Jackie's Blog Archives - 1230 TWC

2021 - A challenging year for most

Category Archives for Jackie’s Blog

Need An Accountant For Your Business? How To Make The Perfect Choice In 2021

If you’re running a company, you’ll want to be able to focus on making money. The last thing you’ll want is to spend all your time performing admin tasks and rifling through endless paperwork. Invoices and accounting can be a large part of this. It’s essential that everything is recorded and collated correctly. Tax forms need to be submitted on time, and the data needs to be accurate. Should anything go wrong there could be financial penalties or issues during audits.

It may be that you are in need of some outside help for your business. Perhaps you are thinking of employing an accountant, but don’t know which way to turn. This article has been written to help you find the most suitable professional for your company’s needs.

Research The Accountant Online

Before choosing one, perform some background checks. Most financial professionals have an online presence, so this should be your first port of call. MCL accountants provide free quotes over the internet, and also display a selection of customer reviews. They are Chartered Certified accountants based in Southend-on-Sea, and have received favourable reviews and accreditation.

Decide On The Level Of Qualification

You could secure an unqualified bookkeeper to do your daily accounts for you. This could save you money, and they may also be able to help you with your tax return. Some people prefer to have everything done by a fully qualified accountant, so they have total peace of mind. To be Certified and Chartered the person will have had to undergo extensive training, and to have acquired practical experience too. Having said that, make sure the accountant is able to perform all the tasks required for your business. This could include advice on taxation, payroll and business support.

Choose Someone With Experience

Find out how long the accountant has been in business, and whether they work for similar companies to yours. You’ll be paying them by the hour, so you won’t want someone who has to look things up every time you ask a question. If you select the right person they will cope with your company if it grows, and be able to provide helpful tips and recommendations.

Consider How You Wish To Communicate

If you dislike computers, you may want a local accountant: then you can drop off piles of invoices or have a quick chat during your lunchbreak. Alternatively cloud accounting might be attractive to you. You can send and receive emails, and have videoconference calls when you need them.

Go For A Big Thinker

Don’t just choose someone who will sit down and do what they’re told. Find someone who can advise you on possible tax benefits or ways to streamline your finances. They might be able to assess the way you run your company and identify specific areas for improvement.

Choose Someone Personable

You’ll be communicating on finance, which can be a sensitive issue. Make sure they are approachable and a clear communicator, and be sure you can trust in them to do the job properly.

Author: Isabella Goode

How To Prepare For Opening Up Your Business Again

Being a female business leader can be tough under normal circumstances, let alone when there’s a pandemic going on. Many have struggled over the last year because of the virus getting in the way of sales or potentially even forcing businesses to shut up shop temporarily.

The good news is that the light at the end of what seemed like an impossibly long tunnel is finally approaching. Restrictions are lifting, businesses are reopening, and the prospect of once again making a profit is becoming a reality.

To ensure you’re ready to reopen in a post-pandemic world, though, there are probably a few things you need to prepare for.

Find Ways To Reach People

If your business hasn’t been operational for months, there’s a good chance your finances might not be in the best position. That puts a lot of pressure on you for reopening because you need to start generating money immediately.

Improving your online presence through digital marketing techniques can help with this, as it’ll ensure your business reaches more people. Offering special offers upon reopening is also worthwhile because the possibilities of discounts and other good deals may tempt potential new customers.

Also, don’t forget that the government has a lot of support options available to businesses dealing with money troubles right now. You can find out more information about that here.

Ensure Your Premises Promote Good Hygiene

For the next few months, potentially even years, customer expectations are going to be a little all over the place. Some people will want things to be as they were before the pandemic, while others won’t be comfortable unless they see suitable hygiene measures in practice.

Pleasing everyone will be tough because you want all customers to feel safe without being too restricting. There are small things you can do to help achieve this, though.

For instance, you may need some countertop sneeze guards, which are available in bulk through Discount Displays. Having these around will demonstrate your interest in stopping germs from spreading, which ought to make some customers feel more comfortable. These countertop sneeze guards don’t interfere with the buying or selling experience, yet they still go a long way to showing that you’re passionate about maintaining good hygiene.

Put A Plan In Place

It’s always good to have a plan in place. Even if something unexpected happens that throws everything off the rails, plans usually account for such occurrences and find ways to work around them.

That’s why it’s so important to have one upon reopening your business. The future is still very uncertain, so it’s impossible to predict what will happen over the coming months. If you prepare for all eventualities beforehand, though, then you can feel more in control when things go wrong.

Not only is this good for you and your business, but it’s also ideal for your customers and employees too. They want and need you to stay open and profitable, and having a plan in place will give you an excellent chance of doing that.

Reopening a business after being closed for so long is incredibly exciting. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make up any losses from the last year and go on to great success, with these tips helping you to achieve that.

Author: Isabella Goode

Finding The Right Employees For Your Organisation: Our Practical Tips

People are the backbone of any organisation, so choosing the right people to work with you is vital to your business’s growth and future success.

Hiring new staff is always a challenge, and nationwide skills shortages, the Coronavirus pandemic, and other issues have meant that it’s even more difficult in 2021 than it has been in previous years.

Still, when you need new employees, you need to make sure that you hire the right ones. To help, here are some practical tips.

Create The Perfect Job Description

When you’re creating your job advert, it’s easy to think that the perks or the list of skills is the most important part, but you’d be wrong. It’s crucial that you craft the perfect job description so that you get the right applicants for your role. Take the time to write down everything that you require from your new employee and the qualifications or characteristics that are optional but preferred. With an accurate job description, you can reduce the chances of receiving unsuitable applications or hiring an unsuitable candidate.

Take Recommendations From Your Business Network

As well as using recruitment agencies and platforms such as Indeed, Monster, Reed or CV-Library, it would help if you also took recommendations from your business contacts and existing staff. Make it clear that you’re seeking new team members, and share your job specification and advertisement. Use professional social media sites such as LinkedIn to communicate with your network. If you know an individual who might be able to give you a personal recommendation, such as someone who operates in the same sector, then you could also consider reaching out to them personally and asking if they have anyone that they could put forward.

Use All The Resources At Your Disposal

While you might think that you know all there is to know about hiring new staff, there’s always plenty to be learned. Also, the recruitment market is continually evolving, so you should ensure that your knowledge is completely up to date. You must ensure that you understand important topics in recruitment, such as diversity, so that you can create the right workforce for your company. Use resources such as those provided by diversity and recruitment experts Embracing Future Potential to ensure that the process goes without a hitch and that you find the perfect employees to enhance your organisation’s culture. The platform offers a range of websites, so you can find all of the resources and online support you need to create an engaged and diverse team.

Trust Your Instincts

Fundamentally, as the business leader and the person who supports and hires your staff, you know best what individual will work well in your company. If you feel that a candidate will fit well into your business and enrich your company culture, then you should give that candidate a second look. Your instincts aren’t always right, but they are a great jumping-off point. Once you’ve identified a candidate who you feel will fit well into your organisation, you must explore further. Seeking a second opinion can help you to ensure that you make the right choice the first time.

Author: Isabella Goode

4 Tips For When You Want To Start Working Again


For some people, working is a constant. They dedicate themselves to their career from the moment they first get employed to the day they finally retire.

Not everyone is like that though, with plenty of people taking extended breaks from work to go travelling or start a family. A lot of them do end up returning to employment eventually, with the percentage of working mothers reported to be around 75% in 2019. However, they typically only go back when they feel ready to do so.

The problem with this is that it can be difficult getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully these suggestions make the transition a lot easier, though.

1. Accurately Update Your CV

Your CV can make all the difference between you receiving a job interview or getting rejected, so it’s important that you ensure it’s up to date and shows you in your best light. That includes divulging that you took a break from work and explaining how that time off can benefit potential employers. For instance, if you went travelling, there are probably skills and experiences you picked up that could come in handy wherever you want to work.   

2. Consider A Career Change

There are plenty of reasons why people take a break from work, including a loss of interest in their career.  If that was the case for you, you may want to consider finding a new industry to work in. That might be easier said than done, especially if there isn’t a line of work that you’re currently passionate about. Thankfully, Refreshing a Career have become a one-stop resource for anyone looking for a career change so their guides might prove to be invaluable Helping people change careers is their specialty, so even if you’ve been out of the game for a while, they’ll be able to guide you onto whatever new path you wish to follow.

3. Ask For Help

The great thing about returning to work after an extended break is that you already have contacts in the professional world who you can lean on for help. These might be former colleagues who you still talk to or ex-employers who value the work that you did for them. There’s a good chance that one of them will know of a job opportunity that could suit your needs or something along those lines. What’s more, you can also ask if they’d mind being a reference for you. Inquiring about that in advance could save you some hassle down the line.

4. Work On Your Confidence

Sometimes, the thing that lets a candidate down isn’t their skill set or experience, but rather their confidence. Employers value personality over a lot of other factors, with confidence a key trait that they look to. They want to hire someone who believes in themselves and what they can offer, so it’s important to go into any interview with your head held high. It’s okay to be nervous, especially if you’ve been out of work for a while. Just make sure that it’s a bit of interview jitters and not a lack of confidence in yourself. Writing down what you’re good at and asking people for their feedback can always help with this.

Returning to work might be a little daunting, but with the right approach, it can be an exciting new step in your life. You could end up finding the job of your dreams.

Collaboration for Networkers – Yes or No?


Definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something (Oxford Dictionaries)

Synergies

Do you always see the synergies, that is, the possibilities to collaborate when speaking to others when you are networking, or perhaps when you’re listening to others’ 1 minutes?  Maybe you don’t see the synergies straight away, but you do when you revisit your notes later…  Why would you want to collaborate with others?  Let’s take a look at some possibilities.  Or, help others to collaborate.

What about the Experts?

You are an expert in your own field, your own business.  But are you an expert in all subjects required for successful business, for something new and different?  Let’s consider your area of expertise is weight loss.  Amongst those around you at a networking meeting is an image consultant, a beautician, a venue Manager and a multi-disciplined practitioner in alternative therapies.  Getting the picture?  Let’s go further and consider that during the subsequent meeting you have together that you decide to “do something” together. 

GDPR
GDPR

Next steps in collaboration

To set up the project and manage the finances, needs the help and advice of an accountant and/or bookkeeper.  The project also needs marketing, using both traditional methods and social media.  And of course, you're likely to need Contracts (KoffeeKlatch will have just the thing for you) that keep you legal and abiding to GDPR regulations too, for working with these experts.  Guess what? You’ve met all these people!  They are part of your ever-expanding network. 

What knowledge and expertise do you have?

You may have some knowledge in these fields, but you are by no means an expert.  With others, through collaborative networking your business offering is now different, strongersuccessful.

Got you thinking, right?

Can you think of synergies and reasons to collaborate, now?  

Thought you would!

Disaster Dahling! Or How Our Networks Work!

Afternoon before the business conference, check list in hand, everything ticked and ready to go for the Conference set-up.

The phone rings, the voice of the venue owner (2 separate ownerships) throws a virtual bucket of ice-cold water over me.  “I’m really sorry Jackie, but we have no power – although our people are working on it, I think you need to look at an alternative venue for your business event.”

He had tried to pre-empt the situation by speaking with a venue just a few yards away and they had agreed to host our event – but, I’d never been in that venue, so needed to visit before making that decision; and just how bad was our original venue?  And had he spoken with the new owner of the other half of the venue?  No.  Working since 7.00 am that morning from my home office, I’d literally stepped out of the shower when taking his call.

So with dripping hair and no make-up – not a good look – I made my way to the potential new Conference venue.  Fortunately, a 10 mins drive away from me.

The booked venue was indeed a shambles of refurbishment - more like a bomb-site, more so on the floor-level where the business exhibition stands were scheduled along with the business clinics and advisers; the lower floor level was for the seminars and workshops.  So we waited for the owner of the other venue to arrive – as you’d imagine, a million things banging around my head, which finally settled into a plan.

The new venue was great, and we could use 2 floors, as planned.  OK, back to the office with 90 mins to spare before people start to arrive to set up, to let everyone know of the venue change.  And breath! 

Phone calls to The Mayor’s office and others, emails to EVERYONE!  Some would receive 2 emails with change of venue details, but that didn’t matter – better 2 than none at all.

Back at the new venue with car ready to be unloaded, to be told that we can only use one floor – that means speakers and exhibition stands on one level, but, separated by a huge circular bar – we can still make this work!

In between times, I’d spoken with the representative of the 2nd owner of our original venue – with me so far?  who was totally unaware of the situation up to that point. 100 chairs were on their way, plus tables, but, we didn’t need 100 chairs at the new venue, just half, since they had their own chairs……

When the furniture delivery arrives, there are too many chairs and insufficient tables – off to get more tables!

Time moves on – people arrive for setting up stands – then, sleep… 7.30 am start to finish last minute set-up of the event which opens at 9.00 am.

The Day

Exhibitors start to arrive, and despite notices from the “old” venue and emails, some state that they’ve not seen either.  Trouble is, it’s not possible to take responsibility for another’s computer system.  Others are happy and accommodating of the whole situation and continue to have a successful day. 

“Huge congratulations for pulling potential disaster out of the fire this week! The BBA day was a triumph. I met some lovely people and hope we may be able to help each other sometime in the future.”  Susan Feehan

Why am I Sharing this with You?

I'm an experienced events organiser, with a wide network of contacts, grown through my own business – 1230 The Women’s Company as well as managing other events regularly such as my local business association (event above). 

Stuff Happens!

And as we look around at the current disasters in the World, my above experience is small fry.  I had planned and pulled this together in 12 months. Last minute stuff happens, unexpected stuff, like venues going into liquidation – had 2 of those with my monthly lunch-time networking meetings of 1230 TWC.  Venues catching fire, all manner of things that potentially could have brought a halt to the event. 

The event above was local to me in Beckenham, but not all my chosen venues are, so unless someone lets me know (as you’d expect,  it wasn’t the owners of the liquidated or fired premises, who did) how am I to know and make alternative plans?  In the case of one restaurant liquidation, a passing chap who’d booked a table for the following day, spotted the notification of liquidation in the restaurant window.  He went back to his computer and tried to find anyone who may have had a booking with the venue.  Thankfully he found us and let us know – how considerate is that!

Having a Plan

The invaluable check list!  And I’ve been nagged to write a book on how to organise an event -something I’ve done with my own businesses since 2002 and earlier when I was a fund-raising manager.  So watch this space!

Yes, you need a check list!

Networks

networking

At the root of all event organisation is – your network.  You need a venue, so look to your network for personal recommendations.  You need speakers, so you look to those that you know, either as speakers, or for their connections and recommendations.  The speakers will “spread the word” of the event to their networks.  Dependent upon the type of event, you may need exhibitors.  Again, you look to your network to invite them to exhibit and they will let their networks know.  And when possible, you need a team, as I had around me for the described Conference – substitute “team”, with network.

You need a builder, copywriter, a web designer, solicitor.. you name it, whatever your needs, your network will fulfil this.  If you are a business woman, then obviously you look to your network within 1230.co.uk

Following the Conference above, I asked on Facebook what readers would have done in such a situation.  Many said “call you!”, another suggested steps for me to take, the last being to call her, as did others.  

All that is about connections created through networking.

Networks are the most important things in our lives. Whether we need to share our excitement, our tears, need help, want to offer help, it’s all about people we know.  Don’t forget, our own families are networks, and, surprising to some, they know people too!

The Importance of Networks

So this blog isn’t about sharing the potential disaster of a last minute change of venue, but most importantly, the strength of a supportive network.  If you’ve not been before, come and try us out  1230.co.uk and for September, grab September Sizzle while you can.

How did you meet?

Since we met, or rather were introduced, I’ve been asked this question several times. I’m just back from the “Make It Happen17” Conference - a celebration of International Women’s Day - in Marbella, that I collaborate on with this lady. Who is this you’re asking and how did you meet? As my family has been known to say – let’s have the short version!!

Connection

OK, some time back Steve Clarke thought this lady and I should have a chat, as both of us work with and support other businesswomen, so he introduced us over Twitter; busy as ever, the Tweet was missed over in Spain. A few days later, Annabel Kaye also thought this lady and I should chat, so she did a Twitter intro and bingo, this time we connected!

That is, with Ali Meehan of Costa Women fame – a social and business network of women in Spain. At the time, Ali was helping another entrepreneur with his conference and as a result I was invited to speak in Spain – at that point I became an international speaker! Gosh that venue was so hot, air-con not working.


What happened then....

Moving on… Ali and I decided we must “do something” together which would benefit the members of both our organisations… Flight prices escalated then, but in 2015 the first celebration of International Women’s Day with CostaWomen and 1230 TWC took place in the Andalucía Lab. An attractive, brilliant Government owned building in the heart of Malaga - conference room, helpful AVA staff, and atrium for the stands at our disposal.

So there it is, that’s how Ali and I met, and the rest as they say is history.

CostaWomen
1230 The Women's Company
Make It Happen

Cardinal Sin & Speednetworking!

I suppose it’s a bit like Father Christmas….. "He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice"… and that’s where the similarity stops, with me that is.

For every event, we/I have a check list:

  • Perspex stands - A4 and A5
  • Balloons
  • Roller bannersx 2 1230 TWC
  • Blue Tack
  • Brown tape

And so it goes on… and this gets checked as the items are brought out and as they are assembled prior to loading a vehicle/leaving the office

Except for my recent trip to the Make It Happen Conference in Marbella, Spain.



I
forgot
my
hooter!!!

business networking

I won’t bore you with the reasons why this happened, but it was an essential item for me to run the speednetworking session at the Make It Happen Conference.

On arriving at my hotel I set off in hot pursuit of a replacement (“hot” being the operative word, since it was an 80o day) - not even unpacking my case - no time, as it was just 2.5 hrs to the networking party that evening, and the Conference was the following day with 7.30 am start!!!!

toddler bicycle

Thinks…. There’s a primary school nearby, I wonder if they have a bicycle with said horn on that I could borrow? Just for a day. Seemed inspirational! Now you need to know that my Spanish is non-existent… well, I can say “please” and “thank you” and order chicken and chips – that’s just about it, oh and sparkling water.

I will leave it to your imagination as to how the conversation went with the teaching staff, suffice to say I came away empty handed, and they wondering who this totally insane English woman was!

So a quick phone call to Ali for shop suggestions, 1 hour later proved unfruitful. Must have lost some weight though in the hot running around - so a positive there! Dear Patrick (Ali’s OH) came to the rescue and saved the day with a choice of 2 hooters.

And I think you can say that the Speednetworking was a success!

hooter business

Toot Toot!

networking, pitch, elevator, businessnetworking, businesswomen

Death to the Elevator Pitch – Networking

with thanks to Charlotte Wibberley for tongue in cheek suggested title.

“Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” Let’s come back to that question, and answer.

Over the years, I’ve written many articles/blogs about the benefits of networking – not bad for someone who was dragged screaming and shouting to her first business women’s networking event, eh?!

One great opportunity at networking events is that most offer you the chance to stand up and speak to a supportive – please notice that word “supportive” – audience. None better is a female audience. Women are natural networkers and connectors. I enjoy nothing better than attending the various 1230 TWC group meetings and being able to learn and connect across them all.

Don’t only attend those events that don’t provide this opportunity just because they don’t provide the opportunity to stand up and speak!

1230 TWC wasn’t started with great intent. It started as a need for me to make contacts to grow my IT Training company. I was a virgin networker, observing others making those so vital connections. Build trusting business relationships – please note that word too - “relationships”. Awesome to see. But sooo awful to see was the SELLING!

The other thing we do well but sometimes ignore is to collaborate. Don’t look for milestones of hindrance, especially, don’t be concerned with “competitors” in “your” market place. There’s always something to learn and scope to explore opportunities to work together.

I digress!

sales

Some time ago I asked on Facebook what the word “pitch” implied/meant to the (business) readers. An emphatic “SALES/SELLING” came back, which they hated with a vengeance! So not only do we have – “I can’t possibly stand up and talk” but we also have SELLING!!! in our faces.
Are they part and parcel of the same issue?

According to Wikipedia:

An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short sales pitch – there it is, “sales”.

Sales, selling – these are big turn-offs for many who might consider attending networking events. They don’t want to be sold to, neither do they want to sell.

Let’s be realistic. We’re in business to sell our products, our services. Networking allows us the opportunity to do this in a less “in yer face” way and much more.

So to answer the question “Do I really have to stand up and give a 1 minute talk?” No, you don’t. But why waste this chance to let everyone there know why they should come to you as opposed to your next-door neighbour. Again realistically, you’re unlikely to be able to talk to everyone individually, but they can then come to you and your expertise!

alarm clock hearts

11 points to remember about your 1 minute talk:

1) Planning is key

2) That includes practicing in the bathroom – yes, say it out LOUD.

a. Get used to the sound of your voice, and time yourself accordingly.

b. Remember 1 minute for example, is the maximum amount of time. If you can get your message over in less – congratulations! A definite no, no is to take liberties and overrun your maximum time.

3) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed

4) Demonstrate your expertise in your subject

5) Use humour, props – something that makes you memorable

6) It’s NOT ABOUT YOU – it’s about how you can help your listeners

7) You are in a supportive environment - everyone willing you to succeed
No, this isn’t a typo, just a reminder of a very important fact.

8) The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

9) One size doesn’t fit all. That is, vary each talk.

10) It’s not about what you DO, it’s about what you OFFER.

11) Be yourself! People buy people – and breathe!

1 Minute talk guide



Everyone who attends 1230 TWC meetings is given a copy of this card as an aide memoire. Inside is the 1230 TWC 1 Minute Guide, the text in grey is suggestions for varying detail as appropriate, with space to make notes from the meeting.

Networking is NOT about selling, it’s about building RELATIONSHIPS.

So please…. No more “elevator pitches”.
Stop it, NOW!
Just be yourself and speak!

The Woeful Tale of a Terabyte or 2

This 1TB (terabyte) SSD that you bought, yes… well, the machine only recognises 250GB.  Given that a terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes (GB) 1024GB to be precise, that means that the HDD (hard disk drive) is only using a quarter/25% of its full capacity.

Hmmmm.  Still with me?

What is the difference between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

A traditional HDD is a device made up of moving parts that uses spinning platters to store data. An SSD on the other hand uses flash memory and has no moving parts.

terabyte

Okayyyyy….

What am I talking about?  Data storage space, computers, PCs.  Those of you who know me will know that I’m not technical although I have been known to fit a few GB of RAM over the years.  OK, either way this SDD is dangerously full up, so said machine needs a new hard drive.  Seems that a 4TB hard drive would be a good move.

Stop!

The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB.  Eeeeek!

Screaming girl

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