Elected FSB Area Leader – West Yorkshire

I am delighted to announce that my recent nomination for FSB Area Leader – West Yorkshire office has been successfully verified and I have been elected unopposed in the Yorkshire, The Humber and North East England.

 

My term of office officially commences on 1 January 2019.

 

In the email received from Mike Cherry, National Chairman, he said “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for stepping up to assist with our important work locally, and once again, congratulations!”

 

I am pleased that I am able to continue my work in the area, supporting small businesses, delivering events and implementing lines of communication between the front line and the policy makers.

Best SME Marketing & Business Support Company West Yorkshire

SME News Magazine have announced the winners of the 2018 Yorkshire and the Humber Enterprise Awards and Sayers Solutions are proud to have been awarded –

Best SME Marketing & Business Support Company

West Yorkshire

This year, the Yorkshire and the Humber Enterprise Awards are returning to recognise the small to medium companies that have a positive impact on their customers in one of England’s most instrumental economic regions.

The Yorkshire & the Humber Enterprise Awards operates under a merit-based judging system which ensures all shortlisted organisations, regardless of their size and/or longevity, are assessed fairly and thoroughly.

Katherine Benton, Award Coordinator discusses the success of this year’s programme: “Home to one of Britain’s most diverse economies, and containing cities established as leading centres of trade, Yorkshire and the Humber boasts a collection of traditional and modern businesses who are dedicated to promoting excellence within their industry. I am proud of all my winners and wish them the very best of luck for the future.”

SME News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the SME News website (http://sme-news.co.uk) where you can access the winners supplement.

FSB West Yorkshire Area Leader

I am currently FSB Area Leader for West Yorkshire.

This is a volunteer role in the member led organisation – the Federation of Small Businesses.

Alongside my fellow area leader Simon Monaghan and Development Manager Barney Mynott, we set and deliver the local strategic objectives for the West Yorkshire area, as well as organise and run events including our monthly networking events – #FSBconnect.

Find out more about the events we hold here – https://www.fsb.org.uk/regions/Yorkshire-The-Humber-and-North-East-England

The FSB is a year into the process of refreshing the organisation.  Historically the structure was made up of Branch committees which reported to a Regional Committee, which has representatives at National Council and a Policy Representative.  West Yorkshire was our Region and we  had 5 branches; Kirklees, Wakefield, Calderdale, Leeds and Bradford.   Members of Committees were elected at AGM’s and officer roles were held, including Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  For over 2 years I held the Secretary role in the Kirklees Branch.  Since the change, active Branches have been allowed to continue, and I have since become the Kirklees Leader.

As part of refresh, instead of holding monthly committee meetings and following a ridged structure and bureaucratic process, members are encouraged to form Special Interest Groups (SIGs), enabling them to be involved and active on issues that interest and affect them the most.

An Events and Marketing SIG has been created and I am leading on this, working with fellow West Yorkshire members, with the aim of establishing best practice and support events and activity across the area which assists small businesses to be the best that they can be.  If you interested in getting involved or have something you to offer the group, please contact me.

When explaining what the FSB is, I always tell the story of how I understand the FSB started – 40 years ago a group of self employed / small business owners (men), met in the backroom of a pub in Blackpool.  They came together to object against the Governments proposals to increase National Insurance for the Self Employed and campaigned and lobbied accordingly.  As a result they were successful.

They soon decided that they needed to offer more than lobbying and sought benefits which could be offered to members.  These have been expanded on across the years with the headline benefit that everyone talks about – the free business banking – however there is now a comprehensive list of benefits available for businesses.  For more information please visit – https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits.

The observant of you, you will remember the Government tried to propose the increase of national insurance for the self employed in the Spring Budget in 2017, which the FSB lobbied against and managed to get retracted over night.

There are many issues that the Federation of Small Businesses now lobby on and represent the small business community at policy level.  We are renowned in corridors of parliament as a force to be reckoned with.  We are also known and respected at local government (well at least locally in West Yorkshire).  And this is something we are passionate to continue doing.

If you want to become a member of the FSB please get in touch so that I can point you in the right direction.

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Sayers Solutions recommends Mailchimp small businesses

Mailchimp is used for email marketing campaigns and I recommend it primarily because of the reports detailing who has opened, clicked, bounced and unsubscribed from their emails, amongst much more.Drag and Drop

Templates can be created and saved so all future emails look alike and the drag and drop campaign builder option makes it simple to use and produces professional looking emails.

I’d recommend not using the pre-designed templates, as when I have done so, I’ve invested time customising them but get to a part where I can’t, get frustrated, and end us building it myself from scratch.

You are also able to import and use your own html designed campaign, although this is not something I have ever done with my clients.

mailchimp chimpThe ability to set and change the font settings throughout the campaign is a function that I miss when I am made to use another ESP.

The list management section is simple to use, and the form builder makes it possible to collect new contacts.  Mailchimp has always been strict on their Opt-in policy and reminds users of this often.

There’s so much more that I could go into detail or list about the benefits of using Mailchimp, as it is a super great tool, which is easy to use and is free (for up to 2000 subscribers and limited to 12000 emails a month -so more than plenty for most small businesses).

postmark_mailchimp_redYou can also schedule automatic follow up emails, A/B test and create pop-up form for your website.  It is also possible to schedule ads on Facebook or Google Display Network?

 

If you would like to learn more.

Sayers Solutions offers a range of sessions for you to develop your skill, optimise your campaigns and improve your engagement, as well as provide monthly coaching on email marketing and other marketing aspects of your business.

Please get in touch with Merewyn on 07790705223

Effective Internet Collaboration

Excitingly Sayers Solutions has recently collaborated with Effective Internet in order to extend the services that we provide you.

Sayers Solutions provides marketing support to small businesses, via coaching, training and consultation, and for some customers, we can become your Marketing Department.

Whilst Sayers Solutions guides you through creating, implementing and measuring your marketing strategy and campaigns, there are a number of tactics that we don’t have the expert skills in-house to effectively deliver the results required.

Sayers Solutions are able to consult and advise on the theory of why and how you would use certain tactics in your integrated marketing plan, however, SEO, Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) and ‘building’ websites are some of the tactics for which we use partners.

Effective Internet has over 18 years experience working and evolving in this industry and have naturally become experts in the field of online marketing.

eilogo-blueOn average, Effective Internet find that they provide a 6 fold return on investment for their customers.

 

Can your existing online marketing company generate you this ROI?

If you are interested to find out more, please get in touch so that I can arrange for them to conduct a free web audit for you to see how your business currently ranks on Google and arrange a consultation to talk you through the results.

If you do decide to approach them directly, please ensure that you tell them that you heard about them from us.

If you would like to discuss how Sayers Solutions can help your business please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Interested in collaborating and becoming a partner of Sayers Solutions please register your interest here.

Let’s bring it all together

(This is the last part of our Create your Plan blog series, to read the first one please click here)

Being a fan of a Johari windows, I see the benefit of looking at working in sections of 4; looking at the opposing sections to reveal answers.

In this vain, I like to build marketing plans in 4 basic sections.

  1. Where do you want to go?

  2. Where are you now?

  3. What do you need to do to get there?

  4. How am I going to measure it?

1.      Where you want to go?

Vision, Goals, Objectives – ensuring you are SMART

2.      Where are you now?

Micro and Microanalysis,

Marketing Mix

Target Market

All the other tools you pick to understand where you are now – cashflow for example.

3.      What do you need to do to get there?

These are your tactics. Conduct email marketing, add content to website, employ someone etc.

4.      How am I going to measure it?

Using the SMART objectives, you need to identify the ways that you can measure and report this information and make amendments to the plan.

And repeat, not necessarily in a linear process in the way I have laid out above, but instinctively.  Document your thoughts and findings, explore possibilities, but most of all measure your results and ensure your activity leads to achieving your goals and not just keeping you busy.  Unless you vision is to be really busy.

Thank you for reading, I hope that this has been useful for you to explore your marketing plan.

If you would like further explanation how to pull together and research the elements needed to include in this journey please contact me for more details.

Sign up to receive the complete set of articles in this series in a PDF white paper for you to create your plan at leisure.  If you would be interested to hear how Sayers Solutions could guide you through this process and help you not only complete your marketing plan, but also implement it and achieve your objectives and goals please check out our packages for more information.

And repeat

(This is part of our Create your Plan blog series, to read the first one please click here)

In this blog series Sayers Solutions provides you the basis for your marketing plan.

Guess what? Now you must repeat the whole process, over and over, and over again. The more details you provide the more in tune you will be with your market and your opportunity to maximise your potential.

Now are you ready to pull it all together? Check back in a couple of days time for the final installment of our Create your Plan blog series.

Want to discuss this further? Please visit our packages and services pages for more information about working with Sayers Solutions.

Sign up to receive the complete set of articles in this series in a PDF white paper for you to create your plan at leisure. If you would be interested to hear how Sayers Solutions could guide you through this process and help you not only complete your marketing plan, but also implement it and achieve your objectives and goals please check out our packages for more information.

Take time to think about this and I look forward to hearing from you.

So, did you do it?

(This is part of Create your Plan blog series, to read the first one please click here)

What is the point of a plan? To achieve goals and realise a vision.

The goals, objectives and vision you created at the beginning of the plan will help you to measure how successful you have been.

This is in turn will help you to make changes to your goals and objectives to further achieve your vision …. Or a new one that you have created.

How are you going to measure your success?

Something I didn’t cover when mentioning objectives, is that need to be SMART. Heard of them?  Many have.

I tweaked the A but let me explain more.  Objectives should be –

S              Specific

M            Measurable

A             Now I was always told actionable, however R kinda covers that, so I say Aspirational

R             Realistic

T              Timebound

By each of your objectives, that you have noted from the earlier sections of this series, you should now attempt to clarify and make your objectives SMART to enable you to measure your success.

So, what is it that you actually want to achieve, how much, think big, but possible, within a certain time?

Revisit your objectives and answer that.  If you can’t answer these SMART questions, then maybe the objectives are actually tactics helping you to achieve your objectives.

Revisit your notes and think whether they are goals, objectives or tactics. And create part 3 of your plan.

Extra Measurement

A reflective learning tool I learnt at University, looked at 4 questions –

  • What did you do?
  • How did you do it?
  • How did you feel about it?
  • What different would you do next time?

 

It is also useful to ask your self

  • Were you successful in achieving your goals?
  • What is your new goal or objective?

 

Take time to think about this and then check back in a couple of days to read my next blog.

Want to discuss this further?  Please visit our packages and services pages for more information about working with Sayers Solutions.

Sign up to receive the complete set of articles in this series in a PDF white paper for you to create your plan at leisure.  If you would be interested to hear how Sayers Solutions could guide you through this process and help you not only complete your marketing plan, but also implement it and achieve your objectives and goals please check out our packages for more information.

It’s not just what you control

(This is part of Create your Plan blog series, to read the first one please click here)

If you’ve followed my previous blogs you might feel ready to set off and create your plan, but we haven’t looked at the macro environment yet!  These are the external influences that impact your business.

It is all good and well having the right product, price, place and promotion mapped out for your target market if the external influences are right.

PEST

This is a popular model that help you to assess and explore the Political, Economic, Social and Technological impacts on your business. (Download this PEST scribble sheet)

Stakeholder analysis

This helps you to understand all the different people who need to communicate with (or at least be mindful of when communicating) other than and including your customer.  For example, the governing bodies or campaign groups.

You will need to correspond with local authorities, banks, funders and grant issuers.

Suppliers, competitors and third parties, as well as employees.

What about publications?  Trade magazines etc

Sayers Solutions suggests doing a mind map to explore your potential stakeholders.

Porter 5 Forces

What’s your bargaining power?  How easy is it to enter or exit the market? (Download the Porters 5 Forces scribble sheet.)

 

Now create, you have the first half of your plan.

You now know what you want to achieve, you know what you are capable of, you know what the external influences are.  Now let’s decide how you are going to do it.

Take time to think about this and check back in a few days to read my next blog.

There are marketing glossaries of other tools, models and exercises which I could list you and explain, however for some the exercise will be wasteful and it is always best to understand the business before selecting the right direction.

Sign up to receive the complete set of articles in this series in a PDF white paper for you to create your plan at leisure.  If you would be interested to hear how Sayers Solutions could guide you through this process and help you not only complete your marketing plan, but also implement it and achieve your objectives and goals please check out our packages for more information.

Competitors

(This is part of our Create your Plan blog series, to read the first one please click here)

Who is also doing what you do?

There are 2 types of competitors.  Those that do what you do and those that offer a different solution to solve the same need.  Take for example Car Companies – Their obvious competitor is other car companies, but they will also have an eye on other types of transport; bikes, taxis, trains and the many other ways people get from a to b.  However, they are also competing with skype and other online and digital technologies.

It is easy to identify those that do the same as you, but you also need to consider if there are other ways that people can meet the need you want to satisfy.

Use this Competitor Research Template to compare up to (or more than) 4 competitors to help you to analyse what others do well, what they do badly, what you want to emulate etc so that you can identify the improvements that you want to make and so that you can identify your unique selling point (USP) and sets you apart from everyone else.

 

Take time to think about this and check back in a few days to read my next blog.

If you would like further explanation how to use this model please check out our packages for more information.

Sign up to receive the complete set of articles in this series in a PDF white paper for you to create your plan at leisure.  If you would be interested to hear how Sayers Solutions could guide you through this process and help you not only complete your marketing plan, but also implement it and achieve your objectives and goals please contact us.

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