Top Tips To Help You Expand Your Business

Those businesses that have survived the economic downturn may now find themselves in a position where they would like to expand. If that person is you, then how do you go about it without putting yourself at a financial risk?

Think carefully before signing up to any long term financial commitment. Remember its early days and although business is picking up, we’re not in the middle of a business boom just yet. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take any risk at all; without a certain amount of risk taking you don’t stand much chance of expanding, but just be very thorough with your research and eliminate as much as possible.

Have you considered diversifying? Spreading the risk across a number of different products or services reduces the chance of failure unless all happen to fail at the same time.

Do you need the help of another member of staff? Until you get a better idea of the work load it may be better to hire someone on a freelance basis for the time being.

Make sure you undertake sufficient marketing, particularly if it’s a new product you are offering. People need to be aware of your product or service to be able to buy it and ensure its success.

Do you have enough storage space to accommodate the extra products? This can be a problem for many small businesses and can slow down any potential growth. Naturally you won’t want to take on a much larger building just yet, so using a self storage facility instead will allow you extra space without a long term commitment. We caught up with The Self Storage Warehouse who offer fantastic self storage in Preston who stated, “there are many different sizes on offer and talking to your local self storage company will help you get the best sized unit for your needs. Some will even offer to collect and dispatch parcels for you making them a real asset to your business. Your stock will be stored in clean secure conditions and can be accessed whenever you need making it a highly convenient addition to your company.”

Top Tips For Planning The Entertainment For Your Next Corporate Event

To be chosen to organise your company’s next corporate event is really quite an honour. People must have great faith in you if they think you can pull it off, so you will want to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day. Now that takes an awful lot of planning and researching, but if you approach it in a methodical way then there is every reason that it will be a success.

One of the first things that will need booking is the venue. Get it booked as early as possible to ensure you get the date you want, making sure it’s in a location that is easy to travel to both by car and public transport.

Organise any catering you require in good time too as top quality caterers often get snapped up many months in advance. In terms of menu, take the caterers advice on what types of food are popular bearing in mind that people will be networking and socialising whilst eating so won’t want anything to large or too messy to contend with.

Have a good think about the kind of entertainment you would like on the day. To ensure it’s a success, why not make your booking through a music agency who will have a large number of different live bands, solo acts or DJs to choose from. They will be able to give advice on what has worked well for previous clients and will oversee the booking from start to finish leaving you free to get on with other things.

Tribute bands always go down well at these types of events and can be hugely popular with all ages, or as an alternative, why not choose a band that plays cover versions from different eras.

If you take things slowly and carefully, working through a check list as you go, then there’s no reason why the event shouldn’t be a great success.

What Is A Chartered Financial Planner?

When it comes to choosing a financial planner to manage and oversee either your personal or business finances, you’ll always be faced with a number of different options. The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you opt to go with the services of an independent financial advisor or a restricted advisor (an IFA can advise you on the most suitable product for you from any provider whilst a restricted advisor can only advise you from within a selection of products), however with any luck, you’ll have already made the decision to go with an IFA. Of course, that’s not to say that restricted advisors (usually tied to banks and other financial institutions) won’t advise you properly, simply that they aren’t able to offer the same range of products and solutions as an IFA can.

The next option you may have to consider is whether or not to employ the services of a chartered financial planner, however you could be forgiven for not knowing what exactly that means and entails. As such, we’ve decided to take a look into the ins and outs of a chartered financial planner and whether or not there’s any benefit in opting for a financial planner who’s achieved this status.

First things first, what exactly is a chartered financial planner? In short, it’s the most widely accepted ‘gold standard’ qualification which is available to financial planners and advisors under the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute). It essentially means that your chosen financial planner has achieved the highest level of qualification within the industry and ultimately has the skills required to give you the best possible financial advice.

In order to achieve ‘chartered’ status, an individual financial planner must sit and pass 14 exams, with a total of 290 credits required to attain the qualification. As such, it’s not something which can be achieved over night and generally takes years to obtain. In addition, it is required that all chartered financial planners have at least five years experience within the profession and demonstrate on-going development by completing a specific level of CPD (continued professional development) each year as well as being a member of the personal finance society.

In addition to individuals being able to hold a chartered status, it is also possible for firms to hold a chartered status and obtain a ‘Chartered Financial Planners’ status.

All in all, by employing the services of a chartered financial planner or team of chartered financial planners (such as our local’s Questa Chartered who offer financial planning in Blackpool and Lytham), you’ll ultimately receive the reassurance that you’re employing the services of an individual or team who have passed rigorous examinations within their field. If you ultimately want the best level of advice, you’ll only get this from the most qualified planners and that just happens to be ones who are chartered.

When it comes to choosing the right financial planner either for your business or to look after your personal finances, it makes sense to go with a chartered advisor if at all possible. You’ll ultimately ensure and reassure yourself this way that you’re receiving the very best level of advice and that your finances are in safe hands.

What Is Regarded As The Optimal Size Of Leaflets And Flyers?

Leaflets and flyers have been an effective way of marketing businesses and events for many years. They are a way of getting a message across to a large number of people by either distributing them through the post or displaying them in a public place for a variety of different people to see. They can be used to promote a service, send a message as in a political campaign or advertise an event such as a music gig and are a relatively cheap way of doing so.

Leaflets and flyers typically come in a number of different sizes such as A4 the standard letter size, A5 half the standard letter size, DL which is compliment slip size or A6 which is post card size, but how do you choose the best size for your advert or event?

Think about how you are going to be using the leaflets. If you are going to be handing them out in the street then it’s a waste of time having them printed in A4 size. Anyone taking a leaflet will want it to be small enough to fit into their pocket or handbag otherwise they may just throw it into the nearest bin. Far better to use either A5 or DL for that purpose. However, if you plan on using them as posters then they need to be large enough to be seen from a distance, so in that case then an A4 may work best. If you are going to be placing them on the bar in a pub for example then the smaller A6 size may work best for you as they won’t take up too much space.

So, the optimal size of leaflet will be different for each company or event. Just pick the size that suits your purpose most effectively.

This guest post was supplied to us very kindly by the team over at Circle Services UK, an Essex based printing company who have over 60 years experience in the industry.

The Importance Of Businessmen Having A Luxury Break This Winter

As a businessmen, you’ve no doubt worked hard for the past twelve moths across all areas of your business, from recruitment and human resources to sales and marketing! With this in mind, as we approach the end of the year, we are encouraging all businessmen and women to take a step back, take a look at what they’ve achieved this year and give themselves the break which they deserve! It’s not uncommon for business owners to never take a holiday throughout the year through concerns that they simply cannot dedicate the time or be away for more than a day and, as far as we are concerned, this isn’t fair! Everyone needs a holiday and especially businessmen and women who spend the whole year working extremely hard and making a success of their business!

With this in mind, we’ve been chatting with a number of business associates of ours and are going to take a quick look at just exactly what is the perfect winter break for business owners? Of course, there’s many options and these can include getting away from the cold to warmer climates, however what we believe to be the perfect winter getaway for businessmen and women is to keep the cold and book a break in one of Europe’s many luxury ski chalets!

With luxury chalets available in resorts ranging from Morzine and Zermatt through to Charmonix, Verbier and many more, there’s simply no chance of you not finding something which perfectly suits your personal needs and requirements and, through companies such as our favourites White Blancmange, you’ll find some simply stunning chalets available to book!

Whatever your successes as a business have been this year, we strongly suggest you take a moment to look back on what you’ve achieved and get yourself a luxury break booked this winter! We know you deserve it and you know you deserve it so what are you waiting for?

Three Ways To Ensure You’re Properly Prepared For Your Business Trip

When it comes to preparing for your business trip, there are a few clear things which can be done to ensure things run as smoothly as possible and that you don’t experience any stress or delays caused by a mistake of your own. Business trips can often be run to very tight schedules and, as such, every little thing which you can do in advance to help you prepare will ensure you have an easier time and that things go to plan. Here, we’ve teamed up with one of the UK’s leading providers of airport parking and airport hotels, Book FHR, to bring you three top tips for ensuring you’re fully prepared for your next business trip!

1) First things first, make sure you’ve booked your airport parking before you leave home! Leaving it until arrival to pay for parking will not only see you paying well over the odds (FHR suggest that most people can save 60% when booking in advance) but will often see you delayed. It makes far more sense to book in advance from both aspects and, above all, it will give you chance to ensure you know which car park you’re heading towards before you even leave home, whereas if you were to pay on the day, you may end up in a car park different to that which you actually need.

2) Secondly, we cannot stress enough the importance of booking an airport hotel the night before a morning flight. Imagine having to leave home at 3am to ensure you arrive in time, especially if you’re travelling on a long flight. Wouldn’t it be far more convenient if you were already at the airport and, on some flights, if you could check in the night before? Virgin have recently introduced ‘twilight check in‘ which will allow you to do just this, however in order for it to make sense; you need to ensure you’ve booked a suitable airport hotel! These don’t have to break the bank and trust us when we say that you’ll be glad you did the morning of your flight.

3) Lastly, but my no means least, underestimate the importance of putting together a detailed itinerary before you head off on your trip. It’s all too easy, when busy in meetings and the like, to get caught up in where you need to be when and, as such, lose track of time and the like. By taking an afternoon out to put together a detailed list which includes all requirements for your trip, from the hotels you’re staying in to the places you’ve got meetings; you’ll significantly reduce the stress associated with such trips and ensure everything goes smoothly. Simply a bit of time spent planning can save many a headache when you’re away!

In short, a successful and productive business trip all comes down to planning! If you take the time to plan and consider all potential necessities before you go, you’re far more likely to have a trip which is not only productive but enjoyable as well! Business trips don’t need to be stressful and if you plan ahead, they won’t be!

A Look At Online Marketing In 2013

When it comes to thinking about online marketing; the majority of business owners will think of SEO and SEO alone. Whilst there’s no doubting that SEO must still make up a substantial part of any businesses online marketing campaign; it should never be the only focus and that should be the case for a number of reasons. Google have quite famously released a number of algorithm updates over the past few years which have seen websites tumble in the search engine rankings and, with this in mind, it’s absolutely essential that online marketing covers a number of bases to protect businesses from substantial loss of enquiries and sales should the goal posts move as far as Google is concerned once again! Of course, that isn’t to say SEO isn’t vital because it is! We were lucky to have a chat with the team at Speedy SEO based in Chelmsford, Essex who were kind enough to outline to us the wider approach which businesses must be taking!

Probably the most important online marketing technique to be using at the moment is social media! Social media marketing has incredible power to both drive sales and enquiries but also to build your brand! Through an active presence on social media, you’re demonstrating your expertise as a business and showing that you deserve to be the ones who win someone’s business! By demonstrating your knowledge through social media, you’re showing potential customers that you’re the leader in your industry and that they’re not only buying from you but are also buying into your knowledge and expertise! If you’re not currently active on social media; you should be!

Secondly, even if you’re currently in top organic search positions; it’s important that you allocate a percentage of your marketing budget to PPC (paid search) advertising! With the paid search boxes on Google getting harder and harder to distinguish from organic results, PPC is becoming increasingly popular and, as such, you can’t afford not to be using it! Of course, if you’re already showing in top organic positions, what this does is ensure you not only have one show on page 1 of Google but that you’ve got two chances of people clicking on your site! PPC is still an extensively overlooked method of online marketing due to the pay per click concept but, above all else, it works at both driving quick hits and almost instant sales!

Of course, you can go into so much more depth in terms of other online marketing methods, however, above all, it’s vital that you focus on a range of online marketing methods and be sure to drive website traffic from as many sources as possible!

First Impressions Count…What Does Your CV Say About You?

What does your CV say about you? When it comes to being successful at landing that all important job interview; first impressions really do count and if your CV isn’t up to scratch; you may well find that you’re not on the interview list. You can have all the right qualifications and a wealth of experience; yet if your CV looks like no thought has gone into it whatsoever; there’s a good chance you’ll be having to face rejection. With the recent university year coming to a close; there has never been a better time to take a look at your CV with fresh eyes and ask yourself whether you would give yourself an interview upon receiving it.

When potentially hundreds of CV’s could be received for a single open position; there simply isn’t the time to read through every single CV in-depth and, as such, it is certainly the case that first impressions count. Does your CV look bland and dull and blend into the mass of all the other CV’s or does it capture the readers attention in an instant? Of course; there’s plenty of ways which you can put together an interesting and attention capturing CV and everyone does things slightly differently, however what you must take into account is the appearance, how it’s laid out and what impression it gives upon first glance.

It’s absolutely vital that you pay attention to every last detail of your CV and always get a second opinion. Of course, if you’ve tried to improve upon your current CV and are still not convinced that it stands out in the way it should; there’s no shame in approaching a professional CV writing company such as City CV. As an example, City CV’s director Victoria McLean was former onsite recruitment specialist at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and, as such, can offer a fantastic insight on your CV and ensure you get given an interview for that all important and all-wanted job.

Whatever approach to take; above anything, you need to remember that when it comes to recruitment, first impressions DO count and that, in most instances, that first impression is your CV!

Who is Responsible For Supplying PPE?

Personal  Protective Equipment or PPE is a very important issue, not just within the construction industry but also when carrying out your own jobs at home. Nobody wants to put themselves at risk from injury whether they are working as part of a construction team or on their own, so it’s very important to carefully consider the risks involved and how you can minimise them with the correct equipment and clothing.

When working in the construction industry, there are various rules and regulations in place to protect you from harm, and depending what job you are doing and where on the site you are working the rules will differ slightly. If your job involves working with heavy plant and vehicles then it is essential that you wear high-vis clothing including when you leave your vehicle. Usually it is sufficient to just wear a sleeveless vest or tabard but if your job involves any sort of traffic control, then due to the higher speed of the moving vehicles you must wear full high-vis protection including a long sleeved jacket and trousers.

Hard protective hats must also be worn to comply with the Personal Protective Equipment regulations 1992, as a construction site poses many different risks for head injuries to workers. Suitable head protection should fit the worker correctly leaving enough room to wear hearing protection if necessary and not be damaged in any way. Ensure you purchase your protective clothing from a reputable supplier to avoid any fakes that are out there. Protective footwear is also very important to minimise injury, so make sure steel toecap boots are worn at all times which also include a protective plate in the sole to prevent an object such as a nail piercing the foot. Protective equipment is provided by the construction site or your employer and you do not have to purchase it yourself provided you look after it and make it last a reasonable time.

We proudly brought you this guest post courtesy of the team at Orbital Fasteners; one of the UK’s leading suppliers of a wide range of PPE equipment. To see their full range; visit them here.

What To Consider When Choosing A Leaflet Printing Company

Once over there wouldn’t have been many option available to you if and when you ever needed leaflets printing. You would probably have a look in the local phone directory and find who the printers were in your locality. Chances are there would only be two or three printers in the area and you would head along to one of those and see what they had to offer.

How things have changed!

It is more than likely that any printer still based on your local high street is now part of a larger organisation. However recent developments in the printing industry as well as the use of the World Wide Web mean that any printer can now be classed as your “Local” printer.

But a search online (for example, here are the results when searching for ‘printers in Essex‘) will bring up many pages of printers offering online services and it can be bewildering at first if you don’t have previous experience of buying leaflets.

I would suggest that you look for an established company. There are some companies who have set up in the last few years who are maybe bang up to date with equipment and software but nothing beats going with a company who have developed over many many years and have probably progressed into modern digital printing from traditional litho printing and probably still offer both types of service. A company such as our first choice and main suggestion,, having been in the business over 60 years, will be able to offer you a modern approach but with the expertise that only experience can give. With a company established that long you are also safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t still be around if they didn’t offer customer satisfaction and value for money. But you also need to know that the company you are using is embracing modern methods of production to use their knowledge in the 21st century.