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Getting Started in Business

by nickey 18. October 2011 12:44

Getting Started in Business

Although times are hard for businesses we have been approached a lot recently with people wanting to start up their own small business.

We thought we would help by supplying some useful places to start for advice on setting up a business, and support for those venturing into business for themselves.

There is a great leaflet available from Tax offices which guides you through the steps involved in working for yourself. Please follow the link here www.hmrc.gov.uk

You may want to start a Limited company and for that we recommend going straight to companies house. Please do not get weighed down with the forms as there are Agents and groups that can help with completing the forms for you if you prefer. The link for companies house is www.companieshouse.gov.uk which takes you straight to their Starting a Company forms.

Business link is an online resource for businesses from startups to existing companies and they can be found using this link www.businesslink.gov.uk They give practical online guides which answer most of the questions you may have. 

Although information on how to start working for yourself is valuable, the  importance of using local business facilities as emotional and business guidance is also a valuable tool. Do get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce group who can offer support and networking with other local companies. Get involved locally with other local networking groups too as this really helps you meet other people who may have answers and practical advise to problems or questions you may have.

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Frustration of no contact?

by nickey 13. October 2011 11:34

Frustration of no contact?

In the last few days we have seen the importance of communication for companies when things aren’t going to plan. 

One of the largest criticisms of the recent problems with Blackberry was that customers didn’t get readily available updates or had nobody to call for progress.

This can easily be rectified as we are now pleased to announce our Emergency Communications facility for companies that need a back up or point of contact for customers in the UK or worldwide at times where things don’t go to plan.

We will give you a number that you can publicise on your website for emergency use and when you need us we can act as a human point of call for your customers. 

Nobody can stop things going on, but people can do something about their customer service when it does – Let us help!!!

Recruitment Strategy

by nickey 12. September 2011 10:39

Working out the best Recruitment Strategy for your company,

With so many ways to recruit it can be a minefield just to fill a space in companies. So what are the best ways to help with your employment?

Obviously there are the tried and tested local high street agencies that can really help if you are looking to appeal to local people. They can offer placements on a temporary basis so that you can get to know the potential of somebody before offering a full time placement. This is a great way for some but there are pitfalls. It can be difficult if you don’t really sit down and discuss your requirements at the offset with the agency. Make sure they really understand the Key Points that you require and make sure that they only forward potential workers that fulfil them. Another downside that can arise from trying on a temporary basis beforehand can be that if the candidate is really good they may be in demand so might not always be available if you decide they are the man or woman for the job!

The Jobcentre is still a popular place to start for some companies and with many people using them as their first point of call when looking for work it remains a great resource for recruitment. With trained staff within the Jobcentre they can help the process of recruitment by identifying those that would be a good prospect and those that might not fulfil the criteria you are looking for.

For those looking for really specialist or niche employees then there are a variety of specialist employment agencies. With online agencies offering a great way to search for people based on the category of job you are looking for, such as I.T. Healthcare, Consultants, Financial backgrounds and Legal. Other agencies online can appeal to the upper grade jobs such as Executive placements.

Larger companies have been getting a great benefit from being represented at Job Fairs and recruitment drives. This works especially well for larger companies looking to employ a large amount of people and can be a very positive way of getting people a chance to know the requirements and the company before applying. 

Don’t forget to use local publications if you think that the ideal candidate would be a local person close to the working environment. Local papers, like jobcentres tend to be a first port of call for those looking for work or considering a job change. The downside of advertising in a local paper is that you can open yourself up to unsolicited calls from agencies or a large amount of call volumes, so bear this in mind and make sure you have the patience and resources to deal with this if necessary.

So the main points we would recommend to any company are; look at your KPI’s for the job in question and decide the best root from there. 


best working practices

The Office Gardener

by nickey 5. September 2011 10:43

Here at the Reception Bureau we like to make sure we have a relaxing atmosphere to work in. 

There are a couple of ways that you can make your desk areas feel a bit less sparse and we have added a few well chosen plants just to make it feel a bit more homely.

If you want to buy some plants that are ideal for the office without being high maintenance then follow the following tips.

Succulent plants are water retaining plants and are ideal to bring some colour to the sparsest desk AND be able to go without being watered for a few days.

If you aren’t that keen on succulent plants then do have a look at Celosia plants such as ferns, spider plants etc. Quite a few plants that thrive in more arid climates such as South African plants can be quite a good choice.

We have found that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a difference, with quite a few grocery stores offering affordable options and the abundance of cuttings that can be taken.

If you are going for larger more feature plants then do consider using a contractor who can maintain the plants. This normally means they come into your office and feed, water and generally maintain the plants so that you can sit back and enjoy the results rather than the toil! There are even companies that ‘hire’ out their plants, which is ideal for companies that have a lot of customers visiting their work environment.




What is an Apprenticeship?

by nickey 2. September 2011 12:20

Firstly some companies may have heard about apprenticeships already but what does it actually mean?
Well, an apprenticeship is basically on the job training with the benefit of a nationally recognised qualification within that particular industry.

An apprenticeship involves a minimum of 16 hours paid employment per week, although most apprentices tend to work 30 hours. This is made up of a mixture of working and on the job learning. An apprentice is placed in a job that is suitable for their required industry so that they get a real insight to the job and trade they are interested in.

The length of an apprenticeship varies depending on what qualification they are aiming for but in most cases the apprenticeship lasts between two to four years.
For employers it is a great way of increasing their staffing and having an enthusiastic member of staff that is looking to learn over a period of time.



Steve Jobs resigns as chief executive at Apple

by nickey 25. August 2011 12:19

Steve Jobs the co-founder of Apple has resigned as chief executive following a spell of poor health. His predecessor has now been named as Tim Cook.

So who is the mysterious Mr Cook? Well he isn’t as mysterious as you would assume. He has been working as support to Mr Jobs for a while and will be no stranger to the demanding role that is expected of him. As shares have dropped slightly in Apple since the announcement, we watch and wait to see whether Mr Cook can fill the shoes of a well known chief executive.



Preparing for the Emergencies

by nickey 29. July 2011 11:43

We have always known that our service has become an important contingency plan for many of our companies over the winter seasons or times when they need emergency back up.

It is important for companies to really spend time planning for trends, weather and emergencies when taking into consideration back up services and how they can help you. Our services work in several ways, helping companies cope with periods of the year when their services are in high demand, for example Plumbers towards the end of September get an increase in calls due to boiler services and system checks before winter starts. We also have several large companies that will run campaigns at certain times of the year and need our service as a back up to cover an increase in call traffic.

But don’t just think in regards to business demand, do plan for seasonal weather changes.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has estimated that each day of snow chaos in 2010 cost the British economy between £600m and £1bn: airports operator BAA ran up losses into the millions when it shut down for four days in December. Among small businesses the average loss was about £5,000, according to the FSB.
We do have the ability to create a bespoke back up service for all our existing and new companies but please remember to make creating a back up system an important part of your yearly review.


Call Answering Service

Recycle rather than skip

by nickey 28. July 2011 13:56

Why not consider changing the way you throw away things from your business? Rather than filling a skip or waste bin with material you can recycle, a lot of business waste can benefit local charities and associations nearby as well as reduce your waste management bills.

With non sensitive paper that has been shredded there are options for supplying a local pet sanctuary or stables. The shredded paper is ideal for animals that have reactions to normal animal bedding and pet sanctuaries are also grateful for any bedding that can be used for no cost. We currently recycle 100% of our non sensitive paper waste by providing our paper for local stables where one of their horses is allergic to normal bedding. We just call them when we have a suitable amount and they come and collect it.

Old mobile phones can be recycled either for charity or for money by using the various sites available on the internet that recycle parts from phones. The sites are quite easy to find using a simple search on the internet.

There are ways that construction companies can recycle too. With materials or equipment left over from large jobs there are several ways that this can be used by local charities or associations, and if you are looking to recycle a large amount for money then there are such sites as tradeleftovers.com which has been started by Checkatrade.

So before binning something, do consider how this can be used locally to benefit companies or associations around you which in turn can help you reduce your waste collection.




by nickey 19. July 2011 13:59

How to prepare for a networking event

Networking is an essential part of any business and can benefit networkers in several ways. Firstly by expanding and approaching possible customers and secondly by meeting other businesses it can be used as a successful referral network.

How to prepare for a networking event

Networking need not be daunting and whichever network event you decide to attend you can normally get information on what happens and how it works. The best way to choose the right network system is to look at the types of companies they attract and whether you know of other people that use them already. A lot of networking groups allow existing members to invite potential members, so make use of that facility wherever possible that way you can get a better idea as to whether that group is right for you and your company.

When you have chosen a networking group then make sure you have the networking tools that will make sure you can make the most of it. Make sure you have a good amount of business cards and make sure that they will stand out in the crowd. Also before you attend make sure you can summarise effectively what it is that your company can supply and do. Don’t waffle – reduce it to the bear facts in an informative and creative way. A lot of networking events ask people to stand up and introduce their company or service, so don’t be afraid to keep it short and to the point. Start with your name and company name and then reiterate that at the end of the description.

No matter how hard you may try you might not get the chance to meet everyone so make a mental note to take time to get to know them at the next meeting. Following up is also a good way of making sure any new business acquaintance continues to develop rather than lapse. Always keep business cards that you have received in an easily accessible container and don’t make the mistake of throwing ones away that you don’t think would be relevant. Sometimes it is worth keeping them so that when a customer needs a referral for a service that you don’t provide you have a bank of possible alternatives that may help them.

Most of all, don’t look at networking as a quick way to boost sells, networking is a great way to make sure your company gets to be known but is not an alternative to a sales programme. Instead networking acts as a great compliment to your sales strategy and can help create long lasting business connections that can give you both referrals but also business support and advice.

In the next couple of articles in the Networking series we will look at the different known networking groups.




by nickey 15. July 2011 10:29


You may remember a few posts ago we started a series of articles regarding using data in the workplace effectively (please refer to ‘Making data work for you – Part 1 Purchasing the right data’.

This article is how to monitor the data once you have used it. Poor results can be attributed to several factors including poor quality data, irrelevant data and possibly how the data has been used.

With use of data for postal canvassing it can be hard to monitor exactly how successful data has been without taking a few basic steps. Adding a simple reference number to each letter is an easy way to find out whether customers are responding in relation to a letter of leaflet drop. It doesn’t have to be unique for each letter but a simple identifying reference that you can ask an inbound customer. This is extremely beneficial if you are running several different campaigns at the same time. Also remember to monitor the amount of returned post and have someone specifically who collates the information and removes data as appropriate.

For data used in telephone campaigns this can be quite easily monitored as the campaign goes along, but it is still beneficial to work out at the end how productive the phone campaign has been.
Make sure canvassers have a uniform way of recording outcomes from calls. If data is marked as a ‘NO’ it doesn’t convey whether it was a bad number, customer refused call, or answer phone. Bad numbers can be removed quite easily, but keep a check on how many you have to take off your data. This can be used to decide whether you will be using the same data provider in the future as too many bad numbers means their data isn’t as carefully collated as would be expected. If it is an answer phone then the data could still be relevant, so rather than removing data that may be useful for you in the future keep it in your data.

It is a good idea, as mentioned in my previous article, to have a set idea of how you want the data to work for you. At the end of the project it is important to revisit the original aim and see whether that has been achieved or whether there are certain aspects that you need to take into account when running future campaigns. One thing to remember is to keep up to date with data even if you aren’t always using it and before any campaign remember to check your data through Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Although the original data should have passed through strict TPS testing, if there has been a gap between using the data there is always the possibility that people have made new applications to join TPS so a quick check is always advisable.

To understand more about Telephone Preference Service please look at the following link, Telephone Preference


Data for business

Reception Bureau Blog

So what’s this blog all about?

Well, this blog is going to be an useful resource for anyone running a small to medium size business.

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