Well thought out and well designed websites are essential in making a good impression. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, most website users stick around less than 59 seconds. So, if you don’t capture a user’s attention in less than a minute, you’ve lost them. Around 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website! That gives you even LESS time to capture their attention.
“The first impression is the best impression” – says every mother, everywhere!
Content marketing is essential. Putting out well written content on a regular basis across all platforms will most definitely improve your custom. These ‘platforms’ include websites, of course, but also social media, email campaigns and printed collateral too.
Your focus needs to be on giving customers information that is:
- Will help build your reputation
At Magnificent Stuff, we offer the whole package. Unlike most marketing agencies who thrive on design work, we deliver content which will work alongside your design and brand, all in-house. We love getting to know our clients and their products/service, so who better to write about it than us?
We have compiled our top tips for content creation so that you will have more success in winning clients and customers:
1. Know your audience and know their requirements
2. Be clear and concise
3. Share your knowledge and passion
4. Be consistent in tone of voice and format
5. Tell stories!
6. Spread the word via social media
If you need any help with content creation, please contact us today!
PRICE BAILEY: PB INSPIRES
Working in partnership with Visionpath, Price Bailey Chartered Accountants set up a new corporate social responsibility programme, PB Inspires, with the aim of inspiring, supporting and encouraging employees of the future.
Research studies have found that as little as four employer interactions with schools can have a substantial impact on a student’s engagement with education and future prospects. As a result, students are equipped with a better idea of what they want from their future, greater career prospects and earning potential.
Since 2016, Price Bailey have partnered with a number of local schools, including St. Marks West Essex Catholic School in Harlow, providing knowledge, coaching and advice to a broad range of individuals. Many of the Price Bailey’s apprentices and graduates play a vital role in running these sessions as they are able to easily relate their recent experiences of applying and moving from school to apprenticeships, university and the work place.
PB Inspires primarily works with students in the age range of 14-18 years, in secondary schools and sixth-forms. Some 400 students have partaken in the events with 85% feeling like they have learned new skills for the future and 150 hours of workplace experience gained. Events to date have included:
- upSKILL Enterprise days
- careers carousels
- career coaching sessions
- CV and covering letter workshops
- mock interviews
When asked about PB Inspires Paul Bartlett, a Director based in the firms Bishop’s Stortford Office, said “Not only is the PB Inspires programme a passion for many of our employees but there is a strong belief that we are able to convey knowledge and experiences that we wished we had access to when we were in school.”
There has been lots of positive feedback from the students who have taken part in the sessions. One participant said “I learnt the importance of listening as a leadership skill, rather than just directing a group” with another saying “as well as learning about how the business world works in relation to income and costs, we also improved our soft skills such as teamwork and communication”.
The programme offers dual benefits as there has been very positive feedback from the Price Bailey staff that have taken part. Wesley Pearson, who joined the firm as a graduate trainee in 2017, said “it gives the students the opportunity to speak to people independent from their parents and teachers and it was good to see the students learning as they went along. It’s a great feeling being able to give something back to the wider community”,
Price Bailey received national recognition for the PB Inspires initiative when it won the ‘Outstanding Community Engagement and Contribution’ award at the British Accountancy Awards in 2017, but the firm is not resting on its laurels as the 2018/19 PB Inspires programme has just been finalised so that they can continue adding value to the work force of the future!
To find out more about Price Bailey or PB Inspires please contact Sharon Whelan – email@example.com
The Harlow story
The launch of the Harlow story was a move that organisations and business leaders across Harlow had been waiting for.
The story emerged from concerns that Harlow’s voice wasn’t being heard above those of other places across the South East and that Harlow did not have a simple story explaining what it is trying to achieve as a place. The approach to develop the story was to understand what makes Harlow special, competitive and different to other places and bring this all together in a new narrative that every organisation and individual across the area can tell and be part of. Most importantly this was a story based on the perceptions and views of stakeholders, so it reflects what they see as important for the place and the opportunities it can exploit.
Harlow is fortunate to benefit from a prime location, with great rail links to London, excellent road connections including the nearby M11 and Stansted Airport just to the north. A long-standing reputation as a hub for science and innovation, it was the birthplace of fibre optics. The town is growing with major housing schemes, the relocation of Public Health England and is also well known for its fabulous sculpture collection. With London on the doorstep Harlow is poised for exciting growth and development.
The story is based around three themes which represent the distinctiveness of Harlow and will set it apart in the future.
colour, culture, sculpture
Harlow is a mecca for those who enjoy public art, especially sculpture. The town is a living gallery of important works of art by Barbara Hepworth, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Elizabeth Frink. It is also home to a vibrant creative and cultural scene using popular venues such as the Gibberd Gallery, Parndon Mill and Harlow Playhouse. There is an ambition to build on this creative gene, to animate space and attract more people to live in and visit Harlow.
the science of change
Harlow was the birthplace of fibre optic communications which laid the groundwork for the evolution of the internet. Science research and life sciences have always been important for Harlow and the phased relocation of Public Health England to the town highlights that this knowledge-led activity will shape the future of the place supported by other supply chain businesses and the Enterprise Zone. Harlow will become ‘science central’.
lifestyle: local and London
Harlow is set to benefit from the ‘overheating’ of a crowded and less affordable London. Thousands of new homes will transform the town centre and the local economy. There is a great range of places to live including the forthcoming Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and the whole area is astonishingly green with fantastic facilities from Town Park to Lee Valley Country Park. Harlow is a great value, brilliantly connected location under 30 minutes from the greatest city on earth!
The Harlow story was launched in June at The Playhouse with a number of high profile organisations and businesses pledging their support. John Keddie (Chair of Harlow Place Board), Chris Snow (Harlow Arts Trust), Michael Beard (Public Health England), Rob Wilkinson (Countryside Properties) and Eugenie Harvey (Harlow Council) took to the stage to describe why the story was important for their organisation and for the economic prosperity of Harlow.
The story was enthusiastically received but this is just the start of the journey!
Putting Harlow on the map and communicating what a great place it is to live and work, as well as the fantastic opportunities it has, is not a one-off job. As a place we have to stand up and be counted and that means working alongside the council and other key organisations to get the message out. To help do this a Place Board has been created who will be the ultimate guardians and champions of the Harlow story and our new place marketing approach.
This is led by Dr John Keddie who was previously Vice President Global Operations for GlaxoSmithKline in Harlow and who also chairs the Enterprise Zone Board. He and a small group of key players who are enthusiastic about the town have come together to provide leadership for this initiative and ensure that the Harlow voice is heard at county level, within the Local Enterprise Partnership and as a vital element of the UK’s Innovation Corridor.
They will create a different, ‘place led’ perspective to the promotion of Harlow bringing the views of business, education, arts and community to the table in an independent way. Their only agenda is helping to attract investment, jobs, visitors and talent into the area whilst enhancing the pride many have of their town.
For Harlow to succeed as a place we need to get as many people and organisations as possible believing in it and telling and selling its story. The Harlow Ambassadors are literally a salesforce for the place and everyone can get involved!
Every two months there will be an Ambassadors Meeting where you can learn about what’s happening in Harlow and the wider area from those that are making it happen. All we want the Ambassadors to do is to relay these messages to their networks and contacts when they ask what’s going on in Harlow? This is the most powerful and impactful way of marketing the place.
We had our first meeting on the 27th September at the Rugby Club where the audience heard from Allies and Morrison about the action plan for the town centre and Kimberlee Perry, an international entrepreneur who has formed and developed her business in Harlow. The event was very well attended and the feedback has been very positive.
Another key part of the Ambassadors programme is holding the meetings in different venues around the Harlow area so those attending can get to see organisations they may know nothing about and learn how they are putting the place on the map. If you’re interested in attending let one of the Place Managers have your details so you can be included on the invite list.
Tools to help tell and sell the Harlow story
Whilst word of mouth is brilliant at getting our stories out there are various things you can access that will help your organisation and help Harlow. We have a new forward-looking story for Harlow which has been developed into a storybook. You can perhaps use some of the words and ideas in how you describe your organisation and the Harlow it is based within.
The place website www.discoverharlow.co.uk is a developing tool whose job is to act as a reference point for anyone promoting the place – why not add it to your email footer? Within this you can access the stunning photography that has been specially taken to illustrate our new story, you can download it and it’s free!
You can also use the fantastic Harlow showreel as part of your promotional activity which visually tells our story in 90 seconds, it’s informative and inspiring!
To help communicate the Harlow story we have also created a visual identity that represents the place in a very contemporary way, you can see this being used on the website, in the storybook and on the showreel. It celebrates our scientific past and future, our businesses and our art and creativity.
How to get involved
Sharon Summerfield and Carole Hudson have been appointed as Harlow Place Brand Managers and will work with businesses, organisations and the community in telling and selling the Harlow story and developing activity that supports this. If you’d like to find out more about the Harlow story, the Ambassadors scheme, get involved and join the growing number of organisations who are contributing to this important work to help put Harlow on the map, please contact DiscoverHarlow@harlow.gov.uk and follow @discoverharlow
Henry Audley-Charles talks about ‘Change’
Change can be an unsettling time for businesses. It can present a variety of challenges, as well as opportunities. During these times, it can be easy for business owners to become distracted and take their eyes off their cash flow.
One of the reasons that businesses can fail is lack of cash flow. There are many different funding options for a business to consider from hundreds of different lenders, including overdrafts, loans, invoice finance – all with different terms, fees and options.
Your bank should always be the first port of call for finance as they will be the cheapest option, aside from friends/family. They are the most risk adverse lenders and can take a few weeks to process a request to borrow money. ‘Fintech’ or alternative lenders can provide loans within 24 hours, but this will be at a higher cost. Some lenders have hybrid overdraft/invoice finance products that give the business invoice finance style funding without the admin burden or customer interaction.
Existing assets (vehicles, plant and machinery) can usually be refinanced to release cash – even vehicles over 10 years old. Retailers can borrow against the future takings from their card machine – this is a very fast source of cash, but is expensive when compared to other options.
If a director has frozen company pensions, then these could be used to release cash into the business. This carries additional risks, but can be a tax efficient way of supporting a business. Also if a business owner has sufficient equity in their residential or investment property, then secured loans can be arranged at sensible interest rates*.
All credit will be subject to application and approval by the lender, the interest rate and fees will usually reflect the perceived risk of the transaction.
Grants may be available, which don’t need to be repaid – but these are not quick fixes. Some grants require the client to match the funding provided, others are just straight gifts of money for specific purposes.
Henry Audley-Charles, SME Funding Limited – firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiropractor Dr Miguel Gutierrez Martinez and his team have seen an incredible transformation over the past year, since opening a new clinic at the Greenway Business Centre in Summer 2017.
Miguel was already a familiar face on the Harlow health scene. A favourite of body builders and local athletes, (as well as musicians and dancers as part of his work with the casts of various West End shows,) he was working from a small room in a local gym. “My Ripped Gym family were a really important part of my journey. I outgrew the space, but I wanted to bring that sense of community to my own business.”
The transition into the new space has been a labour of love, with a team of 8 now working 7 days a week. Many of the team started as patients, and two have embarked upon their own Chiropractic degrees, while still working at the clinic! It seems the ‘Pied Piper’ has inspired more than just his patients, who come with pain, often long term and chronic and leave with a new lease of life.
“We make people better, and we support many of our clients long term who want to take preventative steps to good health. Our clients are an amazing, motivated positive force and when they see what Chiropractic combined with the other disciplines can do they embrace change.” Since moving to the UK in 2006, Miguel carved out a solid reputation but always had ambitions to grow into a standalone multi-disciplinary business, leaving behind a successful career as part of the Europe wide Halsa group.
“I never stand still! You have to keep changing, growing, adapting. As a team, we learn something new every single day. I surround myself with people who can teach me things, and are as ambitious as I am to be part of something that can change the health of Harlow for the better.”
The new clinic has exceeded all expectations, growing at a rate far exceeding expectations and challenging the (well-established) competition. ”I always had ambitions to grow my clinic and we have worked incredibly hard this past year- it has certainly challenged our resources, systems and sleep! Luckily I am Spanish and good at grabbing afternoon naps!”
It is a testament not just to the clinical expertise of Miguel and his team-, but the passionate support they receive from their clients. “ That’s probably been the nicest part of our growth, being able to help so many more people to active pain free lives, and getting amazing feedback! We have the best clients in the world, they are so generous in their praise.”
Miguel’s long-term business goals are all about change. “I want to change the health system as it is. Dentists and opticians don’t fight for patients because they have set boundaries around what they do. However, many Chiropractors are trying to do soft tissue work and Physiotherapists are trying to do Spinal manipulation, instead of concentrating on what they do best. “
He says also that the problem is that they don’t like to work with other people, and Miguel wants to change that. “ I want people all with the same focus -that the all-important thing is to make a person better. If we can get people working together, everyone will get better results. “
The MGM Team had an outing recently to see their client Robin Parsons in his Michael Jackson persona, at the Harlow Playhouse. Has anyone said it better than Jackson, wonders Miguel, about the impact of change…
“It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference.” Lucky Harlow!
I first came across the term ‘Digital Darwinism’ a year or so ago when researching new technologies that Magnificent Stuff can take advantage of. I was shocked to see just how many new digital systems and developments there were in our industry alone!
Tom Goodwin, the Head of Innovation for Zenith Media, coined the term to describe how the digital movement is changing businesses for good. As a marketing agency, we have always had to keep on top of these new developments for the benefit of our clients.
We try to attend as many workshops and seminars as we can to keep us in ‘up to speed’ but the truth is, it is a challenge for all (with extremely busy agendas) to learn and adapt to the changes in line with the developments the digital world keeps throwing at us.
We are only human. We like routine. We thrive on having an organised timeline. It is extremely important for us as a business to plan ahead, like all businesses. However, how can we plan months in advance when systems and regulations are evolving all the time? Dare I say, for example, GDPR!
Nevertheless, in order to keep one step ahead of our competitors we have had to view these changes as opportunities and embrace them in a positive way rather than completely freaking out.
I have compiled my 3 top tips for other businesses who find themselves struggling to adapt to Digital Darwinism. They are working for us as a business and we are very pleased with where we are heading.
1. One tech at a time
In our sector, we have to consider possible changes affecting social media, email marketing, website development, app expansion and so much more! I have found that by focussing on just one platform at a time, the developments are a lot less daunting. So, my advice is to make a plan to ensure you tackle each task efficiently and prioritise those critical to the success of your business.
2. Encourage education
My colleagues and I are always sending each other invitations to training days, seminars and workshops in order to better ourselves and our skills set. Additional support and training is key in any industry. Make sure you and your employees have access to the tools needed to improve skills; both tech-wise and for practicality! If budgets are limited there are thousands of free courses, videos and tutorials available online – always worth a look!
3. Build momentum
In order for us to stay motivated, we have got ourselves into the habit of implementing regular updates together. We often work remotely and so having these meetings by phone or online ensure everybody is on the right track and at the same level in terms of meeting client needs. This also highlights areas which need more attention from us as a business and stops progress from reaching a grinding halt. It also enables us to share skills and learn from within the business. Technology is developing all the time therefore we should be too.
Written by Boo Hartgen of Magnificent Stuff
Stories and the HDCC continue to be massive advocates of business networking and we would highly recommend it to all in business – to grow your connections and little black book, to share ideas and to collaborate.
Bear in mind that with the exception of the Chamber, a number of the groups below operate a ‘one member per business type’ policy, so it’s always best to make contact before turning up. Remember to always take business cards and prepare a brief sixty second presentation if needed. A lot of these groups will have ‘Power Teams’ or similar groups, where members of related industries work and communicate closely together. It’s often worth getting to know these people in the group most closely associated to your industry.
Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce – The HDCC promote a number of events throughout Harlow: http://www.harlowchamber.co.uk/events. For more information, contact us on 01279 271104.
Harlow BNI – Meets every Wednesday at the Park Inn Hotel at 6:30 for a 7am start. BNI networking follows a strict agenda designed to maximise results – a formula that has proven itself over many years. If interested please contact Robin Stretton at Robin@bnisoutheast.co.uk.
Harlow Professionals – Meets on the last Friday of the month at the Harlow Arena (HTFC). This is an informal meeting with no need to book – just turn up with loads of business cards and enjoy the (free) lunch with other Harlow professionals at it’s excellent new venue.
WIBN Harlow – Women in Business Networking meets at Miller and Carter in Harlow. This women-only event meets at midday one Tuesday each month. More information can be found at http://www.wibn.co.uk/groups-members/harlow/
Just outside of Harlow…
Stansted BNI – Meets every Thursday at the Novotel at 6:15 for a 7am
start. This is a friendly group which turned over £2.2m of business between it’s members last year. If interested please contact Steve Chew at email@example.com
Stansted Business Breakfast – included here as a number of Harlow-based businesses are involved. Informal and friendly networking group, meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport every second Friday at 7am. Contact Eric Chorley on 01279 324837.
PAYN – A new group, begun in Harlow and expanding rapidly. Meets at the Queens Head in Churchgate Street – contact Chris Bedwell vis firstname.lastname@example.org
MEETUP & EVENTBRITE
These are fantastic resources for info on the latest and closest events, they even select relevant gatherings based on your personal interests.
FACEBOOK: An odd concept for a recommendation for business networking but a couple of groups do stand out, notably Networking Herts and Essex https://www.facebook.com/groups/NetworkingHertsandEssex/ and Networking Cambridgeshire https://www.facebook.com/groups/networkingcambridge/, both of which avoid advertising and are run by the marvelous Kim Wallis.
If you would like to list an event or business networking opportunity in the next issue of Stories please get in touch: email@example.com
Putting the brakes on hospital car parking charges
What a start to the new term here in Westminster! I kicked-off September by paying a visit to the Prime Minister’s front door.
Alongside FairFuelUK, a campaign group for motorists, and two charities, CLIC Sargent, which looks after children with cancer, and Headway, which supports those with head injuries, I delivered a petition to bring an end to hospital car parking charges in England.
We now have over 27,000 signatures. I launched the campaign back in 2014 and have since been working hard, campaigning the Government to abolish this draconian charge.
Why am I so passionate about scrapping hospital car parking fees? I believe that they are a stealth tax on the sick, on the vulnerable, on families and on our hard-working NHS employees.
CLIC Sargent’s‘Cancer Costs’ research shows that, on average, families visiting their children undergoing cancer treatment spend between £44 and £37 on hospital car parking. Headwayhas supported families forking out more than £1,500 in parking fees in just 15 weeks! Such extortionate costs add to their stress in an already very worrying time.
I am so proud to live in a country where our national health service is free. I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable work of the incredible employees at Princess Alexandra Hospital, both as a patient, and in my capacity as MP for Harlow.
Up and down the country, the NHS staff deserve every penny of their wages. Yet, we impose this stonking, additional tax for those that choose to drive to work, which is so often due to a simple lack of adequate public transport.
Many people’s response – the Government’s included – is, how much will scrapping the charges cost, and where will the money come from? But there is money available! Only recently, did Theresa May announce £20 billion additional funding to the NHS each year. Or how about dipping into the £1 billion that the Health Department have previously identified could be saved by better hospital procurement?
Despite NHS guidelines brought in in 2014 to ensure a fairer system for hospital car parking fees, it’s just not working. 47% of hospitals across the country, have actually increased their charges!
If you, too, would like to scrap hospital, I’d love to see your support. Please sign my online petition today at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/219650
Perhaps you know someone who has been affected by overwhelming hospital car parking charges – it’d be great to hear your stories. As ever, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s see how far we can take this, and make a real difference to millions of lives.
And the Award goes to…
Heart4Harlow is an extraordinary organisation that does so much for our community. I am delighted that they link up with businesses in Harlow and are making sure that all those that work so hard for our community are rewarded in their annual Community and Business Awards.
These awards showcase the best of Harlow’s young people, the best businesses, and the best community organisations, as well as some remarkable individuals.
We have a Heart for Harlow. We’re proud of Harlow, and as Nishall Garala says, we should Big Up Harlow!
Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners!
This year has been a very exciting one for Harlow and we are extremely proud to be part of and support the new Discover Harlow movement. We made the easy decision to become Ambassadors for the Discover Harlow scheme because we are passionate about making Harlow a better place to both live and do business. The more Ambassadors on board, the quicker it will be to spread the word about the exciting things happening in Harlow; therefore, it was a no brainer for us!
The Harlow Ambassadors Programme brings together businesses like ours, organisations and individuals to help raise the profile of Harlow whilst supporting investments and attracting visitors to the town. We all have the same vision and goals; so why not work on achieving those goals together? Many hands make light work as they say…
We are now part of the programme as Ambassadors bringing our ideas to the table, but there is so much more to it than that. We are part of a charismatic network of well-connected patrons who both understand and champion Harlow’s story as a thriving area of opportunity. We have already been involved in several events held by the Discover Harlow board and have many more booked in the diary! Exciting times!
We actively contribute to promoting Harlow through our production of Stories Magazine which is now in its seventh issue! Unlike any other magazine in the area, Stories is completely content focussed. We are able to give extraordinary individuals, amazing charities and remarkable businesses a platform upon which they can tell their story. The Harlow & District Chamber of Commerce have been a great support. We were able to incorporate the Discover Harlow visual language into our latest issue, Changes, which can be read online here.
If you are thinking of becoming a Discover Harlow Ambassador and allowing your voice to be heard by the most influential individuals in Harlow, then head to www.discoverharlow.co.uk and get in touch with their team!