How Resilient Is Your Business?

 

Is your organisation Resilient? Can you and your staff routinely adapt and keep providing “Business as Usual” for your customers even in times of crisis, or when a major unexpected disruption arises.

You can find out how to become more resilient now, just by answering a few questions about your business using this FREE Business Resilience Reporting toolkit.

All of your answers are kept completely confidential.   Your personal, comprehensive report is generated and emailed only to yourself.   You can use this report to help you prioritise and address any critical performance aspects in your own timescales.    It will also help you to identify ideas that may add further value and enhance your business and service offerings.

For any practical and expert help in the areas where you feel you need extra help and experience you can contact June Beddows, your MGBA expert in Resilience and all things Digital

the Trend of Re-Shoring British Manufacturing

I am grateful to Emma Heath of GrowthAccelerator for this powerful evocation of British manufacturing capability. Go to http://bit.ly/1nuwQ7W to read her original blog post.

For many years the low costs associated with manufacturing in the Far East and Eastern Europe have tempted many British manufacturers to move their processes abroad, something that is known as ‘offshoring’. However we are now seeing a trend known as ‘reshoring’ develop, whereby manufacturers are bringing their production back to the UK. Latest statistics from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer show that last year 11 per cent of England’s manufacturing SMEs brought production back to the UK, compared to just 4 per cent that offshored.

MAS_reshoring

Many businesses are now realising that whilst the ‘landing’ price of offshoring may appear attractive initially, once factors such as delays in logistics and issues around quality are taken into consideration, an entire layer of hidden costs may become visible. The MAS Barometer revealed that these areas are the main focus for those firms looking to move production, with 26 per cent citing a reduction in cost as their main driver, whilst 20 per cent cited improved quality and 18 per cent shorter lead times. These factors, combined with the increasing labour and shipping costs in developing economies, are leading firms to realise the growing benefits of manufacturing in the UK.

MAS_barometer-one
The benefits can also be seen in the UK’s wider economy, with the possibility of reshoring leading to the creation of more jobs and driving economic growth. For those firms who have brought their manufacturing process back to the UK in the past twelve months, 68 per cent have reported an increase in sales.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Prime Minister David Cameron shared his ambition for the UK to become a ‘re-shore’ nation, and announced that the expertise of UK Trade and Investment and MAS would be brought together to create ‘Reshore UK’. The purpose of this new service will be to provide tailored support for businesses that want to capitalise on the opportunities of reshoring, with each company having a dedicated individual to help them.

For more information on how Reshore UK could help your business, contact the Manufacturing Advisory Service on 0845 658 9600

So You Going Networking eh?

So you’ve made your choice about which networking groups you want to be part of and you’re attending on a regular basis – so now what? Well, how about some key pointers about what you should be doing to get the most out of the event?
Go Prepared – It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people turn up without business cards! If you have marketing material or sales brochures take them along - sometimes there will be a specific
place at the meeting where you can display such things.
Dress Appropriately – It is said “you only have a single chance to make a first impression” – turning up in jeans and a sweatshirt, may not do you any favours; likewise “suited and booted” may not be right for your business. Dress according to the impression you want to leave people with – you are representing your business.
Attitude – If you are looking to build relationships with other networkers
at an event, having a smile on your face and a positive attitude is going
to go a long way towards this; as opposed to an impression of Jack Dee or Victor Meldrew!
Name Badge – Wear your name badge on your right lapel. Hmm - now why would that be? Although it is easier for right handed people to put a name badge on the left side, they correctly are worn on the right side so the person shaking hands or greeting has easy eye contact with both the person and the badge as a way to help remember the name or to see where he/she is from, etc.
Elevator Pitch – Be ready to answer “What do you do?” – this will certainly be a question that individuals at the meeting will ask you and some meetings will give you the option to introduce yourself to the group. You’ll only have a couple of minutes at best, so make sure you are clear about your message.
Practise it beforehand and write it down, particularly if you are introducing yourself to the whole group.
Do Not Sell – No one likes the over-bearing, foot in the door, in your face type sales pitch – so don’t do it! You will come across as desperate to want business and you will turn people off. Your job is to start to develop relationships with other networkers. If you meet a potential prospect that
you think is interested in what you have, ‘sell’ the next step which might
be a 1 to 1 outside of the networking meeting.
Message – Understand who your ideal client is & tell people. This way
they will be able to refer the right type of people to you. For example :
“I work with MD/Owners of businesses with 5-50 staff who are based in Northamptonshire who are either looking to grow their business or need some help”.
“Two Ears, One Mouth” – Listen twice as much as you speak. You don’t have to speak ‘at’ people telling them all about the wonderful stuff you
do. You will generate as good, if not better, relationship with people if you
provide them a listening ear.

‘Manage The Room’ – Understand who is at the meeting (maybe find out
in advance so that you can ‘target’ the people you want to meet) and who would be the best people to connect with as potential prospects or  referrers of business to you. If you get stuck with someone who is either boring or not particularly relevant to you, don’t be rude, but politely excuse
yourself.
Be Professional – Again, maybe an obvious one, but be conscious of how
you are coming across to the rest of the room. Don’t dominate conversations, be loud  or appear arrogant. You know what I
mean – you’ve probably met them (or at least heard them) at events you’ve
attended.
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up! - After the event, if you connected with
someone of interest or committed to send them something, arrange a 1 to
1 or drop them an email. Have Fun – There is nothing to say you can’t have fun at a networking event. Humour and the subsequent laughter (hopefully!) is a good way of connecting with people and
developing relationships.

Sc: UKBA, MGBA

Top tips: How SMEs can grow their business in 2014 | GrowthAccelerator

 

Have a read of the latest blog from GrowthAccelerator

Top tips: How SMEs can grow their business in 2014 | GrowthAccelerator.

You Must Be Mad Joining a Networking Group

UKBA Logo HeaderBefore you set your alarm for 5:30 in the morning and set off through the gloom to yet another “Full English” at your local business networking group, why not consider these thoughts before you go?  This month we look at the real value of The Business Network and how you can get the most from them.  After all it’s your warm bed you are leaving behind..
1. Cost – Weigh up the overall financial implication to your business and the likely return you are going to get on your investment. What level of sales would you need to achieve before you broke even on the outlay?
2. Time – Along with the costs associated with networking, there is also amount of hours you spend attending networking events. Consider what time of day works  best for you – time is money after all for any business, so choose events that co-ordinate with the rest of your business activities. How much time are you prepared to spend (can you afford) on networking?
3. Content – What actually happens in the meeting? Is it more of a social
gathering or is there a structure to the event? If so, what does that look
like? Most formal meetings will have a chance for you to introduce your
business.

4. Chair – Who is running the meeting? – And, do they know what they are doing? Whether informal or formal, someone needs to be overall accountable.

5. Credibility – The other thing that springs to mind, is along the lines of
‘what gives the person running the meeting the right to do so’?
That may sound a little odd, but often the networking organisations are franchises or an individual has just decided to start a group without
any specific training in that area, skill to do the job and their main intent is
to just make money out of it.
6. Membership – What is the breakdown of the membership and is it congruent with your business and therefore likely to lead to potential
referrals? Is it limited to business owners or are sales representatives, business development managers, banks, solicitors, etc., welcome?
7. Try Before You Buy – Why is it a lot of meetings only let you come
along once or twice? Are you really going to get a flavour of that meeting
in just a few visits and establish if it will work for your business.

8. Attendance – Do you have to be at every meeting once you have
committed or need to send a ‘stunt double’ if you can’t make it? If you
have an obligation to be at each event this can have an impact on the
overall cost to be involved and the amount of (your valuable) time you
need to contribute. What’s your commitment?
9. Restrictions – Some networking organisations restrict the number of
trades represented to one per group i.e. only one website designer, one
IT specialist, etc. The problem here is just because that particular
business has that ‘slot’, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will relate
to them or that they are the best provider for what they do.
10. Value – Networking is not just about referrals, so consider what
else the organisation you are considering has to offer e.g. online
presence, training, business development videos, guest speakers, etc. Each of these can potentially help you with your business development. What ‘value add’ does the networking group bring to you?

Sc: UKBA; MGBA

What They Don’t Tell You About Starting a Business

Congratulations on becoming self employed! This is an exciting time however there are a few key points to remember to make the process go as smoothly as possible:-

Tax & National Insurance

If you were previously an employee you didn’t have to worry about this as the payroll department deducted them automatically and you received the balance.

As a self employed person you will now have to pay two types of national insurance, as well as paying two years worth of tax in the first year of trading.

National insurance

You will now pay class 2 contributions, which are set at a fixed amount per week.

In addition, you have to pay class 4 contributions payable, based on the profit at the year end. Currently 9 percent.

Tax

As a self employed person you pay your tax by the 31st January following the end of the tax year. This for all practical purposes the 31 of March.

However, to make up for this benefit the revenue also ask for payments on account for the following years estimated tax – on 31st January and 31st July each year.

Therefore after your first year, your tax bill may actually be 150% of the amount you were expecting, with a further 50% due in July.

These forward payments are then netted off against the following years tax.

It is important to provide for these liabilities to ensure that interest charges and late payment penalties do not arise, which can significantly increase your liability. 

Tax deadlines

It is also important to ensure that deadlines for registration and submitting returns are followed in order to avoid needless penalty charges arising. 

You are the whole operation

A good question to ask a room full of self employed people is ‘who here works in sales?’ – the actual answer is that everyone does!

As a self employed person you are now also your sales department, admin assistant and chief bottle-washer.

It is important to realise that you may have to spend a significant amount of your time on tasks that you had not planned on and for which you don’t have the skills or knowledge.

Get ahead with expert help, this can be cheaper in the long run and you can avoid mistakes by learning from other’s experience and training.

Many self employed people think that one way to save money is to do everything themselves, such as their web site, sales/marketing, tax returns, etc.

However, if you work out the number of hours this actually takes at the rate you could earn from a client or customer, combined with the results then you could actually find that in many cases that you could save significant money, time and hassle by getting some help at an early stage.

If you want to know more about the above issues so that you can get the answers you need before you start your business please contact Edward at edward.tudor@hcba.co.uk or call him on 01483-453755

Sc: UKBA

 

GrowthAccelerator Congratulate Their Coaches

Heather Regan, Growth Coach and Mentoring Exec, Grant Thornton has thanked GrowthAccelerator for their hard work in successfully delivering the programme to over 10,000 businesses. “It’s a milestone”, she said.  “And one that wouldn’t have been possible without Growth Coaches delivering business support and being ambassadors for the GrowthAccelerator service”.

“The diversity of GrowthAccelerator businesses is reflected in the diversity of our Growth Coach community and demonstrates you’re championing the service to the industries and sectors in which you work. To see that 92% of clients are satisfied with their Growth Coach is fantastic and is a credit to your expertise, experience and professionalism”.

GrowhtAccelelorator is celebrating it’s 10,000 SME client this month. The programme is available to any business in England that employs fewer than 250 staff and has a credible growth plan.  The programme offer expert busuness analysis, coaching and management development progtrammes through a qualified and experiwnced network of coaches, mentors and trainers.  For more information contact me on martin.parry@mgba.co.uk  or complete the form below


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