Thursday, 30 June 2011

That's Green: Biggest privately-owned solar PV panel installatio...

That's Green: Biggest privately-owned solar PV panel installatio...: "A new photovoltaic solar panel electricity generation scheme for farmer and grain store operator Colin Godwin at Keysley Farm, Monkton Dever..."

How does your business cope with the flow of information to your potential customers?

Information used to move slowly, through traditional advertising, traditional journalists; from printing press onto paper, into the shops, onto the billboards and then to your customers. Now it's around the world in a second, and back again!

And it's not through traditional journalists either: your customers are out there right now, all over the marketplaces, speaking to each other about your products: recommending, reviewing, ranting and raving.

And they're talking about your competitors, too. And as soon as your competitor offers something better, something faster, cheaper, bigger, smaller, more colourful, who knows what, those very same customers are suddenly the mouthpieces and champions of your nemesis!

This information also moves around the online marketplace faster, a lot faster in fact, than a speeding bullet.

As an online retailer, the question you need to ask yourself is: Am I in a position to respond to customer trends in a world where information travels this fast?

If your retail technology doesn't have the customer at its very core, then sadly the answer is no.

Your internal philosophy has the customer at its heart, right? If you don't have a system that equally does, prepared for and empowering the growth you deserve, then what's the point?

Equip your retail systems for high growth with a free consultation from Open Plus.

Cambridge-based tax and accountancy specialists expand into Australia

With a steady stream of people moving to Australia from England and vice versa, Websters are pleased to announce the opening of their new offices in Australia.

The purpose of their new Sydney-based office is to advise individuals and businesses who are migrating from the UK to Australia, or from Australia to the UK, on the sometimes quite complicated tax and financial issues that may affect them and their businesses.

In charge of the office he office will be Joanne Lamberth, who is one of Websters’ senior tax consultants, who was originally based in the Cambridge HQ of the firm.

She will be assisted by Dale Winckel, who will be bringing her experience and expertise in sales and marketing to the firm and focusing on further business development.

Websters chose the North Shore, Sydney for their new business as it is a primarily residential area with a high ratio of expat home owners who, they feel, would benefit from their services.

But they point out that with a registered office in the central business district of Sydney, other areas of the city still remain within reach.

Chief Executive, Andrew Webster, who has recently returned from visiting Australia where he has overseen the opening of the new office points out:: “The UK practice has been advising Australian clients from our Cambridge base for the last fifteen years. During the last year, Joanne Lamberth, one of our senior tax consultants, has worked hard to develop this new office and business in Australia.

“Joanne migrated to Australia and chose the North Shore of Sydney as her new family home, so is well versed in the opportunities and issues that UK ‘expats’ will experience. She and Dale will be working alongside our experienced international tax team in Cambridge. We already use this approach very successfully with our office in France. To extend the business and open our first office outside Europe is a really exciting development for Websters.”

Joanne comments: “I have been based in Sydney myself for a while now, so I know from first-hand experience that to give effective advice to clients you need to have not only a detailed knowledge of both countries’ tax systems, but more importantly expertise in how tax systems between countries interrelate. Dale and I bring such expertise to the team and we are looking forward to working together with our clients to expand websters Australia.”

FACTFILE: As well as their Cambridge HQ and their Australian office they also have a presence in France. and France. The firm was founded in 1990 and they offer advice to individuals, businesses and corporations, with, as one would expect, a special emphasis on tax issues including international issues. Their team includes tax consultants, accountants, a solicitor, a company secretary and financial advisers, who work alongside a small team of software developers.

For details of how they might be able to help you, visit www.tax.uk.com

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Trade mark attorney 'back home'

Alexander Ramage Associates has appointed James Setchell as an associate. A UK registered Trade Mark Attorney and European Trade Mark Attorney, James first worked for the Woking-based firm as a trainee in 1994, after having gained an LLB with honours from Cardiff University.

During his subsequent career in private practice in London and Newcastle, James spent a number of years as a trade mark manager for a global drinks manufacturer. He acquired extensive experience in advising on the trade mark portfolios of large FMCG companies as well as SMEs in a variety of business sectors.

"We are delighted to welcome James back," said Eric Ramage, senior partner at Alexander Ramage Associates. "His extensive experience in the international beverage sector will strengthen our presence in that field."

James is a member of the Council of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, and chairs its Public Relations and Communications committee. He takes an active part in the education of those seeking to qualify as Trade Mark Attorneys, being a regular tutor on revision courses and a qualified tutor for the Nottingham Law School course.

He is also a board member of the Joint Examination Board for entry onto the registers of Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys in the UK.

www.ramage.co.uk

Is That's Business pro-business?

A link to a story on strikes by public sector workers on That's Business was posted up on a discussion on the Guardian newspaper's website.

The report was dismissed by a reader of the Guardian (presumably without bothering to read the story, never a good basis for a rational, reasoned debate!) because, they opened, That's Business is a 'pro-business' website.

That's Business is not pro or anti business. That's Business is, however, pro your business and provides news and information that is, it is hoped, of interest and value to your business.

After all, your business is important as business keeps the wheels of society moving. With no businesses there would be no water in our taps, no food on our table, no books on our bookshelf.

Fire Resistant Ductwork can save lives: New White Paper

Newly published, from ventilation ductwork specialist Senior Hargreaves, a 2000 word white paper examines how fire resistant ductwork helps protect life, safeguards property and promotes enterprise survival in the event of fire. Hargreaves is making their extensive knowledge and experience available to building services engineers, insurance company surveyors, senior fire officers, health and safety practitioners and others with professional involvement.

The core of the paper is a discussion of the requirements of Building Regulations and the Loss Prevention Council rules. This includes an exploration of the crucial role of fire compartments and the use of fire walls and resistive structures in buildings. The paper also looks at special cases such as car park and kitchen ventilation and explains the importance of stability, integrity and insulation in fire ductwork.

Various methods for meeting the technical requirements are examined comparatively in the light of practical conditions on construction sites. “The paper will be useful to engineers and other professionals engaged in specifying building services. We hope that it will promote and encourage best practice and high engineering standards,” explained Hargreaves director Phil Johnson.

To obtain a personal copy of the white paper, telephone Denise Mercer at Senior Hargreaves on 0161 764 5082 or e-mail denise.mercer@hargreaves-ductwork.co.uk with business address details.

Monday, 27 June 2011

This Purple prose could really boost your business!

Companies looking to exploit new social media networks must think very carefully about how they develop their Facebook presence according to a new report by integrated marketing specialists, The Purple Agency (part of Adare).

According to Purple too many companies fail to harness the potential of social media to express their brands and engage consumers positively. In so doing they run the risk of damaging the brands they represent as a result of ill thought through social media strategies.

Says Andrew Woodger, data and planning director, The Purple Agency: “While social media sites are a potentially powerful tool for good, they can just as easily be a powerful turn off for many consumers. Unless brands set out to engage consumers in a managed interactive environment, there is a huge risk that their social media presence will back fire. This is especially true of organisations and brands which rely on high levels of consumer goodwill or where there are potentially controversial issues which may need a high degree of ‘management’ to avoid them getting out of hand.”

The Purple Agency has created a list of factors which should ideally be considered and addressed before a company sets itself up on Facebook or any other social networking media. These include the following:

Do:

1 Do have a clear strategy. Consider both the gains and the risks. How will you measure the benefits?
2. Do decide how you want people to interact. Is your Facebook site a bill board or somewhere people can genuinely ‘interact’. Either might be valid, but will depend on what you want to achieve.
3. Do choose who will be responsible for managing and maintaining your presence.
4. Do agree in advance your policies and approach to managing negative or controversial postings. People often use sites to ‘sound off’ about issues they feel are unresolved. Make sure you are ready and able to respond quickly.
5. Do make sure your customers know about your social media presence, and are invited to participate

Don’t:

1. Don’t create a social presence which exposes you to critical comment – unless the upsides and rewards are greater than the potential damage.
2. Don’t use standardised responses or those written in ‘corporate speak’. Treat people as individuals. The wrong tone of voice can send the wrong messages.
3. Don’t duck issues. A little humility works better than corporate arrogance.
4. Don’t scrimp on resourcing your presence. Make sure you have the back up to support your ‘social networkers’, such as customer service personnel and PR people who can deal with any prickly issues quickly and professionally.
5. Don’t let wounds fester. If an uncomfortable issue gets raised deal with it one-to-one before it propagates and gets out of hand.

Says Woodger, “This is a media area which offers huge rewards in terms of building dialogue with customers and expressing your brand personality. If you get it right it can drive service improvements, new product developments, extend your brand and gain valuable ‘earned reputation’. But the downsides have to be considered carefully. You have to plan and have contingency arrangements in place to deal with issues as they emerge. Failure to do so can quickly undo all the potential benefits social media offers.”

A copy of the Purple report The 20 Second Guide to Social Media Management can be downloaded from the Purple website at www.purple-agency.com

Majority of people in UK do NOT support proposed strike action

Only 32% of UK Adults Support Strike Action on 30th June. And 33% Expect it to Lead to Tougher Government Response

Harris Interactive and industrial relations experts Marshall-James have commissioned a poll that has shown that opinion is very much split across the UK’s working population as to the anticipated value and effectiveness of the proposed day of industrial action on 30th June.

The Harris poll, conducted in association with Marshall-James, the UK’s only specialist firm of dedicated employee and industrial relations advisors, canvassed opinion from over 1000 working adults from a cross section of the private (71%) and public sector (23%).

Only 32% support strike action with 40% opposing and 28% expressing neither support nor opposition. Significantly, 33% anticipate it could lead to Government clamp downs, encourage more industrial action (25%) and lead to public sector workers being held in lower regard (29%). Furthermore, just 20% believe that it will lead to a rethink of pension changes; the root cause of this specific industrial action.

Andy Cook, CEO of Marshall-James, commenting on the results of the poll, said: “I think this poll demonstrates that public sympathy is difficult for the unions to secure. Many Private sector workers will look at the pensions enjoyed by a majority of Public Sector workers with a degree of envy, particularly as they fund the schemes through taxes. This issue is set to run and run through the summer and autumn and I predict more unions will take action. The challenge will be to co-ordinate the strikes so they all happen at the same time, but there will be disruption both on the 30th June and throughout the year”.

Marshall-James is presenting a conference called ‘Creating Value through Employee Relations’, looking at the industrial and employee challenges in the UK, taking place on October 13th in central London. One of the speakers is the Rt. Hon Francis Maude MP and other speakers are drawn from unions and business. Members of the press are welcome to attend.

If you need an expert commentator on the Industrial Action planned for this week or any other matters relating to Industrial or Employee Relations, then please contact Andy Cook.



Cherie Blair to be at conference in Aston, Birmingham

QC and human rights campaigner Cherie Blair will be inspiring women as a key note speaker at an event hosted by Conference Aston in Birmingham.

The former prime minister’s wife will be speaking at the lunch on July 8th which is hosted by the Network of Aspiring Woman, founded by former Apprentice star Jo Cameron.

‘An Afternoon with Cherie Blair’ forms part of a larger networking event, with more than 400 female business owners and directors expected to network at an exhibition and a morning of seminars.

Cherie was the ideal speaker for the event, which is focused on empowering women and encouraging them to network, according to Jo.

“Cherie is one of the highest profile female ambassadors in the UK for human rights through her charity work and through her work as a barrister,” said Jo.

“And she successfully juggled her family and career alongside being the wife of the Prime Minister during her years at 10 Downing Street, which makes her the perfect person to inspire our network."

“We are delighted that she speaking at the event and look forward to welcoming her, along with the hundreds of delegates to the event on July 8.”

Conference Aston was the perfect venue for the event according to Jo, for its central location as well as for its fantastic facilities.

“It’s a great learning environment as it’s at the heart of Aston University and is so accessible from the city centre,” she said.

“But it also has a lovely atmosphere and the facilities we were looking for in one place, from break out rooms for seminars to a restaurant big enough to host the 200 people we are expecting for lunch."

“The Conference Aston team have worked closely with us to develop the itinerary for the day and are a key part of making the event a great success.”

Conference Aston head of sales and marketing Christine Page said she was looking forward to showcasing Conference Aston’s facilities to Cherie and the delegates.

“We are delighted to playing host to such a high profile event, which is so positively supporting women’s networking in the region,” she said."

“It’s a great example of the diverse range of events we can accommodate and all our staff are looking forward to welcoming Cherie Blair, Jo and the delegates.”

Entry to the exhibition is free and tickets for the lunch can be purchased at www.networkofaspiringwomen.com.

Conference Aston welcomes over 54,000 people a year to Birmingham for training, residential conferences, for weddings and to stay in its high quality hotel facilities and on site campus accommodation.
It is at the heart of Aston University in Birmingham, which is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce.


Business Flights Specialist Receives Four New Awards

Business flights specialist CT Business Travel has earned four new awards in recognition of how well the business and its staff are performing.

Corporate travel specialist CT Business Travel recently attended an awards event held by UNIGLOBE Travel where the business collected the awards for outstanding achievements.

UNIGLOBE Travel is the world’s largest single-brand travel management company. Being a member of the organisation provides businesses like CT Business Travel access to the best airfares, hotel and car hire rates globally.

With CT Business Travel’s UNIGLOBE membership status, it means the business can pro-actively compete against other major players in the travel management sector by providing clients with the best prices available for all the relevant products. In addition to this, CT Business Travel clients can expect to receive exceptional service from qualified and knowledgeable staff.

The accolades were awarded by UNIGLOBE Travel to members who excelled in both the standard of service they provide to their clients and contributions made to UNIGLOBE as a whole.

In total, thirty-one UNIGLOBE members in the UK including CT Business Travel were competing for the various coveted awards, CT Business Travel was awarded two company awards and two individual staff awards.

The company awards CT Business Travel received were ‘Best overall sales performer in the UK for Exclusively Hotels’ and a ‘Star Agency’ award in recognition for best use of systems and its overall high level of customer service.

The individual awards were presented to CT Business Travel’s Matt Hall for 'Operations consultant of the year', an award which singled him out as the best out of a possible 300 consultants from 31 agencies.

The second award was the ‘President’s special recognition award’ presented to Managing Director Mark Kempster, who commented, “It is incredibly gratifying for the business to be presented with these awards. I’m delighted for the whole team as it really demonstrates the hard efforts everyone has given to help make our business not only a success, but an enjoyable, fun place to work, which is really satisfying for me”.

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, CT Business Travel has been trading for 21 years and is one of the largest independent business travel agents in the UK working with an impressive range of national and international clients. To find out more about CT Business Travel visit www.ctbusinesstravel.co.uk

Thursday, 23 June 2011

That's Books: Self-Published “Business Cook Book” to be Stocked ...

That's Books: Self-Published “Business Cook Book” to be Stocked ...: "Self-published book ‘Business Cookery: Tried and tested recipes for business success’ is to be stocked at Waterstones. Hot on the heels of..."

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

That's Technology: Reducing the risks of Cloud computing

That's Technology: Reducing the risks of Cloud computing: "A special article provided by Advanced 365 on the risks of Cloud Computing and carried by That's Technology as a service to our readers. A..."

Environmental Scientifics Group launches innovative online support for Environmental Health & Safety Compliance

Environmental Scientifics Group launches innovative online support for Environmental Health & Safety Compliance.

Environmental Scientifics Group (ESG), the UK’s top provider of testing, inspection and compliance services is pleased to launch ESG Online – a complete management solution for Environmental Health & Safety Compliance. The system was officially introduced to key clients by Sir Steve Redgrave and MP for South Derbyshire, Heather Wheeler at a special event at the House of Commons on 21 June 2011.

What is ESG Online? It is a powerful, comprehensive but also easy to use management system that will offer users a complete and utterly independent solution for Environmental Health & Safety compliance.

Businesses can be confident they are aware of their legal obligations and best practice requirements in real time. This will enable them to reduce risk, maintain business continuity and bering about changes to continuously improve their business.

This innovative and bespoke system has been developed with the customer as the central focus. Put simply, ESG Online takes information from a wide range of sources combining it onto one central management system and one single screen, presenting the information through the ESG Online Dashboard.

Totally flexible and tailored for every individual client, businesses can choose exactly how they use the system which will ensure the content is appropriate to their individual needs. For example, clients can brand ESG Online as their own, upload their documentation and create their own actions.

The system covers three main areas:

• Compliance Document & Information Storage – providing a central point for the collation of all Compliance related information
• Prioritised Action Planning – to support clients in ensuring responsible personnel complete relevant actions whilst escalating actions not completed to relevant line management.
• Management Information - giving real time reports on the activities undertaken and the risk profile of the organisation.

Norman Sleeth, who is the Managing Director for ESG’s Environmental Safety Compliance Division points out: “Environmental Health and Safety is a serious and ongoing issue and keeping track of legislation, never-mind certificates can be the cause of many headaches.

“Our clients told us they wanted a simple solution to manage all their compliance issues and hence we have spent the past 18 months developing ESG Online. The introduction of ESG Online demonstrates our commitment to meeting the needs of our clients’ and underlines the importance we place on customer service.”

For more information visit www.esg.co.uk

That's Holiday: British independent budget hotel chain announces l...

That's Holiday: British independent budget hotel chain announces l...: "Owner of an independent hotel? Want to be part of something big, yet retain your independence? Then Umi hotels might have what you are looki..."

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

FeaturesExec Media Database enhanced with help of the PR community

Daryl Willcox Publishing, the company that connects PR professionals and journalists, has enhanced the FeaturesExec Media Database to create a simpler and more personalised website allowing users to target contacts faster.

Following consultation with the PR community, FeaturesExec has been significantly improved with a new look and functionality.

In addition to clearer navigation across the site, time-saving functions have been introduced:

• Sector Search: Build quick press lists with an improved sector search.

• Breadcrumbs: Search results are remembered; navigate away from results and back again in an instant.

• Recently Viewed: Dashboard links to recently viewed data.

• Most Viewed: Quick links to most popular personal searches.

"FeaturesExec is constantly evolving based on feedback from our users - the new site has been designed to make things easier and help people get more done," said Daryl Willcox, Chairman of Daryl Willcox Publishing. "The aim is to make it simple, personal and effective. We are always looking at ways of improving our services and continue to update them directed by suggestions from the PR community."

www.featuresexec.com helps media professionals work more efficiently when communicating with journalists. It gives PRs access to over 10,000 media outlets, 40,000 editorial contacts and 100,000 forward features.

The introduction of user-based log-ins earlier this year adds to the personalised experience of FeaturesExec. PR professionals can now assign an 'owner' to information stored, which allows teams to see who is responsible for which press list, forward feature profile or campaign. Owners are automatically assigned to any notes, lists and profiles added. Owners can be reassigned as required and full ownership history is recorded, helping users to track ongoing campaigns more efficiently.

FACTFILE:

Daryl Willcox Publishing (www.dwpub.com) provides information services for people in journalism, public relations and marketing. Launched in 1997, the company connects media professionals to create opportunities for timely, relevant press coverage. Products include the Response Source Journalist Enquiries System, SourceWire and Response Source press release wires, the Freelance Journalist Directory and the FeaturesExec Media Database. Over 2,500 companies use Daryl Willcox Publishing's media relations services, including around 120 of the top 150 PR companies. The services are used by tens of thousands of journalists.

(EDITOR: Just when you think they could not improve on perfection, Daryl and the team do this and go one better! If you are a journalist or PR professional who doesn't use a Daryl Willcox Publishing service, do yourself a favour. Sign up today.)

That's Technology: Eurocom wins Malling Health account

That's Technology: Eurocom wins Malling Health account: "Eurocom Healthcare Communications has recently been appointed to develop a new strategic marketing communications programme for Malling Heal..."

Employees could be losing out financially to employers

An independent survey commissioned by ExpenseMagic, the company behind the new iPhone app for managing work-related expenses, has found that a high proportion (60 per cent) of employees in the Midlands will be out-of-pocket due to making inaccurate expense claims.

Over half (53 per cent) of the employees surveyed claimed they sometimes lose receipts and often forget to claim for certain items or travel costs. Two per cent even admitted they claim less than half of their expenses each time because their records are in such a mess.

This new survey highlights just how many of us could be losing out financially to employers due to bad management and poor handling of business expenses. This is further emphasised by the revelation that across the UK less than a third of employees (33 per cent) actually claim ALL of their expenses accurately.

Constant Tedder, founder of ExpenseMagic Ltd comments, “Expenses are a headache; it's easy to lose receipts or struggle to find the time to submit them. When the time comes to make a claim, it's a nightmare sorting out lots of different pieces of paper and getting them into a coherent order for the accounts department. This survey shows just how bad the current process is for claiming out-of-pocket expenses, which means that too many people are losing out on a regular basis."

In a bid to reduce the number of individuals being caught short on expenses claims, ExpenseMagic is a new iPhone application being launched today to take the pain out of managing expenses. The user simply takes a photograph of each receipt and the app automatically uploads this to ExpenseMagic.com. The image is then read by real people and all the important information is captured. The information is accessible through the user’s account via their iPhone and online.

When the user is ready to submit an expense claim, a report can be generated with digital images of each expense which can be emailed to the employer for approval and then passed onto the accounts department for payment.

To make things even easier for international business travellers ExpenseMagic supports 30 currencies and even automatically selects the right currency based on the user's location.

The ExpenseMagic App is free to download from iTunes and the first five expenses processed are free. Tedder continues, “The app makes it simple to capture expenses on the move, which means you don't lose out if you lose the receipt. Expense claims can be made straight from the phone, streamlining the process to make everything faster and less painful.”

The ExpenseMagic app is now available to download. To download ExpenseMagic for free, please visit iTunes: http://itunes.com/app/expensemagic
 and for more information go to www.expensemagic.com
To view a video demonstration, visit: www.vimeo.com/expensemagic/expensemagicdemo

That's Green: The 6th INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ opens for entr...

That's Green: The 6th INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ opens for entr...: "The INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™, is a global programme that recognises innovative and creative approaches to sustainability, is now searchin..."

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Kasmin is on the 'Righttrack' with OBE for services to Training and to Exports

Kasmin Cooney, the Managing Director of Righttrack Consultancy, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2011.

Kasmin says: “The OBE notification arrived as a complete surprise. I see it as not just as recognition of my efforts over the years but for all the immediate and extended Righttrack team who all contribute to our work in the training industry.”

Kasmin founded Righttrack Consultancy in 1988 and has built it into one of the UK’s top training companies with 35 learning and development specialists and a business team of 10. almost half of Righttrack’s sales come from outside the UK and it is Kasmin’s single mindedness and determination which helped her to crack tough markets like the Middle East.

Under Kasmin’s leadership, Righttrack’s success has come from working in close partnership with clients to design learning solutions that are bespoke to the unique requirements of the client.

To what does Kasmin attribute the award of the OBE? In part to her innovative and creative approach to training. “We take time to understand important things like the client's own corporate culture, vision and direction. People are important to us, so when we design training programmes we like to know about the roles and responsibilities of the different delegate groups and the challenges they face in their day to day work. We want our clients to feel they have an extended training department and that the Righttrack team are part and parcel of their team. “

Learn more at www.righttrackconsultancy.co.uk

How to write and submit press releases that will get published as stories

The second in its series of free PR case-studies titled “The Biggest PR Mistakes of All Time” has been published by The PR Training Centre and can be downloaded free of charge at www.theprtrainingcentre.com/pr-mistakes.html.

Publication of this new PR Mistakes study has been timed to coincide with a Creative Writing for Public Relations Workshop to be held on Monday 27th of June in Covent Garden, London.

‘The press release is the basic tool of communication for PR people,’ says co-founder and principal presenter at The PR Training Centre Jacqui Green. ‘But ask any journalist what they think of the releases that cross their desktop every day and most will roll their eyes in despair.

“Now Richard Milton, an experienced professional journalist has provided some clear tips for PR people on how to write a press release – and Milton’s advice is not just the usually recycled banal tips – in fact I think even some seasoned PR pro’s may be surprised. The new case study can be downloaded from our website at www.theprtrainingcentre.com/releases.htm

The Biggest PR Mistakes series will cover some of the most memorable PR disasters of recent years including Coke and Dasani Water, the McDonalds libel case, Bennetton’s designer advertisements, Perrier’s purity problems and Polaroid’s failure to come to terms with digital photography.

Says Jacqui Green, “Publication of ‘Five Common Mistakes in press release writing’ has been timed to coincide with our Creative Writing for Public Relations Workshop, which will next be presented in our Covent Garden centre on Monday 27th of June when we will be reviewing best practice not just for writing press releases but for every form of marketing and PR communication from writing website copy to brochures and case studies through to producing compelling editorial features and pay-per-click ads.”

Author of the Biggest PR Mistakes series, Richard Milton is a co-founder of The PR Training Centre and is the author of six books including 'Bad Company', which was chosen by The Sunday Times as its Business Book of the Week, and the management handbook 'Do Your Own PR'.

Over the past seven years, PR experts at The PR Training Centre have trained delegates from companies that include; Carlton TV, Morgan Stanley, Associated Newspapers, British Red Cross, EMAP, Institute of Directors, Merril Lynch, BBC World Service, AstraZeneca, Wilkinsons, British Holidays, Southwest Trains, Campaign for Real Ale, Konica-Minolta, Arena Leisure, World Television, Oyezstraker, BOSE, Lichtenstein Lottery, Which? and Virgin Money.


That's Business joins Google Affiliates Network

That's Business has joined the Google Affiliates Network. After looking at what was available That's Business decided to sign up for Office Max, the popular office supply company.

Readers of That's Business will be able to see the rather discrete link to Office Max on the top right section of the site.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

New award aims to celebrate working mum champions

Do you know of someone in your place of work or company who has made a big difference to working mums? Perhaps you have a colleague or an employee who has set up a parents' forum at work or a manager who has come up with specific initiatives which benefit working mums?

If so, www.workingmums.co.uk is looking for you.

They are asking employees to nominate stand-out individuals who they believe have made a difference to their lives for our Working Mums Champion Award. Potential recipients of this Award includes senior or middle managers who have done any of the following or have made a difference to working mums' lives in some other way:

- Set up a parent support forum
- Put forward innovative proposals for areas such as maternity leave and return to work
- Introduced mentoring schemes for women
- Championed the recruitment and retention of working mums through specific initiatives, going beyond standard company policy.

Gillian Nissim, who is the founder of Workingmums.co.uk, says: “Workingmums believes these people must be celebrated. Again and again we have been told that company policy and practice can only go so far in promoting measures such as flexible working which make it possible for working parents to balance work and family life. A major role is played by individual managers and colleagues in helping to create a culture which gets the best out of staff.”

Workingmums.co.uk has featured examples of such individuals, including Caroline Artis, a partner at Ernst & Young, who set up the firm’s Parents’ Network to help mums on maternity leave reintegrate better into the workplace after she came back to work in 2005.

She describes the Parents’ Network as being an important extension of the type of networking that naturally happens for parents at home – whether through ante-natal classes or at the school gate. “The Parents’ Network allows people who have lost day to day contact with such networks through their return to work to share their concerns and support each other in the workplace,” she says.

Another example is Claire Morley-Jones of hr180, a human resources business, who offers all her staff an individual working pattern. Employees can also bring children into the office in emergencies and when children fall ill the business can flexibly arrange work around them and their mothers. There is a laptop set up with access to Cbeebies, games and colouring books on offer for those children needing to drop in.

“We have doubled our turnover in the last two years,” says Morley-Jones. “We are not just a namby pamby bunch of girls. We can show that this way of working does make a difference.”

If you know someone who is making a big impact to the lives of working mums, click here to nominate them for the award and celebrate their achievements. More details: www.workingmums.co.uk/topemployerawards/

(EDITOR: SHOULD parents be encouraged to take their children to work? What do YOU think?)


ekmPowershop.com launches postcode lookup feature for your ecommerce website

Thousands of ecommerce businesses can look forward to boosting conversions with a UK postcode lookup feature this week, all due to www.ekmPowershop.com's latest update.

Postcode Ferret allows potential customers to select their address after entering a post code – avoiding unnecessary typing at the all important checkout stage on an ecommerce website.

It's also useful for curbing those annoying cart abandonments, Postcode Ferret does all the work so your customers don’t have to!

Antony Chesworth, founder of ekmPowershop.com comments on the latest in a feature flurry on the UK’s most popular ecommerce platform: “Checkout ‘drop offs’ are a painful reality of online retail. This new feature will help around 8,000 UK based online retailers reduce abandonment, and ultimately increase sales. Postcode Ferret is one of many new features that we’ve released in the past few months; and there are more to come, so watch this space”.

ekmPowershop.com users can activate Postcode Ferret in the ‘features’ area of their control panel today.

For details on Postcode Ferret, visit www.postcodeferret.com.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

That's Green: On the side of the Angels: Angel Springs launch ow...

That's Green: On the side of the Angels: Angel Springs launch ow...: "It’s very important to keep hydrated as this helps us to stay healthy and energised, and now Angel Springs have developed a new range of eco-friendly boilers..."

Monday, 13 June 2011

Don't know how much conflicts cost you? You have no excuse! Say experts

An appalling 99% of businesses do not know how much conflict is costing their bottom line! This is the extraordinary worrying claim by experts at CMP Resolutions.

The figure of £33 billion is often cited as the cost to the UK of workplace conflict. And everyone has horror stories about the costly impact of the day-to-day conflict in their workplace.

Yet 99% of HR managers cannot not put a figure on what conflict is costing their organisation. HR managers are under more pressure than ever to think and work strategically and understand the business impact of the work they do. Yet, as Katherine Graham Managing Director of CMP Resolutions points out: “I’ve never met an employer who can tell me the cost of conflict to their business. HR may be aware of the human costs but they haven’t taken the next step and put a value on this.”

Now there is no excuse for UK’s businesses to remain in innocence of the damage conflict does to their bottom line.

On 15 June CMP launch the Conflict Profile™ tool; a confidential online tool which finally gives employers a clear financial breakdown of where they are losing money on conflict. In addition, the Conflict Profile™ evaluates the cost-effectiveness of the dispute resolution processes an employer may have put in place.

By entering data that most HR professionals will already have available to them, employers can now benchmark themselves against their peers, and establish KPI measures for their conflict performance.

The Conflict Profile™ uncovers new metrics to enable employers to improve their overall business performance. Taking a new approach to conflict data reveals the degree to which employers are making the most of the investments they have made to limit the cost of conflict, and what future changes will deliver the best return on investment.

A White Paper on why having a Conflict Profile™ makes good business sense is available from CMP Resolutions’ website.

Employers wanting to establish their own Profile can do this at
http://cmpresolutions.co.uk/conflict-profile or by contacting CMP Resolutions on 0844 504 8874 or info@cmpresolutions.co.uk.

SociView™, the first social media mapping tool is launched

SociView™, said to be the first social-media-mapping tool to give organisations a true view of their global social-media real estate, is now available.

Its aim is to support organisations in organising their social-media landscape to instil 'best practice' and generate sales opportunities. Founder Chris Sykes, Chief Executive of Volume Ltd, worked closely with large international concerns to address issues arising from marketing across social channels and identified a lack of social-media tools in their portfolios. Whilst in beta mode SociView™ was used to help a number of Fortune 500 companies attain visibility across their social universe.

“The concept of SociView™ is simple: just ask yourself how many social-media accounts your company has. Where are they, who owns them and how effective are they? Are they representative of your brand and do they have a positive or negative influence? SociView™ answers all these questions”, said Sykes.

SociView™ collates a company’s social accounts and instances into a single dashboard. These instances are categorised, ranked and rated to show brand relevance and impact.

SociView™ categorises each instance, as “official”, “endorsed”, “unofficial” or “other”. A custom-developed “Sociscore” is automatically applied to show how each instance is performing.

Users can benchmark their social accounts against each other to establish best practices, compliance and corporate governance. SociView™ also measures performance against competitors’ social accounts.

The ability to easily assess the quality and effectiveness of company-owned social-media instances gives marketing executives greater control and influence on messaging and content.

Alan Rutherford, current Chairman and Global President of the International Advertising Association and Chairman of Volume Ltd, is the chief advocate of SociView™: “One of the key benefits of SociView™ is its ability to deliver a top-level view of an organization’s social-media landscape for CMOs whilst still enabling marketing executives to drill down to obtain granular detail.”

Key benefits of SociView™

Organizing social-media real estate

“If you look at your current social-media presence, it’s a bit like a swarm of hornets buzzing around. SociView™ brings order, effectively turning the random and uncontrolled spontaneity of social media into a productive and efficient line of worker ants. SociView™ helps you to consolidate and optimise your ‘sociverse’. Switch off the poor-performing accounts and invest in those that perform well and have a thriving and growing community,” said Sykes.

Instilling best practice and compliance across company-owned social instances

The Sociscore rating algorithm helps an organisation set quality and compliance benchmarks for social accounts and instances. Bringing all the accounts into line enables marketing executives to promote best practice across an organization. SociView™ can also create structure around the ownership and development of accounts, whilst ensuring corporate governance and benchmarking against competitor accounts. The Sociscore algorithm is calculated from four parameters common across mainstream social networks: relevance, activity, influence and visibility.

Opening up sales channels

With most leading organizations turning to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube etc. to generate brand awareness and sales opportunities, SociView™ helps businesses and organisations coordinate their messages and communications across all their “official” and “endorsed” instances, like partner-owned social-media real estate.

If revenues are down in a specific product or area, organisations can use SociView™ to focus on promoting the benefits of that product or service through the most visible and influential social channels. Going further, it can also uncover brand advocates and influencers who can assist in generating sales opportunities.

With a number of social-media listening and execution tools available in the market, SociView™ has been developed to offer a unique and complementary set of features.

“Listening tools are essential in today’s digital environment, but they are a little like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. With SociView™, you know every horse in your stable and can train them to perform as you’d expect them to perform,” said Sykes.

Further information can be found on www.sociview.com


That's Books: Do YOU struggle with staff, colleagues? There migh...

That's Books: Do YOU struggle with staff, colleagues? There migh...: "Managers who are technically and functionally competent might not be getting the best results out of their staff..."

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Thursday, 9 June 2011

New Design and Innovation Consultancy

Digital Content Provider Pauley Interactive has launched a new offer for companies requiring specialist expertise to promote their business by using via design and innovation. Established as a 3D digital visualisation company, the fast growing multidisciplinary digital specialist has expanded into what it calls: “future-oriented design-driven innovation.”

“A company that is focused on increasing market share and engaging new audiences should certainly talk to us,” said director Phil Pauley.(www.philpauley.com) “Forward thinking is what our business is all about".

“Pauley Interactive currently aims to increase a company’s audience engagement, validate the visual business case, improve the commercial proposition, drive sales and deliver real competitive advantage with visually stunning presentation for products, services or brand.”

"Our new business arm into Design and Innovation Consultancy will enable new and existing clients to benefit from a huge range of new design innovation, e-training and strategic innovation management solutions to drive their businesses into the 21st Century" said Pauley

Industry sectors covered by the company include aerospace and defence, automotive and transport, business and commerce, construction and the built environment, cultural and heritage, education and training, energy and renewable energy, engineering, healthcare and medical facilities.

Pauley Interactive is part of the Pauley Group, a diverse family-owned company established in 1975 that works with an international client base to bring their stories, services, products and training requirements to life.

Their lient portfolio includes BP, Ingram Micro, Ministry of Defence, The National Trust, NHS, Savills, Shell and MuRata PS.

Please visit www.pauley-interactive.co.uk or call 01908 522532

Are you engaging your staff?

Franchise business activitymix has seen a growing demand for corporate employee engagement programmes since it launched back in 2003.

“The key developments are having fun with the team and the importance of the relationships people have with their colleagues. Their significance has increased and are they now primary drivers of engagement,” says Jules Lancastle of activitymix.

A business with locations in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, activitymix has retained 80% of its clients year-on-year. The company is using this success to expand across the UK through a franchise business expansion model.

activitymix works with global brands including Shell, BP, BarclaysCapital, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Companies invest in activitymix’s annual Corporate Decathlon engagement programme. Over 20,000 people have participated since launch. Participation rates within individual client organizations are increasing.

Founders Jules Lancastle and Richard Johnston see their retention rate as an indication of good market analysis and excellence in service delivery. “We work hard to protect our business model,” says Jules. “We offer an exciting business option for future Franchise Partners with a desire to combine sport with business objectives.”

Through sports and team-orientated activities, activitymix encourages employee engagement. They asked engagement specialist Peter Wilde to review recent research. He was commissioned to develop a model to reflect the new relationship between what are described as: “recognised drivers of engagement” and the profitability of a business.

Gordon Fraser, Partner at activitymix Edinburgh, believes effective employee engagement is becoming a key priority for businesses, leading to an increase in demand for this type of outsourced service. "This research formally acknowledges what I've found anecdotally over the last year,” he says.

“Engagement in some form or another is the hot issue. Business advisers estimate the cost of replacing staff who resign to be around a year's salary. In this environment companies know that retention through engagement is the way forward which is good news for our franchise partner network."

activitymix sees positive connections between sport and physical activity among work colleagues, and bottom line benefits. It knows the importance of fun in the workplace in this new and challenging corporate landscape.

www.activitymix.com for more details.

(EDITOR: Of course, an employer must also take into consideration the physical needs of staff members who are disabled or who have health problems that limit their abilities to participate in sporting events. Or risk such staff members feeling isolated and thus vulnerable, as this could have a general negative impact on not only themselves but also on colleagues, too.)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Industrial Relations Expert Calls on Cable to be more Creative in approach to Unions

Andy Cook, an industrial and employee relations advisor has called for the Government to rethink its threats to legislate against unions.

“It smacks of a knee-jerk reaction to something the unions have been talking about for some time. To say to unions “If you go on strike, we will punish you with legislation” seems to really throw down the gauntlet to Public Sector Unions who are looking for an excuse to co-ordinate mass action across the public sector. The danger here is the Government has raised this issue in a way that may influence the silent majority into action.

“There is no question that strikes actioned by a minority of the workforce or a minority of the union members within that workforce can be daft as it allows a small number of people to cause a disproportionate amount of disruption; but Industrial Relations issues are wider than the law. You can use the law to prevent a strike, but there is still an issue between employees and employer that needs resolving. The only winners from anything relating to the law tend to be lawyers.

“The Government faces a series of challenges as we move through the next few months with a day of industrial action scheduled for 30th June and then further, perhaps wider action in the autumn. The action in the autumn has the potential to be the most serious as the issue is Public Sector Pensions. Pensions are the single common subject across the Public Sector and the unions know that it’s the one thing that can mobilise action across all the unions; a situation that individual union leaders have been calling for since the change of Government.

“At the centre of this is the battle for the hearts and minds of public sector workers. Without their support, the unions cannot go on strike, so the key is for Government to focus on winning hearts and minds and engage with people, not make threats to change legislation.”

Andy Cook is in the rare position of having previously worked as a union officer prior to a career as an HR and Employee Relations Director with the British Library, Transport for London and Gate Gourmet. Andy is a regular and experienced media commentator on all employee and industrial relations issues in the trade and national print, online and broadcast media.

Andy is now CEO of Marshall-James, the UK’s only specialist firm of dedicated employee and industrial relations advisors. The company works in partnership with Boards, CEOs and senior HR leaders providing advice on employee relations strategy and implementation for some of the largest public and FTSE private sector organisations in both unionised and non-unionised environments.

(EDITOR: Or are the silent majority perhaps a tiny bit envious of what they see as the perks enjoyed by Public Sector Unions? For example, how many readers of That's Business get to take off Maundy Thursday or get an extra holiday on the Queen's Birthday as Civil Servants do?)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

UK businesses lose £14bn every year due to poor online customer experiences

A survey commissioned by Tealeaf, a top producer and developer of online customer experience management (CEM) software, and conducted for them by Econsultancy, shows the shocking fact that businesses in the UK are losing the equivalent of some 24% of their entire annual online revenue due to poor online customer experiences. This equates to £14bn alone in the past year amongst online retailers . This is despite 84% stating that selling more products or services is a key objective for the business. (EDITOR: That's nearly one whole quarter!)

The full findings of the survey of almost 500 global senior business professionals are available in a report released yesterday, entitled Reducing Customer Struggle.

It actually makes pretty grim reading. It points out that nearly one fifth (18%) of businesses rate their understanding of the online customer experience as “poor‟ or “very poor‟, with only 4% classifying it as “excellent‟.

This lack of understanding seems to centre on the bottom of the sales funnel with the majority of companies saying they have “limited” or “no understanding” of why customers abandon a shopping cart (78%) or leave a site without converting (81%). Instead, most are reactive and rely on other channels to discover customer issues, with 76% most likely to learn about site problems as a result of calls to the customer service team or through customer emails.

Steve Robinson, CEO at MandMDirect.com believes understanding online customer experience should be a key focus for all businesses. “As consumers continue to flock to the web, ebusinesses need to dramatically improve the experience they receive through greater actionable insights. Failure to do so will render companies powerless in making informed site developments, which could reduce their competitive advantage as a result.”

Linking online and offline channels and sharing insights between them is also a major challenge for businesses with only 3% describing the multichannel experience they provide as “excellent”. Just under a quarter (24%) rate it as “poor” or “very poor” and only about a half (49%) have processes in place to prioritise and rectify the problems and issues customers face online.

Respondents estimate that 15% of total inbound calls relate to website problems but, despite this, 68% fail to give call centre agents access to information about the online experience of individual customers. Although the majority of companies (86%) say their call centre staff are able to route website issues to the right people in the business, only a third (36%) measure the extent to which these problems are then resolved.

“This research demonstrates a clear link between online customer experience and revenue generation,” said Geoff Galat, CMO of Tealeaf. “Ebusinesses have much to gain from better online visibility, particularly at the bottom of the sales funnel, where conversion rates should be highest. A poor online user experience, coupled with a lack of visibility and understanding, translates into a significant amount of lost revenue as well as added costs due to increased inbound enquiries.”

“The web lies at the heart of any multichannel business these days and so providing visibility across all business units will ensure a seamless experience at all brand touchpoints,” said Ashley Friedlein, CEO at Econsultancy. “As the online channel becomes increasingly valuable for business, it is vital for companies to ensure the customer journey is as pain-free and seamless as possible. Companies that fail to put in place the technology and processes necessary to improve online experiences will miss out on this growing financial potential.”

You can find the results of the survey here:-
www.tealeaf.com/customer-experience-management/resource-center/register.php?doc=reducing-customer-struggle

(EDITOR: However, how many people have abandoned a trip to a real rather than a virtual store due to poor customer service? Quite a lot. The same as those who abandon an online shopping trip? It would be interesting for someone to conduct a survey in to this.)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011