency will slow the rate of Bitcoin production until there are no more than 21 million Bitcoins in circulation, from about 12 million today. Businesses can choose to accept payments in Bitcoins, in addition to any other currency,

This month, our funding expert Julian Smith talks about Bitcoin, the crypto-currency that has hit headlines

thereby opening themselves up to the Bitcoin economy. Bitcoin is a Payments are rapid and, once de-centralised verified by a miner, irreversible digital and recorded on the internet. currency, That’s an issue for buyers who based on obtain goods or a service which open source doesn’t meet expectations as software none of the usual customer protections apply. One of the major attractions, and disruptive elements, is that Bitcoin sits completely outside of today’s banking and payments systems as a direct peer-to-peer currency, thereby minimises Forex and other payment system costs that are a burden on business today. Due to the anonymous nature of Bitcoin transactions, the currency has attracted the attention of underworld marketplaces, such as the Silk Road, where until it was closed down, illicit goods could be purchased using Bitcoins. It appeals to money launderers for similar reasons. These characteristics, together with the wild swings in value seen following the US Senate Committee hearing legitimising virtual currencies (positive) or the Chinese Central Bank saying that Bitcoin has “no legal status or monetary equivalent” (negative), make the currency

too risky or unpredictable for many in the mainstream. So, who is behind this virtual currency? In 2008, Satoshi Yakomoto published a paper and became the inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, going on to release the first version of the client software in 2009, working with other people on the open source team before withdrawing in late 2011 and being very careful not to reveal anything personal about himself. There are various theories about whether Satoshi is in fact a he, she, they or a government operating under a pseudonym. Whoever and wherever Satoshi is, they are expected to be in reasonable shape having mined a number of the early blocks in the Bitcoin network, with a street value today estimated at some $1bn.

Julian Smith is The Funding Expert, offering workshops, consultations and public speaking on finance. He has been advising companies for more than 18 years on how to position themselves for investors, raising finance, mergers and acquisitions.

Contact: thefundingexpert.co.uk Twitter: @lefundingexpert

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At Optima Payments we believe in having the leading solution for all types of businesses. Whether you’re a retailer, restaurant or a mobile trader we have the tailored payment solution for you.

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CARD PAYMENTS

TALK MONEY

Cash, cheque, charge Geraldine Wilson, managing director of WorldPay Zinc, a mobile card payment company, explains how SMEs can manage their cash flow more effectively through card payments

2013 statistics from September • Total spending on plastic cards is £45.8 billion – of that £32.2 billion is on debit cards • 951 million purchases are made on plastic cards • There are 36.3 million cards with contactless functionality, and more than 164,000 contactless terminals

mall businesses, especially those with less than nine employees, have always formed the backbone of the British economy, generating more than £400 billion in turnover each year. However, it’s these small businesses that have been hit the most by the recession and are still feeling the economic squeeze. Keeping a business healthy during turbulent times is always a concern, but many small business owners struggle to manage their cash flow effectively. One of the biggest cash flow headaches is late payment, which can seriously impact the financial wellbeing of your business. It’s essential to keep enough money flowing into your business to pay suppliers, cover bills, order stock and to pay your own salary. Although small businesses and mobile workers have been paid by cash or cheque historically,

S

accepting card payments will help manage your cash flow in three key ways: INCREASING SALES Businesses that take card payments have the opportunity to increase sales, as customers are not limited to the cash that’s in their wallets. In a recent WorldPay Zinc survey, an overwhelming 87% of people said that they are likely to spend more per transaction when paying by card. An increase in sales, of course, translates to more cash in the bank and a greater buffer for when business is slow. RECEIVE PAYMENT UPFRONT Having a card payment facility allows you to get paid by a customer in person, even if they don’t have enough cash on them. However, if you are unable to get payment up front, you should consider being able to take card payments

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TALK MONEY CARD PAYMENTS

over the phone, for greater customer convenience. Money is paid directly into your bank account electronically, which is time effective and also saves the business from paying cash handling charges at their bank. PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS Ensuring that goods and services are paid for at the point of sale helps businesses prevent bad debts from escalating and saves time in chasing late payments. It also negates the need to depend on payment methods such as cheques, which are less reliable as they may bounce. There are also benefits for customers. Businesses that enable their customers to pay by card, make the purchasing experience not only more convenient, but also more secure, thanks to the protections provided by the Consumer Credit Act and chargeback schemes for credit card payments.  As an added bonus, your business will also look more professional. In fact, 72% of people we surveyed recently said that they have a negative impression of a business that fails to accept cards. As we move towards an increasingly cashless society, businesses that are unable to take card payments are potentially putting themselves at a huge disadvantage. People are falling out of love with cash and expect more convenient ways to pay. By meeting these demands and offering a variety of payment methods, you can improve the customer experience, make it easier for your customers to pay and reduce the likelihood that payments will be late. Statistics taken from: The UK Card Association.

Contact: worldpayzinc.com worldpayzinc.com

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JANUARY 2014

72% of people said that they have a negative impression of a business that fails to accept cards

72% of people said that they have a negative impression of a business that fails to accept cards

The growth of plastic: the decade in numbers • The 2000s sees plastic cards come of age as credit card and debit cards dominate the way consumers pay – cash loses it’s crown for the first time in history. • 1.5 million fewer adults use a credit card each month in 2010 compared to 2005, as consumers find debit cards more appropriate for daily use, and credit cards are used for bigger buys. • 74.6 million credit and charge cards are in issue by 2005, up from 50 million in 2000; this compares to 67 million debit cards in 2005, up from 49.7 million in 2000. • By 2010, 84.6 million debit card are in circulation and credit cards fall back to 55.6 million. • Use of cards instead of cash enables the growth of a new industry - internet retailing. • In 2000, 2% of card spending is online, this rises to 13% in 2010 and keeps growing. • More than 6.5 billion transactions are made on debit cards in 2010,. • to a value of £299 billion. • Credit cards are still favoured for use overseas – 63% of overseas card spending by value is on a credit card in 2010. • Borrowing on credit cards peaks at £69 billion in 2006, failing to £58 billion in 2010 – it is likely that student loan debt will exceed credit card debt within three years. • Card crime falls sharply as industry moves to keep ahead of criminals – fraud losses fall 40% in 2010 compared to their 2008 peak and are lower than at any time since 2000.


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DEBT MANAGEMENT

TALK MONEY

GET back what’s yours! Mark Edwards, manager at Rocket Lawyer, an online legal service, reveals how small businesses can manage their own debt recovery s if businesses haven’t already had enough problems coping with the recession, smaller companies which do manage to land contracts often have significant difficulty when it comes to actually getting paid for the work done. With more than £30 billion owed to small businesses in outstanding debts, the Government is considering introducing a late payment levy, which would penalise companies that fail to pay on time. To help recover debts that are owed, good business practice can often achieve the desired outcome more efficiently and effectively than a multitude of legislation or politicians with even the best intentions. For example, a professionally worded late payment reminder letter can prompt a customer or another business to take swift action to pay your invoice. By using a payment reminder letter, you can feel assured that you have formally reminded your client or customer to make payment. This reminder letter should detail all the necessary

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information from the date the debt is owing to whether interest will be payable, to the threat of further action if the debt is not paid. A follow-up second late payment letter can be used for any stragglers. If this fails to have any effect you can use a letter before commencing legal proceedings for collection and enforcement of the debt. This letter should include details of other enforcement procedures to recover the debt, so should only be used when you intend to give a last chance for payment before commencing legal proceedings for collection and enforcement of the debt. One way to encourage timely and full payment is to create a debt promissory note. You can use this in advance when you want to create a legally enforceable contract for repayment of a debt. This promissory note will help you lay out all the specific terms regarding the debt repayment, from the parties involved, to the date of repayment and whether interest is payable.

£30 billion is owed to small businesses in outstanding debts

In profile Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service providing businesses with easy-to-use legal documents and affordable access to specialist lawyers. All the aforementioned documents can be created on Rocket Lawyer. Should further guidance be needed, you can connect with an on call lawyer who will be able to help. Your first document is free and there is also a three-day free trial in which you can create as many documents as you wish. Membership thereafter costs £25 per month and includes unlimited legal documents, 30-minute free consultations with lawyers and up to 33% off additional legal fees.

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START-UP LOANS

TALK MONEY

A day in the life

This month our Start Up Loan recipient Allen Hartley reveals an average day running his luxury shed company

DEAR DIARY I start my day off as I always do; a strong coffee and a stiff walk with my two dogs while planning the day ahead in my mind.

06.45

I catch up on customer queries and emails. I see if I have any new orders, and check yesterday’s deliveries were successfully sent and all of our customers are happy.

08.00

I arrive at my workshop. I hold a weekly team meeting fuelled with coffee to discuss this week’s deliveries, quality control of the sheds, and on-going stock production ready for the spring, where business really picks up.

09.00

I am at my desk to continue the prototype design of a new integral tool trolley for a spring launch. At Garden Hubs, we are determined to continually design clever, yet sensible features that will enhance and ease how sheds are used – it’s not just about how cool they look.

10.00

I have a lovely lunch in town with our PR agent and the editor of Homes & Garden magazine to plan another article to help raise our profile in spring 2014.

12.00

An exciting meeting with a computer-aided design (CAD) specialist to finalise drawings for new 9’x6’ / 9’x9’ / 9’x12’ sized Garden Hubs. This is an essential meeting to add choice to our product range for customers. The challenge has been to keep the roof panels and framework modular, whilst retaining structural integrity and keeping it impervious. Afterwards, I’m back at my desk to process invoices, payments, delivery notes, and finishing up other administrative work essential to running my business.

13.30

I go back home to spend some time with my family before heading to a networking event with local businesses, through Let’s Do Business. It’s a great opportunity to meet and chat

16.30

In Profile Entrepreneur: Allen Hartley Business: Garden Hubs Web: gardenhubs.co.uk Concept: Garden Hubs are designer sheds that add a dash of style to complement beautiful gardens. Start-Up Loan: £9,500 with other start-ups. These events have been great. I have found suppliers - and even a new employee through these. I play a game of squash, followed by a curry and lemonade with the lads, then I head to bed ready for the day ahead.

20.30

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

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CAREFUL CONTRACTS TALK MONEY

Before you sign on

the dotted line… ast month was “deal season” in the SME community. December has always been about closing deals in time for New Year, and this year was particularly busy. This meant a lot of negotiation. Since this month is all about starting afresh, learning something new and being better than last year, it never hurts to be reminded of six principles of negotiation that we may forget in the heat of the moment:

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1. NEGOTIATION IS AN ART, NOT A SCIENCE The only real way to learn negotiation is through experience, and there are no hard and fast rules. I have seen deals agreed in a pub on a beer mat in 30 minutes, and heard of deals where people were locked in a room for days. However, we should always remember that “our” way of negotiating may not suit the context, and we may need to adapt our negotiation style to the specific deal and people. For example, if we are dealing with a corporate, it may be a firmer, more serious and more rigid experience than dealing with SME businesses. 2. CREATE A DANCE, NOT A BATTLE Negotiation doesn’t need to be unpleasant, so make the

NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers reveals the six principles of deal negotiation for SMEs

The only real way to learn negotiation is through experience

atmosphere light and enjoyable from the beginning. Diplomacy usually wins over bully tactics, so keeping a positive and lighthearted spirit prevents people from getting too serious. I have seen grown men beating their fists on tables and raising their voices in an attempt to make their point. When emotions run high, our intelligence drops, and we can end up acting like children. Take a breather when things get heated. 3. BE CREATIVE The most effective negotiators find creative solutions to the common problem and set about to create a win-win for both parties. In doing so, they tend to enlarge the “cake” for both parties, as opposed to working out how to take more of the cake from the other person. 4. KEEP IT SIMPLE We are all guilty of complicating matters, but when you are bamboozled in a negotiation, or find yourselves unable to understand the other side’s views, don’t be afraid to probe for more details. I tend to ask “what do you mean, exactly by…?” I often find that most sticking points are solved when you take things back to basics.

5. COMMUNICATE WITH CONGRUENCY In the book, The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey, he says: “Seek first to understand and then to be understood” - a principle perfect for negotiation. Remember to listen with an open mind, understand the other side’s views and then continue to ask powerful questions to elicit further information. Once you have fully understood, then you can start to talk.

Jo Rogers is an in-house lawyer for SMEs. Her vision is to create a tribe of next generation of lawyers that provide affordable wisdom to businesses. Contact: navistarlegal.com Twitter: @NaviStar

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Strategy

’Twas the advert

before Christmas B y the time you read this, Christmas may be a forgotten memory of tinsel, satsumas and all-round corpulence. But at the time of writing, I’m agog with festive spirit at the amount of storytelling I’ve seen this year from some of the UK’s best loved brands. Obviously, John Lewis set their stall out early with their national treasure-status Christmas ads, and 2013 was no different. “Bear and Hare” was a nicely animated story about a grizzly’s first Christmas (‘cause they usually hibernate?). Even though, for my money, they’ll never top “Boy Gives Presents” from 2011, it captures the imagination at this time of year in a familyfriendly, non-secular way. In contrast, Tesco’s effort of “Forever Young” was a decidedly melancholy affair, which reaffirmed life’s futility, and that inevitably we are all just waiting to die. The budget appears to be significantly lower and is comprised of unknowns, retro filters, a nod to gen’ Instagram, and Rod Stewart. Marks and Spencer as usual displayed magnificent production values in its “Alice in Oz” affair with Helena Bonham Carter. Undoubtedly pretty, I’m just glad Gary Barlow wasn’t in it.

Rich With, creative director of The Grow Creative Company, reviews the big retail brands’ seasonal adverts Brands have realised that a way to get their company lodged in the public psyche is by utilising storytelling

Debenhams’ “Whatever You Wish For” was a more traditional ad with a couple eventually finding themselves in a Richard Curtis-esque London, with a few model shots thrown in for good measure. Speaking of Curtis, Sky’s Christmas advert was a mini “Love Actually”, with four separate stories unfolding in just one minute – eminently watchable, cute, and easy to relate to. Boots’ “kept it real” with a chirpy young lad playing Santa and delivering presents to a teacher with weird eyebrows, and the “fittest girl in year 10”. Where did this young, urban scamp get the money? Probably scrapping war memorials, but it’s the thought that counts. The DFS ad sees Santa for some reason looking round a warehouse, which prompts the question, if he and his elves can make a Transformer or Playstation 4, surely they could’ve knocked up a sofa? That aside, various middle-aged women on sewing machines eyed Santa as if he were OllyMurrs dipped in Baileys, before he inevitably buggers off on his sleigh.

However, the hat’s off award goes to Sainsbury’s, and director Kevin MacDonald, for the epic “Christmas In A Day”. It’s heartbreaking, hilarious and joyful, and comes in a 49-minute version available to view online, which has had (at time of writing) 750,000 views. Impressive considering it’s a 49-minute advert for a supermarket! Sentimentality aside, without exception, all these brands relied on storytelling to get their message across. The majority are based around a realistic, and often melancholy theme that we could all identify with at this time of year. It taps into our sense of familiarity, and plays to both those who love Christmas, and those that would rather bury themselves in snow until February. These brands have realised that a way to get their company lodged in the public psyche is by utilising the storytelling aspect. It’s so powerful that this theme is sure to be something that continues year-on-year. It doesn’t pay to be a Scrooge, there’s no excuse and you can’t escape.

Contact: justgrow.co

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USING EVIDENCE

TALK STRATEGY

Four dynamic STEPS S tarting and growing David Foskett, DVP of sales and marketing at ADP Human a business remains a Capital Management, discusses what makes companies dynamic momentous challenge at any time, let alone factor in dynamism, with when the economy is 2. BE FLEXIBLE organisations with 10-49 edging out of one of the worst This is an area that has been recessions in memory. And yet, covered time and again over the employees and 251-500 employees faring best for being more people than ever before are past year, but flexible working labeled dynamic. Employees in trying it. The UK’s SMEs employ isn’t going away. In fact, it has the largest organisations (with around 14.4 million people. gone from being a mere perk more than 500 staff) were most For growing businesses, to an expectation among many likely to say their organisation being dynamic is increasingly employees. Interestingly, the was not dynamic but, in fact, important in a globalised and research very clearly shows a is “going backwards”. There highly competitive world. But positive link between flexible seems to be a clear message that keeping your employees involved working and employees’ being seen as dynamic is the and engaged is also vital. perceptions of an employer. best aspect of a small company’s ADP surveyed more than 2,500 When employees of SMEs culture and needs to be employees on whether or not were asked how they saw maintained throughout growth. they perceived their organisations their role developing over the to be dynamic. Encouragingly, next year, the biggest changes 4. INVEST IN SKILLS more than half of employees identified were those related Research shows that “personal (58%) agreed that their employer to flexibility – in terms of both fitted this description. where and when they work. It’s development and career The research then looked happening already, with 26% of planning” is a priority. Clearly, workers are aware of the at what the “dynamic” all employees already enjoying growing importance of IT tools organisations have in common. total flexibility regarding their A little bit of at work. Interestingly, only Here are some tips, based hours and 24% having a degree technology nine per cent were interested in on our findings, for creating of flexibility. 37% would like to goes a long way have total flexibility over their acquiring social media skills. a dynamic organisation and Planning for a more preparing for the future: working hours. flexible, technology-savvy, and ultimately dynamic 1. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY 3. THINK BIG, ACT SMALL workplace will not only help A little bit of technology goes a As companies grow, a common to attract top talent but can long way. Employees supplied complaint is that they keep them engaged and loyal, with a tablet, for example, are somehow lose the attributes in turn becoming a priceless much more likely to see their that made them great in competitive advantage. In this employer as dynamic than the first place - attributes employees without. Similar including entrepreneurial spirit, way, staying dynamic in the eyes of your employees jumps were found when staff flexibility and flair. can be seen as a key were supplied with a laptop The survey suggests that driver for growth. or smartphone. organisational size is a clear

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BACK TO BASICS

TALK STRATEGY

Think like a start-up

Richard Poole, managing partner at Fluxx, a product and service innovation company, discusses why medium and large businesses need to think more like start-ups hy are they still winning? You know who I mean, those “one technology trick” wonders who mixed brilliant ideas with lucky timing; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn. I guess you could say that they simply had a brilliant, new idea that no one had thought of before, and they reaped the benefit. But that’s only partly true; the real answer is that they have continued to innovate like start-ups despite getting big and successful. As an example, consider some of the other new economy winners such as ASOS, Net-a-Porter and My-Wardrobe.com in European fashion. The fundamental idea of these businesses is to sell clothes to women (and increasingly men) to look good in. This idea is as old as time. It may not be the oldest profession, but it wasn’t far behind. So these businesses took an obvious idea that everyone understood, into a mature market full of

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established players. They lacked scale, they had unheard of brands and initial customer bases of zero. They lacked good supplier relationships. They should have lost. The reason they did not is that they started innovating and they kept innovating even as they grew. Despite their obvious disadvantages, they used their speed of innovation as their critical advantage and made it count. The reason they are still winning is that the existing players in this category are not innovating. The typical excuse for this is that it is harder to innovate in a big company. Perhaps, but maybe the company has forgotten the innovative spirit that made them large in the first place. Either way it’s time for big companies to remind themselves of this. The technology guys get just as stuck as the rest of us, look at Nokia and Palm as great examples of what happens when innovation gets lost along the way. So how do you encourage and foster start-up-like innovation

The real answer is that they have continued to innovate like start-ups

in a large enterprise? Or reinvigorate that start-up innovation in SMEs that are rapidly growing larger? Here’s our building blocks that make a company innovative. Don’t worry – hardly anyone is brilliant at all of these at the same time, but you should be doing something about each: CULTURE It needs to be more than OK to have new ideas, it needs to be good to have them. You engender this by showing how ideas take the business forward. Ideas are the lifeblood of innovation. It’s a little clichéd because it’s true – you need to be a ‘Yes and…’ organisation and not a ‘Yes but…’ one.

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TALK STRATEGY BACK TO BASICS

ORGANISATION There needs to be a place where ideas go to bloom (and maybe people too). A lab. A hothouse. It’s the place where ideas are shaped, proven and evolved enough to begin to think of them as projects. This might commonly be part of your strategy or new product development teams, but just as commonly a team is put together solely for this. You need a broad spectrum of input, with participation from ops/ marketing/sales/finance/ and so on. Being a part of this

team or being seconded to it should be something to aspire to, maybe even a reward within your organisation. STRATEGY Some ideas are obviously good. They improve what you do for you and/or your customers. But for most of the other ideas, you need to assess whether they are good ideas for your business at this point in time, and for that you need a coherent strategy. This is the funnel you use to manage a long list of potential innovation ideas to the ones that you’re going to take forward in your lab. Sometimes a coherent strategy for your whole enterprise is hard to get hold of (it’s surprising how often that’s the case). So I suggest you start with an innovation strategy, something that defines the playing field where you are going to

innovate and be better than the competition.

More rapid innovation should go hand-in-hand with clear measurement

MEASUREMENT More rapid innovation should go hand-in-hand with clear measurement; you should be able to see what’s working and how social and tech trends, as well as your innovations are “moving the dial” on your performance. This is not about drowning in statistics, if measurement is not meaningful and actionable it is a waste of time. It’s an art but it’s perfectly achievable for bigger companies to act like start-ups, and when they do they have a combination of scale and speed that’s hard for anyone else to match. It makes me wonder why most big companies still seem to be acting like dinosaurs. Contact: fluxx.uk.com

What other entrepreneurs say: ‘Hiring on attitude and ability, and having a start-up mentality delivers real business impact.’ Jun Okumura, managing director, KYOCERA Document Solutions UK ‘Start-ups have minimal bureaucratic procedures, allowing agile response; and with little heritage they direct all focus on their future. Ultimately one should maintain the fighting spirit of a start-up and the sense of excitement felt during the early days battling to make the business succeed.’ Tim Doust, founding partner at advertising agency, Inferno ‘Start-ups can act as the perfect breeding ground for the innovation that is critical for growth. In an age where individual employees need to be nurtured on a one-to-one level, there is a lot that the enterprise can learn from small business. The commitment to developing individuals and giving them the platform to excel is something that must be adopted by larger organisations in the UK to ensure we see accelerated growth.’ Peter Grant, CEO of CloudApps, a CRM and software company ‘Start-ups by their nature may take more business risks, but large or small, you could pay the price if you make the wrong decision. Placing a greater emphasis on managing risk effectively could be the make or break.’ Mark Sisson, CEO 4-most Europe, a risk consultancy

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RETAIL

ach year, thousands of entrepreneurs set out to conquer retail. Some succeed but many more fail. In many cases, it’s not their product ranges that sink them, but underestimating what it takes to build a successful retail brand. Many believe that all you need is the right product at the right time, sprinkled with a little luck. However, while you do need these things, it’s not as simple as that. The vital ingredients are time and money, and in my experience, to build something of value you are going to need a fair amount of both. In the autumn of 1988, I joined a young upstart company, with one bold sexy fragrance that promised to shake up the industry. My colleagues and I had taken a chance. We’d left good jobs to join this small band of fragrance pirates. Why? We wanted to prove you could be super successful and have fun at the same time. Our product was the glamorous, padded-shouldered, shock sensation, Obsession. The industry in the late 1980s was crying out for an exciting “break the mould” product range, so the timing was perfect. The sprinkling of luck was finding retailers who were willing to take a risk. House of Fraser, Debenhams’ and Selfridges’ gave up valuable space and location for this cheeky brand. Over the next seven years we gradually took over the premium fragrance market with the introduction of Eternity and Escape. Then in 1995, we broke all sales records with the launch of CK One. This unisex fragrance shook the industry with provocative advertising and teams of young men and women in black CK jeans selling the product.

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TALK STRATEGY

Sweet smell

of success Sue Fabian, general manager of UmbrellaBrand, a company that helps brands achieve retail dominance, asks; do you have what it takes? I remember David Elliott, merchandise director of Selfridges was quoted saying: ‘You know you have a successful fragrance when the whole of Oxford Street smells of it.’ Today, Calvin Klein is a household name, but back then his success was far from a foregone conclusion. Calvin was a clever and relentless marketer. In many ways he pioneered the way fragrance is sold today. He knew to be successful you had to persuade your customer to want, need and love your product before they could even get their hands on it. A feat that requires more than a little investment. Pre-selling was something he engineered. Scent strips in magazines at least one month before launch, a UK TV campaign, young vibrant sales teams in Calvin Klein jeans and those Kate Moss and Marky Mark ads on billboards and buses. In many ways the last seven years had been the pre-sell to this CK One moment. In the background, he had a company of hard working professionals, from the GM to finance, from sales support to the sales teams. If you had cut them, they would have bled CK. It was a truly magical time. I learnt many valuable lessons during my time as general manager of Calvin Klein. Possible one of the most

In 1995 we broke all sales records with the launch of CK One

important was that gaining retail distribution is not the finish line but when the real work starts. To be successful in retail, you need to take risks, surround yourself with talented, hard working people, spend serious budgets, and then, maybe, the luck might just happen. Contact: umbrellabrand.co.uk

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TRADE ABROAD

recent DHL report, conducted in conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce, found that business confidence among SME exporters has never been higher. UK exports are at the highest they have been since the economic downturn of 2008. If SMEs are considering exporting to new markets, they might like to examine one of Latin America’s hidden gems – Costa Rica. Last year, the UK-Costa Rica Chamber of Commerce, based in San Jose, was established to develop relationships and facilitate trade. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top LatinAmerican countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), ranking far higher than other countries with a similar Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Costa Rica has a stable democratic republic government, allowing time for better infrastructure and internal transport links to develop. In response to a growing interest in Costa Rica, the British Government has been working hard to promote business opportunities in the country.

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EASE OF TRADE Though smaller in size than its Central American neighbours, Costa Rica is one of the largest economies in the region, and has one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment. Businesses find in Costa Rica, both a positive customer base and a highly educated workforce. While the traditional agricultural exports, such as bananas, beef, coffee and sugar, are still the backbone of Costa Rica’s export trade, a number of high valueadded goods have further strengthened international trade in recent years.

TALK STRATEGY

Hidden gem:

Costa Rica Neil Kuschel, director of sales at logistics company DHL, discusses trading with Costa Rica The Costa Rican central Government offers tax exemptions for businesses willing to invest in the country, which has encouraged many to do so.

Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES Primary industry sectors for the Costa Rican economy include pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, and ecotourism. Thanks to the Government’s tax incentives, several global corporations have already started developing and exporting goods. These include Intel, pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Procter & Gamble. In 2006, Intel’s microprocessor facility alone was responsible for 20% of Costa Rican exports and 4.9% of the country’s GDP. Sustainability is a key focus for this country and in 2007 the Costa Rican Government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbonneutral country by 2021. Therefore British businesses that export energy-saving and green technologies will find an engaged and well educated market. CHALLENGES Exploiting the opportunities that international trade offers is a complex process. British

companies looking to do business in Costa Rica should research the market thoroughly to ensure there is sufficient appetite for their products. There are no direct flights to Costa Rica’s capital city from the UK, plus the main language of the country is Spanish, so UK businesses not fluent in this language may wish to partner with an international logistics expert in order to maximise their potential. Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that the standard of spoken English is excellent across the country. SEEKING ADVICE An understanding of the necessary customs, finance and import/export regulations are essential and help is at hand in the form of advisory bodies. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offers a range of services for UK exporters, and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also offers export-training services. DHL Express also offers free support and guidance to small businesses looking to export. The addition of a new Chamber of Commerce means Costa Rica has never been so accessible. Contact: dhlguide.co.uk

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BUSINESS RESULT

Vision, strategy, team Tamsen Garrie, owner of Alpha Associates, a business development company, talks about how to align your vision, strategy and team any business owners have a vision for their business, but the reality is that a large number of those businesses fail to achieve results because the people in the business don’t take the action necessary to make it happen. However, the weakness doesn’t lie with the people themselves, but the lack of alignment with the vision, strategy and team.

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VISION It’s a long term view of the business, and because it’s in the future, it sets the destination of the business. It includes the values that drive the ethos and the culture, and it forms the basis of the strategy. In order

for a vision to be effective, it must motivate the people in the business to take action. A vision that motivates action is one that’s based on two fundamental motivators: intent and purpose. Intent is about the what – what you want to achieve. Purpose is about the why – your reason for being in business.

The vision is a significant distance in the future, STRATEGY which means The strategy is the journey. It’s that it can be the plan of action to achieve the difficult to vision, and because it details connect with the steps to be taken to get there, it drives the activity of the people in the business. Often, the vision is a significant distance in the future, which means that it can

TALK STRATEGY

be difficult to connect with on a day-to-day basis. The key therefore is not to aim for the vision itself, but instead to keep the vision in view while maintaining the daily and weekly focus on the route ahead – aiming for the next step/goal in the plan, and then the next, rather than the overall outcome. THE TEAM While the vision sets the direction, and the strategy details how to get there, it’s the people who ultimately make it happen - and this is where an aligned team is essential. A team should be aligned with the vision; both as individuals and collectively, as well as being aligned with each other, and the strategy role they play. This means engaging them in the vision itself, by seeking to understand which aspects of it specifically inspire and motivate them to take the action necessary to make it happen. It means creating awareness of the individual’s strengths (something that they not only do well, but that energises them, therefore making them feel stronger), in addition to their skills, so that the role they play enables them to perform at their optimum. It means ensuring that they understand the part they play, and the value they bring. And lastly, it means actively creating a team, so that they actually work together, with mutual respect and appreciation, in a supportive and collaborative manner. When you have a vision, which is based on intent and purpose, a strategy that drives the activity of a team aligned with the vision, everyone in the business begins to take the action necessary to make the vision reality. Results become inevitable. Contact: tamsengarrie.biz

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TALK STRATEGY ADAM CAPLAN

hen talking about passion and selling, you might be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to be reading something quite racy. Fortunately, for a business magazine the racy aspect of this article involves running races as opposed to anything “naughty”. My passionate client is called Vivobarefoot. They make shoes. Barefoot shoes. If that sounds like an oxymoron, I guess it is. They make shoes for people who want to go barefoot. The essence of Vivobarefoot is that modern shoes do not allow us to walk or run naturally. Their shoes allow us to walk or run as we were designed to, reducing foot injuries, corns, bunions, blisters and any number of other footrelated ailments in the process. It’s still a tough sell. They’re up against the likes of Nike, Adidas and Puma to name a few. Everybody else is selling shoes that are designed to do exactly the opposite to theirs. The other companies have marketing budgets larger than the GDP of some European nations. Over forty years of advertising saying shoes have to have cushioning, support and any number of technological assistance to be any good. Tim Brennan and Galahad Clark created Vivobarefoot to help reduce sports injuries. What they created has truly revolutionised the sports shoe arena. They’ve come up with a great range of simple shoes that helps us run and walk as we were born to. It’s a terrific cutting edge concept, priced extremely competitively, and most importantly, their product works. Is this enough to be a successful business? Often it’s not. How many superb products failed because

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JANUARY 2014

Why passion sells This month, sales author and coach Adam Caplan tells the story of a client whose passion permeates every aspect of his business

of bad selling and marketing? Betamax was a far superior product compared to VHS, yet VHS became the consumer norm. The Xerox Star was the first graphics computer with a mouse, and the then innovative GUI. Heard of it? OK, heard of Apple? They revamped the product and the rest is history. Remember the Palm Pilot? Killed by the better sales and marketing (and “coolness”) of the iPhone. I loved my Palm Pilot. I still have it, along with the Psion 3, 3a, 5 and 7, gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. To give Apple their hat-trick, many people don’t realise that the iPod was the second hard drive-based portable music player behind Compaq’s PJB100. Remember it? Nope, neither do I.

When I say passionate, I mean to the point of being semi-religious about it


Do your customers love your product or service enough to spread the word for you?

So, it’s not enough just to have a great product or service is it? Going back to my client, we can see that they have everything in place, in terms of product. What’s their magic ingredient that takes a great product and makes it a great and successful product? I can sum it up in one word: passion. They are passionate about what they do. I really empathise with this. I’m extremely passionate about my sales, recruitment and training business. Vivobarefoot has one store at the moment, in Neal Street, Covent Garden. They plan to expand this over the next few years and it’s easy to see why. Visit their experiential store, and you’ll see every single person is completely passionate about Vivobarefoot. When I say passionate, I mean to the point of being semi-religious about it. Here’s a product that they personally use, it makes them feel better and fitter, they love how it feels and love how it helps others. Before you buy a pair of shoes at their store, they give you free barefoot running training, they talk to you about what you want to get out of running or walking, and they won’t stop until you’ve tried running barefoot-style. They even have a treadmill in the shop

so they can demonstrate what they are talking about. All this so you can buy a pair of shoes. They really care about their customers. Everybody who works there just looks like they are having fun. They are all smiling, chatty and friendly. They love what they do; it oozes out of every pore. I have become a customer of theirs now. In fact I have become as passionate about their products as they are. I spread the word about barefoot running and about their products everywhere I go. Why? Because I love their products and what they do for me. Now, ask yourself these questions: • Do your customers love your product or service enough to spread the word for you? • Does your product or service have a unique benefit for your customers that can make them passionate about you? • Do your staff have the same passion about the product or service as you? If the answer isn’t yes to every question, you need to look at what you do and how you do it. When we talk to our clients about their sales staff, we first ask the single most important question of all: • What do you want? Imagine that you were one of your customers. Imagine asking your company that self same question. • Can you answer it with passion? • If not, you need to get passionate. Contact: cellularattitude.co.uk

Adam Caplan runs international sales training company, Cellular Attitude, as well as his sales recruitment company, Unique Sales Professionals in Leicester Square.


www.tack.co.uk/blogs


ADVICE

TALK STRATEGY

The Sales Doctor

Sales doctor, Tony Morris discusses how to juggle sales and clients chasing

Q: A:

Dear Sales Doctor, Where I work there is often friction between the sales and admin. I need to concentrate on selling while they need me to help with admin/client chasing. How do you propose I juggle both? It’s a very common challenge we have as sales people, to be pulled from pillar to post. My initial response to this question is to ask; “is there another resource within the business that you could delegate this work to?” The reason I ask that is for this simple point, what is your time worth? As a sales trainer and speaker, I charge my clients by the day, and therefore am able to calculate what I’m worth by the hour, which is approximately £250. Therefore you could argue, would it not be better for me to hire someone and pay them £10 an hour, rather than do it myself? All the time you are chasing clients for money and dealing with administration, is time you are not focusing on generating

new business - from prospective customers or from your existing client base. My recommendation would be to speak to the person whose overall responsibility it is in the business to bring in the sales figures; probably your MD. They may agree with my view about what you are worth, and take the commercial decision to delegate the admin and credit chasing to somebody else. If, on the other hand, they disagree and you are told that admin and client chasing is part of your job, then you need to manage that differently. As a sales professional, there are certain times of the day that are most effective to be making sales calls i.e. 09:30am to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:00. Therefore if possible, I would use all the other time available to carry out the admin and client chasing duties. I appreciate this is not always possible; so if your role involves you travelling by train, use this time to carry out those tasks as well; it’s a case of working smarter, not harder. Equally, when client chasing, use those calls to achieve other objectives. When I speak to clients, I am looking to develop my relationship with them, generate new business opportunities, ask for a testimonial and gain referrals from them; who better to ask for a referral than a happy customer? TONY MORRIS, sales doctor

Tony Morris is the director of the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden in London. He is running one day back-to-basics sales workshops at Jurys Inn, Islington on 20 January and 17 February. Contact: wedosalestraining.com

Need a diagnosis?

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

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mARKETING

Make your mistakes shine istakes are inevitable. No one goes through their entire career without making one and there is no doubt that you, your staff and your business will make many mistakes along the way. The question isn’t will they happen, it’s how will you handle them and what will you do to make things right? How you handle the mistake is much more important than the mistake itself. Mistakes can be brilliant opportunities to turn a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan and prove how good you really are. But let’s face it, mistakes are embarrassing. And too often, people want to cover the mistake or place the blame on someone else. They think by doing this, the client will be fooled and forgive them. Truth be told, even when it is someone else’s fault, the client won’t believe you. And even if they do, they will see it as your responsibility to make things right. They don’t want excuses. They want an apology and they want things to be made right. They want great customer service. The key to providing great customer service and fixing mistakes is to admit to the

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Kimberly Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, says deal with your errors the right way problem (even if it’s not your fault). Turn the mistake into a positive experience. I’ll give you a few examples. 1. DOMINOS They pre-empted their mistakes and created a unique selling point when they became the first and only company to provide your pizza within 30 minutes or it’s free. You almost want them to be late. And if they are, you’re not mad, you’re happy about it!

How you handle the mistake is much more important than the mistake itself

2. BRITISH AIRWAYS I was in London on 9/11 instead of my office in New York two blocks away from the tragedy. I had to fly back on 16 September and it was a nerve wracking experience. As the plane took off, a mysterious brown substance poured on me from overhead. It turns out it was just a bit of rust, but it scared the heck out of me. BA not only let me pick a bottle of expensive perfume from the duty free catalogue, they paid me several hundred pounds to replace my clothes, and they gave me a ticket anywhere in the world. Needless to say, I still fly with BA and am very loyal to them.

Sometimes a simple and humble “I’m sorry. You’re right. I’m wrong,” is enough to make things better. When you take responsibility, you defuse the bomb. You agree they are right to be upset. And you do all you can, to make things right. Most people will feel confident going forward that you are the right person for the job. They know if anything goes wrong, you will take care of them. They will be more likely to tell the world and become your biggest fan.

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

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Ten steps of Twitter Step two: Images Dawn Murden sets out to improve the Talk Business Twitter - follow our journey and improve yours too ast month I talked about NET followers, i.e. how many of your followers are engaging with you. When I started measuring this we only had 10 NET followers, but after a month this had crept to 114 followers. Our competitors however, were not doing as well as us, with one having only -1 NET followers. In order to encourage engagement and increase our NET follower number, Joel told me to search for keywords with the hashtag, e.g #business, #SME and so on. Select “Top” to look at the most popular tweets/people via those keywords and then engage with

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them. So for the last month this is what I have been doing. Searching the keywords was easy, you just scroll down and there was a long list of people to interact with. Some people I re-tweeted, others I followed and tweeted them saying something like “your website looks really interesting, I bet you have some great tips for SMEs” because Joel said flattery is a great way to get people on board. Others I asked questions, and I even got involved in some debates about the lack of financial support for SMEs. It was really easy to monitor what I was doing in a word document too, and then I could

The Insights will help you discover new hash tags

log onto Brandwatch to check our data and see if the amount of NET followers was increasing. However there was one major problem with searching the keywords; we were already engaging with around 70% of those people! ‘That is testament to your success,’ Joel said. ‘It’s fantastic that you’re already engaging with those people.’ Of course I can’t deny that, however when you’re

FIGURE 1


TEN STEPS OF TWITTER

trying to grow your Twitter engagement and followers, that automatically throws you off a little bit, and you think; “what am I supposed to do now?” ‘Did you use the “Insights” tab in Brandwatch to search for keywords?’ Joel asked. I didn’t, I simply came up with the keywords by thinking about our product and what we do, and entered them into Twitter. ‘The Insights will help you discover new hashtags,’ Joel explained, guiding me to the Insights tab on the Brandwatch tools dashboard. ‘It shows the popular hashtags used by your followers.’ This is a perfect example of why data tools like this can really help, because you can see what your followers are tweeting about and really begin to engage with them. This same tool also lets you view your top stories and the most mentioned tweeters, by your audience [see figure 1]. Despite finding the task in hand relatively easy to follow, our NET followers has decreased. ‘Everyone is beginning to wind down at this time of the year,’ Joel said. ‘Plus, in comparison to your competitors you’re all doing about the same.’ Joel was right – it was very tight, plus we have more followers than them. Now for our next challenge. ‘The way images appear on Twitter has changed,’ Joel said. ‘Rather than appearing as a link, now you can see the image displayed in your timeline. ‘We have been taking advantage of this ourselves, by posting interesting graphs and images on our Twitter pictures are easily spotted as they take up quite a bit of space on the timeline, and they add value to a tweet.’ Bitcoin is something that had been in the media a lot recently,

It’s about engaging your audience visually, and added extra value

so Brandwatch took advantage of this and tweeted a graph about the value of the Bitcoin currency in comparison to the number of times it had been mentioned online, which was around the same [see figure 2]. They also tweeted a graph about how many websites got the most Twitter shares in October. Lots of people retweet the images and others comment on them. ‘It’s about engaging your audience visually, and adding extra value,’ Joel said. We talked about some of the things we could tweet, like inspirational quotes, interesting pictures, parts of the magazine, etc. I asked how often I should tweet, and Joel said they tweet every 20 to 30 minutes – 30% of this is about themselves, because no one wants to follow a person or company who constantly talks just about themselves, 30% is images, and the rest is content, links, etc,

TALK MARKETING

from other Twitter users and the rest of the web. ‘It’s not just about tweeting images though – try to add images to things you’re already tweeting about in order to add extra value,’ he said. Joel told me to continue searching for keywords using the Brandwatch Insights if I felt the time spent on it was worth the engagement it drummed up. I personally feel this is something that needs to be developed over a longer period of time, so I will continue doing this intermittently. For now, my main aim is getting some visually engaging images on our Twitter that our followers will find valuable, so they will retweet and engage in conversation with us. Brandwatch solutions are used by leading brands and agencies around the globe, including organisations such as Dell, Kellogg’s, and Digitas. Contact: brandwatch.com

FIGURE 2

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Business Junction, London’s premier Business network, invites you to a Free networkinG event Business Junction is offering all talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of our Business Junction is offering all Talk Business readers a complimentary invitation to one of 5 august networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). our 5 January networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). Thurs Thurs9th 1st Jan Aug 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at Babble Cityat the Grange Hotel at tower Hill networking lunch Nearest tube: Liverpool Street 45 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HU 45 Prescot Street, E1 8GP Nearest tube: Tower Hill

Wed 15th Thurs 8thJan Aug 8-10am

Champagne Taittinger networking Kettners& Babylon restaurant at High st. kensington networking lunch at breakfast the roof at Gardens 29 Romilly99 Street, Nearest tube: Leicester HighW1D Street5HP Kensington, W8 5SA Nearest tube: Square High Street Kensington

Thurs 16th Aug Jan Wed 14th 12.30-2.30pm

Networking lunch at the lunch PhoenixatArtist Club networking Freemasons Hall at covent Garden Nearest tube: Leicester 1 Phoenix Street, WC2H 8BUStreet, WC2B 5AZ 60 Great Queen Nearest tube: Square Holborn

TBC Thurs 22nd Aug 5.30-9pm

Networking evening at Imperial College networking lunch at the Happenstance at st. paul’s Nearest tube: South Kensington South Kensington, SW7Hill, 2AZEC4M 7AA 1A Ludgate Nearest tube: St Paul’s

Thurs30th 29thJan Aug Thurs 12.30-2.30pm

networking lunch at dirty dicks at Liverpool street Networking lunch in Covent Garden 202 Bishopsgate, Nearest tube:Garden Liverpool Street Nearest tube: Covent 5 Langley Street, WC2H 9JA EC2M 4NR

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


SOCIAL MEDIA

TALK MARKETING

Seven trends for 2014

Jonny Rosemont, head of digital at SevenHills, the public relations company, reveals his social media predictions for this year his year is a landmark year for social media. Amazingly, Facebook will be ten years old, with more than 1.15 billion users globally. Social media has proven to be anything but a fad, and an influencer of cultural change. What does this year have in store?

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1. TWITTER EXPLOSION Twitter is now a public company with an IPO stronger than Facebook’s. Twitter’s user growth remains impressive and the network has taken greater advantage than its main rival in the “duel screen” phenomenon. To advertisers, it offers a unique advertising proposition that’s delivering commercial results. Major world events, such as the winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup will drive further interest in Twitter. 2. IMMEDIACY OF CONTENT 2013 saw the exponential growth of mobile social network apps, such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp. Their growth will continue. Marketers are already taking advantage, but 2014 will see major adoption prompted by unique advertising options. Real-time content and significant ad spend will be a potent mix.

3. VIDEO MONETISATION YouTube is the unsung hero of social media. With more than one billion unique monthly users, it is strange that it is not more in the spotlight. Digital content is the undisputed currency in social media and quality video is the most prized asset. Exceptional campaigns understand the marketing of video content is paramount. Expect a revived commitment towards video in 2014. 4. ADVERTISING EFFECTIVENESS Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Tumblr, Instagram and so on have all now developed social media advertising propositions. Ongoing innovation in the marketplace and increasing commitment from marketers will prompt a greater focus on advertising effectiveness and commitment to delivering results.

Social media campaigning in 2014 will be as much about the employees as their firm

6. RETURN OF BIG HIT CONTENT Social media moves so fast that if you blink, you might miss something important. To grab the attention of your audience you need to focus on big idea campaigns driving a narrative. Being reactive is great, but being of value really works. Effective social media campaigning in 2014 is about telling interesting stories.

7. REAL-TIME MENTALITY Social media is all about realtime conversations. 2014 will see an increased mindset of businesses analysing and understanding audience behaviours and wishes. Businesses will need to adapt internally, set up procedures, and plan for specific scenarios or campaigns – effectively applying real-time science to social media. So there you have it. The 2014 social media trends in a nutshell. Part a mix of industry developments, part a suggestion of what should be your focus. Good luck for the year ahead. Contact: wearesevenhills.com

5. EXECUTIVE PROFILE MANAGEMENT AND AUTHORSHIP Social media campaigning in 2014 will be as much about the employees as their firm. Expect to see the adoption of initiatives like Google Authorship, which will increase the appetite for businesses to manage the online profiles of their executive leadership, spokespeople or wider employees.

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PEOPLE

Back to basics

Lee McQueen, founder of the Raw Talent Academy and BBC’s Apprentice season four winner, discusses educating staff about your roots

his month we’re talking about going back to basics, and to me it’s about making things simple. I learnt this from working with Lord Sugar. He taught me one of the most important things in business is simply delivering what you say you can to clients and customers, and therefore keeping them happy. Unfortunately, some people in business complicate things when they don’t need to, they overanalyse and over-think things. For example, if someone doesn’t reach their sales target, they may over-think why this is. Really they just need to take a step back and look at what they are doing and think about the basics. The New Year is the perfect time to think about going back to basics. Everyone comes back fresh after letting off some steam. It’s a great opportunity to re-introduce everyone to the business vision and strategy and encourage team unity. We are having a company meeting in January to do just

T

If we let go of our roots, we could lose our innovation, like some giant corporates companies

that. We’re going to talk about our vision; the goals we want to achieve and our strategy; how we’re going to get there. Going back to basics is also about remembering the reason why you started the business. Some companies grow large so quickly they forget their values and where they came from. We’re still a small company but we’ve grown quickly, I think it’s important to stay true to our roots. I’ve got staff that have been with me since the beginning, but 60% of staff were not. So as part of our New Year focus, we are also going to do a presentation about where we started, with pictures of the shed we used to work in! If we let go of our roots, we could lose our innovation, like some giant corporates companies do. Remembering where we came from is important because it helps determine where we are going. Some companies seem to jump though hoops to get to the top, but I’m determined to walk around the corner constantly innovating, with a focus on staff.

We started with a five-year plan, and are still on track. If my staff can take the challenge, I promote from within rather than getting someone else in, which means a staff member will get the chance to be a director of operations before the age of 25. After all, without the right people, we don’t have a business. This year is about seeing what we’ve done well and not so well, and improving both. Building from the roots and going back to basics means we’ll always have a strong vision, strategy and team.

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk

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TALK PEOPLE SECRET DIARY

Secret diary of an entrepreneur L iza Jacobs and Felicity Groombridge started their company, Zoomer, 15 months ago. The children’s ride-on toy, developed by Liza and her mother two years previously, is ready to go into manufacture. Last year was interesting; learning about blow mould plastics and developing a product and brand from scratch. They are now at the point of bringing it to market.

DAY 1: ZOOMER’S A HIT Over the weekend we delivered nine samples to Zoomer VIPs, friends and other contacts who have children in our target age range. With five children between us, we have tried lots of different ride-ons, but Zoomer fills a gap in the market. It’s not a baby toy but not a balance bike. Our family and friends have been so supportive and now they have a practical role – to check that children like them. Calling around today has resulted in such positive feedback – it’s so wonderful to hear that the children are having fun. Small areas for improvement, consistent among the testers, is reassuring that we’re on the right track. Everyone loves the logo and it seems that the name is a hit with the children too.

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Liza Jacobs, co-founder of Zoomer, a children’s ride-on toy, reveals the first stages of taking her product to market

After dropping them off, we head into London for a meeting with the bank

DAY 2: TIME TO TRADE We believe Zoomer is perfect for nurseries and playgroups, so we have delivered two to be tried in a playground. After dropping them off, we head into London for a meeting with the bank and card processing company. Our combination of skills (I have a background in financial services, and Felicity in fundraising and marketing) has allowed us to work together on all aspects of setting up the business from the business and marketing plan to processing

and customer relationship management. Neither of us have ever produced anything before, nor set up our own business. We discuss a few processes/ongoing things on the train; automated order emails, invoicing and copy for the website. The meeting at the bank goes well. All the paperwork is completed and we can start trading. The rest of the day is spent writing up the feedback received yesterday and setting the agenda for meeting with the manufacturers later in the week. DAY 3: FAMILY FUN The website is getting close to being live, it just needs some photographs. In the morning we invite some friends for a photo shoot. The children zoom around all morning and we encourage smiles. As we both have young families, we do much of our work in between childcare and in the evening, so it’s fun to combine the two sometimes. We spend some time in the afternoon reviewing the website, adding new pages and testing all the buttons and links. Then, in the evening, we head into London again to meet the web designer. We look at


the website and brief him on some interactive games. Part of the brand development has been to create a world of Zoomer, where children (and parents) can be part of an online community, with games, ideas for things to do with Zoomer, and monthly prizes. Our web designer is so creative – it all started with a brilliant logo, and there is no end to his ideas! We talk about online puzzles, mazes and colouring pictures to be downloaded. We discuss offline activities, ideas for Zoomer adventures, obstacle courses and parties. He is delighted with the photographs and we set a date to go live.

Over the last year we have learnt so much about manufacturing and toy safety

DAY 5: THE FIRST ORDER In the morning we meet to review the size, packing, stacking and artwork for the boxes. Our contact from the box company brings some samples. We put a Zoomer in and discuss how to optimise the box size and keep it steady in the box during transit. It’s all hands on deck, and Felicity’s mother suggests turning the handle at an angle inside the box, to reduce the size of the box. It works and the final dimensions are agreed. We then calculate how best to stack the boxes on pallets and find that the new dimensions allow us to stack four more

boxes on each pallet, saving us storage and delivery costs. This saving is passed straight to the consumer by reducing delivery and the overall price. A friend who is over for coffee suggests handles in the side of the box - a lesson learnt from a recent house move. It’s brilliant, we hadn’t thought of it before and the box company can do it easily. It just shows how ideas are coming from all sources. We head back to the nursery that has been testing two Zoomers this week. They love it, the children love it and we have our first order! Contact: zoomer.co.uk

DAY 4: MADE IN BRITAIN Over the last year we have learnt so much about manufacturing and toy safety standards. With feedback from our VIPs, we go to the factory to discuss the final changes to Zoomer before manufacture. We chose to produce Zoomer in the UK and this has allowed us to get really close to the whole process. We were there to receive the tools, effectively enormous moulds that produce each element. We have five; the main body, the front fork, the handlebar, the wheels and hubcaps. Each part is loaded onto machines, plastic is melted and dropped down in a long tube, the tools are clamped on to the plastic and air is pushed into it to create the part. The machines are huge ,and while the plastic is being melted, the tools are cooled, so when the part is made it holds the form. Today we see some main bodies coming off the machine. We are proud to have the “Made in Britain” logo on our website and on the boxes that will deliver Zoomer to children across the UK.

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Your business will also benefit from a wealth of business experience that our members have across many different business sectors. Our members come from a very wide variety of business backgrounds, from traditional trades and professions, such as fashion, media and architecture, to modern contemporary professionals. Networking both online and offline is a very important but often overlooked aspect of business success. 247GBS actively encourages business collaboration amongst all our business members. We believe it is absolutely fundamental for business success. Businesses that are able to work together, collaborating and partnering will grow stronger together.

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Q&A JAMES OLDEN

TALK PEOPLE

Serial entrepreneur and investor

We grill James Olden, who has been in the marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years, on how brands achieve break through and communication

WHAT WAS YOUR VERY FIRST VENTURE? My first role was as a designer and it wasn’t long before I started Cafecreate, a graphic design company. 15 years later, looking back – I would say starting life as a creative not only gave me a critical eye, but it forced me to think differently in terms of approach. I guess I use that skill as much in business now as I did in campaigns then. WHO IS YOUR INSPIRATION? I always look for perfection and I’m pretty restless as a result. In terms of the ventures I get involved with, my role is to help ensure that start-ups reach and engage with the audiences they want to interact with. They of course have to be inspiring but the excitement for me is that with lower barriers to entry, new brands have never had a better chance to succeed. I come across guys everyday who have achieved what they set out to do – that keeps me focused.

HOW DO YOU HELP BRANDS ACHIEVE BREAKTHROUGH? Because of the amount of competition for space and attention strong branding is undoubtedly more important than ever. There needs to be a real focus on users now – not just product. It’s not about impact but interaction – genuine, conversation lead communications – that’s what I can help with. NAME ONE AMAZING AD CAMPAIGN YOU’LL NEVER FORGET… As an adman, I have come across many. I think the strangest I’ve done, was releasing real live carrier pigeons which we asked people to return if they were interested in our proposal. THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT GOING BACK TO BASICS, IN ALL RESPECTS, FROM PLANNING TO PICKING UP THE PHONE RATHER THAN EMAILING, DO PEOPLE

My role is to help ensure that start-ups reach and engage with the audiences they want to interact wit

NOT TALK ENOUGH ANYMORE? No. They send emails, I actually wrote a blog about it (jamesolden.com/the-thingis-with-email/#more-409). It’s hysterical how people believe that the answer lies in a twoline piece of text. People don’t buy because you have a decent Twitter following, a nice website or a good HTML – they buy into a relationship. Sure all the aspects I mention help but they don’t alone generate success. Right now I’m involved with a start-up called Echo (as CEO and investor), it will be launching soon and I think it will answer some of the issues we have when interacting with one another (and brands) online. WHAT IS YOUR BEST BUSINESS TIP? Scale fast, fail cheap. Contact: jamesolden.com

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HR INSIGHT

TALK PEOPLE

mployees are becoming increasingly anxious to see salary increases to meet the rising cost of living. How is your company planning to motivate staff without paying more this year? People may leave for more money, but they don’t stay because of high pay alone.

E

CELEBRATING Numerous studies have shown celebrating employees’ success increases motivation and commitment. However, do not only celebrate at a group level, but at an individual level too. By linking this back to appraisal, survey results, motivation, job rotation and team working, you can help to ensure that you are engaging employees in a variety of ways and demonstrate that you are interested and investing in them in other ways. This could result in a more productive and engaged workforce. Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers means more profit. More profit enables financial reward.

Increase productivity, not outgoings Heather Matheson, managing director of HR Insight, reveals how to increase productivity without increasing salaries to develop over a given period of time. Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) found this form of team working to be linked to both high performance and high commitment. The benefit to the employee is a feeling of being part of the wider, valued team. The benefit to the company is the lower cost base for new initiatives and employees developing high commitment towards the company.

INVESTING Just because your current organisation is not a cooperative, doesn’t mean you can’t try and retain your employees by using possible future profits. Tools such as phantom share schemes and stock ownership are proving popular and require no investment now, other than good faith and commitment. TEAM WORKING If the management team forms 10% of your company and are the brains behind it, you may be missing out on 90% of the ideas. The principle of team working is to bring working groups together formed largely of employees, which are overseen by a manager. Each working group is assigned an idea or task

People may leave for more money, but they don’t stay because of high pay alone

JOB ROTATION Job rotation is the principle of moving employees around a department or company, allowing able employees to gain knowledge and experience and add value to other parts of the company. So how does this help you? Over time it can help develop multi-skilled employees who not only remain highly motivated and engaged, but can step

in to cover absence, prevent fraudulent behaviours in teams and influence positive behaviour and practice. Growing talent internally can also help you to save money, fostering a culture of internal promotion – all helping you to retain your top employees and reduce recruitment costs. SURVEYS One of the most powerful ways to truly engage your employees and increase the levels of commitment and motivation is to involve them in providing feedback on a range of organisational and business issues. If you are keen to unlock that hidden talent and energy within your employees, then a process such as an employee climate survey will certainly set you off in the right direction. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk

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EMPLOYMENT LAW

he political debate about the effect of internships has been simmering for some time. But the financial risks to business of using unpaid interns are far more tangible; with the potential for costly claims and even prosecution of employers in more serious cases. Interns can be deemed to be employees with a right to the national minimum wage (NMW). The risks have been underlined by a recent announcement from HMRC that it is taking additional steps to target, investigate, name and shame employers who fail to pay the NMW. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has also released guidance for young people about their entitlement to the NMW, in an effort to encourage interns to challenge non-compliance themselves. HMRC also has a Pay and Work Rights helpline, and states it will prioritise calls involving minimum wage allegations.

T

THE LAW BEHIND THE HEADLINES There is no legal definition of “intern”. However genuine volunteering and work experience connected with education are exempted from worker status and simple work shadowing is allowed. Interns or anyone required to do anything that amounts to work - whether they agree to do it for free or just expenses – stand a strong chance of being a worker entitled to the NMW under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. In other words, where someone is expected to attend work and do what they’re told, they’re probably entitled to be paid the NMW. COST OF GETTING IT WRONG The State, through HMRC and interns themselves, can enforce the national minimum wage.

TALK PEOPLE

Unpaid internships cost more than reputation Peter Jones, senior associate at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors, discusses the risks of taking on unpaid interns

HMRC is taking additional steps to target, investigate, name and shame employers

Underpayment notices from HMRC require employers to meet the underpayment to the relevant worker(s) within 28 days and to pay a 50% penalty to the State, or 25% if paid within 14 days. Several hundred of these notices are issued every year and this figure seems set to rise. Failure to pay can lead to civil proceedings and criminal prosecution, resulting in a fine for the company and imprisonment of company officers. Public naming and shaming also takes place where civil proceedings become necessary. Interns themselves can also bring unlimited claims for back pay as wages claims in the employment tribunal, or potentially for breach of contract in the county court, where the three-month tribunal time limit has elapsed. In all cases, there is a presumption that the employer has failed to pay minimum wage unless they can prove otherwise. Interns are also protected from victimisation for speaking up about their employer’s failure to pay NMW, and can claim unfair

dismissal from day one of their employment. Equivalent claims for loss of earnings can also be brought by workers if they are victimised and dismissed. CONSIDERATIONS WHEN TAKING ON INTERNS If you have or need unpaid interns and want to reduce the risk of claims, it is important that you are clear about the nature of the relationship and are not overly prescriptive with them; ensuring that it is the intern’s genuine choice to attend work or not. Allocating very few (if any) core hours also helps, as can evidence of a bias towards learning, reimbursement only of receipted expenses and restricting the length of the internship. In any event, compliance with equal opportunities and Health and Safety policies should be made a requirement of any internship and consideration should also be given to entering into a separate confidentiality deed. Contact: ts-p.co.ukk

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TALK PEOPLE SOCIAL MEDIA

Networking is a necessity Veronica Pullen, founder of Word of Mouth Local social media consultancy, reveals why social networking changed her life and how you can use it to change your business

re you marketing your business on social media, doing everything the experts are telling you to, but not getting many sales? The thing is, so many business owners focus on the minutiae; whether their Facebook cover image looks good, or amassing hundreds of followers because they believe that’s what matters. It doesn’t. What does matter is making sure you connect with the right people, nurture and care about your ideal clients, prove you’re the expert, and satisfy that they can trust you.

A

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS IMPORTANT TO ME I’ve been online networking for 18+ years now, and initially it came about through necessity. Born with partial hearing loss, at the age of 12 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as well. I was desperate

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What does matter is making sure you connect with the right people, nurture and care about your ideal clients

for independence, so started learning to drive when I was 17. Due to the pain of RA, I struggled to drive a manual car. I persevered for seven years until eventually I discovered that you could have an automatic driving licence. Six weeks after having my first driving lesson in an automatic car, I passed my test... first time! Aside from the hearing impairment and the RA, I’d always known that I have very poor night vision. I never drove at night but it was good to be able to get around during daylight hours. As the end of summer approached that year, I went to the optician to see if there were any glasses that would enable me to drive at night. He examined my eyes, diagnosed a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, and referred me to an ophthalmologist. As soon as I sat down in the

ophthalmologist’s office, he said: ‘I have to revoke your driving licence.’ That was it. My independence was gone. So I moved my social life online, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Over the years I’ve made many friends, and got to know a lot of great people. In 2008, I met my second husband on Facebook, and in 2011, we married on Twitter with hundreds of our followers “attending” – including Duncan Bannatyne, Eamonn Holmes, Martin Lewis, Al Murray, and The Subways! In 2011, I discovered I also have Asperger’s syndrome. I couldn’t understand why nobody else could see the communication patterns that I could see, and I realised that I can interpret what is in front of me at a much deeper level than anyone else. SOCIAL MEDIA IN BUSINESS I set up my business, Word of Mouth Local, to teach business


SOCIAL MEDIA

owners how they can interpret the communication patterns in social media to find and engage with their ideal clients, and convert them into warm leads and paying customers. It’s been so successful that, in the past year, my business has grown to the extent that I now employ my husband full time, and am able to employ one of my best friends for 20 hours per week too. Now I am going to walk you through the eight essential steps you must take in order to leverage social media for your business: 1: ATTRACT Find and be found by your ideal clients. Who are they connected to already? Are you following the right people? Is your profile attractive to your ideal client? 2: CONNECT Emotional connections drive purchases. Listen to what your followers are saying, and participate in conversations. Make sure they know you care

about them, if you want them to be interested in buying from you. 3: CAPTURE Convert your followers into warm leads by offering a free download or incentive. But don’t breach rules. You are reliant on the availability of the social networks. 4: NURTURE Similar to step two, the nurture step means you continue to build on your relationship. You must also stay in regular contact via email too. It’s your job to drive the relationship, not theirs. 5: VERIFY Show your followers that you’re the expert in your field by being generous with your knowledge and experience. You can share blogs, videos, and podcasts or even just by posting tips that your audience can learn and get results from.

TALK PEOPLE

Connecting tips 1: Interact in Twitter hashtag chats. Follow @TheChatDiary and participate in the conversations where your ideal clients are. It’s a great way to get in front of lots of people at once. 2: Join Facebook groups and make sure you help others 10 times more often than you ask for help yourself. 3: Don’t be shy about recording yourself speaking to camera. Videos help your audience begin to get to know you 24/7, and go a long way to accelerate the relationshipbuilding process.

I moved my social life online, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since

6: SATISFY By step six, your audience know and like you, but this is where you prove they can trust you to deliver on what you promise.

In profile Word of Mouth Local social media consultancy helps small business owners and charities use social media to find and engage with their ideal clients and convert them into warm leads and paying customers. Download Veronica Pullen’s FREE eBook Unlock the 3 Best Kept Secrets to Skyrocket Your Sales from Twitter [end itals] from her website.

7: CONSULT At this stage, your followers are ready to invest something in you. 8: CONVERT You’ve made a sale or gained a repeat customer. Now you’ve got the sale, you want to make sure you give them a great experience, deliver on your promise and don’t forget to request those all important testimonials and referrals too. Contact: veronicapullen.co.uk

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F

Dress for pitch success We speak to the founders of The Ideas Factory, one of the UK’s leading private investor networks, which helps entrepreneurs secure funding with a Dragons’ Den-style pitching process

and small businesses with investors, via Dragons Den-style pitch meetings, founded in 2010. ‘A pitch has one goal – securing investors’ money – which you are far more likely to do if you go face-to-face with your potential investor, rather than pitching online. But that makes your image very important,’ Jason says. ‘We screen around 500 companies a year, working with roughly 45, helping them prepare the best pitch for our investors. ‘Looking presentable is often one of the basics we have to help with, as entrepreneurs are often so focused on their businesses that they don’t realise people are investing in them as a business person, as well as the company itself. ‘Luckily, there are a few rules you can follow to ensure that you’re dressed for success.’ The Ideas Factory has a network of 35,000 members, and has raised more than £16 million for start-ups in the last 36 months alone.

IMAGE

Image is key to creating a good first impression

irst impressions always count, especially when it comes to a business pitch. When interested investors are listening to entrepreneurs explain their ideas and business plans, they are also asking themselves; “Does this look like someone I can do business with?” What entrepreneurs wear will tell an audience a lot about them. Clothes give clues about whether they know how to present themselves and their company, if they have an eye for detail, if they are prepared, if they look calm under pressure. Get the outfit right and an investor’s first impressions will be of assurance, expertise and knowledge. Get it wrong and there will be an instant cause for concern. ‘Image is key to creating a good first impression,’ says Jason Kluver, CEO and co-founder of The Ideas Factory, a business, which connects entrepreneurs

THE IDEAS FACTORY DRESSING FOR SUCCESS TIPS: DRESS FOR THE OCCASION It’s important to provide a professional, but approachable image. People need to warm to you as a person and sometimes a suit isn’t the right outfit for the job. If possible, scope out how your potential investors dress and aim to be slightly more formal. In this way you can avoid alienating yourself, while still looking like a sound business investment. KEEP IT NEUTRAL Stick to neutral, block colours. While your business may be design-led and outlandish, your potential investors probably won’t be. Remember this is business, so try and strike a balance that shows your character, without being too garish.

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TALK IMAGE DRESS TO IMPRESS

In profile The Ideas Factory was founded by Jonathan Willis, Jason Kluver and Heath Lansbury. It connects entrepreneurs with investors through a network of 35,000 members, and has raised more than £16 million for start-ups in the last 36 months alone. Because of its bespoke approach – TIF entrepreneurs get to make a proper pitch in front of an audience of serious investors – the company boasts a 70% success rate when it comes to raising funds required by start-ups. Notable successes include the £1.2m raised for peer-to-peer lending exchange Relendex, and Cybersift, which is now valued at more than $10m. The company is based on the Sussex coast in Brighton, with live events held in Central London. WEAR YOUR PRODUCT If you have a wearable product, show it off (though maybe not if you sell underwear – get someone else to do it!) In one of our recent investor meetings, the founder of a company that created extrahigh vis’ clothing demonstrated the luminosity on stage by literally glowing in the dark. It wowed investors, with several pledging funds on the night. LIMIT JEWELLERY While you may suit a lot of jewellery, you don’t want it to distract from your presentation and you really don’t want it – rather than you – dazzling your audiences. KEEP YOUR NAILS TIDY The majority of our small businesses find that after their pitch, potential investors crowd round with questions, ready to shake hands. No one likes a bad handshake and the aesthetics start with clean and cut nails. KEEP TATTOOS AND UNCONVENTIONAL PIERCINGS OUT OF SITE Even if you are running a tattoo parlour that is looking for investment, it’s still best to hide your tattoos and any unconventional piercings, such as nose rings or tunnels. Part of a pitch is convincing investors

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of your business acumen, so a professional image is key. NO REVEALING CLOTHING It may be dark and full of people, but that doesn’t make a pitch an appropriate place to wear clothes that would be more at home in a nightclub. Avoid deep necklines or unbuttoning shirts too far, you want investors to be looking at your face. KEEP HAIR SMART This is another area where it’s best to be cautious, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for creativity. Try to always judge your style by what you think your audience will respond to. USE AN IRON It sounds obvious, but this is a real basic that you can’t overlook. An un-ironed shirt will give potential investors the impression that you a) haven’t made an effort, and/or b) don’t have an eye for detail. COMFORT IS KING Try to wear your outfit a few times before the day to ensure you’re comfortable in it. You need to be focused on your presentation, not holding your stomach in, fiddling with an itchy label or worrying that you may fall off your heels. Contact: theideasfactory.com


Look the business

All wrapped up Ladies and gentlemen, these coats are the hot ticket to keep you toasty during the cold snap


FASHION

TALK IMAGE

Grey coat, £99, Next

Crombi coat, £150, River Island

Rocha John Rocha coat, £160, Debenhams

Ramonika tartan tailord coat, £34.99, Missguided

Maroon coat, £89, Very

Jonathan Saunders edition coat, £160, Debenhams

Stockist details: next.co.uk; riverisland.com; debenhams.com; misguided.co.uk; very.co.uk

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

MEET AND EAT TANNER & CO Where? Bermondsey Street near London Bridge Station. What? A restaurant, with a private dining room for functions, opened in May 2013. The menu offers a

contemporary twist on comfort food like hearty pies and steak. All charcuterie is smoked, brined and cured in-house. Why choose Tanner & Co? Housed in a landmark building, the interior features cuttingedge leather designs and

COLMORE GATE, DE VERE

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rescued treasures. It’s a great place to dine in style and their scotch egg, although simple, is out of this world! Contact: tannerandco.co.uk AWAY ON BUSINESS SUPERCITY APARTHOTELS Where? Locations in Templeton Place, Nevern Place and Rosebery Avenue. What? Luxury serviced apartment in the heart of London – suitable for singles, couples or families on business or pleasure. Stays from £150 per night. Why choose Supercity? These apartments have a great emphasis on style, art, and comfort – they are also extremely modern. With three central locations they provide the perfect hub when doing business or attending conferences or meetings in London. Contact: supercityuk.com

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LOCATIONS

TALK IMAGE

TANNER & CO EVENTS AND GATHERINGS COLMORE GATE, DE VERE Where? Birmingham City Centre What? A new event location for meeting or training in the heart of Birmingham. It has two prime floors in the striking tower and rooms are bright, airy and filled with natural light. Delegate day rates start from £35+VAT. Why choose Colmore Gate? It’s just a short walk from Birmingham Snow Hill and Birmingham New Street Stations. It’s also easily accessible from the M6. Contact: deverevenues.co.uk OFFICES AND HUBS BLACK AND WHITE BUILDING Where? Rivington Street, Shoreditch. What? Architecturally striking office space with exposed beams, brickwork and high ceilings. It also has a roof terrace, which will be perfect to work from in the summer months. Why choose Office Group? It has four floors, three meeting rooms and five terraces. You can have your space fully furnished or empty, there’s a kitchen on every floor, secure bike sheds, showers, full IT and telephony, 24-hour access and monitored CCTV. Contact: theofficegroup.co.uk

SUPERCITY APARTHOTELS

OFFICE GROUP’S BLACK AND WHITE BUILDING

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TALK IMAGE OUR FAVOURITES

We love…

This month we feature non-slip bags and retro shoe polish from 1843. Enjoy!

QUICK TRANSFER If you have important videos and pictures to transfer on the move but don’t have the cables, the Eye-Fi Mobi can help. This wireless memory card for digital cameras, instantly delivers content from your camera to your smartphone or tablet. No need to worry about finding wi-fi, as it creates its own and works anywhere. Priced from £30. Contact: eye.fi

IN THE BAG i-Stay stock a range of bags from rucksacks to laptop bags, perfect for busy commuters and office workers. The straps feature a patented “webbed” shoulder pad, which ensures the weight is distributed evenly, and a rubber compound, which prevents it from slipping. Priced from £14.99. Contact: i-stayput.com

KEEP THE DATE Every entrepreneur needs a new diary this year to remember all those important meetings, and so on. Paperblanks have a great range. Our favourite is this Black Moroccan diary, available in mid size day-ata-time and weekat-a-time format. Priced at £15.99. Contact: paperblanks.com

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SHINE ON Tanqueray Gin has teamed up with bartender and co-founder of the Worship Street Whistling Shop to create a limited edition run of Charles Tanqueray 1843 shoe polish. Charles was an innovator and visionary of his time. His craft extended from crisp and tasty gin to flawless shoe polish to make your boots look brand new. Pick up a bottle for just £5. Contact: fluid-movement.com


®

T: 02070388046 | M: 07706728958 E: accountants@tdanda.co.uk | W: tdanda.co.uk

19 things to expect from your accountant Recent research shows that 82% of business owners want more support from their accountant. All good accountants understand this and have already geared themselves up to be able to deliver it. This simple checklist has therefore been independently produced to help you ensure that your accountant gives you all the proactive support and guidance you need. All you need to do is this... tick the right hand column for all those areas where you are completely satisfied that your accountant is already giving you all the help you need and want. And if the score is not 19 out of 19, ask your accountant how they can give you the extra help you need in the areas you have not ticked.

How a good accountant may help put an extra £20,000 a year into your bank account.

Are you satisfied with what your accountant is already doing for you in each area ?

General support you should expect

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1. Diagnostic review and report to identify the key options for strengthening your cash flow 2. Explore the 20 sources of cash to see which have the most potential for you 3. Help you understand and manage your breakeven point so you are more able to survive falls in demand 4. Benchmark you against others in your industry to identify the areas where you can most easily improve 5. Create an initial improvement action plan covering all the key areas listed here 6. Produce regular cashflow forecasts to ensure your plans can be funded & you do not get into financial difficulties 7. Give you free access to a library of relevant “Beat the recession” resources eg videos, software, reports etc Strengthening your cashflow by making more profitable sales & getting paid more quickly

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1. Identify which of the 8 key profit drivers has the greatest potential for you 2. Review the 23 profit strategies that lie behind the 8 profit drivers – prioritise and action them 3. Analyse your sales pipeline – & use sales improvement software such as SSTW to identify how to drive sales up 4. Evaluate alternative pricing strategies using software such as SSTW – since getting your pricing right is usually the fastest and easiest way to increase the profitability of sales Strengthening your business and personal cashflow by using better tax planning to...

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1. Pay no tax on the profits from new products/services/divisions for 5-10 years 2. Pay as little as 1.9% tax when extracting profits from your company 3. Cut your corporation tax bills to zero (or close to zero) 4. Cut your personal income tax bills to zero (or close to zero) 5. Reclaim much of the income tax you paid in recent years 6. Halve your stamp duty and capital gains tax bills – and perhaps even eliminate them 7. Claim your full Tax Credit entitlement (it is surprising how much you can claim with specialist help) 8. Use IHT and care home fee planning to put extra cash in your bank during your lifetime IMPORTANT NOTE: All of these tax planning opportunities are legal and all are possible in certain circumstances. If your accountants tell you that they are not possible, ask them to clarify exactly what they mean. Is it (A) they are fully aware of the tax strategy being referred to and know for a fact that you do not meet the qualifying criteria, or (B) they are simply not aware of the specific tax strategy being referred to? If your accountant cannot help you fully in all of the above 19 key areas, or you want a second opinion for free from a professional accountant who can, please contact us. There will be no cost or obligation. And even if you go on to ask us to help you with something, from the list above, you can still stay with your existing accountant for everything they currently do with you if that is your preference.

Sterling Libs ACCA, ACPA. TD&A Certified Accountants Level 33, 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LQ Tel: 02070388046, Mobile: 07706728958, Email: accountants@tdanda.co.uk Web: tdanda.co.uk


ONLINERETAILCONFERENCES On February 10, 2014, the Royal Garden Hotel in London is home to the first ever Online Retail Conference. Entitled ‘Case Futures’ a roster of expert speakers will deliver an absorbing and informative day of content, allowing delegates to take a peek over the near horizon for online retailing. A second conference will take place in London on September 16, 2014. For full information or to book online visit: www.orevents.com/orc-casefutures

ONLINERETAILAWARDS On September 16, 2014, the Royal Garden Hotel is also home to the Online Retail Awards dinner and ceremony. Following the success of the 2013 event, the 2014 Awards will be a hot ticket for online retailers who make the shortlist. Entries open on January 1 and the deadline for entries is March 31. Categories have been fully refreshed for 2014, and you can preview them, or find all the information you need to start preparing your submissions, online at: www.onlineretailawards.com

ONLINERETAILNEWS New on the online retail scene is the Online Retail Newsletter, known colloquially as ORNews. The newsletter aims to keep everyone interested in the Online Retail Awards and Conferences fully informed on the events and their content. Published every fortnight, ORNews will also report on the success of Awards finalists, or announce news from supporting companies and media partners. You will automatically receive your personal copy of ORNews by registering online at: www.orevents.com I www.onlineretailawards.com

Online Retail Events is indebted to the supporting partners and media partners:


tECHNOLOGY very time I go to our Chinese offices in Chengdu, I’m astonished by the number of tech firms based in the city – not to mention the rate at which it’s growing. This time last year we were getting ready to make our first foray into the Chinese marketplace. One year on and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. The benefits that come from tapping into emerging markets hardly need restating, with the right opportunity representing a world of new customers and potential partnerships that can take a business to the next level. Last year was peppered with government missions to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, most notably China, with the likes of David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson making various trips to fly the flag for Britain. As the UK reaches out to the world, it’s vital that our firms have realistic expectations. One misconception I find particularly infuriating is the idea that places like China are sweatshop economies, only good for low-quality goods production. Why this view persists is boggling for anyone in the tech world, where from the ground up Chinese products are of the highest standard. With this in mind, any firm looking east expecting to wipe the floor with its competitors need a reality check. This idea has fed a much broader perception that, when it comes to emerging markets, all you need to do is turn up. The number of companies that still seem to be run with the “set up an office and send

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Our resident tech expert David Richards discusses how to be smart when trading in China Navigating the cultural nuances is virtually impossible for anyone from the US or UK

in the westerner” mentality is staggering. Needless to say it doesn’t come as a surprise when they fail. When you see success in China it’s no coincidence that it’s almost always through joint ventures. Navigating the cultural nuances is virtually impossible for anyone from the US or UK. Every firm learns vital lessons when the business expands overseas and if there’s one thing China teaches you; it’s the importance of adapting. Even Apple had to dig deep with its iPhone 5S in China, where the world’s No.1 smartphone provider is only able to muster a fifth of the marketplace with a 12% share. Their problem is the fact their main competitor is Xiaomi, a Chinese firm whose latest Mi-3 phone sold out in 83 seconds. Xiaomi hasn’t discovered the secret of brand loyalty, but the advantage they have over Apple is that all their products have been specifically designed for the Chinese market. And it works both ways. Over 20 years ago, when Toyota wanted to release a luxury sedan in the US, they chose to market it as the much more US-sounding

Lexus. The range has become the top-selling luxury nameplate. When the same car went on sale in Japan for the first time in 2005, it was deemed “too Japanese” and at odds with the broader appetite for German cars. Sales were only 60% of initial sales projection. It’s great that the Government is doing so much to help British businesses make the step up, but it’s vital that firms understand the realities of what life’s like overseas and take the time to measure how they need to adapt to succeed. Contact: wandisco.com

David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both the Silicon Valley and Sheffield.

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SPONSORED ARTICLE

Information Overload:

The FuTure OF eCOmmerCe

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a responsive site is likely to encourage users to stay on the site longer as the display immediately shrinks or expands to fit the display screen. Instead of simply clicking and adding to the basket, shoppers can now access an array of information about what they are actually buying. Detailed product specifications, a variety of high quality images and even related products are all great tools that retailers can use to encourage shoppers to buy. In this day and age transparency is key and companies are now increasing customer confidence by adding reviews to their product listings. Both product and merchant reviews have shown to increase conversation rates and increase brand trust. Applications such as Schema.org are also proving to be invaluable to webmasters, giving search engines additional information about pages which are used to improve the display of search results. Further additions to web pages such as social media integration have added another level to online shopping whereupon users can share and save their potential purchases.

n the first article in this series we examined how much the face of eCommerce was changing with more and more shoppers taking to the internet to purchase goods. With new technologies emerging all of the time, retailers are having to think outside of the box when it comes to showcasing their products.

The Curse of the Returns Rate

Although online shopping is on the increase, retailers are having to contend with high returns rates, averaging around 25%. This is due to the fact that it is impossible for shoppers to try on garments without visiting the store. Coupled with the inconsistency between retailers in terms of actual sizing, it is no surprise that many shoppers find themselves returning garments due to size issues. So how do you combat the problem? The answer can be found within the new immersive technologies that are currently being embraced by savvy ecommerce retailers. By making products more tailored to the individual, retailers are able to offer a more personal shopping experience through advancements in technology.

So how will the introduction of a more tailored shopping experience help retailers?

Putting You in the Online Shopping Experience

The fashion industry in particular has had to become even more creative in order to limit the amount of customers returning goods. Leading fashion retailers such as ASOS incorporate features such as multiple product views and virtual catwalks that show how a garment looks when worn by a model. Although this does offer customers a new perspective when choosing clothing, accessories or footwear, the one glaring flaw is that although the clothes may look great on a sample size model, the fit may not translate as well in reality. One of the exciting new additions to a retailer’s arsenal is the virtual changing room. This revolutionary eCommerce concept was first introduced by Total Immersion who created a Multifaceted Augmented Reality tool that allows users to ‘try on’ apparel through digital software. Using a web cam the software creates an image of how a product looks on the individual, whether it is a dress, a pair of glasses or jewellery - the software not only shows how it looks, it also allows users to see the way that it moves in real time. Big name retailers

such as Adidas, Hugo Boss, Superdry and LK Bennet are all set to introduce virtual changing rooms, with some overseas retailers already embracing the technology.

Shoppers are looking for more than just an image on a web page and to ensure they reach profitability, retailers are looking to reduce their returns rate. The key to both of these is increasing the amount of information shoppers are given about a product, offering a more individual experience that will encourage first time buyers to become return customers. Whether you embrace the new age of virtual changing rooms or give your website a facelift that incorporates these key responsive features, the competition to offer a truly tailored experience is fierce.

Information Overload

More sophisticated eCommerce sites enable retailers to offer customers a more sophisticated shopping experience. Responsive site designs that are created to adapt to whatever device is being used to view the web page, ensures that shoppers get the best possible view of products. With more people using mobile and tablet devices to shop online,

Call our Visualsoft business development team on 01642 633 604 or www.visualsoft.co.uk/


CYBER CRIME

he recent e-crime Home Affairs Report has sent shockwaves through the UK’s business world, with the conclusion that Britain is losing the fight against cyber crime. Backing the report’s findings is our annual IT Trends survey. Lifeline IT develops and manages IT infrastructure for companies across sectors including retail, finance and property. Our survey revealed that 60% of companies admitted they felt unprepared to tackle cyber crime, with the majority of SMEs being most at risk. But 80% of cyber attacks could be stopped through basic information risk management, and many companies do not even know they are victims because of the rise in e-crimes based on stealing small amounts from multiple targets. Businesses reading this may well be victims of e-crime themselves, but are not aware they are because the amounts involved are negligible. The report called this the “black hole”, where low level e-crimes are undetected because they are high volume, but low in monetary terms. We advise a huge number of our clients on how to build their IT infrastructure securely and it is something that you need to re-visit frequently because e-criminals are constantly creating new ways to get into your systems.

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FIVE KEY STEPS THAT BUSINESSES CAN TAKE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES: 1. Keep your infrastructure defence systems, such as firewalls up to date.

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Daniel Mitchell, founder of Lifeline IT, a technology support company, gives his five top tips on avoiding cyber crime

Stop e-bandits 80% of cyber attacks could be stopped through basic information management

2. Identify what IT is critical to your business and have a recovery plan in case of hacking, for both yourself and your customers. 3. Have a security policy throughout your business and ensure employees adhere to it, inside and outside the office. 4. Be e-crime aware and on your guard. Do you know what “clickjacking” or “phishing” is? If not, you should. 5. Review your security on a monthly basis; cyber criminals act quickly and you need to as well. A good starting point is to check whether small amounts have gone missing in your own or customer transactions, to check that a cyber thief isn’t already in your system. Review all the technology you use. Our trend survey

showed that 44% of people use their smartphone for work rather than a landline. Do you have a policy for that, and what happens if it gets lost? Are there sensitive emails on it or other information? Go back to basics. We found that one in five companies had used the word “password” as their password. You might as well just keep the office doors unlocked! Other findings from our survey showed that a third store their passwords in their mobiles and seven per cent with instructions that came with their PC or laptop. More than two-thirds of us are still office bound, but 43% spend a substantial amount of time on the road working on the hoof, and almost half use a laptop instead of a PC. Contact: lifelineit.net

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HR Directors Business Summit 4 - 5 February 2014 • The ICC, Birmingham, UK Speakers from

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BUSINESS LIKE MISSION COMMAND

usiness environments are ever-changing, the 24-hour news cycle and increasing global connectivity means organisations can never be static. To ensure organisations remain sustainable, dynamic and ready to tackle unknown situations in a proactive way, they need to take a “mission command” and “beyond now” approach. And new technology is the tool to enable this. Recently we have been working with DSTL; the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in a key area of research – the application of cyber security scenarios and thinking within the context of real world (military) operations. Militaries around the globe are deeply interested in software that can assist with monitoring conflicts. Guaranteeing resources are deployed effectively to ensure the best outcome, breaking through division’s brought about by geography, technology and culture. And 99% of the technology, thinking and approach is just as applicable to business, with the boardroom adopting the approach of mission command. Whether top brass in the military or CEO of a company, leaders have a lot in common. Agility and anticipation are key to succeeding in both. Business is facing a growing challenge from fragmentation of services, suppliers and value chains. There are also an increasing number of varied and diverse stakeholders, interests and suppliers. While the military was once able to see everyone they had under their command, they now have people on the ground in conflict areas, supported by other commanders and technology that might be being operated many thousands of

TALK TECHNOLOGY

B

All present

Simon Smith, chief technology officer of MooD International, a software provider, discusses why your business needs a mission command approach

99% of the technology, thinking and approach is just as applicable to business

and correct

miles away. Business is the same – with a diverse range of partners and clients spread across numerous locations. With the diffusion of stakeholders it is increasingly important organisations commit to a “beyond now” approach, anticipating how different courses of action may look in a week or months time. The past is not necessarily the best guide for the future. Programmes of change under your control alter the way the business behaves, and things not under your control means that what you anticipated happening sometimes will not happen. To overcome this you need to keep on top of the data, observing changes and developments as close to real

time as possible. This will help you make decisions about how much risk the organisation is willing to bear, and for what outcomes in a objectified and informed way. Your business never stands still, and you need to remain focused on actively managing the business environment, anticipating and looking forward with the best combination of judgement, hard data analysis and transparency for the many stakeholders that are involved. Then decide, commit, and track what actually happens against expectations. Taking this approach is just like behaving like mission command, and will ensure you succeed and reach your business objectives in a secure and intelligent way.

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TALK TECHNOLOGY WEBHOSTING

Technology to reach the top Four companies with an average turnover of £35.2m share their insights on web hosting with Fasthosts, and how to use technology to gain a competitive edge

HOWARD DURDLE, CTO AT FISCAL TECHNOLOGIES, AN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE SOFTWARE COMPANY FOUNDED IN 2002 EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO… We provide world-class accounts payable forensics software to enable clients to reduce costs, detect fraud and protect working capital. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HOSTING? We found that many of our customers faced a number of challenges securing the budget and internal resources to install the servers required to access our forensics software, within their own in-house IT infrastructure. Therefore we needed a solution that provided secure hosted access to our AP Forensics software with minimal input from our customers’ IT departments. HOW DOES FASTHOSTS HELP YOU? They provide the speed and security we need, to ensure our customers are extremely satisfied and can access our services easily with no hassle.

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND USING HOSTING? In order to be successful, you need to ensure your company sticks to its core competencies and outsources the rest. The experts and technicians at Fasthosts are there for a reason. Let them do their job and you focus on yours. Hire smart people and get out of their way. Contact: fiscaltec.co.uk

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HOSTING? We needed a solution that was self-manageable and easily configurable by our in-house team of developers, yet still reliable, secure and with a high level of performance for our clients’ individual project requirements.

BEN WALLACE, DIRECTOR DIGITAL MEDIA OF DRPGROUP, A COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY FOUNDED IN 1980 EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO… We produce engaging communications and brand related activities for organisations across a wide range of markets. We specialise in live events, video production, design and print. We are proud we have developed into one of Europe’s leading communication and production agencies, for a variety of different sectors, including retail, finance and travel & leisure.

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HOW DOES FASTHOSTS HELP YOU? By using Fasthosts, we have seen a vast improvement in the up-time of our clients’ websites and applications. Due to Fasthosts increased security capabilities, we have also managed to win new projects that previously we would not have been considered for. WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND USING HOSTING? Because you always have to stay in front of technology, or at least keep up with it. Contact: drpgroup.com


WEBHOSTING

TALK TECHNOLOGY

GLENN ELLIOTT, CEO AND FOUNDER OF REWARD GATEWAY, AN EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS COMPANY FOUNDED IN 2006 EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO… We are on a mission to make the world happier at work. Reward Gateway’s core product is a comprehensive and fully customisable HR platform, with over 2,000 discounts and perks at its core. Over 850 companies use Reward Gateway as a central hub to engage their staff, explain employee benefits, promote culture and values, and say thanks with discounts on everyday purchases to big-ticket items. Reward Gateway is the fastest growing, global employee discounts and perks provider, and the only one in the world that is 100 per cent retailer-independent. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HOSTING? We needed a fast and easy-to-use solution for registering and managing multiple domains. We also needed to deliver bespoke branded websites for each of our clients. The customisability of

our product is one of our USPs and part of what makes us stand out from the competition. HOW DOES FASTHOSTS HELP YOU? Fasthosts bulk domain management features allow us to manage over 850 registered domains in one, easily accessible place. WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND USING HOSTING? When you’re 100% focused on excellent customer service, you need a reliable technology provider to depend on.

autonomy to customise our applications to our client’s specifications and maintain data security.

DANIEL DAVIES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CPL TRAINING FOUNDED IN 1990 EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO… We develop and deliver bespoke training programmes and tailored learning solutions to the licensed retail, hospitality, security, care and energy sectors, as well as international e-training solutions to a number of countries. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HOSTING? In addition to reliability, security, uptime certainty and bandwidth for our vast traffic volume, writing our own databases, websites and e-learning materials for clients, we needed the

HOW DOES FASTHOSTS HELP YOU? The dedicated servers we purchased from Fasthosts allow us to configure redundant web servers and databases to our specification, as well as the ability to customise our services, without the need of an in-house presence. The unlimited bandwidth and 99.99% uptime has coped effortlessly with our ever increasing traffic volume. The reliability, performance and security of our servers have been pivotal for our growing e-learning platform. WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND USING HOSTING? Hosting is vital for online business presence and success, and a reliable and secure hosting provider is imperative for the success of CPL Training. Contact: cpltraining.co.uk

Many thousands of Britons are budding entrepreneurs with ambitions to run their own enterprise. However, the right advice or encouragement can often be the missing link in whether a new project can get underway. With its Inspiring Better Business campaign, Fasthosts is leveraging its website, advertisements and social media to champion success and share the best motivational and practical advice. Fasthosts hopes its campaign will be a useful resource to help start-ups launch and existing firms to stay healthy and energised. You can have your say and share your advice via www.fasthosts.co.uk/inspire or through social media channels with the hash tag inspire #inspire. Contact: fasthosts.co.uk

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D R A W TES A I E S C B U E D W O R Online Retail Awards G P N I E Winner 2013 N W IN W - eCommerce Development - Web Development & Design - Mobile & Responsive Development - System Integration - Application Development Quote Talk Business magazine and receive a free appraisal of your website www.dotninesolutions.com 0115 727 0670 enquiries@dotninesolutions.com


GOOGLE

TALK TECHNOLOGY

Heard of Hummingbird?

Stephanie McKee, web editor at Mercurytide, an online business solutions company, tells you what you need to know about Google Hummingbird

he announcement of Google Hummingbird, the latest addition to the Google search algorithm, panicked webmasters everywhere. It was the most significant change to Google’s core in 12 years. However, when it was revealed that it had been in operation for almost two months, this quashed any SEO-related hysteria. Hummingbird is predicted to affect around 90% of sites online; its delivery went largely unnoticed.

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This latest update offers big benefits for local businesses in particular ABOUT HUMMINGBIRD Users are becoming more and more comfortable using search engines. This, coupled with the emergence of voice-activated technology – particularly the imminent release of Google Glass – has seen a change in the way Google is used. Longer, conversational search terms are used now. Queries tend to be more question-like, rather than solely keyword focused.

Google Hummingbird seeks to understand the user’s intent, which will mean more precise results being returned quickly. It also aims to return search results which have a geographical context to the user’s location, particularly queries made on a mobile device. For example searching “five star hotel” will now return results centered on their relevance to your location. Before, these results were based on their dominance towards keywords. STAY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HUMMINGBIRD It’s certain that this latest update offers big benefits for local businesses in particular. To stay on Hummingbird’s good side, businesses should be mindful of Google’s longstanding advice; “We encourage original, high quality content, since that’s what’s best for web users.” Taking Google’s advice on board and putting these guidelines into action within your site will ensure that your SERP (search engine results page) rank remains staunch. Contact: mercurytide.co.uk

Top tips for SEO Content Fresh, regularly updated quality content always does well with Google. Plus, adding content provides you with the best opportunity to answer the questions posed by search engine users that may relate to your products or services. Technology To push your search engine ranking higher, a technically-robust site is a necessity. A number of technical factors are taken into consideration – including site speed. Social signals A strong social media presence is synonymous with a strong search engine ranking position – including likes, followers, shares and retweets, with content that is shared on Google+ having the most positive impact. Don’t forget, social media activity is important, but content that is shared by other social media users will offer the most SEO benefit. Backlinks Backlinks to your site from other appropriate, credible websites are vital for high ranking positions on Google. It’s also equally important that the words used to link to your site are relevant. Emphasis should be placed on linking deeper into your site – rather than always to your homepage. By focusing on improving these factors, businesses will enjoy an improved search engine results page within Google.

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ONLINE PRINT FOR PROFESSIONALS ! Nobody can beat us when it comes to printing. You order online, we print. Fast, attractive and reliable. How about: 5000 FLYERS A6 250gsm gloss, 4/4 colours £40.87 incl. VAT and delivery 1000 BUSINESS CARDS 300gsm matt, 4/4 colours £27.36 incl. VAT and delivery

1000 MAGAZINES A5 135gsm gloss, 4/4 colours £135.54 12incl.pages, delivery (VAT zero rated product)


APPS

TALK TECHNOLOGY

I’ve got an app for that… This month we’ve chosen apps that will manage virtual currency and turn your e-store into an m-store

Bitcoin Wallet Price: FREE Compatible with: Anrdoid The gist: Have your Bitcoins with you at all times. You can pay quickly by scanning a QR-code, NFC or Bitcoin URL. As a merchant, you receive payments reliably and instantly.

No registration, web service or cloud is required, and when you don’t have internet access you can still pay via Bluetooth. It also shows the conversion to and from national currencies, and has an app widget for your balance. Downloadable from: play.google.com

iMobeCommerce Price: FREE Compatible with: iOS and Android The gist: As m-commerce is predicted to take over revenue generated through e-stores in coming years, it’s expected that every retailer will have their own mobile commerce app.

This is a simple m-commerce app that integrates your e-store into a mobile phone application. It provides easy checkout of products on the go, a watch list, product search and a store locator can be easily added. Downloadable from: imobecommerce.com

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TALK TECHNOLOGY GADGETS

TB CHOICE

WESTERN DIGITAL

Battle of the BRands My Passport Ultra WD vs. Seagate Backup Plus

This month our web development manager Mitchell Finlay compares his top two portable hard drives

SEAGATE

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Seagate Backup Plus

My Passport Ultra WD

From £55

Price

1Terabyte

STORAGE

81.1mm x 123.4mm x 13.5mm (W x L x H)

0.224kg PC and Mac Compatible, super speed USB 3.0 and backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports at USB 2.0 transfer speeds, sleek black design “Life moves fast. Don’t miss a thing. The Backup Plus portable drive from Seagate is the simple, one-click way to protect and share your entire digital life. You can share photos and videos easily to Facebook, Flickr or YouTube.”

It has a swift performance and innovative social networking feature. The plastic chassis could be sturdier and some features are not compatible with Mac

Dimensions: WEIGHT FEATURES

THEY SAY WE SAY

From £68.96 1Terabyte 81.6mm x 110mm 81.6mm (W x L x H)

0.134kg PC and Mac Compatable, USB3.0 and 2.0, backup to the cloud, ultra-fast transfer, works well with Windows 8, WD Drive Utilities, soft pouch included. “When connected to a USB 3.0 port My Passport Ultra lets you access and save files in blazing speed. At just half an inch thin (12.8mm) for the 500 GB model, this drive is sleek and fast with plenty of capacity for your important digital content.”

It’s fast, has a high capacity and a great portable design. But the plastic case could be sturdier.

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Buy a coffee franchise with

Why buy a coffee franchise? Coffee is big business: 800,000 people in Britain buy coffee at least 4 times a week It makes lots of money: Total turnover for this sector reached £5.8bn in 2012 And it’s growing: Analysts predict that the chain market will grow at least 6% by 2017, hitting 7,000 outlets and £3.7bn in sales revenue.

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


Hireaband franchise striking the right notes ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY FRANCHISE Hireaband may be the only franchise of its kind in the UK, but their recent win at the VOWS Awards (Voted Outstanding Wedding Supplier) isn’t unique. ‘This is the fourth time we’ve won the award,’ said the network’s managing director Del Cotton. Hireaband started offering franchise opportunities in 2012 and now have five UK offices, with their head office located near Glasgow. The company arranges live entertainment for private parties,

weddings and functions through to corporate events for clients including The FA, IBM and all branches of the Armed Forces. Cotton is delighted with the progress his franchisees are making, and said: ‘Irving Walker, our London-based franchisee, has brought clients to the company that we could never have hoped to win from our base in Scotland. ‘Franchising has given us national reach, which in turn has raised our credibility. Having a client like The FA for instance, opens many doors that would otherwise have remained closed.’

fRANCHISE

fRANCHISE NEWS

Pan Chai’s Asian dining expanding by franchising THE ASIAN RESTAURANT, Pan Chai, located in the food halls of London’s famous store Harrods for the last two years, is now offering franchises. It will target affluent city-centre locations with a high footfall to make the brand synonymous with luxury dining across the UK. Pan Chai, already a provisional member of the bfa, offers high-end sushi and other pan-Asian dishes. It has enjoyed success in Harrods, and its launch at the latest franchise exhibition attracted a large number of prospects. Eddie Lim, the owner, said: ‘It has long been my ambition to bring our food to the UK market and I can already see its influence growing. ‘We will offer our franchisees all the support they need, making this a great opportunity.’

New bfa chairman appointed THE BRITISH FRANCHISE Association’s new board of directors was revealed at the Association’s AGM in Birmingham on 12 December. Their first order of business being to confirm the new bfa chairman as Simon Bartholomew of Oscar Pet Foods. Bartholomew replaces Michael Eyre, who handed over the reins after becoming the bfa’s longest-serving chair after three years in the role. Eyre remains on the board, which governs bfa affairs, and received a standing ovation following a speech looking back on his time in the role.

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Simon said: ‘It’s an exciting time to be a part of the franchise sector, which has shown exceptional growth during the past five years where other industries have struggled. ‘Ethical franchising has afforded thousands of people the chance to realise their dreams of business ownership, and I’m looking forward to helping many more understand its benefits.’ All 16 franchisor and affiliate member positions on the board are through nomination and election by the bfa’s membership. See the full list of members here: thebfa.org

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SPOTLIGHT

TALK FRANCHISE

Under the spotlight Charles Gulland, Wigwam Holidays

Charles Gulland, director of Wigwam Holidays reveals why the company is now franchising WHY DID YOU PICK THE FRANCHISING BUSINESS MODEL? Wigwam Holidays began in 2000, starting with just four sites in Scotland. It has now grown to a network of more than 60 sites across the UK. As a market leader in the rapidly expanding glamping sector, it has an established, high profile reputation for providing exciting, affordable holidays, and attracts many thousands of visitors each year. We now want to take this concept to all areas of the UK, intending to create 100 new sites - from Shetland to Cornwall, Dover to Donegal. We hope that a franchise business model will create profitable, sustainable business partnerships to lead the glamping trend. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF FRANCHISING A BUSINESS? For some franchise businesses, brand reputation is important to sustain a viable business for the long term. At Wigwam Holidays we are fortunate in that we have a very well proven and highly successful business model that can lay the foundations for a franchise partnership with minimal challenges.

established brand, glamping expertise, and the design and launch of their own website with an integrated online booking system, to ensure each business has the tools and knowledge to help grow their business and make it a success. In addition, our franchisees are buying the right to develop their business in a defined geographical area, with a guarantee from us that there will not be another Wigwam Holidays site within a defined radius. DO YOU OFFER TRAINING AND SUPPORT? We offer comprehensive induction and training as well an ongoing support package. We have a team of experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience, including experts to assist with business planning, asset finance, legal and planning requirements, IT development and marketing support.

HOW MUCH WILL A FRANCHISE SET ME BACK? The initial investment will vary depending on circumstances and ambition. As a minimum, there will need to be a commitment to purchase at least six wigwams. There will be a one-off franchise fee and thereafter an on-going monthly franchise fee equal to 10% of turnover. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FRANCHISE? It is fair to say that Wigwam Holidays is already the biggest and fastest growing alternative UK holiday brand. But to fulfil its considerable potential, we need to redefine our goal and focus on our vision to be the UK’s biggest and best holiday brand.

We need to redefine our goal and focus on our vision to be the UK’s biggest and best holiday brand

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN BUSINESS? One of my apprentices involved in making our wigwams, Andrew Wilson, won the coveted Apprentice of the Year Award last month from Perth College. Attending the awards ceremony was a very proud moment for me – we are a people business at heart and I am privileged to work with the team that makes it such a success.

WHAT WILL FRANCHISEES GET FOR THEIR MONEY? Businesses will benefit from our already successful and

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

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

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.

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“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.

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


TALK FRANCHISE THE FRAN MAN

Key agreement points Tony Mundella, founder of Franchise Management, a business development consultancy, discusses what goes into a franchise agreement

THE KEY ELEMENTS OF A GOOD FRANCHISE AGREEMENT: 1. Recitals: the franchisor is the legal and beneficial owner of the intellectual property and the franchisee wishes to acquire the rights and definitions as required. 2. The rights granted to operate the business, use the trade name and trademarks, and to sell the products and provide the services. 3. Term and renewal – e.g. five years with an automatic right of renewal. 4. The franchisor’s obligations: Initially: supply of equipment, training, and so on. On-going: support, assistance, etc. 5. The franchisee’s obligations: covering such things as protection and use of the brand, development of the business, opening hours, customer care, adequate staff and much more. 6. Sale of the business: how this is handled, fees payable to the franchisor. 7. Termination: the various grounds for termination, and post termination provisions. 8. Death or incapacity – what happens in this event? 9. Warranty – that the franchisee cannot warrant the franchisor’s products or services except as specifically noted.

• These are only the headlines and, as always, the devil is in the detail and must be pertinent and relevant to the specific business that is to be franchised. • I cannot stress too strongly that there cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” franchise agreement; while much of it will be similar to and contain much the same requirements as all such agreements, it will need to be specific to your business and your operation. • Any company considering franchising their business must use the services of a suitably experienced law firm, preferably one that is an affiliate of the British Franchise Association (bfa). Its details can be found at thebfa.org

Any company considering franchising their business must use the services of a suitably experienced law firm

10. Notice – how any notices referred to in the agreement are to be served. 11. Governing law and jurisdiction – usually England and Wales. 12. Entire agreement – a statement that the agreement and manual are the only contracts between the franchisor and franchisee. 13. Copyright. 14. Waivers. 15. Severability. 16. Costs, apportionment. 17. Force majeure. 18. Acknowledgement that all goodwill and other rights in, and associated with, the intellectual property rest with the franchisor. 19. Interpretation. 20. Corporate body; in the event that the franchisee is a corporate body, certain additional requirements apply. 21. Schedules – these may include but not be limited to: • products • services the franchisee may provide

• franchisee details, including address • trademark details • any equipment provided in the initial franchise package • details of the on-going franchise fees.

This is the fifth instalment of a series of articles written by Tony Mundella who has 25 years’ experience in the world of franchising. Contact: franman.co.uk Email: tony@franman.co.uk

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TALK FRANCHISE TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE

Take one franchisee Chris Wright, Wilkins Chimney Sweep

Christ Wright, a Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee, tells us why he bought into the franchise in 2008 WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BUY A FRANCHISE? I’d always wanted to run my own business; a franchise offered me an element of support, guidance and expertise that I wouldn’t have had if I’d started from scratch on my own. By buying a franchise I benefit from an established brand, quality training, business advice and direction. WHY DID YOU PICK THIS FRANCHISE? Its strong branding and the fact that it was a different kind of business instantly attracted me. A friend of mine is a fireman and explained to me how frequent and dangerous chimney fires can be, and that chimney sweeps provide a vital safety service to the public. Added to that the annual repeat business and pay-on-the-day model and it quickly became a very attractive proposition. Also, after many years of officebased work, I wanted a practical, physical job that would involve meeting the public and providing a quality service. Chimney sweeping really

appealed to me because of its quirky, traditional and old fashioned nature. It is quite a talking point. WHAT’S YOUR WORKING WEEK LIKE? I worked in financial services for 15 years so previously spent my days behind a desk; now I’m out and about in the van, seeing multiple customers every day. I never travel more than 25 miles from home and the day can vary from sweeping chimneys and flues to replacing or installing chimney pots, cages, caps and cowls. You’d be amazed at some of the things that birds can put down a chimney! DID YOU GET TRAINING AND SUPPORT? Yes my training came in two main parts; the first week was business training, and the second and third weeks were practical on the job training. The business training was very thorough and gave me a solid understanding of both the systems I would be using and the knowledge and understanding

I wanted a practical, physical job that would involve meeting the public

required to run my business on a day-to-day basis. During my practical training, I swept a huge variety of chimneys and wood burners under the guidance and supervision of franchisor, Peter Harris. I left feeling very confident about returning to Newark to start servicing my first clients. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR FRANCHISE? My plan is to continue to grow my business, using the techniques laid out in the franchise manual. Chimney sweeping offers repeat business so as long as I follow the model and provide my customers with a good service, my business should grow year on year. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN BUSINESS? I think probably when I got my new van. It’s such a striking livery. People are constantly stopping me in the street to comment on it and usually to make a booking too!

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TALK FRANCHISE THE FRAN MAN

hen you get to a point in your life that you decide you want to work for yourself, you need to consider whether franchising holds an advantage over being independent. After 20 years in franchising, I can categorically say that the choice has to be franchising. With franchising you get all the benefits of “corporate” head office support and you are part of a network of like-minded people who swap and share best practice, advice and insights. Here are 16 specific benefits to consider:

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16 Reasons

why

Nigel Toplis, managing director of four major franchise companies, including Recognition Express, gives his 16 benefits of franchising

1. PROVEN BUSINESS MODEL The franchisor will be able to show that other franchisees are trading successfully through the system.

development. When the brand grows, the greater the benefit for each franchisee.

2. TESTED CONCEPT The business model will have been tried and tested to ensure it performs.

8. ECONOMIES OF SCALE A franchisee can benefit from the group purchasing power, thus enabling franchisees to have a lower cost base.

3. SYSTEM AND TOOLS You get access to a proven business model and the tools created to support the system.

9. SALES AND MARKETING You get access to sales and marketing programmes, collateral and tools, which are regularly updated, improved or added to.

4. ON-GOING SUPPORT A good franchisor will be available to offer guidance, advice and help throughout your tenure. 5. INVESTMENT You may not have the funds, time or skills to research new opportunities, nor to launch new products – whereas a good franchisor can and will.

It is in the interest of the franchisor to continuously improve the system

10. IMPROVING THE SYSTEM It is in the interest of the franchisor to continuously improve the system, which in turn benefits franchisees.

6. TRAINING A franchisor can teach new techniques, new markets and new products.

11. FUNDING Good franchisors have strong relationships with the major banks, and it is generally easier to get funding as a prospective franchisee.

7. BRAND IDENTITY It is very much in the interest of the franchisor to build the brand and to invest in its growth and

12. BUSINESS PLANNING The franchisor will often act as a non-executive director for the franchisee and work with

franchisees on regular and structured business planning 13. BEST PRACTICE Franchisees gain huge benefit by having the opportunity to network and share best practice with each other. 14. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION Information the franchisor collects on everything from new market opportunities to financial benchmarks, benefits all franchisees. 15. EXIT PLANNING All franchisees should be aware of the need to leave the franchise at some point - selling the business or passing it to children are two possibilities, and the franchisor can use their experience to help the franchisee find the right exit route for them. 16. LEADERSHIP AND VISION Finally, the franchisor will provide leadership, vision and strategy for the growth and development of the brand. Contact: thebardongroup.co.uk

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Mobile payments Zee Abbas, CEP of Payment Gateway, an ecommerce application service provider, discusses mobile payments and the launch of Payment Gateway hen I visited the 2013 Payments Awards at Millennium Hotel, I realised that there are some small businesses who rely heavily on new and upcoming processes in the payments industry. Their main source of income is not only transactions but also creating new areas of expertise in user acquisition. This is something I was looking for, for a long time, as after years of working in the industry I was on a brink of trying my luck somewhere else due to lack of new products and creativity. Gone are the times, when a sales channel used to focus on having low-end self-employed business development managers to get SME’s in some areas of the south east and west. I am very much against this idea of having a commissionbased, self-employed individual without anyone backing them

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up for their uphill task. In my view, creativity is very important in every aspect of business, whether it’s sales or any other department. Without a creative approach, a business cannot last longer or attract customers. It’s very important that a creative approach must be adopted for any business to get new clientele and increase followers. One of the most innovative things happening in the payments industry is the new approach and trend in mobile payments. As it says itself, mobile payments provide ways to use your mobile phone to pay for anything. However, it was realised after a long time that there could be hundreds of different methods where a user can pay using any smartphone handset. Innovation has no boundaries and it can materialise anywhere providing the rules and regulations of this are followed.

Without a creative approach, a business cannot last longer or attract customers


PAYMENT GATEWAY

After proper research, I realised that this creative trend of finding new ways to use mobile payments started in China, followed by the US and then Western Europe. One of the biggest concerns I have is the fact that we realised the mobile payments industry way after other Western European states who are not only implementing it very rapidly but also encouraging new SME’s to use their products, which will not only increase business but also create more clientele. This whole scenario changed my thoughts about the payments industry and I realised that I need to come up with something very

innovative and progressive with long term market standing so that it can generate value for money. Keeping this in view, we launched our first mobile payments on 22 November 2013 in the London venue, Vanilla. Among the delegates at the awards were people from different ISO’s (International Standards Organisation) who not only applaud the product, but also our sales strategy as it overcomes other players in industry very easily. The best thing about it is the fact that it’s not a card reader but a complete pin entry device (PED) with bespoke smartphone app combined with our 24/7 UK-

The best thing about it is the fact that it’s not a card reader but a complete pin entry device

TALK ADVICE

based customer support desk for any technical issues. This gave us a strong, clientfocussed and innovative market standing in the UK, and I hope that we will bring more innovation to the industry using this platform. At this point, I would like to say congratulations to everyone in the industry as we are entering a new phase where innovation and creativity is everything. Hopefully, we will be able to give the Chinese a run for their money in mobile payments acquisition, despite them getting a head start, and create tough competition for the rest of Europe.

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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...

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He said she said This month the entrepreneurs are tweeting about The Apprentice 2014, Heathrow’s expansion and increasing Twitter followers. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Alan Sugar @Lord_Sugar If you’d like to be the next Tom, Susan, Ricky or Dr Leah, apply for the 2014 Apprentice here… apprentice. fremantlemedia.com Calling all budding apprentices for the tenth series of Lord Sugar’s BBC show. Have you got what it takes to not get fired with that finger? Duncan Bannatyne @DuncanBannatyne If you missed the info. Just follow my followers mention #duncansdream & they should follow you back then you will all follow each other Duncan is determined to build up his Twitter family. This hashtag is a great way for SMEs to gain more followers though. Richard Branson @ricardbranson If you can’t write your business idea on the #BackOfAnEnvelope – it’s rubbish virg.in/boe @VirginStartUp [itals] It’s very true, your idea doesn’t have to be simple, but it should be simple enough to explain in a nutshell.

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JANUARY 2014

Charlie Mullins @PimlicoPlumbers Get This – Half A Million New Enterprises Were Founded http:// tinyurl.com/opcnvanvia @pimlicoplumbers 2013 the year for startups and SMEs. Really interesting article from Charlie, our Face of 2013 winner.

Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump Prime Minister @David_ Cameron is very foolish in giving @AlexSalmond so much money to build wind turbines which r destroying Scotland. Why is Donald Trump worrying about Scotland we wonder? Oh yes, he has a luxury golf club there. Ruining that view? Vince Cable @vincecable I’m strongly opposed to the proposals for Heathrow expansion & shall be making that view known in the strongest terms http:// vc.lib.dm/a6FHl The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has made his view known about the proposed Heathrow expansion.


Talk Business - January 2014  
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