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>>Effective Marketing
Smart Support Effective Marketing
Understand your products, who your customers are, why they buy from you and how to attract more of them. Click for more
>>Sales Growth
Smart Support Sales Growth
Consider the steps that make up your sales process and what you can do to refine them so that you win more business. Click for more
>>Operational Efficiency
Smart Support Operational Efficiency
Explore how your business can operate more efficiently so that you maximise your output and reduce the resources you need.Click for more
>>Optimising People
Smart Support Optimising People
Find out how to develop great teams made up of talented and motivated people working together to achieve their common goals.Click for more
>>Financial Clarity
Smart Support Financial Clarity
Effective business management starts with your financial numbers, make sure you know what they mean and how you can improve them.Click for more

Business Articles

I was talking to a business owner recently who was telling me how he had recently increased his marketing and as a result his  turnover had increased dramatically. As a result he was extremely busy. When I asked him if he had any plans to bring some new staff into the business in order that he could cope better, his response was that he couldn’t afford  do that. It turns out that although turnover was up, that didn’t translate into more cash in the bank; in fact quite the reverse. When I asked him why did he think that was, he replied, “You know, I’m not really sure….”

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So many of we business owners really hate the idea of the summer, because of the holiday season.

Staff want to take holidays, which reduces the workforce across the company. Lack of staff disrupts production and puts more pressure on the remaining staff to get the work done. You as the business owner can’t go away yourself because if you do everything will stop dead while you’re away.

So it is that many business owners take the path of least resistance and stay at home, while their workforce go away and come back tanned and relaxed two weeks later.

But what if things were different?

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In my time I get to talk to a lot of business owners, and it isn’t unusual for them to say that they can’t tell whether their business is doing well or not, and they don’t know what they have to do to improve it. Quite often, my first question is to ask what KPIs they have in place? What numbers do they have about how their business is performing? And quite often they don’t have any.....

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“He’s a born salesman; he could sell ice to an eskimo”

 “I’ve never been able to sell; I’m not aggressive enough…..”

“This product is brilliant - if only I knew how to sell I could be a millionaire”

There is no doubt that there are natural salespeople, those who don’t have to think too hard about it, but are just very persuasive and always end up landing the deal. But for a lot of us, selling can be daunting, and we find that our sales results never quite match up to our expectations. We struggle to get in front of prospects and then, when we do, we fail to convert them into customers!

So, Selling – What’s the secret?

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Let’s face it, none of us like paying tax.

It seems unfair sometimes, doesn’t it, that a Government who is put in place to govern the country and sometimes imposes upon us policies, rules and restrictions, is allowed to force us to pay for those policies which we don‘t personally agree with or like?

But to quote Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes”.

So how can we turn something which we can do very little about into a tool to help us in our business?

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We are all leaders whether we like it or not.

But here’s a question: Are leaders born or made?  Is leadership a function of nature, or nurture? Can leadership be learned?

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“I need to make more money from my business! I need more customers! If I double my marketing spend everything will be great.”

But will it? With grand financial gestures comes greater financial risk; If we spend a great deal on marketing there is no guarantee it will bring in more business and if it doesn’t work we may have sunk a great deal of money into it for no gain; if it does work we create a need for more working capital to service the sales!

So what has this got to do with small change?

 

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It’s that time of year again, the one we always look forward to; the summer holidays.

Kids have finished school, the bags are packed, tickets, passports, sun cream………plus for a lot of business owners, mobile phone, laptop or tablet. “Just so that I can keep an eye on the business while we’re away”.

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So, you have the appointment to see a prospect. All you have to do now is to close the deal, yes? So why is it that you walk away empty-handed? Do you find selling really, really difficult? If you are, you’re not alone. It isn’t unusual to find that business owners find it hard to sell their product or service even when there is a perfect fit for the needs of the prospect. Why is this?

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Listening to coverage of the pre-election budget has got me thinking about tax.

As you know, there has been a great deal of publicity in the media about individuals and organisations using loopholes to avoid paying tax. I didn’t want to jump on the moral bandwagon, there are enough people doing that, but in one discussion I heard recently on the radio, a participant tried to justify why a certain major coffee beverage provider was not paying corporation tax in this country by saying that they were creating  jobs which pay tax and NI, buying and selling products which pay tax and supporting the UK economy through this diverse chain and that the corporation tax was only a tiny element and that they had contributed significantly to the UK economy.

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“I need to do some marketing. So I’ll get that bloke I know to run a social media campaign for me, because social media is free marketing isn’t it? I’ll get some flyers printed up and post them through the doors on the local industrial estate and wait for them to call. I’ll get my website revamped; I’ve had an offer from that bloke I met at the networking meeting who said he could do it for £5,000. I’ll put an quarter page ad in the local freebie magazine which goes into 7,500 homes locally.”

“That should do it. I can sit back now and wait for the phone to ring……..”

Except it doesn’t.

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So you've decided it's time for change. You have a vision of what you want to achieve, but where do you go next?
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What is the Christmas Curse, and what has it got to do with you as a business owner?
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A couple of local newsletters get us thinking about what the Government make available to help businesses that are looking to innovate and grow.
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What was your dream when you started your business? How close are you to achieving it? What are you doing to make sure you achieve it? What is stopping you?

Most of us struggle to achieve business success, often prevented from succeeding due to mental blocks we have placed on ourselves. I would like to provide you with a few thoughts that should help you stop prevaricating and start changing your business and achieving your goals:

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So, after last month’s article about the need to have a financial plan, and how important it is to know your numbers, a business owner said to me “OK, so it’s all very well saying that I need a financial plan but how is that going to stop me going out of business?”

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I was talking to a business owner a few days ago and he was bemoaning the fact that despite that he had a reasonable turnover and a reasonable profit he is never seems to be in a position to make investments in his business and didn’t know what he expected his profit was going to be at the end of the year
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What are you doing to make sure that your exit from your business achieves maximises the return to you?
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In  this month's article we explore the key elements that affect your cash flow and how you can begin to take control of them so that your cash flow works for you rather than against you.
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As we all know recent business conditions have been difficult as we travel through recessions and face uncertain and challenging times both in the general economy and also within our own businesses
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        What are you going to do to make this year different from last year?
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Just before and just after Christmas we surveyed our database of more than 10,000 business owners to try and understand what they saw as their major challenges and opportunities in the coming year.

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What are the key challenges facing smaller businesses and how do we approach them?

 

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B2B Kent and Medway Exhibition

Business advisors from the network attended the B2B Kent & Medway Exhibition on stand 9 at the Ashford International Hotel on Tuesday 3rd July. The

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Create SMART GoalsLast time, we wrote about Vision and the natural follow up for has to be goal setting.A clever man said “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”Large businesses,...

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This Smart Fox Thinks AheadThis Smart Fox Thinks Ahead Welcome to the first of a series of articles where I hope to encourage you to think about what you want from your business, and begin to introduce to you...

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Marketing, an essential investment?Marketing, an essential investment? First of all, let's ask a question: What is marketing?The best definition we have come across is that it is ‘the action or process of promoting and...

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Can Your Business survive without an overdraftThe overdraft. The old financing friend of the small business. Provided by the banks to meet short term monthly or seasonal swings in cashflow or in some cases inappropriately used to purchase...

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Cash In A CrisisCash is the lifeblood of every business and no business can survive for long without it. As Mr. Micawber in Charles Dickens' novel, David Copperfield, so succinctly put it:"Annual income twenty...

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Why Cash-Flow Out Ranks ProfitSmart Support recognises the primacy of positive cash flow and firmly believes that it is vital for business survival and growth. A change in your turnover (even a slight one)An increase in your...

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Don't Become a StatisticRunning a business is much like being the captain of a ship, but too often we don’t have the basic navigation tools so that when we are blown of course we can find our way back.In the case of a...

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How Fit is Your Business?HOW FIT IS YOUR BUSINESS?If you woke up one morning with a headache and the headache was still there by early evening it’s a fair bet you’d go to the doctor...

If your car started making...

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Starting Your Own BusinessThinking of starting your own business?Starting your own business can be the most traumatic, yet one of the most exciting things we do in our lives. It’s akin to having a baby and then...
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