Saturday, 29 August 2009

Stopping the "Sicky"

So you have an employee that always seems to be sick on Mondays? It's almost impossible to prove whether they are sick or not. However, as a concerned employer, you can pay for them to have a full medical, with the emphasis on full. I would suggest obtaining the latest advice from an HR professional before taking action because when we used this in one of my businesses, it was a few years ago and HR legislation changes all the time. The threat of a medical normally has an amazing curative effect though!

How to tell if your advertising budget is being wasted

As you may have heard, 90% of all advertising is a waste of time so when the Yellow Pages person comes to flog you another very expensive advert, you may want to be armed with data for the previous year. The old line of "If you took half a page instead of 1/4 page you would get much better results" just doesn't wash. How can you analyse response? Obtain an 0800/0845 number for each advert that you place and also use a different email address for each advert. Map the 08XX number to a different telephone number or line and you have a simple analysis. If someone rings 0800 123567 then it's Brighton directory. If they call 0800 567890, it's London. You can get these numbers free and if you want any, just drop me a response to this or use the enquiry form at

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Effect of Blogs and Twitter on Web Site Hits

I have been experimenting with this blog and posting this automatically to Twitter. What I have found astonishing is the massive ramp up in hits to my web site and subsequent enquiries. In fact, August isn't over yet and I already have doubled my average hits (4315 at the time of writing. So if you are thinking of blogging, I would put some time aside because it's not completely intuitive but worth the investment in time. I am contemplating producing a training video so if there is sufficient interest, it might force me to do it.

If you do create a blog, don't forget to put the link in your email signature. It's a plug each time you send an email.

Just experimenting with Video in my blog

Just experimenting with Video in my blog

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Using Goal Seek in Excel

I have just completed a short video and uploaded an Excel file to show how Goal Seek can be used to great effect. Simply put, you can decide on the end result required and get Excel to recalculate a field to make the desired end result. Brilliant but little used. Find it at

Monday, 10 August 2009

Low Cost Marketing in a Recession

I have just posted an updated version of this document at It now includes more online marketing ideas.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Free loan from HMRC?

Want a free loan? If cash is a struggle and the bank is unsupportive, then apparently HMRC will defer VAT payments. I know this was mentioned in government announcements but they are actually doing it (for a change!). You just need make a 'phone call and explain that the bank are not extending sufficient credit. If you don't get anywhere, I would like to hear from you.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sales Recruiting

I am not sure that I ever entirely cracked this one! There are a few lessons you learn after recruiting several lazy idiots and these are:-

1. The best interview candidates can be the best "blaggers"
2. Always, ignore written references and make a 'phone call to the last employers. What they will say is far more than they will write! A key question... "Would you employ them again?"
3. If you really like the candidate it doesn't mean they can close a sale.
4. Use psychometric testing. It's only part of the picture but an important one.
5. Consider using IQ testing if the job needs a few brain cells.
6. It's often better to train someone to sell from scratch than to teach a salesperson your products - Can you train someone to sell from within your business?
7. Be more thorough about sales people that use agencies. If they are that good at selling, why would they use an agent?
8. If you do use an agency, make them work for their fee and do all the above.
9. Those that want big basics and small commission should be bypassed (in my opinion). Ask them their minimum outgoings and offer them less than that as a basic. It gives them hunger. You can always guarantee a bit of commission for the first couple of months.

Risk Share for Start Ups

Had a client a short time ago who presented me with a business plan requiring £200K+ start up capital. I suggested he went back to all his suppliers and asked them to risk share. Amazingly, all bar one agreed and that bought down the start up to circa £15K. If you don't ask......

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Sales Prospecting - Cart before the Horse?

I don't know how many times I see people who are struggling with sales figures and yet they can't see that it's a numbers game. Anyway, to highlight the issues I have created a spreadsheet which walks you through an analysis of sales performance. It also homes in on conversion rates etc. It's only in its infancy but I will improve it over time (hopefully).

It also surprises me that people throw lots of salespeople (along with all the other expenses such as cars etc) at the problem and then don't spend any money generating leads. It all ends in tears and lots of wasted money. After 20 years of getting it wrong, the penny dropped for me. I.e. Marketing generates leads and when your sales people can't handle the leads, take another one on. Simple really.

The spreadsheet will be available at in the next few days from