• Hot Off The Press

    Hot Off The Press

Stand Out from the Crowd

Stand Out from the Crowd

Most businesses are in a market place with others who offer the same/similar services and products. Attracting clients and customers to use you rather than a.n.other is the key to a healthy growing business.

By highlighting what makes a business, any business, stand out for you personally and why you’d use them above their competition can give us great insight into what we should be doing in our own businesses.

Grab a sheet of paper and think about some personal experiences you’ve had when you’d definitely be happy to make a recommendation. It might be a hotel you love, your favourite restaurant, the taxi firm you have on speed dial or it might be a service you’ve experienced and been blown away by.

Explore what you’ve jotted down.  You will find that most of the time it’s the experience and how it made you feel that is the notable factor, and rarely the cost.  The better the experience the less important cost becomes.

Now have a look at your product or service and think of a way or ways you might improve the service your clients receive. Even tiny improvements will positively improve the overall experience and therefore increase the chances of you standing out from the competition.

We can always learn from others and to have something that turns our customers into raving fans will ensure we have an edge in a competitive world. Don’t forget to ask them to rave about you publicly on social media and by doing recommendations too.

Employment law changes to be aware of as a small business


Is your business affected by the changes in employment law?

We asked Rebecca Woolmington of HR Central to share her expertise in this field as we know it affects small businesses like us.

Upcoming employment law changes to be aware of as a small business and an employer of choice.

Some of the promises made in the Government’s Good Work Plan last year will strengthen workers rights in some areas. for you to retain your employees it will help to be aware of these common sense management and payment issues.

Here is a whistle stop tour of some of the proposed changes that may affect you as a small business owner.

businessspa2Right to reasonable notice of work schedules and compensation for cancelled shifts

Under new proposed rules that are still under consultation until October 2019, workers would be entitled to “reasonable” notice of their work schedule. What would be considered “reasonable” is as yet undefined, but the government has indicated that employers would incur a penalty if they fail to do this. For small business scheduling work there could be an additional cost to the business. 

If a worker’s shift or number of hours they are required to work are cut at the last minute the worker would be entitled to compensation, under a new rule referenced as the “one-sided flexibility”. The Government are considering what the level of compensation will be, but options currently being considered for the level of compensation awarded include: the amount the worker would have earned from the hours or shift; their national minimum wage rate multiplied by the number of hours cancelled; and a set multiple of their national minimum wage rate.

Worth ensuring that your contracts allow for your workers to carry out alternative tasks so if you don’t need them for the original work booked, you can use them elsewhere in the business. 

Phased returns for workers on sick leave.

Employees returning from a period of sickness absence will be entitled to a flexible, phased return to work, with payments made from a combination of statutory sick pay and their wages.

The Government will also fine organisations that do not pay staff the SSP they are owed. Treat your staff right, look after their well being and ensure that you pay them what they are due. It is a poor reflection that the Government feels it necessary to put these sanctions in place, but also good that those organisations who don’t/won’t pay will be called to task. Having transparency about phased returns to work will benefit the employee and the employer alike. Sickness absence can be crippling for a small business. 

Right to request workplace adjustments

Employees with health conditions will also be given the right to request workplace adjustments on health grounds. An organisation would have to demonstrate it has a legitimate business case for its decision if a request was refused. Ask your potential employees at interview what reasonable adjustments should be made, if any to accommodate their needs. 

Parental leave and pay

New and expectant mums, and employees who have adopted or who are partaking in shared parental leave, will soon have better protection against being made redundant until six months from the date they return to work. The redundancy protection period will also apply from the point they inform the employer they are pregnant.

The government has acknowledged shared parental leave works differently to maternity and adoption leave in that it offers more flexibility around when the leave can be taken. The government are considering this when designing how protections can be implemented.

Parents of babies in neonatal care could receive neonatal leave and pay for as long as their baby is in hospital. One of the final consultations discussed as part of Theresa May’s government is seeking views on whether the rights should be targeted at the parents who are most in need of the additional time off work, such as those whose children have spent a minimum of two weeks in hospital or are most seriously ill; the consultation is considering whether this right should be from their first day of employment or after a qualifying period. Payment terms are yet to be decided. 

Get to know your staff and be supportive of their personal situations, life balance and an understanding of your employee’s challenges outside of the workplace tends to generate loyalty.

The employment market is tough right now, be the employer of choice and treat your employees well from the moment they engage with you, this starts with the recruitment process. 

For more help with untangling your responsibilities as an employer, please do consider calling Rebecca at HR Central to talk about your HR challenges.

0118 324 2526/07968 787182 - HRCentral.co.uk - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the Business Spa, each month, we tackle many of the issues faced by small business owners – why not come along and experience our SMILE (Support – Motivation – Inspiration – Learning – Expertise) for yourself.

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Do you suffer from Comparisonitis?

comparisonitisRecently we were joined by the amazing Jenny Gordon of Jenuine Consulting Ltd who shared her experience of setting up and running a business with us. There were so many lightbulb moments and we’ve managed to capture a few that might help you too.

Heart Felt

Starting your business come from your heart and not because someone else said it’s a great idea. You may love doing something, a hobby perhaps ie for some home baking is wonderful and you might be brilliant at it – but would it for a living? You need to understand why you want to do something, what it will give you, does it unleash your passion – without this you will give up at times it’s tough – and they will happen.


When we start a business there are a myriad of tasks to complete you may not have considered; sales – marketing – video – admin – bookkeeping – social Media to name a few. If you are not comfortable with these it will be like using your left hand if you’re righthanded, you can do it but it will take much longer than needed and will not be done as well as if you outsourced to an expert.

Ideal Client

For most new businesses the early days are the most difficult our excitability and adrenaline are easily diluted by the reality of the day to day. It’s so important to know who your ideal client is and to trust that there is enough business to go around. Knowing who you want to work with and focussing all your messaging and marketing activities towards attracting them is key. Try to avoid the broad-brush approach of I’d like introductions anyone…. as this is not specific enough and hard for others to understand and support you.
‘Yes’ person - Another trait of the new business owner is to try to please everyone which leads to a lack of self-confidence and value in what you do. Funny thing is once you stop and learn to say no the right business starts to flow. Knowing what you offer and the price you offer it at and being courageous enough to stick to it is the best way to grow your business.


It’s the thing that stops us being who we can be because we are continually comparing ourselves to others. There will always be some one bigger, more out there, have a better website, already dealing with your ideal clients but this is also only in your opinion. The truth is we never really know how others are doing, we only see what see and it might not be the reality. Being a comparisonist wastes time, drains energy and feeds are mid with negativity. Be you and do it your way.


Getting it right first time is rare, and perfection a myth. If you wait until something is perfect or till you have all the answers, you run the risk of not doing anything at all. Have a go and see what happens, create a first draft and try it out – then at least you are doing something and can improve as you go! So many successful people had a go, learned what didn’t work, made some tweaks and went again…Edison, J. K. Rowling, Richard Branson to name a tiny few.


When you meet other businesses, particularly out networking, and ask how’s business the response is unlikely to be ‘bloody awful’, even if it is! This creates the illusion that business is booming but doesn’t tap into the amazing support that can be found in being part of a business group, something we know well at The Business Spa. Being able to admit when things are tough may feel like exposing a vulnerability, but everyone goes through tough times and like to be able to support others experiencing the same. Honesty is the only way to access the support, advice and help that will move you through a situation. Reserve this vulnerability for a safe space, a person or group of people who will allow you to be honest and genuinely want to help.


Without a boss it can be easy to miss deadlines, motivate yourself to do the tasks you don’t enjoy or that are out of your comfort zone or generally be proactive. We can all find reasons but are they just excuses? Having accountability buddies to keep you on track will ensure deadlines are hit and goals achieved. Drifting is a dangerous pastime for a new business owner.
Spending time learning from others and working on your business not in it are both important for growth and success..

Our SMILE is contagious. Come and see for yourself!

If you would like to find out more, why not follow the link to book on to one of our next events...

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Do you suffer from premature expectation?

premature 2 1So you’ve decided upon the networking group you want to join and paid your money. Now all you need to do is turn up and the business will roll in… right?

Wrong! One of the main reasons members leave networking groups is because they got little, if any, business. This is the symptom, what I would like to talk about is the cause. There is a common networking problem that affects women as well as men and it is called premature expectation.

The following may help you understand the problem a little better.

Networking is about relationships

Like all relationships these take time to develop. The more time you invest in developing them the quicker they will deliver results.

I love you!

Well maybe you don’t have to be loved but you do need to be well liked. The more you put yourself out, are generous with your time, support and information the sooner others will want to help you in return.

Trust me I’m a ….

It is not likely that anyone will put their reputation on the line and recommend you to a valued contact until they know they can trust you. Trust is built by spending time getting to know each other on a one to one basis.  This will be time outside of the networking meeting to talk about what you do for clients, sharing testimonials, highlighting expertise and qualification in your field. It's a great opportunity for exploratory questions and really delving into what it is you do for your clients. Offering free tasters of what you do and giving free advice can also heighten levels of trust.

Confident Aura

Confidence should be like an aura around you. The way you look, behave, engage and conduct business all instill a level of confidence. The higher the level of confidence in you the higher the level of business you will receive

If you are going to join a networking group, you need to be prepared to commit fully and not expect a quick return. Membership of most networking groups is for a year, which for many businesses, is the same as the length of time it takes to develop the relationships, trust and confidence required to gain quality opportunities. Once these start to flow they will continue unless, of course, you jeopardize that trust, confidence and credibility by behaving unprofessionally.

Unfortunately, the end of year one is the most likely time for members to throw the towel in…. usually just as they were about to enjoy the fruits of the past year’s relationship development. Treat networking as a long-term investment and you will enjoy real business transforming results.

Worth Their Weight In Gold

gold ingots golden treasure 47047

In the early days of business networking you will be concentrating on meeting people, making new connections, making a good impression and having a clear, engaging message. All these things help to build a positive professional perception of you as a professional and someone who could be introduced with confidence but how do you switch it up a gear?

In the early days of business networking you will be concentrating on meeting people, making new connections, making a good impression and having a clear, engaging message.

All these things help to build a positive professional perception of you as a professional and someone who could be introduced with confidence but how do you switch it up a gear? At first you will find there are people you feel there is a stronger business synergy and personal chemistry with. These are the ones that you can begin moving up to another level. You’re probably aware of growing confidence – a readiness and willingness to work together. It’s time to start exploring ways in which to be more proactive in making introductions, collaborating and creating opportunities through your business networking.

Initially confidence and credibility rely heavily on what we see and how we feel ie the way people behave at networking events. Being late, unprepared and flustered does not build confidence. Being unprepared in our presentations and unsure of facts does not create feelings of authenticity and reliability. After that we need to develop our business relationships till the levels of trust and confidence outweigh any concerns and the benefits from making the introductions repeatedly add value to relationships you have with your own clients. This is where professional business networkers excel and every handshake, the hours spent preparing and perfecting your 60 seconds and lots of coffee or if you’re lucky wine pay off. These relationships deliver time and time again, they’ll become more like friendship and there will be a strong reliance and desire to introduce each other often.

These meeting as often referred to as 1:1’s. We prefer to call them insight meetings as they should be focused on gaining greater insight about the person, the business, it’s values, how the product or service helps clients, who is a valuable prospective client and how to make an introduction. From your business networking to date you have hopefully realised that everyone is busy. It is therefore your responsibility to do everything possible to help others help you. Sharing as much information as possible is so important; it really is an education process.Do bear in mind though that the role of the introducer is simply to recommend you with confidence and enthusiasm not to close the deal. The introduced is the far better equipped to assess a potential client needs and demonstrate how they can satisfy them, hopefully resulting in business happening between the two parties.

What should you include in a relationship development meeting that will help you create opportunities.

  • What results do you deliver to your clients?
    • Think about the benefits you deliver, the pain you remove and the potentially unpleasant situations you prevent
  • Why should we have confidence in you?
    • What are you the expert in and how can you demonstrate that. Stories of what you have done are powerful.
  • What differentiates you?
    • What do you do differently and how? If I we can reply ‘so what’ then it’s not a compelling differentiation.
    • Avoid saying things like “we provide exceptional customer service”. Firstly that should be a given and secondly everyone says that and it has little impact.Saying something like on average our members stay with 5 years or more and the norm in our industry is 3 will differentiate you.
  • What does our ideal client look like?
    • Talk about as much as possible to describe an ideal client. This is something you may have already done for your marketing and if not will be useful to you going forward.
  • What would be a great opportunity for us
    • Be very clear about what represents and opportunity. If you’re an estate agent it might be logical to think you want to be introduced to buyers. However if the market is awash with buyers and no houses to sell then this may end up not having any value and taking up your valuable time.
  • Specifically, which professions/businesses/people do we want to talk to?
    • Do your research hear so that you not only highlight an industry but go further to state an exact company the position within the company and the name of the person in that position.
  • Questions you could ask to explore if your client has a need for our product or service.
    • When done well these can be built into a fact find or conversation and should feel natural and comfortable to ask.
  • How to introduce us
    • Again this is not closing the deal it’s simply getting permission to make an introduction once interest has been achieved

There is a lot of information here that will take you time to put together and it may take more than one or two relationship development meetings to cover in depth.

At the end of the meeting agree on any actions with a clear idea of when you will take action. Always have at least 1 action but no more than 3.

As you get to the point you have covered this for both of you then include discussing clients and contacts, explore where opportunities may lie and how to progress them towards becoming introductions.

Follow up, stay in touch and invest well in these relationships as they really are worth their weight in gold.

Get In Touch

The Business Spa
Sandford Gate
Eastpoint Business Park
Oxford, OX4 6LB

Tel: 07818 453105
Email: kate@businessspa.co.uk