Friday, 21 December 2012

Wishing you a Successful 2013

A New Year's Resolution for your Company?
Come and see how Branduin Business Support can increase your chances of success in 2013.

Confidential, one-to-one Business Advice with an experienced business advisor.
1-2-1 Business Clinic, Watford 
15th January
1-2-1 Business Clinic, Wandsworth 
15th of January
1-2-1 Business Clinic, Sussex 
22nd January

Sessions will also run in February.
More information is on our website "Upcoming Events"

Season's Greetings from Branduin Business Support.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Signs of Success

Branduin Business Support had successfully provided Signcraft, a signs and signage company, with Marketing & Sales support so when it came to carrying out an assessment of Signcraft’s website, Branduin was again asked to provide assistance.

The old website was benchmarked against two major competitors’ websites to determine how effective it was as a marketing tool. Following this, Signcraft was able to identify areas of improvement.

We worked with Signcraft to develop a promotional plan. Branduin team member Barbara Primrose used a combination of content optimisation and link building incorporating social media activity, resulting in Signcraft reaching the top position on page 1 of Google's organic results for a number of keywords within 3 months.

More recently, Signcraft has redeveloped their website and another SEO exercise is under way. If this kind of business support sounds right for you, contact us at

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Grants available for Growth

Branduin Business Support has studied grant funding from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and from Growth Accelerator and our findings are summarised below:

Available to Small-Medium companies with fewer than 250 employees, MAS grants of up to £7,200 are designated to help manufacturing companies to grow, improve resource efficiency or to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities. The grants can be used to part-fund consultancy and training in marketing, sales and various other areas.

The Growth Accelerator funding programme is for companies in England planning to grow by at least 60% within the next three years. The programme includes in-house business coaching and business training workshops covering strategy, sales & marketing, change management, leadership, developing high growth teams and delivering customer value. Eligible companies will have the opportunity to obtain grant funding of £2,000 per manager for Leadership & Management development training.

Branduin is now able to help companies apply for grant funding for growth. We have business support specialists who will guide you through the application process.

MAS grants and places on the Growth Accelerator funding programme are limited therefore if you are be interested or require more information, please contact Branduin Business Support urgently. - tel. 020 3195 7988 - email

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Business Advice is Key to SME Survival & Growth

A recent report from Surrey University Business School identified some key findings in the survival and growth of small to medium-sized UK businesses. One of these was that the successful SMEs were the ones more open to business advice.

Branduin's business advisers help companies with a number of issues, including how to raise and manage finance and developing sound referral marketing and internet marketing strategies.

Working with Chambers of Commerce in Wandsworth and Watford, West Hertfordshire, we have carried out initial consultations with a number of companies to identify how they can achieve their business goals.

Branduin's upcoming 1-2-1 Clinics for SMEs are available in conjunction with:
You can also contact Branduin direct for an initial consultation. Please visit out website for more information regarding business advice in general or a specific aspect of business support.

Monday, 8 October 2012

New: Free Utility Assessment can Save you Money!

Utility charges are a major expense for businesses and are currently increasing at a rate of 15% per annum.

Branduin has partnered with LSI, a leading utility broker, to bring our clients the opportunity of reducing their energy costs. LSI’s experience, knowledge, strong supplier relationships together with their considerable buying power, enables them to negotiate the favourable prices for our business clients. 

Branduin clients can contact LSI direct - Barrie Jacobs, SME Sales Manager is on 0800 019 95 95 or email

Friday, 28 September 2012

Business Clinics (October 2012)

Business owners or directors of companies in Watford / West Herts, Sussex and London / Wandsworth can book a one hour session to discuss business matters in confidence with experienced business advisers from Branduin Business Support in partnership with Watford and Wandsworth Chambers of Commerce and Sussex Enterprise.

The Chamber of Commerce offers unbiased, practical business expertise in a number of different categories - an alternative to bank managers, accountants or marketing consultants.

October dates are:
  • October 2nd - Watford
  • October 9th - Wandsworth
  • October 18th - Sussex
>> more information on business advice clinics

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Is Your Small Business Listed in the UK Small Business Directory?

Your listing in the UK Small Business Directory is free and you can also use it to search for other small businesses by business name, category search or town/county search facilities.

There are opportunities to upgrade listings by paying but we suggest that you try the free service for a while before considering this, ensuring that it integrates with your Internet Marketing strategy. Submission takes about 5 minutes and the Small Business Directory will contact you a week or two later to let you know whether your listing has been approved and ask you to confirm.

Go to for more information.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Review your Website's Effectiveness

Next time you 'Google' your company, think how your potential customers might search for your main product or service - try it and see if you come up on page 1 or 2. If your business is mainly local, add a location (town, county) to your search and assess those results.

If you are appearing in the top five results, you need to check that Google hasn't applied 'personalized web search' (this is where Google gives you the results it determines that you want by analysing your previous browsing habits). There are many ways around this but two of the easiest ones are to search in another browser (e.g. if you usually use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, download a different one and use it for a 'clean' search) and the other is to ask someone else to try the search for you.

If you decide that you would like to improve search results, a Branduin website professional will perform a review to highlight the aspects of the content, back-code or other optimisation (SEO) that require attention. The initial review is free so why not get in touch? contact Branduin Business Support.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Business advice: 5 Telecoms tips

1. Check the Contract very carefully. Be careful not to lock yourselves into a 60 month contract as Telecoms costs tend to go down over time, rather than up. Pay particular attention to cancellation charges.

2. 'Cheap' doesn't always reduce your costs. Look deeper behind advertised tariffs - are calls charged per second or rounded up per minute? What do they charge for 0845, overseas or mobile numbers?

3. Bundles - don't pay for features that you don't need.

4. Paying for latest technology - don't be tempted to sign long contracts to reduce payments as technology is invariably out of date in under 18 months.

5. Make it easy for Clients to connect to you. People calling you want to be answered quickly and don't want it to be expensive. Calls to 0844/45 or even 0800 can be expensive from a mobile 'phone; callers required to listen to a message or press keys to re-route will often hang up - or at the very least, be annoyed.

Branduin Business Support has business telecoms expertise so talk to us before anyone else regarding your telecoms and we'll most likely save you money.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Business Clinics (July 2012)

Business owners or directors of companies in Sussex and Wandsworth can book a one hour slot to discuss business matters in confidence with experienced business advisors.

As an alternative to the traditional bank manager or possibly expensive accountant or marketing services consultant, the Sussex Enterprise and the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce offers practical business expertise in a number of different categories.

>> more information on business clinics

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sussex Enterprise, Business Support Initiative

Following the launch, last month, of a new business initiative from Sussex Enterprise, businesses in Sussex can now benefit from local access to professional advice and support that is "quality assured".

Since the closure of Business Link last year. Branduin Business Support (BBS) services have been in demand. Established for over 10 years, BBS has an impressive track record of helping business owners and Director achieve both personal and business goals. The BBS team is comprised of experienced business men and women who have set up, manage and may even have sold businesses and who want to use their experience and skills to help other businesses achieve their potential.

Branduin's Goal Mapping and Achievement Programme (GMap™ ) is key to this service. GMap™  identifies the aspirations that owners, partners, MDs and senior management have for themselves and their businesses.

Sussex businesses can now benefit from an initial GMap™ consultation free of charge, either at their premises or by booking a place on one of the monthly Business Review Clinics. For more information, please visit Branduin Business Support.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Is your website breaking the EU cookie law?

Google Analytics are useful to website owners but there is a new EU law that applies to the Analytics tracking code on your website which uses "cookies" to gather information. The new law, introduced last year and due to be enforced from May 2012, is designed to protect internet users. From now on, if a visitor landing on your website is about to have a cookie added to their browser, you have a duty to tell them about it before they proceed any further.

Google Analytics is widely used by most business websites. It will track visitor activity to a site by associating an identifying cookie to a visitor's browser, where cookies haven't been disabled by the browser settings. If your website generates cookies, including Google Analytics, this should be made clear to visitors by means of a prominent notice as soon as they land on the website. Ideally, visitors should be able to opt-in or opt-out but the general consensus is that, in the case of non-invasive cookies such as Google Analytics, you may allow the visitor to proceed as long as they have been notified.

However, we advise you to place this notice on every page that has Analytics code because you can't guarantee which page your visitor will land on.

Google Analytics doesn't track or store personal information about visitors. 

Website owners are advised to contact their 'webmaster' or Internet professional for advice regarding compliance with the new law. Further information can be found at Information Commissioner's Office and,

If you want to know more about Google Analytics or what cookies your website generates, one of the Branduin team will be happy to assist: Branduin contact details.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Gloom and Doom or Boom for British Small Businesses?

Britain is now officially in recession as the economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to the ONS, the economic slump was driven by the construction sector. However, even in tough times and tough sectors business opportunities abound – if companies are prepared to be creative.

BBS client Middlesex Flooring summed it up nicely in its latest newsletter -

“Arguably, it's more important now than ever for people to feel motivated and inspired by their surroundings, whether that's in a corporate office, an education environment or a commercial space. The recession has, in fact, inspired some creative trends, such as highlighting key areas with contrasting colours, creating themed areas, and installing flooring tiles in a non-directional manner. Where budgets are not available for an entire refurbishment, it is possible to make a dramatic difference by making a small and effective change.”

So there’s no need for gloom and doom – with boom comes opportunity and with recession comes opportunity – you just need to recognise that the type of opportunity may be different!

Steve Forey, Branduin Business Support

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Staffing and People Management

If your business could be improved with better performing and additional staff, are you confident that your management structure is ready to cope with growth?

Branduin Business Support can provide companies with an objective ‘snap shot’ of the effectiveness of their selection, recruitment, staff training and people management processes.

We meet with relevant staff, identify current processes and practices, and discuss key staff development issues. Following an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the current processes using recognised 'best practice' programmes, we will highlight areas where business performance can benefit by improving people management.

Branduin has assisted a number of small business owners and managers at this fundamental level, enabling further progress to be made in core business areas such as sales, admin, etc. Contact Branduin Business Support for a range of SME support services.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fastest Growing Social Media on the Internet: Pinterest

Branduin team member Danny Bermant introduces you to Pinterest - the latest social media craze that has amassed over 10 millions users in two years!

Pinterest is a social photo sharing website which allows users to create themed pin boards on which to pin images. The site's mission statement is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting."  Perhaps not surprisingly, this organised approach to keeping and sharing visual information had an immediate appeal to women who form over 80% of Pinterest's user base.

Pinterest in business

As with all social media, Pinterest is about connecting people with common interests, but it's purely visual. As an example, if you use Twitter to promote a cookery book, you have 140 characters plus a photo link; with Pinterest, instead of talking about recipes, you would post images of the ingredients and the finished product. People who like your recipes could then then share them by repinning them on their board, thus promoting you.

Here are a few ways that Pinterest could help your business or organisation:
  • graphic designers can share images of their most successful campaigns.
  • charities can share images from campaigns & ads which link to the website.
  • teachers can use Pinterest to share images with students that may be of interest e.g. design ideas.
  • clothing stores can highlight the latest fashions that they have in stock.
  • caterers can highlight a niche food area that their followers might be interested in e.g. sushi.
Like Twitter, you can follow people, some of whom will follow you back. For example, a restaurant can follow food fanatics who they find interesting and some will follow them back and share their food photos. The way to understand Pinterest is though one simple phrase "a picture is worth 1000 words".

If you would like to know more about how Pinterest can help your business, a 1-day social media seminar will be taking place on Tuesday 17th April in central London. To book your place, call 020 8953 8820 or email

Some Branduin team Pinterest boards can be found/followed here:
To keep up to date with small/medium business information, you can follow the Branduin team on Twitter.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Get Ready for the New Facebook, 10 days and counting...

On 30th March, Facebook will force all pages to display the new Facebook pages Timeline. Here is an overview of key points:

  • The admin panel allows you to hide/reveal posts, "star" posts and change post dates.
  • No more customised landing tabs for your Facebook page. All visitors land on your page's Timeline.
  • One large photo can be displayed at the top of your page. The ideal dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels but there is some up/down shuffle room.
  • The Info section is now prominently front and centre therefore make sure it's interesting and relevant and keep it concise. Ensure you have a completed profile.
  • Timeline will allow you some control over how your posts are displayed. For example, you can pin a post to the top of your Facebook page for up to seven days and you may also change post dates to help with prioritising posts that you want to keep visible.
  • A "star" post will feature more prominently, filling the width of the Facebook page - good for embedded youtube videos.
  • You can create company milestones to appear on your Timeline - an easy way to promote key events such as product launches.
For more detailed information, visit Danny Bermant's blog (team member at Branduin Business Support).

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Using Linked-In, Editing your Positions Profile

Here is an excellent tip for Linked-In members, discovered by Branduin team member, Tim Little. If you hold a number of positions with different organisations and you want to shuffle them around (for example, you may have two or three N.E.D. rĂ´les and you want the one listed as second to appear at the top), you can use drag-and-drop under Edit Profile.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Business-speak in Plain English: Objective, Output & Outcome

Business Strategies.

Your strategy is the plan for achieving a defined goal. If communicated well, all parties will understand the importance and relevance of each of their contributions and likelihood of success will be greater. Understanding the terminology is useful (misunderstanding it could be disastrous).
  • An Objective - that which you aim to achieve.
  • An Output - what you deliver.
  • An Outcome - what you gain from your Output.

Generally, then, an Output is likely to be tangible - you can see, feel or move it about - whereas a level of performance or achievement would be considered an Outcome, increased revenue or reduced overheads, for example. Outcomes can be measured against Objectives.

Knowing what you want to achieve, what it should look like when delivered and identifying the gain is important when developing your business strategy. For a deeper insight visit the Cowan Global blog. (Cowan Global is allied with Branduin Business Support Services.)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Why do website owners need SEO?

To help Search Engines index your website, add meaningful, relevant content that includes keywords that you are going to use when optimising code:
  • meaningful title, description and keyword tags
  • helpful, descriptive image tags 
  • heading tags, bold text and anchor text to highlight important keywords
To bring visitors to your website:
  • Optimise content and code for Search Engine indexing
  • Create links from other sources
    • Related websites / directories / forums / blogs
    • Local websites / directories / forums
    • Social media (Facebook page, Twitter, etc.)
    • Keep content fresh (e.g. update News regularly)
To analyse the traffic to your website to help improve future statistics:
  • Add Analytics code
If you need professional advice or help with SEO, contact Branduin Business Support to discuss your specific requirements and we'll tailor a solution for your company and your available budget.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Free CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for SMEs

Free CRM software from British company, Really Simple Systems

The Free Edition is a hosted CRM system for two users, meeting all basic needs for managing customers, prospects and sales, for up to 100 accounts.

  • Up to 2 users
  • Up to 100 accounts
  • Up to 100Mb of document storage
  • Unlimited contacts, activities, tasks & opportunities
  • Two report writers
  • Linked accounts facility
  • Downloadable backup
  • Upgradeable
  • Free
Branduin Business Support Newsletters are full of useful information for SMEs - and they're Free.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Goal Mapping for Business Owners and Senior Directors

Branduin Goal Mapping & Achievement Programme™ (GMap™)

Who would benefit from GMap™?

  • Business owners, partners and senior directors of small to medium sized companies - who often wear a number of 'hats' during the daily running of their business. Management decisions, financial pressure and 'fire fighting' can be so time consuming that longer term business and personal aspirations are seldom assessed.

What would the benefits be?

  • A re-evaluation of personal goals and business goals - and how to achieve them. Branduin has a proven ten year track record of working with owners and directors; the unique GMap™ Programme has been developed to identify top executives' aspirations in line with their business objectives and produce a ‘road map’ of how to reach those goals.
  • A focus on the important, relevant issues that drive the business and its driving force. GMap™ is not a solution, rather a tailored consultation based on proven templates.

How much will a GMap™ consultation cost?

An initial GMap™ consultation is provided free of charge and free of any further commitment or obligation. Set aside some time to focus your mind - or simply satisfy your curiosity. Take the next step by completing the GMap™ contact form.

Friday, 6 January 2012

SMEs: Choosing A Website Designer

One of the first questions a website design company is asked by a prospective client is: How much does a website cost? 

The response could be: The same price as a trip to Paris.

Whilst a flight, five star hotel and gourmet meals may be what you envisage, this could run into hundreds or thousands of pounds whereas the cost of a day trip via Eurostar is all you are prepared to invest. 

There's no challenging the fact that you could always do with a bigger budget so where do you start to look for comparable quotations? You can start by considering the Branduin Team - a network of small business services, some of which offer website design.

In no particular order, here are their profiles:

  • Sean Butler provides small to medium sized companies with cost effective website design, build and enhancement services. He is adept at creating eye-catching websites that fit perfectly with the image that each client wants to project to their target audience. Sean's programming team are able to turn designs into user friendly, easy to navigate websites.
  • David Slaughter's aim is to offer businesses simple, professional and affordable website design services. Before taking on any project they work closely with prospective clients to understand their exact needs in order to propose the best bespoke solution. His virtual team of UK designers and developers work with companies nationwide to create and manage their online presence. Pricing for a straightforward website starts from as little as £150 for the first page plus £30 to £60 for additional pages.
  • Danny Bermant's company specialises in growing businesses online - if website visitors can't tell at a glance what you are selling or if they can't find what they are looking for, they will go to your competitors. Danny specialises in creating websites that work for your business and ensures that your site can easily be found on search engines, is designed to convert visitors into customers, will help build your relationship with clients and potential clients and provide incentives for repeat business. Danny will make sure he understands your business requirements and who you are targeting, then he can work on your online strategy, including iPhone apps and email marketing.
  • Barbara Primrose will advise and guide small businesses regarding their internet presence, in line with their available budget. She can design and create simple but effective bespoke websites and is also able to provide powerful client-updateable (cms) websites, if required, including online shops. As a specialist in website promotion, Barbara will ensure that your website includes all basic optimisation and will discuss the benefits of regular promotional activities.

The Branduin Team can also help SMEs with a range of other services, including: Business Developments, MD Support, Marketing, PR, Financial Management, Retirement Planning, Training/Coaching, Franchising/Licensing, Accounting/Tax Consultancy, Leadership Development, Recruitment, Branding, Graphic Design, Bids & Tenders, Events Management, First Aid & Safety Training, IT, HR, H&S, ISO, Sales, Advertising, Company Valuations.

Contact Branduin - and make 2012 a successful year for your business.