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Aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners across Moray are being invited to apply for an intensive 13-week accelerator programme designed to fast-track their business growth and success.

Elevator, the Scottish business support organisation, has been appointed by the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Business Gateway, to launch its first, fully funded business accelerator in the Scottish Highlands. 

The Moray Accelerator powered by Elevator is looking for start-up, early stage and growth companies who are ready to transform their innovative business, product or service to greater national and international success.

Following an in-depth one-day bootcamp, up to 20 of the most promising participants will secure a place on the programme which will run from a series of locations including Horizon Scotland, Forres.

Participants will have access to support for product development and testing, customer acquisition, financial planning, intellectual property and more. They will also be assisted with Business Gateway services, sector experts, seasoned entrepreneurs and Elevator’s national and international network of mentors.

Applications are open now and will be accepted until 14 August, with the programme running two days per week from 16 September to 15 December 2019.

Donna Chisholm, HIE Area Manager in Moray, said: “Everyone who is thinking of setting up a fast-growing business, or running an operation that could go much further, should take the opportunity to apply for a place on the Moray Accelerator powered by Elevator.  With our partners Business Gateway, we want Moray’s entrepreneurs to have access to the best business thinking, so we are delighted to welcome Elevator into the region.”

Andy Campbell, Head of Accelerators at Elevator, said: “Staying competitive in the evolving business landscape isn’t easy, however the opportunity to drive prosperity has never been greater. With this exciting new accelerator our aim is to stimulate Moray’s entrepreneurial mindset and demonstrate the potential for local, national and potentially international growth.

“We offer an immersive, dynamic programme aimed at supporting, challenging and driving businesses forward to reach their full potential. This coupled with the accessible nature of the programme will provide a real opportunity to unlock Moray’s entrepreneurial community and breathe new life into the region’s thinking.

“This is the first time Elevator has provided business support to the Highlands and Islands; we are delighted to be expanding our Accelerator offering and look forward to working with a new pipeline of entrepreneurs as we work to support Scotland’s vision in becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative society.”

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Visitors to The Secret Herb Garden, featuring a 100-seater café and outdoor glasshouse, botanical gardens, gin distillery, beehouse, vintage furniture, event and education space and new rose garden, have tripled in the last year, from 7,000 to 21,000, resulting in the creation of 15 new jobs, including two apprenticeships and an estimated turnover of £1.75m.

Hamish Martin and his wife Liberty founded The Secret Herb Garden, set in idyllic surroundings at the foot of the Pentland Hills where Hamish grew up, spanning 7.5 acres in October 2012, with the aim of creating a green space which captured their love of herbs, food and all things vintage and now have 28 employees including gardeners, distillers, bottlers and customer service staff.

The rapid expansion and diversification of the business, supported by Business Gateway Midlothian, has resulted in people travelling from across the country and south of the border to pick up everything from unique plants and herbs including lemon verbena and over 50 different mints to vintage furniture and local produce from the café.

Visitors are also flocking to the award-winning Old Curiosity Gin distillery on site, which is the only gin botanical garden with a distillery in the UK, created by Hamish in 2017.

Tours and tastings of the six flavours of the natural, floral, colour changing gins take place every weekend, which include Lemon Verbena, Cornflower and Chamomile, Apothecary Rose, Lavender and Echinacea, Geranium and Mallow, and just launched Pink Elderflower and Jasmine – all made from herbs and botanicals grown in the gardens, hand harvested, then dried, distilled and infused on site.

The range is available in eight countries, including the USA, Switzerland, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan and in UK stores, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum and Masons and M&S.  

The ongoing support from Business Gateway Midlothian includes strategy and marketing development and linking up to the Council’s employability team to provide apprenticeships with young people.

Hamish said:

“We are delighted with the growing success of The Secret Herb Garden and to be able to welcome even more visitors than ever before.

“We have something for everyone from being free to walk in the glasshouse and botanical gardens, smell the flowers and learn more in workshops to a great award winning café and gin tours, all making for a great day out.

“The support we’ve received from organisations like Business Gateway Midlothian has really helped us along the way in so many different areas, including planning and exporting which we are hugely grateful for.”

The Secret Herb Garden, which can be hired for private events, including small weddings also features an educational space where they host various workshops and courses including herb and gardening, bee keeping and floral wreath making.

Ann Marie Macaskill, Head of Business Gateway Midlothian said: 

“The Secret Herb Garden is a fantastic local business that puts sustainability and nature at the heart of its offer.

“It has been a fantastic learning and working with the team as they continue to educate, preserve and grow in Midlothian and create even more local jobs.”

Business Gateway Midlothian provides expert support and guidance to new and existing businesses, including free advice from experienced business advisers to help start-ups and growth businesses planning to expand or find new ways of doing business. 

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Glasgow-headquartered tech lead generation agency Pursuit Marketing, part of the 4icg Group, has achieved a 33% growth in turnover after generating record revenues in excess of £4m in its last financial year, ending June 30 2019.

The financial results posted by Pursuit saw revenues grow to over £4m compared with £3m for the previous financial year, 2017-18.

The privately-owned company, founded in 2011, attributed its strong growth to increased demand from the world’s largest technology companies, ongoing international expansion and steps to improve productivity including its renowned four-day week and industry-leading employee benefits.

The business, which recently appointed renowned entrepreneur Brian Williamson as its Chairman, has experienced exceptional growth since receiving Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) funding last year. The £450,000 package was granted to help Pursuit recruit scores of new staff for its flagship headquarters in Finnieston.

The senior roles ensured Pursuit could maintain its competitive advantage and achieve its ambitious targets following the development of in-house technologies, and the introduction of a digital marketing function.

In addition, the company opened its first European office in Malaga in April of this year, to help service its increasingly international roster of clients.  Pursuit now employs around 180 staff across its two sites and is seeking to recruit a further 70 employees this year.

Pursuit Marketing has been widely recognised as one of the country’s top employers, winning a raft of awards for its approach to promoting a healthy work-life balance. Two years ago, it introduced a four-day week for full-time pay, boosting productivity by about 30%. Among the other benefits it offers are daily fitness classes, access to free mental health support and term-time only employment to parents who require time off during the school holidays.

Employees have also been taken on all expenses paid trips to Barcelona and Tenerife as a reward for their hard work. Another company holiday is scheduled for Winter 2019 to celebrate the most recent financial year’s success.

Patrick Byrne, a founding director of the business said: “We are delighted with our latest financial results, which are a testament to our hard-working team, and increased demand from our clients spanning 32 countries worldwide. As a result, we are now evaluating options for larger office accommodation in Glasgow, as well as additional offices in Europe and potentially the US or Canada.

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Royal Bank of Scotland’s new initiative to support female entrepreneurship across Scotland comes to Edinburgh on July 24.

The crowdfunding programme, entitled ‘Back Her Business’, has been developed in partnership with established provider Crowdfunder and forms part of the bank’s wider ambition to reduce the gender gap when it comes to entrepreneurship.

It forms parts of the bank’s wider commitment to help, inspire and support a further 400,000 female-led businesses across the UK by 2025.

Crowdfunder provide the infrastructure and access to its wider network of partners and entrepreneurs, with the bank acting as a connector and enabler. Though most of the funding will come from ‘the crowd’, the bank will provide a top-up in funding of £1m per annum across the UK and will be offering up to 50% of an individual’s fundraising target (capped at £5,000) for certain successful projects.

The initiative will not be equity crowdfunding, it will be donation and reward based – i.e. funders will be given a discount towards products or services in return for their donation in some instances.

Launched in Aberdeen in Spring, the first event in Edinburgh takes place on July 24 at the bank’s 36 St Andrew Square office.

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scotland Board, said: “Providing support to all businesses throughout Scotland is a key priority for us at Royal Bank of Scotland.  I know from the work we do with entrepreneurs in our Scottish Entrepreneur Accelerator Hubs and through our female business leaders and supporters, that there is a wealth of female entrepreneurs and business owners who are really driving ambition and change in Scotland.

“We collaborate regularly with organisations such as Women Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Women in Technology, Women in Agriculture, Radiant & Brighter, Scottish Enterprise, universities, Scottish Edge, Converge and Elevator to name but a few and I see women with drive, passion and courage to go it alone and start their own business. The time couldn’t be more apt for us to really mobilise this energy and make some meaningful changes.

“The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Back Her Business programme will help make some of that change happen.”

Recently, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Rose Review unearthed the fact that only 5.6% of women run their own business and further bank data also shows that women are half as likely as men to start a business.

Back Her Business will offer financial support to help businesses get off the ground but by using the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, its Women in Business proposition and its industry experts, the initiative will offer bespoke training and coaching, networking opportunities and local events to help concepts reach the market and grow.

Malcolm Buchanan added: “The Rose Review, and the bank’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Enterprise Tracker all reveal a worrying trend amongst would-be female entrepreneurs. We were told that they felt there was a lack of appropriate finance, mentoring, role models, local support and tailored advice and with Back Her Business, we want to tackle this head on.”

Back Her Business is part of Royal Bank of Scotland’s wider commitment to helping female entrepreneurs in any way it can. As well as the lack of financial structures that the bank has found to support women, it also commissioned research into the psychological challenges facing females in business and one condition in particular came to the fore – Imposter Syndrome.

The condition is a feeling of self-doubt, where an individual will question their accomplishments and believe that they are not as competent as others perceive them to be. Too often, the bank has come across these barriers preventing women from starting their own business and applying for funding. To delve into the scale of this barrier Royal Bank of Scotland commissioned research which found that of women who had considered starting a business but didn’t, 60% said it was due to factors such as a lack of confidence, not feeling like they are the type of person who could start a business or feeling they wouldn’t deserve to succeed despite their skills.

According to the Rose Review, if women started businesses at the same rate as men, it would add £250bn to the UK economy, a figure equivalent to four years’ of natural GVA growth.

Royal Bank of Scotland Business Growth Enabler Fiona Macpherson is hosting the Edinburgh event, with the bank’s head of business development for Business Banking Paula Ritchie presenting.

Paula said: “This is a great opportunity for female entrepreneurs at all stages of business development to meet, share, learn and help find the funding to take the idea or business to the next level and we welcome anyone to attend.”

For more information or to register to attend visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-her-business-royalbankboost-tickets-64417785330.

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What does your company do?

CogniHealth’s mission is to improve the quality of life of families affected by dementia. We have created a digital companion called CogniCare that provides tailored guidance for carers of people with dementia each step of the way.

What do you do there / what is your role?

I am the founder and CEO at CogniHealth. I focus on managing overall operations, the strategic direction for the company and driving the product development of CogniCare.

What is your background?

I have a background in Neuroscience – I completed an MSc in Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease. I have also worked as a professional carer, looking after people affected by dementia.

What was the aha moment that led to the company founding?

It was a man sharing his challenges of looking after his wife who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a conference. It was the first time I faced the reality of how dementia impact families. That was the moment I knew I wanted to do something that could help carers like him.

Why did you launch the company?

Both for professional and personal reasons. It was an area that I have been interested in as a researcher and recently my grandfather was diagnosed with Vascular dementia.

Where did you get assistance when you started?

My father. He was supportive and encouraging to take the first step in starting CogniHealth and has been a tech advisor, guiding our engineering team in India. 

Give us a brief history of the growth of the company

We started with just an idea/concept around Feb/March 2017. Since then we have incorporated the company, with 3 co-founders, an engineering team and advisory board. We have the product, CogniCare, in the market, which has won several awards and recognitions within the dementia and tech space. We have built strong partnerships with research institutes (Centre of Dementia Prevention at the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Highlands and Islands), charities (Alzheimer Scotland, Alliance Scotland) and local dementia friendly organisations (Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh Leisure). 

Have you taken any external funding? If so from who and when

We have been awarded funds through grants, competitions and accelerator programs we have been part of, including 

  • Next Big Innovation Award by Alzheimer Scotland – June 2018
  • RSE Unlocking Ambition – July 2018
  • Wayra AI + Blockchain Accelerator – Oct 2018
  • Nesta Healthier Lives Data Fund – March 2019

So what does it look like now with regard to staff and turnover?

We are now 10 people at CogniHealth, including consultants, interns and part-time staff. We haven’t started trading yet. 

What’s the difference between when you started and now in your marketplace?

The awareness and adoption of technology in dementia care has grown in the last 18 months. 

What is your target market –  Who is buying your product / service?

CogniCare has been created for carers of people with dementia.  

What are your goals for your business?

Our goal is to reach as many families as possible across the world and improve their quality of life. 

During the RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship, what have been the biggest successes you have achieved and the biggest challenges you have faced?

Comparing where the company was when I began the Fellowship to where we are today, what we have achieved is massive! We have launched our solution on the App store and as a skill on Amazon Alexa. Our user base has grown by five times and we now have over 1,000 carers using CogniCare, all over the world. We have been accepted onto multiple programmes, including the RBS Accelerator, Wayra UK, the University of Edinburgh’s AI & Blockchain Accelerator and the Nesta Healthier Lives Data Fund. 

Time management is a challenge! There are always a lot of things that we want to do, and the to-do lists keep getting longer. It’s a case of navigating the opportunities, effectively assessing them, and only taking forward the things that address our core objectives for the quarter. Another challenge is securing funding – the oxygen for any business – although I think it is a struggle for all founders, no matter how big the company gets; after raising a round, there’s always the next round to get through.

There is also quite a large resistance to change in the health and social care sector – although there are many initiatives and policies introducing and encouraging the use of technology, these are not yet implemented or accepted by many. 

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Getting the company up and running with traction, especially in a niche market where there is an apprehension to adopt new approaches to caring for someone with dementia. Our amazing partner organisations have definitely helped us overcome that and persevere through that initial phase.

What do you know now that you wished you had known earlier?

Things are always going to take more time and money than you think. 

What’s the secret to good leadership?

Communication. It is really important to ensure that everyone is on the same page – whether its a specific task or an overall strategy/goal. 

What are your ambitions for your company?

We believe that CogniCare can improve the lives of people affected by dementia by using digital technology to reduce the financial, physical and psychological burden of dementia. To achieve this, we are using machine learning to drive personalised support. Improving the lives of people affected by dementia has always been our vision from the very beginning. We now envision applying this model to other chronic illnesses where there is no cure and care is key.

Where do you see the company in five years?

Our vision is to take this model we are building for dementia care to other neurological conditions where there is no cure but care is key.

How can the Scottish startup/entrepreneur landscape be improved to help more businesses start up and grow?

The Scottish ecosystem is really supportive of each other and one of the reasons for that is it’s small enough to build those relationships. But it is also important to have collaborative support from other places outside Scotland, bringing in skills and a different perspective.  

Can you give us some numbers?

We have 1500 users – a 40% increase from the beginning of the year. Our team has grown from just me to 10 strong now. We have won over £120k in grants and competition.  

What difference has the RSE Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship made to you and your business? 

A huge difference. The company wouldn’t have survived without the Fellowship –both the expertise and financial support – we would be lost without it! It helped grow the team; I used to be the only full-time person working on the company and now we have a team of three full-time employees. It helped me grow personally, as I now have the skills required to run a business. The whole team, including the Unlocking Ambition cohort, has been an amazing support to me. 


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The world’s biggest green business ideas competition – with cash prizes of up to €10,000 – has been launched in Scotland by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI). 

ClimateLaunchpad, which offers dedicated Boot Camps and coaching to help shape green ideas into a rock-solid business plan, is open for applications until Tuesday 6 August. 

To enter the competition budding inventors and entrepreneurs simply have to submit an idea or innovation that is tackling climate change. 

Those selected to join ClimateLaunchpad, which is this year running in more than 50 countries around the world as well as Scotland, will get dedicated support to fast track their idea into a business, overcome challenges and secure funding.

They’ll get the chance to pitch this idea during the Scotland Final later this year, with the aim of reaching the worldwide Grand Final in Amsterdam and pitching for prize money of up to €10,000. On top of that the top ten winners move on to the renowned EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme to help low carbon start-ups get investment-ready. 

Last year ECCI hosted the Global Grand Final of ClimateLaunchpad in Edinburgh for the first time, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon giving the keynote address and ECCI-supported start-up Crover beating off stiff competition from hundreds of competitors to bag third place, becoming the top performing Scottish team in the competition ever.

ClimateLaunchpad is the latest programme to be delivered by ECCI with EIT Climate-KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. Since 2017 ECCI has supported 30 companies and helped entrepreneurs bag funding of over £1.75 million and scoop an impressive 54 awards.

ECCI’s Head of Innovation and Skills Jamie Brogan said:

“ECCI is delighted to be launching ClimateLaunchpad in Scotland again this year – we hope Crover’s phenomenal success in the Global Grand Final last year will inspire Scottish applicants to go even further this year.

“Whether your idea is scribbled on the back of a napkin or you’ve been dreaming of making it happen for years, if you have a business idea that is tackling climate change then we want to hear from you!”

To apply for ClimateLaunchpad in Scotland, go to https://edinburghcentre.org/support/climate-kic/climatelaunchpad to find out more and discover how to submit your idea online. The deadline is Tuesday 6 August 2019.

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Are you a budding entrepreneur with a clever business product or service? Have you already started a business or social enterprise, but need a little extra boost to move to the next level? Then the Stelios Awards 2019 wants to hear from you.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said “It has been 13 years since I set up the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs with disability charity Leonard Cheshire, to celebrate and support the hard work of disabled people who have set up their own businesses. We’ve been proud to see our winners flourish, build their businesses and carve out brilliant careers since then.

“This year, we are giving out the biggest ever pot of prize money for our winners, totalling £100,000! Alongside a top prize of £30,000, and four prizes of £10,000, four awards of £5,000 are also up for grabs. For the first time, we’re also offering a special Judge’s Prize of up to £10,000 for businesses that don’t quite meet the awards’ criteria but show great promise.”

Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs UK - YouTube

In short, there are more reasons than ever to sign up for the only award in the world specifically for disabled businesspeople.

The awards are now open and the organisers want to hear from all businesses, social enterprises, charities and even start-ups.

If you are disabled and you have a strong business or an idea for one, we want to see your entry. Apply before the deadline on 10 September 2019 by visiting Facebook (Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs in the UK 2019) or www.leonardcheshire.org/stelios.

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A Glasgow based pizza company is expanding and upgrading its production capability following a £152,000 Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant from Scottish Enterprise which will create 15 full time jobs and safeguard seven jobs over the next three years.

Family run business The Victor Pizza Company Ltd supplies products direct to the wholesale food market. At Victor Pizza its all about the base, as it is the only pizza manufacturer to use seaweed in a range of bases to provide a healthy, balanced alternative to traditional dough. The team has plans to supply healthy bases and topped pizzas to schools, colleges, health boards and restaurants throughout the UK.

With the support from Scottish Enterprise, Victor Pizza will invest in a new cooling system, upgrade its food preparation area and factory equipment. The company recently achieved a British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for food safety accreditation that will allow the company to expand into new markets too.

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said: “I am pleased this £152,000 Scottish Enterprise grant will help create 15 full time jobs and safeguard seven jobs over the next three years at Victor Pizza.”

“Scotland’s food and drink sector, now worth a record £14.8billion is vital to our economy. The Scottish Government and our agencies will continue to support the sector by supporting the Ambition 2030 food and drink strategy to double the value of the sector by 2030.

“The Scottish Government and our agencies look forward to seeing the business grow.”

Victor Pizza managing director Anne Marie Cairney  said: “Our investment and the grant from Scottish Enterprise will increase our sales and productivity to help build our profile. 

“Investing in the workforce is integral to the company’s success as a small family run business and we provide continuous training, pay the Glasgow Living Wage and provide quality jobs with opportunities for career progression and development.”

Victor Pizza works with MCR Pathways, Young Enterprise Scotland, schools and colleges to inspire young people from the local area to consider career opportunities in the food and drink industry.

Career Ready interns accompanied a recent visit by Scottish Enterprise to the pizza factory and learnt about the food manufacturing industry first hand too. 

Michael Cannon, head of grant appraisal at Scottish Enterprise said: “Victor Pizza is a great example of an inclusive employer investing in its workforce. I am very pleased that Scottish Enterprise has provided an RSA grant and continued advice and support via the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service to support their growth ambitions.

Building vibrant economic communities across Scotland, spreading wealth and wellbeing is identified as a key priority in our recently launched strategic framework, Building Scotland’s Future Today and we look forward to working with Victor Pizza to bring inclusive, economic growth to the local community.”

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Technology and mental health often conjure up negative headlines. Evidence suggests that social media and too much screen time can cause a rise in stress levels which puts people more at risk of developing depression and anxiety, as well as issues with their quality of sleep.

However, technology has slowly earned its place when it comes to contributing positively to mental health. In recent years, many people now manage their own mental health conditions with apps such as Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think, as part of their daily routine. 

‘Work’ is the main reason for stress in UK adults

Research from Perkbox indicates that in the UK, work is the main cause of stress, with 59% experiencing it. What’s more, over one in five experience moderate-to-high levels of stress at work several times a week. The biggest work-related contributor to stress is long working hours, which impacts 21% of people. Happiness in a job is essential to employee productivity; 39% work harder if they’re happy in their current job or workplace (One4all).

The good news is that technology can be used to manage stress beyond the standard meditation apps. Let’s take a look at the ways in which workers can manage their stress, workloads and working hours using technology that might not immediately be associated with stress relief.

Artificial intelligence: reduce time spent on repetitive and time-consuming tasks

Productivity is a buzzword in the business world right now, and it’s driven by technological advances. Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving efficiencies by eliminating manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks like data re-entry.

Employees with jobs that require a lot of manual data input could save hours by using technology that now comes as standard in many of the latest versions of the software solutions they use daily, like their financial systems or CRM solution. 

It’s important to keep the technology your workers use up-to-date, as legacy systems that don’t work effectively can contribute to stress and additional, unnecessary work. Additionally, Randstad found that one of the top factors in employee satisfaction is having the latest digital and technology tools.

Engaging intranet platforms: improve engagement for remote employees

Businesses with frontline or remote workers consistently report issues with engagement; 21% of businesses cite low engagement amongst frontline staff as a barrier, while 78% believe connecting with those employees is the key to success (Harvard Business Review).

While the statistics supporting remote working for employees are endless, with improved satisfaction, increased productivity and a better work-life balance just a few of the benefits, it can be easy for those workers to feel out of the loop with the office and company culture; 21% report feeling lonely and struggle with communication.

Businesses are using intranet and communication platforms to help bring those remote employees into the fold. By keeping up-to-date with key business updates and more informal topics, remote workers feel like they’re truly a part of your organisation’s culture. You can use this space to share social media feeds, event details or even take the opportunity to publish focus pieces on those remote workers to introduce them to the rest of your workforce.

Time management tools: help your staff members manage their workload

Longer working hours are becoming a widespread issue thanks to our always-on culture. Employees feel obligated to either work longer hours or to be contactable and working outside of hours, with 50% of people checking their emails outside of work (Dissent). Working more hours than standard can affect health, as the Australian National University found anything over 39 hours a week could be detrimental to health.

Time management can help employees feel more in control of their workload and can reduce the pressure they feel to work longer hours. Ultimately, management must play a role in helping employees to reduce extensive working hours, but workers can proactively take steps to support themselves.

There’s a wide range of time management tools available either standalone and for free, or as part of a business software package like Office 365, that can help workers manage their time more effectively. From personal to-do lists to more comprehensive team or business-wide solutions where tasks can be assigned with a deadline and space for updates, the sky is the limit.

Invest time in understanding stress in the workplace and developing your approach to tackle it

Stress, and in particular workplace stress, is a complex beast that won’t be solved with one solution. In addition to using technology to manage stress, employees must be supported by their managers and businesses. But, amidst all of the headlines that identify technology as a killer of productivity and mental health, it’s reassuring that it can also be used to vastly improve them, too.

This is supported content

Article produced by Natasha Bougourd from TSG, a UK-wide managed IT services provider that specialises in IT support and solutions, security and applications including Office 365 and Sage.

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Scottish paint specialist supplier, The Paint Shed, has proved that a click and brick model, with a focus on changing customer demands, is the way forward for retail businesses who want to grow.

The Paint Shed, which supplies a wide range of high quality paint brands to both homeowners and trade customers, launched its first website, thepaintshed.com, in 2010.

Since then, the online side of the business has grown rapidly and now ships all over the UK, with the in-store retail side of the business also expanding to 14 stores across Scotland with a further 5-7 scheduled by 2021.

Forecasted turnover is £8.5m this year up from £7m in 2018 and £4.7m in 2016.

Priding itself on customer service, over the last 60 years The Paint Shed has had to continually evolve its business model to meet changing customer needs in the turbulent retail environment.

Michael Rolland, Managing Director of The Paint Shed explains “We have always put our customers at the heart of our planning and have designed a retail experience over the years that is tailored to them. The digital evolution we now see in our daily lives hasn’t fully reached the paint industry yet but we are leading the way to creating that avenue for customers to shop with us locally and across the UK”

The Paint Shed has understood the growing demand from retail customers for quick and convenient access to a wide range of products and to expert advice and support.

Michael explains “We understand that online retailing has raised the bar when it comes to customer service. Our customers expect to order products when and where they need them, at their convenience. Our website provides our customers with a variety of purchasing options including in store, online or over the phone. Our customers also want advice and support when it comes to picking the right paint for their home or for their own clients and we have paint experts in our stores and available by phone, people who really understand the product. This gives them the ability to shop for their needs, whether our customers need speed and convenience or dedicated support and advice, and to ultimately purchase the products they need at the best price”

The Paint Shed’s Board advisor, Graeme Bissett, previously Group Finance Director of Kwik Fit and Ex-Chairman of online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com comments “I have been very impressed by the approach taken by Michael and the team at The Paint Shed to ensuring digital and physical stores work side by side to meet the individual needs of the customer. With this model now working, the business is well-placed for its next phase of growth.”

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