It Takes (More Than) Two Baby – To Create a WOW Customer Experience

Are your customers having a WOW experience?

Before you start reading, first I want you to pause and do some thinking.

Thinking Alert 1: Think about your own day-to-day experiences. Think about what happens when you go ‘online’ to find a product or service, or indeed to research something you need.

Thinking Alert 2: Think about your experiences of walking into a shop, a ticket office, a supermarket, a café, a bar. Think about all the messages you see and receive from businesses and brands on a daily basis. There’s a lot right? And as consumers we are bombarded with messages – we experience ‘service’ at many levels.

Thinking Alert 3: More thinking now please…Think about a recent purchase – think about the service experience – how was if for you? Good, bad, forgettable or WOW?

Good feelings, bad feelings? Did you talk to others about your experience – sharing the love – or sharing your frustrations?

In a world where consumers have so much choice at their fingertips – and there are so many people vying for their attention – organisations are doing everything they can to stand out from the crowd.

It’s often difficult to differentiate on product – there’s masses of choice – and there will always be a competitive product with a ‘faster, better, cheaper’ message. Continue reading It Takes (More Than) Two Baby – To Create a WOW Customer Experience

Is your business aiming for Good or Great?

Focus on what you do best
A famous best seller by Jim Collins, ‘Good to Great’, looks at what makes companies not just good, but great. In fact it propounds the theory that ‘good’ is the enemy of ‘great’.

As Tesco announces its latest financial results, which show a decline in profits for the second successive year, it is clear that all is not ‘great’ with the supermarket giant that was once the nation’s favourite and market leader.

Whilst food sales were one area of the economy that was reasonably unaffected during the recession, individual players in the food sector significantly upped their game over that period and Tesco definitely felt the competitive pressure. Continue reading Is your business aiming for Good or Great?

What does the future hold for Facebook and WhatsApp?

Facebook and WhatsApp – what does it mean?
What happens when the biggest social media platform decides to buy the most popular mobile messaging service? Well we are about to find out as Facebook have just purchased WhatsApp for a mind blowing £11bn; a deal which smashes Facebook’s previous acquisition of Instagram 10 times over – the largest acquisition of an internet start up which is less than 5 years old (Something that illustrates the enormous impact WhatsApp has had in such a short space of time).

What is the reason for this purchase? In many ways Facebook has become a monolithic institution which is somewhat at odds with its organic Harvard dorm room and frat party roots. Perhaps a sense that they were starting to lose their ‘cool factor’ prompted the purchase; in October Facebook acknowledged that they were having slow growth in terms of attracting daily users and also generating new users organically. It may well be that this is a case of Facebook simply adding more strings to its bow by expanding its portfolio, something very common when it comes to global brands who establish a large market share in their product range. Continue reading What does the future hold for Facebook and WhatsApp?

Tips from the Made Simple team: Managing your projects

Not all small and medium sized businesses can afford to employ a full-time project manager, and it is becoming increasingly vital that entrepreneurs develop the skills themselves, and feed them down to their teams. One of the main attributes anyone needs to develop is the ability to coordinate and manage tasks, activities, and people simultaneously.

There are many software packages on the market, which have been developed to help achieve just this, and they can prove to be an invaluable tool when it comes to ensuring that every aspect of your product or project is delivered on time, and on budget. However I often hear people complaining about an overload of functionalities within these software packages, making the task of learning how to use them a project in itself. If you feel that this is the case for you, then I would not hesitate for a second in recommending a useful tool such as Trello. This can help you draw up a tangible representation of where you stand with your project, or even with a series of projects. Continue reading Tips from the Made Simple team: Managing your projects

Is new found confidence in economy to thank for Company Formation increase?

There are a number of words in the English language that have always been something of a mystery to me. Words like belief, soul and experience are so hard to describe to someone yet we all feel we know what we mean by them. What causes them, how they manifest themselves and how we teach people about them are very difficult to explain.

Confidence is another such word.

Confidence in economic terms is often reflected by increases in key indices. For instance, property prices, employment figures and growth in the economy are often a reflection of a consumer’s confidence in their employment position and the future economy. As the British public feels more confident, they start spending money on the many things that they gave up during the recession. Continue reading Is new found confidence in economy to thank for Company Formation increase?

Do you know your office neighbours?

Why getting to know your neighbours may be a step towards generating new business or solving your business challenges.

Many businesses share office space or space in the same office building. At Made Simple Group we’ve been at 145-157 St John Street, London EC1 since we started out over a decade ago. We occupy the basement of a 5 storey building – and so above us are another 6 businesses.

What’s incredible is that over the 11 years – we haven’t got to know our neighbours. Can you imagine living next door to someone for that period of time and not knowing a little about who they are? It would be slightly odd wouldn’t it?

Thanks to the generation of our new content strategy, we decided to use the London skyline as the backdrop for some of our new range of educational and informative videos. To this end, it meant we had to visit the 5th floor to access the roof. And in doing so – we had to say ‘hello’ to at least one of our neighbours. And what a productive ‘hello’ that turned out to be. Continue reading Do you know your office neighbours?

2014 for us… Simply Business

A New Year represents new aims and goals for people and businesses alike. So we thought we’d ask some of our associates what they want to achieve this year. Here’s what Jasper Martens, head of marketing & communications at Simply Business, has got planned for them in 2014.

“At Simply Business we want to change the way our customers buy insurance. Most businesses are still buying their business insurance through a broker. In many cases the purchase process is complicated, not easy to understand and expensive.

Our recent research for our insurance manifesto underlined what our customers think about insurance. It’s time for change. In 2014 we will introduce new insurance products designed for our customers, using their experiences and feedback.

Serving existing customers will be a real focus point for us in 2014. Offering excellent customer service will turn some of our 250,000 customers into brand advocates, recommending our products and services”

Thanks Jasper! For more information about Simply Business, take a look at their website now: Simply Business

You can also find out what Jasper has to say about marketing in our latest Real Business Case Study.

Brought to you by Mathew Aitken at …


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2014 for us… TaxAssist Accountants

A New Year should represent new aims and goals for any business. With that in mind, we thought we’d ask some of our friends and partners what they want to achieve in 2014. First up, we spoke to James Mattam, Business Development Manager at TaxAssist Accountants:

“This year, our goals will be to continue to grow the number of accountancy offices we have in the UK in order to reach more small business owners and give them the accountancy service they deserve.

Small Business confidence is on the increase and we were pleased to see the Chancellor launch some further tax breaks that small business owners need to remain competitive. We don’t want to lose this momentum as it has taken some time for small business to be recognised as the ‘Backbone of Britain’ so another goal will be to continue to raise awareness and provide further support to the small business community.

We have also identified the same desires in other countries so are exporting our business model to Canada this year and will be actively seeking partners to launch in Australia and the United States of America.”

Thanks to James for taking the time to talk with us. For more information about TaxAssist Accountants and the services that they offer, take a look at their site now!

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New Year, New Start?

Of the many things people get up to over the Christmas break, forming a company is not one that naturally springs to mind. Yet, statistics show that the period between Christmas Day and New Years Eve is a fertile one for the germination of new business ideas.

What better time can there be for reflection on the past year and dreaming of future enterprises and adventures?

From discussions with many small businesses, and based on our own figures, it is clear that many people start thinking about how they might change their lives at this time and that doesn’t just mean giving up smoking or losing some weight.

Unlike many of the presents we receive at Christmas time, starting a new business can be life changing. The holiday season, when you’re relaxed and with the people who matter in your life, can be the ideal time to discuss and think about starting your own business.

Recently, Lord Young proudly announced that record numbers of new start ups have been achieved in the current year, breaking the 500,000 mark. Of those, over 42,000 companies were formed in January.

Britain truly is a nation of shopkeepers and the entrepreneurial spirit has never been more alive and well.

With the Christmas period fast approaching, the economy is showing very positive signs and the general outlook for the next year or two is very encouraging, January 2014 could see a surge of new start ups.

What are your business plans for 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brought to you by our CEO, Howard Graham

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The Chancellor’s recent autumn statement included a number of positive announcements, particularly in the light of a better economic climate than a year ago.

Despite the unappealing prospect of people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s having to work longer before they get their state pension, there were some very positive announcements for families and businesses as well as some sensible details relating to the cancellation of the fuel duty increase and the introduction of an electronic system for the vehicle excise duty.

One announcement that stole many of the headlines was the introduction of a new break for employers. From April 2015, employers’ national insurance contributions will be removed altogether on a million and a half jobs for young people. The intention is to encourage businesses to employ under 21 year olds.

I applaud the Government for this initiative but am somewhat frustrated by the time scale under which it is proposed to introduce this. The legislation will not come into force until April 2015, 17 months or more after the announcement. This would be just one month before the general election which has to be held by no later than the 7th May 2015. The cynic in me sees this as a political move so that the current Government doesn’t have to bear any cost for this initiative but can champion its merits as part of its election campaign.

What would have been truly impressive would have been to introduce this initiative by April 2014. There is plenty of legislation that gets passed by Statutory Instrument and it can’t be that difficult, in these highly digitalised times, to make the required changes to the PAYE systems straight away.

So, Mr Chancellor, good idea, but dubious implementation.

Brought to you by our CEO, Howard Graham