Monday 30 December 2013

Addendum to previous posting....

Following on from my previous blog '10 tips for business survival' I would like to add an eleventh tip (kindly provided by a reader of the post in question);

11.  In the good times spend money as if we were in a recession, so that when the recession comes, you are prepared and will not have to make huge cuts to carry on being successful

I hope that this additional tip will prove to be useful to you

As always, if you have a business challenge and need some help - call us on 084 3289 3288 or email one of the team at

We look forward to hearing from you soon

Until then, very best wishes for 2014

Friday 15 November 2013

10 tips for business survival

     In tough economic times often business emphasis is on survival rather than growing the business.  In this article we are offering businesses our 10 top tips for business survival:

1. Cash flow is king - having a healthy cash flow and managing it competently are the life blood of any fit business 

2.  Avoid under-pricing -  rebuilding margins is as important to recovery as rebuilding sales.  Getting prices right in the first instance will ensure that you are not in a situation where you have to explain to your customers why you are putting up your prices 

3. Invest wisely in people and systems and ensure you receive an adequate return on the investment

4. Cost control and cost reductions should be maintained during a recession and recovery

5. Establish a long-term marketing strategy backed by a consistent marketing budget

6. Beware of over-trading – don’t take on more orders without being sure of the working capital to process them

7. Growth should be driven by judicious planning rather just the enthusiasm to do more business

8.  Capitalising growth from a company’s own resource can drain it of cash – consider funding against existing sales through factoring or some other form of finance

9.  Be aware of the need for capital sufficiency: reduce your debt burden at both ends, what you owe as well as what you are owed

10.Credit check your potential customers to avoid being hit by  bad debt - set a credit limit for all customers and never exceed  it

    If you would like more information about how to maximise your business whilst minimising your risk, call Neil Todd at Blue Box on 084 3289 3288

Friday 17 May 2013


The customer is not always right, but the customer is ALWAYS the customer

It is a fact of business life (and indeed a fact of life in general) that customers have a tendency to complain – even if there is not a lot to complain about – This is bad, isn’t it?  Well, not necessarily.  A customer complaint is an opportunity (albeit, disguised, but an opportunity nonetheless)
If a customer complains you have an opportunity to do something about it.  As many as 95% of customers would just take their custom elsewhere – and you would be left wondering what went wrong.  So, instead of griping about a customer complaint – rejoice in the opportunity! View each complaint as ‘’free consultancy’, fix the problems that they have identified and grow stronger as a result.  Not acting upon customer feedback – and in particular, complaints – in this age of social media, would be a very brave (but foolish) thing to do.  News, and especially bad news, can spread like wild fire.  Social media channels can reach thousands or even tens of thousands of people (your customers included) in seconds and can be relayed across the world in (almost) the blink of an eye

There are few things more disheartening for a small business owner than being asked for a refund because your customer is dissatisfied with your product or service – but refusing to honour your commitments is tantamount to business suicide – word will spread, ill feeling will be created and havoc will be wreaked!

However, the majority of complaints do not necessarily stem from a problem with your product or service at all – instead the issue lies with the customer themselves – they have suffered from ‘buyers regret’ which is often heightened with the size of the purchase

So, what can you do about a customer who feels a sudden regret about making a substantial purchase? Reinforcing their decision with positive actions is one of the ways in which you can reassure your customers that their decision was correct in the first place.  You can do this by sending a personalised note to each purchaser shortly after their order arrives, by giving them a call, or by sending a thank you note in with their order

Now, strictly speaking, buyers regret is NOT a genuine reason for returning goods (according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979) and herein lies the dilemma – if you have a customer who is truly dissatisfied with the goods or service that you have provided, but your goods and services are not faulty and are as described, do you offer a refund for the sake of goodwill?
What action you take will depend entirely upon you, your relationship with the particular customer, and your policy on returns and refunds – but remember, whatever you do is likely to change or reinforce the opinion that your customer has about you and your business

10 things you could do to keep your customers happy (and therefore keep them coming back);

1.      Be better than your competition
2.      Set the standard for customer service – do just be as good as the best in your sector, be better than the best in an any sector
3.      Identify when things go wrong, admit your failings – learn from them both and move forward
4.      Listen to your customers
5.      Listen to other peoples customers
6.      Understand your customers, their preferences and habits – and reflect these in your service
7.      Personalise your customer experiences
8.      Walk in your customers shoes – what is it like to be a customer of your business; what are the good points and what are the bad
9.      Tell the world about your service
10.   Get your customers to WANT to tell the world about your service

If you want to improve your customer experiences, you can contact Blue Box by;
Email: or by calling 084 3289 3288

We look forward to speaking to you soon!

Monday 25 February 2013

ISO9001 - the new,cool kid on the block?

You don't need me to tell you that we are living through the worst recession in most people memories.  In tough times, businesses have 2 choices:-

1. Hunker down, conserve resources and hopefully come out of the other side
2.  Find a way to differentiate your business from the competition, become more efficient and competitive and come out fighting

For businesses that have chosen option 2, there are a couple of pieces of good news:

The first one is that help is on hand.  Help to make you more profitable, help to win you more customers, and help to make you stand out from the crowd.

We will come back to the second piece of good news in a moment, but let us just focus on the first for just a second longer…

This help comes in possibly one of the most surprising forms – ISO9001:2008!

The British Standard synonymous with Quality Management is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance of late.  This is due, in part, to businesses looking for new, cost-effective ways to set themselves apart from their competition.

In certain circles ISO9000 certification is nothing new – if you regularly supply to the Public sector or if you are part of the supply chains for some of the automotive manufacturers in Europe then this will be fairly common place – but for other industries it is relatively un-chartered territory.

So, herein lies the opportunity – if you want to set yourself apart from your competition, if you want to demonstrate to the world that you are a supplier who can work to the highest standards, if you want to invest in your people and processes, if you want to win new work (a survey in 2011 carried out by the British Assessment Bureau found that 44% of ISO certified companies were winning new and better work) then maybe ISO9000 is for you

And now, back to the second piece of good news;

There are currently schemes available to support the design and implementation of ISO9000 – and by support, I mean financial support, up to 40% of the value of the project (covering the writing of the processes and procedures, preparing the business for the implementation, training staff and also the initial inspection costs)

So, what are you waiting for?  Take the first steps to setting your business apart from the competition today – by calling Blue Box Management Consultants for a no-obligation chat through the options around ISO9000 and the funding that is available.

Blue Box are currently working with a number of clients to help improve their processes and procedures, helping them to become and remain more competitive and profitable, and to win and retain new clients.

Call us on 084 3289 3288 or email