W W W . T A L K B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . C O . U K
TALK BUSINESS MAY 2013
FOR THE ENTREPRENEUR
BY THE ENTREPRENEUR
May 2013 £4.50
Here be dragons…
Navigating the funding landscape
Le geek, c’est chic?
Marketing mistakes Show business
Richard Farleigh on choosing business over chess
Which advertising channels turn you off?
Preview the best business shows coming up this summer
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Best in class “Tesco Hand Car Wash is without doubt Best In Class. We are now offering our customers a great service that we can be proud of and that we know our customers love. Ethical, professional and reliable… our customers enjoy an industry-leading standard of service. Tesco Hand Car Wash is a world-class car washing service for our customers with a profitable model for our operators, Waves and Tesco” Peter Cattell - Category Director - Tesco Speaking December 2012 to Waves & Tesco Franchisees “Since we started in October we have seen the business grow steadily. Waves have provided help and support and being able to run promotions via the Tesco petrol station netted us lots of new customers.” Roland Shahini - Franchisee - Tesco Hand Car Wash Burgess Hill “We have had a solid flow of customers from the day we opened. We have four sites operated by our family and another on the way and we are very happy with Waves; being on a Tesco site means we get access to far more customers than we could ever expect if we had a stand-alone operation. “ Suni Rasim - Franchisee - Tesco Hand Car Washes in Stow and Cheltenham
TESCO HAND CAR WASH SCREEN REPLA
aves has a long and established relationship with Tesco going back to 2006, but in 2011 when Tesco wanted someone to manage their entire hand car washing estate they choose Waves to become the sole provider.
“I think it is because we shared the same values and concepts of customer service that was crucial in us winning the contract” says Joanna Graham, a founding director of Waves, and their principle contact at Tesco on a day to day basis. “What we have done since winning the contract is to convert all of the existing car washes to the latest Tesco design standard, and this means we now offer a best in class service to our customers” explained Graham. This is clearly evident today when you visit any of the current 110 stores where Waves is operating. All staff are in uniform and they all deliver the same types of services. Everyone operates from a smart cabin situated in a prominent location within the car park - always within easy access of the store. “Ours and Tesco research shows that customers are happy to leave their vehicles whilst they shop” Graham explained, “but it is important that we are close enough to the store entrance so they can get back and collect their car easily.” Waves provides a complete package for all new sites and we completely build, install and equip the hand car wash. The full installation also includes Tesco approved signage and marketing materials, together with training and on-going support. It is also a business that lends itself to the management franchise model, where a single franchisee will operate a cluster of locations. Five year Tesco hand car wash franchise packages start from £47,500 + VAT. For more commercial information and for available locations please call us on 020 8877 3884 or please visit www.wavescarwash.co.uk.
All operational contracts will be with Waves Consultancy Limited. Please note that as franchisee you will have the right to use the on-site installation however the installation and equipment remains the property of Waves Consultancy Limited for the duration of the term.
D If w
Our achievements 2012
Our achievements for our franchisees. We: • Re-branded the Tesco hand car wash estate to the new design standard, operating under the Tesco brand • Created the new design standard for all new-build Tesco hand car washes • Opened our 100th Tesco hand car wash • Released our smart phone app with a customer store locator • Piloted a promotion using Tesco ClubCard • Ran campaigns with the Tesco local marketing team to offer incentives to customers to return to the store and the car wash to receive incremental benefits • Ran a promotion through the petrol filling station tills for discounts at our car washes - nearly 2,500 customers took this up across 20 stores with 60% being new to the car wash on average • Achieved unprecedented levels of brand recognition and positive feedback from Tesco’s own customer research • Ensured our hand car wash installation is ahead of current planned EU legislation • Negotiated operational savings and supplier discounts for our franchisees; e.g. we reduced their insurance premium by 24%
REPLACEMENT STANDARD LAYOUTS TESCO HAND CAR WASH SCREEN REPLACEMENT
Our plans to help our franchisees. We will: • Continue to grow and aim to open at least one new hand car wash per week • Run a national ClubCard promotion across our sites • Run a national promotion through the petrol filling station tills for discounts at our car washes which is open to all of our sites to participate (if they have a pfs at their store) • Launch a partnership advertising campaign with Tesco bank replacing all the jet wash screens to advertise a bolt on service - at no cost to our franchisees • Help to drive footfall by promoting sponsorship of Cancer Research UK • Implement a business development plan for our franchisees to use to grow their businesses • And there’s more to come...
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11 Editor’s letter 13 Letters 15 News & events
Focus on success
18 Check mate Former Dragon and chess champ, Richard Farleigh 24 Take one company Fever-Tree: the upmarket mixer 27 Introducing… TB grills an up-and-comer 28 12 steps to success Carly Ward shows us step 11 30 Show off Sneak preview of The Business Show 33 Pass it on The benefits of mentoring 35 Book reviews 138 He said/she said What are our entrepreneurs saying this month?
Focus on money 36 Far from the madding crowd Our crowdfunding special 44 The road less travelled Alternative business funding routes 49 Get over the overdraft Looking beyond bank overdrafts 52 A day in the life… Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient 55 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements
Focus on strategy
84 Content with your content? Make your content count 87 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems
Focus on people 89 The people column Lee McQueen 91 Bring on the part-timers Working with part-time professionals 96 Stopping up the skills gap Using interim managers 98 Tax-friendly training Tax efficient employee training 100 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of KinetIQue
Focus on technology 105 Our man in the valley David Richards’ tech column 106 Protect and serve Data protection 109 BYOD: worth the risk? Bring Your Own Device safety 113 I’ve got an app for that… Our fave business apps 114 BlackBerry vs Sony This month’s best smartphones
58 Break through Generate growth and break the half million barrier
117 Franchise news
64 It’s not what you say Customer communication 66 The Thames Valley Show Sneak preview 73 Stories that move mountains Business presentations that connect
Focus on marketing
009 contents.**g**.indd 9
83 How much is too much? Marketing budgets
57 The branding column Rich With
60 What is business strategy? Good question…let’s find out
77 Change the channel Which marketing channels turn us off?
75 The marketing column Kimberly Davis
Focus on franchise 119 Spotlight Auditel 121 Take one franchisee Papa John’s: Luigi Forgione 123 Finance your franchise Alternative franchise funding 124 Bigger and better Dealing with expansion
Focus on advice 126 Freelancer 129 Basepoint talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 09
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Overdrafts, and angels, and loans – oh my! These days, nothing about being an entrepreneur is simple. Least of all finding funding for your business venture. In some ways progress is a wonderful thing; time was you’d only have a few routes to go down if you wanted to raise capital and, if those were unsuccessful, you’d had it. If the bank didn’t believe in you, then that was that. You could kiss goodbye to your entrepreneurial dreams, and resign yourself to another 30 years slogging your guts out on the corporate treadmill. Nowadays, just as in so many other areas of our lives, we are overwhelmed with choices when it comes to capital. If your first option doesn’t work out, just choose another. From invoice financing to angel investment, from crowdfunding to trying to blag your way onto The Apprentice (never advisable), there is a veritable smorgasbord of funding routes available to you. By the same token, it can all feel a little intimidating. Which way is best? Which one is the right one for you and your business? Navigating the intricacies of the modern day funding landscape can seem a truly daunting task… Which is why in this, our funding special, we aim to provide a compass, an Ordnance Survey map, and even a nifty little SatNav to help get you on the right path. We’re good like that. Flip to page 36 for our exclusive feature on crowdfunding, telling you everything you need to know about the hottest new form of funding. Check out page 49 for a look at the post-recession funding landcape, and find out how you can apply for a Government Start-Up Loan – and how it could change your life – on page 52. And, whatever your business, don’t be disheartened – if it’s the right idea, you’ll find the right funding route for you. Enjoy,
Helen Coffey Editor
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Money makers Antoine Corbineau is a multi-disciplinary French designer
represented by Folio Art. Since graduating with Honours from Camberwell College of Arts and Ecole Superieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, he has worked with major design and advertising agencies worldwide. His colourful and often complex works have already proved hugely popular with companies and organisations all over the world. Using a range of techniques, Antoine creates beautifully busy patchworks of texture, imagery and creative typography. Antoine now lives and works in Nantes. Check out his stunning illustration work on this month’s front cover.
Jo Upward is managing director of Platform, an
experiential design company. Platform works with companies to get to the heart of their customers through engaging digital, environmental and strategic communications and experiences. Formerly a BT Wholesale executive board member, Jo’s achievements include driving the customer experience improvement campaign for the whole of the BT Group, resulting in significant change globally for both businesses and consumers. Read her tips on breaking through the half million pound revenue barrier on page 58.
Peter Ewen has been managing director of ABN AMRO
Commercial Finance since October 2007. He has built it into an award-winning invoice and asset-based lender in the UK market, handling almost £4bn in client invoices every year. Peter has worked in the credit and financial services industry for 28 years. A member of the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), Peter is a key spokesman for the UK industry and regular contributor to industry publications and think tanks. Read his thoughts on utilising alternative funding streams in the current climate on page 49.
Luke Lang is marketing director and co-founder of Crowdcube.
Founded in 2011, Crowdcube is the next generation of business investment. It is a new way to fund start-ups and business expansion by crowdfunding for equity, giving entrepreneurs a platform to connect with ordinary people and raise venture capital. Luke cut his marketing teeth working for a successful UK-based Internet service provider, marketing technology and Internet solutions for businesses. Luke also ran his own marketing consultancy that specialised in digital marketing, B2B marketing and marketing strategy. Read the story of Crowdcube, the leading UK crowdfunding platform, on page 36.
12 May 2013
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This month our loquacious readers are waxing lyrical on Jacqueline Gold, the Budget, and getting ahead of the competition
GOOD AS GOLD
If you’d like to send us your thoughts about Talk Business, or anything else that’s happening on the SME scene, just get in touch: email: email@example.com snail mail: Aston Greenlake, 8th floor, 6 Mitre Passage, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER
LET TER OF THE MONTH
Hi It was great to read Jacqueline Gold’s story in April’s Talk Business [The Golden girl, April]. I recently read her autobiography, and she has been through so much in her life – it is amazing really that she has managed to come out on top. It helps me to keep things in perspective when I’m worrying about my business, because she has never given up or stopped trying to make the business better even when she was really struggling in her personal life. She’s a real inspiration.
A BUDGET FOR BUSINESS
Dear TB, I was really pleased with some of the announcements in the recent Budget. All in all, I think it was an extremely positive move for SMEs in the UK. In particular, the decision for more Government procurement from small businesses was a triumph, and a change that has been needed for years. In addition, the cut in corporation tax and the news that 450,000 small firms will pay no employer National Insurance were both welcome announcements. It seems like the Government are finally putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting SMEs. Thanks,
THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER Dear Editor, When the UK entered a double dip recession in 2012, my fellow SME business leaders and I were surprised as we felt that the economic climate in the UK was not as bad as was being conveyed. Indeed, the current climate is in fact just a new normal that most managing directors have now adapted to. SMEs do of course need to be aware of the economic climate and news that the UK economy is on the road to recovery is certainly a good thing. However, for SMEs the economy should be something they need to react to as a peripheral matter; their key aim should be doing a better job than their competitors. In order to be successful, business leaders must be proactive in taking control rather than letting the world and the economy control them. Yours faithfully,
the month… @NatalieDiver @TalkBusinessMag great mag - do you have an iPad version? @StartUpLoansUK Congrats to Irina Alionte, founder of Club Cardio, for her feature in this months @TalkBusinessMag! @kmkeppler The FD is the Key. Great article by colleague Allan Beattie in @MartinRSpiller’s @TalkBusinessMag column! @timstannage @TalkBusinessMag build less baggage but at the right price a business turnaround can be rewarding @IrinaAlionte A day in my life featured in @TalkBusinessMag!! Check out the digital issue at p.46 @sales_eu_org An opportunity to use feedback technology to find out what your customers really think ... via @TalkBusinessMag @bisgovuk Vince Cable launches new £3 million fund to help grow small firms in Norfolk & Suffolk @SimonHague Your company’s most valuable asset is how it is known to its customers. -Brian Tracy
Bob Bradley, MD2MD
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News & events
COSTS £20BN ACCORDING TO A YouGov survey of over 2000 UK consumers, 65% of people have received poor customer service online, with 64% stating that they would not return to a business that gave poor customer service. With online shopping in the UK topping £50bn in 2012, this means over £20bn could be lost as a result of customer dissatisfaction. The survey, commissioned by Sirportly, an online customer helpdesk, revealed that consumers are being let down online by slow, unsatisfactory or rude responses to enquiries made on the web. Consumers said that even if they liked a product or a service, they would not return to a business they felt had let them down. Adam Cooke, creator of Sirportly, said: ‘These numbers are staggering. Even if this is only half true, it is still a huge amount of money being lost by online businesses. The growth of online retail in the UK has brought with it opportunities and problems. Retailers need to treat online customers as well as they would do offline customers.’ Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of Centre for Retail Research, added: ‘Although the typical online retailer commits most attention to the look and usability of the company’s website, what the consumer is left with once the transaction is completed is the quality and attentiveness of customer service. Retailers need to invest as much time and money in involving customers and dealing promptly with any issues as they do in attracting them in the first place.’
Dates for the diary Greater London Business Expo 10 May Westminster, London www.thebusinessgrowthshow.com
The COPA Practice Growth Show 2013 6-7 June ExCeL, London www.copashow.co.uk
North East London Business Expo 14 May Leyton Orient Football Club, London www.nelexpo.co.uk
The Business Show 6-7 June ExCeL, London www.thebusinessshow.co.uk
The Business Growth Show, Kent 29 May Welling, Kent www.thebusinessgrowthshow.com
Accountex: The national accounting event and exhibition 6-7 June ExCeL, London www.accountex.co.uk
Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) conference 2-4 June Istanbul, Turkey www.dell.com/dwen Base Nantes 4 June Nantes, France www.basecities.com/nantes Sales Management & Performance (SMP) 2013 6-7 June ExCeL, London www.smplive.com
South Wales Business Expo 12 June Cardiff www.thebusinessgrowthshow.com The Thames Valley Expo 13 June Royal Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire www.thamesvalleyexpo.co.uk The Eco Technology Show 14-15 June Brighton Centre www.ecotechnologyshow.co.uk
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News & events
RETAILERS LOSE CONFIDENCE IN HIGH STREET NEW FINDINGS FROM Rakuten reveal just 7% of retailers expect sales growth this year, and 63% expect sales in physical stores to decline. Despite major high street brands like M&S and WHSmith announcing profits in the first quarter of 2013, retailer optimism is not widespread. The future of the high street was further called into question, with one in four delegates stating that they expect Britain’s high street to shift to a showroom-led dynamic over the next 12 months, where shoppers browse in store, but ultimately purchase online. Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten’s Play.com, commented: ‘Ultimately it’s about creating multi-touch shopping experiences, and this extends online, from interacting with customers through social channels to providing a dynamic and entertaining digital shopping experience.’ Pressure was also high for greater Government support for the retail sector; 83% of retailers thought the Government could do more to support businesses, both on and offline. Access to credit was of greatest concern, with 29% of vendors stating that banks needed greater encouragement to lend. Another key financial pinch point was the rise in business rates, with many retailers calling for a revision in rates to stimulate growth in the economy.
One last chance for HMV HIGH STREET MUSIC retailer HMV has been given a lifeline after accepting a rescue deal, which could save 2,500 jobs and up to 136 stores. The deal, struck with restructuring specialist Hilco, will ensure that the brand remains on the nation’s high street following the announcement that it would go into administration in January. Dan Wagner, CEO and chairman of mPowa and Powa Technologies, which is responsible for implementing online and mobile retail platforms for some of the leading high street names, said: ‘The way consumers engage with retailers is undergoing a seismic shift driven by innovations in technology. Only those retailers that embrace and move with these changes will survive and grow in a rapidly changing marketplace.
‘This deal will present HMV with a valuable opportunity to address the problems that forced it into administration earlier this year and present a store that is revived, refreshed and, most importantly, profitable.’
BUSINESSES BLIGHTED BY
DATA LOSS NINE IN TEN companies experienced some form of data loss last year, according to research from global business advisory service, CEB. The increasing sophistication of data hackers means even well-managed data can be at risk. CEB calculates that following a publicised data breach, companies suffer brand value reductions of between 12% and 22%, potentially worth billions of pounds in lost revenue. Despite the high frequency of data breaches, legal departments are increasingly alive to the risk posed by data. More than eight in ten (85%) of legal departments around the world currently list managing data risk as an important priority, and almost three quarters of departments consider information to present a high risk to their organisations. Maarten Westermann, senior director of CEB, said: ‘It’s certainly true that big data, used well, can bring huge rewards. But increasingly large fines and reputational damage must make the corporate world take equal notice of the risks.’
16 May 2013
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Check mate Chewing the cud with chess champ, former Dragon and entrepreneurial all-rounder, Richard Farleigh: Patrick Boniface discovers thereâ€™s more to this angel than meets the eye
18 May 2013
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Focus on success
“Business is common sense. You don’t have to be Einstein”
ichard Farleigh talks a lot about chess. It’s not that surprising once you find out that, as a child, he was forever winning chess championships back home in his native Australia. His mastery of the ultimate game of strategy gives us an insight into how he has made his millions. ‘I was struggling for quite a long time until I started playing chess. When I was 14 or 15, I beat the adult state champion and it was in all the papers. I used to travel around and do exhibitions in the parks, and I used to make a bit of money hustling in Hyde Park.’ The Sydney version, Farleigh jokes, was named first. ‘The Australian version of history! ‘I got more confidence playing chess and started to read more. When I was 17 or 18 I had the chance to play professional chess in London and I had a sponsor, and I was quite seriously into chess at that time; then I thought about it and decided not to. ‘There were two reasons why not: one, I wanted to be a lawyer. I thought that even if I was a lousy, average lawyer, I would have a much better life than if I fluked it into the top 20 chess players in the world. It would just be an easier life being an average lawyer. Secondly, whenever you mention to a girl
of 17 or 18 that you play chess, you can forget it.’ Richard Farleigh is a far cry from his Dragons’ Den image. He is convivial, charming, and perhaps even a little roguish. Any preconceptions that his difficult childhood in Australia – which saw him put into foster care aged just two – might have made him hard are quickly dispelled. ‘You always hear these entrepreneurs banging on about their early childhoods. I always have two rules: one, if you can talk about it, it wasn’t that bad. Two, it does give you some perspective. At the beginning of my life I was always something of an outsider, so I always approached things from a different angle – not because I was clever, but because I didn’t know what the right angle was.’ Richard has, among his many achievements, penned a business book: ‘Taming the Lion is mostly about investments, and I am trying to work on a book for businesses at the moment. The checklist for business is a bit trickier; business is mostly about imagination and determination. It’s a very interesting subject because you get to a place where you need a firm checklist. ‘It sounds boring, but it’s amazing in finance what a discipline it is. It forces you to
stretch your mind to think of what may be important and it also forces you to put down some kind of score on different things. ‘If you were doing a checklist on Facebook in the early days, would you have known that it was going to be a winner? If you were doing one on Woolworths, would you have known it was going to fail?’ As a former Dragons’ Den star, Richard was in an arguably enviable position. Week in, week out, he was presented with exciting business proposals and cutting edge innovations, each in desperate need of investment. During his time on the show, what were his main impressions of the entrepreneurs he saw? ‘I have found that if there are two variables in a business, they are obviously the original idea and the execution; the execution is, by far, the thing that matters. It really is the people, and I often back a person as long as I think the idea is reasonable. An average idea with a good person behind it appeals much more than the other way around.’ Are there any character traits that make one person better as an entrepreneur than another? ‘People have this idea that you can’t be educated, or there’s a stereotype of someone who sits in their bedroom and dreams up an idea or is a maverick,
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Focus on success THE INTERVIEW
“An average idea with a good person behind it appeals much more than the other way around” whereas I am not like that. My saviour was education. The most important thing in life, I think, is personality. If you could be better at one thing, of all the things – like how much money you have, how much education, how much intelligence, family or friends or other things – I think personality wins out. ‘Growing up as an inwardlooking foster child, I was always envious of those people who had that skill. Though if you had more than one [skill], the ability to get on with people, and the ability to motivate other people, helps a lot in business.’ Undeniably successful himself, what does Richard believe are essentials for a future in business? ‘There are two variables for success: intelligence and discipline. It’s very hard to improve someone’s level of intelligence but discipline, what I would call determination, can be increased.
You might be an idiot, but if you sit down and work on your discipline or work ethic, that can be increased and has a massive impact on results.’ Richard’s website receives hundreds upon hundreds of proposals a week; he has had to develop quick methods by which to assess the person behind the submission. ‘Basically you can read between the lines. I shouldn’t give away too many secrets or else you might crack my code! But if they give you ten pages on their life history, I just don’t have time for that. ‘I say this when people are giving a presentation to try and raise money. City investors, no matter how clever they like to pretend they are, have a twominute concentration span. I always wanted people to do this on Dragons’ Den – within the first sentence, really tell us what is unique.
‘I love it when I get an email stating the thing that is important, identifying the gap in the market and the idea. Then it goes on to tell me why they think they are the people to do that. ‘I also read between the lines: if I meet someone in person, I might be talking to them about the cricket, but you can talk about something else and still learn a lot about that person. I always think of business meetings as a date; within the first five minutes you kind of have a feeling if it’s going to work or not. ‘Sometimes on Dragons’ Den, people are nice to you, and I know one thing: before you give them the money, that’s the nicest they’re ever going to be. After you’ve given them the money, you just don’t know. There are a lot of indicators, and you don’t necessarily have to talk to them about their business. Talk to them about anything and find out if they have the determination and the know-how.’ He has clear ideas about motivation, and firmly believes that the acquisition of financial reward is not the sole imperative. Personal rewards are vital too. ‘I rented a house in Marrakesh a couple of years ago. There were about ten of us staying there, me and a bunch of friends, and there was a guy who was looking after us. He must have been around 22, and he was not doing a very good job. He was just lazy; he was supposed to be up at 8am and he just wasn’t doing it, and he was sending us off to meaningless places. He was just doing a terrible job. He was a nice enough guy, and I was chatting to him and I said: “Your heart’s not really in this is it?” He goes, “No, you’re right. They don’t pay me enough.” ‘I said: “You’re really missing a trick. The money you earn here is not the thing you should be worried about. You’re meeting wealthy foreigners on a regular business; you have access.” I explained that he was wasting the opportunity, and
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Focus on success THE INTERVIEW
told him: “You are the one in the driver’s seat. Sooner or later you’re going to get someone coming through here who wants to build a house or a hotel, like a lot of Westerners, and you’re going to meet someone who, if they’re impressed with you, is going to offer you an opportunity. At the moment you’re more likely to get complaints and lose your job.”’ The moral of this anecdote is obvious. ‘Look for the
“Whenever you mention to a girl of 17 or 18 that you play chess, you can forget it” opportunities and do a good job and make your own luck. Luck does find you. I am a very motivated person and I did this very boring job in the holidays when I was at University – so mundane, but I always tried my hardest. If you’re that kind of person, who takes pride in the little things, it makes a difference.’ One could argue that, in an economic downturn, finance and motivation might not naturally coincide. In which case, when is the right time to start a business? Richard says: ‘I’d say the right place is the place you are right now. Look for all the openings and opportunities that your current position offers you. It’s amazing what imaginative people can find; look at Facebook, those opportunities were available to everybody. So often your situation isn’t as bad as you think it is.’ Like all businessmen, Richard Farleigh is not immune to failure. Unlike many, he is eminently adept at picking himself up, brushing himself off and re-motivating himself. ‘Obviously it’s not nice when it happens; I guess from my days of investing in the financial markets, the first thing I had to learn was to deal with losses. That took quite a while and I used to beat myself up if I was
wrong with the Deutschmark, but after a while I realised there is an element of randomness.I used to look at trading like a chess game, and I used to think it was deterministic, which is: if you do the right thing it will work. It was a big Eureka! moment when I started treating it like backgammon, where you can do the right move but lose or do the wrong one and win. That was so important because I accepted that I could have businesses that failed that were still a good idea.’ As an established entrepreneur he has a unique vantage point on start-ups. Other business leaders may suggest fighting all the way, but Richard suggests research. ‘I say this to new businesses: they should be run like a research project. That’s the best bit of advice I’ve got for new businesses. If you see business plans prepared with extreme accuracy, done to the very last penny and pound, you can forget it. It’s a worthwhile exercise to do a business plan, but the spurious accuracy is meaningless. The first year is a research project to test the idea. Ideas have a very low value but there is a huge amount of randomness. ‘Everybody who sets up a business wants luxury office space, their own secretary,
I’m watching: Catching up on the Dexter series. A serial killer who only kills bad people. Great battles with his conscience and avoiding detection I’m reading: Flat Out, Flat Broke. An inspiring autobiography by the Formula One driver and original “Stig” I’m listening to: David Bowie. The man returned to Earth and sounds as good as ever I’m surfing: Catching up on Australian news – this cold weather has been making me homesick!
glamorous website, nice business cards, international travel – but test it in the first year, and if in that period you get signs of success, then gradually increase the money. If it’s more successful than you thought, then fantastic.’ Richard Farleigh casts one of his characteristically winning smiles and, in his laconic Australian style, sums up the interview, life, and the business world in just two sentences: ‘Business is common sense. You don’t have to be Einstein if you work hard, and are disciplined, and make sure that you don’t get emotional about some silly ideas you’ve got – which is why you should get other people, independent of you, to test your idea.’ Contact: www.farleigh.com
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Focus on success TAKE ONE COMPANY
From niche brand to world domination: we discover the incredible story behind FeverTree, whose high quality mixers revived the genius of a G&T
You give ME FEVER T
rue innovation in product development, particularly in the cut-throat world of food and drink, does not come along very often. The market is dominated by variations on a theme, with brands battling it out while essentially doing the same thing (and hoping their superior packaging, marketing campaign or introductory offer will win out). Which makes Fever-Tree something of an anomaly. Shaking up an industry that had spent years growing stale and lazy, founders Tim Warrilow and Charles Rolls decided to develop a new, upmarket mixer. Spotting not just a niche, but a gaping hole in the market, they teamed together to create premium mixers that would actually
way to increase profits. We wanted to bring out mixers which were as high quality as possible.’ And thus Fever-Tree – taking its name from the colloquial name for the cinchona tree in which quinine, a key ingredient of tonic water, is found – was born. The initial reaction they had from distributors was telling; it was clear that people had been actively waiting for a product like this to hit the market. ‘We had Waitrose calling us up, which is quite unusual. The buyer there was a very forwardthinking woman, and she had seen a tiny piece of PR about us. She said: “This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for,” and she put us on the shelves.’ The visionary Waitrose buyer was proved right, and much sooner than expected: ‘The exciting thing was that as soon as we got on the shelf, even with no marketing, the consumers started to buy it – and at a rate which made the buyer realise this was going to work. ‘The business became profitable in the first year, much earlier than in the business plan.’ This swift success is reflective of how complement premium spirits, rather than drown desperately this under-represented sector was them in cheap chemicals and preservatives. The in need of a new saviour. Fever-Tree provided the entrepreneurs recognised that providing a wellbreath of fresh air that was so badly needed, but crafted mixer, made with the finest ingredients, would this was no quick fix – the brand’s first product, a be a surefire hit with high-class restaurants, bars and high quality tonic water, was a true labour of love. hotels the world over. Tim says: ‘It took 18 months to develop our ‘Charles and I got talking about the fact that first product, which was quite a bit longer than spirits were developing all around the world, but I thought. That was partly because we were mixers were not – they were completely dominated going and sourcing ingredients from all corners by one brand, which is pretty unusual,’ says Tim. of the world. ‘No one was paying them any attention. They had ‘Because it’s all natural, you can’t preserve been enjoying that, and cutting costs every which it, and it needs to be pasteurised, and we
“Lots of businesses expand too quickly and get dazzled, and they lose their focus”
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Focus on success TAKE ONE COMPANY
“I’ve been trekking through the Congo to find the best quinine” needed quality packaging, and we needed it to be highly carbonated – because there’s nothing that ruins a gin and tonic like flat tonic water. It’s a complex product.’ “Sourcing ingredients from all corners of the world” may sound like a clever PR ploy, designed to add a colourful backstory to a new business venture: but on the contrary, Charles and Tim take their role as “sourcers” of the highest quality ingredients very seriously. ‘It’s very hard for someone to come out with a better product than us, with better flavours. I’ve been trekking through the Congo to find the best quinine. Charles was recently on the Ivory Coast to find the best green ginger. I fundamentally believe you can’t get better ingredients than the ones we use.’ They are certainly not without their rivals: competitors have inevitably sprung up in the quality mixer space since Fever-Tree first launched. ‘We’re now in 38 countries around the world, and in those countries we’re starting to see some small local competition,’ Tim says. ‘But thankfully we’re way ahead – we have put much more time and attention into our product development and choice of ingredients, we’ve had much more marketing, and so they are not directly competing with us. ‘There’s a great advantage to being the pioneer in a sector. We’ve now got the distribution in the key areas. We’re well-protected in terms of reputation; it’s difficult to come and compete with that.’ One of the biggest advantages – that of being the first business to do something different in a
staid industry – was ironically one of the biggest challenges when they started out. Tim says: ‘In our case, we were pioneering a new category – no one else in the world was doing this. A big challenge was to convince the doubters that this was something consumers would be interested in.’ Having been through the whole process, from product development to securing distributors to taking the brand international, Tim knows better than anyone the key ingredients of success in a competitive marketplace: ‘We’ve got so many people approaching us with new drink ideas. One thing that’s consistent is how little market research people have done – you need to research the market like mad. ‘The other thing is that lots of businesses expand too quickly and get dazzled, and they lose their focus. Really stick to what you know, and do it better than the competition.’ Fever-Tree has undoubtedly come a long way since it launched that first bottle of superior tonic water. Tim is confident that they have a lot more ahead of them though. ‘We really do feel as if we’re just getting started,’ he says. ‘We’re expanding into other countries. We’ve got a number of new flavour ideas that are coming out. And we’re going to increase our distribution – we’re really optimistic that we’ve got a long way to go.’
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Focus on success UP-AND-COMING
Introducing… Rajeev Nayyar
Shell LiveWIRE winner and Fixflo founder, Rajeev Nayyar, shares his vision for the online property repair platform that he built from scratch Fixflo, the brainchild of exproperty lawyer Rajeev Nayyar, is an online platform that streamlines repairs for rented properties. Fixflo’s guided processes make repairs easy for anyone to report, diagnose and, most importantly, fix. Tenants get repairs carried out more quickly. Property managers, landlords and workmen have clear information to solve the problem, saving them time and money. What’s not to like?
Where did the idea come from?
I was a property lawyer in New Zealand. When I came back to London, I knew that I wanted to be in the property sector but not to continue as an advisor. I had various ideas that involved using technology to improve existing processes. Fixflo was the concept that stuck most deeply with me given my (painful) experience as a tenant and a landlord.
What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs?
Test your thoughts with a wide range of people that you trust, and with prospective customers, early in the process. The earlier that you can identify and articulate the sharp pain that you are solving, the easier your journey will be.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be doing today? I would probably still be a property solicitor! It was a
great job, but being an advisor didn’t satisfy my desire to create something.
as solution first and then the money after.
Without doubt it was when I worked in a chandelier shop when I was about 15. I was, and still am, fairly clumsy, so a job that involved unpacking and cleaning crystal chandeliers wasn’t a great match...
Getting our first client. The fact that they didn’t want to wait until launch to start using Fixflo gave us a real boost and reassured us that we were on the right track.
What’s been your What’s been your worst ever job? proudest moment?
What’s top of your bucket list?
Going on a Lions rugby tour. It’s a long way off, but I’d love to see the New Zealand tour in 2017.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a young entrepreneur?
My own impatience. Building a business takes time, but even so I would always like to be going faster.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Doing something that I love. Creating a solid business and interacting every day with people we can help is very exciting.
How much does money motivate you?
Money does matter to me, but more importantly I want to solve a very frustrating problem that affects a lot of people. If we solve the problem in the right way then the money will follow, but I really do look at it
What’s your vision for the future of Fixflo?
I would like Fixflo to be the standard platform for property repairs to be reported and resolved, both in the UK and abroad. It’s a lofty ambition but if we stay focused on the needs of our customers, we might just get there. Contact: www.fixflo.com
My life I’m watching: Sons of Anarchy – a bit like The Wire but on motorbikes I’m reading: The Second Bounce of the Ball by Ronald Cohen. It’s a great guide on imagining possibilities and translating uncertainty into opportunity I’m listening to: Entrepreneurship and Business podcasts by Professor Mark Juliano I’m surfing: I’m taking my first (stuttering) steps into the world of social media so I am spending a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. Please find @fixflo and say hi!
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Focus on success 12 STEPS
Rather fitting for our finance issue, Step 11 is all about making and managing your money. The founder of YES Network, Carly Ward, urges us to take the advice of finance guru Robert Kiyosaki Money is generally a subject which is not taught in schools, never has been and maybe never will be. We all have to be self taught or learn from our own experiences (or mistakes). While our parents may have tried to bring us up as financially responsible human beings, some parents are far worse than their kids when it
“Get money to work for you so you don’t have to work for money” comes to money – so they’re not always the best teachers! This step should be more about making money, rather than managing money. After all, you can’t manage your money if haven’t got any to begin with. One of the world’s best teachers on money has to be Robert Kiyosaki. Robert was born in Hawaii, and his first book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad has made him an international superstar on the
subject of financial education, as well as the further books he’s penned, which are based on a similar theme. I am basing my own future financial steps on all his teachings about money: how to treat it, how to invest it, and how to get money to work for you so you don’t have to work for money. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is all about his own “poor dad” who knew how to work for money, juxtaposed with his best friend’s dad, the “rich dad” who knew how to make money work for him. Robert based his own future on the teachings from the rich dad. Robert became famous, or perhaps infamous, in the US when he came out with a very bold statement. He said: ‘Your home is not an asset’. Financial gurus in America were horrified, and Robert was crushed publicly and torn to pieces by the so-called “experts” on Wall Street. His statement was so controversial that he was invited on the Oprah Winfrey show just to explain himself!
His successful writing career really got started big time after this appearance. What he was saying is this: unless you invest money in an asset that will give you cashflow (income), it is not an asset. There is much truth to this argument, and it is a good explanation of his theory that your own home is not an asset, it is a liability. It only generates expense with maintenance and household bills, rather than generating an income (cashflow). Robert has also written a book for young people, called Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens, which is highly recommended. In fact, any book by Robert Kiyosaki will help make you money! His story of how he has built his fortune is a template for us all to learn from. Contact: www.yesnetwork.co.uk Twitter @carlyyes @yesteam
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Focus on success THE BUSINESS SHOW
“The age of the entrepreneur seems to be well and truly upon us”
From a business plan to a brand new brand, everything you need to start, develop and grow your business is all there at The Business Show this June
Starting or growing a business is never a walk in the park, but with free resources on everything from perfect business planning to effective marketing all packed into events like The Business Show, has there ever been a better time to be in business? Ask the 25,000-plus visitors who came to last November’s Business Show, and they’ll probably tell you that this is a pretty good time to launch a business. New businesses are popping up all over the place, in all areas of industry – from web design to catering, childcare to accountancy – and often with first-time owners at the helm. Even those already trading aren’t resting on their laurels; they’re moving into bigger premises, investing more in their marketing campaigns and diving into new markets. The age of the entrepreneur seems to be well and truly upon us, and there’s a wealth of easily accessible information out there for today’s entrepreneurs. The Business Show has always tried to support
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Focus on success THE BUSINESS SHOW
UK start-ups and SMEs with everything needed to start and grow a business – from access to the latest tech products, to innovative ideas for revolutionising sales – all completely free and under one roof. The next event is fast approaching, taking place at Olympia London, 6-7 June. If you’re looking to start, grow or improve your business, make sure you book your free tickets at www.thebusinessshow.co.uk as soon as possible.
What makes this event different?
Thousands of business people to network with; hundreds more pioneering exhibitors; the country’s most respected business speakers; relentlessly evolving show features; and so much more. The Business Show is always getting better, ensuring no two shows are ever the same, and each new show offers more than the last. Now incorporating the Business Startup Show, The Business Show is for everyone, from those just starting out to those who are actively growing – whether you have a brilliant idea and
“Over the last 12 years, the event has become a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity” want to know how to make money from it, or you’re an SME who wants to take the next step up. And everything is completely free, from the entry ticket to the workshops, the seminars to the networking. In short, there’s no event quite like it. If you’re in business, you need to be there.
What’s on at June’s Business Show?
The Business Show organisers are an innovative bunch, constantly thinking up new ways to help your idea get off the ground and ensure your business reaches its full potential. So, whether it’s an interactive workshop on a time-saving piece of software, or some top advice on re-energising your marketing materials, you can rest assured it will all be at June’s Business Show. One of the show features is FaceTime: a networking opportunity designed to connect business people quickly and easily, facilitating discussion on the most pertinent topics within the most relevant industries, all face-to-face. There are eight round tables in the FaceTime area, each relating to a business topic, such as marketing or raising finance, with each table chaired by an expert. Tables will be made up of business people like you, all eager to quiz the experts, find out how others are working and improve their business. To book your place at FaceTime, and any of the other features for that matter, simply visit www.thebusinessshow.co.uk – all features fill up very quickly, so book early to ensure you get a session.
As well as FaceTime, the show plays host to several other networking events, including the immensely popular Speed Networking, where you’ll make dozens of connections in a few minutes. But if you’re more interested in walking away from the show with investment rather than business cards, you can. Midas Touch and Angels Den are back again for June, providing visitors with a platform to pitch to a panel of multimillionaires for real capital investment. This June will also see brand new educational workshops, adding to an already impressive collection run by the likes of Sage and Intellectual Property Office. These workshops have been designed to ensure you leave the show with the very best information, helping you make the right decisions in the crucial stages of your business. And, of course, The Business Show will present an all-star speaker line up, featuring Dragons’ Den star James Caan and 249 other engaging speakers, all delivering advice on everything from branding to budgeting, CRM to SEO. So if you aspire to be the next dragon, make sure you see James Caan’s seminar in the Keynote Hall; if you have designs on boosting your online presence, go to an Internet marketing workshop delivered by the experts; if you want to find out about the latest technologies and business tools available, talk to a specialist exhibitor. The Business Show really does offer everything you could possibly need to start or grow your business. Over the last 12 years, the event has become a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, and in that time it has welcomed more people through its doors than any other business show in the UK. Today, the event is more ambitious than ever, determined to help drive your business onwards and upwards, whatever your industry or bright idea.
And there’s more!
The Business Show also acts as a hub for four other shows at the same venue on the same dates: Accountex (the UK’s only national exhibition for accountants and finance directors); Office Manager & PA; Sales Management & Performance; and Complementary Healthcare Professional.
If you’re starting or growing a business, The Business Show is the must-attend event. The Show will be held at Olympia London, 6-7 June. Tickets are completely free and available at www.thebusinessshow.co.uk Contact: www.thebusinessshow.co.uk
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Focus on success MENTORING
Pass it on
So, you’ve built your business up from nothing, you’ve nurtured it, grown it and made it a success. What’s next? We grill Chelsey Baker, a mentor for the Rockstar Youth scheme, on the benefits of passing on your pearls of wisdom
What do you enjoy about mentoring?
The relationship and role that a mentor plays has never been more important than it is in today’s challenging times. I recognised the importance of mentoring over a decade ago, and have found it to be one of the most rewarding and meaningful roles I have ever entered into. I’ve seen that I can, and do, make a real difference, not only in support and motivation, but by installing a framework of accountability.
What are the benefits of mentoring?
The benefits of mentoring, both for the mentee and mentor, as well as for the UK industry as a whole, cannot be overstated. So I was delighted to be asked to mentor for Rockstar Youth, the leading delivery partner for the Government Start-Up initiative. Rockstar Youth are able to offer start-up funding, plus free of charge mentoring to 18-30-year-olds with a viable business idea, who may not otherwise be able to afford this invaluable service. Investing in and witnessing the success we are having among the youth community has been hugely rewarding. Working with budding entrepreneurs, I am inspired by the wealth of raw talent and ideas that challenge and enhance my knowledge every day.
“Working with budding entrepreneurs, I am inspired by the wealth of raw talent and ideas” Equally, the wealth of experience, contacts and knowledge a start-up stands to gain from an experienced mentor is beyond measure. Many start-ups fail to recognise that they could appeal to a different market sector or could diversify into a wider audience, or perhaps even sell in other countries. Working with a mentor can really give valuable insight.
What are the challenges?
One of the biggest challenges I encounter with new entrepreneurs is their lack of confidence and poor communication skills. As the creator of Broadcasting Your Business, which is a Pitch, Press & Publicity Programme, I really understand the negative impact that poor presentation skills and a lack of confidence can have. Lack of clear direction and focus can also be a huge struggle, as setting up a business from scratch can be quite daunting; it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. I’ve found that setting goals each month within set timescales produces staggering results, which is hugely gratifying for both parties.
What skills and expertise do you need? As a successful businesswoman, it’s taken me over 20 years of hard work, time and money to acquire the skills and knowledge that I have today. Now I teach others what I know and pass on my expertise – that’s real mentoring, and it’s my way of giving something back. You need to be incredibly passionate about helping anyone who is determined and willing to work hard. I believe everyone should have the chance to be a successful entrepreneur, and now Start-Up Loans and Rockstar Youth have paved the way to make this happen. I am proud to be a part of fuelling a huge wave in UK enterprise. After all, it’s these entrepreneurs whose ideas and innovations will help to shape our economy in the future.
Contact: www.chelseybaker.com www.broadcastingyourbusiness.com www.rockstaryouth.co.uk
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Focus on success BOOK REVIEWS
RAIN DANCING: Why Rational Beats Ritual by Glenn Granger
Why do some companies flail about, under-spending and over-spending, plucking marketing budget figures out of thin air, wasting millions and missing millions more in unrealised profits? Marketing without measurement is a myth. And 90% of marketers are flying blind, choosing guesswork over science. In his new book, Glenn Granger explains how the democratisation of modelling power can improve productivity and profitability at a stroke. By replacing the habits and hunches of traditional marketing with fact-based analytics and forecasts – available right on the marketer’s desk – he argues we can immediately bring in a new era of rational marketing.
He says: I believe in “rational marketing”, basing decisions on facts and data, rather than guesswork, traditions and raindancing. I know first hand that not one in ten companies has a scientific way of distinguishing the effects of its advertising campaigns from those of its competitors. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve seen the commercial difference it can make when data modelling and forecasting is made accessible. I know that marketers can achieve the impact that they are tasked with, through the use of rational optimisation techniques and day-to-day support for marketing decision-making.
We say: Finally, a book which treats marketing as a science, rather than a combination of intuition and lucky guesswork. Glenn cites the statistic that less than one company in 50 actually knows whether it should cut, re-allocate or increase its marketing budget. Terrifying if true, and completely crazy, considering the access we have to tremendous amounts of data these days. Rain Dancing aims to provide an antidote to all this woolly thinking, laying out concrete ways that marketers can start making informed decisions based on sound information by looking at the numbers. A much-needed marketing handbook for the modern day.
Rain Dancing is published by Matador, priced at £20.00 in hardback, £7.50 in e-book
STARTUP LIFE: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship With an Entrepreneur, by Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor
Startup Life is published by Wiley, priced at £17.99 in hardback and e-book
Startup Life is a guide for having a healthy relationship while working in the pressure cooker environment of a start-up. Being an entrepreneur is allconsuming, and it’s difficult to achieve the correct work/life balance. For those with a new company thinking of adding a relationship, or those with an existing relationship considering embarking on building a company, this book is the perfect aid to help achieve both. Brad Feld and his wife Amy share their experiences and offer rich insights into successfully leading a balanced life.
They say: This book is for any entrepreneur who wants to be in a successful relationship. It’s also for anyone who wants to be in a successful relationship with an entrepreneur. Whether you are already in a relationship, have a family, or aspire to be in a relationship, we hope you can learn and benefit from this book. If your relationship is in trouble, this book can help. If your relationship is going well, this book can help you make it better. If you are on top of the world as a couple, this book can help you stay there.
We say: A book dedicated to a generally neglected area – that of trying to achieve some sort of work/life balance as a start-up – can only be a good thing. With refreshing honesty and a shrewdness which acknowledges that, while things will never be perfect, you can achieve some semblance of life outside the office, Brad and Amy guide the reader through the different aspects that couples need to focus on. Covering everything from communication tools to sex, this is a must-read for anyone struggling to keep their relationship and business simultaneously on track.
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Far from the
MADDING CROWD Crowdfunding is the biggest thing to hit the equity finance scene ever, allowing a generation of “armchair Dragons” to invest in early-stage businesses. LUKE LANG, co-founder of Crowdcube, tells Helen Coffey how he launched the UK’s leading online crowdfunding platform We’re used to things in the tech arena moving fast – from mobile apps to social networks, disruptive businesses often appear almost overnight and shoot off into the stratosphere. Even by those speedy standards, Crowdcube, the UK’s premier equity finance crowdfunding site, has grown pretty darn quickly. The company
“We want to create a brand that transcends the finance community” recently celebrated its second birthday. Amid the celebrations, some fairly jaw-dropping statistics emerged: the online platform, which allows anyone to invest as little as £10 in a start-up or early-stage business, has managed to secure
over £6m of investment from its 32,000 registered members, to successfully fund 42 companies. And that number is increasing all the time. ‘If you’ve never considered turning to crowdfunding to raise investment for your business, it’s time to start thinking about it.’ So says Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, when I catch up with him over a coffee on the Southbank. ‘There’s a real funding gap out there, a real dearth of finance – particularly for really small start-ups and early stage businesses. Out of these times of adversity there are companies like ours innovating in this space, coming up with new ways of helping entrepreneurs to raise money and helping people invest in them.’ The idea for Crowdcube came from Dragons’ Den, when Luke’s partner, Darren Westlake, watched in disbelief as a great business pitch was swiftly rejected by all five Dragons.
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Focus on money
“We just want to help as many small businesses as we can” ‘There was kind of a Eureka! moment – there was a really good pitch for a business, and they all decided that they were out. Darren said: “That’s a brilliant idea, why are they not investing in it?” ‘Darren didn’t have the £50,000 that the company needed, but he’d have invested £500 or even £50 – and what if there were another 1000 people out there with a similar mindset who could all club in? And it was only when we researched it that we stumbled across crowdfunding.’ Originally used by musicians who turned to their fans in order to get the money they needed to cut a record, Darren and Luke quickly realised that this was a concept that could be applied across all industries, appealing to all investors. Luke says: ‘There’s a real opportunity to make investing fun: to make it an enjoyable experience, rather than having to turn up and watch a load of presentations, with lots of crusty old men. ‘We want to break down those barriers, and take away the reasons that people like you and me probably would never become business angels and join a network.’ There has clearly been an appetite for this type of investment opportunity, as evidenced by the amount of equity raised so far. And we’re not talking negligible sums either, with the largest single investment being £100,000, and various companies raising an impressive amount of capital in a single round of funding: ‘Notable pitches that have been funded are the Rushmore Group – they raised £1,000,000 on the site.’ So, can just anyone raise money for their business via Crowdcube? Pretty much, says Luke. ‘We actually reject very few, but what we tend to do is tell them that they need to work on certain aspects of their business, so they’ll do that.’ While Crowdcube doesn’t decide whether a business is “good” or “bad”, it does some basic credit checks and has a look at Companies House to ascertain whether a business is kosher. It also insists potential pitchees submit a business plan, a financial forecast, and a video pitch. ‘Because ultimately the investors have got to make a decision based on all that information, us insisting on having it before we put a business on the site is for their own good really,’ says Luke. Similarly, while many entrepreneurs are apparently none too keen on making a pitch video,
Crowdcube believes this format really benefits the businesses in terms of attracting investors: ‘A good video gives you the opportunity to show you’re passionate and enthusiastic about your business, and that can really help get investment.’ Crowdcube’s vision is ambitious. It is keen to become the first mainstream equity finance brand, entering the public consciousness. ‘I don’t really think there’s a dominant brand out there at the moment,’ says Luke. ‘If I asked you to name three business angel networks, would you be able to? Or three VCs?’ Er...No, is the honest answer. ‘We want to change that. So if you know someone who’s looking to start a business and raise finance, they know and you know that you go to Crowdcube. We want to create a brand that transcends the finance community, and we want to get to a place where as many people as possible know and understand that there are alternative ways of raising money.’ That’s something that is starting to happen, thanks to media coverage – but not only does Crowdcube want to be the first port of call for early-stage businesses in the UK, it also wants to take the brand international. Luke tells me: ‘We’re really keen to take advantage of the international opportunities that are arriving. Since the company launched, we’ve been inundated with people from overseas who love what we do. Previously we’ve been quite passive about that, because we’ve been trying to focus on getting what we do here right, but now we’re getting to the stage where we’re looking at how we can exploit those opportunities and take Crowdcube around the world.’ The best bit about Crowdcube? It’s just as passionate about the SME scene as we are – and it shows. ‘We really love what we’re doing, and funding businesses is what we’re all about. You really get to know the entrepreneurs along the way, and understand their stories, and what they need to do, and the pressures that they’re under. ‘We just want to help as many small businesses as we can.’ Contact: www.crowdcube.com talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 37
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Focus on money CROWDFUNDING
Stand out We get Crowdcube founder Luke Lang’s exclusive top tips for equity crowdfunding
Entrepreneurs looking for funding are commonplace, despite the economic doom and gloom. Equity crowdfunding websites are providing a much-needed way of by-passing traditional sources of finance. Crowdfunding sites enable entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and the investment opportunity to a nation of “armchair Dragons”, who can invest as much or as little as they like. To ensure you reach your funding target, it is important to make the pitch stand out from the crowd, and the following five tips will give your crowdfunding campaign the best chance of success:
1. Perfect pitch
“Don’t wait until the day your pitch goes live, but start warming up potential investors today”
Keep your pitch clear and simple – and avoid using jargon – so that potential investors can easily understand what and who they are investing in. Investors wait for opportunities that move them, so inject some enthusiasm and life into your pitch summary. Our research shows that “perceived market potential”, “prior experience of the entrepreneur”, and “the idea underpinning the business” are the most important factors for investors when making a decision, so it is very important to communicate these aspects of your business effectively. With this in mind, it is very important that these elements should form part of a well-written business plan with financial forecasts that add up.
2. Sell yourself
You should start engaging people’s interest as soon as possible; don’t wait until the day your pitch goes live, but start warming up potential investors
today. Tell your friends, family, customers, suppliers and other potential investors, and then keep them updated on your progress. Early momentum and investment progress are major factors in achieving success. A pitch will attract much more interest if it has already managed to secure a decent chunk of the target.
3. Tax savvy
The UK has some of the most generous tax incentives in the world to help small, higherrisk businesses raise the finance they need. Registering your company with Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) gives investors substantial tax breaks – up to 50% for SEIS and 30% for EIS – and are a crucial ingredient for attracting investors and successfully raising equity finance. The qualifying criteria vary under each scheme, but the rewards for eligible companies and investors are too attractive to ignore.
4. Update your fans
Entrepreneurs need to embrace the principles that underpin all good crowdfunding: be proactive, well-prepared and eager to engage with investors. Keeping investors and pitch followers (sometimes over 100 people can follow a pitch that they want to track) abreast of developments by publishing regular updates can be a powerful way of converting interest into investment. Don’t limit yourself; get out and talk to people faceto-face, there’s nothing like it for getting investment.
5. Get real
Don’t be over-ambitious with your target, and don’t put people off by over-valuing your business. Set yourself an achievable investment target: under £150,000 is realistic unless you have some significant investors already lined up. And, most importantly, good luck!
These crowdfunding tips were provided by Luke Lang, cofounder of Crowdcube. Since launching in 2011, 42 businesses have raised over £6m through Crowdcube, which now has over 32,000 registered investors. Contact: www.crowdcube.com
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Focus on money CROWDFUNDING
Inpractice… We take a look at a business which has been through the crowdfunding process from start to finish: meet Kamm & Sons, which raised £180,000 on Crowdcube to finance its unique ginseng spirit
If you’re going to try and launch a new upmarket spirit in the hugely competitive drinks sector, you’d better know your stuff. Thankfully the creator of Kamm & Sons, a ginseng spirit that contains 45 natural botanicals, is an ex-bartending cocktail maestro and selfprofessed drinks geek. With 17 years in the drinks industry, it’s fair to say that Alex Kammerling knows his stuff, and he has built an enviable network of relationships and contacts. But that doesn’t stop his business from needing capital to expand. Already sold in many of London’s top bars, hotels and restaurants, Kamm & Sons needed more money behind it to grow to the next level. The business decided to go down the crowdfunding route in October 2011, to see if it could find the investment via Crowdcube. ‘With banks demanding interest rates of more than 15%, we decided to look elsewhere,’ says Alex. ‘Crowdcube offered us a totally unique way to secure the funding we needed.’ And secure it they did, managing to raise £180,000 of investment in three months in exchange for 23% equity. Perhaps had the business put itself up for the ritual humiliation often seen on Dragons’ Den, things might have been different. But Crowdcube members saw the potential of the spirit, which Kamm & Sons describes as being ‘an exciting new alternative to the gin, bitters and Pimms product range for the more discerning and health-conscious drinker.’ At 33%, it offers
a slightly lower alcohol content than other premium spirits on the market, and includes many botanicals originally blended with alcohol for their medicinal properties. Another advantage of having a bigger range of investors is that you automatically create a group of ready-made fans of your brand. In the case of Kamm & Sons, that group was 85 strong. Peter Kammerling, Alex’s dad and a member of the board of directors, says: ‘One of the most encouraging aspects is the way in which shareholders are being ambassadors for Kamm & Sons in all sorts of ways, from asking for it in bars and restaurants to offering it as the predinner drink at home. ‘This is fantastic and exactly what we need to build the brand.’ The intention of the investment was to increase production and sales in the UK market, and to commence distribution to larger high end stores, such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. Since completing that first round of funding, sales for the first quarter exceeded the budget by 20%, and Kamm & Sons is now on the list at Ping Pong, Gaucho, Caprice Holdings and Soho House. The aim is to launch in select bars in target overseas markets, with the goal of making Kamm and Sons a global brand. With the help of its army of loyal investors, it may well get there. Contact: www.kammandsons.com
85 investors 91days 23% equity £180,000 investment
40 May 2013
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MAKING SURE YOU GET YOUR BUSINESS BOOKS IN ORDER The new tax year is still young - so it’s not too late to change your bad bookkeeping habits and get your business on a stronger footing.
mily Coltman ACA, Chief Accountant to FreeAgent - who provide an award-winning online accounting system for small businesses and freelancers - explores some of the most common bad habits small business owners get into with their books and explains how you can banish them during the year ahead.
1: Leaving it for too long
The longer you leave your bookkeeping undone, the harder it is - not only to make yourself sit down and post all your transactions, but to remember what each receipt was for. Remember, if you forget what you’ve spent for your business, you’ll never have an accurate picture of what your overall financial position is. Banish it by: Setting aside an hour at the same time every week and using that time to update your books.
2: Not chasing slow payers
If customers don’t pay you on time, you’re essentially lending them the money until they do pay. But can your business really afford to do that? You’ve done the work and you’ve delivered the goods, so why shouldn’t you expect to be paid on time? Banish it by: Using automatic invoice reminders - like those in an online accounting system such as FreeAgent - to chase customers who haven’t yet paid you.
3: Not tracking all your costs
It’s too easy to forget to keep track of everything you spend on your business. Receipts can get lost in a wallet or pocket, or simply forgotten about. But if you miss out costs from your accounts, you could be paying more tax than you have to - as your profits will look higher than they are. Banish it by: Taking two minutes every day to photograph your receipts on your smartphone and upload them into your accounting software.
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4: Not making use of all available time-savers
I had a client who initially posted all her bank transactions one by one into her accounting software. But when she learned she could upload her bank statements instead and then explain her transactions - as you can do in FreeAgent - she was astonished at how much time she saved. Remember that any time you save in doing your admin, you could be using to make more sales, or think up new ways to make your customers happy. Banish it by: Talking to your accountant and to other small business people, to ask for time-saving recommendations - and then putting them into practice in your own business!
5: Getting it wrong!
We all make mistakes occasionally. But if you consistently make errors - such as putting items in the wrong place in your accounts - you won’t be able to extract any useful information about your business finances. Also, your accountant may well charge extra for the time they have to spend correcting your mistakes. Banish it by: Taking any available training from your accountant or from your software provider, and asking your accountant to check your records regularly for errors. A well-kept set of records is a source of highly useful information. Don’t miss out! Emily Coltman ACA is Chief Accountant to FreeAgent, who provide an award-winning online accounting system designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers. Try it for free and view their latest videos about how to banish bad bookkeeping habits at www.freeagent.com
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Focus on money FUNDING OPTIONS
Edward Winterton, UK commercial director of Bibby Financial Services, explores the alternative business funding routes which are vital for SME growth
tarting a business can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly daunting at the same time, with so many decisions to make and different hats to wear, from being responsible for all the HR demands to being chief delivery driver, and even the office cleaner. But for any business, one thing is always true: building a healthy cashflow from the outset will provide a much stronger platform for the future. This is clearly not always as easy as it sounds, and many business owners we speak to still face challenges in securing finance from traditional channels such as banks, which is why it is vital to investigate all the different forms of business funding available in today’s market. A lack of awareness of options can be as much of a problem as a lack of funding itself. The good news for business owners looking for financial support is that there are significant funds available from non-bank sources, such as the asset-based finance sector and invoice finance. In 2012, approximately 43,000 businesses used forms of funding, including factoring and invoice discounting and, on average, saw their turnover
grow by approximately 2% by the third quarter of 2012 – double that of GDP for Q3, which grew by 1%. In fact, the use of invoice finance and asset-based funding has grown to the extent that many business owners view it as a first choice funding option. Providers have a number of clients who have taken a proactive choice to use invoice finance, as opposed to bank overdrafts or loans. This is partly because facilities such as overdrafts and loans are inflexible, depend on credit rating and historic financial performance, and do not adapt to business needs. Invoice finance on the other hand allows working capital to be immediately released to meet operating costs, and to enable a business owner to focus on profitable orders. In addition, because the finance is based on the value of invoices in a firm’s sales ledger, it creates a stream of funding that grows as the business grows. The specialist capabilities of the range of invoice products means it can support a business at every part of its life cycle, as well as guarding against cashflow challenges created by slowpaying customers.
The option of retaining credit control is one of the factors which make it attractive to financial directors, as it can be used to support activity such as mergers and acquisitions of new businesses, as well as the
“A lack of awareness of options can be as much of a problem as a lack of funding itself” restructuring of a business. Invoice financiers typically wish to understand the client’s business, allowing them to tailor a bespoke facility to the company’s needs. They take into account the entire financial picture and the potential the business has moving forward when making a funding decision, working closely with businesses to gain an understanding of the issues they face. Furthermore, a business can opt to take advantage of credit control services as part of the invoice finance package, which takes away the burden of chasing outstanding customer invoices. This then enables business owners and managers to free up their time and drive their business forward. Although moves are being made to increase funding to
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Focus on money FUNDING OPTIONS
SMEs through the Government’s business bank initiative, it is not likely to pay out for another two years, and businesses need funding now to succeed. Invoice finance solutions offer immediate funding from a sector that is continually working to find the best solution for businesses. The profile of non-bank lending has been raised as a result of the Governmentsanctioned Breedon Review into alternatives to bank finance for SMEs, which concluded there could be a funding gap of up to £191bn over the next five years if access to finance did not improve. This illustrates just how crucial a role nonbank lending has to play in supporting UK businesses, not only in their ambitions for growth in domestic markets but
also those looking to explore and thrive in overseas markets. The Government has called on the SME community to help drive the UK’s export-led recovery, with the Chancellor recently challenging companies to double exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade. But a report by the British Chambers of Commerce in 2012 revealed that access to finance, fears over cashflow, and getting paid on time are among the main reasons for companies deciding against exploring foreign markets. However, International Trade Finance is a solution that provides the support required to address those issues with a range of specialist products, such as purchase funding, and export finance, which helps to secure a company’s position in its supply chain.
The financial services community has an unparalleled opportunity to build on the platform it has put in place, by highlighting the range of funding options available to SMEs in what must be a new era of responsible lending.
Bibby Financial Services is the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist, currently providing cashflow funding for over 4,000 businesses, handling annual client turnover of £3.9bn and advancing in the region of £370m. It supports businesses in both the UK and overseas, utilising expert knowledge from more than 28 years’ experience, helping companies regardless of size or industry sector. Contact: www.bibbyfinancialservices.com
“Invoice finance allows working capital to be immediately released to meet operating costs”
044_045 funding options.ga.indd 45
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Focus on money FUNDING LANDSCAPE
Get over the
How has the funding landscape changed post-recession? Peter Ewen, MD at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, encourages businesses to think about finance differently, and tells us why the overdraft is so over
or many small- and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, the recession heralded an unprecedented period of difficulty. More than half of UK SMEs (55% according to our recent research) have a poor performance record as a result of trading during the recession. In the midst of this, businesses have relied on traditional bank overdrafts to see them through. Many SMEs depend on these facilities as a safety net to underpin the corporate account. In particular, overdrafts provide working capital during periods when the outgoings of the business are not matched by cash in the bank.
“It seems that the time has come for UK SMEs to consider a new route to funding” But SMEs are discovering that the reliability – and even availability – of this vital business backstop can no longer be taken for granted.
Grease the wheels
Overdrafts are undeniably popular among SMEs. Our research suggests that around 82% of SMEs have an overdraft in place to cover unexpected costs, while 67% use an overdraft facility to plug holes in their cashflow. It seems that SMEs remain dependent on overdrafts for the smooth running of their business,
despite drastic changes in the funding landscape. Two thirds of the businesses we questioned (67%) said they spent 20% of the year using their overdraft – suggesting that they would struggle to remain solvent if funding was not available to cover cash shortfalls. The businesses we talked to acknowledged the risks. Nine out of ten said they would not survive for longer than three months should their overdrafts be withdrawn. This is incredibly worrying given the current lending market, where overdraft facilities appear to be under threat. Since the onset of the financial crisis, concerns over bank lending to SMEs have been well documented. But despite the combined efforts of Project Merlin and various Government loan guarantee schemes, SMEs are continuing to report problems in accessing the finance they need in order to grow. It is not just difficult for SMEs to obtain new finance. According to our research, existing overdraft facilities are also under threat of reduction and, in some cases, even withdrawal. A significant 89% of SMEs taking part in our survey said they had experienced changes to their overdraft terms in the last 12 months. It seems that costs have also risen, with 86% of respondents reporting that their fees had gone up during the same period. More worryingly still, 71% said their finance provider had reduced their overdraft.
047_048 Funding Landscape.indd 47
Focus on money FUNDING LANDSCAPE
New road ahead
Ultimately, we should not be surprised by this situation. The high street banks have a strong duty to both their shareholders and their customers to lend responsibly. They also have an obligation to comply with internationally agreed capital requirement regulations. Banks must therefore carefully assess the associated risks of lending to businesses, which naturally can result in the reduction or withdrawal of a business overdraft. Many traditional finance providers are only looking at businesses’ past performance which, as we
“Ultimately, we should not be surprised by this situation” know, may have been poor due to the recession. This criteria for assessment is clearly no longer fit for purpose. Traditional finance providers have penalised businesses for this blot on their record by reducing and even denying finance such as an overdraft. But basing these decisions on a retrospective assessment of a business’ financial position is an increasingly irrelevant approach. It fails to take into account the fact that many good businesses were affected by the recession and have since made moves towards recovery. It also fails to recognise businesses’ current performance and future potential. This creates a climate of uncertainty among SMEs, an increasing number of whom are beginning to feel disinclined to invest in or rely upon an overdraft facility. But then again, even if a business does have their bank’s full support, an overdraft may not actually be the ideal solution to their cashflow issue. A high percentage of respondents to our survey (92%) admitted to breaching their overdraft limit at least twice a year, incurring penalties and, in some cases, damaging their relationship with the lender. Of course, businesses breach their overdraft limits for a number of reasons; however, one of these may be due to the inflexibility of their facility, with their overdraft’s upper limit unchanged many years after it was originally agreed. For example, the business may find that their upfront spending increases as a result of having more customers. Delays between invoice dates and the date of actual payment can also result in a cashflow shortfall. Yet, negotiating a higher overdraft limit to cover changes in circumstances such as these can be time-consuming and requires burdensome personal guarantees, if an increase is agreed at all.
A new direction
It seems that the time has come for UK SMEs to consider new routes to funding. SMEs are absolutely vital to the UK economy and its recovery and, as such, they need access to support and reliable funding. The way businesses are assessed for traditional finance (and perhaps the finance itself) is clearly no longer relevant for many SMEs. Businesses like these need to investigate whether they would be better off if they scrapped their overdrafts and considered the alternatives such as invoice finance. Invoice finance in the form of factoring or invoice discounting can solve many of the problems associated with overdrafts by being more flexible and growing with the business. Invoice finance facilities are able to automatically adjust to the company’s sales performance: providing growing businesses with a far more flexible and appropriate tool for today’s business climate. In light of changing overdraft terms and conditions, SMEs need to look further afield and assess the full range of financial options that are now available to them. By looking at the alternatives, SMEs could regain the control and financial reliability they need to focus on growth. Contact: www.abnamrocommercialfinance.co.uk
50 May 2013
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Entrepreneur: Chloe King Business: Esoteric London
Focus on money START-UP LOANS
Web: www.esoteric-london.com Concept: An edgy urban accessories and clothing lifestyle brand. It sells handmade/hand finished pieces that are all created in London using luxury materials Start-Up Loan: £10,000
London College of Fashion graduate, Chloe King, is the founder and creative director of Esoteric London. Chloe, 25, received a Start-Up Loan to develop her business, which sells luxury urban accessories and clothing.
8-9am: I wake up, have breakfast, and then head for the studio I was able to rent thanks to my Start-Up Loan. It is really important to me that I live so close to my studio. 9-9.30am: Arrive at my studio, stick the kettle on, then sit down with a cup of herbal tea to reply to the tweets and emails that have come in overnight. 9.30-11am: I am working on a brand new monthly pop-up event that Esoteric London is hosting – The Free Yard. Taking place on 4-5 May, it will showcase some of the freshest talent in the urban music/ performance scene. My task this morning is to confirm the artists that have been selected, and send out application forms to new potential performers and brand owners. 11am-1pm: I finish off the design for the promotional materials for The Free Yard launch event and send the artwork to the printers to ensure that everything is ready in time. 1-1.30pm: Over lunch I reply to tweets, emails and Facebook messages; social media has been a really important tool in publicising Esoteric. I also have a quick catch up with my mentor who has been a great support. 1.30-2pm: I chase up the packaging manufacturer as only half the order of jewellery boxes that I ordered have arrived. Not to worry, they are being printed and will arrive next week, in plenty of time for my next pop-up event! 2-6pm: Esoteric London offers a really personal service by providing the option for custom orders. This afternoon I am focusing on manufacturing pieces from our wooden range.
A DAY IN THE
This month we are feeling in vogue, à la mode, and all things fashionable as we find out what a typical day looks like for Start-Up Loan recipient, Chloe King, founder of an urban clothing and accessories brand
6-7pm: I call one of my suppliers, a specialist millenary company based in the USA, and place an order for some components needed for our next collection of snapback caps. 7-10pm: I head home for dinner, and update the Esoteric London website with the images I recently finished editing from the latest jewellery collection. As the business is a young start-up, all photography and web design is done in-house. It’s a lot of work but I like to keep an eye on everything that is being done. 10-10.30pm: I make a to-do list for everything that needs to be done the next day. My days are long but it’s totally
worth it! It never feels like work, just playing with fabrics and materials and meeting awesome people. Contact: www.startuploans.co.uk
The Start-Up Loans Company is a Government-backed scheme, chaired by James Caan, that provides loans and a successful mentoring scheme to budding entrepreneurs aged 18-30. With the assistance of The Start-Up Loans Company, over 40 new businesses are being started every day.
52 May 2013
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Focus on money CAREFUL CONTRACTS
Before you sign ON THE dotted line…
Subject to contract: Is my agreement legally binding? NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers, tells us how to avoid potential pitfalls when drawing up a business contract
“If you are not careful you may inadvertently enter into a legally binding agreement” This article of our careful contracts series provides some guidance on the use of the term “subject to contract” so that you can ensure that your agreements are binding (or not as the case may be), and hopefully save time, effort and money, as well as avoiding misunderstandings, disputes and potential litigation.
• The parties intend to create legally binding obligations. This is generally assumed in business-to-business agreements. • All terms which are essential to the parties are clear and complete so that someone without knowledge of the terms can understand them.
Subject to contract?
As a basic principle, an agreement doesn’t need to be in writing for it to be legally binding. However, in order for it to be legally binding, a party must demonstrate the following: • An offer has been communicated from one party, and the other party has voluntarily accepted that offer. • Each party is mentally sound, not subject to a bankruptcy, and is over the age of 18. • There is some form of exchange of value between the parties (i.e. payment of money or a monetary equivalent, such as a service).
When the parties state that terms are “subject to contract”, it means that they don’t intend to create a legally binding obligation until a formal agreement has been entered into, usually in writing and signed by both parties. Letters of intent or heads of terms are usually non-binding, and subject to contract. While it could be tempting to start performing services prior to finalising a formal agreement, you take a risk that the other party is not bound by those terms and that you may not be able to enforce such terms.
A particular point to note is that nowadays we often discuss and negotiate deals through our email. From a legal perspective, this has the benefit of providing a paper trail, but if you are not careful you may inadvertently enter into a legally binding agreement without giving it too much consideration. When entering into any discussions or negotiation by email, if you don’t intend the discussions to create a binding agreement, make it clear that the content of the email and any terms agreed are “subject to the signature of a formal written agreement and are not legally binding”. However, if you do intend for both parties to be legally bound then the opposite applies – you should be sure that no reference is made to a separate agreement and that no reference is made to it being “non-binding” or “subject to contract”.
In an ideal world, we would have every agreement in writing signed by all parties, store it appropriately and remember when it was due for renewal. But in the real world, there may be some loose ends. Being aware of certain terms can heighten your awareness and allow you, as a business owner, to act as your own lawyer within your business.
Follow us on Twitter @NaviStar Legal or for a complimentary review of your legal documents, email us at email@example.com.
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a Dram KING HBO is known for producing the world’s best TV drama: but its ability to capture an audience should serve as a vital lesson to brands the world over, says Rich With. *Warning: may contain spoilers*
“Fans were hard-core, often to a nerdish degree”
Home Box Office (or HBO as it’s widely known) essentially started in the ’60s. Its paid subscription model captured the audience with sports and films, before making a commitment to drama in the late ’90s. Since then, the letters HBO act as a Kitemark for quality and originality. While the rest of TV and film seems obsessed with dumbing down and franchise models, HBO bucks the trend and produces dramas that often appeal to a niche audience, have a languid pace, and frequently seek to question their audience. So what can we learn from this powerhouse brand?
Don’t worry about everyone else
In brand terms, HBO has gone in the opposite direction of other networks. While the likes of ITV have often played to the lowest common denominator in order to capitalise on advertising revenue, HBO has made the most of the fact that its products rely heavily on niche audiences. Constantly one step ahead of the other networks, HBO’s work defines the genre and has many imitators.
Embrace your nerds
From gentle Kiwi comedy Flight of the Conchords to a version of stage play Angels in America, much of the HBO stable initially scored with viewers who were “in the know”. Fans were hard-core, often to a nerdish degree, and their constant discussion on Internet forums and around water coolers started to draw the attention of more mainstream viewers.
Invest in innovation
From CGI direwolf fur to 1920s Atlantic City, every effort is made for things to look authentic. This doesn’t come cheap – the cost for the pilot episode of Game of Thrones was $5-10m – but it’s arguably worth it when you consider the impact their shows have had on contemporary culture. Sure, there’s a calculated risk to investing heavily in something new; but as SME owners, we know it’s only by continuously investing in our brands that we stay ahead of the curve.
Have a quirk
HBO has a knack of employing British actors in stand-out
roles, rightly or wrongly giving an air of gravitas to each show it produces. Ian McShane went from Lovejoy to the aptly-named Swearengen in Deadwood, while Brit actor, Stephen Moyer made his name in True Blood. It’s highly likely that your brand is not truly unique in its marketplace. We need something to identify us, to mark us out as different and show where our quality stems from.
Don’t be afraid to have fun
Yes, there’s a ton of existential angst in Six Feet Under, but there’s also the fun of Entourage and Sex and the City. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Test things out in this arena, be playful and be aware that, for all your professionalism, people still want to know your brand has a fun – and indeed human – side. Without doubt, HBO is the most creative entertainment brand out there today. As a mentor brand, it is surely one to emulate, aspire to, and borrow from. Contact: www.gohoot.co.uk
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Jo Upward, MD at Platform, gives her thoughts on how to generate growth in today’s market and break the half-million revenue barrier
ne and a half million people are believed to be employed in the creative industries (5.1% of the UK’s employment) and, on average, a business is estimated to spend around 10% of its overall budget on marketing activity. Yet only about 22% of creative agencies have a revenue stream of over £500,000 per annum, and only 5% of all agencies earn over £2m per year. After 10 years in the industry, we at Platform feel well placed to give advice on how to grow your business in these financially uncertain times.
“Growth needs to strike a fine balance between existing client retention and organic growth”
Strategy for growth
Firstly, everyone needs a strategy for growth. Obvious, but it is amazing how many people create a business plan, and then get caught up in the day-to-day of managing their business while it sits gathering dust in the in-tray. Growth needs to strike a fine balance between existing client retention and organic growth. They say it costs five times as much to win business from a new client as it does to generate revenue from an existing one. It is therefore key to look after your current clients. Review client profitability – are you overservicing or underselling to them? Can you cross sell different services and products, or upsell on an existing product? Do you tier your accounts by the revenue they generate: up to £25k, £25£100k, and over £100k, to reflect the amount of time spent on their work and the level of expertise needed? If not, start now.
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Focus on strategy GROWTH
Driving the sales pipeline
Picking up the phone and talking to prospective clients is still fundamentally the best way to create new business opportunities. Having a reason to engage a new prospect is integral to success, and yet it is still fundamentally forgotten in the sales process. Proactively identify new targets and then create platforms to give your sales team an introduction. Recycle your PR to them, forward them thought leadership pieces and build your brand with them before you pick up the phone. Work your digital strategy with your new business strategy – not only ensuring your SEO is maximised, but aligning your social media with your new business drive by commenting in your target markets. Track market trends, and even look to develop new propositions tailored for specific sector expansion.
A strong proposition
Weathering the storms of the creative industry in the last 10 years has taught us that it is essential to ensure your brand proposition is strong and communicated clearly. Your brand needs to reflect your latest work, show why clients should choose you over your competitors, and communicate clearly what makes you different.
Your customer journey
Once you have established who you want to target and ensured your communication to those targets is in line with your brand, you need to identify your customer journey and look at where they might need your help. In our experience, there are four levels of entry to a new client or new piece of work: 1. Entry level Clients want to make a brand experience tangible – this could be for an event, an app or a leaflet. At Platform, we have found a number of long-term, highly valuable relationships have started with something as small as an application built to provide some level of interactivity on an exhibition stand. 2. Project level Knowing a client is exhibiting at an industry show might mean a foot in the door via an experiential project. Often, being able to show examples of what you can do in their market, or what you have done for a competitor, is a great way of introducing them to your brand. 3. Realisation of a brand experience Many savvy companies are now looking at ways to engage their target customers and influencers, and generate customer insight through brand experience centres. These are either temporary or fixed spaces that embody their brands, where digital, interactive and other 3D-related platforms are integrated.
Many businesses are finding that this is the future of evolving their brand and bringing invaluable customer research to their R&D. 4. Interactivity Taking an existing activity and blending it with interactive resources or integrating all the activity through an interactive platform; this is something we know about having built an interactive app for our client, Vodafone, at London Fashion Week.
To really show how you can make an impact on your clients’ businesses and become an extension of their brand team, you need to go even deeper. Their core values and messaging should work across all touchpoints – from their customer communication to their office décor. The brand experience should be a way of life, rather than a one-off experience. This includes everything, from staff uniforms to staff guidelines, company websites to intranets, HR notices to job adverts. The companies who do this well are the ones who really breathe their brand, rather than just paying it lip service for the sake of their marketing team.
“Keep emphasising to clients what makes you different” Talk to your clients
What it all really comes back to is communication, with your clients and with your potential clients: at every step of the way. Most agencies are brilliant at talking to their customers in the beginning but, much like an old married couple, they get caught up in the everyday and forget the very things that attracted them in the first place. Keep emphasising to clients what makes you different, what you have been doing recently, what new and exciting projects you have been involved in. And listen to them in return. What’s happening with their company? Is it different from when you first took the brief? Are the values and measures for satisfaction the same? Then think: are you still meeting the brief? Is there anything you should be doing differently? Or more you could be offering? Ten years on from our launch in 2003, Platform is still helping its customers make the transition between the old and new worlds they operate in, creating one-stop creative solutions with joined up thinking. Yet we constantly stop and challenge what we are doing as a business, and ask whether we can do it better. We believe this is the way to keep ahead of the rest, and stay at the top of our game. Contact: www.platformgroup.co.uk
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Focus on strategy PDQ
We explore some of the most common misconceptions about the term ‘business strategy’, courtesy of the founder of PDQ Strategy, Stuart Cook
Let’s start off by excluding a few things that strategy is not. ‘Strategy’ and ‘important’ are often confused or interchanged. To raise the level of a project status, some people may refer to it as ‘strategic’. This is a bit of a misrepresentation, as any project should contribute to strategic aims and be aligned with the business’ goals; otherwise, why would we do it? There are many definitions in use for ‘strategy’, such as ‘a general, undetailed plan of action, encompassing a long period of time, to achieve a complicated goal’. In business, there often exists a great deal of confusion and interchangeability between actions in a business or plan and its
“A common mistake is that of confusing an aim or outcome with a strategy” strategy. Another common mistake is that of confusing an aim or outcome with a strategy, such as: ‘Our strategy is to be the market leader’. Other terms that are often confused with strategy are: aim, objective, action plan, differentiation, choices, wide scope, big picture, broad perspective, purpose, long-term and political. Having defined what strategy is not, what then is it in the business world? The definition of strategy for business used in PDQ STRATEGY™ is ‘the market position a business adopts or strives for to be unique and better than its competitors’. The position a business adopts refers to how it presents itself to its customers, and how those customers see the business. You may argue that this is a marketing strategy and not a business
strategy. But if you think about it, the way the business presents itself to its customers should dictate how the functions within the business plan and organise themselves. This concept can be seen in some examples. A business confusing its strategy and goals: ‘Our strategy is growth.’ This leaves the managers within the business floundering as they have very little idea how, where, and what to grow. A clear strategy statement could be: ‘Our strategy is to grow through achieving lowest cost supplier in our chosen markets’. This gives the managers much more clarity about the big picture, and allows them to plan the way forward. This is a business strategy, but a business would have tactical plans within its organisation for manufacturing, distribution, marketing, exit, acquisition and raw materials supply, to name but a few. PDQ STRATEGY™ has been designed to enable businesses to deliberately select a winning strategy using a simple, easy to use system, which they can use to their advantage.
PDQ Strategy is a brand new business with an innovative business planning and problem solving technology. Its concept starts with a new generic strategy, replacing some of the academic based theories of the 1980s with a working strategic solution. Making strategy practical is key to PDQ Strategy thinking. Contact: www.pdqstrategy.co.uk
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Focus on strategy CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
It’s not what you say… It’s how you say it. Speaking to your audience: sales and marketing author, coach and motivational speaker, ADAM CAPLAN, asks how you communicate with your customers
n article two of this series, we considered what it is that your business is really offering your customers. You should by now have a good idea of how your product or service helps your customer and be reflecting that in your sales and marketing message. Now you know what it is that your customers buy and what your sales message is, we can concentrate on how you’re going to communicate it to your customers. In the past it was relatively simple; there were
“What is better for your customer than having a human being they can talk to?” a limited number of outlets with which to promote your business. In the digital age, we have a plethora of choices. So which should you use? Potentially, all of them. Potentially, only one or two of them. Consider each method as a separate business within a business. If you have a sales team, consider the annual costs of that team, what your business needs to do to: a) break even, and b) return the required profit. Once you know these basics, you can then make a decision about whether or not this
method will work for you. The same proposal works for every type of customer communication you are considering. Let’s have a whistle stop tour through the main sales communication methods:
Extremely expensive (particularly with the new postal fees), yet you know that you have a high chance of people opening the letter. In fact, there’s more chance now because the high postage fees have significantly reduced the amount of postal advertising. It’s really only cost effective with existing customers.
Cost effective, yet how do you know it’s being read? Using email marketing companies is the easiest way to benefit from this astounding tool. You’ll be able to get reports that show you who is reading your email, what parts they are reading, what they are clicking on, how often they’ve clicked, whether they’ve forwarded it, etc. You can even split-test the subject lines across several options, send to a small cross section of your database, and the most popular will be sent to the bulk of your database to maximise
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Focus on strategy CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
“In the digital age, we have a plethora of choices” opening ratios. You can set these campaigns up so that every customer action generates further communications automatically, until you pass the lead over to your physical sales person to convert.
Even with all the technology around today, what is better for your customer than having a human being they can talk to? I’d say nothing beats the human touch, and whether they use the telephone or are meeting face to face, there is nothing more effective than human interaction. Costs are higher per customer contact when compared to other methods, yet the feedback is immediate, ratio of customer contact to sales much higher, and it is still the best way forward in my opinion. Improving your sales staff with sales training is vital and implementing structured KPIs (key performance indicators) will make success all the more likely. I’d go so far as to say that a business without at least one person selling isn’t a business at all.
I can’t imagine that there are many businesses today that don’t have a website. However, what is it doing for you? Is the message right? Are you promoting it? Many companies spend tens of thousands of pounds on SEO and Google AdWords so that they are on page one of Google. Will having your website on page one drive business to your site? For some clients it does and for others it makes no tangible difference. This is a method you must be extremely careful with. Start small and test, test, test your results until you feel confident.
This is an expensive method of contacting customers but can be effective if you are targeting the right people. As with everything else, look at the cost versus the return to make sure it’s effective for you. You’ll need good sales people to make exhibitions work for you.
I left this until last deliberately. It’s certainly the buzz word on everyone’s lips at the moment. Plenty of people are terrified of being left behind in the scrabble for social network customers. My comment is the same as on the back of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: don’t panic. Everyone seems to be so paranoid of getting left behind that it seems that the basic rule outlined at the beginning of this article isn’t being considered. You still need to pick up the phone and speak to customers to make social networking really work for you, and that means you’ll need sales people who know what they’re doing. Irrespective of your chosen methods, you really must ensure that you are monitoring how effective they are for your business. In the next article we will look at the sales and marketing message itself. What sort of language should you be using in sales calls, emails and when face to face with customers? Contact: www.cellularattitude.co.uk
This includes papers, magazines and television. Television adverts today are much cheaper than they used to be, can be used on your YouTube channel or website. However, this medium is also much less effective than it used to be – smaller viewing figures and the advent of “pause/forward” TV must be taken into consideration. Paper or magazine advertising work because they are directed to a specific target market and will give you excellent brand awareness, if you target it correctly. If you advertise in a magazine that isn’t going to be read by your target customers, then you’ve wasted a lot of money!
Adam Caplan runs Unique Sales Professionals, a recruitment business based in Leicester Square that provides pre-trained sales staff to businesses as well as delivering his unique brand of motivational sales training.
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Focus on strategy THAMES VALLEY EXPO
Show stopper Looking for a brand new business show to re-inspire you? The Thames Valley Expo launches this June, with everything on-hand to support the aspiring entrepreneur
he Thames Valley Expo has been developed in order to have a leading business exhibition within the region, one that is an exciting blend of highly respected speakers, interactive features and industry leading suppliers. This one day event is aimed at attracting businesses whose primary agenda is to improve and expand their business, develop key
â€œThe Thames Valley Expo is passionate about encouraging networking across the regionâ€? relationships through networking with other regional business leaders, and increase their skillset through the free industry leading seminars and practical workshops. Our aim is for The Thames Valley Expo to be more than a one off event â€“ we are looking for it to become the fastest growing expo within the region. It is free to attend and offers a huge quantity of opportunities, advice and information crucial for ongoing business growth within a challenging economic climate.
It has been created to provide business decision makers throughout the region with an opportunity to grow and develop their business by meeting like-minded, dynamic, driven delegates. Our Expo welcomes businesses from a crosssection of industries and sectors, and remains more committed than ever to providing you with everything you need to improve, evolve, expand and develop your business.
Starting or expanding?
Whether you are thinking about starting a business or expanding a business, the Expo is designed with you in mind. With over 50 exhibitors, advice, opportunities, and much more, can you afford to miss out? The Thames Valley Expo is the ideal way to enhance your business: to grow, prosper and thrive across the region. Join hundreds of powerful, influential businesses and make incredible deals, engage with new suppliers and get that initial contact in order to build long-lasting business relationships.
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Focus on strategy THAMES VALLEY EXPO
The Thames Valley Expo is a free business and networking event that has been created to provide business decision makers throughout the region with an opportunity to grow and develop their business, through meeting like-minded business leaders. Our Expo welcomes businesses from a crosssection of industries and sectors; to ensure that this is a success, we remain more committed than ever to ensuring that visitors are provided
“We are looking for it to become the fastest growing expo within the region” with everything they need to improve, evolve, expand and develop their business. Highlights of the day include: • Well known motivational business speakers who all have the ability to inspire, equip and empower audiences • Fantastic quality networking opportunities throughout the day to meet the right people • Educational and interactive workshops, seminars and clinics running throughout the day. These have been designed to help address various business needs while providing beneficial and informative content • Fun charity video horse racing on the day The Thames Valley Expo understands the value and impact that the right speaker can have on an event. Ultimate credibility comes from individuals and subject matter experts who have performed at the highest level in changing corporate environments. Only they can give expert insight and empathy on the challenges we face on a dayto-day basis. To this end we have carefully selected Kimberly Davis (BBC Apprentice star), Brad Burton (founder of 4Networking, the world’s fastest growing networking group), Jon Davey (LinkedIn expert) and Warren Cass (social media expert). Each is known for delivering thought provoking presentations, focusing on a number of business-related topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, communications, change, innovation and customer service. The Thames Valley Expo is pleased to be in partnership with Windsor Racecourse. As a result of this partnership, we will be giving away two free Windsor Racecourse tickets, worth £40.00, to every delegate who attends the expo on 13 June. We are also delighted to be in partnership with Talk Business magazine. As a result of this partnership, we will be giving away one year’s free subscription for Talk Business magazine, worth £40.00, to every delegate who attends the expo.
been designed to address issues that affect your business? Not only have they been created to be an interesting and enjoyable way of gaining practical hands-on experience, they are also a way of accessing the expert knowledge that your company may be lacking. Industry experts The Thames Valley Expo’s main purpose is to bring local businesses together. With up to 60 exhibitors at our Expo, the environment is perfect for you to discover new suppliers, reduce costs and gain industry knowledge from our industry expert exhibitors. We are careful not to include any more than three of each industry at each show. Networking At The Thames Valley expo we have purposely accommodated both the traditional fast-paced speed-networking, where the aim of the game is to increase your business network in a series of quick-fire introductions, and a relaxed opennetworking space where you can decide who you speak to and at what speed. Business interfacing wall The Thames Valley Expo is passionate about encouraging networking across the region; this is why we created the business interfacing wall.
The idea is simple…
• Write down what your business is looking for (an accountant, bookkeeper, training provider, web designer, an office space, etc.) • Pin it to the business interfacing wall, along with your business card • Come back at the end of the day and collect all the other cards pinned to yours. It really is that simple. By the end of the day you will have invaluable contacts of the people and companies who can help provide whatever it is your business is looking for. The system has been designed to work both ways, so if you see a business that may benefit from your services, pin your card to theirs and perhaps pick up some extra clients! There you have it, a chance to finally put that shiny new business card to work and attract ROI. The Thames Valley Expo will take place at Grand Stand, Royal Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road, Berkshire, SL4 5JJ. If you would like to find out more about exhibiting, contact either Allison Dodd or Alec Jones-hall on 0843 289 4634. If you would like to register to attend The Thames Valley Expo, call 0843 289 4634 or visit the website.
Seminars and workshops Why not attend one of our industry leading seminars and workshops, all of which have
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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION: Social Media Vs Traditional Link Building and the customer journey
An insight provided by Aaron Crewe (Managing Director of SEO 24/7) into search engine optimisation and recent Google changes affecting many businesses. With new Google updates being released daily, it is becoming increasingly difficult for any size of business particularly SME’s to keep up with the ever changing requirements, rules and regulations being imposed. A huge proportion of businesses rely on online enquiries and many may be suffering from decreased traffic due to the recent updates. SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS? The next few paragraphs will hopefully give you an insight into some of the latest changes and help you to pick apart some of the complexities, which Search Engine Optimisation can pose for your business. I have been involved in the SEO industry for nearing 10 years and every month the goal posts are changing, which is essentially why I love about my job and have a passion for improving our client’s websites, but it is not always so easy for the many SME business owners trying to make an impact themselves. There are primarily two key changes that we as an agency have noticed over the past few months, the first of which being related to the integration of traditional link building with Social Media and the second being the focus on the customer journey and experience. Over the past few years the way
many SEO agencies were gaining an increase in Google rankings was through link building, with many agencies trying to obtain as many links as possible to their client’s website(s). However this is becoming increasingly less effective and companies need to focus on having smaller numbers of high quality links from high “Domain Authority” websites rather than using a scatter gun approach; after all it’s a case of QUALITY over QUANTITY. Website owners should focus on getting links from trusted sources. Another key point is the importance of creating a fully integrated online strategy for your SEO, PPC (pay-perclick), Email Marketing and Social Media. What I mean by this is to create a plan which utilises all 4 traffic sources together rather than using them in isolation, to ensure the best possible impact for your business. The more information that you can obtain about your visitors the more you will be able to focus on converting the target audience in to enquiries and sales. The customer journey can be broken down in to what is known as “stages-of-intent”. Not all visitors to a website necessarily provide the sort of traffic that you want, thus meaning that not all search rankings are necessarily beneficial to you. By utilising analysis software such as Google Analytics you can study your visitors to establish what they are doing on your website. Focus on obtaining more of the visitors that convert in to enquiries and less on the visitors that don’t. Your aim is to find flaws and pitfalls in your website and improve on these, as a
result improving the customer journey and enhancing their experience so that they convert in to sales. We strongly believe that social media is becoming one of the key factors in maintaining rankings and search traffic to your website. With an average of 31,790,000 and 10,894,000 unique visitors* per day to Facebook and Twitter respectfully, it is easy to see why social is impacting SEO in such a big way. Social Media is not only beneficial from a purely SEO perspective but it also enables companies to build trust in your site by having the ability to view reputable testimonials from high authority websites, which in turn increases onsite conversions and sales. To ensure that your website maintains or gains traffic, it is essential that you are keeping up to date with the latest changes to the Google Algorithms, which dictate whether your website will rank or not. You can do this in two ways: by working with a reputable SEO agency like SEO 24/7 who continually stay up-to-date with these changes through comprehensive research and controlled tests or to try and stay up-to-date with SEO yourself via reputable blogs, news articles and Google-related videos. If we can help in anyway please contact us on 01524 566 736, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.seo247.co.uk to find out more about what we do, our team of consultants are on hand to provide expert advice on any area of online marketing and digital strategy.
*Data from - ComScore, Dec 2012
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Focus on strategy PRESENTATIONS
Stories that move mountains Once upon a time, a business made a really dull presentation…Martin Sykes, co-author of Stories That Move Mountains, advocates spinning a yarn if you want to capture your audience’s imagination When translated from the Latin into English, “Cui Bono” means “for whose benefit”. Often I find I am advising people on how to improve a presentation, only to realise the author is focused on what they want to say, and not why the audience will want to listen. Start the planning for every presentation with a clear insight into what the audience can take from it to help them achieve their own goals. Begin with the
“Begin with the belief that no one cares about your message, and structure your story to make them care” belief that no one cares about your message, and structure your story to make them care. When your audience cares about the conversation, then you can go one step further, and influence them to make a decision for something they want. ‘You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.’ – Zig Ziglar. If you’ve identified clearly what your audience wants, the next step is to remove all the content you thought you might deliver that is not directly
relevant to the audience’s needs. This is painful but necessary. Now, how will you ensure the audience pays attention to what remains? The evidence is clear – people remember stories and are influenced by them. If your audience cannot remember your content, how will they act on it? One effective way to communicate your message is to use a series of short stories. Here’s an example outline from a company looking to sell a new CRM application to a sales organisation. This started from a presentation that was all about the new features of the software, something the authors cared about a lot, but subsequently became a series of short stories focused on the issues the audience cared about: 1. The story of Jeff, a top sales person, who is frustrated every day at the time it takes to schedule his customer visits. Clearly identify Jeff’s pain as a problem your audience might also have. 2. The story of how you almost missed this meeting due to traffic, but your taxi driver had a smartphone with the latest traffic news to help you take a different route. How important would it be to link historical and
real-time travel information into Jeff’s planning? 3. Ask the audience if they could imagine themselves later this year with such an integrated planning tool? Tell a story of Jeff’s day with the tool keeping him on schedule as his appointments and travel conditions change. In each short story you start with a specific experience your audience can relate to, and develop a key point. Each of these stories might only be three to five minutes long, but together they take your audience on a journey, building on something they care about, to a decision you want them to take. Contact: www.martinjsykes.com Martin Sykes is one of the authors of Stories That Move Mountains, a new book that focuses on what to put in a presentation to influence your audience, bringing together the techniques of storytelling and visual design in a framework to create communications intended to persuade.
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THE DOG ATE
my business plan
Kimberly Davis, marketer extraordinaire, tells us why excuses won’t wash when it comes to investing in your business
“Stop using your son’s friend’s uncle’s neighbour to do the work for free”
Are you holding your business back and you don’t even know it? Are you sabotaging yourself and preventing your business from growing into the success you know it could be? One of the most upsetting things for me is watching small businesses be presented with solutions to their business challenges, but instead of jumping at the amazing opportunity in front of them, they make up excuses for why they can’t move forward. There are many different excuses businesses use to hold themselves back without even knowing it. Here are just some of the main culprits...
‘I don’t have the money’
All too often I hear someone say, ‘I have no money’ and then in the next sentence I hear them talking about an expensive holiday. If you’re going to run a business, you need to be committed and make sacrifices. You must be prepared to invest money into the areas that will bring you success. Once you’ve achieved success, you can take all the expensive holidays you like.
‘I have to do something else first’
This person is always making themselves busy with work that keeps them away from focusing
on what they should be doing to move the business forward. You’ll often hear things like: ‘We’re hiring people first,’ or ‘We’re waiting for the year end and then we’ll make a plan.’ If the opportunity comes to turn things around right now, then there is no excuse for putting it off.
‘I know a guy who can do it cheaper’
This person is determined to do everything on a shoestring budget, no matter how detrimental the consequences. What this person doesn’t realise is that, in doing things the wrong way, they have to keep redoing everything. As a result, they waste phenomenal amounts of time, money and energy. Stop using your son’s friend’s uncle’s neighbour to do the work for free and start hiring professionals.
‘I can do it myself’
This person thinks they can read a “dummies guide” and be able to do everything themselves. While some people may be able to pick up new skills quickly, it doesn’t mean that they should be doing everything in the business.
You should be focusing on the things you are good at. Find experts in the things you don’t know, and outsource these jobs.
‘I don’t have time’
This is the person who usually needs help and support the most. If you don’t have time, then you’re not doing things right. You need to start working smarter, not harder. There will always be dramas going on in your life. You cannot let them sidetrack you from your goal. If an opportunity presents itself to allow you to work less and make more, you need to take it. Be honest with yourself. If any of these examples sound like you, it’s time to change your mindset. No more excuses.
Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing. You can get more great tips and access Kimberly’s Complete Marketing Magnetism System™ by visiting sarsaparillamarketing.com
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SOCIAL MEDIA HAS A 100% HIGHER LEADTO-CLOSE RATE THAN OUTBOUND MARKETING EMBRACE IT NOW
DID YOU KNOW?
Social media is here to stay, and embracing this new business phenomenon will not only increase traffic to your website, it can also build brand awareness and catapult your business to ‘thought leader’ status within your industry.
51% of fans are more likely to purchase from brands they “Like” on Facebook; that’s a stat you can’t ignore. We’d all rather buy a product or service from someone that we know, and social media is the perfect way for customers to get to know your business.
LOOK INTO THE FUTURE Business is becoming increasingly more social and the emphasis is changing from fulfilling the wants of the business, to satisfying the desires of consumers. As long as you are focused on delivering what is best for the customer and are attentive to exactly how what you are offering can add value to their lives, the success that you will experience, will be nothing less than extraordinary.
CONTACT US FOR YOUR FREE SOCIAL MEDIA REVIEW TODAY
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Focus on marketing MARKETING CHANNELS
Change the CHANNEL What turns us off and what really clicks when it comes to advertising channels? New research commissioned by the BPMA reveals where your marketing spending really counts, and where it may be falling on deaf ears
“Blending your marketing mix in the right way will pay off”
hat is the most annoying advertising medium? How do people react to commercials on TV, radio and online? What marketing channel is best at incentivising people to take action? Responses to these and other questions from people across the UK have been under scrutiny as part of a major survey. Conducted by independent research company, Relevant Insights LLC, and commissioned by the BPMA, the survey looked at the major channels through which brands and companies advertise their products and services, including TV, radio, online, direct mail, newspapers, magazines and promotional merchandise. The results provide great insight and may have a huge impact on marketing spend in the future. The strikingly different reactions to various media are among the most eye-opening findings. For example, 28% of respondents indicated that they generally watch all television commercials, whereas 41% generally read an advert in a magazine or newspaper, yet only 13% will click on an online advert. What’s more, just under half (46%) stayed tuned to the channel but do not pay any attention to commercials, only 16% watch commercials if they are on a recorded TV programme, and 69% fast forward them. Despite well-documented increases in online advertising spend, 73% of respondents stated that they felt annoyed when exposed to banner adverts, with 54% indicating similar feelings in response to direct mail, 44% to radio and 32% to television. Magazine advertising was deemed annoying by 13% of respondents and promotional merchandise, at only 5%, was deemed the least annoying medium. Because they see it more often, nearly twofifths (39%) of respondents indicated they are more likely to remember TV advertising, just ahead of promotional products at 35%; in
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Focus on marketing MARKETING CHANNELS
comparison, 10% said they’d remember print or online advertisements, and 5% would remember direct mail. However, when asked which advertising medium provides an incentive to take action, the results show that 50% are incentivised to take action after receiving a promotional product, whereas just 19% said they react to TV advertising, 11% to online adverts, 10% to print and 9% to direct mail.
The gift that keeps on giving
We really don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: 94% of us remember the advertiser who gave us a promotional item or the product advertised after we have had it for six months. In addition, nearly two-fifths of us (39%) are more likely to use a business that has given us a promotional product when the need for the advertised product or service arises, rather than a similar business that has not given us anything. Two thirds of us like to hang on to such gifts for more than six months, and 44% keep them for over one year.
More than half of respondents (54%) said they would go and get a promotional product that was being handed out, provided it was useful to them. “Likability” is also important in this decision. Nearly half (46%) of people questioned said that they like receiving free products that have an advertising message, and half (50%) would like to receive such items more often. A massive majority of 98% think that promotional products are not a waste of money.
The survey findings show clearly how many people skim over and disregard advertisements; however, those that do take note of them reported that the advert had made an impression on them, even if it did not lead directly to any further action. When asked how many newspaper or magazine adverts they had seen in the last two weeks, around one-third (33%) could not remember, while just over one-fifth of respondents (21%) said they had not seen any,
“Nearly half of people questioned said that they like receiving free products” 74 May 2013
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Focus on marketing MARKETING CHANNELS
and 12% said they had seen between three and five adverts. When asked about the action taken following sight of a printed advert, 12% purchased the product being advertised, and a further 87% said the advert did make an impression on them, with 8% making a note of the advertiser and the product to follow up in the future. The figures were similar for online advertising, with 16% stating that they had not seen any adverts, and 10% that they had seen between three and five. A lower 5% purchased the product being advertised, although 81% said the advert made an impression on them, and 9% made a note of the advertiser and the product to follow up later. Martin Alden of Wickes said: ‘It is good to see the definitive data presented this way, as one can safely conclude that blending your marketing mix in the right way will pay off, and in the wrong way could well be catastrophic. It shows the importance of a multi-channel or omni-channel strategy in moving your marketing mix forward in a meaningful and holistic way towards better, more seamless customer experiences. The 54% of respondents who would actively go and get a promotional product was significant – for all the neuro-scientists among you, good, old-fashioned “what’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) in action!’
Survey monkeys • The research was carried out by Michaela Mora of Relevant Insights LLC, an independent research company • The survey was commissioned by the BPMA • A UK-wide study was conducted online among 1,000 adults, randomly selected from a database of 250,000 business people who were found to have received promotional items, either at work or at home • Students and people under 18 were excluded • Of the 1,000 responses received, there were 466 female respondents and 534 male respondents from across a range of sectors including: manufacturing; retail; IT/ communications; media; finance; and education • Job titles included: chairman/MD; manager; director; pa; and administrator
The ability of various advertising media to evoke instant recognition of the advertiser was interesting, with 40% of respondents stating that promotional products had this effect, closely followed by TV adverts (35%). Fewer respondents thought that print would prompt instant recognition (10%), and even less online advertising and direct mail (9% and 5% respectively). Michaela Mora of Relevant Insights LLC said: ‘The results provide plenty of insight into which communication channels generate the most favourable actions from consumers, and will help brands when deciding on the most appropriate ways in which to communicate with their consumers.’ Neal Beagles, chairman of the BPMA, commented: ‘It is encouraging to see promotional products viewed so positively and holding their own as an important part of the marketing mix, being the most likely to incentivise people to take action.’
Established in 1965, the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) is one of the UK’s leading industry bodies dedicated to promoting best practice around the sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of promotional products. With more than 600 members, the BPMA is a creative and vibrant organisation, setting the benchmark for expertise, quality and professionalism across the promotional marketing industry.
“Those that do take note of them reported that the advert had made an impression on them”
Marketing by numbers The new research reveals fascinating insights into consumers’ reactions to advertising media: • 28% of us watch television commercials; the rest ignore, mute or change channels • 73% of us think banner adverts are the most annoying advertising medium – promotional products were deemed the least annoying • 39% (nearly two-fifths) of respondents indicated they are more likely to remember TV advertising because they see it more often • 94% of us remember the advertiser who gave us a promotional item or the product advertised after we’ve had it for six months • 66% of us like to hang onto such gifts for more than six months, and 44% keep them for over one year
Contact: www.bpma.co.uk talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 79
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Vision - Virtual - Assistance
“I HAVE WORKED WITH CHaRM THROUGHOUT MY TIME AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND GREATLY APPRECIATE THEIR PERSON CENTRED APPROACH, WHICH IS A RARE THING IN HR.”
ost business owners start their business because they are interested, or expert in, their chosen field. They focus on building their business doing what they know or enjoy. But as the business grows, so many other facets of business management come to the fore, such as financial or marketing issues, in which they don’t have expertise. With growth and expansion come the biggest problems of all - those associated with employing people. Although employing people can be very rewarding, the problems associated with employing people cause the biggest headaches of all. So many employers have sleepless nights worrying about how to deal with their employees. Everyone has horror stories to share, which adds to the fear of employment, especially when those stories are associated with how much employment law is against the employer.
EFFECTIVE PEOPLE MANAGEMENT But, employers do not need to worry – help is at hand. Just as you
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are expert in your business, so are we in ours. A good HR partner is worth their weight in gold as they can resolve so many problems early and stop them from becoming big headaches. Employment law is only one small element in effective people management and although we hear a lot about it, the way in which you manage and communicate with your people is so much more important. That’s where CHaRM comes in – providing straight-forward business focused support to help you with how to resolve the issue lawfully.
CHOOSING YOUR HR PARTNER
When choosing who best to help you, do you really want someone sitting remotely in an office providing distant support, or would you rather have someone who knows your business and is not afraid to ‘muck-in’ to help you resolve the issues and move the business forward? Do you want an unknown person in a call centre advising you, or would you rather build up a partnership with a small
team of people who know you, your aims and goals and who are prepared to help you achieve them? When choosing your HR partner, really find out about the successes they have achieved, whether it be a stress-free dismissal (yes, there is such a thing), or the introduction of a really motivational performance management scheme or reward structure. Make sure they can help you to robustly select the right people for your business, without incurring huge costs. Check out the range and depth of their expertise. If you are thinking about getting in-house support, this is a very important consideration. Can that one person provide the full range of expertise that an outsourced team of hands-on specialists can provide, often for the same or even less cost? The quotation above is from just one satisfied Chief Executive that has partnered with CHaRM for HR support. He goes on to say……“Their (CHaRM’s) expertise and guidance has been invaluable and they have offered me great support in changing times. They always go above and beyond to give practical support which not only satisfies the law but also helps the business move forward. I trust their advice implicitly and recommend them fully.” You too could benefit from our expertise in people management.
For help with achieving your business aims, call us on 0115 984 3119, visit www.charmhrm.co.uk, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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18/04/2013 16:49 11/04/2013 17:47
Focus on marketing MARKETING BUDGETS
How much is too much? Fergus Gloster, managing director EMEA of marketing software company Marketo, discusses the challenge of coming up with a marketing budget to match your business
Deciding how much to spend on marketing is a big question. It has become even more of an issue if you have to sell your marketing budget to other executives. Looking at marketing spend as a percentage of revenue (i.e. the marketing budget ratio) is the most common way to set and justify it. It is an easy approach and, as US marketing and sales guru Mac McIntosh points out, it is better than just taking last year’s budget and subjectively adding or cutting, based on what you think worked. Using this approach, you look at what you plan to make in sales in the coming year and multiply that figure by a percentage to reach your marketing budget for the coming year. For businessto-business marketers, 4% is a common multiplier.
For those firms in the technology industry, the IDC 2012 CMO Tech Marketing Barometer (www.idc.com) refers to a marketing and sales budget ratio, which calculates marketing and sales investment as a percentage of revenue. The industry benchmark in this area is 10.6%, but that number will vary depending on the company environment – a services company will generally have a lower ratio, and a software company will have a higher one. Of the total amount invested in sales and marketing, the industry split between sales and marketing is 4:1, which means that for every pound spent on marketing, four are spent on sales. IDC reports that buyers are continually telling them that sales teams are pursuing them too hard. IDC
“The returns are usually not immediate and often come months or years down the road”
believes that the current model of four sales pounds per marketing pound is imbalanced, and that companies should instead shift some funds into marketing. The difficulty with the numbers from IDC and others is that they are an average of large tech companies. Many of these companies are in mature markets and some earn significant revenue from maintenance. This skews down the average marketing spend compared to smaller, fast growing companies – companies that typically require a much higher percentage of revenue for marketing. Demand generation spending is the easiest marketing investment to tie to ROI. Some programmes generate leads, others nurture leads as they move through the marketing funnel. When the leads become ready, they are transferred to sales and become opportunities, some of which eventually close and translate to revenue. Other marketing investments, such as brand building and PR, are harder to tie to revenue without making assumptions. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. For all types of marketing investment, the returns are usually not immediate and often come months or years down the road. Thinking of the marketing budget as a long-term investment can be especially important for smaller, fast growing companies. By treating your B2B marketing budget like an investment in the future, you can help build the perception that marketing is an asset that drives revenue, not a liability that simply incurs costs. Contact: www.marketo.com
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Focus on marketing MARKETING CONTENT
Content with your content?
Making your marketing content work hard for your business is key to becoming successful argues Dee Gibbs, managing director at Liberty Comms The big question all businesses should be asking is: ‘Am I generating maximum value from the content that we’re producing from our marketing activity?’ The days when an article about your company in
“Whether we like it or not, the credibility of a communication will be judged as a package” a magazine would be read, evaluated and then put to one side are gone. Nevertheless, many businesses are still not engaging digital expertise to ensure that good pieces of content are given a whole new lease of life online, driving engagement. Businesses need to be the curators of their own content, and recognise that digital optimisation and marketing is the single most important common denominator that ties all marketing disciplines together. Imagine it in the context of choosing programmes for a TV company. The content from
all corners of your marketing department is tipped out onto the floor, and your job is to produce engaging digital output, 24/7. Each channel at your disposal has a role. ‘OK, LinkedIn, this is what I want you to achieve; Twitter, this is what I want from you’, and so on. Of course, this job is made a lot easier if you plan your content in advance as part of a joined-up, multi-layered approach, rather than trying to retrofit it through digital channels late in the day. Good communication consultancies can make sense of this for you, but it has to come from a “deep dig” into your business and brand. Yes, we can disrupt, and yes we can position you as the game changer in your sector, and follow everything through to sales – but it has to be the result of work throughout the business, not just one aspect. We don’t need to be the agency that produces your advertising, but we do need to understand and be involved in the thinking behind it, and how
it fits into the overall picture. It’s a joined-up approach that, as an industry, we’ve been talking about for a while, but there are still client companies that split the roles of strategic brand development and communications through owned, bought and earned media. It is my belief that it is essential to be involved in the entire brand journey and industry positioning work – whether we like it or not, the credibility of a communication will be judged as a package, not just as a headline in a press release, a slogan or a claim on LinkedIn. It all has to work together as a series of related outputs that point back to the brand and its business goals. So when you ask your marketing team if they’re doing enough and creating maximum engagement, ask them to look at the lifespan of a piece of great content – it’ll tell you a lot about how organised you are. Contact: www.libertycomms.co.uk
84 May 2013
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Focus on marketing ADVICE
The Sales Doctor Phobias can be crippling, and the irrational fear of cold calling can render a sales person unable to close that all-important deal. The sales doctor’s prescription? Stop cold calling, start smart calling
Dear sales doctor, I like sales, once you’ve built up a decent relationship with your clients, but I can’t stand cold calling. I dread it every time I have to do it, and I think sometimes the fact I don’t like doing it comes through and has a negative effect on my pitch. Any suggestions of how I can overcome this fear and get to like cold calling more? Or at least not let my dislike affect my sales technique?
I would firstly like to reassure you that you are not alone; at least 90% of sales professionals I have trained initially felt exactly the same as you. However, once they understood what I am about to share with you and really bought into it, they began to view cold calling very differently. Believe it or not, they actually enjoy it now! Part of being a sales person requires mastering the cold call and creating opportunities over the phone. The first thing I want you to change is the name “cold” call; this implies you know nothing about the company you’re calling. I would always recommend Need a diagnosis? investing at least three Send your sales minutes looking up the problems to the company online to gain editor, marked ‘FAO some understanding of the sales doctor’: what they do, which will helen.coffey@ help you establish how you astongreenlake.com can help them. You need to identify which person is most likely to be the decision maker. Investing that time will give you the ammunition you need to
start playing the game of what I call “smart” calling. I genuinely view smart calling as a game: the more you play it, the better you become. Like any game, you are bound to make many mistakes at first. But as long as you review the game afterwards and identify what you can do differently next time, you will get better and enjoy it more. The first 10 seconds of the call are the most vital, as you have interrupted the prospect during their working day; they will make a very quick judgment as to whether they want to take the call. This is your small window of opportunity to engage the prospect and tell them something of value that makes them decide it’s worth listening further. Let me illustrate an example of an opening statement I use when I smart call an estate agent about sales training: Me: Good morning Mr Agent, thanks for taking my call. My name is Tony Morris from the Sales Doctor. Are you familiar with my business?
Answer: No Me: To make you aware we have successfully delivered sales training with many agents, like A and B, which has helped double the number of viewings they make, in some cases triple their conversion rates and provided innovative techniques to help them gain new landlords’ details. To see if we can help you, can I ask how you develop your negotiators? On your next day of smart calling, not cold calling, prepare your opening statement and go win that appointment or sale – and let me know if you feel differently afterwards, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TONY MORRIS, sales doctor Tony Morris is director of the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden, London, and author of Coffee’s for Closers.
Contact: www.tony-morris.co.uk talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 87
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EMPLOYMENT LAW & HR CONSULTANCY
18/04/2013 11:06 16:54 20/03/2013
Break down or take a break? Running your own business can sometimes mean running yourself into the ground, especially when things finally start taking off. Columnist Lee McQueen shares his own experience of balancing business with pleasure
This is a really important year for my business. In 2013 I’ve got busier and busier, and I have subconsciously decided to do more and more work, with less and less play. It’s really easy to get carried away with it all; I’ve somehow, without even realising it, got into the habit of doing 65-hour weeks as standard. But how much is too much?
“It’s pretty important not to take on a client if you physically can’t deliver the work” SPOTTING THE SIGNS
Burn-out can creep up on you as your workload steadily increases, but there are some pretty key ways of spotting when you’ve simply taken on too much. The classic is when you’re not doing the job properly. You can tell, because you end up spreading yourself too thin, or the delivery of your work is not up to scratch. As business owners, we generally take pride in doing as good a job as possible. When you can’t give 100% to each task, that’s a major sign that you need to delegate more. But
most people reading this column will be business owners, and therefore realise how difficult it is to switch off and give up control.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
It can be very hard to take a break if you’ve got lots on – no one likes to turn down work. The best way to ensure you’re not taking on more business than you can handle though, is by setting expectations. This is key: you need to have a plan of action for delivery, which lays out exactly how you’re going to do it. It’s pretty important not to take on a client if you physically can’t deliver the work to the agreed timescale. I’m sure most of you readers will have done that in the past, and I’m equally certain you will have got your fingers burned in the process. Be honest with the potential client, and let them know the reality and the timescale. Another way of dealing with this issue is to have a delivery function that can easily expand and retract; use contractors or temp workers in instances where you have more work than you and your staff can deliver alone.
THE BALANCING ACT
Sometimes I get asked, like many entrepreneurs, if I find it easy to separate my work and my personal life. Not really! Generally, I’m lucky in that we have quite a few holidays a year, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do that. But even that has changed this year – normally we would have had a break by now, but we had to cancel our latest one. During the week it’s all about work. If I get home at 7.30, I put my daughter to bed, but then I’ll be on the iPad until 10.30 so that I know what I’m dealing with the next morning. So I’m still struggling to find the right balance, just like most Talk Business readers – but always remember, taking a break if you need it is always better than having a breakdown. Biting off more than you can chew is not always the best thing for your business. Contact: www.rawtalentacademy.co.uk
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Focus on people PART-TIME EXECUTIVES
Bring on the part-timers Working with part-time professionals requires careful planning to get the best return on your investment. Martin Spiller, a partner with Jenson Solutions, angel investor and lecturer in finance, shows us how
ntil relatively recently, having a part-time executive was a bit of a taboo. It reflected negatively on the company, implying they did not have the resources to support a full-time employee, and the general presumption for the professional was that it was a temporary position while they found something more permanent. However, in the current market, having parttime executives is increasingly commonplace as the industry has become more mature, the professionals more developed, and the clients more demanding.
A true part-timer?
The starting point is to ensure that you are working with an executive who is committed to portfolio working and has experience of multiple environments. An individual who has worked in one organisation for a long period of time may struggle with the demands of working in the part-time sector, for example, managing multiple contracts and the potential lack of earnings visibility. Furthermore, they may find it difficult to get up to speed quickly, be flexible enough to cope with varying environments, and adapt to working within structures that are not familiar to them. Often these executives become frustrated and eventually look to return to full-time employment.
Personality goes a long way
You must also make sure that you find an individual who is a good fit with the culture of your organisation and key members of the senior management team. When working as a parttime or interim finance director, my primary consideration when accepting a client is whether or not I will enjoy working with them, and viceversa. While there is clearly a subtle difference
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Focus on people PART-TIME EXECUTIVES
– part-time executives, for example, do not usually get involved in the day-to-day politics of the business – in order for the relationship to be effective, there must still be a good fit in outlook, working practices and style. For me as an FD, the real test is whether the managing director or CEO and I are able to build a rapport, particularly when dealing with growing businesses. Building a successful venture is stressful and can be fractious, therefore a solid personal relationship can be vital to developing a successful working relationship during the challenges that will be inevitably thrown up.
Scope of engagement
Clearly defining with the executive both the tasks you expect to be carried out and the areas that will not be covered prevents ambiguity and work falling through the cracks. Assumptions by either party do not assist with effective delivery – and it is worth bearing in mind that a part-time executive is exactly that, a part-time employee who can only undertake a limited role. My experience
“The right part-time executive will provide your business with much needed expertise” suggests that investing time at the outset of the engagement to carefully consider the key aspects of the role is usually time well spent.
Communication is everything
Open communication channels that enable any issues to be identified as early as possible are also vital. Part-time executives do not have the luxury of being in the office on a full-time basis, and therefore need to be able to communicate with the team in an open, effective manner. Any impediments to open communication can have significantly more impact when the executive is not there full-time, and can result in small problems festering and building. Added to this is the fact that the loss of time in dealing with issues is even more detrimental, as it reduces opportunity for the executive to add value by undertaking the role that brought them there in the first place. My tip is to have regular update meetings, particularly at the outset, to ensure that the project or role stays on track.
So why use one?
Why then, if it can be difficult to find the right person, would you choose to hire a part-time executive? In my view the main reasons are:
1. Specialist expertise: Part-time executives are typically over-qualified for the roles they undertake, bringing skills and knowledge to address a specific skills gap or problem in a client’s business. Often, by bringing in knowledge
of best practice from other industries, they are able to be productive from the outset, maximising the likelihood of success.
2. Performance focused: Part-time executives are usually engaged to help deliver an outcome, solution or service. They are usually paid on the delivery of goals and objectives being performed and delivered, not simply on the basis of attendance, particularly if the scope of the engagement is correctly set out and agreed at the outset.
3. Speed of contribution: The part-time or
interim executive market is now relatively mature, allowing a business to recruit a suitable candidate within a matter of days rather than weeks or months, which can be essential if time is of the essence. Most part-time executives are used to joining an organisation quickly and, as a result of their experience and expertise, usually make a contribution immediately.
4. Objective and accountable presence: Part-
time executives are usually unencumbered by company politics or culture and can bring a fresh perspective to the business. They are able to focus purely on delivery rather than trying to further their careers, and expect to be accountable for the outcome of a specific project or business area which has been assigned to them. Results should also be more easily measured by reference to the engagement scope.
5. Professional reputation: The main source of work for part-time professionals is via referrals or client testimonials. They have a vested interest in the success of the assignments they undertake, rather than trying to secure permanent employment or potentially extending their contract, which has often been the key criticism of other temporary workers.
Employing part-time executives requires careful consideration to ensure that you secure the right person for the job and the organisation. In particular, focus on a committed part-timer with relevant experience, ensure you clearly define the scope of the role, and build communication into the process – this will significantly improve your return on investment. The benefit will be that the right part-time executive will provide your business with much needed expertise and knowledge in an affordable manner which can, in most cases, add significant value and help your business to succeed. Contact: www.jensonsolutions.com Twitter @MartinRSpiller
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entagon HR has gone from strength to strength since we started trading during the spring of 2009. Focussing on the SME marketplace, we have built an exemplary reputation by ensuring that the service we provide to CEOs can’t be matched by others. We fully understand what a minefield employment law can be and we work closely with our clients to ensure that they are fully compliant with the appropriate requirements – we build trusting and long lasting relationships built upon mutual respect. But we won’t simply provide advice and guide you in creating procedures we become part of your team and can be seated with you when dealing with sensitive employee issues – during those difficult conversations with staff that could be scrutinised at a later date and when what is discussed and even the language used must be carefully considered. And because when issues arise, they are often not confined wholly to normal office hours, neither is the service that we provide to you - our phones aren’t switched off at 5pm and so delicate conversations that must be held in private, can be – away from other office staff, or simply at times that won’t intrude into busy schedules. That’s why our portfolio of clients has grown and grown – people like and appreciates the way that we work, but rest assured, our personal service hasn’t been compromised because of it. In fact, our clients are so happy with Pentagon that around 90% of our new clients have come through recommendations: from one business owner to another. With a wide understanding of business needs, we have developed a service to match, with everything from contracts to handbooks; from TUPE to redundancy; from working with start-up organisations to established companies, we offer professional, straight forward advice and assistance. Our flexibility is something that we are proud of too: we work on-site with some clients for a day a week; others once a month; others simply as and when required, with most advice being provided remotely - but all clients are reassured in the knowledge that we are always at the end of the phone. Once your business has grown we can work together on your strategic needs, in addition to operational HR - the best (and most appreciated) HR functions are driven from the needs of the employees
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Here’s a few comments from some of our clients (and we didn’t have to pay them either!) “Anne is one of the most down to earth, practical and pragmatic people I have ever met. Her knowledge of and advice on employment matters has been invaluable to many of our clients.” Jeremy Holt Partner Clark Holt
“With Anne and her team by our side we know that we always get the best advice and solution that we need. Anne is a true professional with the management and HR skills required to be an asset to our business. Anne understands our business and that’s paramount when dealing with our employees” Dane Wilde Managing Director IDess Retail
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH and so, as examples, we can assist you in preparing and analysing employee surveys, 360 feedback projects and succession planning, ensuring the outcomes steer you towards becoming an employer of choice status. In fact we have built such a reputable and client focussed business, we recently launched two new services – Health & Safety and Recruitment - who could be better to understand your culture and values ensuring that you get the right staff for the right job; for H&S we help to build your business, assisting with accreditations such as ISO14001. Both have already made positive impacts for our clients. Can we help you? Our MD, Anne Egleton, is qualified with the CIPD Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Employment Law and is also a member of the CIPD. Anne’s working history includes a large PLC where she set up and successfully ran a central HR team for 1,400 employees in 25 UK locations. She furthered her career as a Chief People Officer with an online media organisation where she led the HR, Recruitment, Training and Payroll teams.
“Pentagon HR has been an invaluable resource to my organisation. Anne’s knowledge of employment law and working practices helped quickly identify our areas of risk. Within a week we had employment contracts, an employee handbook and all the documents we required to ensure we were compliant. The team also assisted in ensuring that all other documents that every business should have was in place in relation to our staff. Anne’s great sense of humour and infectious personality really makes her a joy to partner with and we continue to work with her and the team” Mike Edwards Managing Director Komfort Services
“We needed help with our HR and Pentagon was recommended to us. Anne now works with us on site 1 day a week and has made such a positive impact to the business in respect of our staff. With her HR and commercial business experience she knows exactly what we need and works with the senior management team and in fact with everyone in the business to make it happen. Pentagon’s recruitment team has started to work with us in advertising specific roles.” Karen Walton Chief Accountant Redtray Solutions
Is it time that we met to see how we can help your business prosper?
Contact us: Tel:01784 247059 / 07976 809682 Email: Anne@pentagonhr.co.uk / Claudia@pentagonhr.co.uk Website: www.pentagonhr.co.uk
Advantage Group Solutions
AGS provides a cost-effective, professional, end-to-end payroll service for all sizes of businesses. AGS only provides a payroll service so therefore our staff are experts in payroll. AGS uses commercially available software, ensuring our software is continuously fully HMRC compliant. Running payroll in-house can be fine but unless they are full-time payroll experts does your payroll clerk really understand all of the complications of payroll, including new RTI compliance, SMP, SSP, pensions etc? Outsourcing is much cheaper than you may think and gives you dedicated payroll expertise.
Contact AGS for more details. Email: info@AdvantageGroupSolutions.co.uk Web: www.AdvantageGroupSolutions.co.uk Tel: 01824 703 055
A J HR solutions Do you want HR solutions that work for your business needs? Are you spending too much time on staff-related issues or are you just ignoring the problems? Are you sinking under the strain of keeping up with ever-changing employment law or have you stopped trying? If your answer is â€˜yesâ€™ to any of the above you are putting your business at risk and/or failing to maximise its potential. Let us help. One-off support or competitively priced retainer contracts available. We specialise in services for Companies with 1 to 500+ staff in NE England
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Focus on people INTERIM MANAGERS
Stopping up the skills gap SMEs are forever touted as the route to growth – but how can they achieve this? Charles Russam, chairman of Russam GMS, is all for using interim managers to bolster your business and provide key skills and expertise
“Interims can provide the skills and experience missing within an organisation”
he pressure on SMEs is mounting, with many key figures having asserted that Britain’s economic growth is going to come from SMEs, which now account for one third of UK gross value added. Many politicians, analysts and media are increasingly looking at SMEs to deliver the growth that will continue to keep Britain out of recession. How they can achieve this growth however, is unclear, and
there is very little practical advice emerging from Government and analysts. The Federation of Small Business’ (FSB) latest survey stated that many firms are struggling. Its quarterly ‘Voice of Small Business’ index found that 40% of small firms continue to be refused credit, and for the 10th consecutive quarter, businesses are laying off people. SMEs are also losing confidence. According to the
FSB survey of the 17 industry sectors measured, confidence fell in all but two. This is partly due to financial constraints, but also due to not having the right skills and expertise within their management teams to develop their businesses. They may no longer have access to professional business advisors, thanks to the demise of organisations such as Business Link. What they need more than anything now is less rhetoric and
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Focus on people INTERIM MANAGERS
more practical advice on exactly how growth can be achieved in today’s current economic climate, and what can be done at a grass-roots level to really move their business forward.
that can be turned on and off according to need – an attractive proposition for a small business. Perhaps more relevant in the current climate is the growing number of talented interim
“Running a small business can be a lonely place” Running a small business can be a lonely place. MDs are often expected to have all the answers, which is not often possible, and the buck stops with them. Many need advice and support from independent experts who can provide an external viewpoint and act as a sounding board. For most companies, hiring a business development expert right now would be considered a major risk and financially unfeasible. However, business owners also recognise that they can’t stand still. Growth plans cannot be put off indefinitely as the competition will steal a march. One solution for small businesses is to hire interim managers who are experienced in business development on a part-time basis. Interims can provide the skills and experience missing within an organisation and can also bring a fresh perspective – an injection of ideas, energy and creativity. And, unlike consultants, interims don’t just provide strategy, they implement and deliver plans: giving time-pressured small business owners the practical resource they urgently need. Hiring interims on a parttime basis is an affordable way for small businesses to engage the very best talent and experience that could improve their business, at a fraction of the price of recruiting a fulltime member of staff at this level. Interims charge a daily rate for their work and there are no overheads, such as holiday pay or pensions, to consider. Effectively, it is a resource
managers who are prepared to link some of their pay to results – particularly where they believe in the project. In a sense, they become a partner in the initiative. The other benefit is that interims have been there before; there aren’t many challenges they haven’t seen, and they know how to get companies through tough times. They will have a track record of working at a senior level in major companies, or they may have even sold their own successful business and now prefer handling shortened engagements of weeks or months rather than shackling themselves to a permanent role. So how do you hire the best interims? Firstly, don’t deliberate for too long, as the best interims tend to get snapped up. Secondly, you can always approach an IMAapproved interim recruitment provider with an established database of executives, as they will be able to source the right talent for your organisation at the right price. Make sure your brief is watertight. Have an ideal candidate in mind and make sure you select someone with the exact experience and skills you need. Remember too that interims are expected to deliver results quickly, so make sure you agree the aims, deliverables and timescales of the assignment together at the outset, so that both parties know what they are working towards. It is also vital to keep reviewing these as the assignment is progressing, to get the most out of the situation.
Remember that an interim can add value to a small business in a number of ways. They can deliver highly strategic projects, they can help to improve financial management and cashflow, and they can even provide senior level marketing or communications expertise that could help build a brand or strengthen a sales pipeline when it is needed most. Interims understand what small businesses need because they see themselves as small businesses. Self-promotion, marketing, and a portfolio of prior assignments successfully completed are the basis for winning new projects, and are a way of life for interims. Interims could therefore be the best remedy for small businesses looking to achieve growth and, with many willing to make part of their salary performance-based, this is surely a win-win situation for SMEs seeking fresh talent to move their business forward.
Charles Russam is chairman of Russam GMS, the UK’s longest established interim management provider. The company has 30 years’ experience delivering interims into private and public sector organisations throughout the UK. Russam GMS has lived through three market downturns.
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Focus on people STAFF TRAINING
Tax-friendly training Justifying spending precious funds on staff training can be tricky – luckily Lesley Stalker, head of tax at RJP, offers some tax efficient ways to finance employee training
How to account for the cost of staff training is something we are frequently asked by clients, and the answer is never straightforward. There are always a number of factors to consider, and the issue of whether tax relief can be claimed, or a course classified as a tax-deductible expense, comes down to what the course actually does for the individual in relation to his or her job role. First of all, to understand HMRC’s thinking, it is important to understand its stance on the matter of employee expenses as a whole. To be tax deductible, any expenses incurred must be ‘wholly and exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of’ the employee’s duties with their employer. This also applies to training courses. However, it may be possible for tax relief to be claimed by the employee, depending on the circumstances. Here are two scenarios to consider which help illustrate how best to account for training costs:
1. Employees being trained to undertake a specific job role
Where an employee needs to acquire a new skill in order to do a particular job required of them by the company, the cost is likely to be tax deductible. For instance, if you have a warehouse, and one of the operatives is being moved from goods despatching to driving a forklift truck, he or she will need a licence and specific training. The cost of this training will be a tax deductible expense for the company, as it is a requirement of the job. It will not be a taxable benefit on the employee as there is no direct personal benefit.
will find it very difficult to claim this cost as a tax deductible expense, as it is of personal benefit to them. Even if you consider this in context of a promotion, getting an MBA may put the employee in a
“This can be a grey area for tax purposes” position to do a different job, but HMRC will not consider that it was incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of’ the employee’s duties. If an employer recognises that a qualification has a benefit to the company and the job role, it may be possible for the employee to arrange to finance the cost of the course personally from their gross income, as part of a personal salary sacrifice scheme. This can have tax advantages. Our advice to clients when planning training is to consider whether it is ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ incurred for the job role, as outlined above. Contact: www.rjp.co.uk
2. Employees undertaking further courses to enhance their professional skills
Where an employee undertakes some extra qualifications, perhaps doing an MBA or professional qualification, this can be a grey area for tax purposes. Where an employee is undertaking a professional qualification which is required for their job role, it is likely the employer will pay for this as they view it as a job requirement. In the case of a broader qualification, such as an MBA, unless it is a requirement for the job, it is likely that the employee will meet the cost personally. They 98 May 2013
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Simple, Straightforward HR Support for SMES, at affordable prices.. Controlling your costs
Friendly advice with a personal touch
ur HR services are always up to date and available whilst you get on with running your business. We can take the headache out of being the boss by letting you concentrate on what you do best, and by you letting us help you with any HR needs and issues you might have. We can also draft letters, help with recruitment, contracts and risk assessments. We can give you all sorts of support either for a one off project by the hour or with our increasingly popular ‘Retainer Service’.
t Plain Talking HR we pride ourselves on providing simple and straightforward HR advice and help to SMEs. We use our 50-years of combined HR and Employment business knowledge and experience to ease the burden of people management for smaller companies who cannot justify the cost of in-house expertise. We can come to you or if your prefer you can visit our offices. Our meetings are all about talking the pain out of making sure you are legally up to date and in control for unexpected employment issues.
eel that you can’t afford your own HR department, we have an affordable solution for you. Sign up for a one year contract and we will credit you with 12 hours of bespoke HR consultancy. For many SMEs you will go for two or three months without needing any HR advice, until there is a disciplinary or absence problem. So you can draw down from your pot of 12 hours. Our research shows that 12 hours of consultancy will cover the majority of SME needs in a year. By signing up for a year contract you can control your costs by spreading it across the year, and it will also help prevent your from racking up an bill you haven’t budgeted for, if you have to deal with a serious matter.
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Secret diaryof an entrepreneur Kind, not mined: we share a week with the founders of KINETIQUE JEWELLERY, a unique business offering an ethical alternative to diamonds, as they navigate photo shoots, investor meetings and book publishers
laine and Jason Foreman are the founders of KinetIQue Jewellery, a small Cornish business offering a real ethical alternative to diamonds. Elaine and Jason invested their life-savings in a quest to find an alternative to the beautiful but troubled diamond, and they finally found it: in the form of the manmade IQ Diamond. They give us a glimpse into their world by sharing a few days in the life of KinetIQue, and its quest to spread the motto: ‘Kind, not mined’.
We’re in the process of redesigning our website, so we are spending the day with our web developer. We have decided to change to a Wordpressbased website, and transporting all our detailed
“After two weeks of torrential rain, the sun came out – just in time for our photo shoot” information is set to be a time-consuming and laborious task. However, in the long run it will give us greater flexibility and control of how we present our products. We spend several hours with our developer, going over the website and how we’d like to change the functionality and make navigating our products easier. We’re looking at other forms of payment gateways, to give our customers greater confidence in buying from us. The process gives us the chance to look at all the images and make a note of additional photographs required for the new site. We have a photo shoot at the end of the week, so a detailed schedule is
created, based on the location and style of each new piece of jewellery. Let’s hope the rain stops!
We set off early for the long drive up to Gloucestershire. Following on from the success of winning several prestigious awards last year, today we are spending the day with a forwardthinking investor to discuss the potential for a collaborative venture. Our mutual goal is to have a holistic manufacturing facility, producing the IQ Diamond and having an in-house jewellery design and manufacturing centre all under one roof, right here in the UK. We have a strong connection in the US who has already set up routes to market, and this will potentially make us the market leader in hybrid diamond jewellery in the UK and the US. The meeting is incredibly fruitful and has opened the door to further meetings over the coming months. After a very long day, we arrive home to a wonderful email from a customer who recently bought our Viridis IQ Diamond ring. He knew that his partner would not want a real diamond because she was aware of what went on in the diamond industry and didn’t support it. We spent a long time with him, going through the various designs and styles, as he wanted it to be really special. He had planned a surprise proposal on a cruise ship so it was exciting to be part of it, even though we had the challenge of getting her ring size without her suspecting anything! The email was to let us know that the proposal was a success and they are to be married next year. A perfect end to the day.
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“The sense of achievement is huge when you hold a piece of jewellery that you designed and created” ® Wednesday
Today we spend the morning with our goldsmith to review the progress of a couple of bespoke orders. We are passionate about the quality of each piece we send out, and spend a long time perfecting the finish. We also talk through some new designs for men, looking at cufflinks set with our IQ Diamond. We plan to launch these in early June to tie in with Father’s Day, so we will be back to sign off the sample next week. We leave with a box containing our brand new spring collection. The sense of achievement is huge when you hold a piece of jewellery that you designed and created. It is even better knowing that it is a truly ethical piece, and that its entire journey can be traced – all of two miles down the road! The new range is mainly silver with some stunning fairly-traded multi-coloured gemstones. It is important that we expand our range to include simple pieces that can be worn every day and also more elaborate pieces for the evening.
If collecting our spring range wasn’t exciting enough, today we are taking a drive to the printers to collect our new book that we have written! When we started the quest for a diamond alternative, we were astonished to discover how many myths and misconceptions there are about the diamond industry. Once we had created a business with genuine alternatives, we wanted to tell people the truth about the diamond industry and the ethical and environmental issues surrounding these mined stones. We felt
compelled to share what we have learned along the way and how consumers can not only have a clear conscience when buying a treasured piece of jewellery, but also save money too. So it seemed a natural transition to write a book: Introducing the IQ Diamond® – Kind Not Mined Jewellery. It was easy to write as we had so much to say but, having never written a book before, it was still a challenge. When we actually held the book this morning, the sense of enormity of what we have achieved dawned on us. This is the story of our entire journey to make the world we live in a better place; it was quite an emotional moment.
Luck was on our side today. After two weeks of torrential rain, the sun came out – just in time for our photo shoot. Obviously the easiest thing to do with jewellery is to photograph the pieces in a studio, but we like to make our jewellery tell a story. A lifestyle feel is something that people can relate to on a day-to-day basis. Photographing our pieces can take time, but the results are always worth it. Today we go to the beach to shoot our new spring/ summer collection. Our daughter models for us, so it really is a family business. The light is kind and the day goes without a hitch – the results are fantastic and the new collection will be live on the site on Monday but, right now, we are ready for the weekend! Contact: www.kinetique.co.uk
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Managing and Supporting your HR needs Contact Sean Molyneaux – 01932 786066 email@example.com www.personnelmanagement.co.uk
The Employment Minefield With legislation covering every aspect of employment from recruitment to termination, how are you avoiding your minefield. Trusting in luck is one option but are you sufficiently informed about employment matters to be safely get to the other side? Managing employment issues is onerous, time consuming, complicated and keeping up to date a real challenge and the problem is even greater for smaller employers without the expertise, time or money to employ their own HR resources. So what’s the solution?
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Avoiding the Mines Engaging with experienced HR Managers to help you navigate minefields is a solution and we’ve helped hundreds of employers both large and small deal with their complex employment contract, procedure, discipline, performance, redundancy and TUPE minefields. We take a pragmatic approach to HR, providing services tailored to your needs, often within fixed price service arrangements, ensuring that employment issues are managed effectively - helping you to steer through the minefield.
Starting, growing or exiting a business? ... you need lawyers who can help
Visit leading law ﬁrm Cripps Harries Hall LLP - stand 68 The Business Show & Business Startup Show ExCeL London - 6 & 7 June
T: +44 (0)1892 515 121 www.crippslaw.com Follow us: @crippslaw
Friday 7 June Corporate ﬁnance partner Nigel Stanford will talk about how to Build an ‘exit-ready’ Business.
If you have enjoyed this series so far, or would like to read one of the earlier articles, go to www.searchsmith.co.uk/tb where you can also take advantage of our reader offer.
DO YOU GO THE EXTRA MILE? So far in the series, I’ve discussed: • Attracting traffic to your website • Befriending your site visitors • & maximising conversion rates For many site owners, that’s where it stops. “I’ve got the sale, lets move on.” But business of all types has changed. It is very much a buyers market and if anything, buyers have become more discriminating, more demanding and more particular. I went to a seminar recently where the speaker argued that this was the new normality and that we, as business owners, have to adapt to it or die and I’m inclined to agree. New Reality Part of this new reality is that we are having to work harder for each sale and each piece of business. This means we have a choice; we either have to accept lower profit margins or we have to become more efficient at not only selling what we do, but delivering it. You’d expect someone like me to say that the answer lies in the digital world and I honestly believe that, to a very large extent, it does. However, business of all types works on relationships and interaction and you need to cement the relationship at the earliest possible opportunity. Business Investment If you have gone to the effort of attracting, befriending and converting a site visitor, you have made a substantial investment in each customer. In the same way that you wouldn’t step away from any other asset, you shouldn’t treat a successful conversion as the end of the road. Customers are fickle beasts. What we want them to do is to become
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ambassadors for us, sharing our products and services through social media and in the physical realm but that is by no means a given. Must Do’s… To maximise the chances, you start with the basics. The final impression isn’t just about the last touch, it’s a cumulative effect. Let’s start at the very beginning: 1. Does your site project the right image? Is the navigation clear and can a visitor quickly understand where they are, what they can do and why they should do it with you? 2. Is your content clear, clean, concise, objective and scannable? Do visitors know what to do next? 3. Whether you are selling off the page or driving enquiries, is the process to do so logical and linear? Is it as efficient as possible? 4. Now that you’ve got what you wanted – the conversion – what do you do next? If you have points 1 – 3 nailed, you’re doing well. The user journey is as good and now you have to deliver and this is where you can make or break the relationship. That Extra Step Firstly, you have to meet the standard expectations of: Deliver: • when you said you would • what you said you would • the quality (or better) than you said you would The best organisations go one step further. They add the unexpected. It doesn’t cost a lot, but brings a smile to the face of the customer and makes them glad they did business with you rather than anyone else.
Firebox.com is an excellent example. They add a bag of sweets to their deliveries providing that all important feel good factor. I know that Wiggle, the on-line bike shop, do something similar. If you provide a service, delighting the customer is about upgrades. It’s about delivering more than you said you would. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it’s all about perception. Your client needs to understand the benefit and added value and that it is essentially a freebie. What Will It Be For You? Going the extra mile and delighting your customer will vary from organisation to organisation. What you need to do is find that something that will leave a smile on your customers face and provide real added value. It may seem that this is another attack on profit, but if we delight our customers, they will become our unofficial sales team and the volumes will outweigh any associated cost.
Peter Clapperton Director, Searchsmith Searchsmith is a team of digital marketing experts who work with clients across a range of sectors and sizes to expand their digital marketing horizons and increase their ROI.
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in the valley
Oh what a beautiful morning! Tech columnist David Richards wakes up to a positive Budget for SMEs, as stamp duty on AIM shares is abolished
“It is the latest in a string of measures taken by Government to make the junior markets more attractive”
Living as I do some eight hours behind London, it can sometimes be difficult to keep abreast of UK developments as they happen. Although I have to admit I didn’t stay up to watch the Budget live, I did nevertheless make a point of checking the news as soon as I rose, the first coffee of the day still hot in my hand. Why so eager? Well, in the run-up to George Osborne’s fourth Budget speech to the Commons – as commentators, business leaders and interest groups each put forward their shopping lists for reform – one particular set of proposals caught my eye. The proposals hailed from the London Stock Exchange Group, and were aimed at increasing business investment in Britain’s SMEs. As a recent entrant on London’s junior market, the LSEG’s recommendations not only caught my eye, they garnered my sympathy too. They contained a wealth of commonsense measures, not least a call for the reduction of taxes levied on investors in early-stage businesses. Now, I’m not one to be overly pessimistic about the state of the
British public markets. Though there are many scaremongers who say that the markets are closed to investors, more often than not those people are spouting a load of rubbish. My company – and a string of other companies before and since – is living proof of the contrary. We serve to show that, for companies with good track records and solid growth potential, a public listing provides a fantastic opportunity for raising capital. The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in particular, with its flexible regulatory system, has been a haven for thousands of smaller companies seeking capital since its launch in 1995. I have said many times that the UK’s junior market represents a perfect venture alternative, offering companies things that other international markets – NASDAQ included – cannot. But while the situation is not as grim as some may make it out to be, that is not to say there aren’t improvements to be made. And so it was a good start to my Wednesday morning when I learned of Osborne’s move to abolish stamp duty on AIM shares. The decision, which will come into force in April of next
year, will see an end to the 0.5% currently levied on buyers of shares in growth companies. It is the latest in a string of measures taken by Government to make the junior markets more attractive – following on from the Treasury’s recent plans to extend ISA tax reliefs to those investing in AIM companies. The scrapping of stamp duty isn’t only good news for investors, allowing them to turn their full focus to the quite remarkable potential for return. It’s also good news for growing businesses themselves, who stand to benefit from reduced costs of capital. And if Deloitte’s analysis proves correct, the British taxpayer may be singing Osborne’s praises as up to 26,000 new jobs come into being as a result. Sure, there’s more still to be done. But all in all, it’s not a bad thing to wake up to.
David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both Silicon Valley and Sheffield. Contact: www.wandisco.com
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Focus on technology DATA PROTECTION
Protect and serve SMEs must prioritise data protection or face major problems, warns Andy Brewerton, country manager of EVault in the UK and Ireland
In 2013, nobody should need to be told why backing up data is essential. However, reports seem to suggest otherwise. A survey of 250 CIOs commissioned by EVault revealed that as many as 6% of UK respondents do not have a backup strategy. This is a
“To get the most backup bang for your buck, your priority must be getting to know the data” startling figure given that nearly a third of the IT departments surveyed suffered a data loss in the past year. Given the startling statistic from PWC and the DTI that seven out of ten businesses that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year, it is clear that there is a real risk of UK firms paying the ultimate sacrifice for underestimating the importance of data backup. While larger companies can afford the bespoke “Rolls Royce” option when it comes to backing up data, smaller companies that lack grand budgets should not be deterred from implementing a backup strategy. Businesses have varying ideas about the definition of a robust disaster recovery plan, both in terms
of the time it takes to recover critical data, and the amount of data considered crucial. Indeed, the growing complexity and individuality of IT environments, coupled with the increasing quantity of data produced, means there is no single hardand-fast solution that will suit every company’s backup needs. With so many data backup options now available, matching the backup solution to a budget is entirely realistic. For smaller enterprises in particular, which lack the time, IT resources or expertise to devote to backup, there are a number of important questions that should be asked when considering a data backup solution: which data needs protecting most? What is the main risk to my data? Who is in the best position to manage my data protection? Answering these questions will help businesses strike a balance between cost and protection. If businesses want to get the most backup bang for their buck, their priority must be getting to know their data. This means taking a step back to evaluate which data is most important, being realistic about recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) and formulating a backup strategy that reflects this data priority. In general, the more distant the RPO and the longer
the RTO requirements, the cheaper the solution will be. As a result, money can be saved by employing less costly backup methods for lower-priority data. Small businesses have distinct data protection, backup and recovery needs, quite different from consumers or large businesses. To make backup cost effective without compromising on data security, they should consider implementing more than one method. It is also worthwhile for small enterprises to consider the prospect of outsourcing certain aspects of their data management so that they can focus on sales and service, or choosing a vendor that offers integrated solutions. Contact: www.evault.com/uk Andrew Brewerton joined EVault, a Seagate company, as country manager for UK and Ireland in May 2011. With many years’ experience working in the data protection business, Andrew is now developing a network of cloud-connected partners, who deliver data protection products and services to the mid-market.
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Focus on technology BYOD
BYOD: worth the risk? Bring your own device is all the rage these days; but beware the risks, says Mike England, content director of Unified Communications Expo Bring your own device (BYOD) is gaining momentum, as more and more employees suggest they would like to use their personal tablets and smartphones for work purposes. This trend is borne out by a poll conducted by Imago Techmedia in October last year, which found that seven out of 10 businesses are under greater pressure to introduce flexible working practices than they were five years ago. However, with BYOD’s growing popularity, businesses need to be aware that alongside its many advantages, it can pose certain risks. The core disadvantage of BYOD is that it becomes harder for businesses to maintain control of access to their networks and data. Ironically, this situation is more likely to arise if a business does not recognise or ignores the demand for BYOD within the organisation, because employees may decide unilaterally to use personal devices outside the corporate firewall. This can lead to a range of security risks, for example data loss, should individuals transfer sensitive data to unauthorised devices. The first step to minimise these sorts of threats is to acknowledge the desire for a BYOD policy within the organisation, while bearing in mind that different lines of business are likely to have different needs. For example, HR and finance might not want access to remote working due to data protection concerns, whereas sales and marketing teams are more likely to recognise its benefits in certain cases, such as client visits. If a business is considering implementing BYOD, then it is vital to start by considering how this will best fit with the structure and aims of the organisation. A practical starting point is to decide what devices
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will be permitted, given it is prohibitive to try and support every handset/operating system. Having agreed which devices will qualify, the next step is to draw up an acceptable usage policy to outline how employees can use a registered device – for example, which apps can and cannot be used. When regulations are in place, users will need to understand who owns the data, what access they will have to it, and the security issues around its use. Once a strategy has been drawn up, a security policy should be implemented to map particular handsets/tablets to the types of data they can access. A decision also has to be made as to what level of security is needed for different departments and job roles. Security levels can be split into tiers: one that offers maximum privacy, so it is very secure but offers very limited access; a second that remains secure but allows some mobile access; and potentially a third that provides open mobile access. When the policy is finalised, to enable secure
“The core disadvantage of BYOD is that it becomes harder for businesses to maintain control” access to the corporate network while offering safeguards against data loss, the business, and in most cases HR, needs to research and evaluate which solutions will meet the specific needs of its employees. A great way to explore all the available options for creating a connected business is to attend trade events such as Unified Communications Expo.
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Focus on technology APPS
I’ve got an app for that… We’ve gone straight to the top with this month’s picks – these tasty little apps are two of the leading downloads for businesses, putting personal task management and internal social networking at your fingertips OMNIFOCUS Price: $19.99 Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and Mac The gist: OmniFocus is the award-winning mobile personal task management app from The Omni Group. The iPhone edition brings powerful task management functionality to users’ fingertips, with live, automatic syncing, location-aware custom actions lists, and on-the-fly task entry with voice notes and image capture. You can access agenda items for work, tasks for home, or any other lists you need, wherever you are – perfect for keeping on top of everything, both at work and at play. What’s really nifty is that, thanks to iPhone’s location awareness, OmniFocus can help you decide what to do next based on where you are. When you tap “Maps” on the home screen, it shows you the available actions that are closest to you. Wowza! Downloadable from: www.omnigroup.com/products/omnifocus
Price: FREE Compatible with: iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry The gist: Yammer is an enterprise social network: it brings the power of social networking to businesses all over the world. What’s great is that it is just as easy to use as the leading consumer software, like Facebook and Twitter, but is designed specifically for company collaboration, file sharing, knowledge exchange and team efficiency. The mission is simple: to transform the way people work together. In a world that’s constantly changing, Yammer gives innovative business and IT leaders a new way to work together to drive results. They must be doing something right – a pretty impressive 200,000 companies, including 85% of the Fortune 500, use Yammer at work to foster team collaboration, empower employees, drive business agility and socialise their intranets. Downloadable from: www.yammer.com/applications
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Focus on technology GADGETS
Battle of the brands: BlackBerry vs Sony
Cometh the hour, cometh the brandâ€ŚThese previously sleeping giants have stepped up their game, each bringing forth a smartphone heavyweight to be proud of
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[What they say]
Focus on technology GADGETS
4.2in, 768 x 1280 pixels
9mm / 137.5g BlackBerry’s foray into the world of phones without buttons (bravo) is impressive in many respects: the Z10 has a fluidity to it that makes moving between applications a dream. But we can’t help feeling that its looks let it down a little. The plastic handset feels a bit, well, cheap – especially for a smartphone which is priced at the higher end of the spectrum
[VS] [Price] [Screen] [Width/weight]
Sony Xperia Z
5.0in, 1080 x 1920 pixels
7.9mm / 146g
The slim 7.9mm body, with its reflective glass surface, definitely looks and feels slick. But with the screen clocking in at a whopping 5 inches, it’s a bit of a monster – even outdoing the Samsung Galaxy SIII size-wise. Go for it only if you like your phones to have brawn as well as brains
8 megapixels, 3264 x 2448 pixels camera resolution, autofocus, LED flash. Special features include: geo-tagging; face detection; image stabilisation
13.1 megapixels, 4128 x 3096 pixels camera resolution, autofocus, LED flash. Special features include: geo-tagging; touch focus; face detection; image stabilisation; HDR; sweep panorama
16GB, 2GB RAM Card slot: microSD, up to 64GB
16GB, 2GB RAM Card slot: microSD, up to 64GB
Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), planned upgrade to v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
[What they say]
“Experience the best of Sony in a smartphone. Introducing the precision engineered full HD smartphone. Smart, sleek & durable: no one knows how to best pack durability into a beautiful design like Sony. One touch to entertainment: discover the quick and easy way to wirelessly share music and photos from your smartphone. No cables, no buttons, no confusion”
BlackBerry 10 OS
“Experience BlackBerry flow. Introducing a completely new way to use your smartphone. A new experience where features and apps work together seamlessly and share your train of thought to help you complete tasks faster and with ease. Discover BlackBerry 10, designed to keep you moving”
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Buy a pizza delivery franchise with
Why buy a pizza delivery franchise? A large market: 70% of Brits ate pizza in 2011 And a growing market: The home delivery market grew by 20% between 2006 and 2011
Even during a recession: Sales at Domino’s, the UK’s largest pizza delivery operator, jumped 8.4% year-on-year at the recession’s peak
That exploits the boom in smartphones: Mobile devices have
fuelled a surge in online sales, which have grown from £2 million a year in 2006 to more than £5 million in 2012
Visit FranchiseSales.com to find out more about buying a pizza franchise – and more! Untitled-12 37 Talk Business Advert - April 2013 2.indd 1
18/04/2013 17:26 11/04/2013 10:30:15
Focus on franchise
Franchise news Bfa and whichfranchise.com renew partnership
Franchise Marketing Awards winners announced
THE BRITISH FRANCHISE Association and whichfranchise.com have announced a renewed agreement, continuing their closeworking online partnership which started over a decade ago. The renewal of the official online partnership agreement ensures that this important relationship continues to further develop vital resources and help prospective franchisees find the right opportunities. Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, said: ‘Whichfranchise.com has been an outstanding supporter of the bfa and the standards of good practice we represent, and is the only commercial website that has taken the conscious decision to exclusively support bfa-accredited members. ‘We are hugely proud of our relationship with whichfranchise.com, and look forward to it continuing for many years to come.’ Johnny Sellyn, MD of whichfranchise.com, said: ‘We have built our business around supporting bfa members. Their investment in ethical franchising creates a more robust and successful opportunity for franchisees.’
THE 2013 WINNERS of the prestigious Franchise Marketing Awards have been announced. Now in its eighth year, the Awards celebrates the industry’s most innovative and effective marketing campaigns. An independent panel of judges has recognised the achievements of franchise businesses across a variety of categories covering all aspects of marketing, including Best PR Campaign, a new category introduced this year. The winners were: • Best Website – Dyno • Best Print Advert – GreenThumb Lawn Treatment Service • Best Online Marketing Campaign – Cash Converters • Best Franchisee Marketing Support – Wagging Tails • Best Overall Marketing Campaign – Mac Tools • Best PR Campaign – A-Star Sports Marketing plays a vital role in attracting customers and potential franchisees. A well thought out marketing strategy
can help franchisors stand out in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace. Adrian Goodsell, head of franchise sales at Venture Marketing Group, commented: ‘This year’s Awards again attracted a host of impressive entries and have shown that franchise businesses, whether well-established or start-ups, are forging ahead with innovative and exciting marketing campaigns to promote their business.’ The winners were announced at The British and International Franchise Exhibition at Olympia.
Multi-million pound rebrand for Interlink Express ONE OF THE UK’s largest franchise operations, Interlink Express, has unveiled a multimillion pound corporate rebrand. The new branding retains the familiar Interlink look and feel, but features a redesigned company logo and a bolder use of colour. Dwain McDonald, Interlink Express’ CEO, commented: ‘We have a highly visible presence on the UK’s roads, so it’s essential that we maintain a strong corporate identity. While retaining the core elements of
the Interlink Express brand, this refresh reflects the dynamic future for our business, and gives us a really striking visual identity to match the strength of our customer service.’ The rebrand will be rolled out across Interlink’s fleet of 2,500 vehicles and 97 depots and will include new uniforms for staff, signage and marketing materials. Mr McDonald added: ‘It is important that our fleet looks great, that all the vans are new and that our staff are professional and look smart.’ talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk 117
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www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com FS-UK-MagAd-TalkforBusiness-FP(Corp)REV.indd 1 Untitled-13 37
email@example.com 1/30/13 12:33 PM 18/04/2013 17:29
To book a seat at one of Auditel’s free discovery seminars visit: www. auditelfranchise.co.uk/ publish/discovery
Focus on franchise SPOTLIGHT
Under the spotlight… Auditel Almost 20 years after first launching, we catch up with the MD of Auditel, Chris Allison, to find out what makes it the fastest-growing cost, purchase and supplier management franchise in the UK
Established in 1994, Auditel is the UK and Ireland’s favourite and fastest growing cost, purchase and supplier management franchise opportunity, with a network of over 200 highly-skilled specialists. Auditel affiliates renew franchises after five, 10, and now 15 years due to consistently achieving their financial goals and the quality of life they want for themselves and their families.
“You must remember that franchising does not fix a bad business!” Why did you pick the franchising business model?
The original thinking was to license a specialist cost and purchase management programme from the States. Three years later, when we acquired the Intellectual Property rights, I saw the opportunity for setting up a franchise. It was, unusually, a “knowledge franchise”, and the business model was simple to implement. A niche had opened up, thanks to deregulation in the energy markets, which gave businesses more choice. With the franchise model, we could maintain quality and a much greater degree of control over the operations and processes than that used in the license system.
What are the biggest challenges in franchising a business?
From the beginning, a great deal of capital, hard work and help is required to get it right. This includes advice from accountants and solicitors. Many would-be franchisors engage franchise consultants to set up the franchise, as it is a significant undertaking. In effect, you are starting a new business, which must be based on a successful and proven model, which can be replicated. You must remember that franchising does not fix a bad business!
What will your franchisees get for their money?
The opportunity of becoming a highly-skilled cost management consultant and a valued advisor
to their clients. There is the potential to build a secure, recession-proof business and earn an impressive return on investment. The average earnings of full-time Auditel consultants with established business practices are over £100k pa, while some make over £200k. Finally, yet very importantly, our franchisees enjoy the company of over 200 like-minded colleagues and make new friends for life.
Do you offer training and support?
Our award-winning, one year fast track training programme is for one or two people. During the first few weeks, a new franchisee will attend a residential training course hosted by specialist trainers, mentors and business coaches who are existing consultants and expert practitioners. The course covers client acquisition, auditing service usage, using our bespoke business analysis tools, negotiating with suppliers, presenting and implementing recommendations and developing strong client relationships. This is only the start of life-long training, which consists of regular and individual support.
How much will a franchise set me back?
The franchise fee is £36,000. This includes a fiveyear Evergreen Franchise Agreement.
What is your vision for the future of the franchise?
We aim to increase the number of franchisees to 250 and double our corporate base by 2015. To continue to support our franchisees to achieve their goals.
What has been your proudest moment in business? Being selected as the winner last year of the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award for Outstanding Franchisee Support. Contact: www.auditelfranchise.co.uk
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May Issue Full page TG2_Talk Business Full Page TG 18/04/2013 11:04 Page 1
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Focus on franchise TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE
TAKE ONE FRANCHISEE
Papa John’s, Luigi Forgione
Building an empire: Luigi Forgione shares his journey from independent takeaway owner to Papa John’s franchisee, and explains why franchising offered the perfect opportunity to build for the future
Luigi Forgione was the owner of several independent takeaways, including fish and chip shops, before deciding to get into the fast-paced world of fast-food franchising.
I also love my staff working with me so we can achieve our goals as a team. It’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team: together we are moving up!
Why did you decide to buy into the Papa What impact has buying a franchise had John’s franchise when you already owned on your life? several independent businesses? It hasn’t changed my social life or family life. Before we got involved in the franchise, we used to own fish shops, one in Harlow and one elsewhere, and I had my own takeaway in Willesden in Chingford. But we were looking to join a company that was growing, so we decided to join Papa John’s because we could see there was a future and we wanted to jump on the boat.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team” I’ve done independent. I’ve done it on my own and I’ve opened maybe 10 different shops that have been closed and sold on, but I wanted something where I could build for the future, and I wanted to learn how to get to that stage. My first experience of Papa John’s was in America. I loved the products, so we looked into it and decided to join.
What do you enjoy most about running your Papa John’s outlet?
Because I’m married and have four kids, I knew about the work: it’s not a 9-5 job, it’s a 9-12 job, and it’s seven days a week. So it hasn’t changed my lifestyle in that way. But I’ve changed from a worker to someone who manages other people. If you want to open a couple of shops, you need to learn how to manage people.
What are your long-term goals for the business?
My long-term goal is to open 10 outlets in five years, if I don’t die before then! I’d like to be the best at what I do. That’s all I hope. I want to run a decent shop, and I want to run a decent operation, where everyone is happy to work and the product is always 100%.
I like building something from scratch, from nothing, and building it up to the highest level.
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THE SIMPLE STRATEGY FOR INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS International Business Expo 3.0 event founders, Rapid Sales Solutions, reveal their simple four-pronged attack that transformed a passing idea into an international success story in just seven months. The very first international business-to-business exhibition created a tornado in Milton Keynes and the UK business community this month in the form of Business Expo 3.0, the brainchild of Buckinghamshire-based Founder, Victoria Beale. The exhibition, sponsored by Mazars LLP and organised by Victoria’s Newport Pagnell business Rapid Sales Solutions, was presented by Victoria to a crowd of over 1400 visitors on 8 March at stadiummk on International Women’s Day. Business Expo 3.0 made a statement to the world that one ambitious woman’s passing idea had metamorphosed into a monumental success in just seven months and MK Flyers can exclusively reveal the fourpronged strategy she used to attract global Blue-chip companies to the event, international media attention and robust political support for the new exhibition. “The four-pronged attack the team at Rapid Sales Solutions used proved to be simple, easily manageable and, without a doubt, very productive. The results speak for themselves! We attracted over 1400 visitors to the event on the day, over 80 exhibitors, including high profile Blue-chip organisations, and a wonderful line of support from politicians and business leaders.”
Vicky explains that the four key areas contributed equally to the success of the event and is currently being used by the Rapid Team to comprehensively develop businesses at a cost of only £1200* per month. “The key areas are Telemarketing, PR, Social Media Management and professional Video Production. Each and every factor both support and enhance the other contributing factors, steering the strategy to create success in every context. We take the stress out of applying the strategy and fully manage this for you, alongside our other bespoke offerings.” Business Expo 3.0 Road-show Seminars will soon be launched in cities around the UK, inviting businesspeople to ‘meet the experts’ and learn how to approach, manage and succeed in creating an international event. “We are also staging a Business Expo 3.0 awards evening later this year to give the exhibitors from this year’s event a chance to win some worthy limelight and a VIP space at next year’s Business Expo 3.0 that is already set to be a full set out, just like this year.” Vicky comments. “It’s an exciting time for Rapid Sales Solutions! We’ve proved to the world that we can develop business both on a national and international level and we’re welcoming a full scope of new clients every day that want to be part of the success.” To speak to the Rapid Team about the ‘Magic Quartet’ strategy and other bespoke development solutions, to place a deposit to exhibit at next year’s Business Expo 3.0 (payment plans available) or to sponsor next year’s international event please phone 01908299050 or 07856234167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the magic ‘Rapid Quartet’ used as the strategy for Business Expo 3.0 (we co-ordinated the event from start to finish in just 7 months!) and this complete solution for business growth is now offered by Rapid Sales Solutions as a comprehensive package
Social Media Management
Tel: 01908 299 050 email@example.com www.rapid-sales-solutions.co.uk
The package includes: • 200 Outbound calls • One press release, copywriting or blog content piece written for you per month* • A 90 second video to be professionally produced for marketing purposes • Targeted social media posts pushed x3 times a week through all of our channels at Rapid Sales Solutions and Business Expo 3.0 Each and every factor both support and enhance the other contributing factors, steering the strategy to create success in every context. We take the stress out of applying the strategy and fully manage this for you, alongside our other bespoke offerings. We’ve proved to the world that we can develop business both on a national and international level. *word limit applies
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Focus on franchise FUNDING
Finance your franchise Ever considered using alternative funding routes to access finance for your franchise when you need it most? Wonga for Business argues that traditional lenders are not always suited to franchisees’ needs
Franchising is a popular way of running your own business – statistics from the British Franchise Association show a rise in franchise outlets to 40,100 last year. As a franchise holder, you get the benefit of being your own boss, coupled with access to the established expertise and knowhow of the franchisor. But it’s still
“Traditional lenders still use outdated and often biased decision-making criteria” a tough operating environment, particularly in this current economic climate, and access to finance is as critical an issue for franchisees as it is for any smalland medium-sized business. Here at Wonga for Business, we believe it is vital to support small and growing franchises.
These are incredibly important to the UK economy: the British Franchise Association 2012 survey showed franchise outlets contributed £13.4bn to the UK economy in 2012 – up 8% on the previous year’s figure. The survey also showed there are an estimated 594,000 people employed in franchising in the UK – an increase of 14% on last year and a vital source of jobs in this tough economic climate. Wonga for Business’ lending supports a wide range of businesses across the country, including franchise holders – the sort of businesses seen on the high street. But just as the type of business that can be run as a franchise is diverse, so too are their funding needs. Traditional bank finance plays a part but it’s not the only answer. The saying that ‘banks only lend money to
people who don’t need it’ seems to be ringing true. Traditional lenders use outdated and often biased decision-making criteria to determine who they lend to, and who they don’t. The rigid products offered no longer fit the needs of today’s modern businesses, which don’t operate on a nine-to-five basis. If you are running a franchise you need access to cash fast, on your terms, and around the clock. At Wonga for Business, our aim is to support UK growth by making access to short-term funds as easy, transparent and flexible as possible. Wonga for Business is very straightforward. There’s a quick and easy online application process before an instant decision. For new customers it takes around 12 minutes to apply, and for existing customers, less than two minutes. This is the sort of ease and speed you cannot get with traditional credit. Unlike a bank, we don’t require a business or marketing plan, and owners don’t need to meet us face-toface. Our service is objective, transparent and completely online from start to finish. We currently offer business loans of up to £15,000 for new customers (and £25,000 for existing customers) for up to 52 weeks. Just as being a franchise holder gives you control over the running of your business, here at Wonga for Business we put people in control of their borrowing: they choose exactly how much cash they want to borrow and for how many weeks, meaning there is no need to borrow a fixed sum or pay interest for longer than necessary. Contact: www.wongaforbusiness.com
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Focus on franchise EXPANSION
Terry Mullen, operations director at Revive!, lays out her top five tips for managing successful business expansion as a fast-growing franchise
1. Have a clear focus
Having a clear, robust, well thought out plan is critical to success in any aspect of business. Once you have developed the plan and committed to the strategy you have set out – follow it. Inevitably some parts will fall into place quickly, and others may take longer than expected. When the going gets tough, it’s time to stick to your guns and forge ahead. Facing the challenges of expansion isn’t easy, and believing wholeheartedly in your own ability to follow the path laid out is the most important key to success.
“Don’t allow yourself to be held back by people within the organisation that are resistant to change”
2. Keep ahead of industry change
The fact that your business is successful and doing well today doesn’t guarantee your future. Staying the same isn’t an option. To grow the business, you need to be comfortable with the concept of change, and be able to adapt quickly to meet new and emerging needs of your own industry. Technology is changing rapidly – you only have to look to the UK high street to see which big brands have
met the challenge of Internet shopping (John Lewis) and those who didn’t evolve, relying on brand alone to keep customers coming back (Blockbuster).
3. Communicate clearly with others
In periods of rapid expansion, it is imperative that you have a good system in place to communicate quickly and effectively with everyone involved, and that they understand what is expected of them. While as the boss you may relish the challenges, for most people change is uncomfortable and unfamiliar; we need to be able to acknowledge that and help colleagues adapt to new things in a positive way. Look at how you will manage the communication within your business as you grow. Newsletters, weekly email briefings and webinars are effective tools of communication, but don’t underestimate the value of face to face briefings, particularly at line-manager level.
4. Stay in Control
Remember it is your business, and don’t allow yourself to be held back by people within the organisation that are resistant to change. Being honest about
your expectations from the very beginning is important. In our multi-van franchise business, we make it very clear at recruitment stage that we expect each franchise to grow year-on-year, but at the same time explain that we have a team of in-house advisors to help them achieve that growth.
As the business expands, it isn’t possible for those at the top to do everything themselves. Delegation doesn’t come easily to most people. It is natural to feel that only you can do the job properly, but if you don’t empower others to take on more responsibility, and in turn take some of the day-to-day running of the business off your shoulders, you will never be able to expand. Identify people with potential and then invest in top quality training and mentoring. Contact: www.revive-uk.com/franchise Terry Mullen is operations director at Revive!, the UK’s leading mobile smart repair franchise. In the past two years, the business has expanded from having 60 vans to 115, and has almost doubled the network turnover.
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6 - 7 JUNE 2013 ExCeL LONDON
Look, see, learn, meet, greet, network, get inspired and grow at this years biggest, brightest, bussiest, most switched on national business exhibition. Benefit from 250 seminars with free advice from business experts at Facebook, Linkedin and London Stock exchange 12 interactive workshops 4 open house networking features Angels Den! - Pitch your business ideas for funding from a panel of multi-millionaires View leading edge products from 350 leading business suppliers Visit 6 other satelite events and more.
HURRY! BOOK YOUR FREE TICKETS ONLINE AT www.thebusinessshow.co.uk
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Focus on advice FREELANCER.CO.UK
Outsourcing forsuccess Outsourcing is helping UK small businesses take off like never before. Leading online marketplace, Freelancer.co.uk, investigates this trend and the positive impact it is having on British start-ups
Michael Cook, 34, decided to set up his own business last August after being made redundant twice in three years. He set up britishtuckbox. co.uk to sell food favourites to British expatriates, but with little starting capital or Internet expertise, he needed to hire programmers and marketing specialists to help get his venture off the ground. ‘The idea had been germinating for a few years after my wife Clare’s brother went to work in New York and kept telling us how much he missed food from home,’ he said. He used Freelancer.co.uk, the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace, to hire freelancers to help him with design, ecommerce web development and photo editing. He will run research and other projects through the site as well.
“Rather than turning away contracts for work, they are taking it on and outsourcing it for less abroad” Michael was surprised, even sceptical, when someone told him he could get the design and development done for under £1,000 via the site. He completed the work for just £900, and he has a fully functioning business which makes profit. Michael’s is just one of many businesses starting up online. Like him, record-breaking numbers of people are starting up their own businesses. The Office of National Statistics has revealed that four million people became selfemployed entrepreneurs in the last few years. One of the major causes of this rise is that new business start-ups and the self-employed are using the Internet to outsource jobs to skilled freelancers that they can’t do themselves, or don’t have time to do. Freelancer.co.uk has seen a 300% increase in British firms outsourcing in the last 12 months. The site made it cheaper and easier for Michael to set up his business.
A recent survey of 2,000 businesses revealed that 52% of small businesses in the UK will hire more freelancers next year than they did this year. Of those that outsourced, 43% said it saved time, 60% said you only pay for services as you need them, 54% said you get access to expertise that may not otherwise be available, while 67% said it frees up your time to focus on the things you do well, while offloading the tasks you perform badly. ‘Small businesses are under-resourced and get distracted by side tasks. Outsourcing fuels growth by freeing them to concentrate on what they do best,’ said Matt Barrie, founder of Freelancer.co.uk. Matt points out that one of the main reasons that British small businesses are gaining so much value and success from outsourcing, is that they are outsourcing jobs to the developing world. ‘Small businesses in the UK are looking to outsource overseas to cut costs but also to increase their own capacity. Rather than turning away contracts for work, they are taking it on and outsourcing it for less abroad to boost profits,’ he said. His point was backed up by another recent study that showed that the rate of outsourcing to the developing world by UK small businesses grew by 35% last year. Most jobs were outsourced to India, Pakistan and the Phillippines, but China saw a large growth with an increase in 20% of small businesses outsourcing to this country. The survey found that they expect to hire more freelancers overseas in 2013, with 43% saying they will outsource more work abroad. The survey revealed that small businesses outsourced for two reasons: to have work done that they couldn’t do themselves, such as complex programming and IT, and to outsource work for a cheaper price in order to boost their margins and be able to take on more work. Of those that
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Focus on advice FREELANCER.CO.UK
In profile Freelancer.co.uk is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace. It connects over 7,291,200 employers and freelancers globally from over 234 countries and regions. Through its website, employers can hire freelancers to do work in areas such as software, writing, data entry and design, right through to engineering and the sciences, sales and marketing, and accounting and legal services.
outsourced, 48% said they outsourced to boost their capacity so they didn’t have to turn away work. The survey also found that, for 52% of respondents, outsourcing work to consultants and freelancers has been central to their capacity to grow over the past 12 months. The survey found that 42% of small business owners were increasingly having to outsource to programmers and web developers to compete with technological innovations and the increase in online trading and ecommerce. ‘A majority of small businesses in 2012 realised that, rather than ignore work that they can’t do themselves, they can outsource it,’ Matt said. ‘They are getting in expertise that may not have otherwise been available for them to hire. And when resources are in short supply, they have realised that they only pay for services as and when they need them. ‘But small businesses are also outsourcing more because the growth in outsourcing sites gives them confidence and protection. With freelancers reviewed for quality of their services and escrow payment systems ensuring security, small businesses are now able to manage a diverse workforce with reliable and easy-to-use project management systems,’ he added. Matt reckons that when British firms outsource jobs overseas they pay between a fifth and a tenth of what a domestic company would charge. ‘Labour arbitrage is an immense macro trend and we are helping to internationalise the market,’ he said. ‘Outsourcing abroad fuels growth that is worth so much more than the small sums going offshore. It’s creating jobs, building successful businesses and helping to restore the economy to full growth.’
“Small businesses are under-resourced and get distracted by side tasks” Freelancing by numbers • 52% = amount of UK small businesses that will hire more freelancers next year • 43% = amount which said outsourcing saved time • 54% = amount which said outsourcing gives access to expertise • 67% = amount which said outsourcing frees up your time to focus on the things you do well • 43% = amount which said they will outsource more work abroad in 2013 • 35% = the rate by which outsourcing to the developing world by UK small businesses grew last year • 52% = amount of respondents who said outsourcing has been central to their capacity to grow over the past 12 months
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d Vi o Bo n’ sit o t d or K e s n l oW ay The Commercial Finance Expo is the only show in the UK for business finance intermediaries. Whether you specialise in leasing, buy to let mortgages, invoice finance, commercial mortgages or offer all types of finance to your clients, this show will put you in touch with the active funders in the market. • •
The Pavilion, NEC, Birmingham
26th June 2013
For more information and to book your place visit www.commercialfinanceexpo.co.uk
BIGGEST S H OW E V ER
All the active lenders under one roof The NACFB Conference will be held on the day featuring top speakers from across the industry Underwriters will be available on many of the stands on the day for your more difficult cases
National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers
Celebrating 20 Years in 2012
meet the peopl� who
will inspir� your marketin� and ecommerc� strategies?
Paz, Security & Internationalisation
Direct Ma� 15t� 2013,
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ecom-manchester.co.uk/register PAYMENT, SECURITY PAYMENT,DELIVERY DIGITAL & MOBILE DIGITAL & MOBILE DIGITAL eCOMMERCE & MOBILE & eCOMMERCE eCOMMERCE & PAYMENT, & & SECURITY &SECURITY& & DELIVERY &DELIVERY & INTERNATIONALISATION INTERNATIONALISATION CUSTOMER LOYALTY MARKETING MARKETING MARKETING mCOMMERCE mCOMMERCE mCOMMERCE INTERNATIONALISATION CUSTOMERCUSTOMER LOYALTY LOYALTY
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DIGITAL & MOBILE MARKETING
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Focus on advice BASEPOINT
Working the network Early starts, intimidating group sizes and the same old attendees are just some of the complaints levelled at networking events. Brian Andrews, executive director of BASEPOINT CENTRES, tell us how they are redressing the balance with free Networking Hubs
etting the most out of networking is as much about having the right product or service to sell as it is about going to the right networking event. Although the ability to network is naturally part of our social DNA, we often hit many barriers when networking for our business. From formal networking events to those with little or no structure, knowing who you are and what makes you comfortable will ultimately help you to determine which type of event is right for you. Networking has undergone a transformation in recent years, especially with the popularity of online social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. However, although this has enhanced the way in which businesses can interact, you truly can’t put a value on doing business face to face, no matter how many “connections” you have.
“Everyone was very friendly and forthcoming and I made some great contacts” There are a variety of networking formats, and these can differ wildly in terms of style and formality, timings and cost, but one thing to bear in mind is that there isn’t a “one size fits all” category. Facilitating and encouraging SMEs to develop a network of contacts is an important aspect of business centre operator Basepoint’s ethos, which is why it hosts free business-to-business ‘Networking Hubs’ in its 29 business centres across the South and the Midlands. Following research and feedback from customers, Basepoint discovered that a number of SMEs weren’t satisfied with their networking options. Obstacles, such as early morning starts, few attendees, same attendees, lack of guest speakers and stringent formats were just a few of the issues highlighted.
Brian Andrews, executive director of Basepoint Centres, comments: ‘Our centres have long been holding networking events hosted by other external companies, and while these networking groups can be very beneficial, some do charge a fee and can be very regimented with their approach, which doesn’t suit all SMEs. ‘As such, we introduced a free event that was less formal, but still allowed businesses to meet like-minded people – whether that’s a new business contact or a supplier – share ideas and essentially create opportunities.’ Since April 2011, Basepoint has hosted 112 Networking Hubs for 3032 businesses. The format includes talks from guest speakers, who offer tips and relevant advice across a wide range of subjects, including tax, employment, social media, HR and marketing (to name a few) for small businesses. Basepoint has found that SMEs can feel overwhelmed when networking, especially in larger groups. To alleviate this issue, they introduced smaller groups, guest speakers, an informal setting and a looser timetable. Speakers are particularly important, often providing a break from the networking format, good topics of conversation and, most importantly of all, business advice through shared knowledge. All with the added benefit of it being held over lunch, which avoids early morning starts or too much time out of the working day. Brian adds: ‘In the minefield that is running a small business – particularly in the early stages – people need all the support and advice they can get. With online networking becoming more popular than ever, we’re losing many of our free face to face business advice services. This is why we’ve introduced guest speakers into our networking format, as it allows SMEs to both learn and network at the same time. We take a proactive attitude towards building productive relationships with local business, educational organisations and Local Authorities, and from
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Focus on advice BASEPOINT
these connections there are often people who are willing to provide their time to speak and share their knowledge at our events. This in turn offers SMEs opportunities to network within their local and regional business communities, as well as providing introductions to organisations that may be able to assist them.’ Aaron Haggard from DX Engineering Solutions, who attended a Networking Hub at Basepoint Gosport, said: ‘The Networking Hub is a great way to meet like-minded professionals from the local area. Everyone was very friendly and forthcoming, and I made some great contacts
“People need all the support and advice they can get ” which I can use in the future, not only to offer our services to, but to contact for advice. The speaker, Isobel Gatherer of Solent Office Solutions, made some great points which I will be implementing immediately. You couldn’t ask for a better venue to hold an event like this.’ Lorraine May, centre manager at Basepoint Folkestone, said: ‘Our recent Networking Hub was a great success and the topics discussed were very beneficial to all of our attendees. The event has already generated a fantastic business opportunity – one attendee, Sd’A Marketing, received an order for 10,000 leaflets through Twitter as a result of our guest speaker’s insightful and helpful presentation on social media.’ Brian Andrews added: ‘The future for our Networking Hubs is to continue with local events
and to expand this into regional Networking Hubs, ultimately introducing a national Networking Hub with popular speakers. We’ve had fantastic support and recognition for our speakers, so we are planning to extend this element and introduce B2B seminars, which will expand on the topical subjects that are significant to start-up business and SMEs: a perfect mix of free networking and seminars.’ Basepoint’s Networking Hubs are free and open to all local businesses – and you don’t have to be a Basepoint licensee to attend. For further information or to join the network of over 55,000 social media contacts, please visit: www.basepoint.co.uk.
Editorial provided by Lisa Northcott at Foundation PR Ltd. Contact: www.basepoint.co.uk www.theactfoundation.co.uk
In profile Basepoint specialises in the development and operation of managed business, innovation and enterprise centres. These centres provide comprehensive accommodation and support infrastructure packages to new and early-stage companies within a supportive and secure environment. The company operates both wholly- and part-owned centres, as well as managing facilities on behalf of public sector bodies. Group operations currently extend across southern England and the Midlands, with additional opportunities under assessment across the UK. Basepoint is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The ACT Foundation, a leading grant-making charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of those in need. The ACT Foundation derives its income from a substantial and diversified property portfolio, of which Basepoint is a major constituent.
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t Quickfund we recognise that raiding funds for businesses has always been challenging let alone in the wake of a recession! Most high street banks remain extremely cautious about lending money and would sometimes seem to be working against their clients, however with the help of quickfund and an immediate cash injection you can now confidently invest in your business for the future Quickfund offers a simple alternative to traditional bank loans and overdrafts without having to go through a lengthy application process or having to submit a business plan. We do not charge any application fees nor do we require proof of income or security and when you get the cash you can use it for any purpose! A quickfund cash advance is granted against future credit/debit sales or against average monthly turnover, you must have been established for at least 12 months. Typical cash advances range from £3500 - £500,000 and include such clients as general retailers, convenience stores, Manufacturers, Printers, dentists, hotels, bars & restaurants Quickfund ‘the smarter cash injection’ It’s just that! You get the cash you need now to invest in future growth by expanding the business or purchasing equipment, which means you start earning straight away from your investment. More importantly as your repayment is linked to your turnover it’s extremely cash flow friendly, which means as you get busier you pay back more and by doing so your advance is repaid quicker You don’t get stuck with a huge bank loan that demands regular payments so if you experience a quit period your payments are reduced!
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As the UK’s longest running organisation for professional leaders, we are dedicated to supporting our members, encouraging entrepreneurial activity and promoting the highest levels of professional business conduct. T: 020 7766 8888 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.iod.com
INDEZ specialises in producing high-growth, high conversion e-commerce businesses, capable of dominating niche areas and selling profitably into global markets. We offer e-commerce consultancy, e-commerce design and build and e-commerce marketing. T: 0141 204 5297 W: www.indez.com E: email@example.com
Outhouse-UK is a premier provider of virtual Company Name Here con re restem back office support forTario smallinbusinesses. With a cuptat enlhimus aboris from illat. diary Arumbookings quae estrum wide range of services, to destiam corum services id magnis accountsillitiure admin,coreped our fast itatin and efficient destiam illitiure itatin corum id magnis free up your timecoreped to concentrate on core estem auria eperferum entthings moditesed quias business activities and the that you do ipsumqu untiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. best. T:T:00000 000000 0121 663 0564 E: W:firstname.lastname@example.org www.outhouse-uk.com W: E: www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk email@example.com
If you would like to find out what an award winning accountancy firm could do for you, we are happy to provide a free, no obligation consultation. • Business start ups Tario in con re restem Company Name Here • Accountancy cuptat enlhimus aboris illat. Arum quae estrum • Auditillitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis destiam • Bookkeeping destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis • Taxation estem auria eperferum ent moditesed quias • Payrolluntiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. ipsumqu 01322000000 614681 T:T:00000 firstname.lastname@example.org E:E:email@example.com W:www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk www.gary-sargeant.co.uk W:
On-site computer support Company Name Here Tariofor in small con re restem businesses and home Surrey, cuptat enlhimus aboriscomputers illat. Aruminquae estrum Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Software destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis installation and coreped upgrades, Hardware destiam illitiure itatin corum id magnis installation/advice, Networking and quias estem auria eperferum ent moditesed broadband, PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad support ipsumqu untiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. 01628000000 762765 / 07931 363457 T:T:00000 E:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com E: W:www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk www.redsquirrelsupport.com W:
Company Name Here Tario in con re restem cuptat enlhimus aboris illat. Arum quae estrum destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis destiam illitiure coreped itatin corum id magnis Quickfund provide working capital to grow estem auria eperferum ent moditesed quias your business with minimal qualifications. ipsumqu untiam di temporit face stiuhhggmqu. £3500 - £100k T:T:00000 01279000000 759470 E: W:firstname.lastname@example.org www.thecfgroup.eu W: www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk E: email@example.com
Bespoke HR for your business. Professional, honest and easy to understand HR consultant support and advice that suits you. Regular and ad-hoc advice to HR audit Carruthers HR can help. T: 07930153940 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.carruthershr.co.uk
We craft compelling websites and persuasive media strategies. Through an in-depth and collaborative process, we will discover what is unique about you, then shout it from the virtual rooftops. T: +44 20 8399 4948 E: email@example.com W: www.joyandrevolution.co.uk
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Affordable HR Solutions Stellarise help ambitious smaller companies become leaders in their field through the innovative use of IT. We are a leading provider of affordable IT support, effective project delivery and strategic advice. . T: 020 3137 3550 W: www.stellarise.com
Affordable HR Solutions can take care of your ad hoc people issues enabling you to focus on your core business. Visit our website to see our range of services. T: 01304 366340 W: www.affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk E: Info@affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk
Hampden provide a complete client focused IT solution tailored to your business. We provide a complete service that combines technical expertise with experience and knowledge for cost effective IT solutions. T: 01865 233000 W: www.hampdensolutions.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Turner Business Consultants Ltd services are always flexible tailored to your specific needs. • Health and Safety Management • Fire Risk Assessment • CDM Coordination • Asbestos Management • Quality Management • Environmental Management • Information Technology Security • Business Continuity Plans • Business Strategy Development • Civil Engineering Consultancy services T: 01268 649006 E: email@example.com W: www.turnerbusinessconsultants.co.uk
Hamilton’s Asset Management services enable customers to: • Optimise usage of IT assets by improved asset allocation • Manage and measure IT operations and initiatives • Identify and mitigate risk (e.g. under-licensing of software products) • Minimise procurement costs • Improve maintenance activity and costs • Maximise the value of surplus IT equipment utilising Hamilton’s expert remarketing team T: 0203 327 2390 W: www.hamilton-am.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
KashFlow Software Limited is a privately owned company based in London, England. We provide online accounting software for small businesses owners — the emphasis always being on ease of use, automation and integration. We’re widely regarded as a pioneer of the SaaS business model and as the leader in web-based accounting. T: 0800 848 8301 W: www.kashflow.com E: email@example.com
We create effective and meaningful Web, Design and Print for small to medium sized businesses creating big results. We enhance customer experiences and help businesses grow through effectively designed communications. Based in the South East, we work for clients both local and across the UK. T: 01438 369882 W: www.gtm-uk.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete Office Search is committed to providing clients a complete office space search solution from our first contact to occupation of your office. Unlike other office finder companies we do not refer you or your details to every single business centre and landlord under the sun. T: (0)208 868 1959. W: www.completeofficesearch.com E: email@example.com
At Infinite Brush everyone has a creative mind. We make sure every technical and creative decision we make can help you make a sale. T: 01753 251 241 W: www.infinitebrush.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our business is focused on providing exceptional design, web, hosting and print • Online Marketing • Website Updating • Content Management • PPC • Ecommerce • Email • Business Cards • Flyers • Stationery • Leaflets • Promotional Items • Posters • Banners T: 01865 600 366 W: www.nervenet.co.uk E: email@example.com
We are passionate about making our customers’ working life easier, therefore we act as the platform through which they can access a full array of virtual services, such as: • Virtual PA and Admin Services • Graphic Design • Web Solutions • IT Support • Translation • Marketing and PR
• Finance and accounting. T: 0845 6805156
W: www.proficientva.co.uk E: contact@ proficientva.co.uk
Through working in partnership with you, and by understanding your business and providing bespoke support, we add value and provide commercial HR solutions that contribute to your bottom-line. T: 07973 958149 or 01604 688757 W: www.hrbespokesolutions.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally… HE SAID/SHE SAID
He said/she said Entrepreneurs love a bit of self-promotion, as displayed this month all over their Twitter accounts…Oh yes, there’s nothing like a #shamelessplug. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Will King @KingofShaves Don’t be an April Fool. Choose King of Shaves, no joke – it’s the BEST (& made in Great Britain too :) #JoinOurKingdom You’re not fooling anyone with that smiley face King. We know it’s another shameless plug moment.
Hilary Devey @HilaryDevey I can tell you all now that the first episode of The Intern will be shown on C4 on the 4th April at 9 pm. I hope you will all watch xxx Yes, we’ll admit it – the kisses are a nice touch Hilary. Take note tweetpreneurs: if you’re going to do a shameless plug, why not give your followers a little love while you’re at it?
Lord Sugar @Lord_Sugar 2600 more followers to hit 2.8m. Guess when ??? Wait for it…NOW!
Claire Young @ClaireLYoung OMG a hotel chain has just sent me an Xmas marketing email!!!! Can we have summer first please? Judging by the dreadful weather – snow in April, anyone? – we’d say not Claire.
Donald J Trump @realDonaldTrump I played football and baseball, sorry, but said to be the best bball player in N.Y. State-ask coach Ted Dobias-said best he ever coached. Wow, just…wow. Prize for the most ridiculous, over-confident bragging goes to (big surprise) Mr Trump. Impressively shameless sir.
Karren Brady @karren_brady Last time I was in the chelsea FC boardroom I found a bra in the cupboard! wonder what I’ll find today!? We know, we know, not a shameless plug tweet as such. But we couldn’t not slip this one in…Dirty footballer jokes on a postcard please.
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PLAYING MUSIC? MAKE SURE YOUâ€™RE LICENSED.
Music creates a better working atmosphere 77% of businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and creates a better working environment.* If you play music in your business, it is a legal requirement to obtain the correct music licences. In most instances, a licence is required from both PPL and PRS for Music. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects
and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers. A PPL licence can cost your business as little as 19p per day. For more information on how to obtain your PPL licence visit ppluk.com or call 020 7534 1070. To find out more about how music can work for your business visit musicworksforyou.com. *MusicWorks survey of 1000 people, conducted May 2012.
Taking an open and honest look at the fight that entrepreneurs face to reach success, Talk Business magazine is bursting with inspiration, t...
Published on Apr 25, 2013
Taking an open and honest look at the fight that entrepreneurs face to reach success, Talk Business magazine is bursting with inspiration, t...