With a full launch of the Google Wallet app due in the UK soon, many businesses are starting to consider how they might use the technology to attract new customers and make life more convenient for existing ones.

So what is it and how does it work?  The technology essentially allows your smartphone to take the place not only of your credit card and/or debit card, but also selected loyalty cards, gift cards, coupons, and more. It has the potential to bring to an end pockets of overflowing loyalty cards that require lots of stamps that eventually allow you to have (for example) a free coffee.

Google Wallet has also been designed to allow users to buy things simply by tapping an NFC-equipped phone on a pay-station. However, with a limited number of manufacturers and shops offering this technology (and the fact that the iPhone doesn’t have NFC), it seems that most people aren’t familiar enough with its operation to make it attractive or worthwhile.

Online shopping is where Google Wallet is potentially going to take off. Using the new “Buy with Google” button, users can make purchases online without having to fill in card details and address information; it really is possible to place an order with a single click. Amazon pioneered this method with the appropriately named ‘1 Click’ and this concept is similar.

Google Wallet is therefore perfectly placed for busy customers targeted for impulse buys and repeat purchases.  However few online retailers are using the required button, making it a relatively niche feature.  It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design and implementation of Google Wallet. However, the success or failure of the service will be determined by the ability of Google to build relationships with online retailers, as well as getting more NFC pay points into large retail stores. Google certainly has the financial and technical capability to make this happen and if it does, businesses who adopt the technology should benefit.




Growing your business in the current economic climate is challenging to say the least. As such, businesses need to think of new, often more radical ways of growing their revenue and acquiring new clients.


Cost cutting is a quick and easy fix – less cost in a more efficient business generates a greater profit. This works, as long as you don’t cut too much. A more aggressive approach is to acquire a few new clients from your competitors.

No business, no matter how good their service has a 100% satisfied customer base. This means that, if targeted correctly, you can acquire some new clients from a competitor who fails to fully service their requirements.

In order to effectively acquire new clients, you will need to define the unique selling points of your business. Whether your products / services are faster, better, cheaper or come with better customer support and service levels – you must define what it is that sets you apart from the competition. Next you must communicate this message to your target market in an appealing and enticing manner.

Targeting your potential new clients is the difficult part. You must work out how to identify the least satisfied clients of your competitors and then reach out to them with an appropriate campaign. By studying your competitors and networking at relevant industry events, you can begin to profile their client base. Next, develop a campaign which can be placed in a manner which will be seen by the target clients.

You could develop a campaign which involves articles on relevant topics in the trade press, seminars and presentation slots at relevant industry conferences and a targeted advertising campaign including email marketing which defines the advantages of using your products / services. Highlighting your USPs will ensure that your targets are aware of what sets you apart and creating a level of interest in your products / services.

Next, you will have to close the deal. Follow up is crucial. If you speak at a seminar or conference, make sure to get a copy of the attendee list. Next, you can send a follow up email to all attendees and this can be followed up further with a phone call.

Finally, ask for the business. The conversation should focus on the value that the client gains from working with you rather than your competitor. Finish up with a discussion about how “we have plenty of business but we are always looking for more”.



 Integration of systems and the sharing of data is key to running a successful business, no matter how big or small the company. HR is no exception, and HR systems should connect to others for both reporting and triggering actions. A useful suite of standard reports configured by HR software should include:

  • HeadcountHR
  • Employee turnover & stability
  • Departmental salaries & payroll
  • Absence costs by department
  • Objectives met and outstanding – individually and within department
  • Training needs met and outstanding – individually and within department


Such reports are only as good as the quality of the information within them. All too often, reporting in a business is full of errors, due to a failure to cleanse and update data on a regular basis. Once the integrity is questioned, it is very difficult to get confidence restored in the system.

Training is also important. Make sure that everyone who needs to know how to use the systems in your business receives adequate training. For example, Finance should be trained on how to run reports from the HR system in order to run cost and budget reports, which are affected by HR data such as headcount etc.

After reporting, your business should also consider triggered actions. Actions which are automatically triggered could include appraisal dates, probation review, sickness absence reports, etc. Triggered actions can help to reduce the admin workload for HR and are useful in helping busy managers ensure that work gets completed as it should.




High-level strategy gives direction to the management team of a business. However, such high level plans can often prove to be of little use to other workers within the organisation. Aspects of the strategy must be distilled down to actions and plans which will drive the various areas of the business towards the common goals outlined in the overall strategy.


It is often said that a strategy doesn’t fail in its formulation but in its implementation. The key to implementing a strategy successfully is communication.

Many leadership teams, in their excitement and enthusiasm to turn their strategy into reality, fail to take the necessary steps to ensure that it can be delivered effectively by the various departments in the firm. Taking the time and energy to translate your strategic vision into operational success, demands that you focus on the following:

Communication – Your strategic intent and agenda should form the basis of all your communication with the business. When you make and communicate a decision, for example, you should clearly state how it will help move the strategy of the business forward.

Resources – Resources should be allocated on the basis of their ability to deliver the agreed strategy, and not simply reflect historic trends and decisions.

Alignment – The goals of the business must align with the objectives of the departments and people within the firm. Tiny differences of opinion in the boardroom can become huge divisions across the organisation, rapidly reducing your chances of successful implementation.

People – Your best and most appropriate people should be leading the delivery of your key strategic objectives. Not only does this increase the firm’s chances of success, but it also sends a signal to the business about what management considers to be important.

Accountability – The individual performances, and the collective performance of the team, should be directly based on implementing the strategy.

Measurement – Your KPIs should mirror the strategy, as should your associated rewards and bonuses. If you are serious about your strategy you will define appropriate ways to track its delivery and effectively report on progress.




In today’s challenging business environment, many businesses are turning to outsourcing as a way to reduce costs. It is not uncommon for firms to outsource functions such as IT, payroll, back office functions etc. Now, however, firms are beginning to consider the potential of outsourcing human resources (HR).

The benefits to a business are simple: lower operational costs and increased efficiency, as the outsourced provider will generally commit to a service level agreement (SLA). However, is outsourcing HR really a viable business solution?


Reduced Costs

A business can save money by outsourcing HR: tax contributions, employee benefits, desk space etc can all be saved as a result of removing the need for direct employees. In the quest to secure the best value for money, some businesses outsource their HR function to offshore firms that have considerably cheaper labour costs than the UK. This saving can then be passed on to the client.

More Efficient Service

Because of the specialisation of these third-party service providers, the quality of service required by a company can be met consistently.

In an outsourcing scenario, front line services would still need to be delivered in the UK (assuming this is where the business is based). However, customer service, back office functions etc can be delivered efficiently from offshore locations using high speed internet connections, phone systems, video conferencing, email etc.

Just like any other aspect of running a business, outsourcing HR has its positives and negatives. The positives, as we have identified, are the cost savings and increases in efficiency. On the negative side, outsourced HR people do not know the business as well as an in-house HR team would. As a consequence, they won’t understand the strengths and weaknesses of the firm’s team and may struggle to deliver real value.




We all understand the importance of delegation, yet very few know how to do it properly. Here are a few tips to help you delegate work effectively.


Realistic Deadlines

It is important to note that overloading your team will have a negative impact, so before you delegate work make sure that you understand how much work they currently have to do. Next identify any extra capacity in your team and consider whether this is enough to complete a delegated task or project. Set a deadline that is realistic and achievable for the person or team to whom you are delegating the work.

Be Specific about What You Want Done

Be clear as to the purpose of the delegated work and what kind of results you expect. Providing a written outline of what you require can be useful, as this gives your team something to refer back to. Finally, take the time to answer your team’s questions – this takes less time than redoing the work!

Leave Them to It

Once you have delegated work to someone who is well equipped to handle the task, allow them to be imaginative in their approach and do something in a differently or better way. How they do the work doesn’t really matter, as long as it produces the right results.  Remember – nobody likes to be micro managed.

Develop Your Team

You can use delegation to empower team members and encourage them to develop new skills and expertise. Make sure that they feel comfortable to ask questions: let them know that you are happy to clarify anything they may be unsure about.


Have a system in place so that your team can report their progress without having to constantly interrupt you during the day. Setting dates for progress updates can be useful.





Whether establishing a business-charity partnership or organising for a group of staff to volunteer in the local community, CSR is part of being in business. CSR is a great way to engage your staff, build teams and fulfil your business’s role as a responsible part of the wider community. Large businesses often run substantial CSR programmes but small firms can contribute by engaging with local charity events. Charity isn’t an obvious profile raising tool for businesses but it can be a great way of increasing your profile in the market while conveying a positive image as a good corporate citizen.


Think Local
If you are a local business, your customers will want to see you supporting the local area. Charitable organisations are often funded purely through donations. What’s more, they often need help with more than just finance. A nice way to support such charities is to allow your staff to volunteer some time (say 1 or 2 days per year) during work to help out with the charity’s activities. Alternatively, if some of your team are sporty, they could run a marathon to raise money. They could write about their experience in the local newspaper or a relevant business journal, giving give the business and the charity some good PR off the back of the event.

Stick with what you are good at
If you want to build the profile of your business in a particular sector, you could try to support a relevant charity which you would like your business to be associated with. For example, if you offer accounting and taxation services to the social housing sector, then you could help out a social housing charity as part of your CSR programme. This would help to raise the profile of your firm in this market, while at the same time giving your business and your people the opportunity to engage in CSR.

Go with what you believe in
You may think that there is nothing you can do to help, but if there is a particular charity that you believe in then contact them. If you are passionate and enthusiastic about the chosen charity your firm supports, this will come across when you talk about it. It will make good reading in the local newspaper while generating some PR for your firm at the same time.



 No matter how big or small a business is, good managers will always make a business better. What traits make a highly effective manager? Experience being a given, here are a few points to consider:


Effective managers are known to make decisions quickly and are slow to change those decisions. This is often seen as being stubborn or resistant to change, but a manager that changes his or her decisions frequently is seen as indecisive, confusing and loses respect as a team leader. Often, those who change decisions often rely too heavily on impressing others with their title and position instead of understanding what’s in front of them. Well informed, quick decision making is a signature of highly effective managers.


Good managers make definite plans and know how to execute them. Leading by guesswork without definite plans can be seen as disorganised. For the most part, effective managers take the time to think things through, weigh up all the options and then come up with viable ways to address positive and negative risks that may arise. Essentially, they plan their work and work their plan.


Good managers empathise with their team members. It’s easy for some managers to dismiss the personal issues of team members, but truly effective managers realise that paying attention to staff as well as their work is essential to having a productive team. Not only does it make the employee feel like they matter, it is also good business. A boss that sympathises with and provides resources to his/her team is a part of the holistic business approach that is good for team morale as well as the firm itself.

Knowing the Detail

Good managers understand the detail but focus their efforts on the big picture. They delegate tasks to the team and trust those team members to deliver. A good manager will always impart an understanding of the overall plan to the team and then give each person a part to play in delivering the plan.




 Hosting a seminar is a great way to reach out to new customers and give existing customers a little bit of “value added”. However, putting on a good event isn’t always as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of preparation, coordination and attention to detail to pull off a successful seminar.




You should tailor your seminar to your intended audience. As such, you should decide whether you are targeting existing customers, the general public, new businesses etc. Determining who your audience is will help you to decide what content should be included.


You should consider the aims of your seminar before setting your budget.

For example, if you want to win 5 new customers, you may need 50 or 60 attendees at your event. This means that you will need a venue with the capacity to accommodate this number. Set a realistic budget and try to stick to it.


Once you determine the size of your desired audience, you will need to find an appropriate venue. A good venue from which to host your event is your business premises, as this will help to raise awareness of your firm’s location among your target audience. Alternatively, you could choose a venue that is synonymous with your industry. For example, a solicitors firm could host a seminar at the local Law Society and an accountancy firm could host their event at the local ACCA or ICAEW office.

Schedule of Events

Having a specific schedule will help you create an agenda for your audience, should one be required. Ensure you have enough “leeway” in your timing to allow for unexpected occurrences (for example lunch not being served on time). Consider what time your speakers should arrive, if you’re providing lunch or dinner etc.

Plan Ahead

Make lists, schedule meetings and touch base with people periodically. Make sure that you’ve listed everything you need. You should create a written plan that is designed to make every detail of the event happen (who is doing what), and talk through this plan with your team to ensure they don’t need additional assistance.




 An effective system that can create, store, and track documents electronically is a necessity in any modern business. One thing that is common with any growing business is the large number of documents that have to be stored and retrieved as the need arises. This calls for an effective document management system and a firm-wide document management policy. Whether documents are stored and made available in paper, electronic, or online formats, a document management system will enhance document security as well as making things easier to locate when needed.

One of the most important components of this kind of system is an ability to capture data and index it in such a way that storage, retrieval, and distribution become instant. Many businesses that introduce such a system soon discover how effective and efficient the management of documents and information can become. Another important aspect is that after information has been stored, it can be made available to authorised personnel as and when they need it. So processes such as sales, audit reports, etc become more efficient.


Secure storage of documents is a key feature of a Document Management System. A properly designed system can keep documents using different types of media depending on factors such as how frequently they are used, their nature, as well as the ease and convenience of their use. There are web document management systems that require documents to be stored on databases or servers, other systems that require storage on optical media such as DVDs and CDs, and still others that require storage magnetically using tape drives or hard disks. Depending on your business, your IT service provider will help you to decide what system is best for your firm.

There is more to record management than storage of documents. A good system will enable staff to efficiently retrieve or sort required documents, speeding up process driven work. Another advantage of a document management system is that all documents are available for the next person online immediately, increasing efficiency within the business.

A computer and web based document management system ensures smooth intra-organisational connectivity which also extends to inter-office levels with a well managed flow of information. Authorised users can also connect to the system when working from home or out on the road. With fast and convenient operations, the business will benefit from further efficiencies and increased levels of productivity.