Daniel Thomas is a Director of Chroma who provide psychological arts therapy services and create corporate staff development packages. Chroma are based in Ross on Wye and recently won the Chamberlain Dunn Award for Entrepreneurship at the Advancing Healthcare Awards.
We have had a year of fascinating Inspire & Connect networking events and Tuesday 28th March marked the start of year two. Sue Thomas of Functional Nutrition Formula was our speaker and had plenty of anecdotes from travelling around the world to support her three key life lessons. She joins our list of inspirational local business owners who have spoken at our quarterly sessions.
We all have those days when life throws us a curve ball and we have to come up with an answer urgently, this week we had to pull a rabbit out of the hat when we needed an emergency replacement for our guest speaker at our Inspire & Connect event.
When we started our networking event last April it was a step outside our comfort zone. It was something we wanted to do to bring local businesses together in a social environment so people could relax, enjoy a tea or coffee and some food whilst meeting other local companies and sole traders. It's also nothing to do with accountancy!
Each time we have tried to think of interesting and unusual speakers to come and give an overview of the career path they have forged and how they have ended up in the job or role they currently pursue.
We learnt a lot from our first event and now we offer what we hope is a truly local and bespoke experience. Miranda Jenkins from Business Skills Studio and Skills to Go has been with us from the beginning and is an expert at getting everyone to speak to as many different people in the room as possible. Miranda is a pleasure to work with and her success speaks for itself as she gets everyone to engage whilst also making them feel comfortable with the tasks she sets out so that they can get as much from our events as possible.
This week due to family illness we had to find a *star* guest speaker at short notice. Fiona Day from D3 Active and Forever Living was exceptionally kind and stepped in to give us a really interesting overview of her career which covered working with The Camel Trophy & G4 Challenge, News International and her own company D3 Active before also taking on a role with Forever Living. It just goes to show that in our local community there are some fascinating people who have worked in very diverse arenas and whose work and life history can really make us think about the choices we are currently making or might make in the future.
As we heard, Fiona definitely had a focus from her first two jobs which made her make different decisions when running her own company with her husband. By sharing the ups and downs with the people they hired it sounds like they found the perfect balance ensuring staff loyalty as they all took the rough and the smooth together. This also impacted the way they responded to their clients when they too had tricky times to negotiate but the relationships they have built along the way seem to have paid dividends in making them the success they are today.
Fiona has now started a business in network marketing with Forever Living as she saw the opportunity it gave her to help anyone start their own business as well as using her experience to coach and mentor people to become their own boss.
This was our fourth event and our next event will be the anniversary of starting this endeavour. As always we look forward to brining you another guest speaker and we will be making an announcement as soon as we have the booking in place. Fingers crossed there will be no last minute changes!
Our next event will be at No3 Restaurant, Ross on Wye on the 28th March 2017 from 8.45am-10.45am. Advance tickets are available by clicking the button below! Come along and you will meet new people and learn things you didn't expect to!
Now that everyone is mostly back at their desks why not book something to look forward to next Tuesday??
Come and meet some new faces, connect with other local businesses and entrepreneurs at our networking event at No3 Restaurant in Ross on Wye. We love local and want to help companies get to know other like minded business people in the area. We always have a very diverse collection of business types at our events so why not book a ticket and come along and see for yourself?
Our guest speaker is Sue Thomas from Functional Nutrition Formula which seems very apt for January! There will be some great ideas shared!
Miranda Jenkins from Business Skills Studio will also be hosting the warm up so everyone gets to chat to a wide variety of people!
Our guest speaker for our January 10th meet up in the Inspire & Connect series is Sue Thomas of Functional Nutrition Formula. Sue has attended our previous events so it will be great to know more about her company and her reasons for her focus on nutrition as well as discovering her previous roles that inspired her new business choices.
Functional Nutrition Formula is a no-fluff, straightforward nutritional advice and coaching programme. This is accompanied with online support to help a client achieve the best possible health. Small and easy to follow adjustments to a clients lifestyle can make a huge difference in terms of energy, sleep, productivity and also weight loss.
Sue is a nutrition expert and fitness industry professional of over twelve years standing, whose first-hand experience helped her to identify the need for easily accessible, always available practical support for individuals to help them transform their health.
Inspire & Connect is at No3 Restaurant in Ross on Wye on the 10th January 2017 from 8.45am-10.45am. Tickets are £15 via the PayPal button below....
Following on in our series of networking events celebrating the best our region has to offer we have another local entrepreneur lined up to speak at our meet up next month!
Robin Waite is a Bestselling Author, Business Coach and Founder of advertising agency, The Coconut Group.
The Coconut Group has helped hundreds of business owners and organisations to grow since being founded in 2004.
The Coconut Group focuses on delivering Branding Workshops - using their signature 1-Day Branding Workshop which incorporates a 7-step process to create new brand identities, re-brand existing companies or brand new products.
Robin now works as a Business Coach working with a maximum of 20 clients at any one time. Robin says, “There aren’t many business problems I can’t fix.” Using a structured 1-to-1 coaching program Robin has a toolkit covering digital, branding, marketing, sales and lead generation, productivity, product and pricing.
Robin has recently published a book about Business, Online and Social Strategy for SMEs, called Online Business Startup, which is available on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/178133114
Our event is at No3 Restaurant in Ross on Wye on the 13th October from 8.45am-10.45am. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased using the button below!
Many thanks to everyone who came to our event in July!
We really enjoyed hosting our second networking session and we hope everyone gained some valuable new contacts as well as discovering more about the other attendees from Miranda Jenkins' entertaining warm up session!
Many thanks also to Darren and Charlie at No3 Restaurant for letting us hold the event there. We loved listening to Darren's illuminating biographical talk on his journey to opening the restaurant in Ross-on-Wye. It was fascinating to hear of the variety of restaurants and hotels that had given him the skills and training in his career which have made the new business such a resounding success!
Debbie from Imaging Essence kindly took some photos on the day so full credit to her for her camera skills!
Why not book a ticket for our next event on the 13th October 8.45am - 10.45am at No3 Restaurant, Ross on Wye! Use the payment button below - only £15!
With over 2.307 BILLION active social media users worldwide, growing year on year at an average rate of 10%, I think it’s fair to say: that creates a pretty incredible opportunity to capture your target audience online. Although there’s a lot of healthy competition, if you find your own way to make social media effective for you, we’re talking not just massive brand recognition & credibility, but also a new sales funnel to earn you more money.
So, what’s the lowdown? Some top tips for different platforms to get you standing out? Here we go -
Now if you’re not careful, you’re going to spend A LOT of money on Facebook ads to get the exposure you need as a new business. BUT - don’t fall into that trap! There’s also heaps of other ways to get noticed without paying for ads, so think outside the box.
Find appropriate groups to post in (being careful to abide by their posting guidelines to avoid being removed!) and how about creating your own group too?! When doing this, the KEY is to offer as much value as possible, relating to what you do. Promote it across other social networks and by growing the GROUP as opposed to the page, you can often get far greater exposure on posts. The group should be about developing a NETWORK of your target audience. So for example, if you’re a new fitness start-up, set up a group that provides FREE daily workout plans, tips and the opportunity for them to share their own stuff too. Everyone is looking for a place to promote things for free, so create the platform that does that whilst being in control and able to use it to your advantage too.
Look at running fun campaigns and competitions with enticing prizes - especially on the launch. Your launch time is the BEST TIME for creating hype so plan your social media strategy BEFOREHAND if possible.
Being consistent with your content and posting regularly is essential. See what works and what doesn’t, monitoring & tracking results on Google Analytics. Use your imagination & don’t be afraid to try new things. THINK: What would catch MY attention if I was your target audience? And remember to have fun with it!
As Albert Einstein once said:
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
And this fits nicely with the ethos behind Twitter: 140 characters, short tweets sent at anytime from anywhere, yet visible to anyone in the WORLD.
The secret to getting noticed?
It’s all in how you represent your brand. Aim to post at least once a day, preferably 3-5 times, spread out across a period of time - Hootsuite is a great free tool to use to schedule posts throughout the week without them looking automated, but make sure you’re still going online to interact with other accounts and keep things real.
Mix up shareable content with promotional posts and take advantage of trending hashtags. #MondayMotivation & #WednesdayWisdom are really great ones right now, because you’re giving people things they can RELATE to and want to share. Make sure you get the right balance of being seen as a professional company and a fun one to work with. Remember: this isn’t your website. You’re simply finding fun, engaging ways to DRAW THEM ACROSS to your site, because once they’re on there - that should sell itself.
Twitter is perfect for directing traffic, so aim to grow your followers as fast as possible - BUT authentically. Don’t waste time buying followers as they will be of no value. Instead grow your followers yourself by finding and following your target audience. This encourages them to follow back and if they don’t - unfollow them using a software like ‘ManageFlitter’ so that you have room to follow more! Explore automated / welcome messages, written in the most genuine, least ‘spammy’ way. Give followers something small for free and use it as a way to introduce yourself properly. For example; an eguide, an opportunity, a chance to be entered into a giveaway. The great thing about it is when you offer something of value, you can then use Twitter to ask for their email address so that you can get it across to them. If what you’re giving away is related to the product/ service you’re selling, this is a WARM LEAD for you to sell to away from social media, making this strategy PURE GENIUS!
Linkedin has over 332 million members, with 2 new users joining every single second, which is why it’s the perfect place to generate leads and increase business. As a start-up founder, you want to start by building your personal profile - getting people to know you for you & see the passion behind your business.
People like to connect with REAL PEOPLE. They also like people they can relate to and trust. Make your profile stand out and your personality shine through. Don’t simply list professional qualifications and job roles. Make it engaging and different to read! Be sure to write a friendly welcome message to everyone who chooses to connect with you - after all, we can assume they’re interested in what you do if they’re sending you an invite!
Don’t be afraid to send connection invite requests to strangers. In fact, this is what works BEST! The more people you connect with, the more people you can showcase your new start-up to. Use the Linkedin search to identify a job role, industry, location and make it targeted on who can be potentially buying from you. When you send the invite, say something simple like: "I’d love to add you to my professional network on Linkedin, as I’m a start-up and I noticed we were based in the same area.” You’ll be surprised by how many people are happy to accept!
Don’t try to SELL, SELL, SELL. On LinkedIn your focus should be on showcasing yourself as an expert and being friendly, approachable & the right person for potential clients to turn to. Become recognised in your field and share daily updates for your connections - mixing it up from promotional posts to shareable content. This is going to get a far greater reach to begin with than trying to get exposure on your new Linkedin Company page.
When you’re ready - run targeted campaigns. Your connections get an email STRAIGHT TO THEIR INBOX when you message them on Linkedin, so use this to your advantage!
- - - -
So there are a few platforms to get you started! There are also other platforms to explore too, but as a starting point: Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin are pretty great platforms for start-ups, no matter what industry you’re working in.
Don’t try to tackle every platform at once, take your time and find out what works for you. Be confident, be engaging and most importantly be YOU!
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No.1 in the #StartUpSeries
As an accountancy company, we work with a lot of start-ups. It’s kind of our thing. We’re there to support and help them grow, so we often come across the challenges that new businesses face. One that seems to crop up a lot? Motivation. Keeping going when the going gets tough. Because lets be honest- we’re only human and the life of an entrepreneur can feel like a long, lonely road at times. So how to get around it? How to stay top-of-your game no matter how many setbacks you get? Here are some of our top tips -
- Remember Your Why - One of our favourite quotes is: ‘When you have strong enough reasons WHY, you’ll always find the HOW to get you there. And it’s 100% true. Don’t get weighed down by the challenges you face, or even simply the day-to-day mundaneness of work and business. Remember why you’re doing this, what motivated you to begin with & what it means to you to be able to succeed. Think family, finance & dig deeper to find those personal reasons that will spur you on even further. There’s nothing more rewarding than spending your life doing the things you love & if this is your passion, you are GUARANTEED to get to where you want to be if you just keep that unfaltering determination, flexibility in your approach and positive mind-set to push you through the hard days. You’ve got this. We believe in you. Make sure you believe in yourself too and find that fuel within you for what this truly means to you.
- Think of it as a Challenge - Success doesn’t come easy. You know that, I know that and gee- Richard Branson sure knows it too. He wouldn’t be where he was today if he didn’t! But what separates the winners from the quitters is ATTITUDE. Don’t get disheartened when things don’t always work the way they should; pick yourself up and try again. Test new approaches, try new things and think of it as an exciting challenge! Often, lack of motivation comes because tasks begin to feel like chores. Irradiate that way of thinking and start every day the RIGHT way- celebrating your achievements so far and getting focused on the day’s task at hand!
- Get Organised & Make a Plan - So once you have the right attitude and the deep-set motivation coming from within you, another huge factor to keeping you motivated will be a plan. Sounds simple right? But the key is in creating it properly. At the top you want to detail those reasons WHY- so that whenever you look at it, you instantly get that boost, you remember why it’s so important to you and you get your head in the right space. From there, you want to take the time to plan out the things you need to do, in realistic steps and timeframes to get you to that level of success you want. And remember, when you first write this down, you may not know all the stages and things you need to do. And that’s ok. The most important thing is getting down what you DO know and then figuring out the stages from there. Break it down in a way that is more manageable so that it’s not overwhelming, but achievable. And that’s not to say it won’t still challenge you - it will! But you have a real map of where you are now, where you plan to go and you can see yourself progress through the key stages. You may also want to add ‘incentives’ or ‘rewards’ into the plan for further motivation. So for example- “Develop a sales funnel for your business, generate X new leads and gain X new clients by X date”… Hit all of these targets & celebrate with a weekend away with your loved ones! Have some fun with it and see how much FURTHER it takes you.
A final note to make?
Enjoy the journey! What you’re doing is incredible. Never forget that. Keep innovating, bounce ideas around, get excited, be determined and most importantly be proud of the progress you’ve made so far. You are unique. You are fantastic! And all of your hard work will be worth it in the end.
For financial help and support, check out our services and please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to getting to know you!
- The ShelleyHolmes Accountancy Team -
How do you set yourself business goals?... Where do you start?...
I tuned in to watch the brilliant London Marathon last Sunday. Full to the brim with admiration for every runner out on the course. I have never run a marathon, but I have closely supported people who have. I've had the pleasure of experiencing the exhilarating atmosphere whilst standing among the cheering crowds. I know how much work goes into the planning and preparation beforehand. The physical and the psychological training. I have seen firsthand the result of poor preparation, resulting in a disappointing outcome and injury and I have witnessed the joy of a successfully run marathon.
The training methods and theories can apply to goal setting in business. Personally, I am more likely to stick to a ‘training plan’ than a dull list of business objectives.
- Get my head in gear. Understand what I need to do and why I am doing it. In this new tax year, review last year, action lessons learnt.
- Visualise the outcome… the finishing line... Get the financial targets in place, set the objectives and ensure they are realistic and achievable with justifiable costings.
- Get your training program set up – your routine... Time management is key here. Spread out the various tasks and prioritise. Set small goals to begin with and build this up as you start to feel more confident and competent. Remember to stick to your plan.
- Get rid of the negative inner noise, the doubt. Surround yourself with a capable team. Involve yourself with networking groups, seminars, clubs that encourage and give perspective and help motivate. Utilise free platforms and social media for advice and sharing tips.
- Look up from your feet! – Take a look around, use your peripheral vision. When we get stressed we tend to dwell on things that may not be there. Tune back into your business goal. Are you heading in the right direction? Look at your competitors, how are they doing? Ensure you are looking after your health as well as your business. Schedule in the things you love to do. Make time!
- Enjoy the process, the route may be undulating so remind yourself why you are doing it, what your end goal is, and give yourself well deserved treats along the way.
If you need help getting a strategy together, would like to know more about accounting software and training, or need a business health check please do get in touch.
I can work outside of office hours if this helps fit in with your schedule and coach you through tricky financial jargon.
We are delighted that we have three local entrepreneurs speaking at our event this month.
How much do you know about auto enrolment pensions?
We can help you work out whether your company needs to enrol your employees for pensions and what date you need to do it by!
These are the key points of ‘Automatic enrolment’:
A new law means that every employer must automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they:
- are aged between 22 and State Pension age
- earn more than £10,000 a year
- work in the UK
This is called ‘automatic enrolment’.
Use the Pensions Regulator staging date calculator to check if the new law applies to you and when you’ll be enrolled. The calculator is for employers but also works for employees.
You may not see any changes if you’re already in a workplace pension scheme.
But if you don't already contribute to a pension for your employees, then you will have to start when every worker is ‘automatically enrolled’.
Get in touch with me if you have any questions or need help setting up pensions for your workforce.
I sat down with my Sunday tea of boiled eggs, toast and cakes and switched on to Ski Sunday. Tuning into the Giant Slalom I started to yell support to the Swiss Skier flying down the slope as I watched the seconds ticking away. This is so nostalgic for me, and I’m thinking for so many others who may also warmly recall hunkering down with favourite Sunday tea and armchair ski’s on!
For those of you lucky enough to be heading to the slopes in the next few months I am sure you have done extensive research, perhaps increased your exercise regime to get ‘ski fit’ and ensured you have the right kit for your trip. Having done the research you will be able to relax in the knowledge that the resort you have chosen suits your needs.
I would like to have some fun by applying ski language to some business advice….Forgive me for any tedious links! beep beep beeeeeeeep……
Ski School: So, for those embarking on setting up a business (more than 500,000 a year, many don’t survive) you will need a good business plan, a good brand, a good name and knowledge of your competitors. You’ll have to understand the costs of setting up and introduce a plan of how you will manage your finances. There’s no point in getting to this stage if you haven’t followed the right sequence…Can you imagine the look on the ski instructors face if you rock up in your woolly yeti slippers, hanging onto your après ski drink and using your crash helmet as a container for your snacks?
Piste/Trail marker: Once we have set off we need to understand the boundaries, to be aware of where the edge is. We can do this by using regular meetings to focus and keep us in track of our business goals and targets. An excellent way is by using networking forums and by seeking the expertise and advice of a dynamic, forward thinking, goal setting Accountant. (Huh hum).
Whiteout: In fear of clouding your judgement, you will need to ensure that you employ the right Accountant to suit your needs. You will need someone who is willing to give you complete visibility of your accounts, they will be ready to advise you of the path that awaits you and if you are receiving too much information, which can result in a fog and an inability to see where you are heading, you will be reassured that you can trust them to help you out the other side.
Mogul: I am not saying that if you do the above you’ll have a superbly smooth uninterrupted ride down the fall line. You will most certainly encounter some bumpy terrain. If you have such things as a strategy in place these bumps will be easier to navigate over. If you have formed a good communication network with your Accountant, your staff members, your family, you will ride the bumps with little impact to yourself and to your business.
My advice would be to adopt your ‘dynamic stance’ (knees bent and flexible, placed slightly apart, in line with your hips, head raised and eyes focused on the area in front of you. This stance helps you to maintain your balance as you go along) this will enable you to cope with the ever changing terrain. By all means freestyle, explore, be creative and try out new methods, but remain mindful of the safety net and don’t venture off piste until you know you are ready to.
Finally, enjoy the experience of the journey and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements with an Après ski drink or two! .....One day you may be a respected business 'Mogul' ( apologies for that one).
I would love to hear your analogies and comments.
I can bespoke my services to suit your business needs and you’ll not receivebills for telephone calls or emails. FREE NO OBLIGATION FIRST MEETING.
Do you know how the rising minimum wage and national living wage will impact your business?
The rising Minimum wage and the new National Living wage are hot topics at the moment, but do you know how they will affect your cash flow? Have you put things in place to minimise the impact to your business? Can you afford to increase prices without it having a detrimental effect on your growth?
These are all questions that the small business owner should be asking themselves in the lead up to the increase so that the increase becomes a smooth transition rather than an obstacle that could have disastrous effects on the business, especially if it means reducing hours or worst case scenario having to make people redundant because no plans were put in place to cope with rising costs.
The new rates of pay come into effect on 1st October 2015 for Minimum wage and 1st April 2016 for National Living wage.
Based on employing someone aged 21 or over your costs will rise from £6.50 an hour to £6.70 an hour with the increases in Minimum wage. How will this affect a monthly wage bill?
Based on employing someone aged 25 or over your costs will rise from £6.70 to £7.40 which is the increase for the National Living wage.
Does your business have the cash flow to cope with those rises?
What can you do to protect your cash flow other than increase your prices and pass on the additional cost to your customer?
Want to read more click HERE
Here are 3 simple steps you can take now to ensure cash flow safety
1. Review and evaluate all your current overheads
2. Communicate with all your suppliers to take advantage of any incentives they might offer their customers
3. Would invoice factoring improve your cash flow
If you need a little help thinking this through then give us a call and we'll be happy to chat it through with you on 01989 550633
Here's to your increasing profits!
PS - Know someone who needs to know this information? Be a good friend and share it with them here
Generations of farmers will work side by side, they will use methods tried and tested and incorporate new innovations and ingenuity. Processes will have been meticulously followed and monitored throughout the year. They will have had to react to the uncertainty of the weather and the economic climate.
The relevance of this is that the processes followed in farming should be mirrored within every company.