It’s not unusual at the beginning of the New Year to make some personal resolutions and even do something new like join a club. It got me thinking about a refresh of my business plan, with some new year resolutions that would have a positive impact on both my own and my clients business.
For many years my business has had associate membership of the trade body ERSA (Employment Related Services Association) and I have professional membership of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), specialist organisations in my particular field. But what about something closer to home? As a twitter fan and follower of all things #Bridgnorth and #Shropshire, I couldn’t help notice a post about the recently re-launched Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber website (http://bridgnorthcofc.co.uk) states “Bridgnorth CoC is here to promote, advance and protect the commercial, professional and general interests of Bridgnorth and the local economy. Over the coming year we will be developing the functions of the chamber to include business support functions for member businesses, information point for all businesses operating in the area and to actively promote Bridgnorth businesses both locally and regionally”. Perfect – sold!
I am delighted to say I am now a fully paid up member of Bridgnorth Chamber and look forward to seeing it grow from strength to strength.
Have you made your new years business resolution?
The common theme of my week has been professional development – both my own and that of individuals who work in the ERS and related sectors.
On Tuesday evening, I was privileged enough to attend the second annual Institute of Employability Professionals Fellows Lecture delivered by Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP. It is a key event in my own Continued Professional Development (CPD) event diary – an opportunity to be challenged, learn about new developments and reflect on current practice, as well as network with like-minded professionals.
Part of my responsibility as a Fellow is to support others in their career development, and outside of the IEP I mentor a couple of individuals who are looking to develop their careers, particularly within the business development arena. I have found mentoring to be a rewarding and mutually beneficial activity – where I believe I have developed and learnt as much if not more than my mentee’s!
I have been fortunate to be able to combine my passion for lifelong learning and the need for high quality professional development to improve quality and performance, with 20+ years ERS operational and business development experience. This has led to my involvement in a partnership project developing and delivering a suite of frontline advisor training. It is a challenging but exciting time for the ERS sector and more than ever we need to develop capacity and competency within our frontline delivery teams. To do this we need to put training and development at the heart of our businesses. Author: Christine Brown, Owner & Principal, Future Excel
Christine has worked at a senior and executive level in the employment, skills and training sector for nearly 20 years, across the private, public and third sector. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) and was elected as a Non-Executive Board Director of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) in October 2013. Christine’s passion for the role of SME’s and third sector organisations in the delivery of public services, led her to found Future Excel in 2011.
Owner & Principal of Future Excel
In-store point of sale is no small thing. When your customers walk through your doors, when they’re standing in your aisles looking at your products, they’re looking at your signs deciding whether or not to make the purchase.
Having worked on the introduction of Electronic Point of Sale and the printing of point of sale at store level, into a large multiple, I have seen first hand how easy and inexpensive it can be. What I can’t understand is why more retailers are not taking it on board.
There are no real down sides to it:
- Distribution costs can be reduced dramatically
- Point of Sale is accurate, standardised and controlled centrally
- The correct store gets the correct signage
- Prices can be changed almost instantly at store level
- Signage can be printed in store and compliance monitored
- Simple ‘barkers’ can carry a considerable amount of information and far more than an Shelf Edge Label ‘SEL’
- On a per store basis costs are relatively low
- Size of tickets are only limited by the printer in store
Author: Julian Brown, Senior Retail Partner, Future Excel
Julian has worked at executive level in the retail sector for over 35 years. He has supported some of the largest FMCG companies, including Tesco, B&Q and Argos in a range of functions including marketing, category management, buying, project management both in the UK and overseas. Recognised for his high level strategic and operational project management and concept development skills he brings unrivalled business and retail experience to Future Excel.
1. Staff need excellent product knowledge. Induction and on-going training should be at the heart of your business operations.
2. Establish clear professional guidelines for the engagement of prospective customers. Customers are not your ‘mates’ and shouldn’t be addressed as such.
3. Communication skills are key! Understand the importance of and difference between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions in engaging and retaining the customer.
Author: Julian Brown, Senior Retail Partner, Future Excel
Lots of news and views coming out of the IEP this week.
Firstly, IEP have published the draft documents for the new ERS qualifications and units. The consultation closes on the 18th August 2014 – so don’t miss your opportunity to give feedback on this important piece of work. More information can be found out – http://www.iemployability.org/index.php/blog/entry/draft-documents-for-review-new-qualifications-and-units
Secondly, a message from IEP Chairperson Janette Faherty highlights the reference made to IEP in the recent DWP Commissioning Strategy – “We welcome the work of trade bodies and sector-based associations in developing resources for the industry, such as the ERSA Employability Awards and the creation of the Institute of Employability Professionals. Such developments are vital to the development of viable, high performing sector.” For the full article visit http://www.iemployability.org/index.php/blog/entry/message-from-the-iep-chairperson
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