October 2015 ÂŁ4.50
THE PHRASE THAT PAYS Should you disclose salary details on a job advert?
TV star and property mogul Sarah Beeny reveals how the internet is making the customer king of the high-street
TRAIN TO GAIN A guide to creating a winning franchise training programme
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TECHNOLOGY 89 The IT guy Piers Linney looks at outsourcing your company’s IT
90 Tech review
9 Editor’s letter 10 Contributors 13 News & events
The Gadget Show’s Ortis Deley gives his views on the latest tech
93 What’s in store for mobile users? 96 Think smart to save on tech
4 smart ways to spend your IT budget
98 Small data big danger 101 I’ve got an app for that MARKETING SUCCESS 16 Hot property Property mogul Sarah Beeny talks about her latest business venture Tepilo
53 Who, what and why? Kimberly Davis - the questions you need to ask before signing up with a marketing agency
55 Make your mark
Luke Garner finds out how to maintain your calm under pressure
25 Up and coming oco glasses
26 Lessons learned Charlie Mullins, Pimlico Plumbers
29 Book reviews
103 Franchise news 104 Pulling in opposite directions? Common franchise disputes
How to successsfully use your blog
108 Franchise spotlight
58 Making the link
22 Poker Faced
Paul Stafford of the bfa talks to Diamond Logistics
The top 5 Linkedin mistakes
61 All ﬁne online? The pros and cons of advertising online and in print
64 Finding the right ﬁt
Learn to earn What should franchise training include?
Google ads versus Facebook ads
67 What’s in a name? Naming a start-up
ADVICE 115 Sales Doctor
31 Is the price right? Talk Money’s Adam Aiken on high street bank accounts
33 Money manager 5 tips for managing cashflow
36 Customer values Could a business survive if people paid what they thought a product was worth?
39 Dipping into the pension pot Investing your pension in your business
STRATEGY 43 Feel the force Rich With
44 The migration complication 47 Home from home Creating the perfect work from home environment
49 Fleet management: Going in the right direction
69 Are you a leader or a manager? Leadership expert Deborah Benson
71 Knowing me, knowing you Minimise mini-me recruitment
74 Secret diary of an entrepreneur Adam Breeden of Bounce
77 Money talks Should you show salary on ads?
Your questions answered
116 The dissolution solution The ins and outs of dissolving a business
118 Success by design Patrick Llewellyn of 99 designs
121 Legally speaking Wright Hassell look at relationships in the workplace
123 Tricks of the trade How to offer unforgettable experiences at trade shows
79 Policing your people’s posts Lee McQueen
OPINION LIFESTYLE 81 We love... top tech 82 Hotspots: Hull Locations for business stays, meets, and eats
85 Sweat the small stuff Men’s fashion jumpers
129 Question of the month: We ask: “Do you actively encourage employees to challenge your ides and strategies”
130 Trash talk Readers discuss the business phrases that annoy them most
87 On the road: Maserati Quattroporte GTS Oliver Hammond’s car review
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LUKE GARNER EDITOR Luke Garner email@example.com
DESIGN Louise Salisbury firstname.lastname@example.org
WEB DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Prashanth Muthulingam Prashanth.Muthulingam@symbianprint.co.uk
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All play and no work The people who make it to the top - whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos - are addicted to their calling. They are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid Quincy Jones
MANAGING DIRECTOR Stuart McCreery
Circulation/subscriptions: UK £40, EUROPE £60, REST OF WORLD £95 Circulation enquiries: Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd T: 0203 617 4681 Talk Business is published 12 times a year by Aston Greenlake Publishing Limited William Robinson Buildings, 3 Woodﬁeld Terrace, Stansted Mountﬁtchet, Essex, CM24 8AJ © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. No part of Talk Business may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor. Talk Business will make every effort to return picture material, but it is sent at owner’s risk. Due to the nature of the printing process, images can be subject to a variation of up to 15 per cent, therefore Aston Greenlake Publishing Limited cannot be held responsible for such variation. The opinions expressed by guests in this magazine are not necessarily the views held by Talk Business magazine, its publishers, and its owners.
hey say if you can make your job something you love then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. For many entrepreneurs, this is a motivating factor in going it alone and starting their businesses. Many will simply pursue a hobby, find out they have a talent for it, or spot a gap in the market, and use that as motivation to set off on an exciting journey. For our cover star this month, property mogul Sarah Beeny, this is also true. At a young age, Sarah took an interest in the property market. This soon blossomed into a fully-fledged career in this sector, and she’s not looked back since, becoming an ever-present face on our TV screens. In our cover star interview, she explains to us how the internet has transformed the housing industry, why SMEs should look to offer online services, and why you can still compete against established brands, even with a smaller marketing budget. Check it out on page 16. This month we’re also focussing on marketing and advertising. How can you use it to help your business to grow, and how can you spend your budget wisely? With that in mind, MoneyPenny looks at whether print can still win the war against online advertising on page 61, while 1&1’s Priya Kapoor squares Facebook adverts off against Google AdWords (page 64). Speaking of spending your budget wisely (which I’m sure you’ll agree can be a constant worry for cash-strapped start-ups), Ash Patel examines four ways in which to spend your IT budget to maximum effect, on page 96. On the other hand, former Dragon’s Den star, Piers Linney asks if you need a dedicated IT professional in your business at all (page 89). Finally this month, with a number of people getting itchy feet following the summer, and as we head towards the New Year, many will be looking to move to new organisations. One area of chagrin for job seekers can be employers’ penchant for not disclosing salary details on a job advert. HR Insight’s Richard Cummings looks at the pros and cons of this approach for SME owners looking to recruit new employees on page 77.
BEATRICE BARTLAY Beatrice Bartlay founded specialist-staffing agency, 2B Interface in 2005. With 10 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Beatrice has extensive knowledge of the manufacturing, shopfitting, and logistics sectors, in which her company specialises. A determined entrepreneur and franchisor, Beatrice has succeeded in developing 2B Interface into a success, launching its first franchise in 2015. Prior to founding 2B Interface, Beatrice ran her own events and PR company, B&G PR. Alongside her background in psychology and marketing, her wealth of experience in business management provides a solid foundation for understanding the challenges affecting UK small- and medium-sized businesses today.
10 October 2015
RICH WITH Rich is a brand consultant, speaker, and graphic designer, and has worked in the creative industries for 20 years. Cutting his teeth in newspapers, he went on to work and consult for hundreds of firms in both the UK and overseas - from Barclays Bank to beach bars. Late in 2013, he co-founded The Grow Creative Co., a rapidly growing creative agency in the South East, working with inventive and aspirational firms to create a range of online and offline products and solutions, that really help companies build their brand. He has a contradictory nature a lover of using innovative tech, but often coupled with artisan off-line techniques. Always rooting for the underdog, he believes in building small firms in to ‘challenger brands’, allowing these businesses to continually punch above their weight in an ever-increasing marketplace.
BEATRICE LOOKS AT FRANCHISE TRAINING ON PAGE
RICH EXAMINES BRAND MARKETING ON PAGE
RICHARD CUMMINGS Richard is managing director of HR Insight; he joined the firm as a human resources consultant in 2011, and has worked his way up. Richard leads a team of HR consultants, payroll specialists, and employment law practitioners. Richard and his team provide HR support to clients. This support covers everything from contracts and policies to change management initiatives, including re-organisation and redundancy. Increasingly, the team is working on people strategies, which include changing the way businesses view recruitment, reward, employee relations, and development.
RICHARD LOOKS AT THE PROS AND CONS OF PUTTING SALARIES ON ADS ON PAGE
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he European Family Business Barometer from KPMG and European Family Businesses (EFB) has found that 75% of family businesses across the continent are optimistic in their forecasting. This represents a jump of nearly 50% from those who expressed positivity two years ago. At 84%, even greater confidence is suggested in the UK, which may be due to the higher proportion to have grown their turnover - 79% compared to 58%. Despite the strong performance indicators, increased competition, mentioned by 40% in the UK, has come top in the list of major challenges for family businesses. The ‘War for Talent’ is also high on the agenda, particularly in the UK, where 56% of family business leaders referenced concern about their company’s capability in competing to recruit and retain skilled staff. Gary Deans, KPMG’s UK head of family business, commented: “It’s pleasing to see the extent of the confidence those leading family
Increased competition fails to dent conﬁdence levels in family businesses businesses have in their prospects.” “However, there is a note of caution, in that the UK data signposts increasing difficulty in securing and retaining the talent.” “Family business ownership structures can make competing to recruit, select and retain exceptional individuals a particular issue. Some may need to focus on developing motivational offers for the very best employees.”
Majority not motivated to work harder by a bonus worth 10% of annual salary
Three quarters of family business leaders in Europe are more optimistic than two years ago
Money isn’t everything for 78% of workers
onuses often involve sizeable investment by UK employers, but new research has found that the majority of workers are not motivated by lump sums. One4all Rewards’ Push the Button Report questioned 1,000 UK workers about what motivates them in the workplace. The study found that simply handing out lumps of cash
The survey also revealed that family companies are thinking about their long-term strategic future. A total of 41% of the surveyed companies are planning a strategic change in the next twelve months. Of this group, 26% plan to pass the management to the next generation.
is not an effective way of increasing staff efforts - indeed, 78% would not work significantly harder in exchange for a bonus equivalent to 10% of their annual salary. Even incentives equivalent to 25% of annual salaries would not motivate more than one in two workers (59%). For those businesses looking at alternatives to financial incentives,
the report identified several effective options; 20% of workers are motivated to work harder by regular rewards such as weekly or monthly treats, while benefits that make salaries go further by covering employees’ monthly costs such as pension contributions or health insurance - would result in an increase in output for 18% of employees. Declan Byrne, UK managing director at One4all Rewards, comments: “From this research, it’s clear to see that while bonus culture is impactful, it isn’t always an effective driver of increased output or motivation for many employees. As it can be very expensive for businesses, this is an important learning to acknowledge.” Contact: www.one4allrewards.co.uk
news 9-to-5 not a way to make a living 17% of the British public are now consuming sharing economy services
esearch by Intuit QuickBooks, provider of online accounting software, reveals that the sharing economy is now firmly embedded in the UK, as the public continue to adopt new ways of working and earning cash. 6% of Brits now use sharing economy services to supplement or create income, with handmade marketplace, Etsy, taxi/rideshare app, Uber, and P2P lending service, Zopa proving the most popular. This rise of on-demand workers has been enabled by new technologies and platforms that provide marketplaces
for people to monetise products and services, and is in stark contrast to the traditional nine-to-five. 70% admitted that they would consider a less rigid working pattern, e.g. not working set hours every week, or not always being present in the office. The amount of money these workers have been able to accrue is significant. A third of those using the likes of AirBnB to create income, make between £101 and £500 per week, while 19% earn between £501 and £1,500 per week. Rich Preece, Europe VP and
managing director of Intuit, said: “With serious financial rewards available, the challenge is for those using these services to manage the potentially significant earnings generated. It’s easy to get yourself on the sharing economy; the difficulties come in navigating the minefield of tax regulations and administrative tasks, that come from having non-salaried sources of income.” Contact: www.selfemployed.intuit.co.uk
DATES FOR THE DIARY Business Junction Networking Events 1 Oct - Lunch in Docklands The Parlour 7 Oct - Lunch in Oxford Circus Merchant Taylor’s Hall 14 Oct - Champagne breakfast in the City Crab Tavern 22 Oct - Lunch in Farringdon Bounce 29 Oct - Lunch in Temple Walkabout Temple www.businessjunction.co.uk
14 October 2015
Sterling Integrity 1 Oct - Bristol M Shed 5 Nov - Cheltenham Cheltenham Racecourse 3 Dec - Midlands Cranmore Park www.sterlingintegrity.co.uk The Restaurant Show 5th - 7th October Olympia, London www.therestaurantshow.co.uk Fleet Management Live 6th - 7th October NEC, Birmingham ﬂeet-management-live.ﬂeetnews.co.uk
IP EXPO Europe 7th - 8th October ExCel, London www.ipexpoeurope.com The National Graduate Recruitment Exhibition 9th - 10th October Olympia, London www.gradjobs.co.uk Internet Retailing Conference 14th October Novotel, Hammersmith, London internetretailingconference.com The Annual Hotel Conference 14th - 15th October Hilton Hotel, Deansgate, Manchester www.theahc.co.uk
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If you want something in life, believe in yourself and go for it
16 October 2015
HOT PROPERTY From Art Deco to Victorian, property mogul and TV star, Sarah Beeny has seen everything there is to see in the housing market. However, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing old fashioned about her latest business venture, Tepilo. We caught up with Sarah to discover how technology is transforming the business landscape
rowing up in rural Berkshire, Sarah lived a life that she describes as ‘akin to The Good Life’, with her family being ‘crafty-entrepreneurial’. It was here, amongst the goats, chickens, and ducks, that Sarah got her first taste of being an entrepreneur. Her father made dolls house furniture to make extra cash for the family, and it showed Sarah about the value of hard work. After taking time out to travel the world, Sarah returned to the UK and took a number of small roles, such as window cleaning and running her own sandwich-making business. At this point she began to
18 October 2015
understand that she’d probably always be self-employed so, channelling that entrepreneurial spirit she’d had ingrained into her from a young age, she began studying the property market in her spare time, before starting her property developing business with her brother and her husband. “A quote, which people often recognise me for is ‘positive things happen to positive people’, and I wholeheartedly stand by it. If you want something in life, believe in yourself, and go for it,” declared the married mother of four, who followed her own advice to achieve success in those early days. Most people will know Sarah from her many years gracing our screens as an expert in the property, DIY, and housing market. From Property Ladder to Double You House For Half The Money, she’s been the go-to girl for anything interior or exterior, and her affable and kindly demeanour has made the UK public warm to her. That’s one of the reasons she’s taken on this new challenge – to make the most of her popularity to help people make what is one of the most important decisions in their lives. Her experience as a known TV personality has helped her start out with a certain level of credibility and trust that she says is invaluable in
getting her business – online estate agency, Tepilo – off the ground. “A business of any kind can only succeed if a certain level of trust is held with its customers, and with the nature of Tepilo’s business being such an important life event, I’d say this counts even more so for us,” said Sarah. “I think one of the most important things for a business to remember is not to promise things you can’t deliver, because once that promise is put to the test, and is broken – well, there’s not much that’s more damaging than that. “Communication is also key. At Tepilo we put a big focus on this, especially as we’re classed as an ‘online’ agency – people quite rightly need the assurance there are real, qualified people at the end of the phone. A business needs to be easily accessible to its customers, as well as highly trained in the field – there’s nothing more off-putting and unprofessional than hearing conflicting information, or being asked to ‘wait a minute while I double check this’.” Her new business, Tepilo is designed to put the customer first, and to help reduce the costs that estate agencies typically charge. Estate agencies have traditionally had a reputation as being a somewhat archaic, closed-off, almost secretive with their information. Unwilling to bend their practises to suit the modern nine-to-five worker, many people used them out of necessity, rather than choice. However, as
more and more challenger brands have arisen, and the internet has become ingrained in everyday life, we’re seeing a shift towards what the consumer wants, as opposed to the rigidity seen previously. Internetbased companies with 24/7 opening hours are becoming more and more popular, as they cater to an everconnected populace of house buyers. And this is where Sarah has seen an opportunity to put her years of expertise into practise. “Consumers are moving away from the traditional high street estate agents, and embracing those who embrace technology,” explained Sarah. “98% of people begin their property search online, which is simply indicative of how society and technology is developing. People don’t traipse down to a travel agent to
Everything is online these days, so why would anyone want to be anywhere else?
book a holiday any more, they open their laptop and do it all online – and it’s the same for selling a home. Technology is taking the stress, hassle, and cost out of so many things, and selling a home has now been added to that list. Everything is online these days, so why would anyone want to be anywhere else?” However, it was the poor image that high street vendors had acquired that caused Sarah to look for an alternative, as she explains; “The idea for Tepilo evolved from my astonishment at how much traditional high street estate agents were charging to do things that vendors could do themselves, and in fact, most of the time, do a lot better. I think selling a home, and the words ‘estate agent’ had grown to have negative connotations. I wanted to change the face of estate agents, and make the process fair, affordable, and as stress-free as possible, whilst also maintaining a high level of support and customer service.” When entering an industry, which is already swamped with big names and established behemoths, many companies can find it difficult to be seen and heard. However, just because it is difficult to compete with the marketing budgets of the big boys doesn’t mean small businesses should neglect their marketing efforts altogether, says Sarah. “As the digital world carries on developing as quickly as it is, why would companies not want to embrace the new marketing practices that have been made accessible to them?” queried the entrepreneur who originally studied for a career in acting and drama. “There are so many great brands, companies, and start-ups out there, that marketing is necessary to make sure that your company doesn’t get lost in the crowd. Many smaller companies that don’t have much in the way of a budget, use this as their reason for not utilising marketing. What they don’t realise it that it’s not just the money a company spends (although that does help), but it’s more about how you spend the budget
you do have. It’s about thinking outside of the box and creating compelling marketing strategies, which make the most of your means.” Getting stuck into an industry that is saturated with long-established ‘big players’ can seem like a daunting task, but it is one the Berkshire-born entrepreneur relishes. “In my opinion, competition is never a bad thing. I think Tepilo is established enough to be able to have a positive relationship with its competitors, and we’re constantly learning from each other too,” she smiled. That’s not to say it has all been plain sailing though. As every small business will understand, challenges come thick and fast in the early days, and often from the most surprising places. This was no different for Tepilo. “As with any business, there are always going to be times where we face challenges,” explained the Help! My House Is Falling Down presenter. “One of the most prominent we have faced in our existence, is in the early days, when we were simply growing faster than we could physically hire for. These days, we’re able to understand our growth patterns much more, and are therefore able to hire according to this.” Growth is something that the housing industry seems to have no shortage of – particularly housing prices, which have grown by 5.2% on average in the last year. So does Sarah think the bubble will burst any time soon? “Actually, I think the current housing market is pointing towards an increase in house prices in the next five years – so if you’re thinking of buying, get in there quick!” “The number of houses being added to the market has been decreasing, and with it, the prices are rising alongside the demand. I also think that the London property market will rise the most significantly, and this will have
20 October 2015
It’s not just about the money a company spends, but it’s more about how you spend the budget you do have somewhat of a ripple effect, bringing commuter towns’ prices up by up to 30%, and pushing the boundaries further, establishing new London commuter hotspots.” If she’s right, it won’t just be house prices that see significant growth – forward-thinking Tepilo will be nicely placed to enjoy the boon. For now though, Sarah is proof that, if you make your hobby your job, then you
can reap the rewards and be happy. “If I could start from scratch, would I do things differently? To be totally honest, I’ve enjoyed every moment of Tepilo life, and wouldn’t change a thing! It’s been a fabulous journey, and I look forward to many, many more years of it,” she beamed. Contact: www.tepilo.com
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Poker faced Editor, Luke Garner talks to a professional about maintaining your calm under pressure
ou’ve been staring at your adversary for over an hour now. The chips are down, the cards are on the table for all to see, and yet neither of you is willing to give an inch. But all of a sudden you spot it – a slight tell that shows their weakness, allows you to understand their frame of mind, and ultimately, gives you the upper hand. With an ace up your sleeve (not literally of course), you make your play and – success! You’ve won the day and got what you came for, the big prize. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were talking about a particularly tense and crucial business deal taking place. However, the above scenario is actually about poker, a game of strategy and cunning, that often closely resembles business life. At least, that’s what UK Poker Tour star, and the youngest ever Triple Crown winner, Jake Cody believes. Our editor, Luke Garner caught up with him at the UK and Ireland Poker Tour in Bristol, to discover the similarities between poker and business, and to glean what lessons the UK’s entrepreneurs can learn from taking a seat at the poker table. The game of poker itself has a fairly simple premise – get a better hand than your opponent, and aim to take all of their chips. But, as with most things, there’s a lot more strategy and mental manoeuvring hidden beneath the surface. Throughout the UK, SME owners and entrepreneurs are making deals, negotiating, and trying to get the best out
22 October 2015
of others on a daily basis. This is where, according to Jake, being a good poker player can really help you to succeed. “People should learn poker strategy, as it helps you to read people and get an insight into their thoughts and emotions,” enthused the 27-year-old from Rochdale. “It teaches you about mental strength, not giving away your emotions, and how to stay focussed on the task at hand, even when things don’t go your way.” As with many business ideas, from small acorns often grow great oaks. For Jake, this was also true, as a fairly innocuous event got him started on the road to being a poker champion. “I played in a game with some friends at my pool club, for just a £5 buy-in, and I won. It was just a friendly game, but after that I was pretty much hooked. So a friend and I got together pretty much every day after that with a poker set and played, and played, and played. Then I entered another tournament, and won. Since then it has just continued to grow,” said Jake, before explaining that such dedication is the difference between success and failure; “If you want to be the best at anything, if you want to succeed, then you need to put in the time and effort. Nothing good comes easy, that’s why the people who are most successful in life are often the ones who work the hardest towards what they want.” As any entrepreneur will
You’ll be sat there, thinking that they’re thinking that you know what they’re thinking
It teaches you about mental strength, not giving away your emotions, and how to stay focussed, even when things don’t go your way
know, starting a business comes with its fair share of knock backs. Whether it’s getting rejected for finance, or not always getting the orders you were aiming for, there’s a lot of lows to match the highs. However, as Jake explains, both in business and in poker, learning to ride the peaks and troughs, and having the mental toughness to endure, can be a real difference maker. “Being strong mentally is extremely important for a poker player. Whenever you’re dealing with other people and there’s strategy involved, that’s vital. This is also true in business of course, whether you’re making deals, handling employees’ demands and concerns, or dealing with the myriad of stressful situations people encounter on a daily basis,” smiled Jake. “It is also important to never give up when something goes wrong. Someone can play a good strategy and a good game for 10 hours, but then one hand goes wrong, or they have a little bit of bad luck, their heads go, and it is all downhill from there. They stop doing what has worked for them before and they start to panic. That’s not a good strategy in poker, nor in business.
The UK and Ireland’s biggest poker tour is off once more to the Isle of Man and the home of PokerStars from 1-4 October. Join players from across the region, and some of Team PokerStars Pro’s most recognisable players, such as Jake Cody, for another unmissable UKIPT event at the historic Villa Marina venue in Douglas. Find out more at www.UKIPT.co.uk, or visit www.pokerstars.uk
“Additionally, you can’t try to play it safe and avoid the losses. Poker is very much about playing the odds, but you still need to take risks as there’s no reward without risk. There’s a lot of strategy involved and, at the end of the day, sometimes you’re actually playing the player and not the cards – especially when someone already has played you and knows you. You’ll be sat there thinking that they’re thinking that you know what they’re thinking. It can be quite a game, very strategic and psychological, just like the business world is.” Given the clear similarities that good poker strategy has with success in other walks of life, what advice would Jake give to budding entrepreneurs about getting the upper hand, particularly in tense negotiations? “Everyone has a different way of showing their emotions through their body language, but hands are a huge indicator of what’s going through someone’s mind. People will sit there and try to be all steely faced, not giving anything away, but they’ll be doing something strange with their hands, or fidgeting with them. This can be a real indication of nerves, or even excitement, so it is something to watch for. Body language is a big key,” smiled Jake. With more than £4 million in prize winnings in his short career, he certainly knows what he’s talking about. So, when the chips are down, will you be following Jake’s advice?
Keep your eyes on the prize This month we speak to Adam Harris, who, along with his sister, started OCO Glasses in February. Now the online prescription glasses company is looking to break into the US
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR BUSINESS, AND HOW DOES IT HELP PEOPLE? We’re a family run, online retailer of high-end prescription eyewear. My sister, Jennie is a qualified optometrist, but has also worked as a dispensing optician in Sydney for a couple of years. Our aim is to be super efficient in everything we do, allowing us to provide quality eyewear at affordable prices, with personal customer service, and fast delivery. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION AND MOTIVATION TO GET STARTED IN BUSINESS? My parents and sister are all opticians, they have two practices in Merseyside, and recently decided to get a website up and running to start selling online. I initially voiced my concerns at how hard this might be and, being busy with my job at the time, I didn’t offer them much more advice than not to go there. They ignored me, made a fairly considerable investment in a website,
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I think the biggest challenge we have overcome is to find the right people to do the marketing for us. Between myself and Jennie, we try and cover a wide range of aspects of the business, however, when it came to the marketing side of things, it became clear that we really needed to take advice from someone with some experience in digital marketing. We did some research and found Krystian, who works for a top digital media agency in London, but does some freelance work on the side. The main thing here was that we quickly realised we could trust him, and that his experience could be invaluable to us.
Research is key, particularly with the people you are going to be working with
and soon it was clear that they were being taken for a ride by the developers because of their lack of IT knowledge. I initially started to help them out by doing some bits for them to save money, but quickly became more and more interested, so I decided to go full time with OCO. HOW DID YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY REACT TO YOU STARTING A BUSINESS AT 31? My sister Jennie is 27, and I’m 31. It was a completely natural move for Jennie, but people were surprised that I’d just given up mathematics, and switched my attention over to OCO so suddenly. In December last year, I wrote and lectured a number theory course at UEA, and I put everything in to it. I felt that my efforts went unnoticed, and became a disillusioned with their backward attitudes towards teaching in general. So when my contract finished, it seemed like a very natural progression to go in to OCO.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS? Research is key, particularly with the people you are going to be working with. Find the best freelancers, and use them instead of big companies. HOW DO YOU EXPECT YOUR BUSINESS TO DEVELOP IN THE FUTURE? We’ve been honing our skills on the UK market for the last few months, ironing out flaws in the OCO machine. In September we are going to start advertising in the US, where the sunglasses market is less seasonal, and much bigger than the UK. Everything we have done so far has been with an eye on scaling up, so if all goes to plan, we will still provide the same great service internationally, but without having to invest in manpower. Contact: www.ocoglasses.com
ou may know me as the ‘plumber to the stars’, but a lot of hard graft has gone into becoming the millionaire plumber that I am today. I went from being a North London street urchin to owning my own business with a turnover of more than £25 million - and I don’t have any plans to stop just yet. I’ve learnt a lot from my time in business, so here are some of the most important lessons that I’ve picked up so far:
Lessons learned Charlie Mullins, founder and owner of the UK’s largest plumbing company, Pimlico Plumbers, looks at the seven things he has learned since starting his business, with the beneﬁt of hindsight
26 October 2015
REMEMBER THAT FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING It doesn’t matter if you’re going to an interview or meeting a customer, making a good first impression is vital. You would be amazed at how many people turn up to work or interviews with filthy nails, unshaven, or not dressed appropriately. I’ve always stuck to my guns when it comes to appearance, as the way people present themselves to colleagues, customers, and the general public is a vital part of business. It helps to build a brand and demonstrates commitment to quality. BE KEEN AS MUSTARD, AND GET RECOGNISED By this I mean stand out. No matter how big, small, serious, or silly, try to make an effort be memorable. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it, if you’re in people’s minds when they have a problem, they’ll call you. Once you have that mindset, the possibilities are endless.
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BE COURTEOUS, PROFESSIONAL, AND TRANSPARENT These qualities are so important and they lie at the heart of my business - so much so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s become an expected standard of how we operate at Pimlico Plumbers. Juggling the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s priorities is difficult, but being compassionate, polite, and honest with customers allows a connection to be built, which may lead to a long-standing and loyal relationship further down the line.
KNOW WHEN ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TIME FOR A CHANGE Companies can grow fast, but they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always grow true. I learned from my boxing career that when you hit a ceiling in your performance, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to un-learn some bad habits. This was certainly the case in 1991, when I took a long hard look at Pimlico Plumbers, and started making some big changes. Sometimes, you have to take a step back to allow your business to move forward.
MAINTAIN MENTAL AGILITY Banishing distracting thoughts and feelings is a skill I learned in the boxing ring. It teaches you to choose what to focus on. To make sure you are ready to take up the next opportunity, you need to be disciplined, determined, and focused in order to achieve what you want, be it inside or outside the ring.
BE NEITHER A BORROWER NOR A LENDER Like most businesses, Pimlico Plumbers (circa 1990) had always invoiced customers and allowed them to rack up bills on account, which meant that we were forever chasing payments. At one point we totted it all up, and we were owed over ÂŁ80,000! It was at this moment that I realised that people who go under in a recession are the ones who owe money and those who are owed money, so we stopped serving customers on credit. Overnight, we switched to payment on completion, and there were no exceptions.
CREATE HAPPY WORKERS Undertaking a job in an uplifting mood creates a better atmosphere in any working environment, and your colleagues and customers will notice it too. Getting the best out of your staff can be the difference between the success or failure of a business. Business owners set direction and strategy, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s up to the workforce at the front line, delivering services on behalf of you.
Contact: www.pimlicoplumbers.com or on Twitter @PimlicoPlumbers
I realised that people who go under in a recession are the ones who owe money and those who are owed money, so we stopped serving customers on credit
Bog Standard Business is available at Amazon, priced at ÂŁ17.99, or ÂŁ9.49 for the Kindle version. To order your copy, please visit www.bogstandardbusiness.co.uk All proceeds from the book go to three-year-old Chloe Balloqui from Pimlico, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in October 2013, and needs to travel to the US for further treatment. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/ Pimlico-Plumbers
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BOOK reviews The Idea In You How to ﬁnd it, build it and change your life by Martin Amor and Alex Pellew Our verdict:
About the authors: Martin Amor led new product development and creative training programmes for Mars, Telefonica, Unilever, and Samsung, while Alex Pellew is a former marketing head at Nike. We say: Do you have an idea in you? A hobby, a project, a product? Something
Holacracy The Revolutionary Management System That Abolishes Hierarchy by Brian J Robertson Our verdict:
About the author: Brian J Robertson founded HolacracyOne, an organisation that trains people all over the world in the new system of ‘holacracy’. Previously he launched a successful software company, where he first introduced the principles that would become holacracy. We say: In traditional companies, managers make decisions, and workers execute the plan. But holacracy is a revolutionary, tried-andtested system, which turns everyone into a
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that could change your life? The Idea In You is a bulletproof system for finding the right idea, and shaping it into a success – on your own terms. With advice from the people behind the likes of Pizza Pilgrims, Parkun, and Decoded, The Idea In You will show you what to expect, how to think, and what to do when launching your own venture. Making your idea happen is possible – and it will be one of the most inspiring and energising experiences of your life. The Idea In You is published by Portfolio Penguin, priced at £12.99, and is available as a hardback and a paperback.
leader. The organisation looks like a nest of circles, not a pyramid - but it’s not anarchy. It’s finally clear who should make each decision, and who has the authority to do so, and the organisation succeeds by adapting swiftly to pursue its purpose. In this book, pioneer, Brian J Robertson will explain how to implement the system across your business. While holacracy implements some nice ideas that will add value to your business, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes this kind of management structure can lead to greatness, or can crumble around your feet. Only time will tell – but if you’re feeling daring and the status quo isn’t working for you, Holacracy is well worth a read. Holacracy is published by Portfolio Penguin, priced at £14.99, and is available as a hardback, paperback and eBook.
Bank on it Getting the wrong bank account could cost you a small fortune in charges, says Talk Money’s Adam Aiken
If you’re a sole trader, you can use your personal account for your business banking, which will be cheaper to run
orting out your bank account might be one of the duller things on your to-do list, but it’s worth spending some time looking for the most competitive deal. This is certainly true for young entrepreneurs just starting out, but even well established businesses can benefit from occasional bank healthchecks, and they should be prepared to switch if necessary. ARE YOU A SOLE TRADER OR A LIMITED COMPANY? If you’re a sole trader, you can use your personal account for your business banking, which will be cheaper to run. You’re unlikely to get much in the way of credit interest in the current climate, but the charges will be much lower. Make sure you keep separate, detailed records of your business transactions, though – it’ll help with your tax return, and will make things a lot easier if the tax man visits. If you run a limited company or a partnership, you must have a business bank account. This is likely to be much the same as a personal account in terms of facilities, but you’ll be charged for the pleasure of using it.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT As with personal accounts, you can probably disregard interest as a factor. Andrew Hagger, of Money Comms, says: “Don’t expect to find business bank accounts paying you interest on your credit balances – they are few and far between, and often offer miserly returns.” Instead, it’s likely to be about the charges. Most bank accounts for businesses come with monthly or quarterly fees (although you can sometimes get the first 12-18 months free), and there could be fees per transaction too. It’s crucial to consider how you are likely to use your account, and then look for an appropriate charging structure. For example, if you carry out a lot of manual transactions – via cash or cheque – then an account with a monthly charge, but no transactional charges, might be best. If most of your banking is done electronically, such as via Bacs, you’d probably be better off putting up with the odd transaction charge, and looking for an account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee.
WILL YOU GO OVERDRAWN? If you’re likely to need an overdraft, discuss this with your bank when you go to open an account. It’s a waste of time getting everything set up, only to find out later that your bank won’t let you dip into the red. Many banks do not have set overdraft rates, but will instead be happy to negotiate terms with you. DON’T LEAVE SPARE CASH LYING IN INTEREST-LESS ACCOUNTS Depending on how well your business is going – or if you are particularly cash rich at certain times of the year – ask your bank about opening a savings account alongside your current account. By being able to switch any excess funds into a savings account, you’ll at least be earning a bit of interest on them until such time as you need access.
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Money manager Mark Duncan, product manager at Sage UK, offers his 5 top tips for small businesses to help manage a healthy cash ﬂow
ealthy cash flow is the life blood and fuel for growth for Britain’s 5.2 million SMEs. In the long term, businesses go bust through lack of profit, but short term, they often fail because they don’t have enough cash to pay their bills. The issue of late payments is accentuating the cash flow challenge for businesses. A recent BACs report highlighted the shocking extent of Britain’s late payments culture, revealing that half of all small- and
medium-sized businesses have fallen victim to late payments at some point or another. What’s more, nearly two thirds of firms (60%) are waiting 60 days or more to receive payments. If you combine that with an average of almost 350 hours per year spent chasing late payments, it is easy to see the negative impact that this can have (and is having) on small businesses across the UK. So, with that in mind, here are my five top tips for taking control, and streamlining the cash flow in your business: LEARN THE PRINCIPLES OF CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT The first step to maintaining a healthy cash flow starts with understanding the fundamental principles. The key here lies in the word itself – ‘flow’. It is a cycle, a careful balance of funds in and funds out. The principles of good cash flow management are relatively straightforward – businesses must ensure they have more money coming in than going out, and they must ensure that money comes in on time, so that they can pay suppliers on time, and invest in new stock.
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UNDERSTAND WHO, WHERE, AND WHEN The average small business is currently owed up to £12,000 in outstanding invoices. This shocking figure demonstrates the importance of knowing your payment schedule. Businesses need to know exactly what funds are coming in and out of the company each month, and when these payments are due. Understanding customers is vital to achieving this. It’s essential for businesses to know their customers’ liability, by understanding what type of organisation they are, and the legitimacy of the business.
Having an ethical business strategy puts you in a better position to negotiate prices and terms in the future
Small tips, such as formally agreeing payment terms in advance with partnering companies, making the ‘payment due date’ clear on invoices, and having a written - and signed - confirmation of the agreed payment terms, can ensure all parties are aware of their responsibilities and the all-important payment schedule. This will then help to combat the threat of late payments occurring in the first place, and enable businesses to best plan when to pay their suppliers. HAVE A CONTINGENCY PLAN If everything does crash down around the business, it is essential to ensure that clients’ and suppliers’ finances are taken care of. However, business owners must also ask themselves if their customers are at risk of failing to pay. You must also have considered the business impact of late payments by major customers. Should this happen, it is necessary to have credit insurance in place. Insurance companies and brokers offer tailored credit insurance for businesses, to help protect them against non-payment by customers. USE TECHNOLOGY TO MANAGE CASH FLOW With the average UK business spending almost 350 hours a year chasing late payments, business owners should make best use of the tools at their disposal to help streamline and automate this process. By empowering firms to keep the cash flowing into their business and take better control of their money movements, accounting software such
34 October 2015
as Sage 50 Accounts can be a significant time-saver for businesses. Integrating with credit control software, Credit Hound Express, Sage 50 Accounts can reduce time spent on back office administration by up to ten hours a week, through speeding up the time taken to chase late payments. What’s more, accounting software can help to keep better control of company cash flow by making it easier to track invoices, and reduce time required for resolution and payment. Ultimately, this can enable businesses to work more effectively, improve customer relationships, make payments easier, and keep cash flowing into the business. TREAT SUPPLIERS FAIRLY Finally, good business practice begins with fair treatment of suppliers. Businesses should aim to pay both employees and suppliers within 30 days. Late payment could result in damage to their business, whereas paying them by the due date leads to a good supplier relationship – crucial to business success. Having an ethical business strategy also puts businesses in a better position to negotiate prices and terms in the future. The moral of the story for business owners? Treat others as you would like to be treated. Check out our Managing Cash Flow Guide for further advice, and to learn more about how Credit Hound can help minimise the impact of chasing payments. Contact: www.sage.co.uk
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Customer values Ula Zarosa PhD, OpenBooks.com, asks if a business could survive if people paid what they thought a product was worth?
The PWYW business model is built on the basic human need to reciprocate altruistic behaviour
36 October 2015
ay What You Want’ (or ‘Pay What It’s Worth’) pricing systems often raise concerns among business owners. The most popular of these is ‘can the model make enough money, not only to cover basic expenses, but also to maintain a sustainable company?’ The answer, in my opinion, is yes - but it needs a bit of explanation. The PWYW business model is built on strong moral values of trust and sharing, or - if you want to go with a more psychological explanation - on the basic human need to reciprocate altruistic behaviour. It involves creating a relationship between the giver and receiver. The distributor gives the client the opportunity to purchase their product or service at an affordable price and, in exchange for being presented with the opportunity to set the price, the consumer may decide to be generous - all because of this elementary need to return a favour. So, in this situation, both sides benefit from the exchange. This model seems to work especially well for digital goods; a company called Humble Bundle chose it as a pricing system for selling computer games, and so far it has been a success. Small Polish bookseller, Bookrage has also been successful so far. The model itself is attractive to consumers inspiring sharing and word-ofmouth marketing. There are several business owners that have used the PWYW pricing system with great results; Tara Joyce has been running a PWYW consulting business for five years, while Hybrid Athlete offers PWYW fitness products, and 8k agency uses the PWYW pricing system to sell its designs. Even the band, Radiohead has used the idea. We decided to create a platform, in which the consumer can actually try the product (i.e. read the whole eBook) before paying what they want for it. Our founder, Michal
Kicinski, achieved enormous success with CD Projekt Red (the producer of the highly popular RPG game The Witcher) and GOG.com - one of the largest independent, DRMfree gaming platforms. He decided that it was time to create a similar faithful and loving community of users around a different product – one which we all love to use, and to which our access is currently restricted by limited sharing and an unfair pricing system. This is why OpenBooks.com has two important features: in addition to giving the reader the opportunity to set the price before, during, or after reading,
who are struggling to get their work recognised and published. It’s very hard to reach big publishing houses and get reasonable offers (in Poland, some publishing companies offer authors 7-9% in revenue share, despite those authors already having paid £2000 from their own pocket in order to get published). This is why many writers are tired of old, conservative publishing systems and want to start something on their own. One of the traditional mistakes in pursuing such a route is that of giving books to the readers for free. As effective as this strategy can be as a short-term marketing gimmick, it devalues these
You can get away with paying nothing for it, but are most people decent enough to pay a fair price for a book they get something from?
OpenBooks.com gives the author 70% net revenue share for each copy sold while allowing them to maintain all of the rights to their book. Peter Singer, famous ethicist and one of the most influential contemporary thinkers, wrote about OpenBooks.com: “OpenBooks.com has a radical idea: read a book and then pay what you think it is worth. That means that you can get away with paying nothing for it, because no one can tell what you really think of the book. But will many people do that? Or are most people decent enough to pay a fair price for a book they get something from? In a way, OpenBooks.com is conducting an intriguing experiment in ethics.” The PWYW business model, especially when it is so open to the client, must be better understood by distributers and consumers alike in order to run smoothly. For example, there are millions of writers out there
authors’ work and deprives them of the possibility of creating a long-term partnership. Using a flexible pricing system allows authors to show that they care about their fans, and to get a validation for their work, which is a reasonable sum of money. This is why we recommend our authors not to advertise their books as free, but instead to use our platform and set a recommended price to show the amount of work they’ve put in creating the piece. We believe that decades of evolutionary psychology research showing us the strength of the altruistic bonds that human communities share, and the way in which those basic needs helped us to develop and sustain our civilisation - offer the best argument for switching to a fairer, and more ethical, business model. Contact: www.openbooks.com
Dipping into the pension pot Thinking of investing your pension in your business? Adam Tavener, chairman of Clifton Asset Management, explains your options
ince the introduction of pension freedom in April, more than £1 billion in pension savings has been cashed in by 60,000 people. If you’re considering withdrawing your pension to fund your business, you should consider all the options. Even before the Chancellor announced the pension freedom changes in the 2014 Budget, there had been a wave of ‘olderpreneurs’ in the UK. For instance, the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found entrepreneurial activity in the over50s has risen more than 50% since 2008, accelerating over the past two years to overtake the growth in young entrepreneurs. However, if these ‘olderpreneurs’ are now considering investing their hard earned pensions into their business, they should make sure they are aware of all the pros and cons of making this decision. FREE MAY NOT MEAN FREE OF TAX From April 2015, anyone over the age of 55 can use accumulated pension funds in any way they wish, including taking their entire pension pot in a single lump. While this presents an understandable temptation to business owners looking for funding to support or grow their business, the practicalities may make this less attractive than it first appears. What remains unchanged under the new rules is that only 25% of an accumulated, untouched, pension fund is available tax-free. Any further withdrawals are subject to income tax in the year they are taken. For many business directors, that is likely to mean
tax at the higher 40% rate - or even 45% for the highest earners. As with any funding option, there are also influencing factors beyond the pensions themselves: retirement and exit planning, the business’ overall tax position, or existing involvement with other finance providers. Based on Clifton Asset Management’s client base of 2,000 businesses, the average SME director
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has £117,000 in accumulated pensions. That creates a number of possible options worth considering. Here are four: SINGLE LUMP Let’s suggest a business requires £58,500 (half of an average accumulated business owner’s pension pot). Under ‘pension freedom’, allowing for tax, the outcome is: • £29,250 (if the full 25% tax-free allowance is taken in one go from the total £117,000 pot) • £17,250 (the remaining £29,250 minus a 40% higher tax rate deduction. This will vary depending on the director/owners’ individual marginal rate of tax.) This makes the total available for a director’s loan into the business £46,800. MULTIPLE LUMPS This option applies if a business needs a total investment of, say, £35,000, but an immediate requirement of £12,000, with the remainder at a later stage. There is still the same drawback as the full lump sum however. The first 25% is tax free, with the rest subject to income tax whenever it is taken - although this can be influenced by the timing of the sums being taken in the same, or two or more, tax years. There is also the likelihood of incurring multiple
For owners or directors with accumulated pension funds greater than £50,000, a SSAS or SIPP can open the way to pension-led funding
40 October 2015
transaction arrangement charges for each withdrawal, and a potential loss in performance of investments. SMALL SUMS Where small capital sums or ad hoc cash flow boosts are needed, pension freedom can allow the release of a few thousand pounds at a time. This still attracts income tax, but is more attractive for business owners with income close to a higher bracket. Recent reports have revealed that only a very small number of pension withdrawals have been carried out in this way since pension freedom, as advisers are apparently steering clients towards more tax-efficient alternatives. SIPPS AND SSAS For owners or directors with accumulated pension funds greater than £50,000, a SSAS or SIPP can open the way to pension-led funding. Under professional advice, owners can decide where pension funds are invested. There is no minimum age for the funds being accessed. However, the scale of this funding model requires a pension pot with a level of maturity that can support the transaction. The funds released to the business are tax free, subject to the business repaying the capital and interest
taken from the SSAS directly back to the pension fund. Repayment interest is usually set at around 9% or more, offering significant pension fund growth potential. The owners can even access the scheme again for further funding subject, amongst other factors, to the repayments being met. While SIPPs do not allow loans as per SSASs, other selfinvestment strategies can be applied to release funds, and repay capital to the pension scheme. It is wise to ensure that the maximum advance from a SIPP does not exceed 60% under normal circumstances, and 65% for certain exceptions. Regulation dictates that a SSAS loan must not exceed 50%, but a SSAS loan offers the benefit of no tax to pay on the loan advance. DON’T RUSH Business owners need to consider their options, and take expert advice if they want to benefit from pension freedom. However, a considered approach, including a full understanding of the associated risks, could certainly see pension pots being put to work effectively to back their business. Contact: www.pensionledfunding.com
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Feel the force They’re brand explorers, staking a claim on something, establishing it as theirs, and watching as fans fall in line to be a part of it
Clues in the branding of marketing there is, says Rich With
hen I was five years old, my Dad took me to the long dormant Odeon Cinema in Southend-on-Sea, to see Star Wars. I can remember two things about this day. Firstly, we went by bus. Secondly, I had the mother of all nosebleeds as the titles started, and we missed the first 30 minutes of the film. But, from that day, I was hooked on the tale of Jedi’s, space pirates and Wookies. As with most other people of my age, I was massively disappointed by the prequels, but now I have my own son, I’m beside myself about the possibility of cool new Jedi action this Christmas. The new film - The Force Awakens - looks amazing. Fighting back the tears when the trailer showed Harrison Ford declare to Chewbacca that ‘We’re home’, I’ve since made a concerted effort to avoid much of the hype and promotion around the new film I want to go in as fresh as possible, without knowing too much. Easier said than done, as over the next few months the marketing is going
into ‘hyperspace’. We’re being drip-fed little morsels of info - new art banners have been released, Empire Magazine cover images, and a couple of weeks ago they debuted some fresh footage on Instagram, which just goes to show how powerful that particular social media stream has become. The clip was just ten seconds long, but that was enough to whet the appetite of the net, with a brief glimpse at another character with a lightsaber. And now we’ve just had ‘Force Friday’. Back in the 1970s, Star Wars pioneered the modern way of selling merchandise (I can still remember buying my first Chewbacca action figure for 99p). Part of the deal George Lucas had with Twentieth Century Fox was to retain the merchandising rights to the films, which allowed him to build up a war chest to self-finance much of his post-Star Wars work. The ideas he had around selling merchandise paved the way for every film franchise since. It’s no wonder estimates are around the £3.2 billion mark for
the related merchandise on The Force Awakens. So when Disney announced ‘Force Friday’ - a retail event launching the new range of toys and collectibles - it even trailed this by holding a global ‘unboxing event’ where collectors were filmed opening figures, lightsabers, and other paraphernalia. Absolutely pointless you might think, and yet it still has 200,000 views on Youtube. This über-focussed brand strategy is allowing Disney to claim a single day of the year so they can punt merchandise to the whole planet. They’re brand explorers, staking a claim on something, establishing it as theirs, and watching as fans fall in line to be a part of it. As entrepreneurs, we need to approach things in the same way establish our claim on something, create memorable content, and exploit it to its full extent - with or without being seduced by the Dark Side. Contact: www.justgrow.co
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44 October 2015
The migration complication
n 10 August 2015, the Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire, announced the Government’s intention to ‘use the full force of government machinery’ to hit employers found employing illegal immigrants, from all angles. To achieve this, he announced more raids on employers, particularly in the construction, cleaning, and care industries. While the law in this area is not new, over zealous enforcement leaves law abiding businesses at risk of financial and reputational damage if the correct steps are not taken to check employees’ right to work. HOW TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW The Home Office issues extensive guidance on what is acceptable evidence to establish a defence to the imposition of a civil penalty for employing an illegal worker. This in essence requires a ‘right to work’ check of the employee’s passport or other proof of their immigration status. In some instances however, the Home Office guidance does not correspond to the law. For example, a non-EU family member of an EU national is not required to hold a visa to prove their entitlement to work in the UK, under EU law. Yet Home Office guidance requires proof in the form of a visa or Home Office letter to establish a defence to a civil penalty. The Employment Tribunal upheld a claim by an employee for unlawful deduction of wages in just
With the migrant crisis prominent in the news pages, and a crackdown on employing illegal migrants by the Government, what do businesses need to know to stay on the right side of the law? Kathryn Bradbury, partner at Payne Hicks Beach, explains
such a situation, where the employer had suspended the employee without wages due to her inability to provide the documents required under the Home Office guidance. So, by insisting on compliance with the Home Office guidance on prevention of illegal working, the employer fell foul of employment laws. Employees with time limited immigration status must be subjected to ongoing checks to ensure the continuing right to work - it is not sufficient to just undertake one single check at commencement of employment. THE CONSEQUENCES OF NON-COMPLIANCE The penalties are severe - a fine of between £5,000 and £20,000 can be imposed per illegal worker. Where
the Home Office has incorrectly imposed a penalty, or imposed too high a penalty, it is possible to challenge the decision. The Home Office also ‘names and shames’ those employers issued with a civil penalty who have not paid on time, opening up the substantial risk of reputational damage. Furthermore, an employer who sponsors overseas workers can lose their licence and ability to sponsor any more workers from overseas. There is also a criminal offence of knowingly employing illegal workers, which carries a sentence of imprisonment of up to two years for the most serious cases. Employers should always keep the following in mind: Ensure the appropriate checks are undertaken and documents retained. Have appropriate systems in place to diarise follow-up checks for each worker, where necessary. Take early action if you identify an illegal worker, as this can mitigate the likelihood or level of any penalty imposed.
THE FUTURE A new Immigration Bill, to be published in the autumn, is expected to include laws to ‘bear down on the shadow economy’ through targeting employers, although how this will be done is not yet clear. So it seems likely that there will be further restrictions to come. Contact: www.phb.co.uk
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Home, sweet home Jacqui Keep, head of content marketing at Powwownow, explains how to create the perfect working from home environment
orking from home can become one of the most rewarding ways to work, and businesses around Europe are quickly realising it. Flexible working laws in the UK mean that more people are discovering a multitude of locations where they can work from, and still stay connected outside the office.
Treating working from KRPH OLNH WKH RƮFH ZLOO remove the temptation to whip the hoover around RU TXLFNO\ Ƭ[ WKLQJV Creating the perfect work environment can be the decisive factor between your ability to work productively, or not. Creating the perfect working from home environment doesn’t require copious amounts of money though – just a couple of touches can help you stay focussed, and avoid distractions.
Software solutions now allow our work to be accessible from almost any location as long as you have internet, so reliable Wi-Fi or VPN access is an imperative. This means that instant chat, email, and conference call services, such as Powwownow, enable teams, agencies and clients to stay connected. A separate working area – whether it be a home office, study, or dining room – is an effective way to limit your distractions too. Having a door that you can shut to block out background noise allows you to stay focussed on the task at hand. It’s also easy to get distracted with odd jobs around the house, so treating working from home like the office will remove the temptation to whip the hoover around or quickly fix things around the house. Many like to think that the perfect working from home environment is laying on your couch with your legs up and slippers on, but unfortunately this isn’t the reality if you plan on getting any work done. Getting in the right frame of mind will mean setting up your workspace in a way that will help you work. This could mean setting your desk up similar to in the office – for
example, having your laptop, mouse, and a comfortable chair in a similar layout, and taking the same coffee and lunch breaks. Although working from home helps you be more comfortable, and allows you to discover places other than the office where you can be productive, at the end of the day, you still need to get work done. Setting a list of tasks to complete is a valuable technique that gives you a goal to reach, and will keep you on task. That way, you don’t find yourself taking too many trips to the kitchen and finding snacks to eat to kill time. Working from home can also get lonely, so if creating the perfect set up for working from home isn’t enough, going for a walk or to a gym class at lunch is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to get you re-charged and re-focussed for the afternoon. So, if you’re ever stuck, contemplating whether working from home is right for you, or wondering why it doesn’t work for you, just a couple of tweaks could make the world of difference. Contact: www.powwownow.co.uk
anaging a fleet can prove a labyrinth for many, as there are numerous factors that need to be taken into consideration before hitting the metaphorical ‘buy’ button. Cars come in different variants, trims, and sizes, with an engine or a motor, and vary by levels of specification. Where do you start? We guide many fleet managers through this conundrum for them to be able to define the optimum choice and mix of vehicles. However, the purchase process can be kick-started by asking the following simple, but essential, questions in order to help make the best informed decision: WHAT SAFETY TECHNOLOGY IS THE CAR EQUIPPED WITH? The wellbeing of staff is of prime importance, and there are several pieces of legislation safeguarding the health of individuals at the wheel, which are good to be aware of. With the great strides that have been made in the sphere of automotive technology, many critical systems, such as ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and ABS (Antilock Braking System), are now included at no additional cost. It is nevertheless beneficial to know their function and significance to ensure that the right accident reduction equipment has been taken into
Fleet management: going in the right direction Selwyn Cooper, head of business sales at Volvo Cars UK, explains what you should look for in a vehicle when purchasing company cars, and the key criteria that need to be addressed account. For example, Volvo City Safety, an autonomous emergency braking system designed to help the avoidance of a low-speed collision, is fitted as standard on every model, and can cut operating costs and accident rates by a quarter. Furthermore, Euro NCAP is today a recognised one- to five-star industry rating of vehicle safety, and therefore this should be taken into consideration when making the final selection. WHERE AND WHAT WILL THE CAR BE USED FOR? Knowing in which type of environment the car will be driven, and its primary purpose, will prove a major influencer of choice. For example, staff will prefer an estate vehicle if they are after plenty of space to carry tools and colleagues, whereas others will want the ability to go safely off road, with a 4x4 or SUV if they are working in areas
where the terrain may prove more challenging. Some will merely need to navigate around urban areas to visit customers and attend meetings, and therefore an economical city model will suffice.
The majority of those driving on business will travel thousands of miles every year, and essentially regard the car as an H[WHQVLRQ WR WKH RƮFH HOW COMFORTABLE IS IT, AND WHAT IS THE INTERIOR SPECIFICATION? The majority of those driving on business will travel thousands of miles every year, and essentially regard the car as an extension to the office. Comfort should always be one of the first things to look at,
Until the end of 2015, the Government will contribute £5,000 towards a new car’s cost if it emits less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre because once again, this makes for a happier and healthier employee. When it comes to the ergonomics of the cabin itself, aspects to look out for are the layout, head and leg room, whether there is any lumbar support for the back, and how adjustable the seating is in order to achieve the perfect position for both the driver and passengers. Comfort also extends to features such as air conditioning in hotter temperatures, and pollen filters for cleaner air circulation. The type of in-car technology that the model carries is the subject of another checklist, as this allows employees to go about their job with reduced fatigue and stress. For example, how easy is it to operate the satellite navigation interface? Does it allow drivers to locate parking areas, petrol stations, and receive the very latest traffic news in order to decrease journey times? Is there Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls to do business legally on the move, and can the car be turned into a WiFi hotspot? The quantity and complexity of these systems will vary by trim, and therefore it
50 October 2015
may be more cost effective to go for a high level of specification rather than to add all of these later as paid-for options. IS THE MODEL IN QUESTION POWERED BY A PETROL OR DIESEL ENGINE, ELECTRIC MOTOR, OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH? Each has its own merits, but the decision as to which type of powertrain to go for has become a little more complex. This is thanks to the emergence of greener and cleaner technology that Government is encouraging us towards, in order to drive down emissions. The petrol versus diesel debate is an interesting one. For the last 14 years, the price of petrol has always been lower than diesel, but the tide has turned at some petrol stations, which means that diesel is really coming into its own, and generally it also offers better fuel economy. Added into the mix is the arrival of plug-in hybrids (a mixture of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine) and fully-electric cars, which have the benefit of far lower CO2 outputs, or none at all. Until the end of 2015, the Government will contribute £5,000 towards the cost of a
new car with its Plug-In Car Grant (PICG), if it emits less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre driven. This applies to both fully electric vehicles that can run for at least 70 miles between charges, and plug-in hybrids, such as the recently unveiled 49g/km CO2-Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, that must have a minimum electric range of 10 miles. WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL TAX BURDEN ON MY BUSINESS AND STAFF? Tax is a prime consideration of company car procurement. One of the changes that came into force in April this year, is the CO2 threshold at which the 100% first year capital allowance applies. This was reduced from 95g/km to 75g/ km. Falling within this sub75g banding allows the entire price of the new car to be offset against profits in the year of purchase, thereby lessening the degree of corporation tax, which is payable at the end of the period. Similarly, cars with a CO2 output of 0-50g/ km, including those with zero emissions, qualify for Benefitin-Kind (BiK) tax at 5%, or 8% for diesel variants. This means reduced monthly income tax deductions from payslips for those earning above £8,500 per annum. Contact: www.volvocars.co.uk/business
CONFIDENCE COMES FROM WITHIN. THE ALL-NEW volvo XC90. Leading a business takes conﬁdence. And that, in turn, requires a little room to reﬂect. That’s why the all-new Volvo XC90 is designed to provide the perfect environment for contemplation. Its intuitive communications technology keeps you connected to your professional world, while its effortless drive connects you to the road ahead; an intelligent blend of human and machine combines to deliver you to your destination assured, composed and inspired. SE ARCH ALL-NEW XC90 OR CALL THE VOLVO CAR BUSINESS CENTRE ON 0345 600 4027
Ofﬁcial fuel consumption for the all-new Volvo XC90 in MPG (l/100km) ranges from: Urban 28.8 (9.8) – 45.6 (6.2), Extra Urban 40.4 (7.9) – 52.3 (5.4), Combined 35.3 (8.0) – 134.5 (2.1). CO2 emissions 186 – 49g/km. MPG ﬁgures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reﬂect real driving results.
Why car leasing is the right fit for you and your business
o matter what size your company might be, in the current business climate, some rules are just as true for the micro-startup as they are for the biggest of blue-chips. Companies everywhere are looking to maximise value, simplify administration, and improve cash ﬂow – all without compromising agility. As it is at work, so it is at home: the economy may be recovering but many family budgets remain squeezed and yet despite this, none of us want to cut back on our standard of living if we can avoid it. What you may not know is that whether you’re a running a multinational company or a middle-income household, car leasing can enable you to get more for your money and for a whole lot less hassle. Here’s how…
IT DOESN’T GET SIMPLER THAN THIS If there’s one thing that both ﬂeet managers and school-run mums can understand, it’s that car ownership inevitably brings with it a certain quantity of hassle and headache. Whether it’s dealing with your vehicle’s road tax or keeping tabs on when its MOT is due, running a car turns us all into the administrators of our own transport department. And all of that is before you have to go through the process of selling the thing when that time comes. Car leasing on the other hand makes most of those problems disappear. The vast majority of car leasing deals, whether personal or business, include VED (aka ‘road tax’) as part of the monthly price. Add to that the fact that most leasing deals are on brand new cars and if you’re on a contract that runs for less than three years then you can forget all about facing the dreaded MOT. You can even roll a comprehensive service agreement
into the cost allowing you to avoid any nasty surprises as the service intervals arrive. And at the end of the contract, when you’re ready for something new, simply send it back: no need to consider a disappointing part-exchange deal or a derisory offer from a car-buying service. So with everything covered in a single monthly payment, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about whether you’re still road legal and more time enjoying that new car smell. Unless of course you relish that kind of automotive admin…?
YOU CAN HAVE ANY COLOUR AS LONG AS IT’S TURQUOISE METALLIC We all like to have choices but whether you’re spreading the payments or laying down hard cash, when you buy a car the deal always boils down to the same thing: you hand over a big lump of money and the vehicle is yours to keep. These days you can pick the colour, you can pick the wheels, you can pick the trim level but if you absolutely, positively have to own the thing then the range of options open to you hasn’t changed all that much since Mr Ford rolled the ﬁrst Model T off the production line. Leasing changes all of that. All of those speciﬁcation options that you’ve grown to expect are still available but the level of ﬂexibility that you have when conﬁguring your car doesn’t stop when you’ve decided whether you want the metallic paint or the panoramic roof: it carries right through to the payments. Want the best possible rate? Go for a 36 or 48 month agreement to bring the monthly cost down. Want the option to upgrade in a year or two? Take a shorter deal and keep your neighbours guessing about how you always seem to be driving around in a brand new car. If you know you’re mainly going to be running
to the shops then shrink your mileage allowance for big savings. If your business takes you around the country then boost your mileage allowance for peace of mind. Whatever your circumstances, there’s a leasing deal out there that’s tailor-made for your requirements and with deposits that can be signiﬁcantly lower than those of other ﬁnance options you can be driving a lot more car for your money. Unless of course you’d prefer to hand over your life’s savings (or a big chunk of your company’s capital) to own a rapidly depreciating asset forever…?
THE BOTTOM LINE For businesses of all sizes, the low costs, reduced administration overheads and increased ﬂexibility of leasing can lift the image of your company’s ﬂeet without landing a crater in the balance sheet. What may come as a surprise to some people is that it’s not just business users that can beneﬁt: even if you’re just in the market for a family runabout personal users can access a huge selection of deals to ﬁt all tastes and budgets. So if you’re not already thinking about leasing your next car, you really need to ask yourself - why not? Interested? Contact www. contracthireandleasing.com
o, you’re thinking of hiring a marketing agency? That’s fantastic! The good news is that a great marketing programme can drastically increase sales, and become the backbone of your business. The bad news is that marketing is not a regulated industry, therefore, there are a lot of Flash, Fluff, and Fakers® out there. So how do you protect yourself? And how do you choose an agency that will provide a return on investment? Here are my top tips to ensure you find the right agency:
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE It’s sad to say, but marketing has become full of ‘dodgy car salesmen’. Make sure you do your research before working with someone. Scour the internet, especially forums, for feedback; have people complained about this company? You may also want to check with Companies House – if the person has owned ten different companies in ten years, it might be a sign they’re up to no good.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO SPECIALISTS While I understand the draw of working with someone who understands your industry, this doesn’t mean they’re the best for the job. In some cases, the company could have a conflict of interest as they’ve worked with your competitors. Working within your industry does not automatically give someone the skills you’re looking for. Instead, think of the job at hand and what needs to get done. Find the person who is best at that.
SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS RIGHT AROUND FEES Many businesses expect to market on a shoestring, but as is the case with many things, you often get what you pay for. A decent marketing agency budget for a small business can range from £10,000 - £50,000, and include the implementation of items such as a website, branding, and more.
MEASUREMENT It’s important to start seeing a return on your investment pretty rapidly. Ask your marketing agency when they expect changes to occur, and what kind of results you can expect. A good marketing agency will know their
Who, what and why?
track record and will stand behind their results. They’ll also have measurement tools so you can see the results first hand.
WHO IS HANDLING YOUR ACCOUNT? Will a junior employee be managing your account, or a seasoned marketer? You need to make sure your programme is being overseen and implemented by an expert.
UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARKETING AND PR PR is one area of marketing. It’s the last thing you should be doing until you get the other parts of your marketing right. Yet so many business owners jump straight into hiring a PR agency, because the idea of being in the newspaper is sexy. But rest assured, PR without a plan does not work. To learn more about Sarsaparilla Marketing, and see if we’re the right agency for you, visit www. sarsaparillamarketing.com to download your free marketing eBook, 7 Deadly Marketing Mistakes You’re Making Right Now and Don’t Even Know It.
This month, marketing expert and founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, Kimberly Davis looks at the vital questions you need to ask before signing up with a marketing agency
A good marketing agency will know their track record and will stand behind their results
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Writing long epistles about your working life isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So if you don’t fancy it, maybe one of your VWDƫ GRHV"
o, you’ve got a website blog. Now what? Running a small business has many challenges, but one of the toughest is keeping an eye on your pipeline of new business. If you don’t, and work begins to dry up, pulling those ‘new business levers’ is easier because you’ve got more time on your hands, but leaves you with a pretty lengthy waiting time before anything actually happens. Needless to say, one of those levers is keeping your website up to date with news and articles
in order to maintain the interest of those ever-impatient search engines. This is potentially one of the most important to keep an eye on, but it’s my experience that this is often the first piece of marketing to be allowed to slide, and before too long, you’ve got a great website with a redundant blog, which is doing your business more harm than good. The temptation at the busiest times is to make your life easier by doing a site revamp, and ditching the blog in favour of something seemingly less labour-intensive, such as Twitter.
Make your mark Marketing expert, Richard Chapman of Richard Chapman Studio, looks at how to use your blog to its maximum advantage as a powerful marketing tool
But today, words are the web. When it comes to search engines, they are hungry for fresh, relevant, original content. So, let me stay your hand in losing that blog, and instead, offer a few helpful suggestions on how to make the most of it without losing your mind. For the record, I do sympathise. Writing long epistles about your working life isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So if you don’t fancy it, maybe one of your staff does? Try asking a marketing staff member, or even an enthusiastic intern, whose work can have your ‘red pen’ on it before going live. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT Firstly, in order for a blog to be a going concern, pulling together a few regular themes, to which you return week after week, makes life much easier. Starting a simple series of pieces, which come from your day-to-day working life provides a structure, which readers enjoy and you can sustain. In particular, if
youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ongoing clients for whom itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real pleasure to work, writing about the latest delivery, product, or launch is a good start. Secondly, make a shopping list of key topics within your industry, which your clients could be interested in. Short, pithy pieces that are 300-plus words are the standard here. In the time Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been writing these, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found that something with a little wit and honesty goes a long way, as do emotions clients admire, such as pride in your work (especially when things are going well) and an interest in innovation and change within your industry. A third idea is to respond to issues that are making the news, and directly affect your business. Similarly, if you read a piece in a paper or online, which chimes with your own viewpoints, offering a few thoughts around that is a good idea. Citing specific or notable writers in a piece on your site makes sense, and backs up your views. When using this approach, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not enough to simply paste in an article â&#x20AC;&#x201C; write your views too. Then be sure to credit the writer and provide an outgoing link â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that last part helps with search engine rankings. HOW TO MAKE YOUR BLOG SEARCH ENGINE-FRIENDLY This is a somewhat tortured topic for many blog authors, who feel they should just be able to write what they want. However, the unfortunate truth is that Google particularly rates â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;relevant contentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Boiled down, this means â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;things that people really want
If you read a piece in a paper or online which chimes with your own YLHZSRLQWV RĆŤHULQJ D IHZ WKRXJKWV DURXQG WKDW LV D JRRG LGHD
56 October 2015
to find outâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and, from your perspective, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;services you want to sellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which users find by tapping in a key phrase. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty easy to crystallise the essence of your blog post to a short threeto five-word topic and make that the key phrase. An example might be something like â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Our new range of waterproof industrial clothingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Writing key phrase-centric blog posts can become strangely hypnotic and obsessive; how many times can you fit in your phrase without it sounding like nonsense? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d just caution against trying to be too clever, and writing the same sort of pointless post again and again with the identical key phrases repeated every few sentences. Here are some simple pointers for taking your blog post from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;latest newsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really going to help boost sales by being searchengine friendly: â&#x20AC;˘ Include a key phrase in the title, initial paragraph and a sub-head of your post. â&#x20AC;˘ Name any images on your post with your key phase. â&#x20AC;˘ Link to other posts with relevant or related content. â&#x20AC;˘ Include an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;outboundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; link or two. â&#x20AC;˘ Ensure your copy is at least 300 words, ideally more.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BLOG POST WORK EVEN HARDER FOR SALES Where a good blog post can really come into its own is as a new piece of marketing about your business, which can then be used multiple times elsewhere, and could even take on a life of its own online. Social media makes many small business owners groan in despair, but the truth is that the same blog post can be linked to from a Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook post, and potentially create a buzz about your business, and even drive potential clients back to your website. At a stroke, this reduces your chores online by perhaps even a fifth, and bangs the drum for you to all the people you want to reach on the same day. Not too shabby for what amounts to a short essay or journal entry. Contact: www.richardpchapman.com
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Making the Link What are the top 5 mistakes businesses must avoid when using LinkedIn? Jonathan Richards, digital director at OgilvyOne DNX, explains
58 October 2015
inkedIn is one of the most popular social channels in the world, with 347 million members, so it’s no wonder that it can be a minefield when approaching the platform from a business perspective. Before you’ve even opened the website, set out clear objectives of what you want to achieve with the platform, make sure everyone is on board, and remember the following five don’ts when getting started:
DON’T HAVE A BLANK COMPANY PAGE If you don’t have a company page, your company is invisible on LinkedIn - full stop. However, having one that says nothing can be just as damaging. Businesses should think strategically and proactively about how they can invest time into maintaining and updating a company page, as lack of traction on your LinkedIn page can often look like lack of business traction overall. The objective is to drive followers and discussion, and to build relationships, and you simply can’t do that if you stay silent.
DON’T FORGET THAT VISUALS OFTEN SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS This isn’t to say that headlines aren’t important – whether for search, engagement, or context, the right headline is critical. However, visual materials will help to tell a story about you and your company in a way that words sometimes can’t. To enforce your brand, keep everything consistent and mirror your LinkedIn page with your website, making sure you use the correct logos, up-to-date company information, and work information. It might seem obvious, but visuals have a far higher rate of engagement than text updates, and can help to pique the reader’s interest in a sea of constant updates. If you have presentations, photos, reports, or videos, then use them. Remember to hyperlink good work or press, as it is so much more compelling than dry, lengthy statuses, In this way, your personality will shine through, both as a person, and as a company.
DON’T POST IRRELEVANT INFORMATION Quality and consistency are key. Only post information that links back to your business or expertise. Always remember that LinkedIn is a professional and targeted platform, aimed at bringing businesses together to build relationships relevant to you, which you won’t be able to achieve if you are pumping out irrelevant content or treating it like Twitter. Are you discussing topics your audience is interested in? Are you answering questions your audience wants the answer to? Privacy and legitimacy are still very much at the heart of its philosophy, and respecting this is paramount. Never stray too far
from your business’s objective, message, and company ethos, and above all, think about what is going to be interesting for your audience. Also, try to stay away from being too conversational.
DON’T POST AND LOG OFF Ensure that your employees are linked to your business page, and that they share your company’s status updates on their own profiles. It takes no time for your employees to log in and share an update; not only does it keep them active on the platform, but your readership will grow exponentially, and you’ll be able to reach an audience that might not have come across you before. Always think of where else your content can go – don’t simply post and log off, expecting the news to travel on its own; you have to make the content work for you.
DON’T PASS UP A PROFILE OPPORTUNITY LinkedIn is the perfect place to showcase your credentials, expertise, and wider industry opinion. If it’s only the tech guy or the office juniors who take control of the company platform, the broader business message can get lost. The voices of your top executives should always be heard, to amplify the company’s gravitas across the industry. If you are only pushing out your company updates, you’re missing a trick in being an industry thought leader. Don’t be afraid of giving your opinion on the wider industry you work in, as your voice will bring focus back to your business and what it can do for clients.
Lack of traction on your LinkedIn page can often look like lack of business traction overall talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 59
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All ﬁne online? Hannah Stringer, head of marketing for Moneypenny, discusses the pros and cons of advertising online and in print for SMEs
e have Google to thank - or blame - depending on your viewpoint, for the transformation of advertising in the last decade or so. The rise of digital leaves many small business owners questioning if print advertising has gone the way of the dodo. The short answer is no. There is a time and place for both, but when and where? Let’s explore:
DIGITAL It used to be buying your 50 business cards from the motorway services that symbolised you were a fully fledged business owner. Now, it’s getting your Adwords campaign up and running. That’s the beauty of digital, it provides the ultimate ‘dip your toe into the water’ platform. Adwords is the obvious place to start for any business, targeting in-market prospects, but what about beyond that?
Targeting a small group may sound ideal, but the reality is volume is your best friend
Display is often touted as ‘really cheap branding’, and it is, but does that exposure translate to visits and conversions? Not always, and if it doesn’t, then you need to stop, or change your plan. The two key takeaways when using digital advertising to attract new prospects (we refer to them as unqualified visits at Moneypenny), are the ability to test different creative messaging, and the ability to target. Testing - running multiple campaign creative at once, be it on the GDN, AdExchange, YouTube or wherever is easy. It is cost effective too, because you can carve up your budget accordingly. You will know what worked best because you’ll have a plethora of stats to chew over. In fact, one of your biggest challenges is often deciding which stats you care about most. Targeting - understand your target prospect, define them, and give them a character. Where do they go, what do they do? Luckily, Google does most of this for you, and by using interest and affinity categories, you can hunt out your biggest fish with a few clicks. A warning though targeting a small group may sound ideal, but the reality is, volume is your best friend. You’re only paying for clicks so the fact your advert was served 10,000 times is irrelevant.
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A well thought out campaign, with the right creative and the right publication, is powerful. It buys upcoming brands a presence, and it makes customers sit up and listen PRINT First, let’s cover the basics; print is nowhere near as trackable as digital. It offers none of the flexibility digital does when it comes to budget management, and is disjointed when you consider the buying funnel i.e. going online to buy. So why not stop there? Print is dead, right? Wrong. There’s a long list of things money can’t buy but it can buy (a degree of) credibility. For big brands, print serves as a reminder that ‘we’re still here’, and a vehicle for product launches. Think green Coca Cola. But how does this translate to your average SME? It depends on your objectives. Print is a long-term commitment. One advert in one issue will not build your pipeline for six months. However, a well thought out campaign, with the right creative, and the right publication, is powerful. It buys upcoming brands a presence, and it makes customers sit up and listen; it’s a ‘if you’re paying for print adverts, you
must be a serious player’ type mentality. We all do it, be it consciously or unconsciously. At Moneypenny, we use print in very few, but key sectors. Generally its where the buying funnel is slower; it’s about using print and other complementary channels (e.g. PR and events) to build up awareness and credibility and, before you know it, you have people commenting that ‘you guys are everywhere’ - something we hear often. This leads to them ultimately enquiring about our services with the full knowledge we are a credible organisation, and one they can trust. A few final words of advice: don’t expect a tangible ROI, and choose your publication wisely. If you can’t afford to test multiple adverts in print, test creative using cheaper channels, such as digital. Also ensure a consistent look and feel across your collateral, and be realistic about what you’ll achieve and when. Contact: www.moneypenny.co.uk
Priya Kapoor, PR manager at 1&1 Internet Ltd., asks which type of advertising is right for your business?
reating a professional website is a basic fundamental of a successful online business. But what use is an attractive, fully functioning website with no visitors or sales? Business owners could attain traffic through tactical processes, such as ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) – mastering your website content and visibility organically – or they could consider alternative methods, such as ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) advertising. Let’s take Facebook as an example. With a reach of 14 billion users [Source: Facebook internal data, March 2015], it’s no surprise that many business owners would consider using this channel as part of their marketing strategy. Businesses today are aware of the benefits of a dedicated profile on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which are free to set up and maintain. However, many SMEs may have overlooked the use of adverts to reach their target market. What makes Facebook adverts so appealing is the fact that you can filter the audience that you want to see your adverts by location, gender, interests, and age, to name just a few. Targeting the profile of the individuals that view your business offers a more calculated campaign strategy. Another popular channel used for advertising is Google AdWords. Proven to be hugely successful in driving traffic to a business’ website, results are generated by the search queries and keywords most applicable to a business. Companies simply bid for the search terms or keywords most relevant to them. Although the
64 October 2015
demographics of the audience viewing the advert are a lot broader, the good thing is that the advert is displayed to those that are actively seeking relevant information. Searchers will determine their criteria with keywords that are matched to the keywords used in the advert. What this tells you about the audience and their buying behaviour is that there is intent to purchase, and so they will expect to see adverts. They are purposefully looking for as much information as they can get, and so you can expect the Click-Through rate (CTR) of Google AdWords to be relatively high – meaning the possibility of a sale is increased. Facebook Ads are displayed depending on an individual’s interest. Such adverts are displayed as a result of the demographic criteria set by the advertiser; viewers of the ad may not be specifically searching for a product or service for example. Therefore, you can expect the CTR to be lower than that of Google AdWords, as consumers are just browsing and not actively looking for something. Even though the viewer of the advert may not necessarily be searching for a specific product, Facebook Ads can greatly contribute to raising brand awareness. This is significantly increased when a friend ‘likes’ a company or advert, which can help break down trust barriers and contribute to the views of a business website or profile. When it comes to costs, although Google AdWords holds a higher clickthrough rate, the Cost Per Click (CPC) for both hold different premiums. You can set each advert in line with your
budget, but the CPC will depend on the quality of your investment: competition, relevance, traffic, and visibility. You need to consider how much you’re willing to pay for each click. Generally, the CPC of Google AdWords tends to be higher. As we know, with Google AdWords you are bidding for keywords: popular search terms tend to be more expensive. The average cost of a keyword is $2.50 CPC. On the other hand, Facebook advertising can be deemed more economical, with an average cost of $0.80 CPC. Costs are calculated by the demographics selected. Although the Facebook cost per click may be lower, it is important to consider how many of those clicks convert to sales. What you really need to consider is the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). The key difference between the two forms of advertising is the targeted approach. Google AdWords requires you to think like the consumer, and match the keywords in your advert to their search phrases. Facebook offers a more targeted approach, based on who people are, which can help achieve greater success online with minimal effort. With this in mind, when it comes to the brand awareness of your business and direct traffic you can expect from these two forms of advertising, each offers a different outcome. But it’s worth remembering that word of mouth and social proof are powerful tools in advertising today. Facebook ads have proven successful with many businesses. Encouraging SMEs to consider the objective of their campaigns, holding their hand, and walking them through
Even though the viewer of the advert may not necessarily be searching for a VSHFLĆŹF SURGXFW Facebook ads can greatly contribute to raising brand awareness the process of setting up a campaign, advertisements are easy to tailor to a businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; requirements and reach customers. Offering a similar outcome, Google AdWords requires more consideration of your customers purchasing searches, but could result in higher intention to purchase. So which PPC service is right for you? Ideally a marketing campaign would implement both Facebook advertising and Google AdWords to get the most out of reach but, if you are unsure, consider the following: â&#x20AC;˘ Are you looking for direct sales or to raise brand awareness? â&#x20AC;˘ Do you want to target your advert on demographics or on keywords? â&#x20AC;˘ What is your budget? By understanding the goals for your advertisement, you can determine the pros and cons of each, and which channel is right for your business. Testing both platforms with a small budget can help to establish the model that meets your objective.
Finding the right ďŹ t: Google adverts versus Facebook adverts
What’s in a name Paul Tuvey, European sales director at Shutterstock UK, looks at how to name your start-up
ntrepreneurs with a great idea for a company are sometimes hard pressed to come up with the perfect name for it. They can labour over the decision for weeks, tossing around, and ultimately rejecting, idea after idea. Outside of conveying the right sentiment and message, choosing the right name can be a chore from a legal perspective. Business owners must do their homework, and find out if a trademark is available for a name. Since so many companies have come and gone ahead of theirs, that can be a tedious process. In addition, even if a company isn’t e-commerce by its very nature, owners should still make every effort possible to purchase the simplest URL available to host its website. With both the legal and logistical aspects to the business’s creation out of the way, a company can focus on growth and opportunity. Here are a few helpful tips for naming a start-up: THE MORE UNUSUAL, THE BETTER Companies, since the beginning of time, have tried to separate themselves from the pack with unconventional names. From a branding and liability perspective, this is the best way to go; it allows young companies to establish themselves as new players who aren’t lifting concepts or ripping
off names from well-known competitors. The strongest trademarks are coined names where there’s no pre-existing association. In recent years, start-ups gravitated toward portraying their names in unique ways, such as .ly. This trend may have irked some – particularly grammarians – but it definitely helped some up-andcoming brands to get noticed. Still, be careful about getting too clever and deliberately misspelling company names – people may not be able to find you through search engines or in app stores, and that’s just bad business. HAVE A PASSION FOR IT Above all else, it must be something you like. For the first few years of a company’s existence, the CEO must wear many hats, focusing on sales and business development. As the founder hits the networking circuit, everyone will be listening for how he or she describes the product or service, beginning with the enthusiasm behind the brand origin story. Nobody will ever talk as glowingly about a company as the founder. If the name is simple to say and rolls off the tongue, it will have a greater chance of leaving an impact on others. The name should reflect the culture and emotion you wish to foster in others. DON’T FORGET INTERNATIONAL Many words or phrases that might sound pleasing to English ears
Many words or phrases that might sound pleasing to English ears could rub someone else the wrong way could rub someone else the wrong way. Take the time to study whether the name you’ve chosen has any negative connotations in other cultures. It’s essential to make sure that the name you’ve fallen in love with isn’t something that could come back to bite you down the line. All great and lasting companies look toward international expansion at some point, and you should ensure that, when you do, you won’t run into any unforeseen surprises. Contact: www.shutterstock.com
We can’t be all things to all people, but we can change the emphasis of our delivery
Are you a leader, or a manager? Dr Deborah Benson, founder of Leaders For Leadership, asks whether you know when to play which role
ou’re at a dinner party and someone asks if you’re a leader or a manager – what do you reply? It’s a pretty easy choice if you lead a huge organisation, or manage a department, but if you run an SME, you may need to consider your response over a second or third glass of wine. Classic theory states that leaders ‘decide what should be done’ and managers ‘ensure it is done’. The leader is the visionary, scanning the commercial horizon, having big ideas, and setting the company strategy. They must communicate the vision, motivate, and inspire the workforce. The leader creates movement and change, setting the organisation’s direction towards specific business goals. They
must therefore be outward looking, identifying market opportunities, assessing competitors, investigating new technologies, and keeping the company competitively sharp. A manager must arguably be more inward looking, overseeing the staff and processes that deliver the leader’s vision. Annual planning, budgets, production, and logistics are the manager’s realm. So what would your answer be? My guess is that if you run an SME, you will emphatically declare that you are both leader and manager. Everything above and a whole lot more lands directly on your plate. Personally, I see the leader/ manager issue as a continuum, with the emphasis shifting towards one or the other end depending on the prevailing situation and, as soon as people are involved, some leadership is essential. We can probably all agree that we must sometimes manage, sometimes lead, and sometimes do both simultaneously. The tricky bit is knowing when to shift your behaviour – particularly knowing when to step back from the detail and gift the managerial control to someone else. The problem is we all cling subconsciously to our comfort zone.
Those not comfortable being strong leaders slip back into micro-managing, often frustrating and undermining the appointed managers. You’ve succeeded because you looked after the vision and the detail, and it hurts to let go of control on either front, but let go you must or you will start to fail. The key to finding your place on that spectrum, consciously adapting your level of control as your company grows, starts with taking a good look in the metaphoric mirror. Honestly examine your strengths and weaknesses, and assess what your company really needs from you right now and your fit for that role. If you see gaps between company needs and your own technical or adaptive abilities, it’s worth consulting an external mentor or coach, to be an objective sounding board to help your personal development. We can’t be all things to all people, but we can change the emphasis of our delivery. Sometimes a subtle shift between leader – setting the goals but stepping back from the detailed delivery – to hands on manager, or vice-versa, is all that is needed. Contact: email@example.com
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 5 October networking events in London which are all listed below (and on our website). 1st Oct 2015 12.30-2.30pm
Networking lunch in Docklands The Parlour, Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW Nearest tube: Canada Square More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-docklands-2
7th Oct 2015 12.30-2.30pm
Networking lunch in Oxford Circus Cookery School, 15b Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BW Nearest tube: Oxford Circus More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-oxford-circus
14th Oct 2015 8.00-10.00am
Champagne networking breakfast in the City Crab Tavern, Unit 7 Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QX Nearest tube: Liverpool Street More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-breakfast-in-the-city
22nd Oct 2015 12.30-2.30pm
Networking lunch in Farringdon Bounce, 121 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD Nearest tube: Chancery Lane More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-farringdon
29th Oct 2015 12.30-2.30pm
Networking lunch in Temple Walkabout Temple, Temple Place, Temple, London, WC2R 2PH Nearest tube: Temple More information and booking: http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/events/networking-lunch-in-temple
Please email Fiona@businessjunction.co.uk with the event you would like to attend and quoting the reference: Talkbusiness10/15 Now in its 15th year and with over 550 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 Philippe Brugnon Champagne breakfast and 6 evening events, all at different high quality central London venues.
020 3667 6776
LOCATIONS OF UPCOMING SHOWS 2015/16 Cheltenham Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham GL50 4SH Midlands Cranmore Park, Solihull B90 4LF Taunton Somerset County Cricket Club, Taunton TA1 1JT
NOV. 2015 CHELTENHAM
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“Worcester was my 5th show with Sterling Business Shows, and as always I had a brilliant day. I came away from the show with 4 genuine leads and countless interesting conversations and new business connections. I decided to exhibit with Sterling in order to expand my business into new areas. I have found the shows to be a great return on investment, which is why after the initial 3 show bookings I continue to exhibit with Sterling Business Shows.” Graham Abbey. Factotum Ltd – Exhibitor, Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Oxford & Worcester.
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Knowing me, knowing you Jonathan Fitchew, CEO of graduate recruitment specialist, Pareto Law, provides 7 top tips to help you to minimise the ‘mini-me’ recruitment trap
irror-image or ‘mini-me’ recruiting is endemic in UK companies, and it’s bad for business. Imagine a football team where everyone is a Cristiano Ronaldo and nobody is going to ‘keep it tight at the back’, as the pundits say. With that in mind, I’ve identified the seven steps you can take to reduce the natural human tendency to recruit people who look like you, have the same
Assessing candidates nowadays requires much more than generic interview questions; it should reveal elements of an applicant’s personality that will test their behaviour in real world situations
background as you, and have the same set of skills, so that you can avoid the mini-me recruitment trap:
IDENTIFY THE MIX OF SKILLS AND PERSONALITIES THAT MAKE A STRONG BUSINESS No matter which industry you work in, any job vacancy is going to attract applications from candidates with a broad range of skills, backgrounds, and qualifications. These, of course, will all possess different strengths, but what you must consider is where they will fit into your existing team, and how their skills can be transferred and easily integrated into your company. In technology companies, you may find the CEO or founder has a PhD from Cambridge, and naturally is more comfortable hiring similarly gifted alumni from Oxbridge or Russell Group universities, but the chances are the CEO knows very little about marketing, HR, or accounts. They may not be as comfortable picking up the phone to a sales prospect as they are at cracking a software bug, so he or she will need to
put natural preferences to one side in order to get the right person, not only in terms of qualifications, but also personality. A great example of best practice here is Martin Sorrel, CEO of international marketing group, WPP. He is an accountant by training, and yet his business is reliant on securing the best creative talent around. He focuses on the strategy and the numbers, and leaves art directors, digital ‘ninjas’, and PR gurus to deliver value to the client.
UNDERSTAND YOUR COMPANY CULTURE 80% of businesses claim that hiring individuals who are a good cultural fit for their organisation is crucial to their recruitment process. This is where committee and peer-based hiring can reap rewards, because the collective input of a number of interviewers will identify a candidate who is an all-round fit for you. However corporate your organisation may be, if you conform to old-school conventions and hire solely based on skill, then you’ll encounter
problems further down the line. If everyone looks the same, thinks the same, and acts the same, where are your new ideas going to come from? Who is going to challenge your current thinking and assumptions? Sure, we all need to get on board and work in the same direction, but without diversity, there is no innovation, and without innovation, there is no growth.
BE SEEN IN THE RIGHT PLACES Because we’re all pressed for time, we look for shortcuts in recruitment. This is totally understandable but, if by taking shortcuts it means that you only look at people that share your background, then you’re not giving your company the best choice of talent. Placing an advert in the Sunday Telegraph may not be your best bet if you’re looking for someone to work on your gamification strategy. You’re more likely to get the best selection by using the variety of channels available that appeal to different socio-economic and cultural groups – and there is no shortage of channels, from job sites to social media to specialist recruiters.
A MULTI-LAYERED APPROACH TO CANDIDATE ASSESSMENT Assessing candidates nowadays requires much more than generic interview questions; it should reveal elements of an applicant’s personality that will test their behaviour in real world situations, that they’re likely to come across in the role. This is why we dedicate a minimum of 10 hours to assessing each individual candidate, putting them through a telephone interview, assessment day, and one-to-one interviews. By observing candidates in different environments, you can test their ability to improvise, communicate, and cooperate, while deciding on their suitability for your company.
CELEBRATE DIVERSITY IN ALL ITS FORMS Diversity isn’t just about hiring individuals from different backgrounds, but about celebrating difference, and the success it brings across all areas of the business. You could benefit from publicising achievements of those from across
72 October 2015
less high profile departments, such as operations or credit control, as this in turn will improve employee satisfaction. Promote internal or external highlights on your company website and social media, and future applicants will be attracted by a company that really invests in its people, whatever their background or discipline. Potential employees are looking for evidence that you have an inclusive company culture.
A COMPETENCY-BASED REWARDS SYSTEM Everyone needs to feel that they are valued by the business. With sales people, they can enjoy the instant and frequent gratification of a commission payment, while all your best staff in other departments will be driven by the opportunity for personal development and job recognition. One way to make sure you are meeting the expectations of your employees is to create a competency-based rewards framework,
one that celebrates and rewards their development and achievement milestones. This might include their ability to multi-task, communication skills, and effective leadership. These are more complex metrics to put in place but the effort is worthwhile, as it will create a culture of improvement, and gives employees an incentive to achieve.
BENCHMARK YOUR RECRUITMENT Have a look at companies in your sector that you admire. Look at how they publicise vacancies, their social media channels, and website. If they are outperforming you and you are still relying on the ‘mini-me’ recruitment and one hour interview, there is a distinct possibility that they’re doing something different and attracting the right calibre and mix of candidates. Contact: www.pareto.co.uk
Promote internal highlights on your company website and social media and future applicants will be attracted by a company that really invests in its people
Adam Breeden, CEO of Bounce, provides an insight into what a typical week looks like running London’s ping pong principality
Secret diary of an entrepreneur
t was in founding Bounce in 2012, my third venture in hospitality after co-founding The Lonsdale in London’s Notting Hill, and luxury bowling venue, All Star Lanes, where I truly discovered the best concept and winning formula for growth on an international platform. As the environment in Bounce is fast-paced and innovative, every week looks different. Every morning, I wake up by 6am and spend at least 30 minutes meditating. I then make myself a cup of tea and spend 30 minutes writing, thinking, and planning ahead, whether that be for the day, the week, or the future in general. This time allows me to do
74 October 2015
some big picture thinking, and to consider long-term strategies, both personally and professionally. Starting off the day in such a way allows me to work more effectively and be more creative. DAY ONE BOUNCING ALONG Once I arrive in the office, the day starts with a workshop with key management to discuss communications and the general structure of the team, as Bounce continues to evolve rapidly. That is then followed by a PR meeting to work on plans for the launch of our second venue in Shoreditch, as well as an internal marketing
and communications meeting to discuss digital content and marketing campaigns. Closer to the end of the day, I am usually on a conference call with the president of US operations for a weekly update (we will be launching our first stateside venue in Chicago, early in 2016) and catching up on emails. DAY TWO COCKTAILS AND CONTRACTORS As Bounce Shoreditch is opening in less than two months, I catch up with our interior designers and sign off final details of the venue’s design. I then travel from
The day starts with a workshop with key management to discuss communications and the general structure of the team as Bounce continues to evolve rapidly
Delightfully, I also get to be part of a cocktail tasting session for new drinks on Bounce Shoreditch’s cocktail menu
our offices in Farringdon to our new venue in Old Street to have an on site meeting in Bounce Shoreditch, monitoring the build as well as signing off various items being installed on site. Today, I am also having a weekly one-to-one catch up with the director of operations, and getting updates on all facets of operations, people, customer experience, the management team, issues arising from the previous week, as well as challenges ahead. This is then followed by site visits of potential new venues that Bounce could expand to around London. I’m then interviewed by the media around new venue openings, including Bounce Shoreditch, Bounce Chicago, and our international expansion plans, as well as business growth. Delightfully, I also get to be part of a cocktail tasting session for new drinks on Bounce
Shoreditch’s cocktail menu. After catching up on emails, I end the day by walking around Bounce Farringdon and touching base with managers, as well getting to see the night-time operation in full swing. DAY THREE PUTTING MY SPIN ON THE MENUS The day kicks off with a design workshop on Bounce Chicago with our interior designers,
discussing design principles as well as signing off full details for the proposed look and feel of every material in the venue. I then participate in the first of three food tastings for Bounce Shoreditch, and sign off the menu, as well as discuss areas for improvement and analyse margins. After being taken through a full analysis of management accounts and KPIs against our budget, and analysing the details of all costs in the business, I meet with our corporate finance advisors regarding growth, strategy, and future financial modelling. Later in the afternoon, I approve crockery for the new venue, and end my day with a one-toone meeting with the head of communications, to discuss special projects, communications, broad top-line marketing developments, and updates on anything relevant for the week.
DAY FOUR LAND OF THE RISING SERVE As Bounce plans to expand internationally into Asia, my day begins with a conference call with the vice president of Bounce Asia Pacific on development plans, and is followed by a conference call discussing tax strategy for the US and our corporate structure. I then sit with my PA to discuss plans for the week ahead and to follow up on ongoing matters, and meet with Bounce Farringdon’s general manager. After lunch, I interview a key new member of staff, as well as carry out an induction with a new member of the management team. Later in the afternoon, I meet with the branding agency to discuss the final stages of brand development work, and participate in a weekly video conference meeting with the Bounce Chicago project team, to get updates on all progress and developments. DAY FIVE US OF PLAY I usually have some quiet work time in the mornings and generally use this time to catch up and do some free thinking. After having lunch in Bounce Farringdon, I approve supplier payments and am in a meeting to discuss new projects and social entertainment venue (SEV) concept developments. I meet with the operations director and the head of communications to discuss broader matters in relation to growth, as well as being in a conference call with the president of operations of Bounce USA on growth developments in the US. Contact: www.bounce.co.uk
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BY THE ENTREPRENEUR
Every month Talk Business Magazine takes an open and honest look at the ﬁght entrepreneurs face to reach success. Bursting with inspiration, tips and advice to assist those battling through the day-to-day struggles of the current climate Whether you’re a start-up entrepreneur looking for early guidance, or an established business trying to reach the next step, we’re here to help you on every step of your journey
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Money talks Money makes the world go round, but should you declare what you’re offering an employee on job adverts? HR Insight’s Richard Cummings examines the pros and cons
aving spent years advising companies on recruitment strategies, I’ve come to realise that similar jobs, in similar sectors, can have vastly varying salaries. There are of course legitimate reasons for this, such as more responsibilities, or even due to recognising long hours cultures. I’ve had the salary debate with CEOs more times than I care to remember; not advertising it could mean you get someone cheaper, and advertising it could lead to rumblings in the ranks. Lately though, there seems to be a trend of not advertising salaries at all on job adverts. According to research carried out by a number of job boards, the salary is the third most important criterion in any job search - the top two being job title and location. SO WHAT IF I DON’T MENTION IT? You could be losing the ability to target a larger pool of candidates. Every morning, relevant jobs are emailed to appropriate candidates based on their search criteria (including salary), who view them online and apply if they think they’re suitable. According to Jobsite, this process yields nearly 50% of their applications. You don’t want to attract candidates
On average, the response to your advert will be considerably reduced when you don’t advertise the salary who are over-skilled any more than you do those who are under-skilled. You’ll waste time on inappropriate candidates who are already earning well above that salary. On average, the response to your advert will be considerably reduced when you don’t advertise the salary. By not stating the salary, did you know that your role will appear lower down in search results, as roles with salaries will be considered a closer match to the candidate’s criteria? The general assumption that candidates make is, if there is no salary on the advert, then the salary will be low or lower than the market average, when in reality this may not be the case. IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE? Obviously, there can be sensitivities regarding salaries within businesses. However, if you really are averse
to stating the salary on your job adverts, there are other things you can consider, which may go some way towards helping you to attract the right applicants. ADVERTISE A SALARY RANGE Doing this can be just as effective as stating the actual salary. It also gives you the freedom to look at candidates with varying levels of experience, before deciding on which level you wish to recruit at. DON’T MENTION THE COMPANY This will allow you to include the salary while remaining anonymous. Just be wary of the details you include within the job advert, so that it does not become obvious who you are. Removing the company name is less damaging to the job application responses than not advertising the salary. Before you advertise your next role, do some research regarding similar types of jobs that are currently being advertised, as this should provide you with some information and ideas on how best to advertise the role you are recruiting for. Contact: www.hrinsight.co.uk
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Policing your people’s posts Lee McQueen, founder of the Raw Talent Academy, and season-four winner of BBC’s The Apprentice, says it’s important to have a social media policy in place
About 15 years ago, I worked for a company where we had to book 20-minute slots to use the only computer that had internet access
t might seem strange to some of those entering the world of work today, but there was life before social media. It’s been a whirlwind ride to this point. About 15 years ago, I worked for a company in central London where we had to book 20-minute slots to use the only computer in the building that had internet access. Today, of course, digital communication is a way of life for millions of people. But as an employer, have you kept up with the pace of this progress? What is your social media policy? Is it something that everyone in your business knows and embraces? Do you even have one? A few years ago, a lot of businesses viewed social media as time wasting, and simply as an excuse for people to spend time chatting with their mates.
Nowadays, it’s quite normal to walk into an office and see a Facebook page open on a computer screen for work reasons. Abuse of social media by your employees is very hard to police. After all, if someone is using Facebook in your office for work purposes, but a private message pops up, that message is going to be read and will probably be replied to. There’s no point in you trying to stop that – it would be a losing battle, but that doesn’t mean your employees always have the freedom to say what they want. You wouldn’t accept it if they stood in the middle of the street with a megaphone and mouthed off about your business, and the same applies online. The problem is that many businesses don’t have policies for this sort of thing in place. That’s not a strong defence for an employee who crosses the line, but you should nevertheless think about formalising the situation, and making sure everyone is aware of the limits. Your staff need to know that having a grumble about work when they get home is one thing, but doing it online for
the whole world to see is far from OK. Let them know that the same standards of behaviour are expected online as are expected offline. If you need to reinforce this position, you can always point out that this can help your staff as much as it helps you. We’ve all seen stories of people who’ve spouted off on social media, only to regret it almost immediately. By encouraging your staff to think before they post something, you might be doing them a favour. Secondly, social media accounts are routinely checked by potential employers. Private conversations should remain private, but tweets and posts sent out to the world in general quickly become public knowledge and fair game. Would a potential employer be attracted to someone who has shown a history of criticising their boss or workplace in the past? In other words, having a sensible, flexible, but official social media policy can help all parties. Contact: www.rawtalentacademy.com
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Each month we bring you a selection of gadgets, gizmos, and gifts that we’re going crazy about
JAM TRANCE MINI SPEAKER Experience music in a whole new light with the Jam Trance Mini. A little cube with bags of style, this portable speaker’s five LED light programmes will make it the life and soul of any party. And its rubberised exterior means it’s easy to handle and hard to drop, no matter how hard you jam. For a small unit, this speaker has a big voice with a clear, powerful sound, while the wireless Bluetooth speaker connection gives you ultimate freedom from wires. Perfect for slotting into your suitcase or bag on your travels, it is lightweight, and offers up to five hours of play time. As it connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone, it is also great for taking calls on the go, for the ultimate in makeshift meetings. PRICE: £29.99 AVAILABLE FROM: www.uk.jamaudio.com
Comfortably monitor your heart rate with the Pulsense PS-500. A sleek, sporty watch that also tracks popular fitness activities. Be inspired to move toward higher performance with heart rate zone monitoring made easy, via LED lights on the face of the watch, and real-time data displayed on the LCD. Featuring Epson’s leading-edge sensing technology, the PS-500 accurately tracks your heart rate at the wrist, along with steps, sleep quality, and calories burned. You can then review stored data with the easy-to-use Pulsense mobile app or website. You get personalised information that’s sure to empower you to reach your next goal. Water resistant to three bars, it has an impressive 480 hours of internal storage too. This next generation heart rate and activity monitor tracks your pulse and activity 24-hours a day. It’s easy to set achievable goals that fit around your lifestyle, so you can get fitter with every beat. You can also use the sleep phase alarm to get you out of bed at the optimal time, so you can start your day the right way. PRICE: £149.99 AVAILABLE FROM: www.epson.co.uk
MARLEY CHANT BT BLUETOOTH WIRELESS SPEAKER The CHANT BT redefines the concept of fluid and flawless portability. Bluetooth convenience, sustainable craftsmanship, singular audio quality, and improved bass response all add up to create a powerful sound to take on any adventure. Blended eco-plastic and recyclable aluminium housings are complemented by a bamboo trim ring, with REWIND fabric serving as covering for the total package. The eco-conscious amongst you will be happy to know that Marley uses earth-friendly materials, such as recyclable aluminium, in an effort to keep materials out of the waste stream, so you’re not only getting a great product, but you’re staying friendly to Mother earth too. PRICE: £59.99 AVAILABLE FROM: www.thehouseofmarley.co.uk
Hotspots This month we’re heading to Hull, East Yorkshire, to discover some of the best places to eat, greet, and lay your head while on business in the UK’s City of Culture for 2017 AWAY ON BUSINESS CAVE CASTLE HOTEL AND COUNTRY CLUB WHERE? Hull WHY? While Hull may be looking forward to its status as the UK City of Culture in 2017, why don’t you take a look back at a bygone era? The Cave Castle Hotel in Hull is a beautiful Victorian manor house, which has been sympathetically refurbished and extended to offer 70 bedrooms with a mix of traditional (some having fourposter beds) and contemporary designs. Nestling at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, this is the idyllic country retreat for a relaxing and tranquil stay. Prices start from around £90 for single occupancy or £135 for a double room per night, meaning you don’t have to break the bank for luxury. Perhaps best of all, it is ideal for a meeting on the links with business associates as Cave Castle also boasts an excellent 18-hole golf course, set in the 150 acres of meadow and parkland, which surround the hotel. Alternatively, enjoy a relaxing spa break – perhaps as a special treat for yourself or an employee – in their splendour-filled spa. For the more energetic, the health club has a well-equipped gym, with a 19m pool, and aerobic suite with a Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room for those wishing to take things a little easier. CONTACT: www.cavecastlehotel.com
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MEET AND EAT HENRY YEAST WHERE? Newland Avenue, Hull WHY? Billed as a specialist beer bar and restaurant, it strives to use the very best ingredients possible in every dish. That’s why it uses local butchers and fish mongers; supporting local businesses to make sure your food is as fresh as possible. Voted as one of the finest places to dine in Hull, it boasts a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, and a beer collection to rival the best in the UK. A French-inspired style of cooking ensures there will be something for all tastes – the fried chicken wings tossed in homemade hoi sin, ginger, and garlic sauce, topped with fresh chilli and coriander, are a particular favourite – but the real ‘piece de resistance’ is the beer collection. There’s an exciting range of 67 varieties of bottled beer, including white, bruin, pilsner, amber, fruit, Trappist, and ales, in addition to a range of 10 draughts, including a locally brewed hand pull ale. A relaxed atmosphere in this cosy setting makes it ideal for after-work drinks or casual business meetings, and it is sure to leave an impression on even the most unimpressionable of clients. CONTACT: www.henryyeast.com
EVENTS, GATHERINGS & HUBS THE DEEP WHERE? City centre, Hull WHY? We all joke about having sharks in the office, but how about dining with the real thing at your next corporate event? The Deep is an award-winning attraction that offers a range of versatile spaces for corporate events, from smaller intimate gatherings to large dinners. Home to 40 sharks and 3,500 fish, The Deep is conveniently located in Hull city centre, and provides a backdrop for a variety of events with some of the most spectacular aquarium displays in Europe. From wedding receptions and formal sit down meals, to corporate team building exercise days, and tailored dive shows – The Deep’s event team is well equipped to deal with corporate enquiries for a range of clients, requests, and budgets. CONTACT: www.bristol-conference-centre.co.uk
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In true Italian style, the Quattroporte GTS garners attention wherever it goes
On the road
n Italian, ‘non so che’ refers to something indescribably beautiful, its excelling qualities tricky to pigeonhole. So many facets of Italian culture have that certain something about them - from the country’s iconic cuisine and wine, beautifully dressed men and women, and its glorious architecture, arts, and opera, to its strong social fabric and, of course, cars. The Teutonic trio may indeed produce magnificent supersaloons, but when a sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte arrives at the party, its arresting looks steal all the attention. The new Quattroporte’s styling clearly takes cues from the GranTurismo, the long nose and Trident grille instantly getting my heart racing, and echoes of the previous model, and even the 3200GT, are in there, too. Wide hips accentuate its athletic poise, and Grigio Maratea over Sabbia is a superb colour combination. The rear appears somewhat formulaic and Korean though, and scrutinising the overall design intimately, it looks a little fussy. Still, in true Italian style, the Quattroporte GTS garners attention wherever it goes, jaws dropping and eyes bulging in delight. The Sabbia cream interior, with its carbon fibre and chrome elements,
radiates plushness, and little details like the egg-shaped clock, Quattroporte dashboard lettering, and the Trident on the steering wheel, further elevate this special feeling. Leaps and bounds better than the previous model, the cabin is executed well ergonomically. A few of the surfaces and Fiat Chrysler-sourced controls feel cheap though, from the gear selector and door bins to the cup holder panels. Space is plentiful in the front and rear, so keen owner-drivers will feel as cosseted as VIP passengers. Safety features, like lane departure and blind spot alerts, are absent, but the sat nav, Wi-Fi, Bowers & Wilkins audio, and electric rear blinds are most welcome. With a 530bhp, Ferrari-built, 3.8-litre V8 engine with twin turbos and direct injection, the new Quattroporte GTS reaches 62mph in 4.7 seconds, with maximum torque a whopping 710Nm, and a top speed of 190mph. Being rearwheel drive, it fidgets when catapulted at full throttle from a standstill, but the resultant acceleration is suitably brisk. However, like most rivals, the exhaust isn’t quite vocal enough, even in sport mode. The steering feels quite heavy, and would benefit from more feedback, but the paddle shifts are excellent. The ride is firm
Photography: Isabel Carter
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MASERATI QUATTROPORTE GTS PRICE: FROM £108,000 WWW.MASERATI.CO.UK
Each month motoring expert, Oliver Hammond checks out the latest in executive travel, helping you to decipher the market for business drivers
and somewhat twitchy, but its lightness and balanced weight help proceedings. Driven hard, it excites, becoming a relaxed cruiser again otherwise. More economical than its predecessor, the Quattroporte GTS can comfortably match the published 23.9mpg through mixed driving, but inevitability strikes with 274g/km CO2 emissions, pricey servicing and a starting price of £108,000. The best GTS contract hire business lease I found, was £1,322 per month, from contracthireacar.com for six plus 47 payments and 10,000 annual miles. Its few gripes aside, the Italian certainly triumphs in delivering ‘non so che’ by the bucketload, perfect for those seeking pomp, passion, and pedigree. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
C60 TRIDENT GMT 600 – Swiss made dual time watch with automatic mechanical movement, graduated rotatable ceramic (ZrO2) bezel, arrow-headed 24 hour hand and water resistance to 60 bar/600m. Available in 38mm and 42mm case sizes, three dial/bezel combinations and four strap styles.
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ALEXANDER MCQUEEN ASYMMETRIC CASHMERE CARDIGAN www.harrods.com £680 Conformity has never been an Alexander McQueen trademark and, if the same applies to you, this quirky cardigan is ideal. Breaking with convention to offer an asymmetric fit, it features a shawl collar, the brand’s signature skull embroidered at the cuff, and is knitted in pure cashmere.
MONCLER V-NECK SWEATER www.store.moncler.com £265 Cosy and stylish, this sweater is made from 100% wool, and is an ideal new season layer from Moncler. Designed with bold statement colours, it’s available in green, blue or red, and is the perfect choice for any smart-casual office outfit.
Sweat the small stuff As the leaves turn brown and the autumn gloom begins to envelop the evenings, inject a little late season sunshine into your wardrobe with these chillbeating knitwear options
TOMMY HILFIGER MANNER SHAWL JUMPER www.houseoffraser.co.uk £55 Bold knits are always a staple for any wardrobe, and this shawl jumper from Tommy Hilfiger is perfect to beat the autumn chill. Featuring a fine knit cotton construction, it is great teamed with jeans and chunky boots for a casual look, or with trousers for a smarter feel.
SUPERDRY JACOB HENLEY TOP www.superdry.com £64.99 This cable knit henley top features a quarter length zip fastening, an embroidered Superdry logo on the chest, and a logo tab on the sleeve. Available in grey or this lovely burgundy, which is one of the hottest colours on the catwalks this autumn, you’ll keep both your wardrobe and your wallet happy.
POLO RALPH LAUREN HALF-ZIP MOCKNECK SWEATER www.ralphlauren.co.uk £100 A classic look for any time of the year, this half-zip ‘mockneck’ sweater comes in a variety of colours, is perfect for layering, keeping out the chill without being too hot, and is made of pure cotton. Team with light coloured chinos for a smart yet easy after-work drinks look.
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The IT guy In-house IT lives on, but outsourcing can increase the CIO’s strategic value, says former Dragons’ Den star, and co-CEO of Outsourcery, Piers Linney
or a start-up or SME, where to place responsibility for the company’s all-important IT systems is a pertinent question. Should IT be kept close to home as the burgeoning business develops, or is it worth trusting an external provider to take on the IT mantle? Employing an in-house IT professional certainly has its benefits, in terms of the level of control it offers to young, growing businesses. However, as cloud becomes ever more sophisticated, external IT companies continue to grow in expertise and reliability, and CIOs are harder pushed to bring strategic value to their organisations, outsourcing presents an option that cannot be ignored. When running an SME or start-up, exercising control over your business is crucial. For many, this can translate into a desire to keep IT support in-house. After all, data and IT infrastructure represent the lifeblood of any modern organisation, and keeping the management of these close to home can provide peace of mind for many. This leads to the need to create a dedicated, internal IT team, and there is
a common preference to provide access to in-house IT support professionals. However, despite its evident benefits, having an internal IT team does represent something of a doubleedged sword. Building expertise requires investment in training, and the provision of a salary befitting an IT professional’s qualifications. Even for a business focused on the development of software, management of IT and communications is not core business and is a distraction. IT outsourcing frees expensive human resources. This is where outsourcing of IT support can provide an attractive alternative to a more traditional in-house approach, facilitated by powerful new cloud-based technologies and services. In the first instance, any internal training requirements are removed, IT salaries do not need to be negotiated, and companies choosing to outsource gain access to a larger pool of IT experts. Perhaps most importantly, internal IT strategies will always be limited by the level of training staff have received. In contrast, outsourcing offers access
Exercising control over your business is crucial. This can translate into a desire to keep IT support in-house to IT professionals at the cutting edge of their industry. The Harvey Nash research points out that 50% of CIOs polled said that outsourcing to gain access to new skills not available inhouse had become more important to them in the last five years. Having a dedicated, in-house IT team has its benefits in certain, and increasingly specific, circumstances, but the traditional deployment model will be replaced by the consumption of IT as a service. The benefits offered by outsourcing are tantalising. Aside from the cost savings and expertise gained by trusting elements of IT management to an external supplier, outsourcing also offers businesses new freedom. With tasks such as data management and hosting safely passed on to an external partner with the benefits of economies of scale, IT professionals within an SME can spend more time aligning the company’s overall IT strategy with that of the business. Contact: www.outsourcery.co.uk
Each month we give Ortis Deley, from Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, a gorgeous piece of tech to test drive. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, he’ll give you the lowdown on the best gadgets money can buy XYZPRINTING DA VINCI 1.1 PLUS 3D PRINTER AVAILABLE FROM: www.eu.xyzprinting.com
Within the printer is a camera, which allows you to receive picture updates on the progress of your print
90 October 2015
irst of all, the good news – the 3D printer is working! As we speak, the XYZprinting da Vinci 1.1 Plus is downstairs making an Objet ‘d’art for me. But let’s not rush to pop open the Champagne bottles. Four years ago I reviewed the first of what would be many affordable 3D printers, but the bright future I predicted back then has not yet arrived. At the time, I recall being very excited at the prospect of domestic printers: fabricating replacement items and components at home, creating your own designs and giving them form, and not having to pay exorbitant fees for your bespoke constructs. Even synthesising your own food, á la Star Trek. Since then, we’ve seen everything from impossible 3D constructs to bike components, chest-plates, and prosthetics taken off the printing base plate. These,
however, have mostly taken place at multi-million pound research labs using 3D printers worth tens of thousands of pounds. So why no huge celebration? Well, home printers don’t always do as they’re asked. This is still an area of tech in its relative infancy, and it is not without its headaches, frustrations, and desires to hurl devices across the room. The reason I didn’t perform this geek of rock star moves is because the units are flipping heavy – oh and I also don’t own the tech – it’s on loan. The first printer I brought home refused to print, the second had incompatible software, and this one - to begin with – had issues with loading the filament. It took a relatively short international phone call to remedy. Jaap, XYZprinting engineer, was very understanding, patient, and honest on the phone, and the filament feed issue was resolved
There is something strangely satisfying about taking out your own quasi-creation from a 3D printer
in minutes. Calibration was an incredibly tedious matter and, although easy, took up a lot of time. Picture it as trying to balance a ball-bearing on a flat ceramic plate using 20p pieces for height adjustment at the corners. As such, I was only able to print one item before the unit was taken back to the Netherlands. That one item however, is my own personal triumph. And no, I’ve no idea what it is! The new XYZprinting da Vinci 1.1 Plus is a compact powerhouse of a domestic printer, with dedicated iOS and Android apps, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB compatibility. The size of your prints is limited to 200mm3 (200x200x200mm); so palm sized. The print resolution is 0.1mm, and you can extrude PLA, ABS, and some other flexible filaments. You can source your prints using any of the aforementioned supports, which
means it doesn’t have to be tethered to a computer. There’s a cloud-based artists’ community – accessible from the printer – where you have access to a whole range of print jobs, from cups to smartphone cases, skulls to flip-flops, and there is a nicely-sized 5” LCD colour touchscreen. The whole operation is very simple too. I got pretty excited about the retro stick of UHU that came with the kit (it’s an 80s thing): it’s used to safely adhere your printed product to the base plate. The da Vinci was among the quietest I’ve experienced; it was in another room in an otherwise quiet house, and I didn’t feel as though it was cutting through my concentration. Within the printer is a camera, which allows you, via the app, to receive picture updates on the progress of your print. But essentially, once you begin printing, you can just leave it to do its thing for a few hours.
I was only able to complete one print before I had to pack it away, but now that I’ve some experience with one, I’d be happy to tussle with it again. I had been apprehensive about this bit of kit, given previous experiences and initial setup issues, but there is something strangely satisfying about taking out your own quasi-creation from a 3D printer, and the manual calibration and maintenance issues are now but a faint mental itch.
VERDICT: I still believe there’s some way to go, but with this unit being pretty much self-contained, well priced, and capable, the future is in good hands.
What’s in-store for mobile users? Andrew Saville, head of sales, retail sector at Experian Marketing Services, looks at bringing the online mobile experience in store
obile technology offers brands the ability to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences, allowing customers to browse products, access information, and have online experiences in store. Retailers should look to take advantage of the opportunities that mobile technology offers to engage customers on a new front and provide additional services. Experimentation is key, as there is no industry-standard solution, so brands need to consider a wide range of options to get the most from this technology. BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ONLINE AND OFFLINE For many years, retailers have run mobile, or online only, standalone campaigns, but now each channel is simply part of the offering. Customers expect a single brand experience, not one that differs by channel. Consumers live their lives across social media, are constantly accessing the internet for the latest news updates, and pick up work and personal emails 24/7. Physical shopping should also have a digital aspect – it will happen with or without the retailers themselves. Mobile technology permeates society, and it’s obvious that incorporating mobile usability into the physical shopping experience is the way to bridge the online and offline gap. How that’s done is the big question of the day. Here are a few examples:
OFFERING FREE WI-FI IN STORE Providing free Wi-Fi isn’t exactly revolutionary and, in the next few years, customers will come to expect it. However, what is interesting is how it is implemented, and how retailers utilise the insights they gather. Most places that offer free Wi-Fi require a registration process, and some ask for far too much information, and take too long: if you’re asking for too much information it will put people off. It’s about finding the right balance so that you still provide value, while gathering useful insights. Brands with loyalty card schemes can offer customers quick log-ins, and then link this information to their existing profiles. It is an inevitable reality that customers will use the Wi-Fi you provide to price check and browse competitor sites while shopping in your store. This is totally unavoidable and should be embraced by making sure that, not only are you competitive in terms of price, but that your customer experience is as smooth and seamless as possible. Don’t give your customers a reason to shop elsewhere; if you have catered for their needs they will think positively about your brand, and will be more likely to shop with you. PAYING ONLINE WHILE IN STORE This tactic has been used by a number of restaurants, but there’s no
Retailers should look to take advantage of the opportunities that mobile technology RƫHUV WR HQJDJH FXVWRPHUV RQ D QHZ IURQW and provide additional services
significant reason why it couldn’t be used elsewhere in retail. Enabling customers to pay themselves – not simply via a self-service till, but via their phones also – offers the customer a significant level of flexibility. It removes the need for a checkout, and reduces time spent waiting in queues. Of course, there are security issues which need to be considered, but as long as purchases can be quickly verified, there’s no reason this approach cannot be widely adopted. LOYALTY APPS LINKED TO LOYALTY CARDS While loyalty cards are a tried and tested method of combining online and offline customers by way of a single account, it is possible to drive online customers to physical stores by offering discounts and special deals through loyalty apps. Loyalty apps linked to loyalty cards are an excellent way of combining online and offline experiences, to provide relevant communications, offers, and discounts. USE ONLINE REVIEWS IN STORE Reviews are an important part of the customer experience, and marketers should enable customers to quickly and easily access review sites on their mobile while browsing the store, so that they can see what other
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purchasers have said about the product and about the brand. Likewise, don’t be afraid to print out top reviews, or bits of reviews and put them up in store, but provide links to the original reviews. QR CODES QR codes provide an easy way of linking physical products and places with information stored online. While QR codes have been much maligned, when applied correctly, they can work wonders. The key is in making sure the content you are leading people to, is worth the hassle of getting their phone out and taking a photo. First and foremost however, you should only use QR codes if there is a very strong internet connection (either provided by yourself or through 4G coverage), as otherwise you’re only going to annoy customers. LINKING SHOPPERS TO YOUR CRM One of the most exciting technological solutions available is the ability to recognise a shopper and link them (or their device) to existing data in the retailer’s CRM. This allows the retailer to potentially offer a truly personalised shopping experience to that customer. For example, if you knew that a shopper had been previously browsing on the website for a particular item, a member
of staff could step in with an expert recommendation or a special offer. The key is to have an interaction with the staff, that allows for what is called a device ID to be generated, or to collect some other information that could be matched to a profile. This could take place if the user opens an app or visits the website (regardless of whether or not they log in), or if there is a digital interaction – like scanning a QR code. A GOOD MOBILE STRATEGY IS BUILT ON GOOD DATA The use of mobile in store certainly provides exciting possibilities for retailers to support a smartphoneenabled consumer before, during, and after shopping. Key to all the services mentioned, however, is data. To effectively implement the technologies, brands need to be able to gather, link, and store their own data across channels, while being able to analyse it in enough detail to pull out actionable and accurate insights, to give the customer the experience that they desire. As with all marketing technologies, one size does not fit all. The same is true for both brands and customers – mobile technologies that work for some will not for others, and it is important to distinguish what works for both you and your customers. Contact: www.experian.co.uk
Going mobile gets smarter
oday, nearly 80% of the UK adult population owns a mobile phone and few would be without their pocket sized companion. Yet the mobile is not quite as smart or as integrated as it could be although the next generation may well change things according to Peter Marsden, MD of Gigaset Mobile: “We have been developing phones for the home and small businesses for decades so we decided to talk to our customers and ﬁnd out what they really wanted from a mobile - the response was a more intelligent device able to do a lot more things!” With this ethos, the German design team at Gigaset Mobile began working on a new product range including several innovative features to make the mobile experience better while out and about and crucially when at home or in the office.
Alongside the standard speciﬁcation including high resolution screen, fast processor, Android operating system and slick design, the new models include features designed for convenience, “The range includes a smart docking station so that when you’re charging your phone, you can automatically take calls on any nearby Gigaset DECT phone. This is also useful if you run a business and you are constantly on the go.” In addition, each phone has dual SIM allowing two separate phone numbers to help customers manage the balance between work and home life. The smartphone has a builtin infrared system allowing it to control a whole host of devices such as TVs, projectors, DVD players and even air conditioning. Each smartphone also has built in support for Gigaset wireless video cameras that with just a click can beam images to the
phone or while in ‘monitoring mode’ can alert a user if there is motion or sound detected near the camera. The new range offers a builtin ‘health suite’ including heart rate monitor, pedometer and UV detector to help decide when it’s time to put on the sunscreen. “The end result is a range of powerful smartphones and accessories that are simple to use yet full of the features that make life easier because they are all designed to work together seamlessly,” says Marsden,“With 1 in 8 in mobile phones bought outside of a contract, it’s clear that people are getting more tech savvy and are looking for devices that better ﬁt their individual lifestyles, with the new Gigaset Mobile range, things just got a bit smarter.” Interested? Contact www.gigaset.me
Peter Marsden MD of Gigaset Mobile
Think smart to save on tech Ash Patel of Cobweb Solutions provides four smart ways for start-ups to spend their IT budget
96 October 2015
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very day, new innovations in technology are released, which can rapidly transform how a business is run. This has been vastly accelerated by the rise of mobile and cloud computing, which can deliver a competitive edge for small businesses in particular. It can help a business to work smarter, enhance productivity, and streamline day-to-day activity from the outset. However, the challenge arises in understanding the best place to begin in order to reap the benefits this innovative landscape offers, especially for those with a limited IT budget at their disposal. To ensure you get plenty of bang for your buck, here are four smart investments you should consider to get the ball rolling:
RECOGNISE THAT FLEXIBLE WORKING IS THE FUTURE Most entrepreneurs will agree that heading a start-up isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a typical nineto-five job. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your business. Often this requires long hours, which means youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll likely be checking work emails and accessing business documents outside the office. To accommodate this, businesses should embrace a flexible working policy. This offers small businesses many advantages, starting with lower office overheads. However, for flexible working to be a success, employees need a convenient way to access the information they need at all times, even while working remotely. This applies to everything from emails to invoicing, sales data to telephony. For those working on a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, the cloud will be a boon to your business, enabling you to manage your business, even while on the go. For instance, with cloud software, businesses can process credit card payments, share files, and
host conference calls from wherever you are working. Businesses should also use the cloud to boost collaboration while out of the office. For instance, the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;always onâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; availability of cloud services, such as Microsoft Lync, can facilitate hasslefree collaboration and communication within the business. Cloud-based productivity tools, such as Office 365, should also be used for email, calendar, and file sharing. IMPLEMENT A STRUCTURED BYOD POLICY When it comes to maximising IT budgets, start-ups should take a proactive stance towards BYOD. The advantages of implementing a programme whereby employees can work on their own device are certainly enticing. It means less expenditure on fixed, physical IT infrastructure, and can enhance your bottom line by increasing productivity, enabling workers to get more done in less time on the devices theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re familiar with. The benefits donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop there. The flexibility BYOD delivers by empowering staff to become more mobile is transformative in creating a more satisfied, loyal, and engaged workforce. However, businesses must consider implications regarding compatibility, or data security further down the line, and of course, make sure you have reliable IT support in place as well. MAKE PROVISIONS FOR DATA SECURITY Solid data security is critical for a business to thrive, protecting businesses assets, confidential employee information, client data, and your businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation. Implementing a structured data security policy will help to reduce the risk of a data breach and ensure you remain in control of your IT strategy,
even if staff are working from personal devices. First and foremost, start-ups should ensure wireless networks are passwordprotected. Install anti-virus solutions on all systems, and keep software and web browsers up to date. Exercise control over who has access to sensitive data, and restrict the use of removable media, such as USBs, where possible. Finally, make sure your employees use security apps or virtualisation technologies on their mobile devices, to ensure sensitive company data is encrypted and can only be accessed by authorised users. CONSIDER PUBLIC CLOUD OPTIONS FOR DATA STORAGE Cloud services are more affordable than ever. Thanks to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pay as you goâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; services, start-ups have access to enterprise-level solutions at a low monthly cost, and they can easily scale their subscriptions as business requirements dictate. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeking to scale up quickly, public cloud options should be considered for storing data as an alternative to expensive, conventional, on-premise storage systems. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more, storing information under a robust cloud provider agreement limits the chance of a data security breach, and provides data backup in the event of an IT disaster. Technology is, without doubt, having a liberating effect on small businesses. Mobile and cloud technologies in particular are enabling start-ups to keep pace with their larger competitors, without blowing their budget. By following these simple steps, new businesses can reap the benefit of agility, scalability, and flexibility â&#x20AC;&#x201C; key ingredients in the business growth recipe. Contact: www.cobweb.com
Small data, big danger
General manager of AVG Business, Mike Foreman warns that small businesses are still underestimating how valuable their data is to cyber criminals
Make sure that your crisis management or disaster plan includes a data breach plan
y nature, the most highprofile hacks in the last couple of years have been on big companies, such as Target, United Airlines, WSJ.com, JP Morgan, and Sony. However, in digesting coverage of these large enterprise hacks, small business owners could be forgiven for assuming that they are somehow immune to attack. But they’d be very wrong. Did you know, for example, that the Target hack was traced back to a smaller, third party maintenance firm that worked in Target’s building? The practice of using small business to infiltrate big business is a growing trend, and this is just one example of an unlikely, smaller business becoming a highly viable target. There continues to be a prevailing misconception that data held within smaller businesses is somehow unimportant for hackers to target. What the holders of this misconception fail to consider is that small businesses gather - and hold exactly the same types of data as their larger counterparts, i.e. customer and financial data, which is equally of value to a hacker, and made even more attractive by the fact that the data is perhaps easier to access due to less in-house IT expertise, and smaller budgets for data protection. So how can small businesses effectively plug the holes in their organisation to minimise the danger of exposing their data?
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IT SPENDING, BUT NOT IT SECURING SME spending on IT security continues to be hugely variable changing markedly from country to country. In the UK for instance, recent Government figures suggest SMEs with 100 or more employees spend about £10,000 per year, while the smallest firms spend as little as £200. Such comparatively low figures are not hard to understand. Most businesses of this size need to primarily focus their investment on improving core activities, such as serving their clients, finding new business, and keeping on top of the necessary admin, with computer security often an afterthought. Though they might not be spending on IT security, the same cannot be said for IT in general however, and this mismatch is where much of the vulnerability lies. As the industry pushes to become more mobile-centric, demands for mobility solutions are set to continue to increase. In fact, the SMB Group’s 2014 SMB Mobile Solutions Study showed that year-over-year, spending on mobile solutions as a percentage of total technology spending, has risen 10% per year among very small businesses, and 7% among small businesses. But while we are seeing increasing implementation of mobile solutions, a large number of small businesses still do not have the corresponding security technology, corporate policies, and training in place to ensure employees are aware of, and
protected from, the risks their mobile behaviours can create. RISKY BUSINESS Unfortunately for employers, there is considerable evidence to suggest that employees’ mobile behaviour leaves a lot to be desired, and is, in fact, rather cavalier in relation to security. For example, recent research by AVG partner, Centrify, found that one in three users neglects to secure their devices, and that many of those who do, use basic, easy-to-guess, passwords that put their employers’ data at risk. It’s a very real problem: for example, in the UK, data breaches can cost smaller firms anywhere between £65,000 and £115,000, with the worst hit suffering up to six breaches per year. Added to this is the fact that hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach, using social engineering techniques to trick employees into opening realisticlooking, but fraudulent emails, or using fake or re-directed websites. TAKING ACTION Until now, a common step for any smaller business worried enough about data leakage to take action, has been to invest in mobile device management. This works by ensuring all employee mobile devices are centrally authorised and asks employees to accept a raft of IT-defined policies before they can access company resources and data. In exchange, IT administrators receive the privileges needed to perform
security procedures, such as issue remote ‘locate, lock, and wipe’ commands, or check whether specific devices, networks, and VPNs are company approved. There are risks with MDM, however; for example, some employees may feel hindered, and end up seeking workarounds. An alternative solution, that provides for both employee mobility and productivity via BYOD, as well as stringent security, is secure, single sign-on technology (SSO) with twofactor authentication. This enables IT providers to deploy secure, mobile access and multi-factor authentication for their small business customers as a simple, cloud-based service, that extends usability, security, and compliance across all their mobile devices, plus their traditional Windows and OSX laptops. SMALL STEPS For those small business owners who are not ready to integrate a full IT solution, such as secure single signon, there are still a number of best practices you can put in place to kick start their businesses’ data protection: • Educate your staff via in-person training sessions, and by providing regularly updated resources on the threat landscape. • Always make sure your customer data is stored in an encrypted database. • Require multiple levels of passwords to access any database storing
customer information - and change these passwords frequently. • Regularly run background checks on employees handling customer data. • Make sure to have malware detection software running on both your servers (hosted or not) and workstations and that it, and your operating systems, are regularly patched and updated. • Review and implement the standard network security health check controls. • Make sure that your crisis management or disaster plan (which you should also have) includes a data breach plan. If you don’t have a qualified person on staff to keep up with these defences, it may be time to consider using a professional IT service provider for help. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW With the volume and scope of small business security threats on the rise, SMEs cannot afford to wait, and risk becoming the next breach we read about in the morning papers. Aside from the monetary losses from such a breach, the damage to reputation could be incalculable, severely impacting a business’s credibility, and eroding the hard-won trust of its clients and customers. Contact: www.avg.com
In the UK, data breaches can FRVW VPDOOHU ƬUPV anywhere between £65,000 and £115,000, with the worst hit VXƫHULQJ XS WR VL[ EUHDFKHV SHU \HDU talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 99
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I’ve got an app for that Each month we bring you a selection of our favourite apps - for business or pleasure. This month we look at a couple of apps from the 2015 Innovation By Design Awards.
INBOX FOR GMAIL
PRICE: Free COMPATABILITY: Android, iOS, Windows THE GIST: NPR is a multi-media news organisation and radio programme producer in the United States, and its app, NPR One, was a finalist at the 2015 Innovation By Design Awards. This is a radio app with a difference; you can listen to one of the many digital radio stations that NPR provides, or one of the thousands of podcasts on many different subjects. However, NPR One remembers what radio stations, podcasts, and programmes you listen to, and creates a suggestion list based on your interests. From a quick search, there are a huge number of short and long podcasts on business, although many are geared towards businesses in the US, there are an equal number talking about how to get ahead in business in general. NPR One provides an informative and helpful service, across a wide range of interests, in an accessible platform – and the best thing about it, it is all free! DOWNLOADABLE FROM: www.npr.org/about/products/npr-one
PRICE: Free COMPATABILITY: Android, iOS THE GIST: Arguably, Google has been defining innovation for 18 years, starting with a simple, but incredibly effective search engine, it has been pushing the boundaries of innovation ever since. Google has built on everything it learned from Gmail and created Inbox; all you need for your emails. New features include bundling your emails automatically in sub-sections – for example promotions, purchases, trips or social media – as well as the ability to create your own sub-sections for specific companies or projects. You can organise your diary, and set reminders, which make their way to the top of your inbox and give you extra information about your reminder’s location and time. Google has developed the initial Gmail formula from just another email to something much more impressive. DOWNLOADABLE FROM: www.google.co.uk/inbox
Buy a sandwich
Why buy a sandwich franchise? Ŕ The British ‘on the go’ sandwich market is currently valued at £3 billion Ŕ 1.8 billion sandwiches are bought in the UK every year Ŕ A healthier fast food option
Visit FranchiseSales.com to ﬁnd out about buying a sandwich franchise – and more!
Papa John’s Vice President to speak at National Franchise Exhibition
Exciting keynote announced for event in Birmingham on 2nd and 3rd October
Fantastic 48 mark quarter of a century at Duncan & Toplis 48 colleagues celebrate 25 or more years’ service with the company
n East Midlands accountancy practice has marked the achievement of 48 colleagues who have completed 25 or more years’ service with the company. Adrian Reynolds, managing director of Duncan & Toplis, said: “We employ 350 staff in ten offices, and it is outstanding that nearly 50 of our colleagues have completed a quarter of a century of service with us. “The firm prides itself on maintaining employee satisfaction, and the fact that so many staff have spent such a long period of their life working here is testament to our success in this area.” Duncan & Toplis was named last month by Accountancy Age as one of the UK’s top ten employers in the accounting sector. Contact: www.duntop.co.uk
from zero to 4,750 stores across the globe, using quality and excellent customer service as the ultimate driving force and passion behind the brand. He will also examine how and why this popular business model works areth Davies, vice president, Papa and how franchisees are motivated on their John’s UK & Europe, has been road to success, plus how this approach announced as a keynote speaker for is applicable to the wider business and The National Franchise Exhibition, taking franchising world. place this October at the NEC in Birmingham. “For those considering franchising, this is The National Franchise Exhibition is a one-off chance to find out more,” confirms the largest exhibition in the UK franchise Gareth. “There will be numerous seminars, industry’s calendar, and is supported by the presentations, and brands at the show, and British Franchise Association (bfa). the environment offers an exciting Billed as an ‘unmissable keynote’, Gareth opportunity to answer all your questions will deliver an inspiring presentation about about the world of franchising, in an informal how the UK’s fastest growing pizza chain’s and welcoming setting.” concept - ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ Contact: - has caught the imagination of a nation. www.franchiseinfo.co.uk He will look at how Papa John’s has grown
Kitchen makeover retailer expands into Ireland
ream Doors is expanding into Ireland with the opening of its first franchised showroom in Belfast. The new store owner, Jon O’Hara, will also hold the Dream Doors master licence in Ireland, with a remit to find new franchisees in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The kitchen makeover company recently completed its 40,000th installation, and is on target to turn over more than £25 million by the end of 2015. “With so many stores across England, Scotland, and Wales, expanding to Ireland was the logical next step for Dream Doors,” said Troy Tappenden, managing director. “Ireland is a potentially massive
New Belfast showroom the ﬁrst in a series for Dream Doors market for us, both north and south of the border, and Jon is absolutely the right person to help with that expansion.” Contact: www.dreamdoors.co.uk
Pulling in opposite directions? Dynamis’ Rose Hill tackles the common disputes between franchisees and franchisors
espite the fact that the franchise relationship is essentially a business partnership, it can sometimes feel more like a marriage. The pairing has a common interest at its heart – the success of the franchise as a whole – but the franchisee and franchisor are performing separate roles with different personal goals. As a result, emotions can often get a little frayed. We spoke to some industry experts to discover how to maintain equilibrium in the franchise relationship: TRUST ISSUES Nigel Toplis, managing director of Bardon Group, the UK’s leading multi-brand franchisor, notes that many disputes are down to issues with trust. “I’ve always felt that the best franchisor/franchisee relationship is one where the franchise agreement is never seen from the point of renewal,” he explains. He claims that a good relationship is built on a foundation of mutual respect, and the devolvement of responsibilities, continuing; “The franchisee must trust the franchisor to provide a good business system, on-going support, and a range of business tools. The franchisor must trust the franchisee to work diligently, give 100% to the business, and to follow the system. Trust issues usually originate from ambiguous roles within the relationship.” Make sure that the roles are clearly defined (or redefine them), and trust that each of you can play your part well. Don’t try to step on each other’s patch because you think you could make a better job of it. “It’s absolutely right for the franchisee to give their opinion on how the franchise is progressing, to supply ideas, and to challenge the franchisor. However, it’s not for them to feel that they should
104 October 2015
Some franchisees follow the processes laid out in training to some early success, but others try something once or twice and then give up be running the franchise. Similarly, I have made it a point to never tell any of my franchisees how to run their businesses,” said Nigel. THE BLAME GAME Things can get very sensitive when a franchise isn’t doing well, and there is a difference of opinion about the cause. “Business performance issues are much more complex to resolve, with each party often blaming the other for the underperformance of the franchise”, says Mark Witter, franchisor of the Window to the Womb network. A common allegation from the franchisee may be that the franchisor mis-represented the business prospects when signing the agreement. The franchisor, however, may believe that the negative business performance is down to the franchisee not adhering to their strategies and guidelines. Witter believes that this can best be dealt with if the relationship gets off to a good start initially, with clear lines in place. “A franchisor that ensures roles are clearly understood from the outset will be in a stronger position to work with a franchisee, and remedy underperformance,” notes Mark. WINNING CUSTOM “One of the most common disputes that occurs is the question about whose responsibility it is to get customers for a franchisee”, says Stuart White, director of Sanondaf International Franchising Ltd. Stuart sees being a franchise owner as the same as being a business owner, believing that the success or failure of their franchise will ultimately be down to the franchisee, although a good franchisor will give them the necessary
tools to suceed. “Some franchisees follow the processes laid out in training and find some early success, but others will try something once or twice and then give up,” he explained. “Every business owner should understand that success requires hard work, persistency, and relentless motivation and not be put off because it doesn’t work first time. A franchise is a long-term commitment, and shouldn’t be judged after the first three months.” FRANCHISEE RIVALRY Discontentment within the franchise network can occur simply through a feeling of inequality among the different franchisees. Mark Witter has a simple solution to this - to maintain complete transparency across the organisation by treating all franchisees as true business partners. Although many may be sceptical of such an approach, he feels it is essential to the success of his franchise network, commenting: “In our business, we resolved to remove any areas of potential future resentment or dispute when we created our business model. As a result, we have, among other things, introduced fixed monthly fees everyone pays the same, removing the very common source of complaint that A pays more than B. We’ve also created a completely open culture, where all of our franchisees willingly cooperate with one another. This is one of the key benefits of joining a franchise, but one that some franchised organisations fail to take full advantage of.” To underline his egalitarian approach, Witter insists on being called a ‘franchise partner’ rather than taking on a title that suggests a hierarchy.
TERRITORIALISM Many potential franchisees will be told that, when they become part of the franchise, they will receive an ‘exclusive territory’. This, however, is unlikely to stop disputes from arising between franchisees who encroach on other territories from time to time. This is often due to the belief that one was given a better territory than the other. Sometimes franchisees may not have ‘exclusive’ territories, so a franchisor may place another franchise in an area close by, which can lead to friction. David Kaufmann, expert in US franchise law, says: “The solution to franchisee unhappiness over claimed franchisor encroachment is for the franchisee to truly understand - with the assistance of competent franchise counsel - the nature and extent of the territorial protections, if any. “These provisions are usually reviewed three times by a prospective franchisee - firstly, in the UFOC, secondly, in the specimen franchise agreement appended to the UFOC, and thirdly, in the actual franchise agreement executed by the parties,” he told MSA Worldwide. “All too often, franchisees later complain of encroachment, and suggest they didn’t pay attention to the franchise agreement’s territorial provisions before signing the contract.” A successful franchise network requires excellent lines of communication and clear boundaries. Nobody can be right all the time, so if both franchisor and franchisee are willing to listen to each other and compromise, they are far more likely have a long and happy partnership. Contact: www.dynamis.co.uk
Dynamic and recession-proof high-street franchise The ZipYard is the fastest growing garment alteration franchise in the UK. With distinctive branding and a well-planned shopfit to minimise square footage for maximum profit, the opportunity provides owners with a business that is welcome in any high street
fficially launched in Britain by The Bardon Group in 2011 growth has been very strong and the company is well on the way to achieving its first target of opening 50 centres in the UK. The business provides a much-needed service and has a real role to play in the rejuvenation of the UK’s high streets. New openings are well supported by local dignitaries including mayors and MPs notably the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne who officially opened the Wilmslow ZipYard in 2013. The Bardon Group runs three other wellknown franchise brands – Recognition Express (est. 1979), ComputerXplorers (since 2005) and Kall Kwik (first franchised in 1979) and has a management team that is long established in the franchise industry. Specifically designed to project a stylish, high quality image, the ZipYard offers a wide range of alteration and tailoring services, all done on site by trained professionals in purpose-built, beautifully shopfitted centres, branded in the ZipYard’s signature eyecatching yellow and black colours. From dress re-styling and taking in or letting out to bridal-wear fitting or formal wear alterations, the ZipYard provides convenient, speedy and cost effective clothing alterations and repairs. The ZipYard franchise package is a total turnkey operation, comprising a complete shop fit, state of the art machinery, computer systems and a comprehensive marketing package which includes regional PR activity. The package includes industrial sewing machines, specialist alteration and repair machinery, a computer, software, EPOS
28 elitefranchise Winter 2015
system, signage, fixtures and fittings, various consumables, starting stock, plus training and ongoing support from the franchisor, and a marketing and PR campaign to launch each centre.
Why choose The ZipYard? Former driving instructor Richard McConnell, 34, opened England’s first ZipYard franchise in Altrincham in 2011, which was followed by a second centre in Wilmslow in 2013. “We did lots of research in the franchise press and online, and looked into a wide variety of franchises,” said McConnell. “The Altrincham ZipYard has exceeded
all of our expectations, and the model is so well thought out that it was easy to replicate in Wilmslow. Our reputation went before us and the customer base in the new ZipYard is building very nicely. “Initially it was my wife who noticed the ZipYard advert and she thought it was a fantastic idea. We did some research and quickly realised that there was no real competition in our area. Most of the time clothing repairs are done as a bolt-on service at dry cleaners. The turn-around time isn’t very good and they don’t offer a very wide range of services. “We went to meet Nigel Toplis, the franchisor, and we visited a centre in Wales.
“Being your own boss is hard work but very gratifying. Having the opportunity to make your own decisions is very satisfying but knowing you can rely on the franchise group gives you the confidence to approach situations with ease and a shared experience” Kevin Old, The ZipYard in Bournemouth
limb. It’s been teamwork from day one.” “I would definitely recommend the ZipYard to other potential franchisees. I’m learning all the time and it’s such a sociable business. I really enjoy talking to the customers and I get such a feeling of satisfaction from seeing how happy they are when their clothes fit properly,” she added.
Marketing Head office provides a wide range of marketing support to the network including email marketing, a comprehensive range of promotional collateral and window posters that are supplied free of charge throughout the year to each centre. All franchisees also have access to a retained PR agency that carries out regular regional seasonal activity on behalf of the ZipYard to raise awareness and generate footfall to the centres.
We were impressed by the professionalism of the franchise. The brand is very strong and the shop fit is amazing, from the fitting rooms to the equipment and layout. They really know what they are doing and can cater for every kind of alteration and repair on site.”
Training & Support All franchise owners have a two-week comprehensive induction programme that covers business practices, computer systems, running a centre, marketing and promotions, and recruitment. Part of the training takes place in an existing centre that is up and running to provide a proper hands-on
experience. Every aspect of the set-up from finding premises to launching and promoting the centre is fully supported by the franchisor. Once up and running the support continues with additional training, business and product development work, on-going business advice and planning, marketing and PR. Jill Phillips, 46, set up the ZipYard in Basingstoke in May 2012 after being made redundant 8 months previously. “The whole team has been fantastic,” said Phillips. “From the training, which was very hands-on, to the huge level of support I’ve had, it’s all been great. Although it’s my business and the buck stops with me, I’ve never felt alone or out on a
Contact: Emma Downes t: 01530 513307 e: email@example.com Total Cost: £38,500 + VAT plus shop fit
Winter 2015 elitefranchise 29
Franchise spotlight FA C T F I L E
Each month, Paul Stafford, public relations manager at the British Franchise Association, shines the spotlight on one franchise, and delves into what makes it a success FRANCHISE: DIAMOND LOGISTICS ESTABLISHED: 1992 NUMBER OF UK FRANCHISES: 23 TYPICAL START-UP COST: £50,000 WEBSITE: WWW.DIAMONDLOGISTICS.CO.UK INTERVIEWEE: KATE LESTER, CEO
of good customer service, and the effect that this has on repeat business opportunities for their franchise.
WHAT CAN FRANCHISEES EXPECT IN THEIR FIRST YEAR WITH YOU? Within the first year, it is expected a franchisee will break even on WHAT DIFFERENTIATES their initial investment within their DIAMOND LOGISTICS selected franchise area. Having FROM OTHER already established themselves, their COURIER FIRMS? depot, and the brand, they will be Diamond Logistics is a one-stop looking to grow their territory and shop for all your courier and customer base from their original distribution needs. By combining location. More established depots multiple service opportunities, our may look to purchase additional clients have one relationship and one postcode territories to expand invoice from one supplier for all their their operations. deliveries. Whether this be sameday, overnight, or international, or HOW DO YOU ENSURE remote storage solutions, Diamond YOU’RE PROVIDING THE Logistics’ state-of-the-art booking RIGHT TRAINING FOR EACH system allows for clients to book PERSON IN THE NETWORK? parcels for multiple destinations, Our franchise training is with ease. comprehensive; from the outset
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE BUSINESS? Established in 1992 as a boutique, same-day business, Diamond Logistics Guildford has grown to become the preferred courier of choice for local clients in Surrey and West Sussex. With the growth of deliveries becoming more and more important, and the reliance of a really good courier in Diamond Logistics, in 2012, Kate Lester with the support of Daniel Allin and Sandra Robinson - set out to create a national franchise network that would allow, not just Diamond’s local clients in Guildford to benefit from the services offered, but the whole of the UK. The service profile includes sameday, overnight, international, and remote storage solutions. Today, the franchise network has grown to 23 sites across multiple locations, including Blackburn, Bournemouth and Basildon.
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WHAT ATTRIBUTES AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU LOOK FOR IN YOUR FRANCHISEES, AND WHY? Diamond Logistics is looking for hungry and determined sales people, who understand the logistics industry. As a franchisee, you will be responsible for selling a range of services to your clients. This is critical to the success of the franchise operation. In addition, franchisees must understand the importance
all our franchisees are required to go through our Diamond Logistics University training academy. This brings our franchisees up to speed with the brand, the mission and values, and how and who they should be approaching to grow their business. In addition to this training, all our franchisees get depot visits, daily network support, and sales and marketing training to enhance their franchise. Contact: www.thebfa.org
Franchisees must understand the importance of good customer VHUYLFH DQG WKH HĆŤHFW WKDW WKLV KDV on repeat business
Visit us at The Franchise Show, NEC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Stand L110
Learn to earn Beatrice Bartlay, founder and MD of 2B Interface, takes a look at what you should aim to cover in your franchise training
or any business looking to expand and widen their reach, turning it into a franchise model is a great way to grow your company. With a franchisee at the helm of this new venture, implementing a proven business model and way of working, a business owner can increase the size of their operations, while also gaining a valuable business partner. However, business owners looking to on-board a franchisee need to think hard about the training programme theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll put in place to get the franchisee started with their business. A franchise needs to reflect the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s values, goals, motivations, and success. It is imperative therefore, for business owners to invest time into considering how to best teach a franchisee about the ins and outs of their business. WHERE TO START? Before setting out on any kind of franchisee training, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vital for you, as a business owner, to codify and record all of your
business practices, processes, and procedures. A franchisee is stepping under your wing, adopting and evangelising your brand from their location. Their ability to do this effectively relies on strong resources direct from the head office, on top of any face-to-face training provided. A franchisee should never be left to fend for themselves - their success or failure will impact your business and brand. A solid guide for how to run their branch is key to maintaining success across the entirety of the enterprise. Our training manuals have taken us two years to get right, and they form the basis for our teaching programme. They cover our philosophy, branding, IT systems, sales and recruitment process, accountancy, legislation, operations processes, and much more. The document forms the bedrock, not only of our training, but also of our support for the franchisee after training. Make sure your own manuals are as informative and insightful as they can be.
A franchisee does not need to reinvent the wheel, after all. THE TRAINING PROCESS As with your franchise manual, proper development of a formal training schedule is key to success. What do you need to cover? How much time do you need to set aside? How will you know that the franchisee has taken all the training on board? Who will run the training?
A franchisee should never be left to fend for themselves - their success or failure will impact your business and brand At 2B Interface, for instance, we run a five-day 2B Franchise Academy to on-board new franchise owners. Run by managers and team experts, we teach according to scripts that
It’s a common mistake for franchisors to stop training and support once the keys are handed over. However, this is huge mis-step mirror our manuals and procedural documents, taking the new franchisee through everything that the company does, believes in, and succeeds at. In addition, we run tests at the end of each section of the training to ensure that all the information is sinking in properly. We don’t want to leave the new franchisee up the creek - we want them to succeed as much as they can. However, one of the most important things we look out for during training is the quality of the franchisee. While primarily a training platform, your on-boarding session is an effective way to judge your franchise owners’ personality, and to understand what they’ll be like when running their business. Are they involved and engaged with their training? Are they taking notes, planning for the business after the training has ended? This is a great opportunity to spot feedback opportunities to help form your franchise owner into a more capable, organised, and passionate evangelist for your company. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? It’s a common mistake for franchisors to stop training and support once the keys are handed over. However, this is huge mis-step, which could lead to multiple problems down the line, not least a franchisee that doesn’t reflect the company’s vision and goals. A franchise isn’t simply a business; it’s a complete lifestyle choice. When someone drastically alters their lifestyle to match another, they’ll 112 October 2015
need thorough guidance and support to ensure that they stay on course for success, and don’t drown in the new situation they find themselves in. A week-long training camp isn’t enough to truly on-board a new franchisee - it requires constant revisiting of training, advice, and assistance. We help our franchisees with the development of their detailed business plan, including a recruitment strategy to get them set up. We have a dedicated support team, working with franchisees day-to-day, to ensure that every little detail (from sales and marketing, to HR and payroll) goes according to plan at every stage. Again, a franchise model’s success directly impacts a business’ overall performance, so it’s in everyone’s interests to make sure it is able to flourish to the best of the franchisee’s abilities. It is always worth investing time and resources into the development of a franchisee. Their achievements are your achievements, so give them the support they deserve. A franchisee training programme must be structured and detailed, lasting long into the future through a strong support system. Listen to your franchisee, as much as they listen to you. This will enable you to iron out chinks in the chainmail of your company and ensure strong results, lasting long into the future. Contact: www.2binterface.com
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The sales DOCTOR This month Sales Doctor, Tony Morris gives his expert advice on setting salaries and commissions that will incentivise your sales team
Dear Sales Doctor, I’m starting a new sales division for my company, but don’t know how to structure their wages to get the best results. Should I have our sales staff on a low wage with high commission incentives, or a higher basic wage, which then takes less commission from our sales?
his is an ongoing debate my clients have, and the truth is there is no right answer, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. It really comes down to what is the real motivator for your team. For the money hungry sales person, a lower basic wage and higher commission is an ideal fit, as it allows them to make more money if they perform. For the sales person that needs job security, the alternative – a high basic wage with lower commission – is a better fit. Some of my clients create packages that work for the individual. This approach enables the sales person to be happy, resulting in a hardworking individual, generating the right results. It’s important to note that, just because the remuneration changes, it doesn’t mean the results should change. In fact, I would anticipate the results would improve as the salesperson’s motivations will be catered to better. I was training an estate agency
team recently, that was having a slightly different dilemma. They had a negotiator – who we’ll call Sarah – that was not driven by the money at all. It transpires her family were affluent, and therefore it was not a driver for her. However, after her manager questioned her effectively, it turned out that she was driven by recognition. Therefore, once the manager understood that commission was not the incentive, he came up with ideas to get the best performance from her that would enable her to shine in front of her peers. He bought a plaque for his branch that was engraved with ‘best performer of the month’. He then put a frame above the plaque in which he could insert the picture of the top performer that month so that it was in a prime position for all to see. Sarah’s figures increased month-on-month for the next quarter on the back of this simple change. The lesson I took from this is don’t just focus on the salary and commission when thinking about getting the best out of your sales
It’s important to note that, just because the remuneration changes, it doesn’t mean the results should change team – find out what motivates them as individuals in order to get the best out of them. Tony Morris, MD of Sales Doctors, is about to release his fourth book on sales - The Perfect Sales Meeting. The first 100 Talk Business readers to purchase his new book will receive his other three titles free of charge. Simply email info@ salesdoctors.co.uk and put ‘book offer’ in the subject line.
NEED A DIAGNOSIS? Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ’FAO the sales doctor’: editor@talk businessmagazine.co.uk
f your company is failing, there is something you should know - and it might bring relief at a very difficult time. “Most directors, when they come to us, have very limited knowledge on closing a company, with or without assets and liabilities,” explains Rick Smith, managing director of Forbes Burton. “We hear sentences containing words like ‘winding up’, ‘calling in the receivers’, ‘going bust’, and ‘liquidation’. “Of course, all of the above have a meaning, and are related to the closure process, but they are not really being used in the right context. It’s sort of a pub-level education on a very complex topic.”
The dissolution solution Rick Smith, managing director of business turnaround and closure specialist, Forbes Burton, looks at the ins and outs of dissolving a terminally ill business
116 October 2015
7KH ĆŹUVW MRE DQ\ GLUHFWRU PXVW GR LV WR GHFLGH LI WKH FRPSDQ\ WKH\ DUH ODZIXOO\ LQ FKDUJH RI LV VROYHQW RU QRW CAN YOUR COMPANY PAY ITS DEBTS? The first job any director must do is to decide if the company they are lawfully in charge of is solvent, or not. Generally speaking, does it have the ability to pay off all of its debts, and on time? From a legal standpoint, insolvent companies, or those that cannot pay their bills, are not allowed to continue operating. One of a directorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s responsibilities is to identify if a company is long term insolvent â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by this it means a longer term outlook rather than a bad week or month because of an unusual event â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and to take steps to ensure that the company ceases to trade. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Although this sounds dramatic, it kind of makes sense,â&#x20AC;? notes Rick, who has overseen hundreds of small company closures in his career, spanning a wide range of industries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I often speak with directors who make contact on, say, day one owing ÂŁ10,000, who then return on day 50 owing ÂŁ20,000. Their business is like a leaking bucket.â&#x20AC;? Rickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest concerns are the general misconceptions that surround the steps taken toward closing down, and indeed, the number of options that are available. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Liquidation. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all directors seem to know, and it is advice that often comes from trusted financial experts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious that a director will speak with their accountant. They are a trusted person who is central to their business. However, not all accountants are familiar with insolvency, and their advice to liquidate may not be correct or, indeed, the best option,â&#x20AC;? he explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Liquidation is the process by which a company is brought to an end, and assets redistributed to its members. It is a formal process, and must be undertaken by an insolvency practitioner at a fee, which can start from around ÂŁ5,000. If the director or the company canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford a liquidation and needs to close then administrative dissolution is the only option.â&#x20AC;?
IS DISSOLUTION AN ALTERNATIVE TO LIQUIDATION? In insolvency terms, dissolution is the informal process of administering the closure of a limited company. Like liquidation, dissolution allows for all members to be notified, assets realised and distributed accordingly. It meets the requirements set out in the Companies Act 2006, and therefore ensures that the director is meeting their obligations. It can seem strange to discuss the benefits of any type of closure, but certainly, those directors who are faced with closure, can reap comfort from knowing that there is an alternative when finances donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist for a liquidation. SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER Prices for dissolution are also significantly lower than liquidation. Average dissolution costs are around 75% less than liquidation. In addition to this, directors do not have to attend a formal creditors meeting and, above all, they are ensuring that their duties as a director are being lawfully met, and that their integrity is maintained. On this common misunderstanding, Rick stresses that; â&#x20AC;&#x153;So long as the director has not committed any wrongful trading historically, the correct closure of any company â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in particular using the dissolution route â&#x20AC;&#x201C; does not leave any form of bad mark against the director, nor does it prevent their ability to be a director in the future.â&#x20AC;? IS DISSOLUTION RIGHT FOR ME? So you have a failing small company and you want to dissolve it? Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that simple. Rick states: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not really a choice for directors to dissolve or liquidate, more a matter of fact. If the company is insolvent, the choice to close is pretty well defined. The company must then be assessed, to know which route comes next but, generally speaking, if it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford liquidation, then it has very few other options.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once it has been established that dissolution is a route that can be utilised, the company must still adhere to the same complex insolvency laws that liquidations must follow.â&#x20AC;? GET IT WRONG AND YOU COULD PAY THE PRICE Failure to adhere to the relevant legislation could lead to a number of problems. Firstly, if the closure is not handled correctly â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and where creditors exist â&#x20AC;&#x201C; closure would not necessarily even occur, due to longstanding objections. You also have to bear in mind that failure to comply with the insolvency laws can carry severe penalties for directors, including fines, disqualification, and in certain circumstances, the director becoming liable for any company debt. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Like most things, typing insolvency into your internet search engine will give you bedtime reading for the next few months,â&#x20AC;? says Rick, adding; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Always seek the advice of
)DLOXUH WR FRPSO\ ZLWK WKH LQVROYHQF\ ODZV FDQ FDUU\ VHYHUH SHQDOWLHV IRU GLUHFWRUV LQFOXGLQJ ĆŹQHV GLVTXDOLĆŹFDWLRQ DQG HYHQ WKH GLUHFWRU EHFRPLQJ OLDEOH IRU DQ\ FRPSDQ\ GHEW an insolvency expert if you are thinking about closing your company through dissolution.â&#x20AC;? A professional insolvency firm will offer peace of mind that the closure is done correctly, and will handle things for you. They will also save you three months of bedtime reading and stress. Contact: www.forbesburton.com
Success by design We speak to Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of 99designs, about how he grew a successful business
Designers in this community began playing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Photoshop tennisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, where designers would challenge each other RQ ĆŹFWLRQDO GHVLJQ EULHIV EHIRUH selecting a winner
118 October 2015
designs, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest graphic marketplace, has scaled rapidly since its launch in 2008, growing from a small Melbourne-based start-up to an internationally recognised company, with headquarters in Silicon Valley. In the past seven years, it has built a design community of more than one million designers, servicing customers in 180 countries, with affordable graphic design. We caught up with 99designâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CEO and president, Patrick Llewellyn to learn about the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rise to start-up success, the challenges of managing a company across four different time zones, and the key advice he has to share with UK business owners who are starting, or growing, their business this year. SO TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, AND THE EARLY DAYS AT 99DESIGNS? Before joining 99designs, I spent the previous decade working at a strategic capital advising firm, specialising in growth and raising capital. I came on board in 2009, and moved to San Francisco to set up our international HQ in 2010. At that point, there was a team of eight people, so we were still very much a bootstrapped business. In the early days, we focused on hiring developers when we could afford to, and building the best platform for our users. We concentrated on satisfying customer needs through telephone and email support from Australia. By moving to Silicon Valley, we allowed ourselves greater opportunity to engage with our global consumer base, as the majority were actually in the US.
CREATING A FUNCTIONAL BUSINESS MODEL IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING ENTREPRENEURS. HOW WAS THE BUSINESS MODEL FOR 99DESIGNS BORN? We were pretty lucky. 99designs actually spun out of a site called sitepoint.com, a community website used by designers and developers to share information and trends, and learn from one another. Designers in this community began playing a game known as ‘Photoshop tennis’, where designers would challenge each other on fictional design briefs, before selecting a winner. Eventually, one designer submitted a real project he was working on, and offered a cash prize for the completed design. It was out of this natural interaction in 2006, we pioneered the ‘contest model’, where small businesses upload design projects, and dozens of designers compete to win the prize.
at that time on one hand, so we knew, if we wanted to raise money to finance international growth, we would need to move to Silicon Valley. In April 2011, we raised $35 million, led by Accel Partners. Gaining this investment meant we could think big, and focus on international growth by opening offices in Latin America and Europe. Since then, we have raised an additional $10 million led by Recruit partners, and are tentatively looking at growing our presence in Japan.
HOW DOES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN 99DESIGNS AND A SMALL BUSINESS PLAY OUT? Typically, we give a business a branding refresh that allows them to take their new business identity to the masses. We provide business owners with crowd-sourced graphic design, which is fast, affordable, interactive, and creative. A large chunk of our customers are early stage companies, WHAT WERE THE MAIN GROWTH employing between one and five employees, FACTORS IN THE EARLY STAGES? who don’t have an in house designer. Be it We bootstrapped the company for the first number of years, which meant we had a logo, website, or business card design, we provide customers with access to a huge little or no money to spend on marketing creative resource that they typically would and customer acquisition. The fact that we not have scope for in their business. With were a two-sided marketplace, that solved 600,000 businesses launching in the UK problems for both designers and small this year, we know we are in a great position businesses, allowed us to grow through word-of-mouth marketing. Small businesses to assist these businesses in building their could now tap into the creativity of dozens brands, and reaching success in a very of designers working on their project, while competitive landscape. designers were given a golden opportunity FINALLY, GIVE US THREE GOLDEN to generate extra income and build longRULES FOR STARTING A BUSINESS lasting relationships with clients on our 1 Know your customer, and what market platform. In effect, we were solving two you’re trying to address. problems on one platform, which made 2 Make sure you have everyone engaged it easy for people to spread the word. Our in your product. first customers loved to talk and share their 3 Focus as much as you can on product, experiences with friends and colleagues. and delivering it as locally as you can This enabled us to grow organically, – there’s a lot on offer in your home and spend our revenue on improving market. There are a lot of accelerators functionality on our website, and creating and co-working spaces here in the UK, an overall better experience for our users. so establish connections, and get your Moving to the US in 2009 not only business out there early. brought us closer to our customers, but also allowed us closer access to potential investors. You could count the number Contact: of venture-backed start-ups in Australia www.99designs.co.uk
You could count the number of venture-backed start-ups in Australia at that time on one hand
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Legally speaking Each month, the experts at Wright Hassall answer one of your dilemmas from a legal perspective. Here, employment law expert, Rebecca Harmer tackles the issues surrounding relationships in the workplace
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had problems with employee relationships affecting work in the past. Can I make it company policy that employees cannot date each other, and can I make it a sackable offence if this is breached? As employees generally spend five days a week, eight hours a day with colleagues, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inevitable that personal relationships will form within the workplace. However, some employers try and deter them as they can raise queries about deserved promotions vs favouritism, and can make other employees uncomfortable. Also, if these personal relationships break down, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a risk to the employer of claims for discrimination, harassment, and constructive dismissal. It may be difficult to police a policy, which states there is a blanket ban on employee relationships â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially in large companies. Furthermore, there are risks that any such ban is an invasion of an employeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right to privacy, and could be viewed as a breach of employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; human rights. Therefore you must tread carefully. You could have a more specific policy, which explains employees cannot have relationships with members of staff who they directly manage, as this could be seen as an abuse of power, but anything more than this will be difficult to enforce. Also bear in mind that the
Equality Act 2010 specifically states that it is unlawful to discriminate against, and harass, members of staff who are married or in a civil partnership. Even where you have a policy, employees may still have relationships, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d need to follow a fair and reasonable disciplinary procedure to dismiss them. However, where there is no impact on the organisation, other members of staff are not affected, and the employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work is still up to a reasonable standard, it may be difficult to fairly dismiss the employee(s). You could instead, consider providing training to managers specifically in relation to this matter because, if the relationship and/or break-up is handled in a reasonable manner, it may be a lot more beneficial to the company. For example, another person is involved with, or undertakes, promotions instead of the employeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner. Or, if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a break-up, have a meeting with the employees and explain what is expected of them, and potentially move them away from each other in the office.
It may be GLĆŽFXOW WR SROLFH D SROLF\ ZKLFK VWDWHV WKHUH LV D EODQNHW EDQ RQ HPSOR\HH UHODWLRQVKLSV Whether or not you decide to have an anti-relationship policy, you should ensure that the company has a code of conduct, equal opportunities, and antiharassment policies in place, as they set out the type of behaviour that is, and is not, tolerated in the workplace. You should ensure that your employees have access to the handbook, and sign it when they commence employment to say they have read it. In addition, you should ensure that all members of staff receive training on equal opportunities and anti-harassment, so you can demonstrate that the company has taken reasonable steps to prevent harassment. Contact: www.wrighthassall.co.uk Got a question you want answered by the legal team? Email editor@ talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk with the subject line â&#x20AC;&#x153;Legally speakingâ&#x20AC;?
Tricks of the trade Marta Gorka, head of digital marketing at Skyline Whitespace, explains how to offer unforgettable experiences at trade shows
rade shows are key to a companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s communication strategy. Regardless of your company size, and industry you may be in, trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to reinforce brand identity, build relationships, and generate new leads. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re attending an exhibition, a lot of your focus will naturally be on the design of your stand, but, by thinking outside the box, you can maximise your opportunities, giving you better value for money. TAKE CENTRE STAGE At trade shows, creating a good first impression is crucial. From the design and structure of your stand to engaging staff, and interactive displays, every little detail has a role in alluring potential customers. Developing an effective stand isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always a cheap process, so you have to make sure it delivers positive results. The visitors may see your logo, but if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give them a reason to recall it, your investment will be largely wasted. A wellplanned stand, with someone or something to interact with, will encourage visitors to stop,
ensuring they remember your business after the show. Planning a successful exhibition stand is about a lot more than simply making it eye-catching. You have to ensure that your stand takes centre stage and has the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; factor that competitors donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. BRING YOUR BRAND TO LIFE In order to catch the attention of attendees, a lot of exhibitors still choose the old-fashioned methods of marketing; giving out brochures, freebies, and product samples are common. But what about interactive engagement? If you want to attract massive crowds and form lasting business relationships, your exhibition stand not only needs to clearly express your brand, but also engage and stimulate memorable experiences. The rise of the digital age has given us an opportunity to equip exhibition stands with a wide range of gadgets and widgets that will
'HYHORSLQJ DQ HĆŤHFWLYH VWDQG LVQĆ&#x17D;W DOZD\V D FKHDS SURFHVV VR \RX KDYH WR PDNH VXUH LW GHOLYHUV SRVLWLYH UHVXOWV bring your brand to life with minimal effort. VIDEO AND IPAD DISPLAYS When it comes to researching or buying new products, people expect some level of independence and freedom. By providing displays on your stand, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re allowing people to learn about your business at their own pace. Animations and videos add a modern element to your stand. They expand your scope of approachability, and offer a non-intrusive way to show what you have to offer. You can also integrate digital technology by providing interactive tablets. Preloaded with relevant information or slideshows, they provide a convenient way for visitors to explore your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s products.
BRANDED GAMES Games give the visitor an opportunity to really interact with your brand, build a connection, and even form an emotional attachment with you. They introduce a competitive element, which will help you draw in more visitors and hold
their attention for far longer than a simple brochure. What’s even better, high-score boards will encourage them to enter their information in order to enter the competition – generating valuable data you can use for marketing purposes later. Whether it’s the fun of an iPadcontrolled Sphero, or the physical involvement of a Kinnect-based game, you should ensure that it’s as engaging and exciting as possible, while remaining relevant to your brand. Custom, re-skinned games are great for engaging experiences that fully reflect your campaign and stand theme. Introducing a game that visitors can play when they visit your stand, and download as an app after the event, will help you keep visitors engaged for longer. AUGMENTED REALITY If you want to connect on a more immersive level with your target audience, augmented reality is a great way to achieve this. AR lets you hide content behind marker images that can be included in your exhibition stand graphics. It’s a totally fresh and unique way for visitors to interact with your brand. It’s especially useful if your products are too large to
124 October 2015
exhibit at the show. All the visitor has to do is scan a trigger image with a smartphone, and a 360-degree reconstruction of your product appears before their very eyes. Your visitors will be amazed at the wonder of the technology in their hands. To enhance the visitor experience even further, you can hold ugmented augmented reality treasure hunts, with animated clues hidden in your exhibit walls. A little creativity can completely change the way your clients see you.
stand visitors, and create a buzz that everyone will talk about long after the show is over. GOOGLE CARDBOARD If your marketing budget is limited, and Oculus Rift is not a feasible option for your business, you can try out the new virtual reality platform developed by Google. Cardboard might sound silly, but Google’s new low-cost headset is a smartphone shell made out of cardboard, that brings imagination into reality. If you have a flair for crafting, you can assemble the headset yourself, or you can purchase the official ready-made model. The DIY goggles can be easily customised and branded with your logo for extra recognition. Similarly to Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard makes a big, memorable impression and provides something both kids and adults will enjoy. Powerful brand experiences and
Animations and videos add a modern element to your stand
OCULUS RIFT One of the latest virtual reality gadgets is Oculus Rift. Still new and unfamiliar to most people, it attracts the attention of visitors, and creates a great talking point. The Rift is a cuttingedge virtual reality headset that allows users to completely immerse themselves in the virtual, threedimensional world. It offers a great way to explain complicated systems or bring large-scale products to life. Pre-load it with already existing 3D games, or create your own immersive environments. Whichever option you go for, Oculus Rift will create unforgettable experiences for your
memorable activities will ensure that people from all over the exhibition will pay you a visit. And remember, not every visitor is the same, and where some will prefer to engage at their own pace with your digital media, others will be happier to speak to a person. Skyline Whitespace is one of UK’s leading names in exhibition stands. Through exceptional stand design and the latest interactive tools, it can bring your brand to life and deliver real results for your audience. Contact: www.skylinewhitespace.com
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Do you actively encourage employees to challenge your ideas and strategies?
Each month we ask a selection of business leaders for their views on an aspect of business. This month, we want to know how you deal with upstart employees
RYAN DEARLOVE TECHNICAL DIRECTOR AT VISIBILIS I firmly believe leaders who are open to new ideas are more effective than leaders who are reluctant to change. This candidness to others’ ideas lends itself to established opinions being exposed, and some leaders are not open to challenge, so from an employee’s perspective, I think it is crucial to choose carefully those issues worth challenging. I believe encouraging openness supports contribution and improves the quality of interaction between staff members. PAUL MACKENZIE-CUMMINS CAREERS WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF CLEARLYPR There is no point spending thousands recruiting the best talent, only to tell them what you want them to do. A person’s potential can only become fully realised if it is nurtured and given the opportunity to express itself. Yes, some of their ideas will be so far left-field that they border on being farcical, but there will always be a gem in there that can prove to be invaluable. Your job is to spot the great ideas and run with them. After all, you may have a great track record of success, but you don’t have all the answers. If you’re truly good at what you do, you’ll always be looking to do things better.
THE NUMBERS GAME HERE’S WHAT THE REST OF YOU THOUGHT:
JO HARLEY MANAGING DIRECTOR, PURPLE CUBED Purple people are expected to respect our values and ‘nonnegotiables’ from the outset; we’re very clear. This is discussed as early as recruitment stage, so people understand exactly how things work here. At that point, if they can’t commit, we don’t employ them. We’re also happy to be challenged on anything, as this enables us to evolve. However, people know they’ll need to think things through properly, presenting information and alternatives to back up anything they challenge.
ALEXANDRA FINLAY DIRECTOR, DIRECT ONLINE SERVICES We encourage employees to express their opinions in a constructive manner – an open atmosphere and sense of dialogue promotes passion in the workplace, which is what we like to see. ‘Dialogue’ is the key word here: we want our employees to feel they are being listened to, and that company policies are part of a conversation (rather than a full stop), so that a conclusion can be reached that works for everyone involved, and nothing festers. If employees are shown that their opinions are valuable, they are also more likely to respect the ‘company line’ – whatever that may be. WHAT DO YOU THINK? TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS ON TWITTER @TALKBUSINESSMAG *Talk Business magazine does not necessarily condone or agree with any opinions expressed in this article. Opinions are solely those of the named individuals.
Trash talk Each month, we ask a different business man or woman the everyday phrases that ‘drive them up the wall’ in the business world, and why
My old boss used to use it a lot, until I pointed out it sounded like something David Brent would say MY MOST HATED BUSINESS JARGON
Jane Slimming Zeal
Job title: Founder and MD The business: Zeal is a digital marketing agency offering services in web design and development, performance marketing, and brand exposure, including SEO, online PR, social media, and content marketing. Managing director, Jane Slimming started the agency ﬁve years ago, and has now grown Zeal to 16 full-time members of staff. Contact: www.wehavezeal.com
IT HAS TO WASH ITS FACE: I heard this a lot in my media buying days, and it set my teeth on edge. Literally meaning it has to cover its costs or show a return on investment, but clearly someone decided that was too boring and decided to bring face washing into it. I never understood why that particular phrase was chosen, but my old boss used to use it a lot, until I pointed out it sounded like something David Brent would say. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Another one of my old boss’ favourites. Firstly, we’re in the UK, you’re English, and we’re talking about sterling. Secondly, what’s bang and how are you getting more of it? Made even more irritating when used alongside a palm slap. I was always taught to say what I mean, and mean what I say – I think it’s a pretty good rule to live by. LET’S NOT BOIL THE OCEAN ON THIS: Literally meaning ‘let’s not spend too much time on this’. I heard this for the first time in a meeting in London (of course!), and I very nearly covered the man opposite me in coffee. Luckily I managed to pull off the ‘it’s not a laugh, it’s a cough’ manoeuvre. H2H: A very good, very clever friend of mine used this one in a joint pitch, and I’ve never let him live it down. “Instead of B2B or B2C,” he said, “let’s talk about H2H - human to human”. I actually love this one really - it’s just so bad it’s good, and months later, it still gets brought up at the pub.
WANT THE CHANCE TO GET YOUR FRUSTRATIONS OUT?
Tell us the insane phrases that wind you up, and you could feature here – simply email editor@talkbusinessmagazine. co.uk with the subject line ‘Trash Talk’.
130 October 2015
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