"Virtually News" June 2014 magazine for Small Businesses


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Promoting, supporting & offering free advertising to small businessses.
With up-to-date business news & events, social media & marketing updates, podcasts, blogs & business articles.
Win a month's free business promotion & feature in our "Small Business Showcase" article.

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"Virtually News" June 2014 magazine for Small Businesses

  1. 1. VIR EDITION #2: June 2014VIRTUALLY NEWS Promoting, Assisting & Supporting UK Small Businesses
  2. 2. 1 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Contents Page No. Article 2 - 3 Since We Last Met 4 Flaming June 5 - 7 Small Business Showcase 8 - 9 The UK Outsourcing Centre Business News & Events 10 - 11 Financing for Small Business 11 - 13 Co-Working Spaces for Entrepreneurs ... and More 13 How Regional Cities can Match London’s Success 14 What to Expect as a Start-Up 14 Mistakes? A Positive Learning Curve 14 Business Interview: “My Business Plan was Worthless” Social Media & Marketing 15 - 17 Web Page, Slideshare, Podcast, App of the Month, Blog Article 18 - 20 Getting Started on Pinterest with Anna Bennett, “White Glove Social Media” 21 LinkedIn Training with Tom Mallens Offers, Fun & Competition Time! 22 Offers 23 - 24 A bit of fun 25 Competition time 26 - 27 Last Word
  3. 3. 2 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 A big “THANK YOU” to everyone who took the time to read the first edition of “Virtually News”; I was absolutely delighted to hear and read your lovely comments which were so encouraging. It seems the most popular articles were from the “Business News & Events” section so thanks to all of you who took the time to give me your feedback. Please do continue to send me your views so that I can identify which articles you’d like to read for future editions (please do fill in the quick, 7-question survey on pg. 26) A special “Thank you” goes out to Jonathan Rose who emailed me to say that a couple of my links weren’t working last month. In the words of Captain Mainwaring, “I was wondering who’d be the first to spot that!” SINCE WE LAST MET
  4. 4. 3 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 As the months go on I’m hoping that “Virtually News” will get bigger and better with more offers and freebies, so make sure you don’t miss out. Sign up and have each issue delivered to your Inbox!
  5. 5. 4 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Next up? TENNIS (not football!) The first of this year’s summer Grand Slams is the French Open, Roland Garros, with it’s beautiful red clay courts and turquoise décor. Will Rafa Nadal retain his “King of Clay” title? After Roland Garros it’s Queen’s and then wonderful Wimbledon! For any of you who haven’t been to Wimbledon, please do go. You don’t need to buy seats on the show courts in order to have a fabulous day; queue up (it’s all part of the fun), buy a ground ticket and see who you can see. The best time to make the most of a ground ticket is on the first few days of the first week. Although you won’t see any of the top seeds playing on the outside Courts, you’re in with a very good chance of seeing some of the next best players. The atmosphere itself is worth going for. The grounds are absolutely stunning; walkways are festooned with trailing flowers and hanging baskets. Sit on a bench, enjoy a large glass of Pimms and do a bit of celebrity watching! Flaming June The end of May and start of June are the most wonderful times of the year for me. As I’m writing, RHS Chelsea Flower Show has just begun (best of luck to all the exhibitors - I hope you receive the awards you deserve). I’m always sad to see the beautiful Show Gardens dismantled, pulled apart and sold off during the last frenetic Saturday afternoon but the feeling is only short-lived as I watch show-goers making their way home with armfuls of plants, trees sticking out of car sun roofs and bus windows! English, Eccentric and Loving it!
  6. 6. 5 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 The Parlour, London: Hair-Raisingly Fabulous! Without any shadow of a doubt our Small Business of the Month is awarded to “The Parlour”, London Based in Chiswick, London, The Parlour is a hair salon with a difference. I don’t know about you, ladies, but I’ve so often watched a ‘golden oldie’ film and wondered how women managed to keep themselves looking so well dressed and groomed in the 1940s, given the restrictions they faced. My grandmothers often told me stories about how they would “make do and mend” and there was definitely a lot of improvisation going on. Stockings, for example, were scarce (unless you knew an American GI) so women would save up old tea leaves and use them to colour their legs brown. They’d even use an eye pencil to draw a line up the backs of their legs for an improvised ‘seam’! Jacqueline, founder of The Parlour, says, Small Business Showcase “Vintage styling is making a comeback! We’ll show you how to achieve perfectly formed S- curls, victory rolls, or any other retro look you like… Time to let that inner minx out, ladies!”
  7. 7. 6 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 The Parlour ticks a lot of boxes for me. They’ve given the hair salon a unique twist by offering a different range of services. Book a workshop and learn how to style your own hair - enjoy cake and cocktails whilst you’re there! Trim those eyebrows at Natasha’s Brow Bar (available Thursdays and Fridays, 9am - 2pm). Book a “Bombshell Blow Out” that will last for days! The Parlour also offers a braiding service. Take a look at some of the beautiful styles their artists have created:
  8. 8. 7 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Have a Party! If you’re looking for an alternative idea to celebrate your birthday, book a party at The Parlour. You’ll also be treated to their special afternoon tea menu whilst you beautify yourselves. Bridal Service It goes without saying that every bride wants to look beautiful on her Big Day BUT it can be an expensive business. Jacqueline and her team understand this and offer two incredible bridal packages:  Bridal Hair: including one trial run @ £95.00  Bridal Breakfast at The Parlour (I just love this): Jacqueline will open a back room at The Parlour for you and your bridesmaids to get ready at your leisure. She’ll ply you with tea, cakes and pastries to keep you going whilst her artists make you look fabulous. Your Chance to Win a Month in the Spotlight! For details of how you can put your business in the spotlight and be a part of our “Small Business Showcase” for a month, see pg. 25 Reader Offer See pg. 22 for an offer you really can’t refuse from The Parlour!
  9. 9. 8 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 19th May 2014 The UK Outsourcing Centre went live! CONGRATULATIONS TO KERRY. If you didn’t see May’s edition of “Virtually News” you’ll have missed the article we ran about Kerry Field’s new company, “The UK Outsourcing Centre”. Just to re-cap, some of the aims of the UK Outsourcing Centre are to:-  Raise your business profile;  Grow your business;  Build credibility and reputation. You’ll also have access as a Gold & Silver member to a fabulous selection of documents and helpful information via the ‘hub’. THE UK OUTSOURCING CENTRE “The UK Outsourcing Centre is the UK's fastest growing and most effective online business community.”
  10. 10. 9 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Hello from “Virtually News” We’ll also be helping out by:  welcoming new members of the UK Outsourcing Centre with a ‘hello’ each month;  providing a summary of what your business is about in our newsletter;  adding a link to your profile so that readers can find you. #myUKbiz So far it’s been wonderful to see you all tweeting the UK Outsourcing Centre’s new Twitter hashtag - #myUKbiz. Please keep it up! The more we repeat and retweet #myUKbiz the more interest is generated and the more traffic it will attract. This is beneficial for you so please do join in as much as you can and, if your business is promoted, make sure you engage in a little chit-chat and thank others for any retweets. The same goes for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus! For details of how you can join The UK Outsourcing Centre, contact Kerry: www.theukoutsourcingcentre.com
  11. 11. 10 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 1. Financing for Small Businesses Finding a loan to support you during the first year or so of a new business scheme is becoming easier as the Government launches new schemes to support entrepreneurs and SMEs. According to the latest Bank of England figures, lending to small businesses had increased by 27% compared with the same time last year. The Government first set up their “Funding for Lending” scheme in 2012, allowing banks and building societies to borrow money from the Bank of England at a cheaper market rate and passing on the benefits to SMEs. The Government also set up a new British Business Bank to assist small businesses set up and finance their projects, Find out how you can finance your business with the British Business Bank by clicking on the link. Alternative Funding Why not take a look at what Funding Circle are doing with regards to lending to small businesses? Use their simple online calculator to find out how much you would expect to pay back on a lump sum, including Funding Circle’s own fees. Business News & Events
  12. 12. 11 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Funding Circle were winners of Credit Today Awards 2013 as Alternative Lender of the Year. Funding Circle is supported by the British Business Bank. 2. Co-Working Spaces for Entrepreneurs ... and More I first came across “Bathtub2Boardroom” late last year, thought it was a fabulous idea, cursed my bad luck because I no longer lived in London, and that was that. I’m delighted that I now have the opportunity to share details of this fabulous charity with you. “Bathtub2Boardroom” became a registered charity in October 2011 and now provide entrepreneurs in the early stages of business with an extremely cost-effective and beautiful office space in which to work and the opportunity to network with like-minded people. In addition, they will provide the following resources:  A supportive, collaborative environment that positively encourages sharing of knowledge, experience and ideas  A mentor with whom they will be able to establish a one-one relationship  Access to expert advice surgeries on a broad range of related topics ● ● ● “We’re a charity that fills empty commercial space with early stage entrepreneurs who have limited capital but unlimited ideas.” ● ● ●
  13. 13. 12 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014  Access to a communal database of business knowledge  Regular group workshops and evening speaking events “Bathtub2Boardroom” currently have two locations or ‘bathtubs’ in London: Bethnal Green and the ‘Tub in the City’. The ‘tub’ at Bethnal Green is a converted church with 70 dedicated work desks and, I have to say, the most beautiful décor. It’s conveniently located just 10 minutes’ walk from Bethnal Green Tube station. Marketing & Events Manager, Yohanna Best, explained to me that the City tub was used mostly by entrepreneurs who travel to London a few times a month and need a dedicated desk space or a meeting room in which to see clients, for example. The site has been loaned to “Bathtub2Boardroom” by the Mercers’ Company, the premier livery company of the City of London. Paddy Willis, one of Bathtub’s Trustees, said in a recent press release, “This is a great opportunity for London’s keen new entrepreneurs to take their business ideas to the next level, made possible by one of the City's oldest institutions. The Mercers’ Company has a rich history of patronage dating back to the 16th century. Most of our entrepreneurs come from working alone at their kitchen table, so we are delighted to be able to welcome them to the financial heart of London.”
  14. 14. 13 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 2nd BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS Whilst writing we’d like to take the opportunity to wish Bathtub2Boardroom’s Bethnal Green ‘tub’ a VERY HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY! Yohanna has kindly invited you to join their birthday celebrations on 11th June at: Bethnal Green Bathtub, The Church, 33a Wadeson Street, Bethnal Green, London E2. In addition, the team are offering half-price membership during the month of June. You only pay £100.00 + VAT in return for your own designated work space, a fabulous network of entrepreneurs to hob-nob with, mentoring for your start-up and loads of other free educational & social events. What’s not to like? Just contact Johanna for a chat: yohanna@bathtub2boardroom.com or find her at the Bethnal Green birthday party! Please do take a moment to look at their website, find out what this fabulous charity can do for you and how you might support them. Why not also get in touch with them via their social media channels:- Facebook Twitter 3. How Regional Cities can Match London’s Success Jim O’Neill, writing for City A.M., is former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and chair of City Growth Commission. He discusses what needs to be done to unlock latent potential in cities outside London.
  15. 15. 14 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 4. What to Expect as a Start-Up If you’re thinking of starting up your own small business have a look at this article in the UK Huffington Post by Jack Kershaw, an entrepreneur based in Essex - “Got a Good Idea? Want to Start your Own Business?” Jack pretty much sums up what you need to expect when you first start out in business and offers some sound advice. Speaking from experience, I’d most definitely agree that you’ll need to be a ‘Jack / Jill of All Trades’ and be good at them all before you’re in the enviable position of being able to outsource at least some of them. And a sense of humour is VITAL! 5. Mistakes? A Positive Learning Curve It seems that we’re all terrified of making mistakes - I guess there are mistakes and there are MISTAKES! I’m currently thinking of the difference between a small typo in a document and the mistake made by France’s national rail company, SNCF, which has built 2,000 new trains only to realise that they are too wide for the majority of stations. What a blooper! For the most part, however, mistakes are a learning curve and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about them. To put a positive spin on it, some ground-breaking discoveries have been made on the back of past mistakes, including the humble crisp or potato chip. Have a look for yourselves in Prof. Nick Clements’ article, “Making Mistakes is Good for You”. 6. Business Interview: Justine Roberts of “Mumsnet” I found this article fascinating, inspirational and well worth a read, “My Business Plan was Worthless”.
  16. 16. 15 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 This Month’s Recommendations This month’s recommendations SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING Web page “How to Increase your Twitter Engagement by 324%” By Neil Patel, QuickSprout Slideshare The Small Business Playbook - By LinkedIn
  17. 17. 16 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 APP OF THE MONTH Fabulous accounting software specifically for small businesses and freelancers. FreeAgent has just been listed in FinTech50 2014 (Europe’s top 50 companies). A trial is available free for 30 days. In 2013 FreeAgent introduced, “‘Fast File’ ... giving sole traders the ability to submit Self-Assessment tax returns directly with HMRC from within FreeAgent - becoming the first online accounting system to provide this functionality”. [Find out more: The Startup Magazine] PODCAST “What to do when your Business makes a Public Mistake?” Via Social Media Examiner, with Michael Stelzner & Gini Dietrich from Arment Dietrich
  18. 18. 17 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Blog Article “The 10 Best Facebook Campaigns” By Jeff Bullas Find out how top companies, from Bing to FarmVille to Domino’s Pizzas, use their Facebook status updates for fabulous marketing initiatives. “The marketing goals for the Facebook pages vary but quite often the simple goal of just increasing their fan count to their Facebook page seems to be top of the list as brands have worked out very quickly that being able to communicate to 1,000′s or even millions of fans via a simple status update is very efficient highly leveraged marketing.”
  19. 19. 18 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Getting Started on Pinterest Although you can’t be active on every single social media platform there is, by now you really ought to be making the most of the fabulous marketing opportunities Pinterest offers you. Take a look at some of these statistics to whet your marketing appetite:- Pinterest drives more web traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined [Shareaholic] Constant Contact, email marketing software, has grown their following to 18,000 in just 2 years Pins on Pinterest have a longer ‘shelf life’, i.e. people continue to engage with content longer than on Twitter, for example. The key to success on Pinterest is an IMAGE which is eye-catching and ‘shareable’ and links back to your blog or website. It’s that straightforward! As I did last month, I’m going to introduce you to an expert who knows all about Pinterest - Anna Bennett from White Glove Social Media.
  20. 20. 19 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 White Glove Social Media Anna and her team are based in Vancouver, Canada, and are Pinterest marketing experts. Take a look at Anna’s Pinterest boards and see how she cleverly markets what is essentially a service as opposed to a product. She uses an eye-catching image (a bit like waving a flag in a crowd) to grab your attention and encourage you to read what she has to say.
  21. 21. 20 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Anna has some great courses available via her website. She advised me that, “... if you really want to master Pinterest, take my course”. The course consists of 12 chapters and you can work your way through them entirely at your own speed. Take a look at the course list. You can expect to receive:- 1) Weekly assignments 2) 3 months email support from me 3) 1 year access to 12 chapters with over 60 video lessons 4) Several PDF’s, worksheets, and resource guides 5) Pinterest Time Management To Do List Template (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) 6) Included are lots of examples so that you can actually see what works on Pinterest and then model that in your own business 7) 1yr free Pinterest updates and news (priceless!) 8) 7 Deadly Pinterest Mistakes Report ($29 value) 9) Entitled to a *50% discount on coaching sessions and Pinterest page review *subject to change without notice At the end of this course your account is set up correctly and you are operating it properly. Who is this training for? Entrepreneurs, online marketers, coaches, consultants or local businesses with a product, program or service to sell who don’t have a Pinterest Marketing plan that’s working for them. Both tech savvy and non-tech savvy people who want to learn how to scale their Pinterest marketing to get bigger results more consistently. People who are ready to take action, but know they do best when they can model someone who has already seen the success they’re after, and know they will find value in my feedback, insight and personal resources along the way. So why not get in touch with Anna: anna@whiteglovesocialmedia.com She’d be more than happy to advise you!
  22. 22. 21 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 LinkedIn Training I’m sure many of you have profiles on LinkedIn; it’s one of the best networking sites for businesses who fall into the B2B category. Are you making the most of what LinkedIn has to offer, however? Tom Mallens, who is based in Leamington Spa, is a LinkedIn Marketing expert. If you have any questions regarding how to optimise your own LinkedIn profile, build a loyal network of connections and generate more business leads without the need for old-style ‘cold calling’, just get in touch with Tom and he’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Tom updates his blog on a weekly basis and is regularly sending out helpful business tips via Twitter and LinkedIn so why not introduce yourselves to him. LinkedIn Training Schedule If you’re based in or around Leamington Spa, why not make the most of two fabulous training sessions Tom is running:  Friday 13th June, 9.00am - 12.30pm  Friday 18th July, 9.00am - 12.30pm You can find out further details & book tickets via Tom’s Eventbrite page.
  23. 23. 22 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 This Month’s Offer So, I’ve saved the best news until last! Jacqueline, owner of The Parlour, has been incredibly generous and is offering you, ladies, a 15% discount at her salon on week days and ... wait ... unlimited cocktails from her beautiful bar at weekends when you make a booking. What better way to kick-start your evening out on the razzle? [Now why don’t I live closer to London?!] Make sure that, when you make a booking at The Parlour, you quote “PARLOUR- NEWS14” to take advantage of this fabulous offer. Thank you so much, Jacqueline and your wonderful team! Tea & Cocktails at The Parlour Offers, Fun & Competitions
  24. 24. 23 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 A Bit of Fun
  25. 25. 24 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014
  26. 26. 25 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 Competition Time! Don’t forget our monthly competition continues. WIN a month in the spotlight as part of our “Small Business Showcase” article and have your business promoted on Twitter for a week by the lovely team at Bizitalk. Details All you have to do is send me:  The reasons why you feel you deserve to be promoted in “Small Business Showcase”;  Your answer in no more than 500 characters;  Your Twitter handle & website URL. Please send your entries to me at hello@virtuosoassistant.co.uk, including the subject heading, “Small Business Showcase”. The cut-off date for entries will be the 26th of each month. Winning entries will be announced via Twitter and your business will be promoted in the following month’s “Virtually News”.
  27. 27. 26 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 LAST WORD Have your Say! The main purpose of this newsletter is to provide you with content which is useful and hopefully interesting. In order for me to find out if I’m on the right tracks or if I’ve completely lost sight of the goal posts I’d be grateful if you’d take the time to give me your feedback with this fun, 7-question survey (it’ll take just a minute to fill in). Don’t forget! You can win a chance of putting your business in the spotlight with “Small Business Showcase” and being promoted for a whole week on Twitter with the team at Bizitalk (see pg. 25)
  28. 28. 27 Virtuoso Assistant | www.virtuosoassistant.co.uk | 0118 324 0197 EDITION #2: June 2014 All that remains for me to say is ... If you want to receive regular copies of “Virtually News” before anyone else, just provide me with your details: Sign up