Monthly Archives: Jul 2015

How do you gauge success?

Years ago I was lucky enough to meet the late Sir John Harvey Jones at an event. He and his wife invited Kevin and me to share his table for lunch. Sir John asked us about Alpha and we described the business and the issues we faced. The advice he gave us that day was so simple and yet it was the opposite to what we were striving to do.

Instead of gauging our success by the size of the business in terms of personnel and turnover, Sir John advised that we should focus instead on efficiency and profitability. Outsourcing, not piling on employment costs, was key. Simple and obvious of course. And yet we meet business owners all the time who ignore this, as we did ourselves for many years.

Funding is available to help eligible businesses to grow – call me for details. And remember – there is more than one definition of growth. Success is about reaching your own goals, not about impressing others or building empires – unless of course you want to build an empire. 07801251767 or email elainenester@adm-group.co.uk

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Why is it sometimes so difficult to find what we want online?

Do you get frustrated when searches don’t work properly on websites? I’ve just been looking for a cottage for two plus two pets at the end of August in Norfolk. “Refine your search” invited the site. I did that. What did it offer me? A barn for 12, a town house with no pets allowed, etc, etc. In between was the odd one that matched my choices.

It’s surprising how many sizeable businesses allow this to happen. Maybe they don’t test their websites as if they were a consumer? I’ve tried to search for shoes by size, colour and style but the website ( a large well-known brand) refused to let me be so choosy. Even the most keen shoe shopper with time on their hands would like to filter rather than browse hundreds of styles in numerous colours, only to find the ones they finally choose are out of stock or only available in size 4. (Unless they happen to have small feet). 

There is good news for site owners – it’s easy to correct issues like this using the technology that is now available.

Even better news – we can now offer funding to help our clients towards robust new websites that will really increase sales. We can also advise on search engine optimisation, social media and all aspects of marketing your business online. If you have had funding previously, that is not a barrier.

Contact me for eligibility criteria. 07801251767 or elainenester@adm-group.co.uk

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Do you let people get to you?

Accessibility – a slightly sore point for us at Alpha this week as telephone number transfers didn’t go to plan. That aside, it was brought home to me this week that being accessible, or being available when needed, is one of the most important aspects of business success.

This is not about technology, although recent advances have given us the opportunity to ditch switchboards and give people direct access to mobiles, but more about having an attitude of accessibility. This, for me, separates truly great people in both business and personal life from the average.

An example arose last Sunday. I had sent a client a request via Linkedin to reuse a testimonial he had written about our services. This was a couple of weeks ago and I was surprised and very pleased to hear from him on Sunday granting my request and explaining that he would have come back to me sooner had he not been away on business. This man runs a large, highly successful company. He is nevertheless accessible to me, a supplier. He makes people feel valued.

This is the spirit that has come about through social media. It has been a great leveller. If people choose to engage they can access, or at least make contact with, almost anyone. How you respond, or not, to contact is your decision but my view is that, if we place ourselves into the public arena, we will gain by engaging in a positive way with those who pay us the compliment of noticing us. Social media is a huge virtual meeting place. It’s not a good policy, or good manners, to ignore people, any more than it would be to turn away when spoken to at a social gathering.

If you would like help with formulating a social media strategy for your business, give me a call on 07801251767 or email elainenester@adm-group.co.uk. Funding is available for this and many other aspects of business growth – let me know if you are interested.

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Bricks and Mortar still key

As the private equity backed Graze brand launches in Sainsbury’s we see that the importance of an off-line  presence. It will be interesting to see how this goes. Many brands that began with Internet sales have added high street retail to their mix in order to engage with consumers and increase market share. An expensive option? Maybe – but if it’s managed wisely it can pay off.

Fubding is now available to help brands to become retail-ready. Contact us for eligibility details. elainenester@adm-group.co.uk or 07801251767

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Death of a Salesman?

elainenester:

It’s getting on for 3 years since I wrote this – I think it’s still valid. Which sales and marketing channels do you find most cost-effective for your business?

Originally posted on alpha design and marketing:

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the death or terminal illness of outbound marketing. By definition that also implies the death of sales as we know it in terms of proactive people who represent their companies and transact business face to face. Now I come to think about it, it’s a very long time since we’ve had a visit or even a phone call from a potential supplier, that’s if you leave recruitment companies out of the scenario.

Cuts have been made in the following: Printed literature, Telemarketing/Telesales, Attendance at Exhibitions, Visits to clients and potential clients, Advertising (both on and off-line) and PR. Companies have reduced marketing budgets unilaterally and jumped with relief on the inbound marketing bandwagon. Why? Because it costs less and they believe that the same results can be achieved despite the evidence to the contrary on balance sheets.

As a marketing company that was founded in…

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What would you say to your younger self?

I was pleased to be called this week, as I often am, by a young person asking career advice. I thought back to my school days and the advice I was given. This was mainly about studying for exams, going to university and finding secure employment. Whilst there are still merits in that path, employment is no longer as secure as it was, and people need to become more flexible and resourceful as a result.

If I could meet my young self here in 2015 (and she was willing to listen) I would advise her as follows:

1. Don’t be too focused on results. Your qualifications will matter much less than your attitude. Experience is more valuable than results on paper.

2. Trust your first instincts about people. They are usually right. Surround yourself with positive people.

3. Spend time with people you respect, both at work and in your free time. You can learn so much from other people, and they from you. Share information freely.

4. Think before you act. It’s great to be passionate about a big idea but think it through to anticipate all likely outcomes. Then go for it.

5. Treat bad experiences as development opportunities and don’t moan about them. A negative attitude reflects only on you.

6. Guard your professional reputation and use social media with care – always.

7. Don’t stay in an environment that doesn’t suit you. It’s a waste of life. 

Starting work life in 2015 is different in some ways than it was when I was young back in the 70s but there are just as many exciting opportunities. Career paths are rarely signposted or predictable and sometimes, when you feel you are treading water, another opportunity presents itself.  

At Alpha we offer coaching and training for business owners and managers. Funding is often available. Contact us for eligibility criteria. 07801251767
 

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