Category Archives: Strategy

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Networking Events, Social Networking for Business, Strategy

Questions to ask when starting a business…

Here are some questions to ask yourself when starting a business…

– What will the business do?
– Where will it operate?
– Will I need premises?
– Do I need people to make it happen?
– Can I do it on my own?
– Can I fund the business myself, or do I need financial support?
– How long will it take to get the business into profit?
– What relevant experience or support do I need?
– Have I got what it takes to make it work?

The most important thing to remember about starting a business is ‘determination’. Seeing it through, even through the tough times. All of the top leaders in business have succeeded because of a determination to make it work.

1 Comment

Filed under Business Plan, Strategy

Great Sales tips video

This is an excerpt from Kevin Nations training on how to develop a killer sales presentation for Professional Services. This step is Setting the Agenda

1 Comment

Filed under Strategy, Videos

How I made a million by age 17…

Daily Mail
 

Schoolboy entrepreneur Ben Way made a million at 17, but then lost it just as quickly. Now 27 and head of an innovation venturing company, he is savouring success again. He lives alone in London.

 

Read this article here

Leave a comment

Filed under Mindset, Strategy

The Formula for Success – The final ingredient!

So now we know that to be successful you have to show up and give 110% but what is the final ingredient?

The final ingredient is belief. Belief in yourself, belief in your dream,

It seems such a simple thing to do doesn’t it? There must be a certain amount of belief in order to even get things started, but often once the initial euphoria has faded we are left wondering if we have the knowledge, strength or ability to push our business to where we want it to be.

So how can we get rid of those devastating doubts and replace them with a powerful sense of certainty?

First you need to break down your negative beliefs, to do this you have to question all the ‘evidence’ that supports that belief, let me give you an example; Julie believes she is no good at maths so therefore she’s hopeless at business. So to begin with I would question how true is it that you need to be good at maths to be good at business? Once we have established that it is actually not true at all we could then move on to break the underlying belief that she is no good at maths, even if she’s not the world’s best mathematician it is unlikely that she is so bad at it.

Then you need to build new beliefs to replace these and make sure you notice the proof of these beliefs often in your everyday life. It’s also good to surround yourself with others that have confidence in your abilities.

Affirmations are great way to build your confidence and belief in yourself; using affirmations is literally ‘brainwashing’ yourself but with positive thoughts instead of negative ones. I made my affirmations into a movie that I watch regularly (you can see this on my facebook profile http://www.facebook.com/gemma.thompson.illuminate)

Sometimes though the lack of belief comes from not being able to see the path from where you are now to where you want to be, if this is the case then break down your goal into smaller milestones and work out a few actions you can perform to take you to each step along the way. Make sure these are realistic, achievable and rely more on you than on anyone else … then follow the plan! A while ago I created a Plan to Succeed Year Planner for precisely this reason; you can get your copy free now by going to my website and registering http://www.illuminate-coaching.co.uk why not try it? After all as Henry Ford said “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Gemma

 

 

 

 

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

Gemma Thompson is the business coach for small businesses, creative
people and soloprenuers, you can reach her on 07840 799630, or email
gemma@illuminate-coaching.co.uk or go to www.illuminate-coaching.co.uk

Leave a comment

Filed under Mindset, Strategy

The Formula for Success – Part 2 by Gemma (guest blogger)

The Formula for Success

In the last blog we agreed with Woody Allen that 80% of success is showing up.
But you and I both know that isn’t the whole formula!  So what is the other 20%? And how can it be effective when it’s such a small percentage?

Well the good news is that the next part of the formula is to always give 110%! Thankfully this means that there is more than 20% left

So how can you always give 110%?

Here are 3 effective ways.

Give to yourself!

If you start by looking after yourself you will have the energy and ability to give to your business and clients. So right now book yourself some time off!
It must be said though that time does not necessarily have to be time off to be restorative, if you are creative you can enjoy a little bit of ‘me time’ in all kinds of situations. Make your journey to work an escape by making your car smell nice, reading a novel on the train, listening to music you love. My father has to spend a lot of time driving so he tends to listen to books in the car that he downloads from www.audible.com, they also have a terrific selection of personal and business development books too – or you can find my favourites of these on my website in my bookshop – www.illuminate-coaching.co.uk

Underpromise, Overdeliver

In this day and age everybody seems to be promising us the moon and all we often end up with is an apology (if that) and a sense of disappointment. Instead of trying to lure customers with cheap promises of delivery half an hour ago or a sales course that will make you a million pounds in 50 minutes it is better to promise only what you know you can deliver. If you know delivery will take at least 5 hours but no more than a day then promising next day delivery means you can exceed your customers’ expectations.
It’s also a good idea to look at what could prevent you from delivering your promises and have a back –up plan in place to keep you as close to on track as possible, for example if you run an online store what will you do if your computer crashes while you are trying to process orders?

Look at things from your client’s point of view

What does your client need? What problems do they face? You may think you know your clients well but they will always surprise you. Try to view your clients as people rather than mere demographics, talk to them, and listen to them and you have a great chance of being able to give them110%. Treat their problems seriously and go out of your way to solve them and you’ll have a customer for life. I clearly remember this happening for me; I’d just taken a management role and was supposed to have a particular suit from a well known High Street store as my uniform. Only this uniform had been set 4 months before and the styles in this shop change quite quickly. When I went to buy it there was 1 jacket in my size and 2 of the shirts, however one of the assistants took the trouble to phone every store in the area and got my whole uniform for me in less than a week. I still go to Next before anywhere else because of this!

So go on … give it all you’ve got!

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

Gemma

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Mindset, Strategy

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

1 Comment

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