Got a QR Code? Here’s Combyne’s one:

Combyne QR Code

It seems Smartphones use them and could be a marketers dream tool.

So are you using them?

And how?

Please let me know?

More information here:

Update at 10:30pm, Thursday 27/1/11

There has been quite a discussion over at Ecademy.

try here:

[Combyne Group Update No. 26] A new year and more tax rises – how will you increase turnover and profit?

Good morning everyone, and a very Happy New Year to all.

This update is lots shorter than last year, and you will see why in a second.

Last week I lost a very good family friend. Hilda had a great life, into her 90s, lots of grand children and great grand children too, and I wondered last night coming back from prayers how she would have coped in the present day and age with all the new technology, lots of extra taxes, CCTV and so on.

Hilda was outspoken at times, religious and a respecter of elders, put the family first and herself second.

Whereas today it seems lots of people are in life and business for themselves and not others – now how did that come about?

I suppose that is the main reason I do so enjoy face to face networking, because it is built on old fashioned principles of helping others before yourself and you get great satisfaction from that. It is the old job well done.

Business Referral Exchange has been great for me, and now Business Over Breakfast is doing the same.

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 18 January), Carshalton BoB will be meeting at 06:45am. The meeting is held at The Greyhound Hotel, 2 High Street, Carshalton, SM5 3PE. There is plenty of car parking on site.

An investment of time and a meeting fee of £10 will secure your place.

Please click this link to learn more and reserve your place:

Bob Clubs are a great way of increasing your network, generating new business and providing a fillip to your turnover and profit. We are there to work for each other.

Further the Combyne Blog has been updated.

Here are a few links:

Working into your old age

Vat, Duty and price rises ……

Networking …. or Notworking

New Mobile Phone tariffs – the real deal ….

OFT and Twitter, plus other online media

Do please have a read and leave your comments.

Have a great week.

Best regards

Laurence Lowne
Combyne Group
0844 826 1730
0795 789 0 757

More than 866,000 people aged 65 & over are still working

Over 65 and still working

Over 65 and still working

So much for retiring at an age when leisure should be more important.

However, the UK has a major headache on its hands as the aging population outstrips those of younger age. Our elders are staying in work longer, reducing opportunities for those in their teens and twenties, and then leaving them on the scrap heap, when work should should be second nature.

And it gets worse, since our maturer members of society are having to work to pay mortgages they have taken out, which continue being charged well into their 70s and beyond. Their pensions being insufficent to cover the mrotgage payments, this forcing them to take part time and full time positions, further reducing the opportunity for younger people.

Both SAGA and Policis have produced reports this month (January 2011) confirming this trend, please see the cutting from the Daily Mail opposite. Truly frightening.

This has perhaps explained the increasing number of people joining my business these last few years, since it presents them with the opportunity to work part time and whenever time to create extra income when they see fit, and equally when they are fit enough to do so.

More details here:

Who do you know who would like to have the means to increase their monthly income without committing to regular 9 – 5 hours? Please ask them to take a look at the link above and see how a company with lots Which? magazine Best Buy ratings could help them survive their later years without poverty. 

Likwise controlling outgoings is equally important, and looking through the recent new clients sees more and more in this age range too – suppose the Best Buy helps as well

Vat, Duty and price rises ……

The impact of VAT and Duty rise early in January 2011 on fuel has been well documented, but a side effect is increased delivery costs on every product, which must have seen those rise too.

Surely (and I am no economist), that will see a rise in inflation too, as these increased costs filter through to the everyday budget for families up and down the country?

In fact there has been the suggestion that some companies are using these increased costs as a way of hiding price rises, and bizarely mobile phone companies have piled on the pressure too as charges for data increases. T Mobile being the latest reducing  their all Gigabyte inclusive and replacing it with a lower figure in the 500 Mb range.

3, O2 and Vodafone did the same too, and for 3 Network out of allowance calls have been increased as well.

Amazingly, Networks have found a way of increasing charges on fixed term contracts too. Whatever next?

Utility Warehouse has introduced some new brilliant personal sim only deals, and this is covered in more detail here: and you may retain your number by obtaining what is called a PAC (Port Authorisation Code) number.

There is further bad news on the horizon with National Insurance and Duty Rises planned for April 2011.

This will fuel the inflationary tendency.

In fact looking around the high streets of London these last few days, suggests that many more businesses have given up the ghost by closing their shops following the Christmas period. Could we be heading for another major decline in trading centres across the country?

It is quite fearful.

Networking …. or Notworking

There has been much debate down the months about whether social media has a place within the marketing mix.

My view is a definite yes, since not only am I generating new business, but learning at the same time. I take time out at the weekend to review the Twitter timeline, check out new things on LinkedIn and Facebook, whilst updating as I am today my company blog.

The two updates thus far have created more views, and one has already seen an enquiry on the new mobile deals.

Is Social Media for everyone?

Here I am quite clear, that is certainly in the negative.

Some business owners simply should not blog or tweet or post, simply because their understanding of the medium needs enhancing first before taking the plunge into cyber space. Likewise, their websites and email correspondence skills may not be up to scratch, and becoming involved in social media may have a negative impact.

Penny and Thomas Power over at ecademy run a digital school in how to use these tools, and many Chambers of Commerce provide training too, plus there are a number of experts, who can help too.

However, before you sign up to course, please do some research about the people and understand whether they really do have the knowledge and teaching skills to impart the understanding you will need to succeed.

Caveat Emptor could not be more appropriate.

Two new tools have arrived in the last month



Now I am going to be quite fair here and say I am still checking them out, both look clean, plus easy to use and could well add value in due course. So I shall report back in due course, but do please share your experiences too.

Traditional face to face, Networking does though flourish, and present favourites are Business Referral Exchange – meets weekly, and my group is in Croydon, more details here:

And a new kid on the block, Business Over Breakfast clubs. Meets every two week, plus online and my group is Carshalton, details here

Please drop me an email to find out more about either of these: email

BAD News

Not as bad as you may think.

But a very useful newsletter that appears weekly called Business Advisors News, which I have been following now for many years and often a source of great information. Details here along with their other publications.

Sometime, I miss something in the press, but BAD comes to my rescue with the digest. Absolutely fantastic.

Here is another which caught my eye, and rather crucial to the Combyne Group business, since we offer people of different backgrounds the chance to create additional income streams – and in particular those who have been left disadvantaged by main stream work, since the working hours do not fit with the school run.

See what you think?

Fewer businesses plan to hire working mothers

A survey by business services firm Regus has indicated that businesses are less likely to hire working mothers than they were in 2010. Just a quarter of businesses surveyed said they would take on working mothers this year, down from 38% in 2010. Yet overall, 43% of firms confirmed they were looking to hire staff this year. According to the survey results, red tape surrounding employment of women, a perceived lack of commitment and out-of-date skills are factors in deciding whether to take on working mothers.

There is more on this story at:

OFT and Twitter, plus other online media

An interesting article appeared in the press last week as the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into celebrity endorsement of products and services.

A little known change in the law (probably European), sees that endorsement of products where a celebrity has been paid, they must disclose that fact within the article of endorsement. In fact the most telling story relates to Tweets on Twitter, and it is understood in the USA, all Tweets where a person has been paid must be prefaced by AD or SPON.

This last part is not law within the European Union, but perhaps it should be.

More can be read here:

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has reminded businesses that they must identify online comments, blogs and microblogs which promote a product or service in return for payment or payment in kind. The news follows an investigation by the OFT involving a commercial blogging network which did not notify consumers when promotional editorial or blog content had been paid for. The OFT said it expects online advertising and marketing campaigns to be transparent to consumers.

There is more on this story at:

So what is your view?

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