Special Alert

Last week, I wrote the text of a publication on Workplace Pensions and Automatic Enrolment which has now been published in the Bizezia online business library – click here for details of the digital library, running to nearly 700 publications.

Your clients will thank you for providing to them this publication – contact us for details of a special offer.


Are you different? Or is your firm, at best, the same as everybody else?

Widely suggested and often followed: Popular wisdom says that there are two possible strategies for a business to pursue (originating from Michael Porter): (1) To be a cost cutter or (2) To be a differentiator. I think that there is a third strategy: (3) To do nothing and eventually fail. To be frank, that’s what most professional firms do – the failure is best described as “failing to achieve their objectives”.

Last month, I gave examples from the retail sector, citing Aldi and Lidl as successful cost cutters, Waitrose as successful differentiators and finally Tesco as (at present) sadly in category 3.

You’ve probably got ideas of your own about companies that differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing what is generally called legendary service. Take a look at these examples.

Last week, I mentioned Ron Kaufman, a regular contributor to Better Business Focus, is a hugely successful author and presenter on the importance of service excellence.  You can read his excellent article here.

Break the rules… stand out from the crowd, says Ric Payne of Principa
Discover how 12 weapons of mass disruption will help you create a firm that really is innovative, future focused and able to take advantage of a rapidly changing market.

Principa’s Practice Innovation Workshop is a unique 2 day, no nonsense, programme presented by Ric Payne (pictured here), an acknowledged global game-changer in practice development.

This is categorically not a ‘same-old, same-old’ boring practice development programme. It’s your opportunity to learn how to apply traditional and contemporary strategic planning tools to re-imagine and re-design your firm AND then have access to an amazing suite of tools and resources for 12 months (at no additional cost) to help you implement your plan.

Event date: November 17-18, Birmingham UK

Visit www.principa-u.com/events/piw for details of the programme and meet two innovative UK firm leaders who have each successfully redesigned their practices to create truly differentiated firms.

Marketing ideas from Marketing Profs
Lots more marketing ideas and tips have been published by Marketing Profs:

From: marketingprofs.com

Guess what these bunkers are used for

From How to Geek: Deep beneath the mountainous terrain of Switzerland there are untold numbers of bunkers and fortified military installations built right into the bedrock of the country itself by armies of engineers during World War II and the subsequent tensions of the Cold War.

Question: What are they used for?

Answer: Many of these mountain fortresses have been converted to house not alarmed civilians and critical military personnel, but acre after acre of computer servers. For companies that demand data storage in a physical location that is naturally climate controlled, as secure as, well, a subterranean military bunker, and even capable of withstanding a nuclear strike, there’s nothing quite like the storage offered by Swiss companies, like Mount10, that have retrofitted the decommissioned bunkers to serve security-minded customers and companies around the world.
The rest of the story is here.

BBC iPlayer now delivers 30-day catch up

Much to the delight of its online viewers, the BBC has officially extended iPlayer’s catch-up from seven to 30 days, allowing fans of Dr Who and Sherlock three more weeks of procrastination. The extension, announced in April but enacted 7 October, comes in time for autumn’s line up, which includes shows such as the Great British Bake-Off.
Source: www.cityam.com/1412643544/bbc-iplayer-now-delivers-30-day-catch

Mark Lee’s seven steps framework to get new clients

From accountingWEB, Mark Lee outlines seven factors that will influence the people you meet so that they become clients. These factors, which can be recalled as starting with the letters A-G, are most relevant as follows when considering prospective clients:

  • Your Appearance – what impression did you leave with the prospect? And is this confirmed if they check you out online?
  • Your Business branding and messaging – was this sufficiently clear, relevant and memorable?
  • Your Conversational impact – were you evidently listening more than talking and able to engage the prospect with relevant stories of how you have helped other clients like them?
  • Your Dependability and trust – did you evidence this when you met and how can you do so as part of your follow up?
  • Your Experience – does the prospect know you have sufficient relevant experience to provide the support and advice they need?
  • Your Follow-up from the meeting – this will be focus of the remainder of this article
  • Your willingness to Give and share – which can also form part of your follow up where appropriate

Read Mark Lee’s article in full at: www.accountingweb.co.uk/article/how-turn-people-you-meet-clients/565674

The Definitive Facebook Advertising Playbook

Marin Software say that Facebook has unleashed sweeping changes to their campaign, creative, device and audience targeting workflows.  At the same time, the Social Network’s user base has managed to grow to over 1.1 billion active users. The confluence of these two trends presents a massive opportunity for digital marketers, but formulating an effective Facebook plan can be difficult.

Facebook advertisers need to adopt new, innovative strategies based on the industry’s most important trends.

Download Marin Software’s The Definitive Facebook Advertising Playbook to learn:

  • How recent Facebook campaign and audience changes have changed user behaviour user
  • The top 4 opportunities Facebook advertisers can take advantage of today
  • The key strategies Facebook advertisers should implement to drive campaign ROI

Download your FREE copy today, no form fill required: lp.marinsoftware.com

Lawyers and Accountants take note! Are you looking to grow your business through acquisition?

From Retiring Accountant who say that they have just launched an online quote system bringing back instant results from high street institutions and specialist lenders able to finance your acquisition.

The best rate from a high street lender able to finance professional practice purchase is currently 3.7%.

The results are instant and the form takes less than a few minutes – click HERE.

If you are wanting to expand and grow your firm or you have an acquisition in mind then please just click HERE to get your instant quote.

Marketers pressured to match strides with mobile-savvy consumers: IAB report

From Mobile Marketer, Michael Barris, says that more consumers want to respond in the mobile marketplace with their digital wallets or the swipe of a phone, ratcheting up the pressure on marketers to catch up, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s new report on “The State of the Mobile World.”

The IAB’s third annual international anthology of IAB mobile perspectives, which analyzed data from IABs in 30 countries, noted that regardless of the place, consumers lead the way, leaving media companies, agencies and brands puzzled by mobile or unsure how to respond to the shift of the digital audience to phones and tablets. The findings underscore the need for marketers to get up to speed in meeting the demands of increasingly mobile-savvy consumers.

“The notion that marketers are playing catch-up in mobile was a key point made this week by Jim Farley,” said Jeff Hasen, president of consulting firm Gotta Mobilize, of remarks by Ford’s head of global marketing, sales and service at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 Innovation Summit in New York.

Mobile Advertising Trends Report 2014

From Funmobility.com, who say that the landscape is changing. A worldwide explosion of mobile ad budgets has sparked a dramatic evolution of technology, standards, and best practices. Those who don’t keep up with the latest mobile advertising trends will be headed for extinction.

Amidst the excitement of this seismic shift, there is a lot of hype—and there are a lot of empty promises. This report will bring you up to speed, providing a no-nonsense examination of the forces that are reshaping the world of mobile advertising.

Download now to become an expert in:

  • New Mobile Ad Formats, a Comparison:
  • Programmatic Buying & Real-Time Bidding
  • Comprehensive Industry-By-Industry Analysis

Download: www.funmobility.com/resources/whitepapers-webinars-quick-guides/mobile-advertising-trends-report-2014/

Scale up: How to grow your business in 2015

From London Loves Business, from finance to flexi-time, Rebecca Hobson provides five key ideas to boost business: This article is brought to you in partnership with RBS, as part of the Dynamic Enterprise Summit 2014. Find out more at: www.dynamicenterprisesummit.com

As we enter the final quarter of 2014, enterprising business leaders must look for new opportunities to scale their operations in 2015. From finance to flexi-time, this article brings you five key ideas to motivate, inspire and, ultimately, boost revenue and profit. You will need to read the full article but the ideas are:

  1. Make the leap into exports
  2. Apply for a bank loan
  3. Ramp up your content marketing
  4. Seek out alternative sources of finance
  5. Introduce a flexible working policy

Read more: www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/scale-up-how-to-grow-your-business-in-2015/8985.article

Zapp brings mobile payment to Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser and others

From CITY A.M., Lynsey Barber reported that Sainsbury’s, Asda and House of Fraser are just some of the country’s biggest shops that will soon let customers pay for items using just a mobile phone via Zapp. The mobile technology, already supported in the apps of UK banks such as HSBC, Nationwide and Santander, will be supported by more than 15 high street retailers and businesses from 2015. Shop Direct, Thomas Cook, Clarks, Dune, Spar, Best Western and Bravissimo will also support Zapp.

The mobile payment industry is predicted to triple by 2018 when it will be worth £14.2bn according to the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR). The industry also received a boost in popularity after Apple introduced support for mobile payment for the iPhone 6.

Zapp, acts as a go-between to pass payments between the bank and retailer securely without the hassle of having to enter card details or pin numbers. Customers will be able to pay online by simply tapping a “pay with zapp” button which takes payment directly from a bank account via the app of their banking provider. The mobile wallet also allows customers to pay in stores at the checkout with the swipe of their phone if it supports NFC and for bills to be paid with the scan of a QR code.

Is this something that your firm could embrace? It would certainly speed up payments from clients!

A Quick Guide to Basic Twitter Analyses

From Simply Measured: You can learn how to build a data-driven Twitter strategy for your brand: To get the most out of your efforts on Twitter, you need a strategy that’s built around your data.

This FREE guide will help you perform basic Twitter analyses and understand how to interpret your findings. Before you know it, you’ll have everything you need to build a data-driven playbook.

Download this Quick Guide to Basic Twitter Analyses to:

  • Learn how to measure and interpret brand engagement
  • Discover which kinds of content work best for your brand
  • Analyze your Twitter audience growth
  • Measure your competitive share of voice on Twitter

…and much more.

GLIP: Solving the team communication thing with this collaboration tool

Glip delivers effortless communication using HD video conferencing, screen sharing and real-time text chat. You can plan projects and automatically share updates, tasks and calendar events. Everything your team needs is in a self-organizing conversation stream. All your shared files, events, tasks and links live in one place, fully searchable and easy to access.

Glip says it delivers better team communication so you can focus on the important stuff.

In the office, on the road or from home, Glip brings it all together: HD video conferencing, screen sharing and real-time text chat along with shared files, updates, tasks and calendar.

Glip is FREE for as long as you want, for as many people as you need
Download from: info.glip.com/glip-landing-page-072914

An Update on the AICPA’s Revised Code of Professional Conduct

From the California CPA organisation: Matthew Lombardi, CPA/CFF: Challenging D.H. Lawrence’s proposition that ethics does not change with the calendar, the AICPA’s revised Code of Professional Conduct (Code) will become effective on 31 December. A year later, the Conceptual Framework for AICPA Independence Standards will be supplemented with two additional frameworks that extend beyond the current independence rule.

While the AICPA intended to limit significant revisions to the ethics rules, the redrafting resulted in several substantive changes to broaden the Code’s scope and improve its understandability.

[Matthew Lombardi, CPA/CFF is a partner in the forensic accounting practice at Hemming Morse LLP.] Although this is an article from the USA, it contains useful pointers for accountants in the UK.
Read the full article at: www.calcpa.org/content/27344.aspx

Marketing Automation Runs on Content

[9 October 2014, Marketo] Creating effective content is essential to achieving success with marketing automation. Check out Marketo’s new eBook, Marketing Automation Runs on Content, to learn how to build a streamlined content operation and boost your marketing’s quantifiable impact!

Download the ebook now to find out how to:

  • Produce, distribute and analyse content
  • Map your content directly to buyer personas
  • Build content for every stage of your sales cycle
  • Amplify the value of marketing automation

Download from: info.marketo.com/kH03v0b10t602Ymvt904T0G

Do you get Delanceyplace? It’s thought-provoking, interesting… and FREE

This is fantastic: Delanceyplace is a FREE brief daily email with an excerpt or quote they view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context.

There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, primarily historical in focus, and will occasionally be controversial. Finally, they say they hope that the selections will resonate beyond the subject of the book from which they were excerpted. When you sign up, you’ll be joining 99,000 other subscribers who receive Delanceyplace every weekday morning.

There’s a very useful archive of articles here.
Sign up for FREE at: www.delanceyplace.com/sign_up.php

Could a big data-crunching machine be your boss one day – perhaps the senior partner?

Matthew Wall wrote in BBC News to say: “I’m on a date with Amelia. She’s neatly dressed, emotionally intelligent and whip-smart. But she’s a little too virtual for my tastes.”

Amelia is a “learning cognitive agent”, according to her creators IPSoft – like one of those virtual customer service helpers that pop up on corporate websites.

Only not so dumb and a lot less irritating. But one day, she could end up being your boss, her makers believe.

Machine learning
Amelia can swallow textbooks whole, speak 20 languages, understand concepts and learn from her mistakes. And she can be replicated any number of times.

This may be a far cry from Scarlett Johansson’s uber-intelligent operating system Samantha in Spike Jonze’s sci-fi film, Her, but it’s the future, says Chetan Dube, IPSoft’s chief executive.
Read full story: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29456257

10 top technology trends for 2015

From TOI Tech: Do you wonder which are the technology trends that are likely to have a significant impact on organizations in the year 2015?

Research agency Gartner has identified 10 such technologies that organisations cannot afford to ignore. However, it is not necessary that companies adopt and invest in all of these trends at the same rate, but companies do need to look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.

Here are the top 10 technology trends that will prevail in the coming year (go to the full article for details):

  1. Computing everywhere
  2. The internet of things
  3. 3D printing
  4. Advanced, pervasive and invisible analytics
  5. Context-rich systems
  6. Smart machines
  7. Cloud computing
  8. Software-defined applications and infrastructure
  9. Web-scale IT
  10. Risk-based security and self-protection

Read more, including detail on the list above: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/slideshow/10-top-technology-trends-for-2015/itslideshowviewall/44783112.cms

What can you learn from this? Countries with the Most Profitable Coffee

From Central America Data: Every year Switzerland sells about 50 thousand tons for which it receives $1.98 billion, earning a return on its coffee exports which is 5 times higher than in Germany.

An article on Msn.com reports on a not well known phenomenon practiced in Central America: the value of generating and accumulating knowledge and practicing innovation is much higher than owning and exploiting natural resources.

One example is the case of coffee in Switzerland, where it was “… the value of knowledge and innovation which positioned Switzerland”, not “… the ability to buy cheap and sell expensive. It was the ability to transform a product. They created the capsule market and converted 5 grams of a ground grain into a complete universe, which involves design, marketing, industrial development, high technology and coffee, and as if that were not enough, also, George Clooney. “

“… The 570% return on 1 ton of “Swiss” coffee with respect to the “German” coffee is the result of the efficiency of a process based on development of knowledge. This is not even about coffee. In fact, experts who studied the phenomenon of why so much is paid for a product that is not the best, in culinary terms, concluded that those who choose the famous capsule do so, mainly because of the convenience of the technology which allows them to have an espresso in just seconds without any fuss. “
From: msn.com
Source: en.centralamericadata.com/en/article/home/Countries_with_the_Most_Profitable_Coffee

Interesting stuff: Delanceyplace and an Adulteress

On 13 October, from Delanceyplace:  This has nothing to do with marketing or business promotion. But it’s very interesting nevertheless.

This selection by Delanceyplace – from The Gesualdo Hex by Glenn Watkins, explains that Carlo Gesualdo da Venose, the Prince of Venosa, was an Italian nobleman and composer in the 16th century. He is famous not only for the haunting madrigals he composed, but the vicious murder of his wife, Maria d’Avalos, and her lover, Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria. The double-murder, which contributed to Gesualdo’s notoriety, was never punished. In fact, there was an imperative to murder an adultering wife and her lover…
Read more at: www.delanceyplace.com/delancey_archives.php

Martin Pollins
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