News out today has announced that a new package of EU Procurement Directives is aimed at making the opportunity of winning public sector business easier and quicker!
This is fantastic news, we’ve not had an experience of this to date so we can’t report back yet but watch this space as we’ll be trying our best to win something soon. Under the existing system we were put off by the amount of paperwork involved in the application. Now we’re not a business against processes and protocols but there’s never really been much evidence in the market to prove that our business has ever been eligible to win business in this market. With this change in legislation we’re hoping that SME’s like ourselves can deploy less extensive resources to participate in opportunities like this.
Well done EU!
Like most entrepreneurs hiring staff, meeting customers, sourcing new products, discussing marketing and PR is all well and good but neglecting the finances and ignoring the numbers is possible the worst thing you could ever do!
Putting a solid financial system, process and people is possibly one of the best decisions we have ever made. The first sign was cash management and paying the bills. Don’t ever loose sight of your debtors and creditors and don’t rely on your big or small customer payments to see you through.
Sourcing a clever bookkeeper is probably one of the most important things to consider once your company is up and running. When we first started Nick did the books however as we grew bigger and bigger we considered it an administrative task and handed it over to someone unqualified with no ambition to make things right. Thankfully when the going got tough we found someone good as gold with an attitude so close to the detail that they uncovered so many bottlenecks in the business from VAT overpayments to supplier overpayments and structuring our cash flow cycle in the most beneficial way to see us through the tough times!
The intricacies of finance are far from glamorous but getting it right could mean life or death for your business!
By Udhi Silva
After reading a lot of business books and being part of team building activities in a previous life there is a fundamental benefit in running and or participating in team building activities.
There is a important characteristic of every achievement and in business this comes down to having a ‘bond’ and focus from a strong team.
We like to play games in our office and teambuilding doesn’t have to be big or expensive. There are plenty of tools and guides available online. Youtube is great for ideas. Running both office and field based teams often causes a disconnect in managing customers and each other therefore annual / bi- yearly teambuilding exercises is a must to enhance communication between individuals.
Its too early for us to tell you the long term benefits for our organisation but I can tell you every business is capable to earn good profits, success and people if it has a strong and dedicated team. These activities make really worthy outcomes allowing employees to put mutual efforts and skills into their work enabling them to respond to the constant changes and challenges of your business.
By Udhi Silva
Numerous studies suggest people research online before making a purchase. As much as 70%!
A good website is a must! Our industry (Medical) isn’t the most user friendly when it comes to online shopping so we used lots of influences from other industries such as consumer, IT, retail to ensure we bring the very best into a very static and basic online environment. Simple things such as a favourites list (pioneered by Tescos) just makes customers online experience simpler, faster and more convenient. This is mirrored in they way consumers like to shop when they are doing it for themselves.
Having a custom made website is expensive but the personality and capability of your site will have you sitting leaps and bounds over your competition. Use social media to push customers to your website like facebook, twitter and linkedin. The reward is well worth the time invested.
By Udhi Silva
Your customers know who you are, what you do, how you work and what your business is capable of. It is easier to get more business out of an existing account than it is to bring on a brand new customer and get them fully utilising your business and services.
Take advantage by getting your existing customers to refer you to another business. This could be in the form of discounted vouchers for bringing new people on, get them to recommend you to others or share names and contact details. An endorsement from a colleague/friend or someone in a similar business speaks volumes more than any amount invested in advertising. The plus side is its much cheaper too!
By Udhi Silva
Ok so Business Law is important and critical but in the early stages my view is that it will only hinder what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re blessed with plenty of disposable cash then by all means invest it in legal support from day one. The wrong contract terms etc could cost you your business however if you have an ounce of common sense my advice is to wing it for as long as you can until you get the feeling that perhaps this contract or t’s and c’s are beyond my judgement and / or has a lot at stake.
We’ve successfully coped almost 3 years of trading without a lawyer heavily reliant on reading contracts ourselves and applying a little bit of Nudhi (Nick and Udhi) common sense to terms that freak us out. The cost implications of lawyers for us would have cost us important resources that would have sacrificed us growing our business. Not only does the cost bear little resemblance on what you’re trying to achieve with a customer or supplier but the time constraints it has on decisions is astronomical.
Should business law be viewed simply as something that restricts the freedom and prosperity of businesses? To a degree yes however don’t get too complacent in believing you always know best, seek advice when you know the implications of the size of the prize don’t look in your favour.
By Udhi Silva
Ok, so I’ve always wanted to go into business however never knew what in, nor what to do. I do believe fate had a big part to play and if it wasn’t for meeting my trusted partner and friend Nick there would be no Udhi Silva and Nick Coleman double act!
Divide and conquer
Ok so we know we’re both okay at some things, bad at a lot of things but not necessarily good at the same thing. This is why we work so well. Having a co founder enables you to capitalise on what our strengths and weaknesses are and enables us to push forward our thinking when it comes to debating key business decisions. We’re both smart, and I’m definitely a know-it-all, and we thought this was the best way to ensure our initial baby steps were in the right direction.
Now, however, Nick develops our marketing plans and customer experience and messaging, and I quickly review. I develop commercial opportunities and he quickly reviews. At times we’ll both sit down together and plan things through. This is critical in where we have got the business today.
Keep talking, if you’re not happy sit down together, if he or she doesn’t seem happy go out for a beer and talk things through. Review like you would a marriage, have key objectives and make sure you support each other achieve them! Sexual favours shouldn’t come in to it 🙂
By Udhi Silva