Cost Savings

Did You Take Part in My Survey?

Confident businesspeople Background

I've been a serial business networker for many years, but questioned the ROI only in the past 12 months. And the main reason was because I started using LinkedIn in a more effective and productive way to do my networking with existing and new connections.

So here are the results of my survey. I had actually estimated previously the amount of time business professionals spend doing networking and estimated the cost annually. But this estimate is now backed up by this survey result.

Survey Results:

50% go to 1-4 networking events per month

50% spend on average 2.5 hours at networking events

50% spend 45 minutes travelling to networking events

50% always connect via LinkedIn afterwards

68% consider Linkedin as a networking tool

Here are my previous calculations of the cost of networking:

Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events) Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10 Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5

Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes Time at event on average 2 hours Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes

Total monetary costs £35 Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120 Total costs £155 Across the month for just 2 events £310

Total cost per year £3,720 (this is a conservative estimate)

Add to that any club membership if you have any or do the calculation for that instead.

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A LinkedIn premium account will cost you just £155 per annum allowing you to achieve so much more in terms of targeting the precise contacts you wish to get in front of.

Networking events are great to meet with local people, however it will always be a ’pot luck’ approach in terms of meeting the right kind of people for your business development.

And the amount of time (potentially 6 hours per month, a full working day) means that you could have found at least 30 new connections on LinkedIn that are on target for your business and start communicating with them. How many targeted connections would you have found at networking events.

Please don't get me wrong, face to face meetings are vital, but not with people who can't deliver you business. If you are just having a social, then that's perfect. But if you are looking for serious business then my suggestion is STOP hoping for 'Pot Luck'.

Wishing you Success Always!

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Are You Supporting Your Local Economy?

If you believe the journalists, you'll be cutting your expenses right now, if you believe the politicians, ah forget that one, I know you don't, lets try that again, if you believe the IMF (International Monetary Fund), then like most of us, you'll be apprehensive of economic recovery any time soon. I know, I know there are always exceptions, but in the main, most people are worried, anxious and cutting back.

Now what does that do for the local economy? You're right, it slowly and gradually kills it. Why? You and me start looking for discounts, bargains, 2 for 1, petrol vouchers etc etc. And because only the giants are able to provide these deals, we're all flocking to them, so they don't really feel the pinch that we're feeling right?

But let me ask you another question! Who would you rather support? The small business on the high street (charities excluded) or the giant supermarket and massive retail chains?

I thought so, cue OnlyUncle.com. I only became aware of OnlyUncle.com a few weeks ago, when I connected with Paul DeCouto, their business development manager.

I became curious because I watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r13IdnBEaIo

I became even more interested when I read their Manifesto and after signing it and showing my support, I asked to meet the founder Vinny Hira.

He explained to me how this was a project 24 months in the making, how he has a vision to reignite the local economy by getting local shoppers to support local business and by being a conduit for this.

And how's it done? Very simply by providing a “deals” site for small businesses;

  1. businesses can post their own deals
  2. for as long as they like
  3. with their own terms and conditions
  4. their own social media sharing options
  5. have their own consumer fans
  6. have a profile with images, videos, payment terms, hours of operation etc
  7. a series of tag words that allows for fast discovery and SEO

And the best part of all of this, is that OnlyUncle takes zero commission, not a penny, all the profit stays with the business.

Of course there is a cost but it's tiny compared to what you get. What do you reckon the value of this would be to a small business?

I reckon the value to a small business would be in the region of £250 - £500 per annum as a minimum and some small business owners have even suggested it might be as high as £1,000!

Well, Vinny, Paul and the team at OnlyUncle.com have decided to launch the service for just a tiny, very tiny £29.99 per annum. Watch Steve explain the deal;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QlRwTgdjGQ

That's a ridiculous price and well actually that's for free then! Because I can make that money back on just one deal and generating some extra sales in the process. The fact that I don't need to share any revenue with them means its a no-brainer, not just for me, but also for the millions of other small business owners out there.

The moral of this story is more than just getting a cheap website for putting your deals on.

The purpose is to get all of us to consider small businesses in our local economies and start supporting them.

How can you support?

  1. Sign the OnlyUncle.com manifesto pledging your support
  2. Sign up as a consumer on OnlyUncle.com
  3. And if you are a business owner, sign up for the 15-day trial with them and try it out. You could even make the £29.99 in 15-days to pay for the subscription.
  4. Spread the word to others. And yes you could earn through that too. Sign-up to become a referral partner and earn £10 for every business you refer. And if you're a business owner and introduce just three businesses, you could get your subs for free that way.

And why am I sharing all this with you? I've decided I want to support the local economy regeneration as well and I am assisting Vinny and Paul by making that happen and doing my bit. And besides I like the Uncle character too!

Let's do this together!

Success!

Are You Interested in Cost Saving Tips?

Are you a Consumer and also in Business? Then you will be interested in knowing how I have found some excellent suppliers, delivering some excellent savings.

Whenever I research a supplier I evaluate not just the cost but also the customer service ethos, including how they have dealt with my complaints. I am not really convinced that UK suppliers know how to deal properly with complaints, so I will just say that all of them have been satisfactory on that front, apart from one who has been truly outstanding. And yes I do have very high standards when it comes to dealing with customer complaints. I think it comes from my many years in the Textiles Industry and my training within it, which means I am very critical when it comes to receiving customer service, especially when you are connected to foreign call centres, and are given the runaround.

Anyway let's get on with it;

Supplier no.1 is Plusnet

They are a telecoms and broadband company, supplying landline rental, calls and broadband. For the purpose of this article, I am only going to discuss the broadband.

BT have recently upgraded broadband services in the area where I live (Wyre Forest, Worcestershire) and have installed fibre to the green boxes on street corners. It's still copper from there to the house, so it's not cable like Virgin. I have kept looking out for fibre for a while and when I got confirmation that I could get it, I went for it.

So I have fibre broadband for the home/business at £19.99 per month, delivering 55mb download and 18mb upload with an allowance of a massive 250gb per month. This doesn't only satisfy my personal and business requirements, it copes with everyone in the household as well, including accessing internet with iPlayer through the TV, all my video education and my business requirement to upload a lot of videos quickly.

Plusnet are actually owned by BT and only use the BT network. Therefore any upgrades that BT make Plusnet will immediately benefit from this.

If I introduce customers, I can get discounts, so if you are interested, please follow this link.

Click here for information on Plusnet products.

Supplier no.2 is GiffGaff

GiffGaff are a mobile network and run by it's customers, an interesting concept, so as far as I know there are no call centres, but an excellent forum to post questions and interaction via the web with agents.

Freedom from the contract lock-in, when you buy a sim only agreement with a monthly top-up. Your phone does need to be unlocked. So this is what I went through.

I was with T-Mobile, who I haven't had major issues with, but I have just found them too expensive an not very forthcoming with deals. I have been with them for many years and loyalty counts really for nothing when you are in a lock-in contract with a mobile phone company.

  1. I requested T-Mobile to unlock my phone.
  2. I ordered a sim from GiffGaff.
  3. Phone was unlocked, which did take far too long with T-Mobile (30 days and it should only take 10-28 days and costs £15)
  4. I gave T-Mobile also 30 days notice and requested a PAC code, which they gave me straight away.
  5. I activated the SIM online with GiffGaff.
  6. I synched my iPhone with iTunes, plus changed some other settings, which GiffGaff sent via text, which was for MMS settings, although you can do those manually very easily.
  7. I gave GiffGaff via their website the PAC code and when I wanted my number ported across.
  8. They moved my number across on the day I requested and job done.

GiffGaff runs on the O2 network and I know you'll all be thinking, well that went down, but as you will agree that doesn't happen very often, well part from blackberry that is, oops!

Anyway the package I have got with them is just £10 per month, with 250 minutes, unlimited data and unlimited texts, which is a bargain!

If I introduce customers, they get some discount upfront and I can earn points too for discount.

Click here for information on GiffGaff.

Supplier no.3 is 1&1 Internet

1&1 are a hosting company, who provides hosting for my wordpress website, plus domains.

There is not a huge amount to say really apart from the fact that it's easy to use, great support and I mean great support and very good prices.

I also use them for my email against my own domain name and because I use and iPhone, iPad and Mac and they support IMAP for my emails (Internet Message Access Protocol), which means wherever I read my email or delete, its instantly updated on all my devices, which is brilliant.

Same with them, if I introduce customers, I can earn some discount on what I pay.

Click here for more information on 1&1 Internet.

It's really interesting how these companies are very clever in suggesting introductions to others and thereby getting some discounts.  With the advent of Social Media, this is really easy to do, as people like to investigate personal recommendations, as supposed to having to investigate from scratch.

I hope you check them all out and receive the same support and savings I have been able to achieve with these companies. Let me know how you get on!

Success!