Category: Business

The 5 Elements Needed For A Winning Business

business team meeting

business team meetingHow To Ensure Your Startup Will Survive The First Year

Follow these business startup tips which will mean the difference between surviving and failing that first year of operation.

With the number of British startups at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to achieve business success in your new venture. 660,000 companies launched in 2016, marking an increase of more than 50,000 from the previous year. But with ongoing concerns that 8 out of 10 startups will fail within the first twelve months, how do you make sure your organisation falls within the successful 20%? Incorporate these five essential elements into your strategy to make sure you’re still going strong beyond the first-year anniversary.

A Clear Business Focus

It’s important to identify the focus of your business from the outset. Whilst some entrepreneurs will have created a brand-new product or piece of tech to solve a typical consumer problem, many successful ventures take an existing business model and simply improve it. You’ll need to conduct thorough research of your competitors, learn what they’re offering and then go one step further to make sure your service or product stands out from the crowd.

Building Your Team

Your business is only as successful as the people that work for it. Putting together a great team is a key area of focus when you’re starting out. Your business plan and the vision for what you want to achieve, should include the roles that you’ll need to recruit for and the skillsets that you’ll require from your employees.

But a successful team isn’t about individuals. No matter how impressive a person’s career history is, you’ll also need to invest time in team building, to make sure that your employees work together towards your business goals.

Networking

Even if you’re going it alone, contacts are still important in the business world. The difference between success and failure can sometimes come down to who you know. This doesn’t mean that you need to break bread with your rivals, but it will likely be advantageous to build up a network of fellow entrepreneurs, perhaps on social media or by attending industry events. Such contacts can be useful to share ideas with or perhaps turn to for professional assistance in areas where you lack the required skills.

Mucking In

Delegation is an important part of running a business. It allows you to entrust various tasks to your employees which will free up time for you to focus on other areas of the business. However, when you’re a startup, it simply may not be possible to delegate the menial jobs when the company is in its infancy. Therefore, it’s important that the senior staff in your organisation are willing to muck in and get their hands dirty. By doing so, not only will you save money, but by getting involved in the basic operations of your venture, you’ll have a great understanding of your internal processes and know where improvements could be made.

Perfecting Your Pitch

One thing that all businesses have in common, is that they all need to sell something to make money. Whether you’re promoting a service, a product or even a web page, you’ll need to get the attention of your target audience. Sales is an area that requires a concentrated effort right from the birth of your business. You need to know what you’re selling inside out; learn how to perfect your pitch and put your best sales team together to do so. They need to be confident at presenting, whether it’s one-on-one or to a board of directors.

Now that you know which areas to concentrate on, it’s time to readdress your startup strategy. Make sure everything is in place before you launch, or if you’re already up and running, then take immediate steps to course correct and ensure a successful business in 2018.

Accommodation For Your Business Trip To Essex

business meeting

business meetingA Range Of Corporate-Friendly Stays To Meet Your Every Need

Whether you’re looking to commute or conduct business in Essex, there are plenty of suitable accommodation options to help you prepare for a meeting and unwind afterwards.

Essex boasts an enviable position on the outskirts of the capital, yet is within easy reach of the East of England and the A1, M1 and M11 roads. As such, there have been an increase in start-up businesses and organisations who have relocated to the region.

For those who are travelling either to Essex or into London for business purposes and want to arrange some comfortable yet corporate-friendly accommodation in the area, then here are some suggestions.

Stansted Airport

Whether you’ve just flown in, or are due to be heading off shortly on a flight, Stansted Airport offers a wide variety of appropriate business hotels for your needs. You can choose from a selection of reliable 4 star hotels such as the Novotel or Radisson Blu which offer amenities such as gym access, upscale dining and a shuttle to the terminal.

Corporate Rural Retreat

If you’re looking for a place to unwind after a long business meeting, yet with all the facilities you need to catch up on your correspondence, then Panfield House is a fantastic example of corporate accommodation in Essex. This self-catering hotel on the outskirts of Braintree is fully serviced and naturally has free WiFi which makes it ideal for business travellers.

City Pad

If you prefer to base yourself within easy reach of London, then Chelmsford is an ideal place to stay as it has frequent and fast services into the capital, leaving every 7 minutes during peak times and taking as a little as half an hour before arriving in Liverpool Street in the City of London. Chelmsford is a cosmopolitan and upmarket town and there are a wide range of hotels including the likes of Premier Inn, Travelodge or the Best Western Atlantic.

Whatever your business accommodation needs are, you can be certain that Essex has you covered – enjoy your stay!

Industrial Cleaning Product Market Set To Explode

industrial cleaning productsCleaning Product Market Growth of 5% Forecast Over Next 4 Years

Rise in population, better education regarding sanitation and pricing awareness has led to a forecast of 5% growth in the industrial cleaning product industry.

The cleaning product market is expanding rapidly on a global scale. A market research report conducted by analysts at Technavio forecasts that there will be a growth of 5% in the industrial cleaning product market between now and 2021.

Population Expansion

This increase can be partly attributed to the rise in worldwide population figures, particularly in regions such as Asia Pacific. This area is the largest market in terms of both domestic washing and industry cleaning products, which is helped by the expanding populations of China and India. These emerging countries are closely followed in the industry by accumulative sales in North America and Europe.

Health And Hygiene

Particularly in developing countries, there has been a rapid rise in education about the importance of proper hygiene in the prevention of infectious diseases. Therefore, the increasing usage of cleaning products to concentrate on personal hygiene, communal hygiene and food sanitation has contributed towards the growth of the cleaning products market overall.

Consumers are applying this knowledge and are paying additional attention to the safe storage of food, the sterilisation of meal preparation areas, and the thorough cleaning of bathrooms as well as other household surfaces. Buyers from all regions are also controlling the disposal of their rubbish and recycling materials with extra care. Even a small increase in the usage of cleaning products per family, can cause an explosion of growth in the cleaning product industry when looked at on a global scale.

Price Matters

Many people have busy, fast-paced lives. Consumers don’t have time to use sub-standard cleaning agents to scrub away at surfaces, when there are products available that can get the job done in half the time. Individuals and companies alike are choosing higher quality brands that are more efficient. Continued steady economic growth in some areas means that more is being spent in the industrial cleaning market, and this is predicted to rise over the next four years.

However, in developing countries, price is a determining factor over the efficacy of the product, as consumers have less money to spend. This doesn’t mean that there is no money to be made from this industry in these regions. However, cleaning product manufacturers will need to price their brand lines accordingly to gain a market share in these poorer nations.

There are strict government regulations in many countries that can prevent the growth of the market from reaching its full potential. However, significant increases in research and development before bringing a product to market, are certain to see some incredibly innovative and advanced merchandise being introduced into the industry. This, coupled with the mounting interest in cleaning and hygiene tips, particularly within the healthcare sectors, mean that this industry is one to watch over the next few years.

How Food Label Design Boosts Sales

Wine labels

Wine labelsEasy to Read Labelling Means Increased Purchases

The food and drink market is more competitive than ever. The design of the label could have a greater impact than you think on boosting sales.

According to the UK Department for International Trade, there are approximately 10,000 new food and drink products introduced in the UK every year. As the market becomes ever more saturated, it becomes increasingly difficult to get noticed and steal a march on the competitors.

Attractive packaging has always been an important part of the marketing mix that gets plenty of attention from designers and marketing gurus, as they work day and night to outdo the competition. Yet you might be surprised at just how important the clarity and design of your food label is when it comes to influencing buyer behaviour.

Research in France

Grenoble Ecole de Management is one of the top business schools and research institutes in Europe. Research conducted at the institute under the leadership of Associate Professor Caroline Werle suggests that labels that are uncluttered and easy to read win hands down over useful information and gimmicks in terms of increasing consumer purchases.

Professor Werle carried out two in-depth studies that assessed the buying preferences of 584 participants. She asked them to consider a wide range of products, which she had previously mapped according to two parameters: Whether they were healthy or unhealthy, and whether the labels were easy or difficult to read.

The results showed a marked consumer preference in favour of products with easy-to-read labels – in fact, this was the main deciding factor on whether the participants would buy a product or not, and was certainly of far greater influence than whether it was healthy or unhealthy.

Simple label equals simple purchase

There are a number of possible explanations for this interesting result, the most probable being that a clear food label that is easily read makes for a straightforward, uncomplicated purchase decision. This in turn gives purchasers a positive overall reaction, and the subconscious idea that they will enjoy the product.

Implications for the food labelling industry

These results have certainly raised some eyebrows among designers and marketers involved in food and drink labelling. If the “less is more” approach really has such a big impact on buying decisions, we could soon be seeing a whole new generation of minimalist label designs.

However, it is not just the sales and marketing teams that are interested in these results. Regulators and health watchdogs will be quick to notice other implications that could also have an impact on the industry.

Specifically, the evidence suggests that a clear, easily read label is more likely to make consumers think they will enjoy a product, even if it is unhealthy. It is no great leap of logic to conclude that a healthier alternative with a more detailed, and therefore less clear, label, will actually turn potential buyers away by providing more information as to its benefits.

If this is the case, then regulations that standardise all food labelling could be closer to reality than we think – however, there can be little doubt that a great deal more lengthy and detailed research must be carried out before such a step receives serious consideration.

How To Build Your Cleaning Business

cleaning equipment

cleaning equipmentPoints to consider when starting and growing a cleaning business. Assessing the market and marketing, considering franchising and ways to expand and diversify.

Starting and establishing your enterprise and moving to the next level

“Where there’s muck there’s brass” is an old saying very appropriate to the cleaning trade. It’s a huge industry with one national franchise operator estimating it to be worth in the region of over £2.8 billion a year; it’s an expanding industry with no signs of a slow down.

Expanding market

Indeed, with more people having less time, albeit with more income, many domestic chores are being sub contracted, with cleaning high on the list. Commercial cleaning is booming, too; the need to comply with ever more stringent health and safety requirements means cleanliness levels in the workplace must be of a high standard.

There’s scope for newcomers to the industry; some research undertaken amongst householders revealed that, of those who don’t use an outside house cleaner, some 20% say it’s simply because they can’t find one.

Getting started

Cleaning is a relatively simple business to make a start in; a handful of cleaning products and some flyers and you’re good to go – but it’s not quite as simple as that. Some pointers to consider:

Competition is rife: there are many involved in cleaning, from one person doing it part time for a handful of friends’ houses, to major national companies operating through a franchise model.

Demand: can people in your locality afford a cleaner? Assuming you’d look to start locally, check if there are potentially enough households to be your customers. If you’re leaning more to offering commercial cleaning, are there enough businesses of the right size locally?

Be aware that larger businesses probably use an established, specialist commercial cleaners and may not consider using a startup. Smaller businesses might though.

Set prices carefully: research the competition by posing as a potential customer and asking for prices, and maybe ask a few friends to do the same.

Budget carefully: while initial costs can be low, you’ll still need to invest to a degree – and don’t overlook marketing costs. Looking professional will be a big help so properly printed flyers and business cards are basics.

Marketing: while you may get a start with a few people known to you letting you clean their homes, the hard work is building up a sustainable customer list. Some activities you might consider:

  • Flyers – put them through the doors of your targeted homes and maybe businesses – and repeat regularly. Doing it once is counter productive
  • Classified advertising – worth a go with your local newspapers but, as with flyers above, you need to advertise consistently before judging it as people often need repeated exposure to advertisements before taking action
  • Online presence – a website is worthwhile and adds credibility. It needn’t be expensive. Also set up a Facebook page for your business.
  • Online advertising – your website could help you be found when people are searching online for cleaners, and options such as pay per click advertising may be worth considering (especially if you’re offering a niche service such as carpet cleaning)
  • Door knocking – fills many people with terror, but it does work and some people may respond better to at least putting a name to a face
  • Branding – not restricted to multi-million corporations, good branding and a business identity will help you to establish and grow your business. Logos and a consistent typeface you use in your printed materials is a good move – and good quality designs are available very competitively priced online through freelance sites such as Fiverr.

Once you grow a little, branded clothing such as polo shirts and so on can reinforce your professionalism and joining trade organisations requiring a certain standard from its members shows competence.

Franchising

If the idea of setting up from scratch doesn’t appeal and you have some money to invest (or can borrow some) then the franchising route may appeal.

Franchising is a popular business model in the cleaning industry with many options to choose from, including specialised cleaning sectors such as oven cleaning, kitchen hygiene cleaning, heating duct cleaning and chimney sweeping. If you invest in a franchise, you operate under the franchise name using their corporate identity and running a business often exactly to their prescribed ‘blueprint.’

Along with the initial costs there are usually further fees to pay in the form of a share of your profits along with maybe having to buy certain items such as marketing materials through them or their suppliers.

You may find it attractive from a business ‘done for you’ point of view, but you’ll still likely have to find your own customers. The franchisor should help with marketing support in terms of printed materials, maybe a centralised mailing campaign and online help such as providing you with a website.

Question of price

It’s tempting to focus on price especially when starting up, but this isn’t the best course to follow. In most businesses there’s always someone willing to ‘do it for less’ and it’s important to have a business that makes a realistic profit.

Once your business gains some momentum, you’ll require support from professional suppliers and service providers. For example, you’ll need access to and fast delivery of supplies and equipment, so choose a supplier of professional cleaning products carefully.

Legislation and licenses

There are no specific licences or stipulations required to start a cleaning business, but it’ll show professionalism and put your potential customers’ minds at rest if you undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. If you go on to employ others at some stage, then getting them DRB checked will be worthwhile.

Developing and growing your business

If you start off providing domestic cleaning you may be happy simply expanding your customer base and recruiting more cleaners as business grows. Alternatively, you may seek to move into other areas – maybe offering commercial cleaning services – or operating in certain niches such as carpet cleaning.

How you grow and maybe diversify will likely be informed by what your local market needs. As you become known and knowledgeable about the local market conditions, maybe you’ll be aware that people are crying out for good carpet cleaners and it’s an under-served market, for example?

You may prefer to be more of a manager than a hands-on cleaner in time, so might look to expand to the point where you’re recruiting and running a team of cleaners.

Tough but worthwhile

Starting any business is tough of course, and a cleaning business even in a high demand area takes some hard work. The low barriers to entry often mean many individuals and one or two person startups ‘have a go’ so you’re up against them along with the established local and national companies.

After a while though, if you build a solid reputation and become established then you could have a profitable enterprise with interesting possibilities for expansion and diversification.

Is Golf The Next Business Team Building Trend?

golf team building

golf team building

Golf is less solitary than you think so makes a good team activity

When people think of golf, they often think of it being a ‘self-centred’ game with one person playing against many others. This view may be influenced by the amount of big ‘singles’ competitions such as the US and British Open that are part of the four major tournaments played each year with one person beating the field to win.

That said, golf can be a team game – witness the USA versus Europe Ryder Cup played every two years – and it certainly can make for a very sociable gathering.

Golf for team building

There are many corporate golf days and charity events, so golf lends itself to team building days. A day out in the fresh air, and various ways of competing including team configurations such as a Texas scramble, turn the game into a genuine group activity as opposed to ‘singles’ play. To top things off, there’s often the chance for everyone to get together at the end of the day’s play for a drink or maybe a meal.

The only drawback is that golf can be enjoyed better by those who play at least occasionally. It’s maybe not a game non-golfers can enjoy beyond crazy golf or pitch and putt level, and there’s the need for participants to be suitably equipped.

It’s not just the golf clubs (which can probably be hired), but other essentials such as proper footwear, as many golf clubs won’t allow people to play wearing trainers or similar. Many golf clubs also stipulate some type of dress code that must be adhered to on the course and possibly in certain areas of the clubhouse.

For a group of people who are all keen golfers, what better way to help team build and enhance morale than taking to the links for the day? If, however, not all the team play then taking a look at many other team building activities may be preferable and appropriate for a more diverse group of people.

Finding a golf club in London that may be happy to host possibly a large number of novice golfers may prove difficult in any event. Many might insist on players not only possessing a valid playing handicap, but one no higher than a certain level.

Other options

Getting ideas from a specialist organiser for a corporate team building event in London is an ideal first step. Choosing an activity that will appeal to your mix of personnel is key to everyone having an enjoyable time along with something appropriate to the time of day and year.

For example, a casino evening or a murder mystery might be just the thing for a winter’s night whereas a GPS treasure hunt or an ‘It’s a Knockout’ could be a great idea for a summer’s day.

A time honoured quiz is always fun, but expert events organisers often offer more than just a bunch of questions on a list. Interactive rounds using video and various options to tailor the quiz to suit the number of people and the time slot can be created.

A bit of fun mixing (literally) with something creative and mildly competitive can be achieved with a cocktail masterclass. Your people split into teams and, with the help of expert mixologists, create their own cocktail and compete with other teams to see who comes up with the most appealing drink.

As seen on TV

Activities inspired by successful television programmes such as ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Great British Bake Off’ can be undertaken to help your people have fun and cooperate in a team environment, as can a series of pub games. Everyone splits into teams and completes a circuit playing a variety of pub style games while totting up their scores on each and seeing how they fare against their colleagues in other teams.

Seasonal activities

Rather than simply organise an office party or take staff out for a Christmas meal, team building activities run by expert organisers can be given a festive twist if desired.

It’s not just golf

While golf is certainly a popular team building activity and has long been a favourite corporate entertainment option, the innovation in team building and corporate entertainment in the hands of a professional events organising company means there’s much else to choose from whether in or outdoors.