There’s a lot of talk in the media nowadays about high growth business and what it means for the economy. The government has prioritised support packages for small and medium companies – or SMEs – to help them grow and lead the country’s recovery from its current economic downturn. Entrepreneurs are at the heart of UK business and for those SMEs with the ambition to succeed, there are a wide range of services available to help them realise their goals.
Recruitment is often a focus area for building a high growth business and there are a range of providers who will help with specialist recruitment. These aren’t all just commercial recruiters either – there are not for profit or social enterprise recruiters who work with the job centre to provide work placements and paid employment for those seeking to re-enter the workforce and there are also a large number of apprenticeship providers who can help employers either take fresh young talent into their business, or nurture existing young staff within structured training programmes with accreditations to achieve at the end. Many employers say that they rely on apprenticeships to provide their skilled staff of the future and these schemes are powerful for both employer, apprentice and also the wider community. Many customers are increasingly keen to do business with companies that they see as being ethical and committing to community-focused involvement and apprenticeship schemes are a great way to demonstrate this ethos.
Training is another key area for business growth, whether that’s front line sales training for business development teams or functional or technical training for delivery staff. Again, there are a range of subsidised or even free training courses and support packages available to certain employers, usually funded by government support (such as the Train to Gain scheme) or through local economic partnerships that are funded by both commercial and public sources. Your local business services provider or Chamber of Commerce are both good places to start to find out more.
Finance is often key for allowing businesses to grow and access to that finance is a key priority area. The government has funded a number of regional funds to improve this finance access, particularly in the current challenging economic and banking environment where many small businesses are finding that regular business loans from banks are no longer forthcoming. There may be a range of business finance packages open to you depending on circumstances. These include business grants, business start-up or business development loans, investors or business angels.
Finally, business advice and consultancy is key for a growth strategy and again, there are plenty of offers available, some from not for profit sources such as exporting advice from the UKTI government body. Mentoring and coaching schemes are often provided in partnership with larger corporate organisations pursuing a corporate responsibility agenda with local small businesses and both of these schemes can be extremely effective in supporting small businesses to achieve their business growth agendas and make the next step forwards.
Thanks to Danny Boyle, our reputation on the world stage has, more or less, survived the teething troubles presented by the first days of the Olympics. Who wouldn’t forgive a nation prepared to (apparently) throw it’s octogenarian head of state out of helicopter and then put on a show in which Voldemort attacks some sick children (and by implication the NHS)? Possibly the North Korean women’s football team may still be holding a bit of grudge over the mix up with their arch-enemies flag but, hopefully, they’ve realised we don’t do “serious”. Anyway even if flags and banners are emotive objects of national pride, they’re terribly easy to get in a muddle over; we can’t even get our own the right way up most of the time! Here are some of the possible pitfalls for those hoisting the winning banners over the next few weeks.
Chad and Romania have a distinctly similar flag. Actually, that’s a lie; the flags are exactly the same. This may pose a problem for the Olympian Administrative Assistants, if the two countries clash at the games. Both flags are tricolours of (from left to right) blue, yellow and red. Chad has had theirs since independence in the 1960s, while the Romanian flag has a slightly longer, but more chequered, history. During the 1989 revolution the flag had the central design (a symbol of the Communist Republic) ripped out from the centre by revolutionaries; for a few confused months until the Ceauşescus fell, the flag literally had a hole in the middle of it. Once the dictator was dispatched, the new Romanian state formally adopted the flag and filled in the hole with more yellow. Chad has objected but nobody’s taken much notice, and technically there’s an invisible difference in the tone of blue! Good luck Olympic score board operators.
The Topsy-Turvy Union
As the home nation you would hope we’d be able to display our own flag correctly. Sadly, history shows that when it comes to our national banner, well, there’s a lot of history. The UK’s complex past has led to a slight problem with our national symbol; it’s terribly easy to fly it upside down. Many firms producing the requisite small plastic flags on sticks to wave at royal people actually print the whole things upside down. Thankfully, most of us weren’t even aware it’s possible. The problem stems from the fact that the Unions that created the nation as we know it, didn’t happen at the same time. The first union in 1707 involved the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, while the Kingdom of Ireland remained a separate political entity. When it finally signed up, the last flag of the current Union Jack was added. To keep all three nations happy (like, that’s worked) the red diagonal of the St Patrick’s Cross was set ‘below’ the Scottish flag; this means that the white diagonal cross should appear broader over the red one, closest to flag. You’d need binoculars to spot it – but somebody almost certainly will if the “Admin Team GB” gets it wrong.
The UK’s national banner may well be facing some re-designs in the next few years; along with calls to incorporate one of the flags of Wales, there may be a need to drop the St Andrew’s cross. Whatever design team GB come up with, let’s all hope they think to print “This Way Up” on any new design!
Whatever national flag or corporate banner you’re waving (and whichever way up you choose to fly it) www.venturebanners.co.uk/ can help you to show your true colours.
Most businesses require efficient warehousing services. However warehousing services are expensive the rent, rates, and insurance not alone the electricity required to light the building amount to the most profit consuming element of any business if not done properly.
No matter what you require the warehouse for it is well worthwhile to outline a strategy to take into account every feasible consequence.
If you need contract warehousing then look no further! Follow these simple tips to make sure that you choose the right contract warehousing operative for you.
Tip 1: The first thing to do when considering contract warehousing is to find a contractor that offers the services you need. For example you may require refrigerated storage or pick and pack services.
Tip 2: Make sure that the warehouse operative you choose is in the right area for you. If you want to be able to make visits to the warehouse you choose then make your life more convenient by choosing a warehouse that’s close to you.
Tip 3: You can also choose a warehouse based on its closest transport links. A good warehouse should be close to the links you need, such as motorways, air ports and sea ports.
Tip 4: Find out what sort of additional services the warehouse operative provides such as order picking and distribution.
Tip 5: Make sure that the warehouse operative you choose has experience of dealing with the products you want to store to ensure that everything is stored correctly.
Tip 6: Find out exactly what the operative provides as in some cases they only provide the space and you may need to install your own shelving or storage unit.
Tip 7: Find out about all the security features at the warehouse you choose. For example do they have a good alarm system, CCTV and night security.
Tip 8: Find out what kind of freight forwarding services are offered at your warehouse such as refrigerated trucks or sea cargo options.
Tip 9: Make sure you have a contract with your warehouse operative that clearly states what you are paying and what services will be provided for that price.
Tip 10: If you want to know more about a company before you choose to do business with them then look for reviews and testimonials online or ask the company to forward you the details of other customers who can give you an indication of the quality of the contract warehousing services you will receive.
Jade Coleman is a qualified journalist that enjoys to blog about business services in her spare time.
Mention the phrase ‘business development programme’ and some SME owners automatically assume that such a service is for large companies with big corporate budgets only. Others may think that it’s just for big executive teams, or those struggling, rather than thriving, in business. But the truth is that good development programmes will benefit all size businesses, reap measurable rewards and be available at costs to suit every budget.
What is a business development programme for?
Essentially, the programme will take your business forward, to the next step of its objectives. Don’t have defined objectives? Then look for a development programme that incorporates strategy and goal setting. Got your plans but unsure how to realise them? Look for a programme that deals with specifics such as sales strategy and training, marketing rollout and promotional mixes, successful operations and logistics, finances and more.
A wide range available.
Each programme should ideally be tailored to your particular company and circumstances, although this consultancy may come with a price tag. However, there are development programmes available for a range of businesses who are eligible for funding or grants via a range of local economic partnerships, corporate social responsibility partnerships, government and EU funds and more. These tend to be open to start-ups and SMEs, which the government has identified as being key areas for leading the UK’s economic recovery. Specific funded or part-funded programmes are available across the UK, each with slightly different entry criteria, aims and objectives. They might be for new start-ups for examples, for budding entrepreneurs, for SMEs looking to export and trade abroad, or for medium sized companies looking to expand or enter new markets. The service package might involve aspects such as course attendance, a period of consultancy support, training, mentoring and coaching – depending on the aims and objectives and individual circumstances involved.
Other programmes include structured training courses and development opportunities for business leaders in a peer environment. These may be one off courses, accredited training programmes held in conjunction with local universities, sponsored events and conferences or specific information sessions or lectures. They will help provide inspiration, knowledge, skills development, ideas, guidance – and all important networking opportunities with other similarly-minded business people.
How to pick the right programme for you.
Get in touch with your local business services provider to find out more – there are agencies, companies and not-for-profit partnerships and business support organisations set up across the UK, many working with the government sector through funded local economic partnerships. These bodies will provide you with a business advisor to talk through your needs and establish which services you are eligible for and would benefit from. They may also be able to provide details of other services such as training, apprenticeship recruitment, access to finance, regulatory support and accreditation, events and networking and more. Your Chamber of Commerce is often a good place to start, along with Business Link online, or search Google to find out what’s available in your local business area.
Many businesses find that a structured business development programme is exactly what they need to take their business to the next level, so it’s well worth taking that first step and making contact – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
If you’re a small business or start-up, with a business plan written on the classic ‘back of a beer mat’, you’re not alone! However, if you want your business to grow, you will need to refine and formalise your business plan, particularly if you are seeking funding and investment from external sources.
So grab that pen-scribbled beer mat and get in touch with many of the regional and government-funded business growth organisations now appearing around the country to replace the former Business Link regional network (now still offered as a national – and highly valuable – service to businesses).
These business support organisations are a new concept. They have a range of funding from regional, central and European government sources, private sources and sponsorship and offer a range of targeting business services, such as business plan advice, to a range of local businesses – primarily SMEs and start ups with the potential to grow.
Do your research and find the organisation offering advice without commercial prices. There are sources of funded support worth investigating first, rather than heading down an expensive commercial route. The government is greatly investing in business advice and support for small businesses as part of its drive to reinvigorate the British economy, so take advantage of the services offered!
When you make initial contact, you’ll likely find yourself given a business advisor who will be your point of contact going forward. They’ll understand your situation and offer a range of services. Explain that you need business plan advice and you’ll probably be offered a structured coaching session, specific training, on-going coaching and a range of events and networking to help build your skills and knowledge in a wide range of business areas.
A one-to-one coaching session can be very useful for developing your plan and getting advice from a more experienced business person who has seen it all before. They will bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to your business and help to refine and develop your own thinking. They will also identify areas where your plan is currently weak and then you can work with your advisor to access services to tackle these. For example, you may need to go on a finance and budgeting course, an HR training course or develop a better marketing and sales plan, with support.
You may find other outcomes emerge that you can take specific action on as part of your planning. For example, during the process you may realise that you need a certain kind of regulatory accreditation to reach a new market and the service provider should be able to signpost you to cost-effective and accredited providers. They may be able to signpost you to other services too, such as ethical and social recruitment agencies, free or subsidised training, apprenticeship programmes and plenty more. Take advantage of any online forums and specialist interest groups with businesses across your sector and in the region, to learn from others, swap ideas and build your contacts within a closed and business focused environment.
The offer to go to a new company and sit down directly with the hiring manager can literally change your life. Making the kind of salary that you need to make can do wonderful things to your personal and professional life. People that earn a great living do not have to worry about financial difficulties and paying for business attire to wear to work. Financially challenged ladies that have been out of the job scene for an extended period of time find it very difficult to get the right interview clothing. Ladies that are struggling can take advantage of charitable help.
It all starts with a job interview that is scheduled. Many ladies have interviews lined up, but do not have the clothing that is required to attend an interview. The generous donations that are now available make it easy to find just the right outfit to wear for absolutely no cost. It is easier than ever to look great and feel totally confident when attending an interview for a new job. Ladies that desperately need to find new employment are getting a second chance to restart their life with new hope and motivation that only a new job brings.
Being successful in a job interview takes three things. The first thing is the right training. Hiring managers want ladies that know the current job market and what skills are required for every open position. It is expensive to train employees and employers are eliminating employees that do not have the required training. The second thing is great interview skills. Knowing what to say, how to react and how to present skills correctly is what a lady needs to hear a yes after her interview. The third thing is motivation and attitude. All of these essentials combined help ladies secure new employment.
After clothing is selected, ladies get to be mentored by an expert in office or corporate industries. This all takes place prior to the actual job interview. Ladies will be well prepared how to respond to questions, how to build self-esteem and what is to be expected during the course of employment. Beautiful interview clothing combined with these charitable donations of time by others gives ladies the opportunity that they need to start over again. Past histories of drug use, incarceration or long-term unemployment no longer matter. Ladies receiving needed help always get the chance to return the favour.
Wearing the clothing for the job that you want is a luxury that not every person can have in life. Regardless of social status, the right wardrobe can make a person feel worthy, proud and very confident to tackle the challenges in life. The right interview attire is important for any job. Many hiring managers consider applicants based on the presentation of job skills, work history and how they are dressed before a decision of employment is made. Ladies that do not have the ability to purchase good quality clothing do have options for finding the perfect business attire to wear to job interviews.
A good education is something that is very useful in the business world and in life. People that complete higher education and take positions in respected companies can often take for granted what it is like when you have little options for education and training. Part of looking great on the job is combined with the education that someone has when performing daily work. It is easy to lose social skills if a women that once worked in office employment has experienced a longer than normal unemployment. Job training programs through certain charities help out immensely.
Motivation is a big factor in the quest to find employment. No one can warn a person about how depression can eliminate a good attitude. The ability to stay motivated and in high spirits is a trait that must be learned again after long-term unemployment. For ladies with gaps in working skills, working closely with a mentor helps build confidence and self-image. When a woman is empowered, she has the inner and outer motivation that is required to take the world by storm and find the type of job and salary that is necessary to live a normal life again.
If you are a lady that is in a similar position, you do have help to get you to the places that you have always wanted to go. By seeking charitable help, you can find the interview attire that you need to look great, feel great and get back the fire that will make you into a new person. Having a support group of other ladies when you need help is really useful after extended job loss, drug treatment or jail. An entire group of specialists are waiting to help you to become an empowered, energised and modern woman again.
Homeowners might depend on an electrician to provide residential services, but businesses need a professional that has experience working with higher voltages often found in larger buildings. A commercial electrician is the expert that business owners can phone to get the job done fast. There are many complexities that go into building construction and electricians need to know about electricity and about construction to be able to open access panels, walls or other areas without causing structural damage. A fire or smoke damage due to electricity problems can ruin a business financially. Protecting a business with expert electricians is an affordable expense.
Buildings that are constructed in modern times require many different contractors and specialists to build without errors. Older buildings might not have schematics or blueprints that are very useful when locating the path of electricity inside of the walls and ceiling. It takes an expert electrician with years of experience in commercial electrical work to be able to find problems quickly without causing damage to the building. Hiring an inexperienced person is one of the fastest routes to creating more expense and bringing added stress to an already stressful situation. Every business should have a plan to contract electrical work.
Most businesses do not have the luxury of completely shutting down for the remainder of a business day while work is completed. It can be difficult to find an expert that is willing to work after business hours for a reasonable price. A commercial electrician understands that business hours impact the profitability of every business and often makes special arrangements to arrive at a scheduled time to begin inspections and repair work. A quick response from a specialist that uses the latest technological equipment is a major asset when a business depends on electricity for daily profit generation.
Since businesses serve the public sector, there could be regulations, permits or other documents that must be obtained before any electrical work can be completed. A commercial electrician knows exactly what to do before and after inspections or repairs are completed. This can help any business owner to save money by focusing time and energy on the problem at hand instead of completing paperwork that is unnecessary. A portion of the price that is paid for an expert is for the knowledge that is brought into every job. The safety provided by a professional electrician ensures that businesses are protected from electrical problems.