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Archive For 'April, 2013'

Stroud’s Commercial Task Team is born

25 April 2013 at 12:27

We love initiatives that help the local business community, so it was a pleasure to take part in Leigh Young Solicitors' Stroud Commercial Task Team event last week.

The informal working lunch, hosted by MRG Systems on Upper Mills Estate, was attended by 30 local business owners and managers.

It involved quick-fire business advice from a collective of seven business leaders - including yours truly (Sabrina!). Each speaker took just five minutes to give attendees one or two nuggets of useful advice to help them run their operations more profitably and smoothly. Apart from struggling to keep to my own five minute limit, I thought the event was great - and hope we see more of the same in the future.

Margaret Young, Solicitor and Director at Leigh Young, came up with the idea for a Commercial Task Team. She says the event gave Stroud businesses an opportunity to access a wide range of valuable insights quickly and easily.

In Margaret's own words:

“Time is precious for owners and managers, but they also like to be aware of opportunities and potential pitfalls as their businesses grow and develop. We set up the Commercial Task Team to enable people to access useful advice without obligation, all within their lunch hour. The launch event was dynamic and feedback was very positive. By giving each speaker a five minute time limit, they had to get straight to the point. This meant delegates received clear, useful advice. If they wanted more detail on a given area, they had the opportunity to chat with the speakers over lunch.”

In addition to Leigh Young Solicitors, MRG Systems and us, speakers included representatives from LloydsTSB, chartered accountants Randall & Payne, Intranet Future and IFS Cotswold Planning. Topics ranged from the importance of taking care with Terms & Conditions to business promotion and financial advice.

Leigh Young Solicitors plans to take the Stroud Commercial Task Team to other local industrial estates over the coming months. If you would like to be notified of the next event, contact Margaret on or follow @LYSolicitors on Twitter.

Tags: Leigh Young Solicitors | MRG Systems | IFS Cotswold Planning | LloydsTSB | Randall & Payne | Intranet Future

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

5 ways to drive Facebook engagement

19 April 2013 at 12:37

With half the UK population now using Facebook, it is naturally the first destination for many brands seeking to boost their social media presence. Whether Facebook is the best platform for your brand is another story, and before beginning any social media activity it is worth auditing the different platforms to see where your customers are most active and responsive.

But once you have decided to create a corporate Facebook profile, how do you keep your fan-base engaged beyond their initial ‘like’? Fans can be fickle, and will quickly ‘unlike’ you if you invade their Facebook space with irrelevant or boring content.

Here are five quick tips to help ensure you keep your fans onside for the long term:

1. Talk to your fans – don’t sell to them

If you constantly try to sell to your fans, they will very quickly get annoyed and probably ditch you. Facebook provides an opportunity for you to get to know each other better, and for you to keep your brand front of mind. Show an interest in what your fans are doing and posting, rather than only posting your own business-focused content. Share content that is genuinely interesting – but keep it short.

2. Use images

The Facebook timeline is a great platform for sharing visual content. It may be tempting to fill your profile with product shots – but they really should be kept to a minimum. Think about ‘behind the scenes’ images that give insights into how your business operates, and the type of people who work for you. If you pride yourself on corporate social responsibility, include pics of some of the initiatives you’re involved with. If most of your customers deal with you via phone or email, introduce some of the people who they might be dealing with.  

3. Run competitions, exclusive Facebook fan offers

Everyone loves to get something for nothing, and a great way to keep your fans engaged is to offer good deals and competitions via Facebook. They can provide a powerful incentive for your fans to recommend you to their own friend-base too.

4. Be original

Whilst it’s fine to share relevant images or news stories that you have sourced elsewhere on the web, don’t get lazy about it! It can be really refreshing to see a brand actively communicating in an original way, rather than simply regurgitating the same content as everyone else. Wouldn’t you rather talk with someone who speaks their own mind, rather than always telling you what other people think?

5. Call to action

Don’t just sit back and hope your fans will respond to your content – actively invite them to comment and join the conversation. If you have a good stock of images, a regular ‘caption this photo’ slot can be a fun way to get people involved – although you may need to moderate if any of the captions get a bit risqué!


Tags: Facebook

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

How to avoid a bicycle crash

05 April 2013 at 13:09

Did you see Eddie Mair’s interview with Boris Johnson on the Andrew Marr show last week? Once you stopped cringing, you might have decided it was time to rethink your business’ approach to media interviews.

It’s unlikely that your CEO or subject experts will ever be hauled over the coals in quite the way Boris was. But even kindly interviewers can leave the interviewee exposed and floundering if they are poorly prepared.

Here are five tips to help you freewheel through media interviews:

1.    Never think you can wing it. Everybody needs to prepare for interviews to get the most out of them. Even if you are the business founder it is useful to have a stock response for simple questions like ‘so, what do you do?’. The journalist, or people listening or watching, will soon switch off if you bumble through a lengthy, overly technical or jargon-heavy description of your business. If you work in a complex industry, try to think of simple ways to talk about concepts that might baffle laypeople – without being patronising.

2.    Set goals for the interview – be clear about what you want to get out of the situation. That doesn’t mean plugging your company name into every sentence. But you should decide on two or three messages that you want to convey, and find ways to work them naturally into your responses. Practice saying key phrases or statements out loud beforehand – it will help ensure they flow well and you don’t trip over the words when it comes to the crunch.

3.    Think about your body language. If you are being interviewed for TV or video, make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. Try not to fidget and make sure you arrive in good time, so you don’t feel hurried and tense. Stay calm – and remember to breathe! It will help you to feel in control.

4.    Take your time. Let the interviewer finish their questions, and pause before you answer. Repeat the question back to them if you want to clarify what they are after, or if you need to buy time to think.

5.    Remember that nothing is ever ‘off the record’. Even if the journalist has put their notepad away and you think the cameras have stopped rolling, keep quiet about anything you wouldn’t want attributed to you in the media.

Have you ever had a nightmare interview? Feel free to share, and tell us what you learned…




Tags: Boris Johnson | Andrew Marr | Eddie Mair

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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