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Members' Articles

Who else is using this to help them sell their product this Easter?

by Noel Greenwood from GWD

12th March 2015

Post Type: Newspaper Article

Chocolate Easter Egg Box

Easter means lots of different things.  New beginnings, bunnies, the end of Lent, Good Friday, Easter Monday, chicks, baby lambs, chocolate and children screaming at you because they’re just desperate for ‘one more Easter egg’.

It means all those things.  But it also means something else.  And for a business owner, it’s perhaps the most important thing.

It means big bucks.

Just like Christmas, Easter is a fantastic opportunity for small and medium businesses to significantly boost their sales.  It’s a time for family (what with two bank holidays and all), and it’s also a time for lots of food.  In short, if you’re a B2C business (or a B2B business creating products for a B2C market) then you can use Easter to add more income to your top line and your bottom line.

But how do you do it?  After all, Easter isn’t exactly a secret – your competitors are keen to grow their profits in exactly the same way as you are.

The answer is simple to say, but not quite so easy to do: make your prospects want to buy your product rather than your competitors.  Make your product stand out enough that when your prospect is shopping for exactly what you sell, your product is the only one they’re interested in buying.Easter Egg Box

Now there are a number of things that can contribute towards your product being seen as more desirable than others.  It might be a better product.  You might have a more reputable brand.  It might have been referred to them by one of your existing customers.

But the thing I’m going to alert you to is – surprise, surprise – the way it looks and the way it’s packed.  Like it or not, if your product doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing on that shelf or that e-commerce website, no one’s buying it this Easter.  A simple way to ensure that your product isn’t lost in the sea of competition is to ensure that it’s packaging is absolutely first class.

Good packaging can make a world of difference.  Allow me to quote from a study commissioned by MeadWestcao Corporation:

The findings show that consumers rate a product’s packaging to be on par with the brand itself (10% vs. 12%). Considering the investment companies make in building their brands compared to their products’ packaging, this is significant”

folding easter egg boxes In other words, consumers rate a product’s packaging as pretty much as important as the actual brand of the product.

What’s the lesson here?  If you’re selling a product, and your packaging isn’t accentuating or adding to the allure of it, you’re leaving money on the table, end of story.  Have a peaceful and prosperous Easter.

 

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Noel Greenwood is the Managing Director of GWD Ltd, the designers and manufacturers of presentation and promotional packaging.  You can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at www.gwd.ltd.uk.


Family history turns into a new blend of fine Tea

by Jane Malyon from The English Cream Tea Company

02nd March 2015

Post Type: New Member Article

The Engish Cream Tea Company is delighted to have produced and launched their own unique range of fine teas (both premium silken pyramid teabags and loose leaf) this year, currently comprising:

  • Earl Grey with a hint of Rose
  • Afternoon Tea with a hint of Citrus
  • English Breakfast
  • Chocolate Tea with a hint of Spice
  • Berry Fruit Fusion
  • China Fog Green Tea
  • Henry Norris CBE Smoky Tea


The 2 most unusual teas are Chocolate Tea (which is also sold with our award-winning chocolate brownies!) and the Henry Norris CBE blend. Jane Malyon, is proud to be the Great Granddaughter of Henry Norris CBE (1852-1954). He worked in the East/West India Docks in London his whole life, rising to become Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority. His role included ensuring that teas kept coming into Britain to our teapots - especially during the 1st World War (important!). For this work, King George V honoured him with the CBE award (Commander of the British Empire). Photo attached of Henry, the taller gentleman, on the left of King George V at the docks. This unique smoky, back-in-time tea blend is true to the era and represents teas that were being landed at this vital port during Henry’s time.


Running a Cost Management project

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

11th November 2014

Post Type: Education Item
Running a Cost Management project

Is Cost Management important ?

According to the ONS, UK manufacturers currently make just 9% profit – i.e. they give away more than 90% of their potential profits in overheads.  91 versus 9 – it seems obvious that making even a small difference to the 91 will make a very big difference to the 9.  So yes - Cost Management is very important.

So why isn’t it talked about more ?

At the start of this year Auditel commissioned a survey about Cost Management in conjunction with Management Today magazine.  We discovered that in 82% of cases, Cost Management was felt to be such an important issue that it was discussed at board level.  Unfortunately, that is often as far as it went – it remained perpetually on the “to do” list.

a)      New pension rules mean that by October 2018 employers must find another 3% of their employees’ salary to put in a pension fund.

b)      After a recent tribunal victory by the Unite union, employers must include overtime when calculating holiday pay.

c)       Next year will see the introduction of another “green” tax on our electricity bills.

It is self-evident that companies who do not take action soon will struggle to maintain current profit margins.  The smarter SMEs will respond to this threat and promote Cost Management from the “to do” list onto the “get it done or else” list.

So what can businesses do ?

Since the recession bit in 2008 most companies have shed all the staff and made all the obvious economies in order to survive.  Once you have trimmed off all the fat, cutting any deeper is into healthy flesh so is counterproductive.

“Cost cutting” is generally a short-term panic measure that – whilst delivering immediate savings – is not sustainable and often damages the business.  A recent KPMG survey predicted that 95% of the cost reductions achieved during the recession will return.

Cost Management – as opposed to Cost Cutting – does not damage operations and produces results year after year. 

Is this something that companies can do for themselves ?

Most initially try to.  Our MT survey discovered that 60% of companies have some sort of cost reduction programme, three quarters of which use in-house staff.  Companies should be aware of the hidden cost of this approach:

Senior employee will be steeped in the ethos of the company and is unlikely to be as creative as an external consultant who has a wider perspective, having run similar projects across a huge range of different industries.

In addition - senior employees are expensive – both in their salary costs but also the opportunity costs of diverting them from their core tasks onto a peripheral issue.  Unfortunately it is often only after the time commitment has been made that you know if it was worth it !  Companies can run Cost management projects for themselves, but they should weigh up the pros and cons before deciding.


Coaching Dynamics on the Radio

by Tina Dulieu from Coaching Dynamics: Tina Dulieu, B.Ed., Dip CEC

15th October 2014

Post Type: Other
Coaching Dynamics on the Radio

Tina Dulieu of Coaching Dynamics was delighted to be interviewed on 'Switch Dunmow' radio station by Andrew Morgan.  It was a mixture of music and chat where Andrew asked Tina questions about her business, its successes, the future and her personal story.  Tina commented 'It was a fun experience and Andrew is a great interviewer, I was pleased to be invited along to share my stories!'.


How many lightbulbs does it take to change an accountant ?

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

15th October 2014

Post Type: Education Item

There are 36,000 accountancy services companies in the UK.  2013 saw a 41% increase in accountancies going bust.  64% of accountants do not enjoy their job.  What does the future hold for this sector ?

Recent years have seen the biggest upheaval in work practices the accountancy profession has ever known.  Clients who deposit a carrier bag of receipts on an accountant’s desk and expect to receive back a neat set of statutory accounts are now a rareity.  Modern accountants interact with clients (some of whom they have never met) via scanned, e-signed documents.  Their bookkeepers outsource data input to services such as Digital Mailroom to transfer information from paper into cloud accounting software.  The Institute of Chartered Accountants July 2013 report warned:

  • “…the market for compliance services is shrinking and delivery is becoming more efficient…if we fail to find ways to take up the slack created by … the impact of technology we will have over-capacity which is likely to create downward pressure on prices…”

Specialisation will be key – compliance work can still be profitable for those who use technology to streamline the bulk preparation of statutory accounts, but others must specialise elsewhere.  The INTUIT 2013 “Future of Accountancy” report stated:

  • “Successful accounting professionals will take on new roles as consultants and advisors… with less emphasis on nuts-and-bolts functions such as computation and tax preparation”.

Mid-tier accountancies risk being stranded in the no man’s land between cut-price compliance work and the “one-stop-shop” offerings of their top 50 peers who continue to broaden their proficiencies.  PwC recently became an alternative business structure (ABS) and as such can own a legal subsidiary – PwC Legal – in a move destined to strengthen its appeal to FTSE250 clients.  In September a senior lawyer will join EY as a partner and build an EY legal presence, likely a similar ABS arrangement.

So what skills will be needed for high-street accountancies to prosper in this brave new world ?

A high degree of IT literacy – to manage proprietary systems and competently understand those used by clients.  The latest European Commission consultation paper on statutory audit requires auditors to assess their client’s internal systems and identify areas vulnerable to irregularities or fraud.

Niche expertise – prospective clients will increasingly seek out practices with specific knowledge pertinent to their particular business model.

Marketing – essential to survive in a market with excess capacity.

Holistic business advice – clients will expect their accountant to work alongside them, steering the business towards optimal profitability.  Larger practices will possess specialist skills in-house but mid-tier practices must forge alliances with trusted external partners in order to compete with the offerings of their larger competitors.

Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  How many lightbulb moments does it take to change an accountant ?