Business Radio Blog

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Gift Cards from The Bodyshop

Loreal             bodyshop

 

Well I wanted to stay away but you know me if there is something to bring to your attention you can depend on me to let you know.

Today I'd like to tell you about my experience at using a gift card that we'd received from The Bodyshop @TheBodyShop who are now owned by @LOreal_UKI @Loreal.

Someone gave us a Bodyshop gift card for Christmas but trying to use it has become a challenge, let me explain.

You cannot spend the gift card online and you need to go to a store, no problem, we went to the Horsham store who said "We're sorry but this store is a franchise and we cannot accept gift cards that you have bought online from The Bodyshop" and went on to say that "if you had purchased the gift card from us (Horsham) that that would have been different and that we would have accepted it" Hang on I thought, We have received a gift card from The Bodyshop but because you are a Franchise we are unable to use it? I did not argue, I left and now I am telling you bout it...hello

You know, I would have thought that in an age where the customer has so many places to spend their money why on earth would a franchise not accept the gift cards and then deal with it internally collecting the money from the Franchisor? Why does The Bodyshop make it so difficult to spend the gift cards?

I can think of many household names that offer gift cards and are accepted in all of their stores but not The Bodyshop.

My view is that if I have a gift card that has the name of a company on it then I should be able to spend it in any of it's outlets, as it turned out we did not spend the gift card, instead I threw in my draw and I will tell everyone how difficult I have found the experience which I hope will stop other people from buying gift cards.

If you are thinking of buying a gift card from The Bodyshop then it might be a good idea to make sure that the recipient can spend it in their local store otherwise like me it will just be a waste of time.

Now I know that some of you will want to comment on this telling me that your experience may have been different to mine and I am sure that you are right but in my humble opinion if I have a gift card from a multimillion pound corporation then it is in their best interest to make as easy as possible for me to spend it.

Have a fantastic week! 

 

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Misco Review

Hey there!

It's been a little while since I was last here to complain but here I am!

by default 6

So here is how to lose a loyal customer.

I have been using Misco http://www.misco.co.uk/ for many years and I have always (ok so not always) had good service from them. I liked Misco because their website was pretty straightforward and their customer service was OK. When I had an account manager it was actually pretty good but now it's all gone a bit rubbish, everything from navigating the website to their customer service is terrible or maybe it's just me!

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Make more money

Getting your clients to part with more money can be difficult especially if they are not getting in return. But if you can engage with them you probably have a netter chance of getting them to spend more with you instead of you having to constantly find new customers.

An innovative way to engage with your clients/customers is to have a podcast something that they can listen to, something that they will feel that they are getting value from or are interested in.

A podcast is not difficult to create in fact if you have a voice recorder it is very simple or if you have a laptop you can just turn the microphone on and start recording something. They key is to make interesting for your listeners so you might one day talk about your business and on another day you might want to interview someone about their business. Remember to be interesting.

Having your own podcast or show on business radio isn't just about sounding like a DJ, it's about you engaging with your clients or customers and you can do this by ensuring that the content that you are talking about is well researched and well presented.

 

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Make more time

Normally I would rant about anything that has been bugging me, but today I’d like to share with you the importance of time and I’m not coming at this from “time leaches” or time wastage but more of a “you need to make more time by doing less”

And before you start saying “I don’t have any time” just ask yourself “What would it take to make more time?”

If you went to see your doctor and they said that you had a fatal illness would that make you stop and think or would you just carryon regardless? Having spoken to many people who have had this happen to them I already know what your answer is, but why should it take a fatal illness to get us to realise that we need to make more time?

Time is one of those things that we place a high value on when it comes to giving it to someone else. How many times have you told someone that you’re unable to see them because you’re too busy? Lets stick with this one for a minute. What do we mean by “I’m too busy”? or “I’m too busy right now”. What is the message that you think that you are passing? Do you think that it is one of busyness and importance and how do you think that your answer is being received? Does this person who you’ve just turned down really believe that you are busy or that you just don’t want to see them? And what if this person was to leave your sight and die, how would you feel then?

Here is my philosophy : Make more time for others and they will make time for us.

We live in a world of constant demands and pressures from bosses making you work flat out, so much so that we give up on the rest of life (because we don’t have the time) to do anything else.But wait a minute, we are small businesses and we are the bosses so shouldn’t we know better?

The problem is this: When someone approaches you with something to say and you say something like “I don t have the time” what the other person is hearing is “I can’t be bothered with you” and “You are not worth my time”. When did we give up on people for the sake of whatever we are doing? Actually, we gave up many moons ago and what we need now and a reset or perhaps a good slap to remind us that we are not talking to objects, we are talking to people and if people don’t matter what does?

Make more time.

End of Rant

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3 steps to having your own radio show

Here are my 3 steps to having your own radio show.

Step 1:

1 . Introduce yourself and what it is that you do.
2 . Tell your listeners what you will be talking about, what music you’ll be playing and who, if anyone, you have coming on your show.

your own showStep 2:

Plan your show and try to follow the plan. Although some people might be able to carry off “shooting from the hip” or “ad-libbing” is never that good and although you might go “off-plan” now and again, a plan will always get you back on track and with practise you will just flow.


Step 3:

Be interested in your guest. If you have invited someone to come on your show then take the trouble to find as much information about them as possible, have lots of questions for them so that you come across as interested. Not being prepared leaves you open to “umming”, scratching your head and having lots of long pauses.


Thank everyone for listening. Remember that the show is recorded and that people may listen at anytime once the show is published. You may find that on the actual day of broadcast that you might jot have too many listeners but by the end of the month you may have several hundred.

And finally, don’t forget to tell your listeners how to find out more information about you and your guest either on twitter, website and Facebook.

And Finally Finally, share your unique webpage link with everyone on twitter, Facebook, linkedin and any other forma of communication that you may use.

If you need any help please call:-)

Good Luck!

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What does free mean to Vista Print?

The Friday Rant:

What does the word FREE mean to you?

UnknownIf you see a sign that says “free pizza” you would expect to get a free pizza similarly if you saw a sign that said free x when you buy x, that is pretty clear but Vista Print seem to think that free means you have to pay?

Let me enlighten you.

I recently placed an order for some business cards through Vista Print. I’ve used Vista Print for short runs of cards before and usually everything works out fine. I place my order and the cards arrive.
However, on this occasion it was not so straightforward. I placed my order and a couple of days later I received an email to tell me that my order had been cancelled due to some sort of printing or graphic issue and that the money that I had paid had been credited to me and “please could I call them”.

So lets just take a minute. The order has been cancelled and I have been credited. This transaction is complete, you would think.

I called Vista Print as requested and spoke to a lady who needed to speak to the “design” department. When she came back she said something along the lines of “we have fixed the issue and we are going to print these for free. (note that this is a new transaction) It won’t cost you anything for this order, we are printing them for free including postage” “wow” I thought that is really nice, something went wrong, they informed me, gave me a credit and did the job for free, I was impressed, for a little while.

Anyway the cards arrived and they were as I had designed them “cool” I thought. A few hours later I received an email from Vista Printer with an invoice attached for the amount of the cards. “Hmm” I thought, “something isn’t right”. I jumped on my laptop and using not so instant chat, I ventured to find out why I was being charged when I was told that this was free.

After lots of messages back and forth it transpired that the “free” works like this.

vistaprint logo

If an order is cancelled Vista Print place a credit on your account. When or if the order is placed they use the credit that they have given you, so NOT free. Actually I don’t know how legal this is? They gave me a credit for the full amount of my order, then told me that the new order was “free” but then charged me?

I was little fed up and really wanted to get this resolved and ended up getting another credit to my account for the full amount. Now I wasn’t able to get the money given back to my credit card company but at least i have something. Am I happy? do I sound happy?

Now, Vista Print may come back with “this was an error” but reading through the chat transcript this appears to be normal practice for Vista Print.

So that we are all clear on the word “FREE”, Free means free from payment, not free and we’re going to take money from you. To be honest had Vista Print not tried to be clever about this I wouldn’t have minded. They could have said “hey look, we cancelled your order but now we’re going to process it and we’re going to charge you again as we gave you a credit for the cancelled order” that would have worked a treat and i wouldn’t have minded but to make out that something is free from payment and then charge for it is a little cheap by anyones standards. 

Rant over.

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How I would start a business

If you are thinking of starting a business try my approach, avoid the “experts” and you could be the next big success.

You get told all the time that you need to do research BEFORE starting a business, but how much research should you do and why should you follow someone else’s idea of what they feel research is?

In my view, if you have an idea that you have identified a need for, then you should just run with it and not worry too much about pricing, business planing and certainly not a marketing plan.

 

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Social media and dodgy email accounts.

I’m always impressed by the number of people who still do not see a value in social media or have their business name @ freeEmail .com.

In my opinion your email address says who you are and if you are portraying yourself as a “business” then you should have an email address that resembles your website name. For example if your business was Business Radio and you have a website called businessradio.co.uk then it would be expected that you have an email address @businessradio.co.uk and not This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. nor google or any other dodgy free email service.

 

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Internet Radio Advertising 101

Online Radio 101:

WHAT THEY ARE: Online radio ads, often referred to as “streaming audio ads,” ARE the ads you hear when listening to a radio station’s digital stream. This is typically at a computer or on a mobile device.
WHAT THEY AREN’T: Online radio ads ARE NOT the ads you hear “over-the-air”. Over-the-air broadcasts are when you listen from a traditional radio player or in your car.
COST EFFECTIVE: Online streams can play different advertisements than the ones heard over-the-air. This presents a unique, low cost opportunity for SMBs to deliver their message, promotion or special offer to a potential new customer for 30 seconds without any clutter or distraction.
Reach: With online radio ads, SMBs can choose exactly how many customers will hear their ad and the times of day their ad will run.
REACHES CUSTOMERS READY TO ACT: A key benefit of online radio ads is that listeners are on their computer or mobile device and are literally a tap or click away from your business. Your potential customers are poised to act immediately when they hear your special offer or promotion; whether that is calling to book an appointment or reservation or looking up store hours and directions.

Advertising with Business Radio costs around £7 per commercial and in some cases covers the cost of making the commercial too! contact us for more details..

 

Source : http://blog.1and1.com/2014/04/16/how-to-boost-your-business-with-online-radio-advertising/#

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Small business marketing

People who are great at marketing…themselves!

As a small business you are always looking for ways to grow your business. You’ve probably tried to a few marketing ideas but the results have been at best low.

As an Entrepreneur you recognise that you need help so you are taken away from running the business to start looking for someone who can help you. It is important that you take the time to find the right person or organisation as there are so many “would be experts” out there.

But how do you find someone, after all, what is an expert? I’ve known many experts, some claim to be good while others have shown me that I can afford today their monthly fees but none of them have made a difference to my business.

When people are experts, what does that mean? Expert according to whom?

Some people feel that that because they’ve had high powered position that this makes them an expert?

I have a really close friend called Pablo. He is a marketing guru. He works and has worked for many multimillion pound companies. These companies hire him because he is an expert or is he?

Lets take a look at what he does.

Pablo gets a budget of anything from £250K to £750K per year to blow on marketing. He then hires a couple of marketing companies to do the marketing for him! Now, lets assume that Pablo has been doing this for twenty years. How much of an expert is he?

He then decided to write a book on marketing which no publisher wanted so he self published! Now he markets his books which are a good read but I’d never use it for my business. :-)

The point that I’m making is that my very good friend Pablo knows nothing of small business marketing because he has been used to (and still does) spending big money on marketing.

You will find Pablo at many small business shows promoting his book because, he doesn’t need to sell his book but it makes him feel good.

When it comes to marketing for small business take care when you find an expert. Clearly they have been very good at catching your attention just make sure that they don’t get your wallet!

If you want to find out more about small business marketing consider us. We’ll do for free..well for now anyway :-)

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Here are some quick ways to get more sales!

1. Networking: Meeting other business people and telling them what your business is about is a great way to grow your network and grow your social circle. But don’t just think that all you have to do is turn up. Ask questions and be interested because everyone knows that in order to be interesting you need to be interested!


2. Take the time to find free listings on the internet and add your business to it. Search engines love links back to your website so the more you have the more popular you’ll seem.


3. Contributions: Create a blog or give feedback on other blogs which will in turn show how competent you are in your business and also send traffic to your website.

4. Check your emails. If people are enquiring about your product or service and you’re not resending to the enquiry then they will go elsewhere.
A little while ago I sent out 50 emails. Out of those 50 only 25 opened the email! How mad is that?

5. Use Twitter and Facebook to promote your business. I know, you’re probably thinking “I don’t know anything about Twitter”. Look, Twitter is just a little learning curve. Give it a go and if you get stuck give me a call! :-)

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Too good to be true

Too Good To Be True!


Business Radio is all about helping small businesses. We do this by giving them free advertising on our Radio station and various other ways. Now, whenever we do a show it gets stored on a platform called Mixcloud. Mixcloud stores our shows and we play them through our website and anyone who happens to find us on Mixcloud. What this means is that people can hear the program again and again. This also means that if we play a commercial for you for FREE, then it will be listened to again and again. Straightforward? Are you still wth me? If you advertise with us, unlike other companies, your advert will be listened to again and again!

But it’s funny how people react to “Free”. I imagine that if I walked up to people in the street and handed out £10 notes that there might be little resistance, they may wonder if the notes were fake or that perhaps I was an eccentric millionaire? And you’ve heard the term “Too Good To Be True” or “If it looks too good to be true then it probably is”

 

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How to write the perfect CV

 

When writing a curriculum vitae really think about what you want to say. This is your opportunity to really sell yourself.

Your CV should include the following information –

  1. Personal information – Full name, postal address, mobile number, home telephone number, e-mail address
  2. Profile – Your key strengths/skills and what it is about you that makes you a good potential employee. Try to keep this section brief and to one paragraph.
  3. Education – Dates with the name and town of the education establishments that you attended. List passed qualifications gained and details of any specific qualifications that the role requires.
  4. Employment – Put your jobs in chronological order starting with your current or most recent role and working backwards. Include the dates you were employed, your job title, the company name and a brief, factual summary of your duties. If you have any periods of unemployment explain with the dates what you were doing e.g. charity work, travelling etc
  5. Skills – Any additional languages, software packages etc
  6. Interests – Any hobbies, sports or pastimes that display your enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to learn

Interview Preparation

  1. Read and fully understand the job description
  2. Research the company – how long have they been trading, how many staff do they employ, what industry is their business in.
  3. Dress smartly and look presentable. Smart business dress with clean shoes will make the right impression – remember first impressions count!
  4. Smile, relax and be polite, ask relevant questions and remember above all to thank the interviewer for their time.

If you need some help looking for your next role please get in touch.

www.parmarstaffing.co.uk

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

01323 844664 – East Sussex Office

01903 245027 – West Sussex Office

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Do away with opening times!

I still can’t get my head around highstreet shops or businesses that open at 09:30, what is that about? It’s as if you’re telling your customers to “sod off, we’re not interested until 09:30” Whereupon you’ll put a smile on your face and welcome them in?

There was a time when you could open whenever you wanted, sell whatever you wanted but those days have long gone. People now have a choice such as the internet which is open 24X7, other shops that are open at 08:30 and other companies who are “Hungry” for any business even if it is before 09:30.

In a world where people have so much choice can you really afford not to be more accessible?

My advice to the small business person is this: It’s a tough world out there and if you are going make it in business you really need to find ways to make it easier for your customers to buy from you instead of putting up barriers such as opening times and locked doors.

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Get Social!

Social media!

In my opinion social media is not the be all and end all of your business (depending on what your business is) If your business is all about Social media and you don’t use it then you might have a hard time trying to convince people that you know what you are talking about. There again if you are in manual labour such as painting and decorating or a mechanic, then, while Twitter may not be your thing, Facebook might be, and the reason that Facebook might be for you is that there are lost more “domestic” users on Facebook and more likely to be looking for your services. Is that narrow minded?
The above said, there is nothing wrong with having lots of social media accounts to protect your business name but once you have your name.

Should you decide that you want to get some business from using social media then here are some points to remember.

1. Whichever social media platform you decide on, one posting per day is not enough.
2. Because your target market may be following more than one account you need to give more information more regularly.
3. Social media is a full-time job. you can't just tweet or face now and then. Keep your audience hungry for more information.
4. Don’t have the time to do it? If you don’t have the time to do it properly then get someone to do it for you. There are many individuals out there who could do with the business, just don’t get ripped off paying lots of money for very little.

There are many companies out there who would gladly take your social media business away from you in return for some cash, unfortunately some of these companies just want your cash :-)

Here is an extensive list of social media websites https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

Personally I would stick to Twitter and Facebook and maybe google+

If you need any help with Social Media and getting your name out there or even just what to say on social media please contact me.We have a team of volunteers who really want to help you.

 

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What's in a name?

What’s in a name?

Well pretty much everything really because if people don’t know what you are called how are they going to find you? “Well they can always google you” I can hear you say but that is always the case.

Some names you come up by yourself something like “business radio” it does what it says while others not so. I know of an international company who spent tens of thousands of pounds on a marketing company to come up with a unique name. While initially some people found it hard to pronounce, now 7 years on, they are one of the most respected companies in their field and no one mispronounces their name.

I know a photographer who says my “name is xxx-xxx and I’m a photographer” but when you search for this person online they don’t exist under their name or if they do it’s on some blogging site or someone else’s website giving them credit. Then you find out that the company name that they are using is nothing like what you’d expect, like “Boots” not selling boots or “Currys” not selling curry. While there are companies out there who can carry this really well such as Apple, M&S, Microsoft, these companies have been around for years or have had a significant amount of money poured into them so that they have now become household names.

I think that my advice would be when it comes to names, try to use something that describes what you are about and not too weird:-)and there is nothing with using your own name if you are the business.

If you need help selecting a name, give me a call, we have a volunteer team who would love to help you.

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Small business and missed opportunities

You know, having a business is a little like growing up. We grow the business and develop new ideas. We try things and some work out while others don’t. We learn from the things we didn’t quite get right and we smile at the things that worked. We get better at what we do by trying new things and developing new ideas.

Missed Opportunities on business radios

As with growing up a business needs to be social. You as the business owner or representative need to be out there marketing your business and sometimes these opportunities smack us right in the mouth and somehow we miss them?

I don’t mind telling you that Business Radio will one day be very popular. It will be the centre of attention for large and small business, so if you get given an opportunity to be interviewed or come on the show, don’t turn it down because you may not get another opportunity to sound off about your business.

Being interviewed by Business Radio is more of a marketing exercise for small business because we believe that every small business should have the opportunity to advertise for free. Now if for some reason you decide to blow us out and not turn up or better still turn us down until we are further down the line, don’t be surprised if we decide not to have you on the show, ever.

In Sussex there are over 50,000 small businesses. If you decide that we’re not worth your time, don’t worry, we have another 49,999 other businesses to go through and I’m sure that a few of them will probably be your competitors.

We provide a free service for small businesses, it’s a shame that some people don’t feel that we are worth it..more fools them :-)

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Brighton and Hove Council Folly

Again, this is one of those issues that I’m a little too late on but luckily I can still air my view.

Brighton and Hove Council have agreed to have the i360 phallic ring go up where the west pier used to be. In my humble opinion this is nothing but a wast of money.

I had a good google and read a few articles regarding this and I must say that in the light of all the negativity, all the financiers pulling out and local opposition that, Brighton and Hove Council in all of their wisdom still thought that it was a good investment. So much so that, they loaned the organisers 43 million pounds! But wait it doesn’t stop there, should the project fail there is no backup plan other than taking over the running of this monstrosity and trying to find another buyer. How stupid are Brighton and Hove council? (actually)

lets just rewind a little. lets assume that this was your idea and that you needed to raise finance. First stop the bank, who will look at the business plan, scratch their chins and say..”Nope..the figures don’t add up..” OK, not to worry, lets look at private financing who again would look at the business plan, forecasts and then scratch the heads and say “no..it doesn’t add up..” But wait, lets try Brighton and Hove council, they seem like the type who might be interested in buying London Bridge or The Eiffel Tower.

The organisers say (forecast) that this will attract an extra 800,000 visitors per year, where on earth have they found this figure? Perhaps they’ve been breathing thin air?

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It's getting smaller!

As I get older everything around me is getting smaller and I don't me "about me!"

I recently saw a commercial for Twix on television and it looked huge in the hands of two men but, the last time that I purchased a twix it wasn't much bigger than my index finger.

I know that I’ve probably missed the boat on this argument but everything is getting smaller. Do you remember the commercial for the Yorky bar? A strapping lorry driver tucking into what appeared to be a “man size” chocolate bar, have you bought one recently?

The waggon wheel went the same way.

twix bar ideologies 600 75182Now, all the big manufacturers will have you believe that the reason for chocolates being smaller ranges from the price of raw chocolate going up to manufacturing costs to “looking after your health” but the reality (in my opinion) is that they can get away with it and we are still happy to pay whatever they ask (within reason). But this isn’t just with chocolate, we see the same with everyday foods and housing. A three bedroom house today is much smaller than a three bedroom house 10 years ago and again it isn’t just because the builder is greedier, we are just stupid enough to buy it.

When it comes to size, I’m all about value for money and I don’t think that manufacturers, suppliers, retailers or even the government is giving us value for our money.

This is what the Telegraph had to say on the matter:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9943353/Household-brands-slash-size-of-goods-in-hidden-price-hikes.html

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Internet Radio Advertising is growing..

I recently came across this article which echoes my thoughts regarding internet radio advertising. I have modified it for UK reading.

Why Internet Radio is The Biggest Advertising Opportunity of The Future by David Porter

Internet radio has the potential to be the most ubiquitous form of media ever. More commanding of your attention than film, television, or books. This is because listening to music can be enjoyed while doing other activities. Before I go further, let me make an important distinction: there are two types of listeners, lean back and lean forward. Lean back listeners hear music programming via a playlist or radio station (think “set it and forget it”), whereas lean forward listeners actively select individual songs. The majority of people prefer a lean back experience.

In 2014, one third of Americans used their phones to stream music. Young adults (18-24) listened to internet radio more than terrestrial. Two of the top five most popular apps in America (Pandora and Youtube) are used for streaming music. With Americans now spending more time on their phones than watching television, there has never been a more opportune time to maximise internet radio experiences.

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