Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Real Time Information for your Payroll

Are you preparing for the changes that are looming for your payroll? From April 2013, although for many this will be later, the government are introducing the plans for real time information. This will involve you submitting your payroll payment information as at the actual pay date (e.g. weekly, 4 weekly, monthly etc) and not waiting until the year end. It will also have to include every person you employ, even if you currently do not include them on your payroll due to their circumstances.
The concept is so the real time information can improve the current benefits system.
If you are using Payroll software, such as Sage, then keep an eye out for their news to ensure it is updated to meet the RTI requirements.
For more information, please see the HMRC web site

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sage reporting and tips

Do you have the need to print the same reports each month from Sage? For example for your management information do you print the profit & loss, balance sheet, debtors, trial balance etc?
If so, then look to set up Batch Reporting, where you can select those reports you desire and from one set of selection criteria you will produce all these reports. To set up, go to tools / batch reporting.
Speed up you your inputting on Sage by using the tab and arrow keys, but also the F keys, such as:
  • F6 – Repeats the row above
  • Shift + F6 - Repeats the row above but adds 1
  • F7 – Inserts a row
  • F8 –Deletes a row
  • F9 – Nets down VAT
  • Shift and tab goes back one field
Does it frustrate you that Sage never opens on the screens you desire? Take a look at the Tools / Options and view tab, to specifiy which page opens for the different modules in Sage.
Do you get frustrated by posting a journal the wrong way, then the latest versions have the 'reversal' option.
Do you have customers that are also suppliers and they settle their account using Contra's? See the Tools / Contra's to save some time and confusion.
Other time saving uses of Sage include the use of 'Bank Recurring Entries' and 'Memorise'. You can memorise journals, payments, receipts and even invoice templates that are repetitive for you.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Create a multi step sales process

Much research is telling us that our prospective customers are unlikely to buy from the first or even second time that they touch us. Some research is pointing towards between 5 and 7 touches before the prospect will buy. Obviously this will be different for different sectors, but it does tell us that we can no longer rely on the first or second contact, which is when most people give up.

Our own research tells us that most people give up after one follow up to an initial meeting or telephone conversation. However can we encourage you to have a 'Multi Step Sales Process' to build a relationship with your prospect and respect that they may not be ready to buy immediately.

So firstly have excellent methods of generating leads and the collection of a prospects contact details. Then create a systemised approach to contacting your prospect at least 5 times with information that can help them with their problem or need and ensure that these touches are not solely your sales messages.

The objective of your communications should be to remind them you are here, what you have to offer, how you can solve their problem or reduce their pain and answer their need.

You can use email marketing systems, like our InTouch software, to create Autoresponder campaigns that simply send emails one after each other at a specified time. However remember different people will engage in different ways, so mix up your emails and include direct mail and telephone plus perhaps a face to face meeting to build that relationship and engagement with you.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Oxford Marketing Conference

This years Oxford Marketing Conference in Oxford will be on Tuesday 17th October at Oxford Thames Four Pilllars Hotel. For more information, please see 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Marketing at low cost

In the current climate, we are all looking at the best ways to market our business with no direct cost to our budgets. Here are our top 7 ways to market your business on a small budget.
  1. Build relationships with your existing customers and network of contacts and ask for business
  2. Go networking, but where your ideal customer, or those that also touch them, meets
  3. Public speaking to increase your profile with a qualified audience
  4. Press coverage by sharing your story, your knowledge, expertise and niche
  5. Have an upselling strategy to maximise your customers 'buying mode' at the point of purchase
  6. Email more, but not just newsletters, more personal communication and offers
  7. Joint ventures with like minded businesses and naturally increase your sales force

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What is your Motivation?

There are a number of personal reasons why people start their own business. Some see an opportunity, some suffer a personal situation such as redundancy or unemployment, whilst others have a family history of self employment or consider it as a way of earning their living.

What has made you decide to work for yourself? What are your motives?

Thinking about your motivations can help you think about the goals you may set yourself and provides a measurement for success as defined by you and not as defined by others looking at your business externally.
Understanding your motivations will help you identify the real purpose of your business and its aims and objectives. So for example, if it is a bigger house for your growing family, then how will the business generate the cash for this?To help you think about your true motivation for starting your business, we have created a downloadable document available via our web site at

Friday, 7 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Together Everyone Achieves More. Well I am sure you have heard this before, but what does our research into effective teams tell us really helps an effective team perform?

Training - Not just effective training for the individuals role, but also your business systems. Where each team member is supportive of each others development. Where people embrace change and are even visionary to be ahead of the competition with their skills and knowledge. A team that regularly undertakes training gap analysis.

Engagement - the power of a team working with you as much for you. A unity of purpose, commited to each other and the cause. Shows initiative as empowered to do so. Demonstrates the creation of reliability.

Atmosphere - where everyone is involved and interested. There are good communication levels, given in a constructive manner. Informal, comfortable, relaxed and the allowance to express their feelings and ideas are key factors to a conducive atmosphere. Where strong direction for the right people in the right roles is a given. Collaborative working supports interaction. Awareness of possible conflicts, which are resolved quickly.

Motivation - Motivated by a leader that listens. Not just the yee ha of follow the leader but a personalised approach that demonstrates what is important to each individual team member. Appraisal and reviews undertaken regularly and recognition given in private and in public. Success is shared by all.

A1 Director, Mike Foster, has recently spoken on this topic at a regional meeting of the ICB.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Minimum wage increases

October is the time of year that we see the annual rise in the level of the national minimum wage. This year there is no increase for those aged 16 to 20 years. The 21 year old + rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 with effect from 1st October.