Working from home? Things to consider.

UPDATE Thursday 2 April 2020
This was first written in June 2014, and now here we are almost six years later being enforced to work from home.

Today though it is vital whether in business or simply as a residential customer to look at what you are spending on essential services, and seek a value for money offering. We can look at broadband, landline, mobile and energy, plus some insurance. We also have CashBack on shopping for good measure, whether in store or online.

Here at Combyne Group, we have carried out a free utility and telephony audit for over 18 years – in the days, when we could meet there would be coffee too. Today, it can be done virtually.

Please give us a shout as long as you are United Kingdom based, please?
Initially by email is the best way forward: hello@combyne.co.uk 

Now back to the original article as still as relevant today as 2014. 

There are two elements of working from home:

1) working under flexi rules for the company that employs you, or

2) running your own business from home.

If the former, please agree with your boss what they are going to cover expense wise, and how they will agree the hours you work. You should also seek a bonus, since you are reducing company costs.

If you are renting, then you are obliged to inform the landlord and if you have clients visit, please have your insurance revised to cover that.

If you are buying then please inform the mortgage company. Insurance has to be amended too.

Such as contents and also public liability cover.

In most cases, flexi working does not see clients visiting.

So onto number two and running your own business from home – link to follow.

2) running you own business from home.

All the above apply and more so – I would seriously discourage having people visit – suggesting a coffee shop or hotel as better, especially for people who work alone. You really do not want a nutter in your house or flat.

Create a routine in your life and build in social, me time, otherwise you will become stale and very quickly. In an office there is interaction, on your own at home, there is not.

A daily To Do list done the night before is now vital. Too many distractions otherwise.

Go out for a coffee/tea or a walk at some point – I have made friends with all the independent businesses locally and often pop in for a chat.
Also look for support such as here in this group, where you can share your success and seek guidance.

Keep an accurate record of all expenses – they are tax deductible.
Don’t forget energy a percentage of your council tax charge.

If your profit is less than £10,000 then claim working tax credits – these apply to the self employed too.

Create a phone line for business use only – it is 100% tax deductible. My link will explain more. And of course good broadband, go fiber if your area supports it, especially if you have family too.

Check you can use your home address for correspondence purposes. If not, seek an alternative, such as MailBoxes Etc. or your accountant.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and see what grants may be available as a start up or small business.

Networking groups have already been mentioned – there are also others less formal that meet as a coffee morning and some Chambers of Commerce run lunch time events, plus offer training in skills you need.

That covers most of it and my link is here:

4.5 million British adults have less than £10 spare cash each month

One in 11 people, or 4.5 million British adults, have less than £10 a month left over once they have paid their essential bills, new research from thinkmoney has found.

With many households struggling to make ends meet, the findings from budgeting account provider thinkmoney reveal the worryingly small amounts of disposable income people have left once they’ve met all their financial commitments.

Of the 2,149 people polled, one in four said they had less than £50 a month to s…pend after bills.

Across the UK, the average monthly disposable income was £224.50. However, there was a wide gender difference with men reporting having disposable incomes averaging £272.50, almost twice as much as women (£190.20).

Young people reported having the least disposable income, with 18-24 year-olds averaging £174.20 – some 22% below the overall UK average. Almost one in three people in this age group have less than £50 a month to spend after bills.

By contrast, the wealthiest in terms of post-bills spending money are people over 65, with an average of £269.50 a month available to spend.

The amount of disposable income also varies depending on where people live. It is highest in London, at an average of £261, and the South East, at £244. People in the North East and Wales have the lowest disposable incomes, at £199 and £181 respectively.

Worryingly, one in six people questioned in Wales said they had less than £10 a month to spend after bills.

“It’s stressful not knowing if you will have enough money to pay the bills and afford added extras each month,” said Ian Williams, director of communications at thinkmoney.

If you would like to know how to create additional income streams, please visit http://www.future-biz.co.uk and click contact us to request your free money making report?

Why does networking work?

UPDATE: June 2019

Lunch time networking is back on the agenda with OMNI Local Networking.

You can read more here: https://www.omnilocalbusinessnetworking.com/embankment-london

We meet every two weeks on the following dates:
Thursday 27 June 2019
Thursday 11 July 2019
Thursday 25 July 2019
Closed for August and return with a bang in September
Thursday 5 September
Thursday 19 September
Thursday 3 October
Thursday 17 October
Thursday 31 October
Thursday 14 November
Thursday 28 November
Thursday 12 December
Closed for Christmas and New Year
New dates to follow for January 2020

OMNI is a membership based networking group, but entrenched in collaboration, rather than competition.

Come along and sample and if you like what you see and hear, please stay?

Exciting times.

This a question that crops up time and again – I simply enjoy the buzz of a successful breakfast. Yes, I accept networking for some on a cold winter morning is not fun, but you are in a warm and supportive environment, and cold is only felt, when you wear the wrong sort of clothes.

Also if morning is not your thing, then there are lunch time and evening groups – just accept though, numbers will be smaller.

More importantly, I was discussing the merits of networking with a colleague earlier this week, and I explained that an average group with BNI see 200 visitors a year through the door. Not all will join, but that is 200 companies looking to grow their business. Maybe, you have something to offer them through a joint venture? Or a product or service to make their life easier?

So no gate keepers, no voice mail, just you speaking direct to a decision maker.

How much effort do you have to put in to find 200 opportunities for new business? With a networking group it is presented to you, more or less on a plate, plus of course existing members will refer you too. Again no gate keepers, qualified leads and a warm welcome.

I am known as a networking tart – it is a great tag, and a reflection on the fact, I deliver again and again for members around the table, and they in turn deliver for me.

A real win-win.

With over 15 years of networking for my own business, I know it works, so why not give it a go at a number of different groups, and find one you like, then commit, and create a lasting stream of new leads.

Telecom plus Plc delivers again through photosynthesis

One of my friends spotted this and thought I would share it too:

This has to be one of the best reports I’ve read on the company. Even a non finance guy like me can understand it! I love the quote “Telecom Plus isn’t a normal utility, it’s not even a normal growth company, its more like a robust house plant, growing through photosynthesis and the odd sprinkling of water. And neither the sun nor rain get switched off”.

http://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/telecom-plus-both-weird-and-wonderful

For people looking to create new income streams, then the following is of vital interest, since it shows the potential profit for team members, which are called Independent Distributors.

“Over half of new sign-ups (55%) come in as Gold members, those taking at least four of its five services (gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, mobile), and when it gets them through the door, they tend to stick like flies to paper, churn down to just 1.2%.

What this means is that average revenue per user, or ARPU, rises on a seemingly unstoppable tide, jumping 14.5% to £1,363 last year. That’s nearly 200% up in 10 years and makes the £190 ARPU in its first year back in 1999 look laughably minuscule.”

I can write from direct knowledge, since I have been involved in the business since 1997, and the ARPU referred to above is so on the money, if you pardon the expression. :o)

And the future is looking brighter and brighter, as more people hear about the award winning services and customer care.

To find out about becoming involved in the business, this link will tell you more: www.future-biz.co.uk

If you are in London on Monday 3rd June, then there is a massive presentation taking place in the evening – details here:

http://super-cop-london.eventbrite.co.uk

Update: Tuesday 4th June – what an extraordinary evening. Over 500 people came along to the event last night. Clive Leach and Robin Brooks were in stunning form as they presented the business to the assembled numbers. It truly was standing room only and the attendees were educated and entertained by two stars in our successful business.

O2 closes call centres

An announcement that appeared in the Daily Telegraph this week shows the pressure the main mobile networks are under financially as they go the outsourcing route again to India and South Africa.

Unfortunately, it is simply the user that will suffer in the long run as call waiting times increase.

More here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/telecoms/10087909/Capita-plans-to-close-O2-call-centres-and-cut-thousands-of-jobs.html

The article also says:

Meanwhile, a Capita call centre in Cape Town that already handles a small proportion of O2 customer service will be expanded from 200 staff currently to 660 in 2015. A Capita centre in India offering support via web chat will also be expanded as part of plans to discourage customer calls, known as “contact deflection”.

Overall, it is planned that the staff of more than 5,800 worldwide currently serving O2 customers will be cut to fewer than 3,000 at the end of Capita’s contract in 10 years.

That is quite a frightening cut back in service levels.

Whereas Telecom Plus here in the UK is more than doubling is HO footprint and customer care staff to cope with ever more increasing demand for its range of award winning services.

This growth is reflected in the record share price delivered this past week as The City continues to sound its approval. http://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/telecom-plus-both-weird-and-wonderful

The range of services on offer to both the business user and home user continues to deliver value for money. More here: www.go-fast.co.uk

A further comment can be found here on the impact of the year end results:

http://wp.me/pae1W-8L

How do you describe and determine your ideal client?

This is a vital question in my view, when determining your goals.

Part of any business plan, a marketing plan must be created, and within should be an ideal client description.

Why?

Quite simply, if you do not know your ideal client and where they are found, how can you market your business to attract them.

On LinkedIn, there has been quite debate about business failure, and everyone has misunderstood that the basic business building block has been ignored.

So, how do you describe and determine your ideal client?

What factors should you include in such a description?

This will be an interesting debate, since, I am presently in the process of creating new ones for my business.

Ideal Client?

It is a question that comes  up again and again ………

Should this be fixed, or flexible depending on the financial climate?

Or perhaps you seek a niche and stick with that, come what may?

Decisions, decisions.

So what has been decided is that there will be a number of different scenarios; all created as A4 documents, maybe a PDF. These will be available for download soon to satisfy a demand, I am not convinced is there – we shall see.

Seriously Networking?

Are you serious about your networking or simply playing?

Networking is one of the most effective, cost efficient methods of generating new business and very importantly lasting business.

Having started in 1996, I now rely on more than 80% of my referrals being created this way, and that is the key. It is personal recommendation, rather than outright sales creation.

We all make recommendations, but very few understand how powerful these are.

I can place an actual value on each referral given and received – are you able to, as well?

Even better I work within a business that is often referred to as Referral Marketing – you can take a look here, if you wish – the 3 minute video won’t bite, and could create more than 10 new income streams for you on a part time basis:

www.future-biz.co.uk

So how important is networking to you?
What works and what doesn’t?

Please share your ideas below.

Double Dip Recession – land of opportunities

The headlines screamed out this week that the UK economy had re-entered recession after two negative quarters back to back.

There are many of us who believe the economy has been in recession constantly since early 2008.

It does however, throw up marvellous opportunities for those of us with large databases of customers and contacts built over previous years.

The key to any business success is keeping ahead of the game, and being aware of what is out there ……. newsletter subscriptions are a great way of learning more, and there are plenty of people offering them! Choose carefully.

Also why not consider Joint Ventures? There are loads of non-competing businesses, who would like to do so. Even Combyne Group do Joint Ventures.

Or how about adding an income stream by selling new services or products to your database of clients? Please do ask, since we have a scheme, which will do exactly that.

Or create a Plan B as an extra income stream over and above your salary, where you have not seen a pay rise in three years? Here is an example of one that works – please click here It is an award winning business, with full training and support, and five hours a week will be a great starting point. And it can be offered to existing customers too.

Your present customers and contacts already ….. Know, Like and Trust You, so why go through the hassle of finding new customers, when you already have them?

Many experts talk about re-inventing yourself and your business as a marketing ploy – you do not have to go that far, certainly freshen up your image, and keep your website (& blogs) updated, use all the tools to hand including twitter and other social media, plus regularly produce a newsletter, both as a thank you for customers and as a way of opening up new dialogue.

And even better, why not ask your customers, what they want to buy, and then source it for them? A simple survey via say surveymonkey will do the trick.

Both Jonathan Jay and Robert Craven promote this as a profitable way forward. What have you got to lose by trying this out at minimal risk?

Of course your systems are in place already to ensure you can handle the extra business. They are, aren’t they? If not, please address this issue, which is often the real cause of failure before progressing. Combyne Group provides UK based call handling solutions on a part time, some time or full time basis.

So here are a few ideas to help you grow your business, and I am happy to chew over others as and when.

NABO Networking Launches in Croydon

NABO Networking launches in Croydon on Friday 
3 June 2011 at 7:30am.                                

The key to the success of NABO Networking is the balance between cost effective, value for money networking and the provision of ongoing business support through education for the business owner.

No one stands still in business, and one of the keys to business success is learning from people who have knowledge and experience and more importantly demonstrate how to use that knowledge in business.

NABO Networking will be providing over 20 hours of education each year, which you can access as a member, and will be provided via NABO Networking TV. No other networking organisation offers similar.

Education will in fact form a pivotal role within each networking meeting; with time set aside to help businesses improve their knowledge and skills. Education is not a one time learning opportunity but an ongoing need for development.

For example, you’ll share ideas on using social media, pricing policies, the best marketing automation software, sources of new leads, website ideas and so on.

Each two hour meeting is structured so that you get the best group experience, plus one on one talking time, too. A supportive, mentoring environment like this is a hot bed of ideas and inspiration.

A typical meeting will run as follows:

Open Networking
Welcome by Group Director
Breakfast and commence 45 second presentations
Open Networking
Q & A session based on NABO Networking TV
1 -2 -1 meetings
Hot Seat
Testimonials 

You will notice a second Open Networking slot, since often people will hear something of interest over the 45 second presentations, and then with traditional groups the meeting moves on the moment is lost – with this structure, follow up is almost immediate.

There will be a sales literature table and attendees are encouraged to bring material with them for display – we want you to promote you business and to do business.

Membership fees are two tiered:

Join on your first visit – £99 + Vat
Join on a subsequent visit during the 90 days after your first visit and pay £149 + Vat

Renewals will be charged at the same rate that you joined under. So people joining for £99 will renew at £99, and likewise join at £149 and renew at £149.

Meeting fees will be set typically at £15 per breakfast, £25 for lunch and £15 for evening groups. Each group will have a separate membership fee, and it is planned to run a breakfast and lunch time in Croydon on alternate weeks, so your commitment will be two meetings a month. Lunches will not launch until the autumn.

Further for those that wish to take their business to a higher level, a MasterMind group will be launched in Croydon, meeting once a month for 12 months. These will be confidential meetings, and a serious commitment will be needed. They are not for every business and become very driven goals orientated gatherings, and are a great way of learning together.

In addition, NABO Networking members will have access to seminars and events run by NABO with preferential treatment, plus for the really focused, there are Private Client Groups with annual meeting fees in excess of £10,000 per annum.

There is a level of commitment that suits your business, and you will be supported throughout.

Once you become member, you will be entitled to visit any group throughout the country, 16 launch in May, and plans are in place (Group Directors have signed) for 40 by the middle of the summer. Also NABO has 44,000 members of its own and there will be a forum for the Croydon Group to interact through online, plus a national one too.

In conclusion, NABO Networking offers:

A fresh approach backed by a young and active team of successful business people
Value for money with renewals set at the same level of joining
Ongoing education, development and support
An organisation, which is not afraid to embrace new technology, but retain what works
A meeting structure that is educational as well as business orientated

Further it is expected that additional marketing for the group through the provision of video will be produced for each member to promote their business, at a discounted rate, plus delivering through a Virtual Assistant direct support to the group at a local level.

There are a number of strategic alliances in place to raise the profile of NABO Networking in the immediate area and nationally.

NABO Networking will launch in Croydon, late May to early June, plus a stand has been booked at We Mean Business on the 3 November held at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, where members of the group will be able to raie their profile to a wider audience.

For further information and to indicate you interest, please email nabonetworking@combyne.co.uk

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