Tuesday, 30 August 2011

That's Green: Carbonica appoints Akiko Macdonald as Sales Direct...

That's Green: Carbonica appoints Akiko Macdonald as Sales Direct...: Carbonica is pleased to confirm the appointment of Mrs Akiko Macdonald as Sales Director at the company’s London office. She took up the ...

ParcelsPlease Announce New Discounted Postage Charges from Europe

Following an increase in interest in their international delivery services, ParcelsPlease has taken the decision to reduce the prices of their parcel deliveries to the UK, specifically for parcels from France and Germany. The move, which will see the cost of sending a 5kg parcel from France or Germany to the UK fall to just £12.50, will appeal to their large expatriate community in both of these countries, say ParcelsPlease.

Dawn Henderson, Marketing Executive for ParcelsPlease comments: “We are delighted to announce the price reduction of ParcelsPlease.com import services from France and Germany. With a large customer base in these countries, we understand the importance of being able to send parcels to the UK in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Our French and German customers can now send their parcels to the UK from only £12.50 + VAT – a fantastic price coupled with first class service.”

The decision by ParcelsPlease to cut their prices has had a very positive reaction from their customers, in both Europe and the UK, and because ParcelsPlease prides itself on providing a cost-effective and reliable parcel delivery service that delivers door to door, parcel senders and recipients can be assured that their packages are in safe hands.

Dawn continues: “When we decided to cut our prices, we hoped that our customers would find this very useful and beneficial for them, and their loved ones. While this price change is still very recent, we've has some very positive feedback from our customers already, about the value of our cheap parcel delivery and we're starting to see more interest in our services to the UK, and more demand for our European parcel delivery services already, which is not only fantastic news for us, but also for our customers.”

Monday, 29 August 2011

That's Technology: RSA Group to deliver Risk Assessment and Managemen...

That's Technology: RSA Group to deliver Risk Assessment and Managemen...: Global insurer, RSA has been announced as a new customer for a cloud-based Risk Assessment and Management solution from leadin...

That's Entertainment News: Bar Sport comes to the UK

That's Entertainment News: Bar Sport comes to the UK: The only UK owned American style sports bar has opened its newest venue at the Waterside, Merry Hill in the West Midlands and is looking for UK-wide franchise partners...

That's Entertainment News: Bar Sport comes to the UK

That's Entertainment News: Bar Sport comes to the UK: The only UK owned American style sports bar has opened its newest venue at the Waterside, Merry Hill in the West Midlands and is looking for UK-wide franchise partners...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

That's Books: 'How to Make Millions Without a Degree'. -This boo...

That's Books: 'How to Make Millions Without a Degree'. -This boo...: I have just finished reading Simon Dolan's book: “How to Make Millions without a Degree” and it is fair to say that this book could change...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Debenhams reports boards which protected looted shop to become a national treasure

Debenhams has announced that hundreds of goodwill messages written on boards covering windows smashed during rioting in Clapham Junction are set to become a national treasure.

High street store Debenhams has decided that they should be preserved to show how British people rallied around after the unprecedented street disturbances.

It believes the words on the boards make them a valuable piece of history, reminding everyone how local people felt, and that the violence and destruction was the product of a tiny minority.

Said Debenhams Battersea store manager, Neil Roberts: "The generosity of the people of Clapham and Battersea has transformed plain pieces of wood into a testament for our times.

"Their words of support are proof that, in times of adversity, Londoners still have the strength of character to stand up and offer a helping hand."

So many messages of support were scrawled on the boards covering Debenhams' ransacked Clapham Junction store that they quickly became a local landmark.

Visitors came from all over London - and even a few from overseas - to see what had been written, and to add a message of their own.

Among the messages were: "We have taken Clapham back. The rioters won't stop our community". Others said: "Clapham, we love you. Get well soon", and "We have lived and loved here for 14 years. How dare you destroy our amazing community".

So many messages of support were written that they filled every available inch of the boards, each measuring 9ft by 6ft.

Neil Roberts at Debenhams said: "While looting and destruction grabbed the headlines, the voices of ordinary people went virtually unheard.

"These boards, tell us, in their own words, how they felt at that time. They have become priceless pieces of social documentary.

"After the riots, hundreds of local people turned up to sweep away the broken glass and to help us get our store up and running again.  We didn't have to ask. Instead, they came and did all that they could to rebuild their community again.

"These boards record the very essence of that human spirit."

The boards have now been taken down and are being preserved carefully by Debenhams. Conversations have been taking place to try and find a home for them in a prominent location where the general public can come and view them.

Employers are reminded not to neglect first aid in the workplace

Do you know how many first aiders should a workplace have? Or what items should be found in a first-aid box? When is it appropriate for an employer to provide a first-aid room? New advice from the Health and Safety Executive attempts to answer these and other questions.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a reminder to employers that they must have first-aid arrangements in place in the workplace.

The advice – published on the HSE website on 4th August 2011 – includes vital information on appointing a first-aider and details of how to report workplace-related accidents and incidences of ill health.

The HSE stresses that “as a minimum” employers must have

• A suitably stocked first-aid box. The HSE advises that the first aid box should contain sterile plasters, sterile eye pads, triangular bandages, safety pins, wound dressings, a pair of disposable gloves and the HSE leaflet on first aid at work.

• A first-aid needs assessment

• An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements (even if the first aid needs assessment deems that no first-aiders are necessary you must have an appointed person)

• Information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements – who the first aiders and appointed persons are and where the first aid box is will usually be sufficient

First aid rooms and mobile phones

The HSE stresses that where there are large numbers of employees, an employer should consider providing a first-aid room. A first-aid needs assessment, the organisation says, should also determine whether mobile phones need to be issued to employees who “travel a lot, work remotely or work alone”.

How many first aiders should a workplace have?

The HSE advises that in low hazard work environments with less than 25 employees – for instance in offices, shops and libraries – it is sometimes acceptable for only one first aider to be appointed.

The first aider: worker ratio, the HSE believes, should be adjusted in higher-hazard environments such as in places where there is light engineering or assembly work. “At least one trained first-aider for every 50 employed” is the suggested ratio.

The importance of risk assessments

Holding a first-aid needs assessment is vital for employers looking to offer a safe level of first aid support. Risk assessments are equally crucial at determining whether there are unsafe working practices endangering workers’ health and safety.

It was an unsafe working practice which recently resulted in a 60-year-old Lincolnshire man severing two fingers in a factory accident.

The HSE website details how the man was adding seasoning to pork products in a mixing machine when he noticed a piece of blue plastic in the mixer.

The accident occurred as he reached into the unguarded mixing machine to remove the plastic. Although he returned to employment after several operations and ten months off work, the worker, having lost nerve endings in his damaged fingers, was unable to do the same job.

An investigation found that the mixing machine should have been guarded by an electrically locked gate at the top of a set of access steps. Had this measure been in place the accident would not have happened.

A risk assessment in February 2009 identified the danger posed by a lack of locked gates. The accident took place just nine months later; an illustration of the danger of employers failing to look after their employees’ safety.

No Win No Fee solicitors Claims Direct can help people make a personal injury claim if they have suffered an accident at work through no fault of their own.

LEA boosts fleet

With the addition of a new Legacy 650 this summer, London Executive Aviation (LEA), one of Europe’s largest business jet charter operators, is now flying the world’s largest non-fractional Embraer Legacy fleet.

LEA operates two Legacy 650s and six Legacy 600s in a total charter fleet of 24 aircraft, ranging from the entry-level Cessna Citation Mustang to the transatlantic Dassault Falcon 900EX. Both the Legacy 650 and 600 can seat 13 passengers, with the 650 being the extended range derivative.

LEA managing director George Galanopoulos says: “Like the Falcon 900EX, the Legacy 650 brings us truly transatlantic capability.” The Legacy 650 has a maximum range of 3,800 miles with four passengers. “We can offer nonstop routes like London-New York, London-Lagos, Dubai-London and Astana-London, to name just a few. And we’ve already taken one of our 650s to the Seychelles with just one stop and carried out a London-Los Angeles trip with only a quick fuelling stop in Canada. We can provide all these services for around 30% less than the equivalent flights in a Gulfstream or a Bombardier Global, yet the cabins are almost identical.

“Embraer Legacy aircraft combine the cabin luxury that customers appreciate with operating economics and field service that make operators smile.

“Tour managers are among our many customers who particularly love Legacys. As musicians now rely heavily on performing live for their profits, tour managers are very sensitive to the cost/benefit analysis of aircraft choice. The Legacys are widely seen in this market to offer exceptional value for their size.”

Galanopoulos says, overall, large cabin aircraft continue to be in greater demand from charter customers than light jets. “One of the recessionary trends that initially took us by surprise was how our large jets kept flying, while our mid-size and light jets were, comparatively, less in demand. The fact usage patterns have yet to change significantly shows high-net-worth individuals and governmental customers remain critical to the charter market in 2011, while other customers have yet to return in large numbers.”

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bigmouthmedia Launches 2011 Affiliates Survey

Bigmouthmedia, the global digital marketing company, has launched its second annual Affiliate Survey, designed to identify the key issues and emerging trends in the affiliate industry today.

The research aims to gather trusted information about the affiliates' views on the latest developments and emerging challenges within the sector. Bigmouthmedia, part of LBi, the world's leading marketing and technology agency, is inviting affiliates to share their opinions on a series of issues ranging from networks and tracking technologies to the use of creative tools and advertising exchanges.

"Last year's survey provided invaluable industry insight direct from the affiliates themselves, and we hope to gain an excellent level of responses again this year," said Fiona Robertson, Head of Performance Marketing at bigmouthmedia. "The results will be launched right before the A4U Expo, so we hope we’ll be able to provide the industry with some exciting talking points in the run up to the event."

The survey includes questions such as: Is commission attribution modelling threatening the affiliate industry? Are there too few affiliate networks in the UK? Do networks in the UK have a problem with low quality or fraudulent traffic? And does Google want to become the world's largest affiliate?

The survey is open to all affiliates until 5pm on the 2nd September. Responses from networks, agencies and merchants are not being sought after for this survey. Participants will receive a free copy of the report, highlighting all the key findings from the survey, as well as the chance to win an iPad2.

Affiliates can participate in the survey by visiting http://goo.gl/YQMVZ

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

New research points out how emerging changes in the work-place are impacting commercial property decisions

Port@l’s Managing Director John Gotley
Birmingham-based Port@l, leaders in delivering space and infrastructure solutions, has commissioned an independent white paper that assesses how, technology, Government initiatives and the mitigation of risk is changing the attitude of companies towards commercial property and the work-place.

Aimed at Chief Executives, Chief Financial Officers, Property professionals and Human Resource executives, ‘The Changing Workplace’ examines current and future trends in property and accommodation acquisition and how corporations are reacting to these changes.

The research covers a range of topics such as, flexible working, age, gender, technology, green initiatives and alternative work places.

Port@l’s Managing Director John Gotley said: “Historically the elements that determine commercial property decisions have remained unchallenged and the process of obtaining new accommodation predictable. Organisations have had two choices, own property or sign long lease agreements. However as the country emerges from recession there has been a major shift in the property landscape.

"Accommodation procurement is no longer dominated by the supply side; myriad factors are now playing a part in corporate decision making that go way beyond the simplistic process of determining location, size and price per square foot.”

Gotley Continues, “We have commissioned this paper to assist senior executives understand how these emerging influences, that include; technology, and communications, work-life balance, demography and alternative methods of property provisioning, may impact their future accommodation strategies.”

The paper was written by Helen Hide-Wright, a freelance independent researcher specialising in commercial projects, who previously worked at Leeds Metropolitan University where she was involved in researching, writing and producing commercial reports used within the banking sector to influence investment decisions.

To obtain a copy of the white paper visit: www.portal-centres.com/whitepapers.html

Press release wire service streamlined to help PRs and businesses reach more media

SourceWire News Distribution
Submitting press releases to Daryl Willcox Publishing's Response Source and SourceWire services has been simplified and as a result PR professionals can now reach more journalists.

Stories posted will now appear on both the Response Source and SourceWire websites, so PRs do not have to choose which site to post on as they did previously. This means press releases will be exposed to more members of the media as both sites are established resources used daily by thousands of journalists, and are well-indexed by search engines.

The service has also been renamed SourceWire News Distribution to better differentiate the press release distribution service from the Response Source Journalist Enquiries System.

The press release submission form contains all 25 journalist subject categories spanning business and finance to media and marketing, travel, sport, health and technology. It is easier to follow, with clearer steps to submitting a story and adding tools such as images and videos.

Pricing is largely unchanged but is now based on how many categories are chosen, instead of which wire a release is posted on.

“We’ve overhauled the press wire service based on feedback from our users and it is now simpler for PR professionals to submit a story and reach more journalists,” said Daryl Willcox, chairman of Daryl Willcox Publishing. ”It’s another step in our quest to get news out in the most straightforward and effective way.”

Also, Press Association press release distribution has been added to the wire options to allow PRs additional reach to national, regional and broadcast media in the UK.

Willcox continued: “SourceWire News Distribution is now easier to use and even more effective.”


Daryl Willcox Publishing (www.dwpub.com) provides information services for journalists and public relations companies. 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 News Distribution, 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.

(EDITOR: If you do not use SourceWire, you are not keeping ahead.)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

www.FridaysVideoNews.com reports big growth in video press releases and short product-demo movies. ‘Fast, simple, cost-effective package’ is key to its success says Richard McCann

The VideoNews Company
Following last year’s launch of a revolutionary video news service by www.FridaysVideoNews.com there's been a surge in use of short videos to communicate between businesses and their customers, taking over from e-newsletters and similar “outdated” media.

Little surprise when research suggests recipients of the new video news are up to 12 times more likely to watch a three-minute video news programme than to read a printed or digital news where click-throughs have dipped below one per cent in some cases.

Some 92 per cent of those surveyed said they much preferred the experience and 72 per cent said they would be much more likely to opt into a video newsletter than a standard email.

Businesses are using the short, inexpensive and quickly-produced movies for everything from digital press releases, new product launches, Smartphone and iPad presentations, exhibition loops and emailers. Clients can host on Friday’s own YouTube Channel http://bit.ly/qqx9vu or create their own such as http://bit.ly/pdUPm9 – in addition to hosting on the world’s busiest journalist news wires see http://www.sourcewire.com/releases/rel_display.php?relid=657... and http://www.sourcewire.com/releases/rel_display.php?relid=652....

www.FridaysVideoNews.com said demand was rising month-on-month for its highly affordable new service. Businesses using video news as a new form of communication include Investment Trust, Euromoney, Randstad Group, IMC Group, VISA, Ordnance Survey, MatsSoft, Versapak Group, Sellebrity, Eaton Corporation, Direct Marketing Association, BPMA and CIPR.

After achieving growth of 25 per cent in Q4 2010, Friday’s Video News MD Richard McCann is predicting treble digit growth by the end of 2011.

Internet marketing author Dave Chaffey says that the level of what he calls “emotional unsubscribing” – where people don’t unsubscribe but tune out and never open or click – is the biggest challenge of marketing today, and calls for a ‘more refined approach’.

“The day when I received more than 80 e-shots and releases and deleted almost all of them immediately as a simple coping strategy was when I realised that something different was needed to grab people’s attention” said McCann. “That’s what the Video News concept does.”

“The importance of video in search engine optimisation strategies is also significant”, added McCann. According to Forrester Research, an online video is 50 times more likely to hit the front page of Google than a single text web page.

“The initial use of the video news releases concept was to create short weekly or monthly video bulletins for use in B2B and B2C campaigns,” said McCann.

“However, we are now seeing a trend towards video news for employee communications, press releases, home page currency, product launches, market-specific demonstrations, presentations and exhibitions, iPhone broadcasts and even reception area videos, since the cost is in hundreds rather than thousands. So investment is comparable to e-shot campaigns but with far better engagement and lots of opportunity to leverage its use.”

Business Development Director, Tony Lockwood added: “The wider success of this service has been particularly successful within the world of Public Relations. Our last client video received nearly 5000 viewings within a week on ResponseSource”.

The www.FridaysVideoNews.com offering is fast, easy and cost-effective - clients go to the website and choose from a range of professional newsreaders and impressive virtual news studios. Businesses can then either submit their own news story and supporting images or Friday’s Video News can create the script if required.

Once the £899 video is approved by the client, www.FridaysVideoNews.com will upload their news programme on to their website and desired social media sites and they can then start emailing the link to staff, clients and prospects. The video news programmes can be used in business receptions and at conferences and they can also be used on mobile phones and can add additional content to apps. If the business is international, Friday’s Video News Service can also provide native foreign language newsreaders or add subtitles to the bulletins.

(EDITOR: Or if you record your own video, That's Business will host it free of charge on That's Business, with links to other appropriate websites and social media sites. Please email afj_uk@yahoo.com for further details) 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Incentive Travel Operator Announces Forthcoming Trade Missions

Incentive travel specialist, CT Group Travel adds a number of new trade missions to emerging high growth markets.

Trade missions and incentive travel specialist CT Group Travel has published the next series of trade missions it will operate between now and the end of May 2012.

Out of 35 trade missions, the majority will still operate to CT Group Travel’s core regions of the Middle East and Asia. However, the company has identified four new high growth emerging markets which it will send four new dedicated trade missions to.

The new trade mission destinations will be Crimea, Nigeria, Angola and a joint mission to Argentina and Peru.

The new missions will operate on the following dates:

• Crimea – 03 to 09 October 2011
• Nigeria – 16 to 20 October 2011
• Argentina/Peru – 28 January to 04 February 2012
• Angola – 11 to 17 May 2012

Trade Missions are a fantastic way for businesses to research and meet potential trading partners in new geographic areas they have not operated in before, and travelling as part of an organised CT Group Travel trade mission certainly helps businesses cut to the chase in receiving good quality introductions to the local business community.

Each mission is meticulously researched and planned. Through working with various mission sponsors both in the UK and in the country to be visited, a brief is created of the mission’s purpose, which is then circulated to the marketplace so meetings are secured with relevant companies who have expressed an interest in meeting those companies attending.

Every trade mission has a mission leader who is both fluent in the local language and has an in-depth knowledge of the region being visited and its local customs, and they are available to assist mission members throughout the trip. In addition to the mission leader, many trade missions are often accompanied by a VIP or Parliamentarian figure that has direct involvement in the country or region being visited. This adds huge credibility to the trips and can open many doors, opportunities that would not be available to businesses travelling independently.

UNIGLOBE member CT Group Travel are also specialist conference organisers, providing conference management services worldwide. In addition the company operates many successful corporate rewards schemes; travel incentives for employees are proving to be a very popular way to motivate staff to hit company targets, especially when there are free flight tickets or paid overseas holidays being offered.

For more information concerning CT Group Travel’s services please call +44 (0) 1892 673 427.

Digital content specialist helps PR professionals make the most of video press releases

PR professionals are increasingly aiming to reach beyond their traditional audience in the media, interacting directly with consumers and businesses through social networks. The traditional press release can’t always provide the detailed information - or entertainment - that consumers demand and many PRs are turning to video press releases to help.
Designer and entrepreneur Phil Pauley, founder of digital content specialist Pauley Media, has produced a video and 10-point checklist to help PR professionals understand the options video offers their campaigns.

Many options are available to PR professionals producing a video press release. Budget, deadline, and the desired quality of the final film will inform your choices along the way. Areas that should be considered when making those choices include:

1) Camera equipment - there is a huge range of options here including standard definition video cameras or high definition DSLRs

2) What type of video would you like to produce? Short and simple with a single shot, or using a range of shots and a narrative? What is the ideal duration for your film?

3) Sound recording - Quality sound is essential. Are you going to use the camera's on-board microphone, or record sound separately?

4) What background would you like to use? A live background with depth and activity or a clean backdrop with a company logo? Perhaps a “green screen” and its flexibility is more suitable?

5) How are you going to light your shoot? Is there sufficient natural light at your chosen location or do you need to hire a lighting rig?

6) Should you storyboard? If using a range of material or shots, this can help to plan your shoot and save you time. It will allow you in identify when and where you could incorporate additional visualisation to help delivery your story in a more dynamic way.

7) Narration - Who will present the press release and what qualities would you like them to have? Will you read it yourself or ask another member of staff, your client or another professional?

8) Will you make use of a voice-over or soundtrack? Both are brilliant tools for adding texture, delivering information, and adding fluidity.

9) Will you use graphics? Animation can illustrate points, additional video clips add value, whilst company logos and contact details can be used for marketing and highlighting your call to action.

10) Finally, post-production - this can include keying, colour grading, titles, and after effects - a great deal of thought should go into how to take advantage of all that it can offer.

Considering all of the above areas and options, and making decisions regarding each one, will, in the end, make the production of your video press release run as smoothly as possible. You’ll be better placed to decide what you can do in-house and where you should outsource services, products and people to help you make a success of your video press release and reach your new audiences most effectively.

Pauley Media is a versatile and creative independent family company specialising in Concept Design, 3D Interpretation, Cultural Communication, e-Learning and Corporate Presentations through 3D Modelling and Immersive Audience Engagement. Find out about previous successful video and design projects for its range of international clients at http://www.pauley-interactive.co.uk/success-stories.php

Smallest, flattest and most versatile gps tracker in the world

Izon247 are pleased to announce the beta release of the world's smallest, most covert gps tracker tthat is commercially available. At 55% smaller than it's nearest competitor the unit is perfect for tracking almost any asset or individual.

The unit incorporates gps, gsm and rf and yet it measures just 45mm x 45mm x 9mm including battery.

"we wanted to create a device that was versatile and extremely functional yet simple to operate and cost effective enough for both commercial and consumer markets" Lee Walkey Head of international sales.

"We have had clients waiting on this product for nearly 2 years now and the applications are surprisingly unique. From waste bins to weapons, the technology is paving the way for almost anyone to protect their assets, stock and even loved ones. Imagine companies like Pc world and Currys being able to knock on people's doors after the recent riots and ask for their stock back? That's what this device will enable people to do. Of course, not without proper police assistance, also!"

For more information, contact Sales@izon247.com or visit the website www.izon247.com

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Infogroup’s OneSource integrates iSell UK with Salesforce.com CRM

Infogroup, a top provider of targeted high-value sales and marketing data, customer and market intelligence, and innovative digital engagement solutions,has announced that its OneSource division has integrated the UK version of its award winning customised prospecting solution, iSell, with the leading CRM solution www.Salesforce.com.

iSell UK for Salesforce enables sales professionals to easily gather relevant business information and sales triggers for their accounts within a single system, reducing the time and therefore cost of selling.

iSell delivers account and contact information taken from a range of best-of-breed content sources as well as from social media and websites. It identifies triggers that alert sales professionals when to call and what to discuss with their most valuable prospects. Now sales professionals can track their ideal targets based on their profile but from within the Salesforce.com environment.

“iSell UK for Salesforce.com is a revolutionary tool for selling,” points out Phil Garlick, President of OneSource. “Salespeople using iSell UK will be the first to respond to potential sales opportunities in the marketplace. By presenting iSell and its trigger technology right within Salesforce.com, we allow them to respond quickly and effectively by utilising all of the information in their CRM to conduct the most compelling follow-up.”

iSell is powered by OneSource’s LiveContent Platform, which combines information from more than 50 premium content suppliers and thousands of information feeds including social media sources such as LinkedIn.

OneSource, an Infogroup company, delivers business and sales intelligence on millions of companies and executives worldwide – optimising clients’ sales and marketing efforts and assisting with business-to-business research activities. The OneSource LiveContent™ platform combines content from over 50 world-class suppliers and thousands of information sources, providing unparalleled data accuracy and depth, delivered through the Web, CRM integrations, and information portals. OneSource has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.onesource.com.

Infogroup helps companies increase sales and customer loyalty through our high value data, market intelligence and innovative digital solutions. We uncover and unlock revenue growth by enabling our clients – from local businesses to Fortune 100 companies – to connect and engage with their most valuable audiences millions of times each day. Infogroup data powers the top 5 internet search engines and 90% of the GPS systems in North America. For more information, visit www.infogroup.com.

That's Technology: Splunk doing well

That's Technology: Splunk doing well: "Splunk®, Inc., a provider of operational intelligence software, today announced year-over-year quarterly growth of 70% for the quarter end..."

Wealden launches fully integrated Event Resource Management based on HR Works for management of event specific staff

Newcastle United first to go live with the Wealden steward management solution.

Wealden, a long-established supplier of Human Capital Management systems has announced the availability of its new Event Resource Management solution, HREvent. Based on the HR Works platform, HREvent is for the management of event specific staff, like stewards and marshals.

Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) is the first organisation in the  UK to employ the new software. Boyd Weddell, Deputy Safety Officer at NUFC said: “We looked at several systems for managing our match day stewards, but they were all standalone.

"Only Wealden could to provide a fully integrated solution that met all of our requirements to manage our stewards throughout their association with the club, from recruitment, while they are working with us, through to keeping in touch after they have left.”

Designed as a fully integrated solution, Wealden’s HREvent is available in a standalone format, too. It provides an interactive system which powers the central management of staff throughout an event. The system brings together elements of HR management for personnel data, time and attendance to monitor hours worked, and payroll. On match day a dynamic map interface displays data quickly and easily enabling the operations team to concentrate on running the venue, and ensuring an incident free event.

Boyd Weddell continued, “The more accurate information provided by HREvent enables us to manage our match day resources more efficiently, saving us costs, which over the course of a season are significant.”

Hitesh Patel, the MD at Wealden said, “Most organisations will state that their biggest and most expensive asset is their staff. For venues and football clubs, event staff and marshals are not the highest cost when compared to players or artists, however, they are vitally important to safety and without them the event cannot take place. They need to be managed efficiently during the day, and paid accurately and promptly for the hours worked afterwards. Wealden’s HREvent has been designed specifically with this in mind. Our experience at Newcastle United shows that costs can be saved while providing a ground that is staffed appropriately at all times ensuring the safety of the fans.”

Gary Gray, Head of IT at NUFC commented, “Match day systems are mission critical for a football club, therefore excellent support was of vital importance. We have been dealing with Wealden for a number of years and know that they are able to provide the levels of service required for such a system.”

Founded in 1983, Wealden Computing Services specialises in Human Capital Management solutions. The highly respected HRWorks suite of applications covers HR, Payroll, Time and Attendance and Self-Service functions for both managers and employees.

Modular by design, the components of HR Works may be fully integrated to provide a complete People Management software tool for commercial, governmental and educational organisations.
HRWorks is used extensively throughout the UK.

Wealden Computing Services
Tel: 020 8364 7177

Keeping staff healthy is good for them and good for business

It makes good business sense pays to keep employees healthy. Research published today reveals as little as 15 minutes of physical activity a day can bring enormous health benefits.

The study, published in The Lancet, reviewed physical activity levels of over 400,000 people and found that just 15 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of all-cause death by 14% and increase life expectancy.

The workplace is a great place to encourage physical activity, providing an estimated 54% of the global population with the opportunity to improve their health. But how can the effectiveness of increased activity be measured?

An answer to this question comes from iGlobalFitness, who announced at today’s rebrand as iGlobalWellness, their commitment to supporting organisations to improve the health of their workforce with a suite of revolutionary wellness services. iGlobalWellness is a wellness consultancy service built on years of experience building programmes specially designed to help employers reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and morale, and lower turnover rates.

“Wellness programmes help employees feel valued, empowering individuals, and increasing productivity and profitability. We have worked hard over the last three years to put together a set of world class wellness programmes for the 21st Century,” points out a proud Paul Tomlin, CEO of iGlobalWellness.

The health and wellness of the workforce plays a major part in the success of the business. iGlobalWellness use strategic programmes to help organisations to promote positive health and wellbeing among their employees, enhancing performance and helping businesses to gain a competitive advantage.

Measurement and sustainability are key to the services provided by iGlobalWellness, ensuring organisations can easily evaluate the effectiveness of wellness strategies and enabling employees to incorporate the programmes into their busy lifestyles.

"These studies back what we already know - that doing a little bit of physical activity each day brings health benefits. We hope these studies will help more people realise that there are many ways to get exercise, activities like walking at a good pace or digging the garden over can count too," said England’s Chief Medical Officer, speaking to the BBC today.

With a global network of personal trainers, wellness facilitators and qualified coaches, iGlobalWellness can develop new wellness programmes for businesses or provide existing wellness programmes with support to make them more sustainable and effective. At their rebrand, iGlobalWellness launched their latest wellness services to complement the range of programmes they already provide.

The Wellness for Life workshop educates employees about behaviours necessary to lead healthier lifestyles, focusing on four key areas; iPhysical, iNutritional, iEmotional, and iSpiritual.

The Stay Active Challenge, a fun and engaging competition between corporate teams, was launched earlier this year and has already proved popular among businesses due to the motivating Boot Camps, Pound Punchers and Nutrition Consultations provided to Challenge participants.

Personal Wellness Programmes are customised to employee needs and provide regular reviews of Lifestyle, Health, Nutrition, Exercise and Daily activity with support from Wellness Facilitators and Activity Coaches.

All iGlobalWellness’ programmes are enhanced by the iAM, an exclusive, advanced activity monitor and online coaching system.

iGlobalWellness is the first company of its kind to offer a worldwide network of personal wellness training services for both the corporate and consumer market. They work with companies to develop effective wellness strategies using a global network of resources to offer a range of sustainable and measurable wellness services, designed to stimulate employee participation, increase performance and drive employee engagement. They work closely with ActionAid, making an automatic donation for every employee who takes part in their programmes.



Faltering job creation highlights need for effective handling of employee relations

The latest employment figures from the CIPD and KPMG, which shows job creation is set to slow sharply, clearly demonstrates that a painful economic recovery, with all its associated cost-cutting and structural change, will be a fact of life for organisations for some time to come.

But what's more, continuing ongoing employee relations disputes this summer means employers increasingly see the effective handling of employee and industrial relations, particularly in the absence of a clear economic recovery, as an essential skill, a route to positive workplace engagement and an important way to increase value for organisations.

This is why Marshall-James Global Solutions, a leading UK specialist in employee relations, has produced ‘Creating Value through Employee Relations and Engagement’, the first conference dedicated to this subject. The event is for anyone who wants straightforward, practical strategic and tactical advice on how to turn the risks to employee relations and engagement in difficult times into opportunities that create a positive workforce. It will also add value directly to organisations and to their performance day-to-day.

A strong line-up of conference speakers and panellists will attend the event, to be held on Thursday 13th October in central London. These will include the Right Honourable Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, CEOs, senior HRDs, Employee Relations directors, union leaders, leading media commentators, business psychologists, academics and other experts. The conference will be chaired by Dominic Laurie, business presenter on BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live, including the Today and Wake Up to Money programmes.

“Creating Value through Employee Relations and Engagement” is intended for senior HR and business leaders, line managers, union officials and reps and employee representatives who need clear answers to their employee relations and engagement challenges. This conference is relevant to anyone working in either a unionised or non-unionised organisation.

Subjects to be covered at the conference will include:-

• Why excellent employee relations are essential to a successful organisation.
• What the challenges and enablers to effective employee relations and engagement really are.
• The Government perspective: Francis Maude gives his view.
• How to engage front line managers to enthuse their teams.
• How to use reward to deliver good employee relations and engagement and create value.
• How to rebuild employee relationships, reputation and value.
• The challenges and opportunities facing the public sector.

The conference is already proving highly popular with delegates because it will deliver practical answers to key questions, including how to:-

• Deliver change to save money and improve productivity.
• Increase the value of your business through better employee relations.
• Identify opportunities through employee relations - and take advantage of them.
• Tackle and solve employee and industrial relation issues.
• Minimize the risk of uncertainty during employment change.
• Engage employees during difficult times.

To learn more about the conference at Marshall-James in general, please visit: www.mjgsl.com.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Cloud is on the horizon for SMEs

In our increasingly globalised world, small businesses need an operational communications network to span the geographically spread regions of the company. But the business applications required to achieve this are an costly proposal in our ongoing economic climate. 

This is making it more and more challenging for smaller businesses to contend with large corporations who hold seemingly infinite budgets. But we are now seeing the emergence of multi-tenanted business applications based upon a price-per-user model, or in other words, the Public Cloud. This is allowing youthful organisations to enjoy enterprise level services, security and products, at a fraction of the price.

Now is the time to begin “Thinking Big” – and utilising communications to get there. With Cloud Computing, instead of running Desktops, Applications, Exchange or Voice through physical in-house servers, they are hosted on centralised virtual servers in a data centre. 

This whole procedure is instant to setup and easy to use; you just login, customise and begin. Applications are more scalable, more secure and more reliable as you don’t need a copy of an app for every department using it, just one app which is adaptable enough for everyone to customise for their own particular demands. You can immediately supply applications whenever you need them as the end user directly controls the resources they require. This allows businesses striving to adjust to the pace and dynamism of business today to deploy highly resilient virtual machines for their staff, dawning a new era of flexibility.

Directors are starting to recognise a change in the dynamics of their firms now that staff can be networked more cost-effectively, no matter where in the globe they are. Employees can gain from enhanced mobility with access to their personal desktop user profile from any device – Laptop, Thin Client or iPad – from anywhere in the world within reach of a 3G network. 

This makes it easy to link up individuals and offices in one cohesive, responsive unit in which users share and synchronise emails, diaries and files. Small companies can employ home-based workers, or open small branch offices, or more effectively connect employees on their mobiles to deliver seamless, customer service as easily as a large corporation. Cloud Computing also furthers staff productivity and innovation by allowing for access to the latest technology without the need for any investment in upgrades so small businesses get first class IT on a global scale without having to spend a penny.

IT executives have raised some concerns about the security of their data in the Cloud. But since all data and applications are centralised in a data centre, it is immensely simpler to enable and enforce processes and procedures to ensure security, privacy and other best practices. No data is stored on a device, so you never have to worry about proprietary data coming into the wrong hands if the device itself is lost, stolen or breaks. This is particularly noteworthy with potentially gigabytes of sensitive corporate data sitting on the desk of every member of staff.

But some executives are still hesitant to take the step: their thought is that they would no longer be able to ‘touch and feel’ the systems which drive their business. Alex Parker, CTO of Commensus PLC is not surprised by this reaction, but feels there is sufficient experience of remote working to relieve those concerns. “Data centres have been on the scene for three decades or more: Cloud computing is simply a logical progression of that service. There has been little evidence of businesses experiencing troubles with access to data and with comprehensive service level agreements that specify virtually constant availability, any remaining concerns should be set aside.”

Most businesses are small (over 98% have under 100 employees) and they like it that way: they value the flexibility, responsiveness and customer interaction. It is clearer than ever that the competitiveness of an organisation is now less based on its size than ever before. 

By making effective use of today's communications capabilities, small firms can contend against anyone, anytime, anywhere, of any size. If you think it, you can do it. With the development of cloud technology and the applications and solutions available to small business, the sky really is the limit and size is no longer an issue.

Jack Wilson is the Digital Marketing Manager of Commensus Cloud Computing

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Top intern recruitment agency reaches landmark placement

Inspiring Interns are celebrating creating 1,000 graduate internships. The London-based intern recruitment agency have been helping SMEs connect with young talent since early 2009, using innovative matching techniques such as video CVs to secure their position as market leaders in the internship field. It is this in-depth matching process that has seen over 600 of their placements become permanent jobs.

The use of video CVs and psychometric testing, with a high level of individual engagement with the candidate, has been key to Inspiring Interns’ high level of client satisfaction and thus impressive retention rate, believes founder and CEO Ben Rosen.

“We spend a long time with each applicant, from a preliminary phone interview to a 45 minute one-on-one meeting in our office. This ensures we really understand what motivates them, where their skills and passions lie, and what roles they are best suited to. When we send a candidate to a company it is because we genuinely feel they would be a good fit for both the position and the organisation.

“We have also found that employers really value video CVs as an additional tool in the recruitment process, allowing hiring managers to go beyond the basic paper CV and really get a feel for an applicant’s personality.”

With 1,000 placements under their belts, Inspiring Interns have no shortage of happy customers lining up to sing their praises. Robert Avery of Northern and Shell commented “I have used Inspiring Interns regularly for over a year now. They have consistently provided me with high quality interns, 75% of whom have ended up as permanent employees. I always receive exemplary service – they come highly recommended.”

Samantha Turner, of M&C Saatchi, was both placed by Ben Rosen in her current role and now recruits from him. Highlighting Ben’s “database for a brain and great interpersonal skills”, she is always confident “he’ll find the very best candidate for a position, and vice versa.”

Alongside their innovative and thorough recruitment process, Ben also draws attention to Inspiring Interns’ youthful outlook combined with genuine experience of the graduate employment market as a key to their success.

“Our management team come from strong recruitment backgrounds and have an excellent grounding in helping businesses find the right person for their role. On the other side of the fence we have 10+ recent graduates on our staff who really understand what motivates candidates and are able to better match them with positions as a result.”

Having reached the 1000 mark, Rosen is unequivocal in his vision for Inspiring Interns. “2,000 is next! There are still tens of thousands of graduates looking for work and thousands of companies who are unaware of the benefit hungry young talent can bring to their organisation. Inspiring Interns is committed to bringing the two together, creating jobs and boosting business.”


Inspiring Interns was set up in February 2009 by Ben Rosen when he saw the perfect opportunity to help the growing number of unemployed graduates find their dream jobs and provide help to SMEs looking for top quality staff. They have since placed over 1,000 graduates with small business, creating over 600 graduate jobs.


Tarpon Encourages All Employers To Be Ready For AWR Legislation

Tarpon reveals that it is "excited at the prospect of new legislation known as The Agency Workers Regulation (AWR), also known as the Agency Workers' Directive (AWD). Currently planned to come into effect on the 1st October 2011."

This new legislation will allow agency workers to be entitled to certain benefits from the first day of working through to the entitlements after 12 weeks to the same basic working and employment conditions as would have been received if directly employed by the client, so enforcing equal treatment and day one rights for all agency workers.

A recent survey undertaken by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealed that awareness levels are currently over 70%. But the current figure of employers planning on making changes as a result of the implementation date of October 1st stands at 10%, with 42% currently considering what they should do.

Tarpon believe that it is also a major step in legislation for everyone involved in the umbrella company industry. Furthermore, they believe everyone must ensure they meet the standards that the legislation is creating.

A spokesperson for Tarpon pointed out: “We've always believed in offering our employees a genuine 'employment solution' through the promise to maintain pay during employment breaks and to always offer holiday pay and maternity pay, where this is applicable.

“We, as a company ,also recognise there is an employment responsibility involved, and as such are taking the changes the AWR introduces seriously and are proud to offer 100% protection against any potential employment law and tax challenges related to employees working with us.”

Now that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published the final version of the guidance to the AWR umbrella company Tarpon believe everything has now been clearly delineated, and will allow full concentration in ensuring that everyone will be ready for the 1st October, and will back the legislation 100%.


Tarpon is an umbrella company specialising in contractor payroll, enabling contractors to maximise their income and streamline their admin.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Women in Business

Despite the fact that women dominating the retail sector, making up 60% of the workforce, less than 5% are CEOs, only 8% of key business decisions are made by women and very few hold senior management roles.

Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins, is a Patron of the everywoman Awards which is an initiative set to raise the status of women in the business community. On September 14, Dame Mary Perkins will present the Woman of the Year Award to an inspirational woman whose vision and success is an exemplar to all within the industry.

To build awareness of the everywoman Awards and offer hope in a challenging climate, they have scoured the UK for their most excellent and inspirational female employees who have demonstrated dedication, innovation, brilliant business acumen and above all, determination.

Dame Mary Perkins says: "There are some excellent opportunities for women in the retail industry. Although there are not as many women in senior positions as there should be, there are many good prospects.

"At Specsavers, many of our stores are owned and operated by women who recognise the importance of excellent customer service and high retail standards."

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

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Beautiful business on wheels

Beauty will be literally on the doorstep for Lancashire residents thanks to a Bolton business woman.

Jackie Naylor, owner of beauty business, ‘Beauty On Wheels' has up-sized her business by converting a Volkswagen Crafter van into a mobile beauty salon.

The 34-year old beautician previously transported all her equipment, massage bed and products in a Volkswagen Golf, but due to growing business demand, space became an issue.

Lancashire Volkswagen Van Centre helped the beauty entrepreneur find a solution by converting Volkswagen’s largest van, the Crafter, into a self-contained luxury treatment room.

Her move to purchase Volkswagen Commercials largest vehicle has seen the entire inside converted into a beauty parlour.

The pimped and preened Crafter van offers customers a private treatment room on wheels, complete with massage bed, hot and cold running water, heating, power points and lighting.

Jackie said: “Making the move to a commercial vehicle was a big step but as my business is growing and I’m offering a wider range of treatments, a Crafter was the perfect solution."

“Customers can now enjoy all the benefits and privacy of visiting a salon with only going a few steps from their home."

“Everyone at Lancashire Van Centre was extremely helpful in meeting my business needs, as I think this was a unique project for the team at the van centre!”

Lancashire Volkswagen Van Centre’s brand manager, Paul Hoinville, said: “It was great fun working on the conversion of the Crafter van. The mobile salon is a perfect example of how versatile the vehicle can be and how it can be adapted to meet all types of customer’s needs.”

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Looking for a van for your business? You might have found it

The new Crafter’s improved efficiency helps lower fuel consumption, emissions and running costs, plus makes for higher payloads, and it’s now available to business customers from a suitably frugal £309 per month (plus VAT).

It’s just one of the great value Contract Hire and Finance Lease offers available from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. As well as the capacious Crafter, the Caddy and Caddy Maxi are available from just £199 and £209 a month (plus VAT) respectively, and the Transporter from £239 a month (plus VAT).

All Caddy, Transporter, Caravelle and California models funded through one of these packages also benefit from free servicing for the first three years or 30,000 miles (whichever is sooner), offering even better support and value for money as part of the Contract Hire and Finance Lease finance packages.

These models also boast a three year / 30,000 mile warranty, while the new Crafter is covered by an unlimited mileage warranty over three years, giving even better support and value for money.

These competitive offers extend across the entire Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range and also include all passenger carrying vehicles. The versatile Transporter shuttle with eight or nine seats is available from £299 a month (plus VAT) while the Caravelle is available for a monthly cost of £349. Alternatively, there is a selection of PCP (Personal Contract Plan) offers available for other models aimed at private buyers, such as the Caddy Maxi Life and California campervan.

Any vehicle purchased is eligible for free insurance for seven days and nights from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Insurance, while Volkswagen Van Centres can also offer fixed-cost maintenance packages to suit individual requirements.

Full details of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles finance offers, and the full van range, are available from Volkswagen Van Centres, by calling 0800 717131, or on-line at www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk.

Sweet appointment for Punch Communications

Jealous, a new manufacturer of high end sweet-gifts made from natural ingredients and suitable for people with dietary or ethical considerations and requirements, has appointed Punch Communications to handle its PR, SEO and social media.

For the initial launch activity over July and August, Punch has been handling Jealous’ consumer and business media and blogger relations, social media, social search and SEO activity.

Following the launch, Punch is being retained as Jealous’ SEO agency and will be providing consultancy services to the brand with its ongoing PR and social media activity. (EDITOR: A wise choice!)

Commenting on the appointment, joint managing directors Tahzeen Basunia and Imran Ali Merza, points out: “Punch’s enthusiasm for the Jealous product combined with its technical understanding, creative flair and impressive track record made the agency the most compelling proposition for us. We have been impressed with the team and really see them as an extension of our operation.”

Georgina Dunkley, who is the account director at Punch charged with the job of who overseeing the Jealous account, added: “Through this initial burst of activity we have seen some fantastic results including a continuously high level of engagement on the social media channels and some standout pieces of secured press and blogger coverage. The sweets have been extremely well-received by both consumers and the media.”

The sweets, which boast no artificial colours or flavours, are also suitable for vegetarians and contain no alcohol or gelatine. Presented in 400g gift boxes, the selection which is now available in Selfridges’ flagship Oxford Street store, includes Sinfully Sour, Gummy Heaven and Paradise Lost, all of which retail at £13.99.

In addition, the Enchanted Eden selection, which is produced using purely organic products, completes the initial range and is priced at £14.99. In addition to purchasing from Selfridges, the sweets can be bought directly online at www.thejealouslife.com.

Punch is one of the UK’s leading social media agencies working with big brand clients including Sony Ericcson. In addition it works on a number of integrated briefs in both the UK and oversees. For more information about Punch Communications visit www.punchcomms.com, or you can follow Punch on Twitter @punchcomms or like them on www.facebook.com/punchcommunications.

Monday, 8 August 2011

UK’s first Bangladesh Expo to boost and encourage business links

The first ever Destination Bangladesh Trade Show will take place at Canary Wharf on 16th-17th September 2011.

The event, organised by media production company Mahua Events, has already won the support of the UK’s first Bangladeshi MP, Rushanara Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow.

Destination Bangladesh Expo 2011, which is expected to attract 5,000 visitors, intends to create an international spotlight for the development of Bangladeshi trade, exports and tourism in the UK. The initiative will help further improve economic cooperation between the two countries as well as promoting Bangladesh as an attractive destination for visitors.

The event will showcase products and services from around 50 exhibitors, including textiles, telecoms and call centres, pharmaceuticals, tourism and hospitality, real estate and property, food manufacturing and exporters, education, financial institutions, furniture and handicrafts, and NGOs/micro credit groups.

Organisers have put together a seminar and conference programme alongside the exhibition and are hoping to welcome a number of top-level ministers from Bangladesh to attend the event, which will take place at the East Wintergarden.

Mahua Events, which has a wealth of experience in the execution of such exhibitions, is also planning to entertain attendees with traditional Bangladesh cuisine, a glamorous fashion show and a mix of traditional and contemporary dance and music performances.

Priyam Dasgupta, director of Mahua Events said: “We’re all really looking forward to the first ever Destination Bangladesh Expo. Our main objective is to increase trade between the UK and Bangladesh, but we also hope that attendees will get an authentic introduction to all that Bangladesh offers as a destination. Unlike other countries that have already embraced the concept of branding, Bangladesh has not yet broken into the trade and tourism industry. This event is set to change all of that.”

Rushanara Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “Having been born in Bangladesh and spent my early childhood there before moving to London, I passionately support any initiative that further promotes good relations between the UK and Bangladesh. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the rich and varied offering of the Bangladeshi business community in front of investors and buyers within the UK. There are some really exciting exhibitors showcasing a hugely diverse range of products – from textiles to telecoms. The first ever Bangladesh Expo promises to be a really engaging and worthwhile event.”

For more information about Destination Bangladesh Expo 2011 or Mahua events, please visit www.destinationbangladesh.co.uk

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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Matthew Walne, Earns Registered Life Planner® Designation from the Kinder Institute of Life

The Kinder Institute of Life Planning has announced that Matthew Walne, who is the founder of Leicestershire-based Santorini Financial Planning Ltd, has earned the prestigious Registered Life Planner (“RLP®) designation.

Earning this dedication requires a strong commitment to the financial planning profession, completion of a five-day residential training program, and a six-month practicum involving peer review with mentor coaching and supervision.

The Kinder Institute’s mission is to teach planners and advisers the relationship skills and methodology of Life Planning. Life planning is the human side of financial planning. Life planning seeks to discover the deepest and most profound goals of a client through a process of listening and inquiry.

Then, using a mix of professional and relationship skills the experienced life planner, along with the client, resolves obstacles to the client’s goals, creates a plan, and guides the client to the accomplishment of their goals.

George Kinder is the founder of the Life Planning movement, a visionary concept that seeks to find ways to help people discover and understand their core life values. Values –not just money– must be the true focus of financial planning. Mr. Kinder was named in 2005 as one of the 25 Most Important People in Financial Planning.

Matthew Walne, who has established a reputation as a competent and caring planner, believes that people often are afraid to walk alone into the future. He says, “Life Planners stand beside their clients, and provide guidance and support where and when it is most needed. As Life Planners we genuinely care about the human being beside us and give people awareness and permission to live life to the fullest.”

Although the concept of the life planning is becoming increasingly popular in the media, Matthew issues a note of caution. He feels that most advisers who use the term 'life planning' are only using it as a sales tool.

It is, he opines, of vital importance to find someone who has the proper education and training because you are dealing with people’s emotions and dreams. That can be a dangerous combination in unskilled hands.

Santorini Financial Planning Ltd, established in 2011, is an independent Financial Adviser specialising in financial life planning and fee-based wealth management.

For more information on Santorini Financial Planning Ltd e-mail matthew@santorini-fp.co.uk Additional information on the Kinder Institute of Life Planning can be found on their website at www.kinderinstitute.com.

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Cost & credit problems forcing SMEs to ‘raid the family silver’

Rising business costs are adversely impacting the private lives and personal finances of many SME owners, so says a new study by Make It Cheaper and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).

The research reveals nearly half of small businesses (47%) have had no choice but to inject additional cash into their company from personal sources within the last year.

Jonathan Elliott, MD of Make It Cheaper, csays: “The effects of squeezed margins and cost increases are not only threatening businesses, but the financial security of their owners and families.”

The study is based on independent research among owners and MDs of 750 UK small businesses with twenty employees or fewer, commissioned by business saving advisor Make It Cheaper and supported by macroeconomic modeling by Cebr.

SMEs take desperate measures

The vast majority (89%) of small businesses currently view the UK as an ‘unbearably expensive’ place to do business and many are finding they can only survive by supplementing the company with personal finances.

Nearly one third of small businesses (27%) have found it necessary to turn to family or friends for a loan to cover spiralling costs while a quarter (26%) have taken out a personal overdraft, bank loan (22%) or credit card (25%) for cash injections.

Some small business owners have been pushed into even more extreme measures, with 13% going so far as re-mortgaging their homes.

According to the Make It Cheaper research, the average amount raised from all personal channels stands at a little over £20,400 per business. But it points out that this figure is much higher in some sectors, like as dental and medical surgeries, where borrowing averages at £120,000.

Cebr and Make It Cheaper have modelled an inflation tracker for small business overheads – the Business Cost Index. The Index exposes the areas which will exert the most financial pressure on SMEs this year, including transport costs, which are expected to rise 20.5%, energy bills, forecast to grow 8.5% and insurance premiums, set to rise 7.1% in 2011.

Jonathan Elliott, the MD of Make It Cheaper points out: “It is extremely concerning that small business owners have been compelled to take the drastic step of placing their own financial stability in jeopardy to keep the company afloat.

“However, many small businesses feel they have no alternative, as costs rise and traditional lines of credit remain cut off. The situation is particularly pronounced in sectors like hospitality, where businesses are red flagged as far as banks are concerned. It is no surprise so many are turning to personal loans and credit cards to survive.

“These businesses are having to box clever with their borrowing, but for an SME, saving £1 is like making £1 without having to take £10 in turnover first. So it’s time to think about switching suppliers and cutting costs.”

For further information, advice and free tools to help manage overheads and tightening credit from Make It Cheaper, please go to http://www.businessfit.makeitcheaper.com/family-silver.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Now you and your staff don't have to struggle! New Power-Trolley watches your back!

The new range of motorised, battery powered truck and trolleys from UK-based manufacturer Handle-It Ltd can increase all safety and productivity at the same time.

The “Trolley Power” range of power assisted trolleys and trucks make the constant moving of loads in excess of 500kg on a variety of surfaces and gradients easier and safer in an industrial setting.

Users of powered trucks and trolleys benefit from increased accessibility of being able to move heavy loads easily, with lower levels of fatigue and risk from back injuries, or exacerbating existing back problems.

Benefits for a company includes greater productivity as well as reducing time and money lost through staff injury issues, reduced risk of adverse publicity, damage to reputation, and potential civil liability costs.

Handle-It Managing Director Daniel Farrar says “these new power assisted platform trucks take the strain and risk out of heavy work, and are really easy for all to operate. The only struggle you’ll have is to find a good reason not to use them”.

The new powered trolley and truck range have a 500 kg capacity, and are available in a variety of bed sizes, handle and side styles. Safe operation and control are enhanced by a hand pressure based speed control system, an emergency stop brake, maximum and minimum speed settings, battery discharge indicator and auto reverse alarm.

Each powered trolley and truck comes with a 5 year chassis warranty and a 12 month warranty on the power units and drive. Bespoke powered truck and trolley models are also available.

The use of powered trucks and trolleys in the workplace for repeated moving of heavy loads conforms to HSE recommendations for using lifting and handling aids to reduce the risk of back and other injuries.

Devon-based Handle-It have been truck and trolley manufacturing specialists for many years with a strong and loyal UK customer base and over 5000 customers worldwide.

For more information call Sales Team at Handle-It Ltd on 01803 814522 or visit www.handle-it.com.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Innovative 10 Yetis PR Agency invests in new online video company

10 Yetis PR has today announced it has invested in a start up online video production company, as it looks at the future of PR campaigns and the rising demand by media for web clips and short online films to support digital media projects.

10 Yetis, the consumer and tech PR Agency based in the South West of the UK has announced that it has invested in the start up web film business; The Online Video Company. The announcement comes at a time when the agency is seeing unprecedented levels of demand from media across all platforms for web clips and videos to support the publicity campaigns that it manages on behalf of its clients.

The Online Video Company already has an impressive business-to-business show-reel, courtesy of its cinematic and high quality approach to creating web films. To date the company has secured high profile commissions from the likes of Keele University and, most recently, the Fredericks Foundation; where the company was tasked with filming the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

The investment will be used to help the company market its current portfolio of services along with launching a new Video Blogger range of tools and Search Engine Optimisation focused video packages. The Online Video Company will be based at the 10 Yetis PR offices in the heart of the South West.

Speaking about the investment, Andy Barr, co-founder and Head Yeti at 10 Yetis said: "The investment in The Online Video Company is very much about 10 Yetis making sure that it is fully prepared for the future demands of the national and international media as, over the last year, we have seen unprecedented levels of requests from journalists and publishers across every form of media for videos and web clips to support our client campaigns."

He continued "The Online Video Company is renowned for its cinematic quality business films that have taken online videos to the next level. I am confident that our disruptive approach to both Media & Search Engine Optimisation campaigns that have always been successful, combined with The Online Video Company's obvious talent will result in our going on to deliver the types of projects that will delight clients and deliver to them the return on investment that is needed in such a tough economic environment.”

Dr Mark Davies from The Online Video Company said: "I am very excited about the new opportunities that now lay ahead. We've hit one of those golden moments in the business film industry where all sorts of things have clicked together at just the right time. Recent advances in film production technologies and fresh talent coming through are challenging what has largely become a very tired and unimaginative industry.

“With 90% of adults now having access to broadband quality internet, both they and the search engines are hungry for richer content, providing a fantastic opportunity for businesses to engage people on a whole new level.

“At The Online Video Company we have a truly unique skill base - strengthened through our connection with 10 Yetis. We take time to understand client’s businesses, the best way to convey them through film, and the best way to get it out there to deliver results."

Click to see more about The Online Video Company, or call 0800 033 7384. Click to see more about 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency, or call 01452 348211.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

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Cloud computing expert iomart named as finalist for UK National Business Awards

Cloud computing company iomart named as finalist for UK National Business Awards

iomart Group plc, a top managed hosting and cloud computing services company, has been shortlisted for one of the UK’s most prestigious business awards.

The company is a finalist for the National Business Awards 2011 in partnership with Orange. iomart has been shortlisted in the Santander Small to Medium sized Business of the Year category.

Stephen Dury, Santander Corporate Banking’s Director of Strategy and Market Development, and member of the shortlist panel, said: “iomart is operating in a highly competitive market and has shown the leadership courage required to grow by proving to be capable of expansion through organic business development and acquisition. A great achievement from a dedicated team at iomart.”

iomart was recently named Scottish Digital IT Company of the Year 2011 and is ranked as one of the top 25 cloud services providers in the world by Talkin’ Cloud 50 and as one of the top 10 managed hosting providers by MSPmentor 100.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, said: “We are delighted that iomart’s commitment to sustainable growth and innovation is being recognised on the UK stage. We’ve worked hard to position the company as a leading provider in the competitive market for cloud services and being shortlisted for the National Business Awards alongside some of the most famous names in British business demonstrates that we’re making real headway.”

Announcing the finalists, Steve Pateman, Head of Santander Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking said: “Small and medium sized businesses are the drivers of the UK economy, and the National Business Awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the innovation, flexibility and hard work of these companies. I would like to wish all the finalists every success both in these awards and for their future business ventures.”

Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, Chair of Judges, the National Business Awards, said: “The economic climate continues to present UK businesses with an unprecedented challenge: it is therefore particularly encouraging that the entries in this year’s National Business Awards have shown no drop in quality or performance. Congratulations to all finalists for demonstrating tremendous strength in their ability to adapt and innovate which no doubt reflects the resilience and optimism that are the hallmarks of UK enterprise.”

Organised by UBM plc, winners will be honoured at the National Business Awards gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, Tuesday 8th November, where George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will deliver this year’s welcome address.

Martin Stiven, Vice President of Business at Orange, part of Everything Everywhere, said: “Reaching the finals of the National Business Awards is no mean feat and I am delighted that the calibre of entrants keeps on improving. All finalists have demonstrated exceptional drive, resilience and innovation during challenging economic conditions. Many congratulations to all finalists and best of luck with the next stage of the competition, I very much look forward to the live judging in September and October.”

Visit the National Business Awards website www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk for a full list of all 2011 finalists. For more information about iomart Group plc visit www.iomart.com

Monday, 1 August 2011

“Don’t pigeonhole talent but take more risks with your people”, says former Virgin CEO

Companies are failing to make best use of their talent because they still ‘pigeonhole’ people on the basis of their age and experience. That’s the message from Simon Wright, former CEO of Virgin Entertainment and now a US based consultant to fast growing companies.

“In some instances experience can actually get in the way of solving problems, because of the preconceptions it can engender,” say Wright. “There’s a strong argument for approaching challenges with a ‘beginner’s mind’. But achieving this means putting people in place who combine a commercial mindset with the ability to adapt and use common sense.”

Wright cites instances at Virgin where individuals were ‘parachuted’ into areas where they had little or no directly obvious experience. “One woman, for example, went from store manager to IT director to very successful managing director of a new acquisition within three years because of his excellent people management skills.”

According to Wright, who will be delivering a lecture on the theme at the Ochre House Symposium at Wentworth on 14th September, the reason why so many organisations shy away from this approach is a lack of imagination coupled with fear of the consequences. “Businesses of all sizes need to trust in their instincts and take more risks with people if they are going to manage their talent in a truly effective way,” he says.

(EDITOR: But is Wright right in all instances? Because conversely, it has proven sadly easy for someone with the gift of the gab -aka 'people skills'- to be over-promoted over more deserving candidates until the fact that their abilities are more apparent than real is only to be discovered at the point where they have created real damage to the business.

It is all very well parachuting people in to jobs for which they have little or no experience. But if their parachute fails to open, their impact is purely negative. But this is often overlooked when senior managers have convinced themselves that the idea of promoting empty heads over experienced minds is always a good idea.)

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