The latest quarterly growth figures show an encouraging 0.8%, the strongest third quarter figures in a decade.
With the incessant reminders of the state of the economy and with budget cuts coming out of our ears, who would have thought that the latest estimates suggest that the UK economy is now 2.8% bigger now than it was a year ago, and imply that the UK has been growing, on average, at an annualised rate of roughly 3.2% since the start of 2010.
The strongest sectors have been construction, hotels and restaurants, distribution, and business and financial services. Government and other public services show a smaller rate of growth.
The government would say it shows that fears of a stifled recovery are greatly exaggerated. The opposition would say it shows that spending cuts have yet to bite. Who is right?
Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, hopefully the figures don’t lie and the coalition can make a difference, and put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain once again.
Social networking has become part of our everyday lives and is used across the world for personal and business use, to catch up with friends, arrange meetings, share information and play the odd game. This comes as the social network giant Facebook announces the registration of its 500 millionth member, of which 26 million are from the UK.
With the ability to interact with people all over the world Facebook has become the ‘social Google’. If you want to find out information, need advice or simply want to find out what people think about a particular subject we now go to the most trusted place for the answer – our friends and family on Facebook.
Alongside Facebook is Twitter, the micro-blogging site where users can ‘tweet’ about what they are doing right now. This is an instant messaging service that is used to get information out and talk to a community that cares about the same things as you.
With the busy lives we all live today social networking sites are great for talking to friends and keeping up to date with what they’re doing, and you don’t even have to be sitting at a pc to use it. Many people access the sites through mobile phones so they can interact with their friends on the go.
The success of Facebook has been down to word of mouth. It started off small with a circle of friends and has escalated and grown to 500m people – it has become the new way of communicating.
Facebook is almost guaranteed to reach one billion users, so there’ll be no excuse about not keeping in contact with friends and family in future, just get a Facebook account and join the latest addiction.
Today we see the end of nearly a 200 year old establishment known and loved by many. Cadbury, a well established family business waves goodbye to Britain and heads to the US.
With so many British brands leaving the country it makes you ask “what is left in Britain, and where has the ‘Great’ in Great Britain gone?”
Corus (British Steel), ICI, Land Rover, Jaguar, Lotus, Manchester United Football Club and Abbey National are just a handful of companies that were once an important part of the UK economy that we can’t lay claim to anymore. What was once a world leader, Britain appears to be turning into ‘takeover Britain’, still, we can all look forward to Dairylea filled Creme Eggs this Easter.
What is more frustrating than having an online form, that is in fact not an online form – companies, take note…
Using the Royal Mail ‘Smart Stamp’ system for a large mail shot before Christmas all was going well, when one of the envelopes didn’t print properly. Reading their helpful online information all I had to do was inform them that it hadn’t printed and they would refund my money – simple. I click the button to fill out the “online form”, fill it in and find at the bottom a PRINT button, print? Why would I want to print out the form, I’ve filled it in I just want to send it to you, where is the SEND button? In the small print at the bottom of the page I discover that in order to get my refund I need to print the form out and post – yes post it to the Royal Mail so they can process it. Have I missed something here or in this day and age are we not trying to save the environment as well as increase the speed of data transfer?
The Royal Mail have gone to the effort of putting a form on their website, and they have a website, so they obviously appreciate the advantage of having one, so why would they have an ‘online form’ that isn’t actually an online form? It’s a form online, not an online form!
What is even more annoying is in order to use my ‘Smart Stamp’ account I have to login with my valid username and password, so they know who I am and can validate me, but in order to get a refund to my account I have to print off a generic form, where the only security information I have to give is my name – where is the security in that, or are the Royal Mail happy to give out refunds to anyone who is willing to fill in and send the form?
To any company that is looking to have an online form – please make sure it is an online form and not just a form online – otherwise customers will get very annoyed, and may even write a blog which may not be great PR for you. Thanks.
If you are sitting and waiting for new clients to knock on your door, then you are in for a long wait. As with any business you need to make yourself known, let people know you are there and generate more customers. At the end of the day the crux of any business is to generate new client leads. As well as bringing in the money, new clients’ help a business develop, improve and remain competitive.
To get you started, here’s a list of things you can try to get your company name out there:
Word of mouth
- Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. People are more likely to use a company who has been recommended to them by family or friends
- Email all your friends and family about your business and ask them to spread the word
- Get feedback from existing clients
- Get in contact with existing clients about any new services/products you have
- Contact existing clients who you haven’t heard from in a while and see whether they need your services/products – never forget the clients you already have
- Ask your clients for referrals
- Send out promotions with your invoices
- Research businesses you would like to target and cold call them
- Send promotional material to potential clients
- Attend industry events, conferences and exhibitions
- Go to events in your clients industry
- Carry out a talk, seminar or webinar
- Sponsor an event
- Do some work for a charitable organisation that has links to your clients industry
- Always be ready to tell people what you do and have your business card ready
Promotion, promotion, promotion!
- Place an ad in relevant publications
- Set up Google Adwords
- Get listed in printed and online business directories
- Take part in a trade show
- Give away branded merchandise
- Carry out a direct mail campaign
- Create leaflets and posters that you can distribute and display
Let the media work for you…
- Send a press release to relevant media (local, national, industry specific) about a new product/service
- Get mentioned on a local or national radio show
- Do something ‘quirky’ that will get your business noticed (publicity stunt)
- Pitch an article to a relevant publication
Get a website!
- A website is the most effective way to reach more potential customers
- A website has no word or space restrictions, unlike traditional advertising. Say what you want to say, without the limitations
- A website helps your business stand out in an increasingly competitive market
- Reduce your advertising costs by putting ‘see our website for more information’
- A website never sleeps, and will continue serving your customers even after you have gone to bed!
- Use SEO techniques to help search engines find your site
Use the web
- Start a blog
- Participate in online forums
- Register with social networking sites
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