Tuesday 30 December 2014

Final blog of 2014..........

2014 has been a funny old year - all things considered.  As we speed towards 2015, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the good, the bad and the ugly things that have made 2014 a year to remember;

This was the year that trading in Bitcoin really took off - and in January 2 men were arrested for attempting to sell over £1m worth of the currency to customers on the black market.  Idina Menzel enters the British chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In February it was reported that the use of mobile devices to access the internet has risen to 40% and continues to rise.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In March Malaysia Airways flight MH370 disappeared whilst en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing - and has still not been found.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In April the first cases of Ebola in West Africa are reported.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In May fighting in Ukraine escalated as a referendum is held.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In June, King Juan Carlos abdicates from his role as the King of Spain and is replaced by his son Felipe.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In July Kvitova and Djokovic win Wimbledon and Germany wins the World Cup.  Sadly a Malaysia Airlines jet is shot down over Ukraine with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew.  Argentina defaults on its debt for the third time in 25 years and analysts predict that inflation will hit 40%.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In August a Government Minister reportedly told Harrow Borough Council to 'stop moaning and start building new homes' as it was reported that it spends over £550,000 each year renting back properties that it used to own.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In September the Scottish people voted in their referendum to remain part of the United Kingdom.  Apple launches the Iphone 6 in 2 sizes.  Consumers queue for hours in order to be the first to own and use one.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

In October the Roman Catholic Church beatifies Pope Paul VI.  Displaying a tax disc in your car in the UK becomes a matter of choice (and the DVLA stop producing them from October).DVLA also allow customers to buy their car tax by monthly instalments.  A gunman attacks the Canadian Parliament.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

It is reported in November that impulse buying is a thing of the past - with consumers now making an average of 9 visits to outlets before buying items.  The news also stated that self-employed people in Britain can no longer afford to save for retirement!  The report also stated that over 75% of SME's declared that they had been profitable throughout 2014.  Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen

And in December, as the country slows down towards Christmas we can look back on the year - hopefully with  a wry smile - wondering where it has all gone to - looking forward to 2015!

And guess what....Idina Menzel is still in the chart with 'Let it Go' - the theme from Frozen (spending a total of 54 weeks in the chart so far).  If you have not heard this song, then you must have been living on Mars!

We would like to wish all of our customers the very best for the New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2015

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Protecting your business from disaster (and recovering from it quickly if the worst does happen)

Disaster Strikes!

Oh no! Or words to that effect, the stock room has flooded, or the computers are all off. What do you do next?

It may be a little incongruous in the middle of summer to be talking about flooding and weather that we normally associate with winter (although in the UK, you can never be sure what weather we can expect at any time of the year!) but being prepared is better than being caught out! (and, without sounding like the voice of doom, it wont be long before winter is here again!)

In this post we will look at several scenarios and look at the most important first steps you should take in order to prevent a bad situation becoming worse.

Internal Flooding

If the flooding is caused by a burst pipe:

      Obvious, but remember to put a bucket under the leak, and to keep emptying it..
      Turn the stop cock to the off position and turn on all the taps to drain the tank.
      Turn off the electric at the mains
      Turn off the central heating.
      If the leak is upstairs and the ceiling in the room below has started to bulge, you will need to pierce it to let the water out or it could bring the whole ceiling down.

External Flooding

This can be caused by blocked sewers, drains or even the weather as we have seen in recent months all across the UK.

   If you are in an area prone to flooding, keep an eye on the weather forecasts and have sandbags ready to use.
      Raise the furniture or office equipment off the floor where possible in case the water makes it inside the property.
      If any flood water has leaked into the property turn off the electric at the mains.

Electrical/Phone system failure

One of the most common causes of power cuts and phone system failure is damage to overhead lines,or utility workers cutting through underground cables.

      Switch off any appliances including lights,however you may want to leave one on so that you can tell when the power comes back on.
      If you have one you can use an emergency electricity generator. It may be worth considering having one in place if your business depends on a high product turnaround and you have strict deadlines.
      Have the utilities emergency service numbers handy.
  Have all your electronic data backed up, whether its customer records, research and development plans or your actual work product.

Structural Damage

Its not possible for all companies, but every business should consider how quickly they would be able to relocate. Many larger businesses have their production lines or offices over more than one site. Not only does it make the company appear bigger than it might actually be, in the event of an emergency it can be an integral part of the disaster management plan.

Whatever the nature of your disaster call your insurance company to lodge a claim as soon as you can. In the next post we will be looking at the types and benefits of having a business disaster insurance policy.

Obviously we hope that the worst case scenario never happens to your business, but being prepared is always easier than looking back with regret!

If you would like some help with your disaster scenario planning, or identifying the risks to your business, then, as always, contact a member of the blue box team either by telephone on 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconusltancy.com - we are always here to help

You can learn more about Blue Box, our people and the services we offer at www.blueboxconsultancy.com

Until next time

Friday 30 May 2014

How are you protecting your on-line reputation?

Our last post was all about creating a social media strategy; now you have it,  you have to protect it!

This post is all about how to protect your reputation with the advent of untempered, anytime, anywhere access that your clients have to social media -  the same social media outlets that you use.

Let’s look at some of the main guidelines for posting to protect your reputation:

Many business owners have both professional and personal pages and most know the difference between what is acceptable on a personal page but is perhaps a touch inappropriate for a business one. The problem may come when your potential client does a search for your business and your personal page comes up. This tip is post ONLY what you wouldn’t mind your Mum and Dad seeing.

It is best to be actively involved in only a few sites so that you don’t end up neglecting them. This can lead to people thinking you are no longer in business. You have to consider what you are posting and how often you are posting. Ask yourself  the following questions:

1.   Is it useful information?
2.   Are my connections interested in this topic?
3.   Am I constantly and consistently selling my product?

If these questions are not asked when you are posting on your social media accounts, it can damage your reputation because people will soon disregard you if you are spamming them through social media, or you cannot show them that you are knowledgeable in your area.

Negative comments that can have a damaging effect on your reputation only come about due to dissatisfaction. It is important to realise that no matter how wonderful and customer focused you are and how great your product is, it is likely that at some point  you have been or will be unable to resolve a complaint to the exact satisfaction of the complainant, especially if it is an unjustified one. With the very occasional bad review posted by an unhappy patron, it’s imperative that you:

1.   Do not remove it.
2.   Respond in a positive way. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention.
3.   Do not play the blame game.
4.   Involve them in a conversation about their concerns, if it’s appropriate explain how you have changed things so the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Remember data protection law also applies to social media sites, a lapse here could not only damage your reputation, but could land you in trouble with the law.

At Blue Box  we have the expertise to help you manage your online presence within good practice guidelines.

As always, we would love to hear from you - feel free to give us a call on 084 3289 3288 or drop us an email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com 

Learn more about us, the things we do and the people that we do it for at www.blueboxconsultancy.com  

Until the next time.......

Sunday 18 May 2014

8 Crucial tips for developing new business

In the March issue of our newsletter, we revealed why all businesses need a business plan and a strategy for winning and keeping new customers.  The natural progression from strategy is continuous business development – this month we outline 8 crucial tips
every company should be aware of.                                                                                

1.         Business without strategy is not a business – the strategy must include an action
            plan which should be kept live and constantly revisited in light of ever-changing

2.         As in the point above strategic goals and targets from business planning must be constantly addressed, kept current and refined if necessary to align to business strategy.

3.         After your staff your most valuable asset is your business database. Past, current and future business can hold the key to new business.  Is your database efficiently set-up, to be maximised and ‘dissected’ for business development?

4.         Centralise your database, make staff accountable and emphasise the view that it is intellectual property belonging to the business. Protect against departing staff taking leads.

5.         A simple filter can be set up to profile the characteristics of your most profitable account, with the right criteria having been input – eg. SIC (sector industry code), company turnover, number of employees.  The more detail you have when profiling
customers (current or ideal) the better chance of discovering potential new ones.

6.         Maximise your sales team resource by ensuring appropriate skills to kick-start the sales process, crucially start with thorough desk research (internal or external data).  Although they will not be ‘on the road’ if correctly guided this desk research can provide effective and relevant information for setting up truly qualified sales meetings.

7.         Business development is almost wholly dependent on your communication with the outside world – review your image.  Do you stand out – is your image a trustworthy, effective, reliable one?  Constantly develop your image through your website, digital marketing, branding etc.

8.         Finally, competition in today’s world is fierce and to stay ahead of the game you must be better.   Keep abreast of your competitors and the external market place so you can be one step ahead.   

We hope that you enjoy reading our hints and tips - we would love to hear your thoughts and any suggestions for future topics (either for newsletters or for future blog posts).  You can contact us by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com or pick up the phone and give us a call on 084 3289 3288

If you want to know more about us and the work we do, then go to our website at www.blueboxconsultancy.com 

See you next time

Creating a social media strategy that works for your business

Welcome to our mini series of posts on social media. Part 1 focuses on building a social media strategy, while part 2 looks at maintaining a professional reputation through your online activities.

There are, surely,  few people in the whole world that have not heard of the biggest social media sites, just in case you are ones of those people, the 3 main ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, however for creative types such as interior designers and fashion Gurus Pinterest and Instagram are considered essential. It is always worth taking the time to see if there are any industry specific networking sites. If not, you can always create a group on LinkedIn or Facebook for like-minded people.

Most people, however, do not know that there are hundreds of social media sites. The trick is to pick at most 3 or 4 of them and really do them some justice. The main reason for this is you don’t want your presence to look abandoned. Current thinking suggests you should post on Twitter at least 5 times a day in order for it to be effective. If you are managing lots of sites your presence will be spread too thin. You can use automation for publication, however that can be a trojan horse, because you must avoid duplicate content at all costs, so choose a program that still allows you to make posts that are in an appropriate format for their destination. A tweet is different to a Facebook post.

A social media presence is not just about what you post on those sites. If you write informative, interesting blog posts you can establish your authority with online networking groups and build relationships with product leaders in your chosen area. Although you wouldn’t put your 400 word blog post directly on to your social media account, you can use them to let everyone know that it’s there. This will also boost your link profile, which Google uses to apply value to your site, pushing you up the rankings.

Questions you need to answer in order to start your social media campaign:

1.   Who do you want to interact with? If the consumers of your product or service are other businesses then the networks and choice of updates will be different than those you might choose if  you are appealing to the bulk buy, cheap and cheerful market.
2.   Follow industry leaders through their blogs and social networks - offer VALID opinions. Not only should you be writing your own posts but comment, share and retweet on the posts provided by other people.
3.   Be personal -  current evidence shows that it’s not just Google that likes to know that there is a face behind the website. Wherever possible use a personal image for your profile. Speaking of profiles, ensure that your profile on each site is kept up to date.

Join us next time for a brief look at managing your reputation on social media.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how your social media strategy can be integrated into your overall marketing strategy then do not hesitate to contact us either by phone on 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com we would love to hear from you

If you want to learn more about the people behind Blue Box and the things that we do, then have a browse at our website www.blueboxconsultancy.com

Until the next time...........

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Winning and keeping new clients

All businesses need customers to survive (hopefully we are not telling you anything that you do not already know).  What is surprising is the amount of businesses that we meet that have no plan as to how they will win new work.

Any sales pipeline or funnel needs to be managed and that requires a plan (your plan should be slightly more detailed than 'I need to sell more stuff to more people)  Without this plan, how will you know how long your sales cycle is, how many suspects, prospects and qualified sales leads you have and what your business needs to do to survive in the coming months and years

The definition of ‘Sales’ according to the English Dictionary is
“…the exchange of goods or services for an agreed sum of money…”   and
“..creating the opportunity to sell ..”

The key words here are ‘money’ and ‘opportunity’ without both of these things you do not have a sale (and it could be argued that you do not have a business

Managing a sales pipeline is a process – just like many other processes in business – and once you have found a process that works, you should stick with it

An example of a sales process might be;

Suspect – a wide range of potential people who may or may not be the right target for your business  
Prospect – a subset of your ‘Suspects’ who have been narrowed down by a set of criteria that is specific to your business
Qualified Prospect – a prospect who has been contacted and identified as being interested in the types of products or services that you offer
Lead -  a qualified prospect who is interested in YOUR products
Client/Customer – someone who has bought from you and who will potentially buy from you again

Please note that this last category is very important (for more than one reason) – a ‘Lead’ is not a ‘Customer’ until they have bought from you.  Do not confuse the two.  You MUST treat your ‘Leads’ as such until they confirm and pay for an order from you

In each stage of the sales process you must be moving towards a sale

Don’t be sidetracked by ‘Leads’ that will never turn into ‘Customers’.  This kind of wishful thinking will distract you from your core business and will ultimately lead you down a path of wasted effort and frustration.  When a ‘Lead’ is not moving through your sales pipeline REMOVE them and take them back to the qualification stage

We would love to talk to you in more detail about how we could help you to develop a plan to win and retain more customers.  

Call us on 084 3289 3288 or drop us an email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com and we will get right back to you

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and the work we do at www.blueboxconsultancy.com

Business planning - not just for when you are applying for finance

We know that business planning has had a bad reputation in the past - due in no small part to the way that agencies (most of whom no longer exist) pushed unwanted business plans onto any business owner who was looking for some grant funding.  This has done us - and the recipients of these plans - no favours at all.  That having been said, every successful business must have a plan - if you don't have a target, how do you know when you have hit it?  But we are firm believers in real-life business planning - to us that means working with business owners and senior management teams to create a living document which reflects the ambitions of each business.  The process is not onerous (well, at least not for the teams that we work with) and the outputs are both revealing and useful.  
When we start working with a business we want to get to know them and part of our process is understanding what your goals and aspirations are, what you have done in the past, what you want to do in the future and what makes your business unique
Some of this may seem a bit trivial, but our years of experience show that by understanding these things will give us a greater chance of creating a business plan that will be meaningful to you (and therefore have a greater chance of being used)
We will then go away and add our magic – this may take a little while and we may need to come back and clarify some things with you.  When we return we will present you with a business plan that has been crafted for you – non of that ‘one size fits all’ stuff for us
We know that there are loads of people out there who will try and sell you a business plan – but none of them will develop a plan like we will – we don’t like to brag (but we will anyway) – our business plans have been used to secure funding for a whole load of our customers
So whether you are looking for some Government funding, you want o apply for some finance from a lending institute, or you just want to get your business on track and be fighting fit for the end of the recession – you will need a good solid plan – and we are the folks to help you!
Contact us now by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com or by telephone on 084 3289 3288

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and some of the things we do at www.blueboxconsulatncy.com

Monday 24 February 2014

Marketing Method Matters (4) the effective use of SEO

Welcome to the last part of our Marketing Methods Matter series.

In this post we will look at SEO (for the uninitiated that is Search engine optimisation).  But, before we look at what it is and how you do it, lets examine what can it do for you;

Search Engine Optimisation in a nutshell is making not only potential consumers, but also Google, aware of your online presence, usually it is a website, but it can be a blog, or social media platform. This will benefit your  business by building authority with Google to find a place on the all important first page of the search results and developing  relationships with your customers.

Google is still ranked the number 1 search engine in the world (in second place is YouTube).  Google logged over 5.9 billion searches PER DAY in 2013 (Youtube logged over 1 billion unique site visits per month during 2013).  Youtube, interestingly enough, has been owned by Google since 2006

What are the ways to do it?

Google and potential clients will follow pathways to your online space. Link building  creates those pathways and is the mainstay of the SEO industry. There are  many ways to do this. The more links that there are the more authority will be given to your online space. Having said that, the links must appear natural and be appropriate to the content they are in. 

Creating Content

Content can be anything from the 140 characters of a tweet, an business update that is only a few lines long on your blog or face book page, or a 400+  word article that is posted on to your blog with at least one link to your site and a link out to a trusted source such as wikipedia, or an article submission site like Ezine where you put a call to action at the end of the article with a  link back to your online space. 

Your content, however long, must be well written, unique and relevant. Google does not like duplicate content and will disregard it. You can still make more out of your longer pieces of content by letting people know about them on your social media accounts, not forgetting to include a link to the actual post.

Social Media

Posting on your social media accounts can be time consuming because there are so many.  There are differing opinions on how many you should have, and how often you should post, just to complicate it even more it's not the same for all of them. Current thinking is 5 times a day, every day for Twitter, but usually only  posting once or twice a day on Facebook is enough..

Although  there are hundreds to have a go at, opinion is divided on whether it is best to churn out  updates with an automated regularity on all of them or focus your efforts on three or four of the main ones and find an industry specific on to be involved in.

This brings us to the end of our little dip in to marketing methods that matter.

All of us here at Blue Box hope that you enjoy reading our blog.  If this post has raised any questions or if you want help and advice with the implementation of your marketing strategy (or if you just want to talk to us about any aspect of business development or improvement) please do not hesitate to contact the team by telephone  on 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com 

You can learn more about Blue Box, our team, and what we do at www.blueboxconsultancy.com

Friday 14 February 2014

Marketing Method Matters (3) Using 'active' marketing techniques as part of your campaign

This is part 3 of the Marketing Methods Matter series. So far we have looked at what is marketing and why should we employ marketing strategies in our businesses, we have  also looked at the  AIDA principles, identified some strategies and looked at the pros and cons of cold calling. 
This post will look at  some common active marketing techniques.

1.               T.V, and radio adverts – with the advent of digital television and radio, the number of channels with advertising space has dramatically increased, well there are approximately 480 channels available to the UK viewer, most of which show adverts.  This means that although this is still an expensive option and will rule out many small businesses, it's no longer the domain of the massive chains, the same goes for the radio.
2.               Direct email campaigns can be easy to manage once you have got a list of email address in place, however data protection laws are strict concerning the  purchasing and use of personal contact data for marketing purposes,. There are ways of getting lists that do not  involve purchasing them, such as email capture on your website – many sites gain this information by offering free downloads or asking you to register for an email newsletter. If you are sending a mailshot you must ensure that the recipients cannot see anyone else’s email address if they can you are breaching data protection and can face heavy fines or even imprisonment.
3.                Leafleting now seems to be the domain of fast food places, like kebab shops and pizza places, and some slimming clubs.  However it is still a good for other businesses too. If you are a trade person, dentist or doctor you can be sure that most households at one time or another will need your services, so why not drop a leaflet through the door and assume  that they will keep it for reference. If you are in another business see if you can research where your customers are likely to be, and leaflet there. Don't forget that leafleting doesn't need to be in a housing estate, you can be handing them out in the town centre – (make sure you have the relevant permissions in place.)

For the penultimate post in this series we will examine some passive techniques include the components of a SEO campaign – all will be revealed.

All of us here at Blue Box hope that you enjoy reading our blog.  If this post has raised any questions or if you want help and advice with the implementation of your marketing strategy (or if you just want to talk to us about any aspect of business development or improvement) please do not hesitate to contact the team by telephone  on 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com 

You can learn more about Blue Box, our team, and what we do at www.blueboxconsultancy.com

see you at the next installment...

Thursday 30 January 2014

Marketing Method Matters (2) The pros and cons of marketing

Welcome to the second installment of our series on marketing methods. In the last post, we identified why businesses should use marketing strategies and even named a few of them.

When you choose to employ a marketing method, you need to ensure that it embodies the AIDA principles, so will look at that before going on to explore some passive marketing techniques in detail.

Attention: The first step must be to grab the attention of your potential client or customer.
Interest:Once you have their interest, keep them looking at your brand.
Desire:  Make them want your service or product over similar ones.
Action: Close the sale, provide the best product, with the best customer service.

So whether you are sending bulk emails, cold calling, blogging or making a T.V advert, ensuring it adheres to these principles will greatly affect the success of your campaign.

Let's look at the pros and cons of using warm and cold calling as a  marketing strategy:


·       Cold calling can annoy the person or company that you are calling, meaning that you are already starting with a disadvantage. It's also easy for the potential client to hang up on  you.
·       It can be expensive, either you have to take the time to do it yourself, which takes you away from the other practicalities of your business, or  you have  to employ someone to do it for you.
·       Research shows that the success rate of even getting an appointment to discuss your product or service is low, let alone making that all important sale.
·       If you are using a warm calling method, where you have a lead that has been generated by your website or customer query it can be time sensitive, if you do not contact them quickly they may have have taken their money to another business.
·       Actually speaking to the decision maker in a business can be difficult. 


·       You can pre-select who you attempt to contact. This makes it more likely that when you do speak with someone they will be interested on what you  have to say, even more so with warm calling.
·       You are being proactive instead of waiting for your clients to come knocking on your door.
·       As long as your potential client has a phone, you can attempt to make contact, regardless of their location in relation to you.

This type of marketing strategy is better suited to some businesses than others, and all businesses should use multiple techniques. We will look at more marketing methods next time.

All of us at Blue Box hope that you enjoy reading our blog.  Should you need help with implementing your marketing strategies, don't hesitate to contact us by phone at 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com

Learn more about Blue Box and the services we provide at www.blueboxconsultancy.com 

See you at the next installment

Thursday 16 January 2014

Marketing Method Matters (1) Strategies for Continued Growth

Welcome to  the first post in our mini series about marketing. This post will explain why every business should be investing time, and sometimes even money in an effective marketing strategy. By the end of this post, you will also be able to identify some mainstream strategies, the remaining posts in the series will develop your understanding of these strategies.

Whatever your business is about, whatever your sector, whether you work on business to business, retail or service basis your client or customer base needs to know, not only that you exist, but that you are the best at what you do.

This is where marketing strategies come in. Even if you already  have more business than you can poke a stick at, you still need to be looking for your next new client, because your current clients may not be clients in the future because of any one of a whole multitude of reasons, and they will then need to be replaced.

Basically, a good marketing strategy will:

1.    Build  brand awareness. Even if a potential client does not need your service or product now, they may do in the future, you want to be the first company that they think of when they do.
2.    Build relationships with new and existing clients. Clients new and existing want to feel appreciated. Even a vague sense of familiarity breeds confidence in your company.
3.    Increase the sales of your product or service, which in turn boosts your profits. Everybody wants to make at least enough money to have a good life and has hopes for an early retirement!

So, what types of marketing strategies are out there. They will initially fall into two broad categories;  Active and Passive marketing;

Active marketing techniques mean just that. You are making a concerted effort to encourage people to buy in to whatever it is you are selling. Common examples include T.V, radio, telemarketing, (whether they are warm or cold calls.) Direct email campaigns, where you email the same email to a number of recipients, and leafleting.

Passive marketing is more about raising brand awareness. With these techniques, you are often playing the long game as you build relationships, communicate with your clients, provide the highest level of customer service, consider the placement of your business in directories, (traditional or online) and your ranking on Google. Common examples of passive marketing include, search engine optimisation, blogging, public relations, article submissions, (again either online or in newspapers and magazines) and writing white papers.

All at Blue Box Consultancy hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. Should it have raised any questions for  you, please feel free to contact us by phone at 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com 

See you at the next post which will cover some active marketing techniques in more detail.

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and the work that we do at www.blueboxconsultancy.com 

Monday 6 January 2014

New Year, new resolutions - same great people and service!

January is well underway, but it is not too late to adopt some last-minute resolutions.  As is custom at the beginning of each year business owners across the world will make resolutions (some of which will be adopted, some of which will go by the wayside) to improve themselves as well as their organisations. 
It is in this spirit that, here at Blue Box, we would share with you some of our resolutions for 2014.  All of these are designed to move our business forward and some are more challenging than others.
Join us throughout the year to see how we are getting along with implementing these.
See below our 10 New Years Resolutions for 2014;
1. Make the most of what we have got

We are going to get the best out of the technology that we deploy both in our office and with our customers.  We will use technology to save us and our customers time, money and effort.  We will be developing our mobile side too – as the majority of the business world works at least some of the time on mobile devices, we will update and improve our systems to ensure that we do too.  We will not be defeated by technology in 2014!
2.  We will become (even more) organised
We are all guilty of leaving things until the last minute, but this year we are going to be well organised.  This will include keeping an organised inbox, automating the majority of our accounting processes and then cleaning up our business contacts database (so they are complete and organised and accessible – see point 1, above).  Never again will we be burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline that we have known about for ages!
 3. Get closer to customers
 As we head into 2014, one of our key resolutions is to continue innovating the ways in which we engage with our customers. We view our customers in terms of relationships, not transactions, so it is critical that we are delivering value to them in every interaction, before and after the sale. We will use social media to help us to create and manage our online communities and strengthen our relationships (so be warned!).  Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
4. Make customer service a priority

It's a fact: customer service can make or break your relationship with current and even future customers (see our previous blog article about poor customer service). Looking ahead to 2014, customer service should be a priority for every small business. We see small businesses taking advantage of the cloud to work smarter and make customers happier.  A recent survey showed that over 25% of small business owners would rather go to the dentist than pick up the phone and speak to a customer!  We will continue to promote customer service as a differentiator in our industry and we will champion the cause (so, again, be warned)
5. Focus our marketing efforts

In 2014, we plan to grow spending on marketing along with revenue. In the age of digital marketing, everything is now measurable, and marketing is more accountable than ever.  We will learn from any mistakes that we have made in the past and focus on what we know is successful.  We will look to develop all potential sales and marketing efforts in order to build a sustainable sales pipeline which will be maintained throughout the year.  We will not be scared to admit when something has not worked – instead we will move on – stronger for the experience.
6. Revamp social media strategy
 We (kind of) embraced social media more than ever in 2013 – we even included it in our sales and marketing strategy.  In 2014 we will take this further by embracing other social media platforms and ensuring that we get the very best return on our investment.
7. Be SEO- and data-savvy

In late 2013, Google began blocking keyword referral data in Google Analytics. Before, you used to be able to see which keywords users entered to bring them to your site and how many visitors came from each keyword.
As identity theft and cybersecurity dominate the headlines, this is Google's way of making sure consumers feel safe using Google products and platforms.
In 2014 we will use SEO to better understand our target markets and our customers target markets in order to create a better customer experience
8. Perform a security audit

We have been fortunate to have never had our security compromised, but if we did we are sure that we could contain and manage the situation.  This year we will test our plans and audit our processesto ensure that our confidence is not misguided!
 9. Delegate
We, like many others, are a small business where everyone pitches in and does what they can to serve our customers in the best way that we can.  We are probably all guilty of believing that it is easier to do something ourselves rather than delegating it to someone who has a more appropriate skill-set.  In 2014 we will challenge ourselves to ensure that each task is being carried out by the right person for the job – and if it is not, then it will be delegated!
10. Become (more) LEAN

We may be coming out of a recession – and we are still here, but we need to become a consultant to ourselves and learn to take our own medicine!  This means that we need to look at all of our internal processes and reduce any inefficiencies and remove any waste – helping us to become (an even better) lean, mean, customer driven machine!
All in all, we predict that 2014 will be an excellent year for business that will see us helping new and old customers alike – defining new levels of customer engagement and satisfaction
If you would like some help to implement your New Years Resolutions (or even if you wuld like some help defining what your resolutions should be) then don’t hesitate to contact us on 084 3289 3288 or by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com

We look forward to speaking to you soon