Category Archives: Social Networking for Business

London Business Survey (Autumn) 2009 Results

With thanks to Business Junction http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/ for sending this to my inbox! 🙂

London-based businesses across all sectors have responded to the autumn edition of the bi-annual London Business Survey and the results reveal that whilst most are confident they will see growth return in the first quarter of 2010, very few have plans to actively recruit new staff.

Present Government policies on tendering and business support are also criticised as being ineffective and in certain cases actually damaging to recipient businesses.

The survey, carried out by Business Junction and Clarity this November, invited companies across London to submit their views on how the recession and credit crunch has affected them directly and their outlook for 2010.
Many thanks to all the London businesses that took part!

The key findings of the survey are:

Ø  Business confidence is returning: 83% of businesses expecting turnover to increase or stay constant into Q1 of 2010 in comparison to 75% in Spring 2009

Ø  London businesses say staff numbers will most likely stay as they are now for the next 6 months, although 31% now say they expect to add to their workforce compared to 25.19% in Spring 2009

Ø  Business support programmes by the Government, LDA and Mayor’s office have a poor take up rate and where taken up by London businesses, the impact has been negligible

Ø  Only 13% of London businesses believe the current tendering process for Public Sector projects is a good investment of time and money

Ø  Payments for Public Sector projects are usually received later than 29 days from invoice – 9% took longer than 90 days!

Ø  53% of overdraft applications to banks are not approved and the attitude of banks to businesses has remained largely unchanged since August 2008

Ø  88% of companies are members of a networking organisation.

Economy
Although business confidence is slowly returning, with 83% of businesses expecting turnover to stay the same or increase into 2010, recruitment opportunities look poor, with less than a third of London businesses (31%) looking to add new staff over the next six months.

Support and training
Despite the Government’s efforts to use business support programmes to help London’s companies drive the economy out of recession, the take-up has been poor. Only 22% of businesses had accessed Government support schemes, with more than half (51%) of those who received support feeling it failed to have any impact at all.

This issue was magnified in the results for the London Mayor’s office and the London Development Agency (LDA). Only 3% of London businesses have accessed any support schemes run from the Mayor’s Office whilst 14% had accessed one of the LDA programmes.  Of those who received support through the LDA or Mayor’s Office, almost half (44%) felt it had resulted in a positive impact, over a third (37%) had felt no impact at all whilst almost a fifth (19%) felt it had actually had a negative impact.

Tendering for the public sector
Whilst around a third of London businesses had tendered for public sector work, only 13% of businesses surveyed feel that tendering is a good investment of time and money. The figures for CompeteFor also showed that whilst over a third (37%) had registered and a similar figure had tendered through the site (29%), only 4% had won any work.

Those who do work for councils, government agencies report that payments are still slow, despite government assurances to the contrary. More invoice payments take 30 days, with nearly a fifth taking longer than 90 days to sort payment from invoice.

Banks and small businesses
Over half of overdraft applications are still rejected by the banks and businesses report that the attitude of banks towards their business has remained unaltered since August 2008, when the lending crisis started.

Despite lending to banks being extraordinarily cheap, the rates passed onto businesses are excessive. Anecdotally, Business Junction hears of rates around 20% for small business lending, whilst accountants advice for small loans that credit cards and personal loans are cheaper and easier to sort.

Networking
Four out of five London businesses use networking to find new clients and suppliers for their businesses. This is leading to a sea-change in the ways London businesses structure themselves, with many companies now outsourcing functions, especially those within marketing or traditional back-office functions to companies within their networks.

For the full press release, please visit http://www.businessjunction.co.uk/londonbusinesssurvey. Press enquiries to Mark Herring (mark@businessjunction.co.uk).

For full results of the survey and analysis, please click here: https://www.clarityuk.net/register.php

Clarity is an online feedback company, producing surveys and market research for a range of clients across the UK. For more information, please go to www.clarityuk.net

Additional Information

BUSINESS JUNCTION is London’s leading independent business referral network, creating connections and trading opportunities for hundreds of companies across London and the south east.

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34 Ways to Use YouTube for Business

Found this great article online:

http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/07/28/34-ways-to-use-youtube-for-business/

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What the F**K is Social Media – great slideshow!!

View more documents from Marta Kagan.

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Mini Marketing Tip 1 – Social Media

Marketing has had a turnaround! It’s no longer about company promotion,… it’s now about consumer referral.
With tools like twitter, facebook, stumbleupon and youtube, with many others, the public can now vote on their favourite companies… online. Marketing should now be about providing advice, support and expertise to the market, building relationships with your target market. Your brand needs to be online as well as offline, using the social media most relevant to your target market.
Get started now!

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Guest blogger, Gemma, talks about The Formula for Success!

The Formula for Success

Woody Allen, the great American comedian once said that 80% of success is showing up.

And I would have to agree with him. After all, if I hadn’t entered this competition I wouldn’t be writing this blog post now for you all to read!

Of course there is more to success than that – and I will look at some of the other ingredients in the other blog posts this week.

So how can you make your business more successful by showing up?

Here are 3 effective ways.

SEO your Website

3 little letters that can strike terror into the heart of small business owners! Getting your website on the first page of Google seems to be comparable these days to finding the Holy Grail! There are a lot of ways to improve your visibility. I’m sure you’ve already heard of keywords so I’ll just say one thing about these – remember to use as your keywords the type of phrases that your customers will type into their searchbar – avoid jargon at all costs!

You can also raise your ranking by having lots of links to your site on other websites. You can do this by listing yourself on directories. Some of these are free but some do charge. I’ve put together a Links Directory of all the places I’ve found to link to my site – not all of these links will be relevant to your business but a lot of them are generic – to get it email me at gemma@illuminate-coaching.co.uk with the words Link Directory in the subject bar!

Network

One of the best ways to build peoples trust in your business is for them to meet you or have you recommended to them by someone that knows you. There are lots of different networking events so it’s possible for everyone to find a group they feel comfortable with. To find an event in your area go to http://www.findnetworkingevents.com/ or http://www.bni-europe.com/uk/

When you go along to a group look on it as an opportunity to build relationships, not as an opportunity to sell. If you walk in and try to push your product or service down people’s throats all you will do is alienate people so instead approach it with the attitude of getting to know people and seeing how you might be able to help them.

Also, you need to speak to people! Sounds obvious I know but I can’t count the amount of networking events I’ve been to where I’ve seen someone cowering in the corner. I always make it a point to go and speak to these people – if you are a little nervous yourself this is a wonderful thing to do, the person you approach is certain to feel grateful and relieved that you have ‘rescued’ them.

There is likely to be too many people at the event for you to talk to everybody there. You’ll be lucky to talk to more than 3 or 4 in depth. This is one of the reasons it is important to attend the same groups regularly.

Use PR

Get yourself in the local paper! Or a national paper! Or on radio, TV or in a magazine! The choice is endless. And the media is in constant need of new stories so if you can provide one for them you might be surprised how willing they are to run it!

To do this you need to mentally step outside your business and look at it from a different angle – what is newsworthy about your business? Have you won an award? Are you expanding? Are you having an event or supporting a charity? Is it YOU that’s interesting? How did you get to where you are now?

One good site to upload these to is http://www.free-press-release.com/

If you find it really impossible or too time consuming to do this yourself there are plenty of excellent PR companies out there.

 Ok, got to go put my shades on now as you are all set to dazzle!

Gemma Thompson
http://www.illuminate-coaching.co.uk

Gemma

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Filed under Marketing, Mindset, Social Networking for Business, Strategy

Follow up and exciting news…

Hello readers..

So, I’ve been a bit quiet this week.. but the exciting news is that from next I have a business coach, Gemma Thompson, who will be guest blogging about great business stuff you can really use… from Monday! So, keep a look out for that… I just got the first one from her and it looks brilliant!

Are you on Facebook? Do you use it for business?
Did you know that facebook is redesigning the inbox feature? This might be really great if you’re using it for business.. the opportunity to filter messages and keep it clean!

Facebook does a new inbox! http://viigo.im/X2j

See you monday, but in the meantime, you’re welcome to follow me on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/smallbizangel See you there!

Cemanthe

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A great resource for business owners!

I was searching around the net this morning looking at retreats (found an amazing one in Spain) and I stumbled (quite literally – the site’s called ‘Stumbled Upon’ :)) on this website recommending social networks for business owners and it looked really good, so I thought I’d pass it on to you… enjoy!

http://is.gd/uPGW

Have a great day, chat Wednesday… have an excellent video to show you then!

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Filed under Internet/Websites, Social Networking for Business