Page 1

Serving 5,000 deciSion-makerS in and around Peterborough

ESSENTIAL READING FOR LOCAL EXECUTIVE LEADERS

SCENE FREE!

Inside this issue Latest news and views, including: Act now on online privacy rules Avoid the wrath of the regulator In search of hot-spots Take a short-haul flight to the sun

Grow green It pays to benefit the environment

Accident that spurred a family business A CEO’s story

HEADlines Up close and personal with rugby-loving city printer Neil Pretsell


NOVEMBER 2011

ESSENTIAL READING FOR LOCAL EXECUTIVE LEADERS

Welcome My daughter was fortunate enough to be able to design her kitchen from scratch. She asked me for some old-head advice and I said: “Build into the plan a place to hide rubbish and recycling bins.” She now has a pantry, with floor space taken up by large black, green and brown (compost) bins. How good we are getting at being green in our homes – recycling, turning off taps and lights, lowering the thermostat – to save the planet and our pockets. But I wonder why we are less responsible at work. How many of us disappear out of the door without a thought to switching off the lights or unplugging devices – even leaving our precious, data-filled computers in ‘sleep’ mode, rather than actually off. Our cover story in this issue (page 7) advises companies of all sizes to take a closer look at their environmental policies and to go beyond keeping their electricity consumption down or being mindful of where they dispose of rubbish. Brands are now waving bright green flags at consumers to attract their custom. Aside from price considerations – bargains will always lure us – companies which shout loud their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategies can stand out from the crowd in the current saturated and cash-starved marketplace: CSR is now sexy! If your CSR policy still leaves a lot to be desired, start by attending the water use and abuse conference in the city this month (details, page 6).

All the best, Sally Hooton.

The Business Scene Team Publisher Heidi Semple Editor Sally Hooton Sub editor Carol Randall Design Jim Counsell Advertising Charlotte Charlesworth Address: Old School House, Great North Road, Wittering, Peterborough, PE8 6BX

Telephone: +44 (0)1780 783613 Email: info@scenepublishing.co.uk www.thescenemagazine.co.uk

4

CONTENTS

03

SCENE

News – Penny Lord says the city’s one-to-one business advice service which has been hit by cutbacks could continue with support from local firms

10

Finance expert columnist Nick Ash looks at the looming double-dip and wonders how it might be avoided

11

Legal Eagle Colin O’Malley calls for swift action on the forthcoming ePrivacy Directive

12

Drive – Tim Barnes-Clay tests a car which, he says, is ideal for both business and family use

15

Webwise – What’s the difference between spyware and trojans? Get the digital marketing know-how from our expert, Stan Nyokas

18

Clicks & Mortar – Lack of IT skills is putting a strain on firms, says Julian Holmes. PLUS, our health and safety guru looks at training

21

Workforce – Simon Tytherleigh tells of changes in the unfair dismissal rules. PLUS our HR expert examines legalities surrounding the paperless office

23

Skillset – Engage with your customers, says Don Wiid. PLUS our life coach has tips for time-management

24

Off Duty – Jane Price guides you on a quick trip to less wintery hot-spots

26

What’s On – Dates for your diary, PLUS Neil Darwin has news of a networking scheme promoting business across the region

Serving 5,000 executives in and around Peterborough

04

Business confidence is low in Lincolnshire, says Simon Beardsley

07

Greener businesses can reap the benefits, says Chas Moloney

19

An accident at work was the catalyst for a successful enterprise

30

A personal PROfile of Peterborough Rugby Club chairman Neil Pretsell


04

NEWS

NOVEMBER 2011

NEWS Economic recovery: risk increasing as gloom spreads across region ationwide, business confidence is low and that gloomy outlook is currently reflected across Lincolnshire, according to a report from the county’s council and chamber of commerce. The quarterly economic survey suggests there are risks facing the region’s economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The Q3 results are weaker than in previous quarters, with business confidence decreasing and an average of 54 per cent of businesses operating below full capacity. Simon Beardsley, chief executive of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, described the regional survey results as concerning, but not entirely surprising. He said: “Many of the balances are in positive territory, but they

N

Simon Beardsley.

are not as strong as we’d like to see. The survey shows the real risks facing the economy and the need for the Government to act now in putting business growth at the heart of all its policies. “For example, cash flow remains a real concern for businesses, indicating they are under financial pressures. Many businesses are faced with unfavourable payment terms and a lack of access to capital.” In the Lincolnshire service sector, domestic sales and orders have increased this quarter and 12 per cent of businesses have upped their staff levels. But only five per cent have seen an improvement in cash flows and just 28 per cent are predicting an improvement in turnover. In the manufacturing sector, sales and orders dropped by eight per cent on Q2. Firms are cutting back on their workforce and the increasing cost of raw materials is adding pressure on them to raise prices.

Beardsley added: “The pace of the UK recovery will remain slow. We can avoid a recession, but this relies on Government making some tough policy choices. While it is imperative that the Government perseveres with its deficit-cutting plan, there must be significant re-allocation of priorities within the overall spending envelope. We need a much greater focus on those policies that will help businesses expand, take on more staff, export and invest. “Businesses need continuous reassurance that there is a plan for fiscal stability and a clear road map to steer us towards a strong recovery. “Government must recognise that business is good for Britain and put in place measures to bolster confidence and support those companies that have potential to grow. That includes a commitment to a Plan A+ for growth, with alternative paths ready, in case of further shocks from foreign shores.”

Help us survive, says advisor team Business support group hit by cuts A

free, one-to-one support facility for businesses, which has been operating in the area for nearly two years, is to cease – a victim of government cuts. But staff hope to continue to provide the training, networking and grant-provision service as a charity – with financial support from local firms. Penny Lord, business advisor at UK CEED (Centre for Economic and Environmental Development) – which operates from offices at the Eco Innovation Centre in City Road, Peterborough – believes the Business Support project (a part of UK CEED) can be continued, despite cutbacks. She said: “It's regrettable the funding for that part of the charity has ceased but we now need to change it to become self-financing. “There has been a big demand for the face-to-face support provided and we would like to continue to offer this, along with support for the grant sourcing. Both areas have been

calls for back-up from companies successful and well received and, with the radical changes taking place at Business Link, I think there will be a need, going forward.” The city’s Business Link face-to-face advice service has also been hit by cutbacks. Penny and the Business Support team are now carrying out an online poll to gauge the interest in continuing the project. Penny explained how the group would operate: “We think for £125 per annum, per business, we would be able to facilitate: l 6/8 training or networking events per year. l Grant information in an e-newsletter with information of other business services available for members to access with support where possible to access grants and any free training. l 1:1 face-to-face business

support – one session per year of 1.5 hours as part of the membership package. l Option to buy Penny business advice and Lord. support at a member’s rate as needed – we envisage in the order of £60/session of 1.5 hours. l Discounted room hire in the Eco Centre offices in City Road. “If there are other items required, firms should let us know. As a charity, our aim is to cover costs on this service. If there is no support then we will not be able to provide this advisory service.” Give your feedback, visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/TNDWHWZ

or contact Penny Lord, email: p.lord@ukceed.org

Prepare for the pensions ‘time bomb’, firms urged ith less than 12 months to prepare for the introduction of pensions auto-enrolment, businesses are being urged to act now to get to grips with its requirements. To help employers understand what steps they need to take to ensure compliance, Peterborough accountancy firm Rawlinsons is staging a series of free briefings at lunchtimes on November 16, 17, 21 and 22. Auto-enrolment will see all employees automatically enrolled onto their employer’s pension scheme. The requirement will be phased in over four years and affects all staff aged between 22 and pension age earning more than around £7,500 a year. Rawlinsons’ partner, Ken Craig, said: “Businesses need to be acting now to ensure they are aware of the Ken Craig. changes they will need to make and the necessary systems they will have to put in place. The briefings will help explain the requirements and their implementation.” The two-hour briefings will take place at Rawlinsons in Lincoln Road, Peterborough. To book your place, email: Carolyn.lake@rawlinsons.co.uk or call Carolyn on 01733 568321.

W

Franchise deals: upturn in uptake he franchising sector is bucking the downward trend in British business with record numbers of firms offering franchises, and individuals buying opportunities. At a recent reception in Norwich, MPs, officials from UK Trade and Industry and representatives from major banks heard how more people want to be their own bosses – and banks have funds available for them. Professor Roy Seaman, MD of Franchise Development Services in Norwich, said there are now more than 1,500 franchisors in the UK and 2,500 businesses looking to expand in this way. The sector’s turnover was £12.4bn in 2010, five per cent up year on year, and employs 500,000 people.

T


NOVEMBER 2011

NEWS

Long service rewarded ‘More online traders needed’ ore companies need to participate in cross-border online trading in order to improve competition and help attract more consumers with lower prices, a new report claims. The online shopping experience has improved for consumers, with 94 per cent of cross-border orders being successfully delivered, says the report by a working group of the European Consumer Centres’ Network (ECCN). However, the study highlights some concerns with businesses’ compliance with EU consumer laws and says websites could do more to build consumer trust in cross-border trading. The report says: 'The market needs more traders who

M

Thirteen members of the CPFT – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised for clocking up 381 years of service in the NHS. Rosilyn Nightingale, Suzanne West and Lynne MacDonald received retirement awards after 15 years’ service. Lee Brosan, Lesley Lewis, Pat Phillips, Vanaja

Permal, Henri Toh and Annette Williams received awards for 25 years’ service. Margaret Freyher, Nobbie Joy, Indira Ramtohul and Elizabeth White received awards for 35 years’ service. The CPFT employs 2,500 people across 75 sites in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough and Fenland.

Consumer spend: lowest since 2000 pending on household essentials such as groceries and fuel has fallen to its lowest level in almost a decade as families become increasingly concerned about the UK’s frail economy. According to the Office for National Statistics, consumers spent £620 million less on food,

S

equivalent to £30 per household, during the three months to the end of June, compared with the first three months of the year. Total spending on food was £18.6billion, the lowest quarterly figure since the spring of 2002. Retailers say much of the difference was due to shoppers swapping premium brands

Supermarkets’ price wars reflect volatile economy upermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose vying to win share with cash-strapped consumers are highlighting low prices in marketing campaigns. Waitrose is launching a new integrated ad campaign focusing on its low-cost Essentials line, an offer of free home delivery of goods ordered online and a pledge to match prices offered by rivals Tesco on around a thousand products. Tesco recently launched its Big Price Drop initiative, which involves the firm spending £500m to cut the price of 3,000 key own-label products. Ads claimed certain Tesco lines to be 50 per cent cheaper than branded rivals. The supermarkets’ renewed focus on value follows the release of official figures reporting GDP grew by just 0.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2011 and unemployment reached

S

2.51m in the three months to July. A Waitrose spokeswoman is reported as saying: “Our position on value has never been stronger. This campaign has the aim of highlighting that.” Waitrose marketing director, Rupert Thomas, added: “Our customers are telling us that value is now more important than ever.” Announcing the Big Price Drop, Tesco specifically cited the UK’s current economic volatility as having informed the development of the campaign. It claimed that around 80 per cent of consumers are currently experiencing an income squeeze. Tesco UK CEO Richard Brasher said: “Across the country, families are telling us the same thing – their budgets are under real pressure. “They want more help today to afford every day essentials.”

for cheaper products and own-brand lines. Petrol sales and spending on transport slumped to a level last seen in early 2000. At £28.1billion it was down £820million, equivalent to £35 less per household. The total spent on expenses such as holidays, food, clothing, eating out and entertaining over the second quarter fell by £1.6billion. The downturn in consumer spending was reflected in poor British sales figures from Tesco, its worst in around two decades. With inflation running at 4.5 per cent, Scott Corfe, of the Centre for Economics and Business Research thinktank, said: “Consumers have seen a prolonged, substantial erosion in their living standards, which is unlikely to ease until 2012.” A survey by Legal & General said more than a million extra households struggle to pay the bills, compared with a year ago, and 11.5 million homes (around half) risk sinking into debt. In June, the Bank of England said consumers faced several more ‘uncomfortable’ years. Household disposable income in the first three months of the year was 2.7 per cent lower than the same period in 2010 – which was the biggest annual drop in spending power since 1977, the Office for National Statistics said.

are willing to sell online across borders. It seems both traders and consumers would benefit from more transparency in the market in the long-term, as transparency would contribute to minimise the differences for a trader to sell to the domestic market only or to sell across borders. 'If more traders would sell online across borders, it would also provide for a wider range of products for the consumers to select from. This would further make the market more efficient and create healthy competition in the market, which would ultimately benefit the customer with lower prices.' The ECCN is made up of consumer centres in each of the 27 EU member states as well as centres in Norway and Iceland. The centres deal specifically with complaints from consumers about cross-border trade. The organisations are part funded by the European Commission and individual member countries. The ECCN working group employed 17 ‘mystery shoppers’ to conduct tests on cross-border shopping over the Internet. The shoppers made 305 purchases from websites across 28 different countries.

Most products were delivered successfully, but the shoppers were not always given enough information about whom they were trading with, correct details of traders’ returns policies and cost, and information on whether the sites were secure, the report said. Under the EU’s Distance Selling Directive, traders must display contact information, provide details of the final cost consumers can expect to pay for goods and services, including delivery costs and any additional charges, and display information explaining the consumers’ rights to withdraw from the transaction and receive a full refund if they return the goods received within at least seven working days unless an alternative arrangement is agreed.

05


06

NEWS

NOVEMBER 2011

Europeans gather for green event ater Connect 2011 – a major water and wastewater conference and matchmaking event – is being held in the Kingsgate Centre in Peterborough on November 22, bringing together people from around Europe. It is being run in conjunction with Anglian Water, British Water, the Enterprise Europe Network and the Eco Innovation Cluster Partnership (EcoCluP), together with UK CEED, and is an opportunity for businesses to meet experts from the European water industry. Some 20 green business and representatives from across Europe will attend and the event is an opportunity to find local and European partners. Supported by a half-day conference looking at water usage, there is also an evening networking session in the Cathedral, sponsored by Opportunity Peterborough. For more details, email: p.lord@ukceed.org

W

Saving water ‘can help bottom line’ ater usage is ‘the next carbon’ issue that businesses, especially in the food and agriculture sector, need to sit up and take notice of. That’s the message from chief executive of Corporate Culture and former head of corporate responsibility at Anglian Water, Amanda Long. In a presentation given to The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Food, Drink and Agriculture Group (CIM FDA), she explained how the ‘green’ CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) debate is moving into sustainable business and how water usage could and should be a core issue. Water usage is a more serious issue than we may think. Take our average morning usage – adding up both the water we use, and the water used in manufacturing the products we use, in the first 15 minutes of

W

every day we each have a global water footprint of 10,000 litres. With these sobering statistics in mind, it’s clear that thinking about water isn’t ‘wet’ but is imperative. Long said: “Behavioural change is the bit that makes sustainability happen. Imagine if we could do with water what has been done with recycling; where a major social marketing programme has had a meaningful impact not just on the environment, but also on society as a whole.” She identified three consumer ‘mega trends’ which have primed the ground for water to be the next ‘big thing’ in sustainability: •The end of age of abundance: we understand our resources are finite •Global citizenship: we have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the global domino effect of our behaviour

•The rise of the ‘citizen consumer’: we are more willing to engage ‘for’ or ‘against’ issues. Long said: “The reality is, once Amanda business ‘gets’ that we Long. are all in the business of helping consumers live more sustainable lives, then brands, products and services will be increasingly targeted at meeting those needs. It will contribute to building a more sustainable future for society and more sustainable marketplaces for business.” Long demonstrated how companies like Pepsico or Unilever – whom she suggests are leading the way in water issues – are taking their stewardship roles seriously. Companies like Anglian Water, or global brand giants like Unilever, understand sustainable business and effecting consumer change have a demonstrable impact on the bottom line, she added.


NOVEMBER 2011

COVER STORY

Grow green It pays to benefit the environment, says guest author Chas Moloney.

Chas Moloney is marketing director, Ricoh UK. he rise of environmental regulations is heavily impacting the way in which companies choose to market themselves. Being seen as ‘green’ is now increasingly important to a brand, with many viewing these credentials as a way for a company to gain competitive advantage in a crowded market place. Green credentials increasingly influence buying decisions, whether in the case of consumers buying a product or companies choosing to partner with like-minded suppliers for their business needs. So, let’s consider today’s sustainability landscape, why it is crucial for long-term business innovation and how implementing green marketing practices reaps rewards in the long run.

T

Positioning the company Green, eco-friendly, sustainable, carbon efficient, environmentally friendly – the list of words associated with being green is endless.

However, being ‘green’ no longer means simply meeting sustainability regulatory requirements. Using less paper in the office and having the odd recycling bin in the staff kitchen is a start, but businesses can now look to more intuitive ways to position their company as eco-friendly, to employees and to stakeholders. Fundamentally, a green ethos must be part of an organisation’s DNA. Why sustainability in business matters Just as the technology revolution has streamlined business practices across the globe, the drive to adopt a sustainable model is propelling businesses to take a new look at their operations. With technology, the step-change did not happen overnight, as businesses took their time to ensure the right technology was being implemented for the right outcomes. However, sustainability has a more urgent feel.

Governments are forcing businesses in their regions to meet tighter regulations in line with the strict standards being set by the European Union. The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets a target for the UK to achieve 15 per cent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Also, if the UK is to meet its long-term target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050, it will have to make serious progress on its renewable energy ambitions. This is where responsible businesses can make significant contributions. Given all this, brands need to identify new ways to cement their credentials among present and future stakeholders. As society as a whole strives to embrace sustainability and millions of consumers actively try to make greener lifestyle choices, green credentials are the new status symbol for a business. In the boardroom, in

many sectors, companies are beginning to hire dedicated sustainability or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) directors with the remit to re-position their brand through a more responsible lens – often using this as a USP (unique selling point) for the company. The CSR directors will be looking for sustainability aware practices to be implemented across the business, including in the marketing team. Chief marketing officers (CMO) and marketing teams are now being asked to effectively communicate their company’s green credentials as part of their complete offering. Making a green statement In order to market themselves as green, organisations should set out with the goal of taking a leadership approach. Companies making waves with a green approach currently include Innocent and the Body Shop. These brands are renowned Continued on page 8 >

07


08

COVER STORY

NOVEMBER 2011

Continued from page 7

for acting in a sustainable way to underpin green credentials throughout all elements of their business. There are a number of ways in which marketers can approach ‘being green.’ One route is through the website, the shop window for any business. Clients looking at your website will use it to form opinions even if they haven’t seen your products close up or haven’t yet spoken to a representative first hand. Company news, campaign and business information uploaded to a site showcase a company’s vision and clearly outline green positioning. This will help to educate clients and ideally should feed positive chatter in the social stratosphere through channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn ensuring that those assessing your green capabilities get it right. This is where you must demonstrate your green ethos, prove your own adherence to your beliefs and showcase how your offerings will help clients to achieve the same results.

Another way is in how you advertise. For companies that are willing to think one step beyond the usual sustainable marketing tools, it helps to think on a much bigger scale. Billboards have long been used as a way to advertise a message, clearly and quickly and on a mass scale. But new standards are now being set with a move away from the traditional digital boards as

Osaka, Japan, followed by Times Square in New York with the most recent in June, 2011 in London. The London board uses only a fifth of the energy of an LED billboard and a quarter of the energy of a fluorescent light billboard. Finally, there is also how you package your products, sourced through your supply chain. Sometimes this can be a compelling reason for

Green credentials are the new status symbol for a business.

the focus on energy consumption and wastage increases. We ourselves have developed a series of ‘ecoboards’ which are powered by renewable energy sources, most commonly, solar and wind power so they are only lit when sufficient energy has been generated. Ricoh has installed eco-boards across three continents, the first in

purchase if your customers recognise and appreciate the fact that beyond the product, all the trappings also reflect that sustainable ethos. It may be that marketers need to support any such initiatives with an education campaign to raise awareness with audiences that it’s not only about doing these things, it’s about why it should matter to them that they buy from a company which has a clear, proven green track record and an ongoing commitment. New technology as a catalyst Technology naturally plays a part in implanting sustainability in an organisation. The online revolution has helped to reduce the amount of waste paper generated in the UK through unnecessary printing and at the same time, more broadly, technology has encouraged us to look at healthier alternatives like digital printing. State-of-the-art production print systems ensure top performance and set new standards of productivity, efficiency and quality, working seamlessly with the new e-marketing initiatives in businesses today. In digital content, analytical tools can monitor the clickthrough rates of embedded

links in these, tracking the success of each one helping to ensure the design process can evolve with the success. Making this blended approach into best practice is simple – marketing departments must ensure that mailing lists are cleaned up regularly, adhering to new subscriptions and making sure hard work doesn’t end up as junk. Not all technology that helps you go green is expensive, either. Businesses should keep up to date with the latest trends, campaigns and green marketing tools that can be quickly and easily adopted. Goals should be set to keep track of progress; not only does it make you and your team feel better about the business, but your clients and prospective clients will see you as actively adhering to your ethos. Taking this rounded approach will lead to true eco-friendly companies being able to show off their credentials to stand out from their peers. We believe that the iconic marketing campaigns of the future will feature sustainability or green messaging centrally. With growth for global advertising spend in 2012 set to increase, and with the London 2012 Olympics less than a year away, every brand will be competing for visibility across traditional and digital marketing channels. Marketers should lead the way and be fearless in their approach, challenging their company to think in a different and sustainable way. Those that don’t, will be left behind. Ricoh recently launched Europe’s first 100 per cent sustainable ‘eco-board’ in London, along the M4, setting a new standard for responsible advertising across Europe. Powered by wind and solar power, it only illuminates when sufficient power is collected, demonstrating by example the company’s long term commitment to sustainable business.


NOVEMBER 2011

09


10

LEGAL EAGLES

NOVEMBER 2011

LEGAL EAGLES Tax letters: Act now on the ePrivacy Directive don’t panic! T etters will be dropping onto around 1.2 million doormats during the rest of this year, warning people they have underpaid their tax, with the average amount owed expected to be £550. Peterborough accountants Rawlinsons, based in Lincoln Road, is now keen to reassure people they won’t be required to pay the amount owing as a lump sum. Instead HMRC will, in most cases, recover the debt by altering tax paid in the next financial year. The annual review of tax payments saw HMRC refunding an average of £340 to around 3.5 million tax payers who had overpaid in the year to April 2011. That process was completed at the end of September and the Government is now contacting those who have underpaid. Form P800s will be sent to those people affected and tax codes for year 2012-2013 reduced accordingly. This year has seen HMRC’s underpayment write-offs reduced from £300 to just £50.

L

he ePrivacy Directive has been hiding in plain sight for almost two years now, but marketers remain woefully uniformed of its implications. Many have held back from engaging with the law because they don’t like its requirements and they are hoping someone will succeed in watering the law down before compliance becomes mandatory. Others have been listening to opposing points of view on the law that are so extreme and irreconcilable that they have no action plan. Those who have been following the law’s path closely from proposal, to EU law, national law and, soon, to national regulatory priority, have a message for everyone: the time to sit back has passed. The ePrivacy Directive is real; it will have an impact on the way businesses collect and use consumer data. Companies that act on this early will benefit. In her excellent piece about the Directive (Business Scene July 2011) a month before the

deadline for the law’s implementation, Opt-4 director Jenny Moseley said the law had not been passed by any individual country and that standards for compliance remained unclear. Since then, the ePrivacy Directive has passed into law in two of the top three display markets in Europe (the UK and France), and legal forecasters expect a full five of the top six markets to have the law on their books shortly, with Germany, the Netherlands and Spain joining in the fun. At this point, virtually every global and pan-European advertiser is sending millions of display ads into jurisdictions subject to the Directive and, if they aren’t now, they will be soon. We are now approaching the last responsible moment to create your proactive ePrivacy Directive strategy. To be clear, just because we have a law requiring consent for most online tracking, doesn’t mean we have a clear understanding of how regulators expect us to acquire such consent.

This is one of the principle challenges of the current phase. The law is real, but we’re still figuring out what it requires. Many marketers are using this as an excuse to procrastinate, which made sense in 2010, but could have disastrous effects on companies in late 2011.

What we know: •July 12, 2002: original ePrivacy Directive passed •November 25, 2009: amendments adopted to the Directive •May 25, 2011: deadline for member states to implement the Directive The Directive applies to cookies used for third party behavioural advertising, but it also includes cookies used for

Can we avoid the double-dip? gainst a deteriorating economic backdrop, speculation about the likelihood of a ‘double-dip’ recession has intensified. While a recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth, a double-dip recession occurs when an economy falls into recession, stages a recovery and then slips back into recession. The UK economy has grown in every quarter since the fourth quarter of 2009, with the exception of the last three months of 2010, during which the economy shrank by 0.5 per cent (although this contraction was attributed largely to the one-off effect of exceptionally wintry weather). During the second quarter of 2011, the economy

A

expanded by only 0.2 per cent, compared with growth of 0.5 per cent during the first three months of the year. Corporate balance sheets have improved, but government finances are in a poor condition, and inflation and unemployment remain a major problem. The global economy also remains uncertain. In a recent speech, Bank of England policymaker Andrew Haldane, drew comparisons between the current environment of uncertainty and the aftermath of the Great Depression, when President Franklin D Roosevelt said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Following the Great Depression, the UK economy did not return to its pre-crisis level for five years. In comparison, the US took seven

Financial expertise from Nick Ash years to recover, but then experienced a double-dip, returning to recession in 1937. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has praised policymakers for their initial efforts to avoid a second Great Depression. Nevertheless, the OECD also highlighted the risk of a ‘Great Regression’ if the authorities fail to show the same level of determination, warning: “Emergency, short-term actions that are not perceived to be part

of a medium-term strategy will only bring short-term relief.” Markets clearly don’t like the uncertainty and as a result are somewhat unpredictable at the moment. So now is the time for strong portfolio management and a diversified investment strategy. If you need to talk about investing, in uncertain times, feel free to give me a call.

Nick Ash is director, will and probate services, Tancreds. Email: nick.ash@tancreds.co.uk or call: 01778 341490. Details here: www.tancreds.co.uk


NOVEMBER 2011 LEGAL EAGLES

– or face the wrath of the regulators other purposes, including analytics, optimisation, attribution and virtually any other cookie used for ad-related purposes. The scope is wide enough to implicate every site and every ad delivered in the EU. What we don’t know: The biggest challenge in interpreting the law is learning how to gather consent from consumers. The law does not specify ‘prior consent’ and we’re in the midst of a debate between industry, data protection authorities and sometimes within governments themselves, on whether consent can be implied or must be explicit: The ‘Implied’ or ‘Explicit’ consent debate is rightfully the headliner right now – it has the potential to swing the market into opt-in for cookie use, with serious consequences for online marketing as we know it. Don’t let anyone tell you we might get away without making changes. Statements from commissioners and the challenges faced by the current self-regulatory programme are proof of this. The reality is that regulators in multiple important markets (the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, etc) have been clear that browser settings, in their current form, are not

sufficient. Several have said even enhanced browser settings would not be sufficient to cover a company’s compliance when using tracking technologies. In other words, they may or may not force the market to explicit consent, but they will certainly require substantive advancements in the visibility of notice about tracking, as well as new and more granular ways of providing user choice. The time is NOW: While we don’t yet have clarity on the minimum standard for cookies in the EU, we know that consent will be required in some new and more robust form and that, if we don’t move forward as an industry, regulators are likely to define it for us in detail. And no-one, certainly not consumers, will benefit from interfaces designed by regulators. A creative marketer can think of all sorts of ways to fold transparency into a strategic set of messages that further overall branding objectives. But this objective must be achieved in the next six to 12 months before the Information Commisioner’s Office begins enforcing in the UK (deadline: May 2012) and while the debates around consent standards across the rest of the EU are still subject to influence. You have to find a way to take

Businesses have to take control and innovate now, says privacy expert Colin O’Malley, chief strategy officer at Evidon. the data conversation directly to the consumer: make sure you own the message while you still can. From an individual corporate perspective, regulators have already said they are watching our actions and inaction during this phase will be noted when the serious enforcement begins. What to do: 1. Understand your exposure by requesting a cookie audit of all your websites and an overview of the media partners used by your agency, including networks and data sources. 2. Provide enhanced notice and choice. If you do something meaningful to advance the dialogue with consumers, to clue them in on how and why you are using their data, you will be in a very defensible position. Bear in mind, this almost certainly includes elevating the dialogue beyond the privacy policy and bringing it forward into highly visible locations on ads and on pages where the tracking is taking place. This is uncomfortable territory, but a good marketer can take advantage of the flexibility

provided in the current phase. We have an objective to achieve (transparency to the consumer on data practices) and the freedom to experiment with multiple methods for achieving that objective. 3. Support Self-Regulation: Join the EU self-regulatory programme for behavioural advertising, operated by the trade body IAB EU (www.iabeurope.eu). While the scope of e-Privacy Directive goes beyond behavioural advertising, the programme is rallying behind a single icon that has had substantial traction in the US and is becoming the global standard for conveying the availability of information about data use to the consumer. Companies following these steps will keep pace with leaders in the market and have a hand in defining standards for how these topics are raised with consumers. The current phase will reward companies that take control and innovate. Those that sleep through the next six months will find themselves in a vulnerable position, both with consumers and regulators.

11


12

MOTORING

NOVEMBER 2011

DRIVE

on’t worry about battling through snow late for meetings this winter. Business Scene’s motoring correspondent TIM BARNES-CLAY has been out and about in all weather, test

D

Perfect for business ince the Insignia hit UK showrooms in 2009, it has been an unquestionable sales success for Vauxhall. Decent looks, the choice of all-wheel-drive models and a range of new technology has lifted its appeal, not only to fleet customers but also retail buyers. And with many awards now behind it – including the coveted European Car of the Year – it’s no surprise that UK

S

buyers made it the best-selling mid-size car soon after its launch. To further boost the Insignia’s competitive position, Vauxhall has now combined its Adaptive 4x4 system, which was previously only available with the 2.0 and 2.8-litre petrol engines, with the 2.0-litre 160PS CDTi diesel engine. A rare combination in this market

sector, the Insignia CDTi 4x4 hit British showrooms last year and has now added to Vauxhall’s reputation for technological innovation still further. The 4x4 system fitted to the SRi 2.0CDTi 16v hatchback version, on test here, combines the best characteristics of conventional mechanical and

hydraulic all-wheel drive systems, and means that the driven wheels don’t have to spin before corrective measures kick in. This allows the car to still maintain safe traction even if three wheels are on sand or mud and only one rear wheel can find grip. In bad weather or on

The Vauxhall Insignia SRi 2.0CDTi 16v (160PS) 4x4 hatchback.


NOVEMBER 2011 MOTORING

13

Tim Barnes-Clay

driving the Vauxhall Insignia SRi 2.0CDTi 16v (160PS) 4x4 hatchback. He reports it is ideal for both work and play – creditable for the office, safe for home use and also capable of towing up to 1600 kg.

and family too functions, such as the steering, throttle control and even the ambient lighting of the dashboard from a soft white to a fierce red.

treacherous roads, the advanced chassis systems are designed to recognise and avoid danger early enough to support you in tricky situations, without detracting from the car’s dynamic appeal. Save fuel The 4x4 technology not only helps out in critical safety situations, it also detects when all-wheel-drive is not required, such as on a dry, clear motorway, and reverts to front-wheel-drive to reduce friction loss and save fuel. It also means that this Insignia variant is perfect for hauling trailers or for anyone living in regions with inclement weather who has to travel regardless of the rain or snow. Indeed, if you are a big towing fan, Vauxhall offers trailer stability assist, which helps protect against those dreaded pendulum swings. Inside, the Insignia incorporates many high-quality materials which blend together to form a classy cabin. The

Above, the Insignia’s classy cabin and, below, its spacious boot. effect is an interior which is not far off the refinement levels found in some German executive marques. The only downside I could find on my test car was that in cold weather the steering wheel squeaked when turned. But the

Slightly noisy The only thing that might put you off the Vauxhall is its slightly noisy diesel engine. It’s not overly raucous, but it’s not as hushed as some of the executive oil-burners from Germany or Japan. That aside, the large hatchback seems to have it all: its all-wheel drive system is one of the most sophisticated on the market; it has a good cabin; it’s well designed; has a massive boot and drives well. On top of all that, the Insignia SRi 2.0CDTi 16v 4x4 certainly looks credible enough for business use: it’ll get you to meetings, even in the worst weather. But it will also double up as a large, safe, family car capable of towing up to 1600 kg.

noise stopped when the temperature increased. This appeared to be caused by plastic materials rubbing on each other and might just be a glitch that my particular test car had. Another example of how Vauxhall has raised l Max speed: 1 35 mph the bar is through its l 0-62 mph: 9.5 secs FlexRide technology. This l Com bined m pg: 46 comes as standard with l Eng ine: 1956 cc the 4x4 chassis system l Max power (b 16v turbo diesel hp): 158 and gives you the choice l Max at 4000 rp torque (I b/f m between three driving l Max towing w t): 258 at 1750-2 500 rpm e ight (bra styles. In addition to the l CO2 : 158 g/k ked) 160 m 0 kg standard mode, you l Pric e: £26,13 0 can either opt for a comfort-orientated ‘Tour’ or a ‘Sport’ l Dec ent look setting. The Sport s√ l 4x4 technolo mode makes the gy l Larg e boot √ √ Insignia driving l Nois y diesel experience more engine X active, changing the set-up of interlinked

Fast fac ts

Pros ’n’ con

s


14

CLICKS&MORTAR

NOVEMBER 2011

CLICKS&MORTAR Shoppers tighten Santa’s belt s the weakening economy continues to dent consumer confidence, new research suggests shoppers will be tightening their belts across all categories of expenditure this festive season – and they will be surfing the web for deals. The annual YouGov SixthSense Christmas Spending Intensions Survey says the hardest hit category will be gifts for family and friends, with just under a quarter of the population saying they plan to spend less than last year. And it appears to be low-cost items that are highest on the gift list this year, with books registering as the most popular, followed by clothing and CDs/DVDs. More

A

expensive items such as laptops, tablets and computer consoles are at the bottom of the list. James McCoy, research director for YouGov SixthSense, said: “It isn’t a case of Christmas being cancelled this year, but downgraded slightly as consumers struggle to afford the luxuries of the festive season.” That cost-conscious consumer will be flocking to the Internet to check out prices and deals, says McCoy – the study shows that 84 per cent of shoppers will be buying at least one gift online this year. Furthermore, almost a third intend to buy all or most of their Christmas gifts via the Internet. “Consumers have become rather savvy in their bargain

hunting, particularly at Christmas,” he said. “Internet deals and last minute bargains allow for James McCoy. a significant saving, even if it means a bit of extra work.” A fifth of consumers plan to cut back on the amount they spent last year on decorations and cards and even food and drink is likely to suffer, with 16 per cent planning to cut spend – bad news for the UK’s largest grocery retailers, whose sales have suffered as shoppers turn to discounters. However, there’s a glimmer of hope: while half the population will stick a set budget, the other half usually spends more than planned and a third admit they plan to splash out.

Social media use: Brits favour Facebook lmost three-quarters of British Internet users use social network sites – about 37 million people. Facebook is the most popular site with 64 per cent while 24 per cent use Twitter. LinkedIn comes third with 21 per cent penetration. So says a survey from InSites Consulting, which studied more than 9,000 consumers in 35 countries. Prof Steven Van Belleghem, managing partner at InSites Consulting (pictured), said: “These numbers show social network sites have penetrated all layers of society: 16 per cent of Facebook users are aged 55 and above. An analysis of the users shows everyone is there: young, older, employed or unemployed.”

A


NOVEMBER 2011 CLICKS&MORTAR

A virus, spyware or trojan? Learn to spot the difference armful computer programs can be very damaging to you and your business. Because of misconceptions surrounding them, we need to discuss the main differences between malware and spyware, trojans and viruses.

H

Intrusive Spyware is software that doesn’t deliberately

IT expertise by Stan Nyokas harm your PC, but creates access paths in which a person other than the computer owner can contact the PC. Normally, spyware records the various Internet sites you visit, data later utilised by web marketers to enable them to create emails and sometimes some annoying pop-ups. Spyware has its own separate executable programs which permit the recording of your keystrokes, scan files in your hard drives and check out other programs you employ including, although not restricted to, chat programs, social network interactions and Internet browser configurations. The spyware then sends the data collected to the spyware author. This agent will make use of the data for marketing and advertising purposes and can sell it to parties who have a vested interest in knowing the user’s experience. Malware can seem to be a legitimate type of free software. Advertising materials are packed into software or a program and are installed instantly once those programs are added to the computer. Some types of malware, however, download advertised content – like a free application that I installed inadvertently without completely reading the associated terms and conditions.

Unfortunately, the majority of malware programs take on the same behaviour as spyware – that is, they track and report user information to program authors. Some signs and symptoms of spyware infections include pop-up ads that appear not to be associated with the website you’re viewing. Generally, spyware pop-ups are ads about adult content. If your PC slows down and performs less well then usual, there is a chance spyware or other undesirable programs have infected your machine. It’s best to scan your PC for possible spyware infection. Destructive Trojans and viruses are destructive types of software. These were designed for one purpose alone: to wreak havoc on your computer. They destroy whatever they are in contact with, can initiate self-replication and will infect as many aspects of the device’s operating system or network as possible. We have seen some sophisticated programs that open computer firewall doors from inside and give control of a machine to hackers to initiate a denial of service attack on someone’s network, using your resources Although there are solutions, they do not block all malicious programs. Lots of anti-virus software also checks for spyware and malware and some programs destroy them. Regularly update your virus or spyware scanner to make sure your PC remains secure. When downloading free software, do not be misled by ads – find a program which does not contain malware, which could be spyware in disguise. Also, put a host-intrusion detection firewall system on your machine to increase the safety of your PC.

Stanislas Nyokas is founder of iTotalMarketing, Peterscourt, City Road, Peterborough. Call 01733 294551. www.itotalmarketing.co.uk

15


16

NOVEMBER 2011


NOVEMBER 2011

17


18

CLICKS&MORTAR

NOVEMBER 2011

Lack of IT skills puts strain on companies ore than 60 per cent of organisations are compromising their ability to meet new business demands because they lack skilled IT staff, sparking the need for a massive recruitment drive. That’s the finding of a UK survey by UPMentors, which polled more than 100 IT managers on their main focus of change this year. A further 15 per cent said they need to address the lack of talent and skills by ensuring existing staff were educated on new IT developments. Despite this proposed investment in recruitment, eight per cent of IT managers are still looking for ways to cut costs

M

Julian Holmes.

by identifying and removing waste in IT processes and projects. With plugging skills gaps a priority, only two per cent of managers will focus on investment in new technologies this year. Julian Holmes, co-founder of UPMentors, said: “Maintaining a high skills level, particularly with competition for new business at its highest since the recession, is clearly a priority, but finding good quality people may prove challenging and force employers to look to the contract market to bolster their in-house capability. Companies which are investing in training to raise the skills of their people will receive a double benefit of increased capability, loyalty and motivation from existing employees that will no doubt make a difference to the business.”

New office for growing accountancy practice eterborough accountancy also been joined by trainee Tori firm Winham Hughes has Bradshaw – who splits her time expanded and moved offices to between college and Winham cope with demand from new and Hughes’ new office in Forder existing clients. Way, Cygnet Park, Hampton. Just two years after opening There is also further help from for business, and with a growing support staff. workforce, partners Sally Sally said: “This is an Winham and Paul Hughes have exciting move for us and will moved to larger premises. open up new opportunities.” They took what they describe The company has become as a calculated risk, starting the involved in sponsorship of company in 2009 when the Peterborough Regional College’s country was in the depths of annual awards and it has also recession. But it was a risk that organised its first seminar. paid off. Their client www.winhamhughes.co.uk list has more than Pictured below, from left, are: Paul Hughes, doubled and, by Becky Thrift, Tori Bradshaw and taking on new staff, Sally Winham at the new office. they have been able to extend services. Becky Thrift has joined the business providing additional services such as on-site payroll and bookkeeping. The team has

P

Training and competence Practical advice from health and safety expert, Colin Nottage often get asked what training people need when they join a company and the answer could be: “Well, it depends.” But I believe a good induction into a company is time well spent. The employee will settle into the business quicker and will start to feel some ownership towards the company earlier. Even a 15-minute induction on day one is better than nothing, but more structured induction could prove more beneficial. It should cover more than health and safety. It should give insight into the company’s beliefs and aims. It should be spread over a number of days and include a review with a manager after a few weeks. On day one, it is important to run through significant risks in a business and how they are controlled. Basic health/safety rules should be explained and you should get some form of confirmation that the employee has been paying attention (hopefully, no snoring!). The employee’s direct manager should be involved in explaining the emergency procedures. Further days should focus on the main policies and processes, an introduction to key personnel on the site, including safety representatives if they are present. As for on-going training, the following courses would be good for most organisations: l Risk assessment l Manual handling l Office safety l General health and safety awareness l COSHH l Fire safety.

I

Obviously, there will be other training and assessment needs if employees are welding, driving or operating machinery, or work at height/in confined spaces. For more proactive organisations, consider these: l Employees: One-day IOSH Working Safely l Supervisors: Two day SSSTS or three-day CIEH Health and Safety courses l Managers: IOSH Managing Safety (four-day) or SMSTS (five-day) l Directors: IOSH Directing Safely (one-day). You may also wish to train an employee to become your competent health and safety advisor. To do this consider the NEBOSH General certificate and then a NEBOSH Diploma (there are many other equivalent courses on the IOSH website). Whatever you consider, make sure people attend. If you run a course for eight people and only six turn up, the course has increased in cost by 25 per cent. Finally, there is a difference between training and competence. Training is when you receive some input from a colleague, a manager or on a bespoke or accredited course. Competence is when you are able to demonstrate the learning in the workplace in a positive fashion. Make sure your trainers challenge your employees to demonstrate that competence; get them to walk the walk. Call me for a training matrix you can adapt for your business.

With a background in engineering and manufacturing, Colin Nottage runs Stamford and Bristol-based consultancy Safety Horizon. Email him: colin.nottage@safetyhorizon.com or call Freephone 0845 689 0075. Find out more, here: www.safetyhorizon.com


NOVEMBER 2011

BUSINESS BREAK

BUSINESS BREAK Accident sparked a global operation ave Watling’s father was a hard-grafting farm labourer with a strong work ethic he instilled in his children. When he broke his spine in an horrific accident at work in 1977, his ordeal spurred son Dave onto a career path which has since gone global. Born in the tiny hamlet of Hope Pole, near Deeping St James, Dave had worked in a variety of engineering and fabricator roles all around the Peterborough area . . . but he saw a gap in the market for an approved wheelchair repair service in the region and his business, the Mobility Aids Centre, was born. Based in Stanground, the NHS-approved company has a workshop fitted with the latest test equipment and provides a repairs service for customers both local and further afield – Dave counts theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkin among his more famous clients. Through its sister company, Amilly International, it also imports parts and products – from walking sticks to electric scooters and ceiling hoists to

D

stair and bath lifts – to assist those with varying degrees of mobility problems. A registered assessment centre which also holds conferences and teaching days, Dave’s company has been staffed by family and friends – around 25 of them now – who have stayed loyal to the business down the years. That continuing loyalty is because, as Dave says: “We all get on really well and have a good time together; my brother, my son and all our friends. I’ve never had to advertise a job!” The company provides personal service and care for its customers. Dave adds: “If someone has a wheelchair that gets a puncture, or the brakes fail, we have a gang of lads in vans and one of them will go out and fix it.” The engineers are all fully trained and pride themselves on quality service and high standards of customer care. Dave adds: “Once, I drove for miles out to a lady who was having a problem, only to find when I got there that her equipment

The centre – which offers all kinds of mobility aids (left) – has grown over time but has always been based in Stanground. www.themobilityaidscentre.co.uk

charger had been simply unplugged without her realising. It wasn’t a problem and we certainly didn’t charge her for the call-out. “These things happen.” Dave says his business – which has held the service contract with Peterborough hospital for more than 30 years – has been weathering the ongoing financial storm: “Like most people, we have suffered a bit in this economic climate, but we are still quite busy: we serve around 24,000 disabled people from all over the area and we travel across America and beyond sourcing and importing new equipment and parts, supplying customers all over the world.” So, what began as a terrible accident for Dave’s late father – who stoically learned to walk

David Watling (pictured above right) and son Jason (on the left) received recognition from fellow healthcare industry members when they won the 2005 Retailer of the Year Award.

again after the accident in which a 30-foot ladder fell on him – has resulted in an enterprise which really does care for both its customers and staff. Dave, now 65, sums up: It’s been a busy life but we enjoy every day. And that’s what I think is really important. “Everyone I work with – and work for – is actually a good mate. We have staff parties and a lot of fun. I have really enjoyed my business life.”

Get your enterprise featured on our Business Break page. Email your details to: info@businessscene.co.uk

19


20

WORKFORCE

NOVEMBER 2011

WORKFORCE Home deliveries spark rise in days off sick ore than 1.4 million British workers admit to taking a work day as sick leave so they can wait at home for deliveries and service providers, a survey shows. Field service technology provider Trimble and researcher OnePoll found that home deliveries are becoming a headache for employers. But Andrew Yeoman, MD of Trimble Fleet Solutions in Europe, said modern field service management solutions provide customers with a shorter time window: “If more companies were to make use of technology, people would not have to take such desperate measures to take time off work.”

M

Keep up with changes in employment laws xperts suggest the number of discrimination claims bought by employees last year could double to around half a million this year in light of new legislation. Keeping up to date with those changes is vital for employers to avoid boosting that statistic further. That was the message at this year’s annual Employment Law Briefing organised by Peterborough-based firms Anne Corder Recruitment and Hegarty LLP Solicitors.

E

Martin Bloom, Hegarty LLP partner and employment law expert, warned there is likely to be a sharp rise in the amount of claims from 285,000 as a result of the new associative and perceptive discrimination rules. He said: “These new strands of discrimination leave employers more vulnerable, so awareness is vital. An employer can now claim discrimination not just because of their sex, race or religion, for instance, but because of associated or perceived

characteristics. For example a mother who is discriminated against in the workplace as a result of her young child’s disability could bring a case. Similarly, a Christian man harassed because of his wife’s Muslim faith could bring a case.” Martin gave various examples during his recent presentation to around 200 HR professionals at the East of England Showground in Peterborough. He was joined by colleagues Tim Thompson and Emma Carter who

Employment law briefing presenters, from left: Emma Carter, Tim Thompson, Martin Bloom and Anne Corder.

discussed case law and sickness absence. The seminar is a key date in the business calendar for news and advice on employment. Anne Corder said: “These are all important issues which companies need to be up to date with.” For future seminar diary dates, visit: www.annecorder.co.uk


NOVEMBER 2011

Unfair dismissal period is doubled he Government has confirmed it is increasing the qualifying period for employees to be able to claim for unfair dismissal – from one year of employment to two years. The reform will take effect from April 2012. There had been doubts that the increase would result in more employer confidence to recruit, but survey figures revealed that raising the qualifying period would see a drop in tribunal claims. Simon Tytherleigh, Cambridge-based partner at international law firm Eversheds, said: “While this news will undoubtedly receive a hostile reception among the trade unions, it will be welcomed by employers as tangible evidence

T

of the Government’s stated aim of reducing employment red tape. “Concerns will remain that increasing the period may encourage new litigation, for example, to challenge its impact on women – a challenge that was successful when the qualifying period was previously set at two years. However, the basis of such a claim is uncertain and would depend on complex statistical evidence. Simon Employees may seek Tytherleigh. to circumvent the period by submitting tribunal complaints on other grounds, such as whistle-blowing or discrimination, for which the qualifying period does not apply.”

Limbering up for award A local firm will discover this month whether it has won an award as the Best Small Family Business. Advance Performance has stores in Peterborough and Cambridge providing goods for people who exercise and the company is a finalist in the Midlands Family Business Awards – to be presented at a Samantha Hale.

gala event on November 17 in Birmingham. The proceeds of the gala evening are given to charities supporting young enterprise. Managing director of Advance Performance, Samantha Hale, of Yarwell, began her career some 25 years ago as a professional groom to an Olympic event rider. She moved into retail and then, from her back bedroom, formed her own sports-related retail business.

WORKFORCE

Legality of a paperless office e are all aware of the benefits of a paper-free workplace. It makes perfect sense to store documentation electronically as it paper-free working environment. is far more cost-effective than With such a solution, documents printing and filing hard copy. can be electronically stored and We are reminded of the linked to employee records and environmental benefits of going accessed as required. paperless each time we receive Businesses are legally an email with the ‘consider the obliged to gather and store environment before printing this up-to-date staff records, such as: email’ message. But how many of us appreciate the full legal benefits l Hours worked and workers who have agreed to work more of electronic storage? Who would include the phrase than 48 hours (to meet the working time directive) ‘consider the legal implications: l Pay rates, to meet the statutory don’t print and file this document’ requirement to issue workers in the next email sent to HR? with pay statements and to Every day, HR and payroll ensure the employer is paying departments produce and receive the minimum wage reams of paper documentation l Payroll, for HM revenue comprising sensitive information and customs including employment contracts, l Sickness of more than four pension details, payslips, health days and statutory sick pay paid and safety records and more. All l Accidents and injuries (to meet this has to be retained, but think health and safety requirements) what the implications would be if l Retirement benefits scheme, this were to go missing or fall into the wrong hands. An HR nightmare! notifiable events such as relating to incapacity Yet, many businesses still permit paper-based circulation and filing l Maternity, adoption and of sensitive HR and payroll details. paternity pay records. You are more likely to leave But there are a number of HR yourself open to security and software solutions that preclude legislative breaches if you run a the need for paper records. The paper-based system. Perhaps a creation, circulation, storage and caveat in your email is not such retrieval of documents and data a bad idea. can all be done electronically, so there is little need for printing, posting and filing documents. Andrew Linford Electronic document is director, Cirrus: management technology can human resources integrate with an organisation’s software and network to provide a more services specialists.

W

HR expertise from Andrew Linford

21


22

SKILLSET

NOVEMBER 2011

SKILLSET Learn a language, SMEs told oor foreign language skills cost small British businesses £21 billion per year, the Forum of Private Business has warned, pointing to research from Cardiff University, which has showed that UK firms lose out on contracts through lack of translation expertise. Another study showed the demand for non-English language skills in large European companies is greater than the demand for English – often seen by UK SMEs as the international lingua franca, the common language of business. To help counter the problem, the Forum has launched a new language service for SMEs in conjunction with Peak Translations. Featuring expert

P

translators in all major languages, and with experience in a wide range of industries, the service will help with translation of tenders, contracts, manuals, corporate literature and websites, localised to suit specific markets and will also provide face-to-face and telephone interpreting services. The aim is to lessen ‘Anglophone complacency’ within small firms. Four elements were found to be associated with successful export performance: having a language strategy, appointing native speakers, having staff with language skills and using qualified interpreters. An SME investing in these was calculated to see an export sales proportion 44.5 per cent higher than one without such investments. The Forum’s chief executive,

Phil Orford, said: “Export markets can be extremely lucrative for British businesses but too few are trading internationally at present or exploring it as an option. “The Forum (www.fpb.org) provides solutions to real business problems and we are delighted to launch this Phil language service.” Orford. Forum member Matt Hardman, of the Bacon Factory in Bury, Greater Manchester, has experienced language barriers when exporting his products. He said: “We have used web-based translation services in the past and they are often littered with errors. Once, when translating ingredients into French, the service suggested ‘preservatives’ be translated as ‘preservatifs’. Even with my poor grasp of French, I knew that was the translation for condoms.”

Employability: put it on curriculum o help combat rising youth unemployment, a training provider has suggested employability should be taught in the classroom. Figures from the Office for National Statistics puts youth joblessness at just under a million – its highest level since the early 1990s. In response, Mike Lee of Working Links, which delivers programmes to help get people back to work, says youngsters need to be given the right skills and know-how to find work. He said: “There needs to be more correlation between mainstream further and higher education courses and the labour market. Young people are not getting the messages about what employers want.”

T


NOVEMBER 2011

SKILLSET

Engage with existing customers Embrace CRM, says Don Wiid hen making a purchase decision, especially if it’s of any substance or expense, we do our research first. Would you buy a car, a laptop or a TV without first having a look online to see what’s out there? The Internet has empowered our customers, who are now able to buy from whom they want and, perhaps more importantly, when they want. In order to survive and succeed, ensure your business is meeting the needs of modern buyers. This means changing your mindset from ‘what marketing can do for you’ to ‘what marketing can do for your customer.’ Sales professionals insist that marketers are hoarding too much of company budgets, misleading customers with unrealistic offers and, ultimately, limiting their chances of increasing sales revenue. They are spectacularly missing the point. The focus shouldn’t be on whether the marketing department is killing sales, or if the sales department is killing

W

marketing, but on how they can utilise each other successfully. By selling to qualified prospects, the sales professionals would not only boost their own conversion rates, they would also use their time more efficiently. Achieving alignment between marketing and sales departments is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today. When marketing and sales teams align around a single revenue cycle, they can create dramatic improvements in marketing ROI, sales productivity and top-line growth. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) enables this. Engage Software packages such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM enable marketing to build relationships, before passing qualified prospects over to sales. This is lead nurturing – the practice of building relationships with prospects, by sending them targeted, relevant information.

Convert Microsoft CRM allows you to score leads easily and effectively, with minimal time and expense to your business. Leads can be automatically scored on behavioural activity, including website visits – where visitors are tracked. This means prospects with a stronger interest can be placed on an accelerated sales path, while communications are scaled back with less interested leads. An effective leads-scoring policy means passing fewer but higher quality leads to sales. A ten per cent increase in lead quality equals a 40 per cent increase in sales productivity. By not wasting their time on lower quality leads, sales reps focus their time on higher quality ones to produce better results. Expand It is up to eight times cheaper to sell to an existing customer. So why wouldn’t you? Often, the reason is you put in such a huge investment to find new

customers, there is no time left to worry about existing ones. With CRM, the heavy lifting of maintaining the relationship with your customer is done for you and helps you find cross and up-selling opportunities. The underlining message is: whether it takes days or months, you are converting leads into clients via an automated approach tailored to the individual. It sounds easy and, with the help of products such as Microsoft CRM, it really can be. By working more closely together and having access to details of the prospect at both levels, the sales/marketing relationship is simplified. CRM is not just a tool that enables you to look back at a client's activity but one that can enable you to approach the right people and drive more business to your company. l Don Wiid is founder of Contact Edge CRM: www.contactedgecrm.com Learn more about how CRM can help your business, turn to page 26.

Tips for time-management and avoiding energy ‘vampires’ ❝ ❞ Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. M. Scott Peck, author. o you have something to do that you know is really important, and would benefit you and your business? Do you find, somehow, you never seem to get round to it?

D

Skills expertise Be with

David Grundy

aware that the time and energy ‘vampires’ are around us all year long, not just at Hallowe’en! They come in different forms and are real time and energy suckers, draining a valuable resource which can only be used once and comes at a price – your time. These friends, colleagues or clients come in a number of forms. Some create hurdles or excuses to prevent you changing or doing something. Others are chronic complainers, ‘pity me people’. Tim Smit (CEO of the

Eden Project) said: “Get rid of the negative people in your life: surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and inspire you.” Radical perhaps, the message, ‘to spend time wisely with people who will help you and inspire you’ is likely to have a much more positive effect on you. Creating effective habits is a critical success factor. Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ is my recommended reading. So, watch out for those vampires! Here’s my top five tips:

1. Meet people who will inspire you. 2. Be assertive and learn to say ‘No’. 3. Eat the ugly frog. Do the unpleasant job first. 4. Don’t be a slave to your phone and emails; you manage them! 5. Make lists and cross off tasks when done. It feels really good.

l If you would like to improve your business or personal performance, check out my website or contact me:

David Grundy is managing director of Tuit Achievements and offers a free 30-minute taster session. Email: david@tuitachievements.com or telephone: O1733 210464 or 07894 705293. Twitter: tuitdoit Facebook david@tuitachievements Web: www.tuitachievements.com

23


24

TRAVEL

NOVEMBER 2011

OFF DUTY Morocco

In search The Cape Verde Islands (map below) boast amazing beaches.

Pictured: Marrakech is an ancient, inland alternative to the surprisingly vibrant new city of Agadir (below), with its relaxing coastline; perfect for horseriders!

he ‘Arab Spring’ civil protests, which began last winter, have affected tourist numbers to North Africa and, although Morocco was unaffected by the unrest, prices have been and are still low. So this would be a great time to bag a bargain. For a relaxing beach holiday, with temperatures pleasantly warm rather than sweltering, Agadir, on the Mediterranean coast, offers great accommodation, both on the beach and in the city, from B+B to full board. I would recommend the B+B option, leaving you free to explore the remarkable fusion of world cuisines and, as Morocco is outside the eurozone, it offers great value for money. Agadir is a relatively new city, having been rebuilt, beside the sea, some three miles from its original position after a devastating earthquake levelled it in 1960. It therefore lacks the character and culture of the ancient Marrakech; which is great for an inland city break. Like Marrakech, Agadir has a vibrant night life, with many larger hotels boasting clubs and discos.

T

Cape Verde Islands ith uninterrupted sunshine from November to May, temperatures that average between 24 C and 30 C year-round, and sea temperatures around 20 C, this still little known group of ten islands off the coast of West Africa deserves its place on our list of winter sun destinations. The time difference is just one hour behind GMT – so no jet-lag! The culture blends West Africa, Portugal and Brazil and, while most of the larger hotels are on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, it’s a

W

perfect place for island hopping, with smaller hotels available on many other islands. The islands range from green and verdant to dramatic volcanic lunar landscapes with the most amazing and pristine sweeping white beaches. It’s a perfect location for ‘fly and flop’ or, if you prefer, there is great sailing, windsurfing, diving and sports fishing available. Hotel accommodation varies from 5* all-inclusive luxury to 3* budget B+B, with prices to match.


NOVEMBER 2011 TRAVEL

Travel correspondent JANE PRICE reveals the best places to go this winter for a quick trip to the sun.

of winter warmers Take a short flight to the hot-spots s Britain shivers its way toward the festive season, warmer destinations are coming into their own. With temperatures from the balmy to the downright toasty, these mid-haul locations will guarantee you winter sun, without having to fly halfway round the world! All these destinations are within a six-hour flight from UK airports and there is something for every budget.

A

Picture postcard: A sunseeker’s view from Lanzarote. Below: Blooming marvellous in southern Tenerife.

The Canaries erennially popular with everyone from celebrities to the working man and woman, the Canaries offer year-round sunshine, with almost unlimited hotels and holiday complexes to suit every pocket. Choose from 2* self-catering apartments to 5* luxury hotels – and don’t forget the option of villas with private pools and car hire, suitable for couples, families and large and small groups of friends. With temperatures hovering between 18 C and 24 C in the winter months, it feels more like summer to us sun-starved Brits!

P

Good value for money, particularly in the all-inclusive sector, there’s an island to suit everyone. From laid-back party central Gran Canaria, windy Fuerteventura (perfect for wind and kite surfing), family-orientated Lanzarote with its extraordinary lunar landscape and black sand beaches – to the more upscale Tenerife, with its many 5* hotels, the Canaries have something for everyone. Choose from vibrant or details of the breaks featured here, contact: Jane Price at Hays Travel.

F

Playa de las Americas, or the nearby but quieter Costa Adeje on Tenerife, or the Maspalomas area of Gran Canaria with its giant sand dunes. Thanks to new flight operators and schedules from virtually all of the UK’s airports, you are no longer limited to seven and 14 night stays – these days, four or five nights are popular, as are ten, 11 and 12-night breaks. Perfect for that winter getaway! Tel: 08000 141 833 or 01733 808330 or email: jane.price@hays-travel.co.uk

or visit the web page: www.hays-travel.co.uk/janeprice

25


26

DIARY DATES

NOVEMBER 2011

DIARY DATES November 8-10 Manchester Central Convention Complex 2011 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Conference and Exhibition: how HR can help you thrive in a fast-paced culture. First keynote by Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco. Details: www.cipd.co.uk/ace November 16, 17, 21 & 22 Peterborough, Lincoln Road, Rawlinsons accountants office Get to grips with the introduction of pensions auto-enrolment – free two-hour lunchtime briefings series. See details on page 4. To book, email Carolyn.lake@rawlinsons.co.uk or call Carolyn on 01733 568321. November 17 Peterborough, Embankment Road, Key Theatre Bondholder Lunch (12-2pm: for bondholders; see story below right), organised by Opportunity Peterborough. Discussing the US and EU marketplaces. More details here: www.opportunity peterborough.co.uk/events or telephone 01733 317417. November 18 Kettering Park Hotel & Spa, Kettering Parkway East Northants Breakfast, organised by the Leicestershire, Northants and Rutland FSB – Federation of Small Businesses. Event is held every third Friday of the month (7-9am). More information is available here: www.fsb.org.uk/leics-northants-rutland

November 24 Peterborough, 7 Bridge Street, Enterprise Centre Business Planning Workshop – writing a business plan doesn’t have to be difficult. Practical guide; a workshop run by qualified experts. To book, call 0845 6099991. November 22 Peterborough, Kingsgate, Parnwell Water Connect 2011 – European networking opportunity plus a half-day conference on water wastage and greener usage. See page 6 or email: p.lord@ukceed.org November 30 Grantham, East Midlands Centre for Learning, Litton House, Londonthorpe Road Low Cost, No Cost, High Gain Hype – social media for small businesses: what’s in it for you? A free event (9.30am-4pm), hosted by Angle Technology. Find out more, email: innovationevents@angleplc.com or call: 0800 848 8840.

Join networking scheme to help promote city business

There was a large turn-out of local businesspeople at the most recent networking breakfast.

alling all local businesses! Support is required to help boost Peterborough’s economic growth and bring fresh investment to the city. Businesspeople can help by joining the Bondholder scheme – which offers a programme of high quality networking events to bring together local professionals to improve the region’s business environment. Hosted by Opportunity Peterborough, the bondholder scheme offers free networking opportunities, free or discounted

C

subscriptions to member services and access to a monthly insight newsletter. Neil Darwin, director of economic development at Opportunity Peterborough, said: “With membership fast approaching 700 businesses, the bondholder scheme offers fantastic networking opportunities for local companies. It’s free to join and free to attend our breakfast and lunch events, so I’d encourage all local businesses keen to meet new customers and

Grow your customer base free interactive workshop aimed at business owners, marketing professionals and company directors, takes place on November 17 at the Orion Business Centre, Stamford. The workshop – ‘Convert, Engage and Expand: Growing Your Customer Base with Microsoft CRM’ – will give delegates unique insight into how the Microsoft Dynamics CRM software package – and other similar solutions – can help get their businesses noticed, boost overall sales productivity and focus their marketing efforts to provide a proven return on investment

A

(ROI). Hosted by local CRM (customer relationship management) expert Don Wiid, of Don Wiid. ContactEdge CRM, the four-hour workshop will raise awareness of the reasons why companies – when they get to a sufficient size – would benefit from CRM. The workshop is free to businesses with at least five employees – but places are extremely limited. For more about CRM expertise, turn to page 23. Contact Don on 01780 480031 or visit his website: www.contactedgecrm.com/seminar

partners to sign up.” The free bondholder membership only takes a minute to register – to complete the Neil Darwin. form, visit: www. opportunitypeterborough.co.uk /bondholder Ripe for investment Peterborough is expanding and changing into a city ripe and ready for investment and Opportunity Peterborough – a not-for-profit group working alongside the city council – is aiming to work with local businesses, as bondholders, to make the most of their environment. Members are asked to help spread the word about the city and its business opportunities and potential, raising Peterborough’s profile and bringing in new investment, businesses, employees and customers. The next bondholder networking lunch takes place on November 17 at the city’s Key Theatre. More information about the scheme and forthcoming events are available on the website: www.opportunitypeterborough .co.uk/events


28

NOVEMBER 2011


NOVEMBER 2011

COFFEE

BREAK

The rules of Sudoku are simple: place a digit from 1 to 9 in each empty cell so every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 to 9.

If you need a clue, or to check your answers, turn to page 30.

29


30

PROFILE

NOVEMBER 2011

HEADLINES Business Scene gets up close and a little bit personal with executives around the region. Here, we put the life and times of Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club chairman, city printer Neil Pretsell, under the spotlight. Full name: Neil Stanley Pretsell Card details: Director of Printing.com Biography: I was born in Ipswich in 1950 but moved to Peterborough when I was five, so I feel like a Peterborian! I went to West Town Primary School, somehow passed the 11-plus exam and completed my education at the King’s School, Peterborough. All my working life I have been involved in the printing industry, mainly in pre-press. I have been married to Jenny for 37 years (hope I’ve got that right) and we have two sons, Steve and Gary, and two grandsons, Jake and Harry from Steve’s first marriage. Steve recently remarried, to Natalie – a great girl and great addition to our family. I have always enjoyed playing and watching sport and over the years have tried my hand at football, rugby, tennis, basketball, golf and a few others but without much success (although I was Northants Boys Club Coarse Fishing champion in 1964!). Since 1983, I have been heavily involved with Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club, both on the

playing and administration sides. We have the largest number of members of any single sports club in the area and it has to be run as a medium-sized business. My first job was: Working in the pre-press department at the former East Midland Allied Press (EMAP). But my dream job would be: Being part of the back-up team for the England rugby team. I could be involved in the sport I love, get to travel but not be directly in the firing line so I could just get on and enjoy the experience. Are you a technophobe or a technophile: The print industry has seen many changes through technology so I should say technophile, but those changes have not always made my life any easier, so I’m on the fence a bit! I like to spend my time off . . . involved with sport, as you might have gathered from my earlier comments! I also love to spend time with my family, particularly my grandsons and I enjoy socialising and European travel. Favourite brand: As I co-own a franchise with my son Steve, I will have to say Printing.com although it’s probably not a

COFFEE

BREAK

ANSWERS FROM PAGE 29

household name, yet! My finest hour was: When I was elected chairman at Peterborough RUFC in 2008. I hate it when: You get stuck with a highly opinionated, overbearing person at a party. I am surprisingly good at: Being a team player and getting people to work together to bring ideas and projects to a conclusion. My dream dinner party guests would be: Billy Connolly (for the humour) Diana Ross (for the music) and Michael Parkinson (who must be able to tell some incredible stories). The food would be: Italian, as the Italians are so passionate about the whole meal experience. I particularly like

Pictured, from the ’70s to the present day, Neil Pretsell. Clockwise from left: with his wife of 37 years, Jenny; in smart rugby club chairman mode; dressed down but minus the whiskers; and enjoying quality time with one of his grandsons. antipasto and risotto. At my funeral, please play: ‘Always look on the bright side of life’. The song brings a smile to me every time I hear it, so I would like to think it would do the same for my mourners. If I ruled the world: I would eradicate all the ‘political correctness’ that blights our everyday lives and get back some of our old values.

Get into Business Scene’s CEO spotlight. Email your HEADLINES responses to: info@businessscene.co.uk


The Business Scene November  

Essential reading for local Executives Leaders

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you