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Thought for the day

We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in another direction- General George Paton

= the epitome of business!

New National Minimum Wage rates (NMW)- 1st OCT 2012

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE RATES

The Government has accepted the independent Low Pay Commission’s ( LPC) recommendations for this years National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates

The following rates come into effect on 1st october 2012:

  • The adult rate will ncrease by 11p to £6.19 per hour
  • The rate for 18-20 year olds will remain at £4.98 an hour
  • The rate for 16-17 year olds will remain at £3.68 an hour
  • The rate for apprentices will increase by 5p to £2.65 per hour

For professional impartial  business advice and solutions contact Janette Whitney at Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 or email jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk.

Olympic road ahead closed-Is your Business Ready?

Olympic Cycle course
Are you ready?

The London-Surrey Cycle Classic test event

The Olympic Cycle race test event will be held on the Sunday 14th August 2011 – just over 4 weeks time – will your business be affected? Click here to view a map of the route.

The London-Surrey Cycle Classic test event being held on Sunday 14th August as part of LOCOG’s comprehensive sports testing programme. In order to deliver this exciting event there will be road closures and parking suspensions click here for more detailed information along the route within London and Surrey. Arrangements will be made to minimise disruption for local residents and businesses. The test event will provide an opportunity for you to consider how your business may be effected and the potential impacts during the Olympic event on the 28th and 29th July 2012.

Think and plan ahead, what will you be doing to ensure that you don’t lose out on valuable business during the local olympic event?

More importantly how can you capitalise on the extra potential sales of your products and services with the vastly increased numbers of potential cusromers right on your doorstep.

 

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

 

Thought for the day

 

To all fellow networkers:

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

How To Convert More Leads Into Sales

Are your sales increasing?

 

One of the biggest sales and marketing problems businesses can face is getting people whom seem interested in buying something to actually take the plunge and hand over their money.

 

 

Because let’s be honest, it’s actually pretty easy to attract attention to your business and meet prospective customers these days. The internet has made it simple to give your business a marketing presence (your website) and drive people to it (online advertising and search engine optimisation).

The key then to a successful business is not just one which attracts prospects, but one which has fail-safe systems to convert them into revenue.

 

Here are 5 tips to improve the prospect conversion rates for your business

 

1. Track and measure- First you need to know how your business currently performs. Set up simple systems to monitor the number of leads your business gets and where they have come from, then compare these figures to your sales figures.

2. Identify target audience and focus on it – You need to know who your most likely buyers are. Don’t just say ‘everyone’- even if anyone can buy what you sell, your business will perform better if you focus on a specific target audience.

3. Don’t over promise – Review your marketing materials to see if they promise things your business cannot really deliver. Low conversion rates can be an indication that prospects are being attracted by marketing materials, but when they chat to your sales team just don’t believe the business can live up to its promises.

4. Make sure sales staff know how to present – Another possibility is that your sales team aren’t presenting the business properly. Do they really understand the benefits of the business and how to communicate them to buyers? Are they making it easy for potential customers to say ‘yes’?

5. Ask for the business – Finally, ensure that you are actually asking the potential customer to buy from you. So many businesses forget to do this!  Ask questions about their needs, work out how you can fulfil these needs, and then ask if they want to buy.

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Contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants  Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671, for impartial business advice & solutions.     

 

‘Green’ Grants for Business

Green Thinking

 

There’s lots of government legislation in place to ensure that UK businesses meet the minimum standards required to minimize their impact on the environment.

 

 

 

How these regulations will affect you will depend on the size and type of your business, as well as the sector you operate in and the process you have in place.

For more detailed information on how these regulations might affect your business, visit the NetRegs website:  

What to do First

 If you’re not sure where to start with going green, then getting an environmental consultant to come in and spend some time with your business to understand where it can save energy is a worthwhile investment.

It can save you as much as 10% through no-cost measures and generally businesses can save over 20%.

Funding

The good news is that there are various grants and soft loans available to businesses to help you comply with these regulations

One such scheme recently announced is a £4 million loan fund to help South East based businesses improve their sustainability.

Backed with £3.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund, SEEDA’s new South East Sustainability Loan Fund is expected to support around 2,500 companies across the region.

They will be able to lend between £20,000 and £200,000 to reduce waste, develop sustainable technologies, and focus on sustainable procurement.

Participating firms will also undergo training and environmental audits “in order to establish methods that boost profits through energy reduction”.

 To help you to keep up to date with the many different grant schemes available to your business visit www.greengrantsmachine.co.uk.

Need help with funding for your business?

 

 Then please contact me at Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 for professional, impartial advice & Solutions.

 

     

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

 

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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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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Sales Tips

Ok so it’s a recession -Time to sharpen up your sales techniques to ensure you keep those sales coming in. Here are some tips to help you improve your performance.

1.    Understand that people buy people – work on the personal connection with your customer.

2.    Ask questions- understand their needs before offering your solutions.

3.    Listen harder and for longer – don’t interrupt with your sales messages.

4.    Offer your solution as a question: ‘ Would I be correct in saying that you’re looking for……’

5.    Be an expert but not a bore.

6.    Take your time, or more accurately move at the customers pace
.
7.    Follow up- following delivery- prepare the ground for the next sale.

8.    Particularly now- don’t avoid the small sale, it’ll start the relationship and build customer confidence.

9.    Take a colleague on a sales call – the feedback is invaluable.

10.    Don’t waste time on a no-hoper – decide on when to call it a day and stick to it.

 

For professional & impartial Business Advice contact Janette Whitney & Associates, Business Consultants on 01403 733671

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