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Members' Articles

Client of Coaching Dynamics are finalists in GrowthAccelerator Awards

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

25th May 2014

Post Type: Other

It's official - Coaching Dynamics' clients Novo Construction Limited in Hertfordshire have done amazingly well to be finalists in the prestigious national GrowthAccelerator Awards 'The Brave and Bold'!  Novo Construction are one of 8 finalists in the category 'The Game Changer' from hundreds of entries.  This category is for companies who, through the GrowthAccelerator programme, have moved their business into a different market or direction and grown substantially as a consequence.

Nove Construction's Growth Coach, Tina Dulieu of Coaching Dynamics, says "Novo deserve to be finalists as they have certainly changed their game.  Scaling down their residential work and focussing on acquiring larger build contracts was key.  Through our strategic planning, management training and DISC profiling to get the right employees, we ensured that Novo's direction was clear and they had the correct skills to make it happen.  The result is that they have turned a £350k turnover business into one that has secured £3m of contracts within 18 months.  That's some achievement!  I congratulate them and wish them every success in winning their category in the GrowthAccelerator Awards!  We shall all be at the Awards Ceremony in Mayfair on 5th June for the announcements.  It will be an amazing evening, I'm sure."


Boxing clever on your Wedding day

by Noel Greenwood from GWD

20th May 2014

Post Type: New Member Announcement

Finally we’ve ushered in some sun, and isn’t it nice to see it?!  I’m a big fan of this time of year – the trees are green, the birds are singing and the Summer is nearly upon us! Each year these factors set little bells ringing in my mind. Not alarm bells, you might be wondering, but wedding bells. That’s right! Wedding season is fast approaching.

IMG_0238As those of you who have organised a wedding will know, May is an important month in planning terms for a Summer wedding. We’ve actually got a wedding in the family this year (for the second year in a row!), so it’s all hands on deck as we try to translate a few nice wedding ideas jotted on a piece of paper into a living, breathing event.

One particular advantage we have is that many of the items we need to involve in this wedding can be made in our factory. So we’re currently deciding on the various boxes that will form a key part of the day (and the days that precede it). Who knew that boxes form such a key part of a wedding?

Given that I’ve got weddings on the brain right now, I thought I’d put down a few of my thoughts to let you know about some of the things we make at GWD that might be able to enhance your event:

Save the date boxes

Save The Date Box
A 'Save The Date' box made for Elle Liberachi

Regular readers of the blog will no doubt be aware of the seriously beautiful ‘save the date’ box we made for the model Elle Liberachi last year.  Elle was after something individual and quirky that she could send her ‘save the date’ cards in, and came up with a beautiful box that housed a couple of high-quality macaroons as well as the all important date.

On the back of that work, we’ve had quite a lot of enquiries about similar boxes – it seems that saving the date has become more elaborate than ever!

Wedding favour boxes

Wedding favour boxes may well be our most common form of wedding stationery; we are often asked to provide wedding favour boxes for a variety of clients.  Haven’t got a clue what I’m on about?  You must be a man.

Wedding favours are the little treats that the bride and groom leave on every place setting at a wedding.  It might be a little chocolate, a trinket, or something else to add a personal touch to the event; but generally they all have the same thing in common – they need a box to house them, and that’s where we come in.

Chocolate boxes

Wedding chocolate box
A wedding chocolate box

Will you be serving tea and coffee at your wedding?  At my son’s wedding we completely forgot to do it on the day, but at least the thought was there!

Often people ask us to make chocolate boxes that can be served with the hot drinks at the end of the meal, and given that chocolate boxes are ultimately our niche, we’re more than happy to oblige!

Post boxes

It’s inevitable that most of your wedding guests will bring a card for the bride and groom, and it’s important to know what to do with them all.  One option is a post box that can be put at the entrance where the guests can simply post their cards.  It’s an easy and attractive way to keep all the cards together in one place, and can be delivered to the bride and groom’s house after the event so they can open their cards at their leisure.

No matter what sort of wedding stationery you go for, don’t settle for anything less than exactly what the bride wants because, after all, she’s always right. For attractive, quality wedding boxes, you can trust GWD.

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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 the company’s website: www.gwd.ltd.uk


What to Consider When Choosing a Venue for Your Business Event

by Shelley from Sourcerer Events

20th May 2014

Post Type: New Member Article
What to Consider When Choosing a Venue for Your Business Event

If you are planning a business event your main objective will be to leave a lasting impression. A key factor in this is the venue. There are many things to consider when choosing a venue, and as luck would have it, the helpful events managers at Sourcerer are here to help you with some insider tips!

1. Space

You obviously need a venue that will accommodate all your attendees. But think beyond this. Will guests need space to move about and network? Do you need room for demonstrations or activities? Make sure there’s enough space to cater for anything you’re planning to include and liaise closely with any speakers or trainers. But also remember not to overdo the space. It can feel daunting and intimidating if you have a small number of attendees and a huge venue.

2. Catering

If you’re serving food and drink at your event, check what the venue can offer. Ideally you’ll want a venue that will take care of everything for you, and to a high enough standard. If you’ve got to deal with catering yourself separately, that’s another drain on your time. Talk to the venue about the options they offer and how they accommodate the growing number of dietary requirements. Don’t leave anything to chance: survey your guests’ needs and then make sure your venue can cater to them.
 

3. Audio-Visual Requirements

If you are planning an event with guest speakers or hosting some form of corporate entertainment, you will probably need audio-visual equipment. Assess in advance the availability of things like flat screen monitors, overhead projectors, PA system and microphone, internet access, whiteboards sufficient power outlets. If not directly available, see if the venue can offer favourable rates for AV-hire
from an approved partner - better still, talk to Sourcerer Events and we will take care of all your AV and visual requirements

4. Venue Reputation

Company profile is always at stake when hosting any event. So you need to consider whether your chosen venue will present a positive impression of your business. Think helpfulness and presentation of staff, venue reputation and condition and make sure it’s all fitting in as far as the expectations of your guests will go.

5. Location & Accommodation

Think about where attendees will be travelling from. If the event is due to run late into the night, does the venue have accommodation on site or are there plenty of hotels nearby? See if you can negotiate with the venue on cost of overnight rooms, or let your events manager negotiate for you!

These are just some of the things we think you should consider when choosing a venue for your business event. Of course if you hire an event organiser – like Sourcerer – then you’ll have everything taken care of. But if there’s one piece of advice we’ll leave you with, then it’s check out your shortlisted venues in person, don’t rely on websites and photos!

If you need help choosing a venue for your business event, please get in touch
– Sourcerer is here to help!

Sourcerer Wedding Planning & Event Management

020 8938 3514

shelley@sourcerer-events.com


Will you still be running Windows XP on May 13th ?

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

06th May 2014

Post Type: Education Item

On Tuesday 8 April Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003.  Launched in 2001, XP had a projected 10 year life but in 2007 Microsoft decided to extend support until April 8th 2014.  From now on security patches will no longer be issued and hackers will form an orderly queue to attack vulnerable XP systems.  On the second Tuesday of each month Microsoft issue security patches along with technical explanations of the vulnerabilities these rectify.  Hackers are likely to use this information to reverse engineer unpatched weaknesses in XP – the next “Patch Tuesday” is May 13th.

Who still uses XP ?

  • 27% of the world’s pc’s
  • 75% of UK companies still have XP running somewhere in their organisation
  • 85% of NHS computers
  • 85,000 HMRC computers
  • 95% of ATM machines worldwide

Why haven’t all XP users upgraded to newer versions of Windows ?
XP has been around so long that many proprietary systems (factory production systems, booking systems, databases etc) require it to run.  An upgrade is therefore not a simple matter of paying a licence fee and installing a more modern version – the ramifications are far wider and more expensive.  Other applications are coded to run under Internet Explorer 7 which is incompatible with Windows 7 or 8.  Expensive hardware (such as ATM machines) often cannot interact with more recent Windows versions.  The problem is so acute that the government’s central buying dept – the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) – is paying Microsoft £5.5m for one years’ extended security support for Windows XP/Office 2003/Exchange 2003.  This will buy government, the NHS and some charities and educational establishments more time to upgrade their operating software.
Another consideration is that Windows 7 – considered to be the closest ‘modern’ Windows version to the late lamented XP – will cease to receive mainstream support from January 13th 2015.  Extended support and security fixes – the type of support which has just ceased for XP – ends on 14th January 2020.  Users might be forced to leapfrog straight into 8.1, a very different animal.

Does this affect me ?
Do you accept payment by credit card ?  Financial services providers who continue to use XP without purchasing continued security support from Microsoft (approx. $200 annually per pc) are likely to be considered uncompliant with the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).  The Information Commissioners office (ICO) has issued a warning to organisations that are uncompliant or fail to maintain secure systems are at risk of fines under the Data Protection Act.  Being well-intentioned offers no protection – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service was recently fined £200,000 for unwittingly failing to protect medical and personal information from hackers, despite the fact that no apparent harm resulted.  The ICO’s powers extend to criminal prosecution and imprisonment.

What can I do ?
If you are stuck with Windows XP, ideas to minimise your risk can be found here.  Microsoft has also issued some guidance notes, which can be found here.

Additionally – if you use Internet Explorer versions 6 to 11 – you should read this.