Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 24th, Mar

This week, I went on record on behalf of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce to urge the RMT Union to withdraw its intention to strike on Grand National day.

I understand some of the very real concerns raised about the proposed introduction of driver-only operated trains on Merseyrail. I also fully respect the right of workers to take action on issues about which they feel strongly.

But, on the biggest day of the year for Liverpool's visitor economy when we have a global TV audience of 600m people, the timing could not be worse.

Clearly there are fundamental and entrenched positions on both sides of this dispute – but it seems to me that those could be best resolved through sensible and considered negotiation.

Using the biggest day of Liverpool’s sporting and social calendar as a negotiating tactic is disappointing, to say the least.

The Grand National offers a massive annual boost to hundreds of businesses across the entire region.

This action by the RMT will not only inconvenience residents and visitors but sends totally the wrong message at a time when we are working hard to market ourselves in an international arena.

And this does open up a wider discussion around Liverpool's global identity.

We present Liverpool as a forward-thinking city, a place on the up, a location that understands and utilises technology and digital advancements to do business better - somewhere that is prime for inward investment.

But in fact, in terms of productivity, there is a lot of work to be done. The UK lags behind Germany by 35% and output in the North West is further behind again.

The North-South divide shows no sign of shrinking, there are undeniable challenges around improving productivity in the North – and it is time business leaders rose to those challenges.

The rise of the so-called ‘gig economy’ – freelancers, short-term workers and independent contractors lured by the idea of more flexible working – is threatening the retention of talent within our workplaces. But what can we do about it?

Simple measures can make a huge difference.

Let’s look at upskilling, life-long learning, financial incentivisation. Lets alter our working practices, lose the colloquial minsdet and accept change. Lets scale-up, create jobs and win clients.

Let’s really think of the bigger picture and start looking out instead of in. Only then can we really, really begin to compete.

Leave a comment

Posted by Kurt B Potter

Growth Executive for Grant Thornton

Wed 22nd, Mar

Do you need to look externally to raise finance for your business to grow?

Angel investment is an important source of early-stage finance for ambitious founders looking to build scalable businesses. But what should you look for in an angel investor and what makes them tick?

More than money Raising investment from a business angel provides so much more than just access to growth finance. The right angel investor will be a trusted business partner, a mentor, an advocate and can bring valuable connections to fast track your business’ growth. “The main thing a business owner should look for in an angel investor is someone who supports you and can bring value to your vision, not someone who wants to rewrite your vision” says Michael Blakey, serial angel investor and UK Angel Investor of the year 2015/16. “Don’t be tempted to just think about the short term funding need, you need an investor that is in it for the journey, is used to dealing with pivots, and can support with further finance as the business grows.”

Additionally, be aware that angel investors very rarely invest alone. Over 80% of angel investments closed by Grant Thornton clients involved an angel syndicate. This is consistent with national data on the angel market, presented in the UKBAA Nation of Angels report, which found approximately 7 out of 10 angel investors invest through syndicates in the UK.

Ensure impact

We see so many founders fail to make the most from an opportunity to impress investors. Demand far surpasses supply when it comes to seeking investment, and thorough preparation, research and practice is the difference between standing out and blending into the crowd.

Chris Michael is founder of Swytch, which has created an app that allows multiple phone numbers to be used from a single device. Swytch secured investment from investors James Hilton, CEO of M&C Saatchi Mobile, and serial entrepreneur Neil Hutchinson. However, Chris found he had a lot to learn when pitching to angels.

“We attended lots of events in preparation for meeting investors to learn how to pitch and understand what should and shouldn’t be in a slide deck,” he says. But the biggest way to make an impact? “Personalise your pitch”, says angel investor Michael Blakey. “I get hundreds of approaches from entrepreneurs seeking investment every month and I get so frustrated when emails are addressed “Dear Sir”. It isn’t hard to put my name or personalise a slide deck so I don’t feel I’m getting the same presentation everyone gets.”

Pitching to an investor is essentially a sales process, and it is really the only time your investor will ever be on the receiving end of how you conduct yourself professionally. “We will assume that how you communicate with us is how you will conduct yourself with customers”, says Michael. It is crucial to demonstrate you are professional and competent. Content is key There are many ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to pitching for finance.

When seeking funding for Swytch, Chris found that, as well as wanting to understand his vision and route to growth, angels he met with were most interested in the people behind the business. “You need to talk about your team. They want to know who is running your company and have confidence you can achieve your forecasts” Chris says.

I don’t want to know how great a product is, I want to understand the market opportunity and the commercial terms of the deal for me. A common mistake we see during pitch events is business owners confusing the investment pitch with a product pitch. An investor does not need to understand every detail about your product/service, but they do want to know how you will make money, who your customers are and what is in it for them.

“I back entrepreneurs who understand how I want to make money”, says Michael. “I don’t want to know how great a product is, I want to understand the market opportunity and the commercial terms of the deal for me.” And don’t even think about using the word “conservative” when presenting your financials!

During his early meetings, Chris learnt first-hand the importance of giving investors information on the addressable market for his business. “You do get feedback from investors and it’s important to listen. I learnt that investors will not believe that there is no one else trying to do the same thing as you. So we needed to be clearer about who we were aiming for and how we were going to reach them.”

Even if you have a breakthrough innovation that no-one else has invented yet, your competition is that consumers continue to use an alternative solution, or they continue to do nothing about the problem you are trying to solve. What’s in it for them? So why do business angels invest?

It is true that there are some investors who invest philanthropically, having made their fortunes and want to give back to the economy or make a social impact. But it is important to understand that the majority of angel investors invest to make money. Yes, they want to be involved in interesting projects and bring value to small businesses, but ultimately they are looking for a financial return.

Entrepreneurs that recognise this and place importance on demonstrating how they can deliver that for investors will go far when pitching for finance. And Michael? “I like the rollercoaster of investing in exciting, growing businesses. There are easier ways I could make money, but they would be a lot less fun!”

Grant Thornton are running a Funding Clinic on Wednesday, 05 April 2017 08:30 - 11:00 at Grant Thornton, Royal Liver Building, Liverpool L3 1PS

This event is free of charge.

For more information contact Kurt B Potter, Growth Executive for Grant Thornton. T +44 (0)20 7728 2826 E kurt.b.potter@uk.gt.com

Read More
Leave a comment

Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 17th, Mar

We’ve all met the natural entrepreneurs - the Richard Bransons of this world who start wheeling and dealing before they are old enough to even buy a drink.

However, for most people starting a business can be a daunting leap into the unknown - they need nurturing and encouragement and a belief they are supported.

Through the chamber’s Spark Up accelerator programme we have seen first-hand the transformational effect the right environment can have on an initially nervous and unsure would-be entrepreneur.

In times of austerity, with rafts of people still at the sharp end of spending cuts, the Government have a responsibility to support those taking matters into their own hands – many of whom have been left with little or no other option.

It is why Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget provoked such a reaction from the business community last week.

Proposing to raise National Insurance contributions for self-employed people as well as cutting dividend tax-free allowances may have seemed, on paper, like sound fiscal ideas - but it sent out a terrible message and I can’t help but wonder if The Chancellor had said it out loud before pitching it to the nation?

I’m incredibly proud to operate in Liverpool – it is a city bursting with great business ideas and bold, bright, enterprising people. And in times of economic uncertainty we need entrepreneurs and risk-takers more than ever. Sole traders have the capacity to prosper and create businesses that offer employment and that process is the real engine for growth in our society.

Liverpool accountant and Liverpool Chamber member Peter Taaffe said this week: “I can’t remember the last time a Budget stirred quite so much emotion.”

It’s an apt comment because starting and nurturing your own business is a very emotional journey. When people get past their initial enthusiasm the everyday worries kick in - will I be able to pay my mortgage, support my family, just make ends meet?

But you know, some good could come from the past week. One of the positive things to come from the Budget was a promise to review the business rates system, which is fundamentally broken and needs to be fixed.

Maybe the controversy over the now-scrapped NI rises will spark a wider debate on how we value entrepreneurship in our society.

We need to take a look at business and employment taxation to ensure the system is competitive and equitable - and encourages the entrepreneurial dynamism this city and this country so badly needs.

Jenny Stewart

Leave a comment

Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 10th, Mar

This week has been a critical week for the Chamber – National Apprenticeships Week, International Women’s Day and of course, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first and final Spring Budget.

And let’s talk about that, shall we?

Liverpool & Sefton Chambers, along with British Chambers of Commerce has long been lobbying for business rates reform.

In his Budget, Mr Hammond announced a raft of measures to help businesses fearful of an imminent rise in business rates. This is certainly welcome news.

For a long time now the Chamber has called for a review of the system, which is as I see it, fundamentally broken.

The announced cap for small businesses - coupled with the proposed discount on business rate bills for pub landlords - is at least some sign that Government are beginning to take the issue seriously and feels like the first time in a long time we have had any real sign of change to the system.

The £300m fund set to be made available to councils to allow them to provide discretional relief on a case-by-case basis is further heartening – though counteracted by the rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, which feels out of touch, to say the least.

It was refreshing to hear The Chancellor admit challenges around productivity in the UK, which lags behind other comparable nations. I welcome any motion to improving the UK’s productivity but am determined to see more investment in the North.

It is extraordinary that some days it can take two hours to travel between Liverpool and Manchester - two cities just 35 miles apart.

The £90m that was announced to improve ‘pinch points’ on roads in the North is not a lot of money at all and simply won’t be enough to solve what is an inherent problem that has long been stifling our economic growth.

And on a day that celebrates strong and enterprising women, it was interesting to hear the Chancellors commitment to supporting women and improving gender equality. The £5m ringfenced for ‘returnships’ for women hardly feels adequate.

The elephant in the room though, was the Chancellors evasion of the B-word and the absence of international trade and export.

It is fair to say that the budget was, perhaps more than ever, light on detail. We can only wait and see what will come over the following days and weeks.

 

Jenny

Leave a comment

The Federation of Small Businesses published a report (Tied Up 2016) recently exploring the cost of disputes to UK small businesses.

Posted by Joseph Mulrooney

Joseph Mulrooney is a panel member of Mediatelegal. Mediatelegal is a panel of expert mediators, accredited to deal with civil disputes, commercial disputes, and workplace disputes. Established in 2016, and based in Liverpool, we offer a national service but aim to make Merseyside a leading region in the use of mediation. www.mediatelegal.co.uk

  • T: 0151 363 3972
  • E: help@mediatelegal.co.uk
Thu 23rd, Feb

The Federation of Small Businesses published a report (Tied Up 2016) recently exploring the cost of disputes to UK small businesses. In the report the FSB recognises the important role of mediation in reducing the impact of disputes.

The report finds that disputes cost smaller firms in England and Wales a staggering £11.6 billion each year. The report found that there were at least 3.4 million commercial disputes involving small businesses in England and Wales between 2010 – 2015, and 70% of small businesses had at least 1 commercial dispute between 2010-2015, with the average disputed amount equalling £18,000.00.

72% of commercial disputes for smaller businesses relate to late or non-payment of fees – this amounts to 2.4 million smaller businesses experiencing such a dispute.  The report also found that the most commonly reported source of a dispute was the customer or client (57%). Suppliers were the second most common source at 21%. Interestingly, disputes with competitors or internal disputes accounted for just 2% each.

Why does all of the above matter? Smaller businesses don’t often have the capacity or resources to deal with disputes. The impact can be devastating and might include key commercial relationships being lost, cash flow difficulties, or insolvency.

How can you best deal with customer disputes?

The best way to avoid a dispute with a customer is to agree exactly what it is the customer wants from you in advance, to then provide detailed information on how you will meet those needs, and to then deliver that service.

  1. Agree customer expectations
  2. Provide detailed instructions on how you will deliver on those expectations
  3. A clear and concise contract, signed by the customer.
  4. Provide your service in keeping with 1-3 above

As anyone in business will know though, you can never 100% remove all possibility of a customer dispute. People are people, information can be misinterpreted, and emotions can’t be written down in a contact. Disputes will happen despite your best efforts, but if you follow the above advice you should see your business benefit from more satisfied customers and less angry emails, telephone calls, or social media reviews.

What Else Can Be Done?

Let’s be clear, if a customer submits a complaint or brings a dispute against your company, the absolute worst thing you can do is to ignore it. It is unlikely to go away and the customer will not only be unhappy with the initial service, but will also have a valid complaint about the way in which the original complaint has been handled. All of a sudden you will be dealing with two issues rather than one.

What you should do is engage with the customer, discover the cause of their dissatisfaction, compare it with points 1-4 above, and provide a reasoned response, in writing wherever possible. The customer might not agree with your conclusion, but you have given them the opportunity to explain their position, and explained yours in turn.

Of course, a customer might continue with their dispute. Depending on your sector this might involve a complaint to a governing body – an Ombudsman for example. If this happens, and you have followed our advice above, you should have a good audit trail to support your case.

If there is no governing body, or if the customer chooses to ignore this route, you might find yourself receiving a letter of claim from a solicitor, perhaps alleging professional negligence. At this point it is essential that you don’t ignore the dispute. If you do, you could find yourself in court with no legal advice, or receiving a County Court Judgment against you/your company. Seek legal advice straightaway!

Free Mediation Clause

At Mediatelegal we offer businesses a free clause. This can be inserted into your company’s customer contract, and requires the customer to agree to attend mediation before they can commence court proceedings against you.

Returning to the above scenario where you have received a solicitor’s letter; you can respond by notifying the solicitor of this clause and advising that you want to use mediation to try to resolve the dispute without going to court.

What Is Mediation & Why Should You Use It?

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It is an informal way to resolve disputes quickly, confidentially, and inexpensively.  As the FSB report states, “many businesses see it as offering a value-for-money way of resolving disputes’.

Unlike court, mediation won’t see a verdict imposed on you by a judge, instead you and the customer are encouraged to communicate and work together to find an agreeable solution to the dispute. The mediator uses his/her skills to help you both with this process. For more information on the mediation process visit our website.

According to the CEDR 2016 Mediation Audit, 86% of disputes are resolved by mediation either on the day of the mediation or shortly afterwards.

A further benefit of using mediation to resolve disputes is that it can restore relationships which were previously damaged. Because both sides work together to discuss the dispute and also the solution, they are both being heard by one another and working together.

A recent report by the World Bank (Doing Business 2017) found that in the UK it takes 437 days from starting a case in court to enforcing a judgment at the conclusion. That’s a long time for a company to have to deal with a legal dispute – it will be expensive, time consuming, and very stressful. The report also found that legal fees will likely amount to almost 44% of the value of the dispute.

Let’s have a quick look at an example:

Earlier we told you that the average dispute value for small businesses in the UK was £18,000.00. Using the World Bank data, not only would it cost roughly £7920.00 in legal fees per party, but it would also take up to 437 days for a legal dispute to be taken through the courts.

To resolve the dispute using mediation would take up to 1 day. The mediation fee would be just £500.00 per party. 

What Next?

Hopefully this article has made interesting reading for you; maybe it’s even been useful for your business? If it has, please share it with your contacts – i would hope they will appreciate it.

If you would like more information regarding mediation or would like to discuss using our free mediation clause please feel free to get in touch either via our website at www.mediatelegal.co.uk.

—————————

Joseph Mulrooney is a panel member of Mediatelegal.

Mediatelegal is a panel of expert mediators, accredited to deal with civil disputes, commercial disputes, and workplace disputes. Established in 2016, and based in Liverpool, we offer a national service but aim to make Merseyside a leading region in the use of mediation.

If you would like more information regarding mediation or would like to discuss using our free mediation clause please feel free to get in touch via our website.

Read More
Leave a comment

TimScottHR is bringing Street Wisdom to Liverpool City Centre.

Posted by TimScott HR

Mon 20th, Feb

Haven’t heard of Street Wisdom?

Street Wisdom workshops are designed to give you time and space to think about a particular problem or issue you are facing, whether it’s at work, at home or in any aspect of your life. Using the urban environment to help you think, you can ask your question and use the answers you discover to move forwards in life. Why wait for escape to exotic destinations when inspiration can be found on your own doorstep? Street Wisdom shows you how. This event is free: the only thing you pay is attention!

Street Wisdom is a three-hour workshop that’s free to take part in – you don’t pay fees, you pay attention. It’s been staged in 27 countries and counting.

How does it work?

Simple.  Tune Up. Quest. Share.

1.       First, your Street Wisdom faciliator Tim Scott helps you and your group tune up your senses so you can pick up much more information from the urban environment that you would normally.

2.       Then you’re off on a journey by yourself – your street quest – where you ask a question and see what answers present themselves.

3.       Finally, you gather together again to share what happened and, more often than not, wonder at how magical an ordinary street can become when you’re really aware of those hidden messages, chance meetings and unexpected discoveries.

In just three hours of walking and wandering, participants have resolved problems that have dogged them for years, found new business ideas, changed careers, discovered new directions, and learned how to deal differently with living, learning and loving

All you need is a question… and your walking shoes!

TimScottHR is delighted to be bringing Street Wisdom to the streets of Liverpool.  The event can be run for businesses and teams.  Tim will happily talk to you about it – but first come along and enjoy the experience for yourself.  See you there! 

Book now for 22nd March:

Read More
Leave a comment

Why you can learn from Trump’s election campaign victory

Posted by Textlocal.com

Tue 24th, Jan

From real estate developer to the 45th president of the United States – why you can learn from Trump’s election campaign victory.

Shocked? Seen it all before? Whoever you supported in the monumental election campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there’s one marketing ploy that played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the results. And that was…

The power of mobile marketing and communications

In every television appearance, you’d always see: Text “TRUMP” to 88022 in the shot.

Of course, there’s nothing particularly innovative about using SMS keywords and a short number as a marketing ploy. We see it all the time outside bars, restaurants and even in the reception at the dentist. But to do it on such a grand scale and garner the results that it did, magnifies the significance and power of text messaging.

By sending out messages to remind people to go out and vote, he’s instantly and psychologically urged the public to get off their backsides and do it.

We’ve all heard of the phrase; curiosity killed the cat. The text “TRUMP” campaign was a potent example of this. Most of his stands and adverts didn’t even say what you were opting in for. You just had to text in to find out.

How can businesses learn from Mr. Trump?

Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, at the end of the day, he’s a businessman. He knows how to communicate with his audience and get results. In this case, it was a text messaging campaign.

He wanted to communicate directly with his voters. SMS not only feels more personal, but it boasts a 98% open rate – blowing any other marketing channel out of the water. Forget about waiting to broadcast key speeches at certain times, this method hits his subscribers instantly in their homes and on the go.

The same applies to your business too. Loyal customers are engaged with brands, so it’s essential that you’re actively reaching out to them.

The stats:

  • There are 33.67 million mobile users in the UK that have opted in to receive text messages from brands and businesses in 2016. This is set to rise to 48.65 million by 2020
  • 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes
  • On average, 32% of your audience will respond to a text message
  • Smartphones will overtake desktops and tablets by the end of 2017 – accounting for more than 60% of all e-commerce visits

Depending on the nature of your business, there are many different elements of mobile marketing and communications to consider.

If you’re looking to optimise your sales in the build up to Black Friday, Christmas and the January sales – sending out a series of promotional text messages, vouchers (with a QR code) and virtual loyalty cards via SMS could entice your customer base to visit your store or go online.

Or with winter approaching, schools can communicate via text message to inform parents of any closures. Health organisations and car garages could even send out a simple reminder of an appointment or MOT. All of these examples are cost-effective and instant.

Need data?

Just take text “TRUMP” as a key example on how to quickly and efficiently build a customer database which you can market to or communicate with.

You may be thinking, ‘well he was on television in front of millions of people worldwide, so of course it was going to work’. True, but there are also ways for businesses (regardless of size) to implement this strategy on a smaller, low-cost scale.

Textlocal.com offers you an easy and free platform to create short numbers and keywords (such as “TRUMP”). Depending on your industry, create a relevant word and showcase the details in your shop windows, on the side of your company van, in your reception and even on your social media platforms.

Again, depending on your industry, you could entice people with tempting offers or keep it a secret like Mr Trump did.

Key lessons

SMS is the most cost-effective way of engaging with your customers, and whilst you aren't reaching out to them, your competitors are.

So, if you’re going to take away anything from Donald Trump’s election victory, take away his text messaging triumph and start implementing it into your business today.

Try the Textlocal online platform for free and receive 10 free credits to help send your first campaign. 

Leave a comment

Posted by Lisa Johnson

Microsoft Expert – SquareOne Training

Tue 10th, Jan

"I often hear people comment that they haven’t got enough hours in the day."

The same discussion comes up time and again, about the ever growing need to respond to emails, and how they are generally bogged down with an ever growing mailbox. 

By following some simple rules in Email time management, I am hoping that 2017 will allow you to get more organised and have the time you need become more productive.

So start by stopping opening, reviewing and closing the same Email, and use the 4 Ds model for your Email management.

Delete it:

  • “How much of this information will I actually ever need again?”. Delete it.
  • Is this message important for a project that I’m currently working on? If no. Delete it.
  • Will I require any of this information within the next 6-12 months? If no. Delete it.
  • Am I required to keep this information on file? If no. Delete it
  • Is this a SPAM email? Yes. Delete it.

 

So apart from deleting emails – there are some other useful features.

Clean Up Conversation

This is where you can delete unwanted messages that are part of the history of the conversation. So if you have replied to an email and someone has replied again etc. it will get rid of the old emails and leave you with the top ones.

If you definitely don’t need the email – you can also press SHIFT+DEL to delete it permanently without the email going to the deleted items folder.

Do it

  • Is this something I can do quickly without affecting my current work and takes less than 2 minutes? Yes. Then do it.
  • Is this something I can only do now? Yes. Then do it.
  • Was I the main recipient of this email (you were not CC:), and this is urgent, and again won’t take very long. Yes. Then do it.

 

Delegate it:

  • Is this something that you cannot do immediately but needs attention? Yes. Delegate this.
  • Is this a question that can be answered in a more appropriate way by a colleague? Yes. Delegate this.
  •  Do not delegate an email if you were CC: - this email was given to you as a reference only.

 

Remember when delegating an email to keep your message short and concise. Explain why delegating this, and put a summary paragraph only and refer to the content below.

Defer it:

  • If this is something that needs reading that takes longer than 2 minutes.
  • You need to discuss this with colleagues.
  • You have an action that again may take time up that you currently haven’t got available.

 

So to Defer it – you can do the following: 

  • If you simply want to read it again in more detail then from the closed email press CTRL+U (mark as unread)
  • If you want to flag it for action and there isn’t a particular message you would like to give – press the Insert button on the keyboard or click on the flag. (This will mark it to be done today)
  • If you need to action this but not today, and would like reminders then – right click on the flag and choose Add Reminder to take you to the Custom dialogue box. Here you will be able to write your own comments and set alert dates and times. Click OK when complete.
  •  When you have done the task press the Insert key on the keyboard when your cursor is on the email.

 

The other way to defer an email is to allocate time to doing it in your diary. For this you can drag and drop the email straight into your calendar and then allocate time to doing this. 

Other ways you can help with email management within your organisation is to promote effective use of hyperlinks to files instead of sending attachments. 

And finally consider using great packages such as Skype for Business to send instant messages that allow for a quick response. 

If you would like any more information on Outlook Time Management or any training for your organisation, then please have a look at our website for all our different formats for training which include classroom, seminars or even training via Skype for Business.

If you would like any more information on Outlook Time Management or any training for your organisation, then please have a look at our website for all our different formats for training which include classroom, seminars or even training via Skype for Business.

Either way I hope these tips help you to become more productive in 2017.

Happy New Year -

Lisa Johnson

For more Microsoft Office Tips & Tricks, click here:

Read More
Leave a comment

Transform your marketing for 2017

Posted by Amanda Dodd

Founder and Creative Director of Koogar Limited

Mon 24th, Oct

One of the biggest problems that many business owners and marketing managers have is that they become overwhelmed with their marketing. This is a huge issue, especially for business owners, as this can often lead to them either ignoring their marketing all together or just posting on Facebook every now and then.

This can have detrimental effective upon business effectiveness and can even lead to companies going out of business due to not getting any new business. One fairly simple way of preventing this is to understand your business and what you are trying to do better and then to add structure to the marketing you are implementing.

How does this prevent marketing overwhelm?

You might be wondering how understanding your business better will help with your marketing overwhelm, surely you need to know more about marketing?

While developing your marketing knowledge, marketing communications is also very important and it is far more crucial that you understand your business. If you understand your business and identify the audience that your products and services solve a problem for, then it is MUCH easier to produce specific, targeted and focused content that can engage with them effectively.

Furthermore, if you understand your customers fully, you will know where to find them in terms of marketing channels and you will develop an understanding of which channels are most effective for your target audience, meaning that your confusion over WHICH media channels to be engaging with will dissipate.

Understanding which channels are effective will also drive your marketing motivation and creativity to understand your customers further in terms of their interests and hobbies, which are great topics that can be integrated into your marketing communications to drive engagement and profit.

Structure is the key

Once the understanding is in place, you have identified the channels that are best to communicate with your target audience and you are motivated to produce engaging content all you need is structure.

Structure is key because it again makes marketing less confusing, more tangible and less overwhelming.

It can do this in a number of ways, but firstly it is essential to have a marketing calendar. This outlines the marketing that needs to be implemented each and every day, and helps you manage your content creation by breaking the marketing needs down into days and week.

Secondly, making your marketing measurable is also important for planning your marketing, as well as reducing overwhelm. This is because if your marketing is measurable you can then see how effective it is, which channels are the most impactful, which are the most cost-effective and consequently you can make informed decisions on the adaption and development of your marketing.

Other structural elements to consider are your sales process and referral process, and how your marketing communications strategy can be successfully integrated into these two key elements of your business.

Integration

Overall, while marketing overwhelm can become hugely problematic for many businesses it can be broken down by developing understanding and integrating that understanding into the structures of your business.

 If you feel overwhelmed by your marketing and would love some assistance in developing that understanding and effectively integrating it into your marketing structures then our marketing planning day is the one for you.

Transform your marketing for 2017 is the event you need to kick start your business for the New Year! It is taking place on the 7th of December at Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce. For more details visit the Facebook event or the Eventbrite page to purchase tickets.

https://transformyourmarketing2017.eventbrite.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/events/1725950431060210/1725976141057639/?notif_t=like&notif_id=1476899714669406

Leave a comment

With our Annual Dinner Awards 2016 approaching, we look at some of the key reasons you should nominate your business for awards

Posted by Daniel McGinley

Marketing & Events Officer - Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Tue 18th, Oct

In business it's constantly drilled into us to spread the good news that we do, whether it's to increase your image in the community, increase your sales or grow your brand, we all know it's essential. And yet, so many of us fail to capitalise on the biggest opportunity to spread our news and boast about the work we're doing - nominating our business for awards and riding the marketing wave that comes with it.

That's why, ahead of our Annual Dinner Awards 2016, we're going to highlight some of the ways you can benefit from nominating your business so that you don't miss out on the massive marketing opportunities awaiting at the end of the calendar year.

1. Free Marketing

Now, as mentioned above awards can be a fantastic opportunity for you to market your business, there's the potential to write posts on the back of your nomination, blogs explaining why your year has been fantastic and social media content highlighting the fact you've been nominated. But, not only is there the promotion that (hopefully) you'll do following on from your entry into the awards - there's also the fact the host of the awards will essentially be marketing your business for you, completely free of charge. In the build up to the awards ceremony, you can safely expect, social media activity, blogs, posts and (usually) a business panel of high level individuals examining what makes you great.  

Plus there's the added marketing following on from if you win the award, again this will include pictures, press releases and extensive Social media promotion - all a fantastic way to demonstrate your business has had a fantastic year.

2. It demonstrates to potential customers you've reached a benchmark you're proud of

Not only does entering awards give you an extensive arsenal of marketing activity, there's also the mindset benefit. The fact that entering for the award demonstrates to your potential customers that the service you provide is of the highest quality. Whether or not you win the award you'll still demonstrate by applying that you're proud of the quality you're bringing. To jump on this your marketing message needs to be a simple one of 'Take a look at how great our year has been'. 

3. Internal communication/mindset

While you're boasting about the fantastic work you've done it won't go unnoticed that your staff have played a big part of that success. Taking advantage of this for your internal communications will 100% go a long way in terms of happiness, pride and mindset going into the New Year for your staff. The message with this should be thanking staff for the part they've played and how the next year can be bigger and better. 

4. Increased creditability in the business community

(Hopefully) you know how fantastic your company is, what better way to show everyone that you're right then by having an award that proves it? Potential customers will see the fact you've won the award as a mark of your quality and in turn will give you the edge over competitors. Even if you don't win, demonstrating you were shortlisted will go along way in terms of showing that you're credible. 

5. The chance to enjoy an evening of celebration for the year you've had

With most awards there's usually an awards ceremony, an awards ceremony means one thing - a chance to let your hair down and reflect on the year you've had. Social media activity during an awards ceremony can help to demonstrate that again, you're proud of the year you've had. Regardless of whether or not you win, you can usually expect a fantastic evening with an insight and outcome of where you can expand on the year you've had.

Hopefully our five tips have given you a useful insight into how you can maximise your marketing for awards nominations, if you feel inspired to shout about your year, on the 1st December we're holding our Annual Dinner 2016 where we'll be celebrating the best of Liverpool business. If you're looking to nominate your business because you've had a year worth shouting about you can find out more information below.

Best of luck!

Nominate your business now for our Annual Dinner Awards 2016

Read More
Leave a comment

How Can You Best Deal With Customer Disputes?

Thu 23rd, Feb

The Federation of Small Businesses published a report (Tied Up 2016) recently exploring the cost of disputes to UK small businesses.

Street Wisdom is Coming to Liverpool!

Mon 20th, Feb

TimScottHR is bringing Street Wisdom to Liverpool City Centre.

How Trump's triumph could inspire businesses across the UK

Tue 24th, Jan

Why you can learn from Trump’s election campaign victory

Removing overwhelm from Marketing – Planning and Structure

Mon 24th, Oct

Transform your marketing for 2017

How To Maximise Your Marketing From Entering Business Awards

Tue 18th, Oct

With our Annual Dinner Awards 2016 approaching, we look at some of the key reasons you should nominate your business for awards