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Boost your Business in 2010 ……….or Bust?

Boost your Business Results

With 2010 fast approaching and the recession still biting, ensuring your business is set for recovery has never been more important. 

 For some 2010 will still be make or break so to ensure your business is on the road to recovery here are some key questions  you should be asking yourself.

1. Look at your Business Plan. Consider your vision or long-term goal for your business. Is it still relevant for the challenges you are likely to face in 2010? Do you have a vision? Do you really need to do business the way you do, or is there a better, faster, leaner way for you to achieve the same objectives?

2. Are you selling what your customers need today, not what they needed yesterday? Have you kept up with the changes and advancements in your industry or sector? If not then what do you need to do to get back on track?

3.When did you last take a long hard look at your costs? Are you missing possible savings on utility bills because you have not shopped around? Make sure you get 3 quotes for any large purchase and be prepared to negotiate.

4. Are you spending enough on marketing? This can be an easy expense to reduce but research shows that companies which spend more in the long-term do better than their competitors.

5. If you employ people do you employ too many or too few? Have you become complacent in the way you recognise and reward them? Are you doing enough to ensure they don’t walk to your nearest competitor?

Take time out to work on your business, not in it- get help in the form of an independent strategic review from an experienced professional adviser. It will probably take you longer and cost you more in terms of lost revenue if you try and do it on your own.

To kick start your business in 2010 with guaranteed results invest in a ’Business Health Check’ with me. – A strategic business review that will show you exactly what you need to do to drive up your profits and sales and put your business firmly on the road to recovery.

 

 For Professional , impartial business advice Contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates 

            Tel: 01403 733671         E: jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

           Making Your Business Work Harder For You

 

Thought For The Day

 

“Success is getting what you want – happiness is wanting what you get.” –Dale carnegie 

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Business plan re-think for RBS

We all know we should have a business plan to guide our business along the route which we want to take and which will deliver the returns that we /the owners need over the medium term – at least 3 years.

Obviously Royal Bank of Scotland’s Chief Executive Stephen Hester forgot  to take account of market forces and undertake a robust S.W.O.T analysis before finalising his Business strategy as he is having to re think his Business plan for RBS only 8mths after it was formulated!

– But then this has been one of the problems which helped cause the Banking crisis – short term thinking and quick gains rather than looking at the longer term with prudent planning.

This article from the Guardian Newspaper  says it all.

What do you think as a small business, especially if you are trying to raise finance  for business development?  Comments please.

 

Contact me at Janette whitney & Associates, Business Consultants for professional  impartial  advice & solutions.

 

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Growing in the Recession

Which direction ?

Running a successful business in a recession requires an appreciation of two distinct roles, managing the day to day operations and building for the future. Every business person needs to know the importance of both ‘hats’- and when they are wearing each one.

Some companies do well, both in good times and bad. They not only withstand the onslaught of economic recession, but they emerge stronger and fitter. Unsurprisingly, they also make the right choices when economies are growing.

HOW DO THEY DO IT?

 Irrespective of the state of the economy, companies which regularly beat the competition have an ingrained ability to do two conflicting things at the same time. They run the day job effectively and efficiently and they make the right choices on how to grow. These require different, conflicting management styles: relentless detailed operational control, as well as having an eye for the main opportunity. Being great at both things is essential to long-term managed success.

Without clear growth management, companies often end up doing the urgent and forgetting the important. This is most true in a recession, when the extra focus on cash drives aggressive cost control and revenue chasing. But while there is a major focus on running the day job, successful companies also know how to build for the future.

Retaining an eye for the opportunity in the good times is relatively easy; keeping it when it gets tough is vastly more difficult.

Successful companies operate with two ‘hats’. One hat – the operational hat- focuses on delivering immediate needs, driving revenues, costs and margins to meet cash and profit targets. The focus is on the known- we know what the market is, what customers want, what competitors offer. The other hat – the strategic hat– focuses on growth, driving long term sustainable business that predicts and responds to customer trends and opportunities. Here the management style tends to be openness and analysis of opportunities.

Critically, running the day job and delivering sustainable growth requires that both these different styles of capability and approach co-exist in the same organisation. In essence a succesful business must be able to wear these 2 hats comfortably.

The challenge comes when you are a small business and you are the sole owner/director and have the skills & aptitude of one of the ‘hats’ but not necessarily the other- this is when the input of a professional adviser is vital to help give you the perspective of the other ‘hat’.

 Would your business benefit from a Professional  business review? Then contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates ,jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

 

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Is Your Website Legally Compliant?

 

 

Much press coverage has been seen regarding the amendments to the Companies Act which came into force at the beginning of 2007 relating to your website and emails and the risk of £1000 fines for not complying with disclosure of the required information.

 

This caught the attention of limited companies and limited liability partnerships as this new piece of legislation only applies to them. However, most business owners (over 50% according to the Dept.for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform – formerly known as the D.T.I), do not realise that there at present 6 pieces of legislation which your website needs to comply with whatever form of business you trade under- , whether that is as a sole trader, partnership, Limited company, Limited liability partnership or franchise etc.

 

Which legislation affects your particular website will depend on what its pages contain, but the need to comply is vital as the fines and policing of internet operations are becoming more and more stringent, just in the same way that as a retailer with a high street premises you would have to comply with certain regulations – your website is your online shop window and the more complicated it is the more rules it needs to adhere to.

 

We have a quick and cost effective solution for you- our Website Compliance Check service.

 Our Website Compliance Check :

  •  Identifies which pieces of legislation your website needs to comply with
  • Provides the necessary legal wording directly to you via email 
  • Identifies general amendments required to your website to comply with the new legislation

 

To start your website compliance check  – simply fill out our easy form and we’ll return all amendments & legal documentation for you to upload onto your website, within 5 working days.

 

  Our service costs just £100– a small price to pay to keep the right side of the law.

 

 For more information or to start your website compliance check please contact me at Janette Whitney & Associates, Business Consultants email jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk   

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Thought For The Day

“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.”

Janette Whitney & Associates

How To Create The Network You Want

How strong is your network?

As the saying goes ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ so how can you widen your network of contacts to create the network that is important to your business.

Here are 10 tips to help you create the network you want face to face.

 

1, Be alert for opportunities to meet new people

Everyone is connected. The typical person knows about 250 other people. Each time one new person feels they know, like and trust you; potentially another 250 people may also come too.

2, Be open to people knowing you

It’s not just about whom you know, it’s more about who knows you. Share something of yourself, allow people to get to know you. You will be more memorable.

3. Find new ways to meet people

It’s always easier to meet new people when you share an experience .Most schools & universities have alumni organisations containing people in a wide range of occupations. Whatever you do, there will be a relevant professional organisation where you can meet other people in your field. More importantly, get invitations to meetings held by institutes and trade bodies where your clients are.

4. Don’t be too choosy

Consider all invitations to events even if they don’t initially interest you. Such events can still often turn out to offer valuable networking opportunities and that is what you are there for. You never know who’s going to be there. If you have time, go along,

5. Carry distinctive business cards

Make sure you have plenty of business cards and don’t be shy about passing them out. Be distinctive. Have something about you (clothes, accessories, tie) that people will remember and associate with your card.

6. Follow up with personalised notes

Follow up meeting new contacts with a handwritten note saying how much you enjoyed meeting them. Takes a little longer than an email, but gives a really good impression and cements you in the person’s memory banks.

7. Create a brief ‘script’ you can use at events.

To stop you fumbling for answers when you meet new people, jot down your brief reply to ‘what you do’, what your company does, and what makes you and your company unique. Then practice it!!

8. Find out that you’re great

Think about all the people you know and identify one fan, a person who thinks you’re interesting or fun. Ask him or her to tell you what makes you good company. It will help you to feel less inhibited when talking to strangers. At least one person thinks you are great!

9. Show a genuine interest in people

Start by first listening to the other people. If nothing else, it helps you to relax. Ask them questions about themselves and really listen to the replies. Listen well, respond promptly, and maintain eye contact.

10. Keep a key people list

Make and maintain a list of everybody you know who has some relevance to your work. Use either a CRM software system or create your own excel spreadsheet/manual card system- whatever works best for you. Regularly (at least weekly) select one person for a ‘hello, how are you?’ call. Update your contact details with what you learn from meeting people.

For Professional & impartial business advice contact Janette Whitney at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 or email jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

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We are now on twitter – www.twitter.com/janettewhitney . Follow us and see what we have been up to.

 

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CAN YOU AFFORD TO LOSE CUSTOMERS?

   

Is this your Customer?

In the current tight trading climate , it is now more important than ever to hold on to your customers especially as a recent survey for T Mobile  has revealed that on average each lost customer costs small firms £4910 in lost profits.

 

The survey identified that a lack of responsiveness is viewed as the biggest cause of poor customer service. Key survey findings are:

  •  Each lost customer costs small businesses £4910
  • 37% state that a lack of responsiveness is to blame for poor customer service
  • 90% of small businesses aim to reply to customer calls and emails within 24 hours
  • Small business owners spend on average 37% of their time away from the office
  • Over a fifth of small businesses believe that mobile technology increases responsiveness by more than 50%

  

In the last 12 months, small companies have lost a least 4 customers each which could equate to c £20,000 in lost profits!

 

Even though the survey showed that 88% of business reply to customer emails and 93% return customer calls within 24 hours, with a third of businesses responding to customer complaints immediately – there is still a need to review speed of response to customers if businesses are to remain competitive and retain customers.

Evidence suggests that larger competitors are much quicker to respond to customers and this is a significant threat to small businesses. An immediate response to customers is obviously ideal, but at the very least small businesses should examine ways in which queries either via phone or email can be replied to within a maximum of one to three hours. (What would you expect if you were the customer?)

 As resources can be limited for small businesses it is important to consider how technology, especially internet enabled mobile devices, can be used to ensure that customer relationships are never jeopardised through a lack of responsiveness.

Superior Customer service is key for small businesses not only to compete more effectively with larger companies, but to thrive and prosper.

For professional & impartial business advice contact Janette Whitney  at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671

 

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Thought for the day

“Advice is like snow. The softer it falls, the easier it’s absorbed, the deeper it sinks, and the longer it lasts.”JWA LOGO

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