Business Action Autumn 2014 online

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Business Action is the magazine for NDBA members and businesses in North Devon, featuring articles on practical business advice and topical issues. This issue focuses on the new NDBA web site, the NDBA Online Awards 2014, business productivity, staff recruitment and more.

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  • New look NDBA #ndevon networkingMake your business accessibleSocial media in North Devon

    2014 NDBA Online Awards How effectively is your business working?

    Improve your staff recruitment

    business-action.co.uk | @businessactionm | Autumn 2014

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    BarnstapleTel: 01271 828176 - Mob: 07968 404357 Email: amelia@barnstaple-workhub.co.uk

    www.barnstaple-workhub.co.uk

  • 3@businessactionm | Autumn 2014

    NDBA

    In this autumn issue of Business Action, we are delighted to announce both the rebranding of the NDBA and the launch of our 2014 Online Awards.

    Originally established as the North Devon Business Alliance, the NDBA has now rebranded as North Devon Business Action.

    This coincides with the launch of the new web site at ndevonbusinessaction.co.uk

    The site features blogs, business news and events, and useful information. In the months ahead well be adding a directory of NDBA members plus more content and features specifically for members.

    NDBA was established as a networking organisation for the whole of North Devon and will continue to focus on this both at our end-of-month Friday lunches, on our web site and via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook.

    Join for more member benefitsWell also be developing membership benefits members already receive discounts on events and on advertising in this magazine. So if you want to step up your networking, both online and face to face, why not join now? Sign up on the web site.2014 Online AwardsFor the third year we are running our online business awards. These are open to all businesses based or operating in North Devon.

    The aim of the awards is to recognise those businesses using blogs, social media, and video and audio most effectively.Awards categories

    Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Online Media Blogging Online Networker

    Enter online awardsTurn to page 16 for full details of the awards and how to enter.

    Good luck!

    New name, new look

  • 4 Business Action | business-action.co.uk

    FROM YOUR EDITOR

    Thank you for your kind comments about our bigger, new-look magazine.

    I cant believe that this autumn issue is here already and that we are now entering the final quarter of 2014.

    While the year started off with great optimism and businesses have succeeded in shaking off much of the gloom of

    the recession, the uncertainty of global events beyond our control could hamper growth.

    As theres nothing we can do to influence many of these events, what we can do is focus on our businesses so that they are efficient, strong and resilient.

    If you want to increase your network and find new customers and suppliers in North Devon, I recommend the relaunched NDBA.

    The new name North Devon Business Action says it all.

    Lets connect.Robert Zarywacz

    Business Action is edited, designed and produced by Zarywacz editor: Robert Zarywacz tel: 07971 176044 email: robertz@business-action.co.uk online: business-action.co.uk Twitter: @businessactionm follow: Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook

    Views expressed by contributors to this magazine are not necessarily those of the North Devon Business Alliance or Zarywacz. Readers are strongly recommended to seek advice from an appropriate professional before taking any action on any topic discussed in the magazine and to check full terms and conditions of any products or services promoted in advertisements. 2014 North Devon Business Alliance and Zarywacz.

    From your editor

    Take Business Action! Network with NDBA New customers New suppliers Build an efficient, strong and resilient business

  • 5@businessactionm | Autumn 2014

    3 North Devon Business Action New name, new look NDBA

    4 From your editor Robert Zarywacz

    6 How effectively is your business working? Rozz Algar

    8 NDBA: the future Kevin Woodward

    10 Easy access makes sense for business Rob Lott

    14 Social media resources What networks are available

    16 NDBA Online Awards 2014 17 An easy way to connect

    Robert Zarywacz 18 Twitter Award 20 Google+ Award 22 LinkedIn Award 24 Facebook Award 26 Online Media Award 28 Blogging Award 30 Online Networker Award

    33 Seeing red Paul Clews

    34 Counting the cost of cost cutting Kevin Woodward

    36 How can you recruit staff effectively? Alice Hellmund

    39 Advertise in this magazine Packages now available

    40 Is there a cost to please and thanks? Robert Zarywacz

    42 The dreaded elevator speech Kevin Woodward

    44 NDBA member Q&A: Elaine Isaac

    CONTENTS

    New look NDBA #ndevon networkingMake your business accessibleSocial media in North Devon

    2014 NDBA Online Awards How effectively is your business working?

    Improve your staff recruitment

    business-action.co.uk | @businessactionm | Autumn 2014

  • Business Action | business-action.co.uk

    IMPROVEMENT

    6

    All too often businesses (even the best of businesses) start to be slowed down by the very things that should be making them tick the processes and the people. Processes become overly complicated, chains of command too long, people become entrenched in the way that they do things and get bogged down in minutiae.

    Great businesses focus on ensuring that continuous improvement is a fundamental principle of what they do. We have probably all heard of the continuous improvement cycle Plan, Do, Check, Act but how many of us can honestly say that we follow this principle throughout our business? Each element of this cycle is as important as the last.Plan . . .Planning or having a clear goal has to be the first fundamental. Without a clear goal and set of objectives, how will we ever know if we have actually achieved

    anything? But what is more important than having this goal is to communicate it clearly and succinctly to all involved.Do . . .Making sure the strategy is clear and then getting on with things has to follow closely behind. Sometimes too much time is spent planning.Check . . .Okay, lets be honest: how much do we do of this? All too often checking gets forgotten or at least pushed to one side in the rush to keep going. If we dont take time to stop and evaluate how we are doing, how do we know for sure that any future plans will be any better than what came before?Act . . . Once we know what improvements need to be made, lets act as quickly as we can and not waste time looking back, or debating. If it needs to be done, it needs to be done. And not forgetting of course that it is called a continuous improvement

    How effectively is your business working?Rozz Algar, from Herne, explores how to ensure continuous improvement really does continue in your business

  • 7@businessactionm | Autumn 2014

    IMPROVEMENT

    cycle for a very good reason: it keeps on going round; there is no end, just a new beginning.

    All this sounds simple and straightforward, but to help you get going, how about asking yourself some questions to see whether now would be a good time to check and act?Ask yourself . . .

    If we started again from scratch, would we still be doing it this way? Are we focusing on things that make us more effective or worrying too much about the minutiae of the day to day? Do we have the skills and abilities to do what we need to do efficiently (if we dont, we need to upskill our staff, or maybe we should outsource that element)? Are we procrastinating? Are we spending too much time telling each other stuff without getting on with it (emails can slow us down go and see your colleague, have a face to face conversation and move on)? Are the right people doing the tasks? Delegation isnt hard, it just takes time, good communications and ensuring

    people know what needs to be done Have we packed our days so full of tasks that there is no time to actually plan and evaluate?

    Evaluating your business and ensuring it works as effectively as possible can be tough, but taking time to focus on the how as much as the what will make you more efficient and effective and keep your business fit for purpose today and into the future.

    So be brave and take a look at how you do what you do. Rozz Algar is a highly

    successful and energetic executive with expertise in people management, organisational development and communications.

    tel: 01837 83111 email: rozz@herne.org.uk web: herne.org.uk Twitter: @HerneRozz

  • 8 Business Action | business-action.co.uk

    NDBA NETWORKING

    North Devon Business Action (or Alliance previously) has been moving along quite nicely as a small, informal networking group. The startIt started as a lunchtime networking group for a few local businesses, who couldnt make breakfasts for various reasons and didnt really want to impose upon family time in the evenings. We felt that lunch meetings were the

    obvious choice.We settled

    upon the last Friday of the month as a time when most of the months work had been done and it was time to wind down and celebrate the months hard

    work. Although, to be truthful, it has never felt like that as one month rolled into the next.Progression Four years ago, we thought it would be good to expand our group and invite others to lunches to build up a greater network.

    We also thought it would be a good idea to have a web site and to use social media to keep ourselves in contact with one another in between meetings.

    FaceBook and Twitter accounts, LinkedIn groups and subsequently even Google+ communities were set up as a way to keep in touch.

    Membership numbers have remained steady at around 30 businesses and while some members have left, new ones have joined. Membership hasnt been expensive, at only 15 per year, just enough to pay for web hosting and to cover the occasional overspend on lunches.

    Weve seem numbers at lunches vary from eight to 28, and for the past two years have hosted them at the Chichester Arms, Bishops Tawton, where the warm welcome and the flexibility of the management and staff have been

    NDBA activities Networking lunches Networking online Web site resource Online groups Business Action magazine

    NDBA: the futureKevin Woodward, founder of NDBA, introduces the new web site and plans for future networking in North Devon

    Kevin Woodward(NDBA founder) K&V Associates

  • HEADER

    @businessactionm | Autumn 2014 9

    very helpful in accommodating our varying numbers.

    Over the years we have seen 200+ businesses join us for at least one lunch, and of those a high percentage have come back regularly albeit not all at once.Online AwardsTwo years ago, we created an awards scheme to find the best online networker, best business use of Twitter, Google+, LikedIn, FaceBook and other social media and online tools. These awards

    have grown in popularity each year and we look forward to running the awards again this year for entry details and dates, see pages 16 to 30

    and please enter. Entry is free!New web siteWeb sites get outdated and our current site has been around for nearly four years now.

    Aware that it needed an overhaul, we are launching a new site with a new name and new web address:

    ndevonbusinessaction.co.ukThe new site also creates the

    opportunity to move forward into

    the digital era by making it a more useful, fun place to visit.

    Well never be a Facebook or a Twitter, but we want it to be somewhere that we can all visit on a weekly basis, at least to see the local news, check out the resource pages for information, ask questions of other members and to answer questions from other members.

    The web site will be upgraded to cater for members of various levels (details to follow soon), and will offer access to stuff for free as well as specialised resources that only paying members can see.

    This development is happening as I write and we have completed phase 1 and launched the basic site. Visit regularly as we complete the next phases and add even more functionality and resources.

    So, whether its face to face at our lunchtime meetings, online at our web site or on social media, or through this magazine, we look forward to connecting with you. tel: 0333 044 2038 web: ndevonbusinessaction.co.uk Twitter: @northdevon

    Stacey Pledge(NDBA web site) B My Office

    Robert Zarywacz(NDBA magazine)Zarywacz

  • 10 Business Action | business-action.co.uk

    Have you ever lost a potential sale because the customer couldnt access your premises, service or information?

    Theres a very good chance that if you have, you wont even know about it. Why should I bother being accessible?Putting aside legislative requirements and moral /social arguments around being accessible, improving your accessibility actually makes good business sense.

    The Office for National Statistics says that there are 11 million people in the UK with a limiting

    long-term illness, impairment or disability; according to VisitEngland accessible tourism alone is worth over 2 billion a year to UK businesses.

    Factor in this large potential market, and the realisation that many accessibility improvements are actually going to be of benefit to all of your customers not just those with access needs, and it is easy to see the business case for making access improvements.

    Some access improvements can be costly and require specialist equipment, but there are many low / no-cost improvements that you can make.

    Easy access makes sense for businessRob Lott from Calvert Trust Exmoor gives some simple tips on increasing your business through improving your accessibility

  • 12 Business Action | business-action.co.uk

    ACCESSIBILTY

    Where do I start?A great place to start is with an access statement. What this looks like will depend on the nature and size of your business, but essentially what you are trying to do is give a realistic description of your business. Its not a marketing document! It needs to contain the details necessary to help someone with access needs assess whether they can access your business. In our case, its full of information like doorway widths, lighting types, flooring type. Feel free to have a look at ours for inspiration you can find it at:calvert-trust.org.uk/access

    Many people with access needs use an if I dont know, I wont go approach; with your access statement you are trying to make sure they know what your business is like before they arrive, and to re-assure them that you have thought about their access needs. The statement itself needs to be easily accessible too, of course. Make sure that it is easy to find on your web site.

    Dont forget: as you make other access improvements and other changes to your business over time, you must keep your access statement up to date.Information formatsConsider which formats might be appropriate for your written

    information, eg large print, braille, audio, easy read / pictorial. Large print is by far the most popular, which is great because it is easy to produce in house.

    We offer our large print information on a range of paper colours, but the majority of people with a visual impairment find black text on yellow paper is easiest to read, so make sure you at least can offer that. Top tips for producing accessible documents

    Use a sans-serif font (eg Arial, Tahoma, Verdana) For large print font size should be 18-20 point Avoi...