2022’s mini budget update & what it means for you

2022’s mini budget update & what it means for you

Customer Journey

Here at Designated, we aim to help our clients succeed and to support this we are committed to sharing our expertise and experience. This week our team of accountants are available to help you make sense of last week’s budget and how it may affect you and your business 

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion with our finance team, get in touch with Vicky at: Vicky.garbett@designatedgroup.com 

Here is a quick budget overview from Vicky: 

The mini budget has come as a surprise to some, and a real shock to others. Reading all the newspaper coverage can cloud the raw details of the Government’s announcement, so here they are, with no fluff and straight to the point!

  • AIA will remain at £1,000,000
  • IR35 rules will be reformed, and tax codes will be reviewed
  • Income tax rate of 45% to be abolished next year, and income tax (lower threshold) to be 19p in the £1 from April 2023.
  • End of the 45p tax rate, paid by those earning more than £150,000, from April 2023.
  • 1p cut to the basic rate of income tax brought forward by a year to April 2023
  • No stamp duty to be paid on property purchases up to £250,000 and up to £425,000 for first-time buyers
  • Scrapping of the bankers’ bonus cap in a bid to boost the city
  • Reintroduction of VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists
  • Businesses based in 38 new ‘investment zones’ will have taxes slashed and will benefit from the scrapping of planning rules
  • Alcohol duty frozen from next year (estimated to be worth 7p on a pint of beer and 38p on a bottle of wine)
  • National Insurance contributions increase of 1.2% to be cancelled from 6th November 22
  • Cancellation of next year’s planned rise in Corporation Tax, will now remain at 19%

Designated are always here to support you, across all our services. Get in touch with the team to start your conversation. 

Phone: 020 7952 1460 Email: info@designatedgroup.com

 

September edition of Designated Digest

September edition of Designated Digest

Stay Connected July

Welcome to September’s edition of Designated Digest. With Summer coming to an end it has been great to enjoy some amazing weather before the final quarter of the year begins.

This month we are looking at the importance of understanding your customer journey and how it is essential for ensuring your business thrives.

We have also delved into the world of strategic business reviews, looking at how to build on your strengths, get all your team onboard and pinpoint weaknesses so you can adjust all aspects of your company to reach your business goals.

Finally, we have looked to distinguish the difference between accounting and bookkeeping to make it easier for you to decide what elements your business needs.

Best wishes,

The Designated Team

How can a strategic business review help your practice excel?

How can a strategic business review help your practice excel?

360 BUSINESS REVIEW

When you are running your own business, how do you take a step back? To stop, evaluate, listen and learn from your customers and team?

Are the values and vision you hold dear, understood, and communicated to all your stakeholders and customers?

This is hard to do within your own business. Taking time away from the demands and stresses of “business as usual”, to pause and evaluate whether you are offering the best experience to your customers and your team, is important but also challenging. So how do you achieve this?

This is where a strategic business review comes into its own. Undertaking such a review will immediately help you to identify the strengths of your business, and pinpoint the weaknesses, creating an opportunity to highlight and rectify any problems before they become ingrained.

Most businesses conduct annual employee performance 360 reviews and find them extremely helpful with staff development and management, however, much greater value is to be had from running a whole business review, covering both your client’s and employees’ experience of working with your company. The process of looking at every aspect of your company, by reviewing each part of the structure from the top down, will reveal exactly how your business is perceived and identify any gap with your own view of how you want to be perceived.

What is a business review?

A business review evaluates key aspects within your business that are pillars of its success, through an in-depth audit and interviews with key stakeholders. The process is usually managed by an external partner, covering areas such as:

  • Business objectives
  • Vision, Mission and Values
  • Service offering
  • Key sectors
  • New business strategy
  • Marketplace perception
  • Your people – staff engagement
  • Client experience

The output of the review is a comprehensive report, providing evaluations and recommendations that engage your team, identify your ideal clients and ensures your brand messaging and values are woven throughout all of your company communications.

One of the benefits gained by a business review is the feeling of inclusion amongst your employees, while contributing to creating a more positive workplace.

The report

From the answers obtained in the interviews, the review of supporting documentation, clarifications and from research, an extensive report is produced, which addresses all the areas above and summarises your successes and challenges in each area and provides recommendations to improve, including, but not limited to:

  • Competitor analysis
  • A review of your brand messaging and story and suggestions on your messaging going forward
  • A full website audit
  • A review of all your communications, social media, marketing collateral, pitch/presentation documents
  • Development of user persona’s for your target audience
  • A ‘secret shop’ to experience your customer journey
  • Results from a staff engagement survey to inform Values and identify any areas for improvement

The report concludes with recommendations for all the key areas: – Business strategy, customer experience, your people, brand messaging and marketing strategy and activity. It will also provide a 3-month marketing plan that incorporates your Brand Strategy, which can be implemented at your own pace.

Tough read

Any review you undertake can be a difficult read, as it will enable you to uncover issues you were completely unaware of. The process and findings can feel quite personal as your business is your passion. The key is to thoroughly evaluate the results and make changes where necessary.

A review can broaden your view of your company, clients, workplace and employees and steer you away from assumptions. It allows you to identify the improvement opportunities within the business and create a strategy to implement them.

The idea of any review can seem daunting and the results can be brutal and difficult to accept, but it can be a very useful way of identifying issues and weaknesses before they become a real problem affecting business performance. When managed properly, the results can lead to changes that ingrain best practices within every layer of the business and ensure that your employees and clients feel listened to and valued. The most important part of any business is the employees and ensuring they are all on board with the values and ethos of the business allows the company to develop and flourish in its given field.

 

If you would like to find out more about our Designated Business Review, please do get in touch:

Michelle Wheeler, Marketing Director, michelle@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1460

Why is it important to understand your customer journey?

Why is it important to understand your customer journey?

Customer Journey
In today’s world, consumers are more informed than ever before. They have a range of tools to help them with decision-making when it comes to buying a product or service, which is why it’s important to understand how your company (brand) is perceived and the reasons why.

Company perception is driven by a range of different things for consumers and they will see and experience different things depending on where they are in their purchase or research journey.

For example;

  • How easy is it to find you on the internet or social media?
  • Do you look credible and trustworthy?
  • Can they find your contact details?
  • Do you answer the phone or emails?
  • How do you correspond with clients
  • What do others think about you?
  • If you’ve used them before have they remembered you?

So, customer experience is key to business success, because if you give the customer a positive experience then they will remember you and become an advocate for your business. A loyal customer is a more profitable one because they will promote your business free of charge and return to you in the future! If they have a poor experience, then they will tell everyone and anyone who will listen which can be very damaging, especially when it’s broadcast across social media.

That is why understanding the customer journey is so important. Knowing that all the customer touchpoints for your business are on brand and up to date and that your internal processes are set up to truly deliver a positive customer experience.

A typical customer will research and evaluate your company and your competitors before deciding whether to purchase a product or service. By understanding this journey, and the influencing factors that help with their decision-making, you can better position your product or service to meet their needs as well as deliver a positive experience throughout the process.

 

Typically, consumers go through 3 different stages before making a decision.

1. Awareness stage – a consumer is looking to solve a problem
During this stage, a consumer will be researching and looking for educational information about the problem they want to solve or the need that they have.
At this stage, consumers will be looking at these channels; Google searches so SEO is important at this stage, website, Google My Business, social media and any advertising.

2. Consideration stage – a consumer is considering options to solve the problem
During this stage, consumers will be reading what you offer on your website and competitor websites to see who offers what. They may also be reading articles and case studies. Most importantly consumers will be looking to understand what other people think of you so they will be influenced by testimonials either on your website or on trusted customer satisfaction websites e.g. Trustpilot etc.

3. Decision stage – the consumer evaluates and decides on the business that will help them solve the problem
At this stage, they will make contact with the company, either by email, telephone or through the contact form on your website. This is the stage where internal processes are key to ensure the consumer experiences a good customer experience and finds out any specific information they require. They are kept up to date and informed about the service or product they are interested in and feel valued.

Just as important as the 3 stages above, is the post-purchase/service experience, which is when you can really make a customer feel valued and turn them into a loyal customer. This is the time to ensure you have all the relevant contact details and GDPR compliance to make sure you can keep in touch with the customer in the future either through newsletters or emails.

Capturing customer satisfaction through surveys or testimonials is also important for your business. If they’ve had a positive experience then they will become an advocate and give you a good customer satisfaction rating or testimonial which money can’t buy!

What to do now?
So now is the time to review all the customer touchpoints for your business, and make sure that all your customer-facing marketing channels are up to date and relevant. Review your internal processes so that you understand what happens when someone gets in contact with you and how is it managed internally to ensure they receive a positive customer experience.

This is the customer journey and by understanding all of the elements that contribute to this, you will be able to successfully grow your business and ensure it is better than your competitors and deliver a positively memorable customer experience.

If you would like to find out more about how Designated can help with understanding your customer journey, please do get in touch:

Michelle Wheeler, Marketing Director, michelle@designatedgroup.com 020 7952 1460

July edition of Designated Digest

July edition of Designated Digest

Stay Connected July

Hello! and welcome to our July edition!

In this months edition of Designated Digest, the sun is shining and everyone’s getting ready for the first Summer of restriction free travel, more importantly business seems to be booming for many of you, which is great to see!

This month we are looking at Neurodiverstiy and what that means in terms of the workplace. Embracing neurodiversity and understanding the needs of your employees can ensure all your staff can excel and work more effectively.

We also hear from one of our senior marketing managers on the skills to look for when hiring a marketing manager and they are more varied than you would usually think.

Finally we would like to introduce you to our management team here at Designated.

Best Wishes, 

Designated Team 

What skills should you look for when hiring a Marketing Manager?

What skills should you look for when hiring a Marketing Manager?

Marketing Manager Skills

If Marketing were easy. Everyone would be doing it. Sometimes it feels like they are. All experienced marketers will be able to share examples of when they’ve been approached with some ‘helpful social media or marketing ideas’ from IT/Sales/HR/Finance, pretty much everyone who isn’t working day to day in the field.

In an industry as competitive as marketing it can be difficult trawling through hundreds of CV’s to search for ‘the one’. At Designated we have worked with freelancers and full-time marketers for many years and can quickly identify the character and skills that sets apart the stand-out candidates.

With so much noise out there these days, it’s no secret that you’ll want to get the most out of your marketing efforts and your marketing manager must decide how best to use limited resources to create an effective strategy.

We believe your marketing manager should possess all of the following skills on some level:

Social Media Savvy
Love it or loathe it, social is here to stay. A good marketer will know their way around the platforms as well as the most suitable ones for your audience. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach with social media and it takes a lot of time (and money) to get things going. Finding the right mix of content, frequency, and engagement for each network can be a challenge.

We mention money as social media is still considered (by some) a free marketing tool. It is not. Organic social can often feel like going into a dark room, locking all the doors and windows and then shouting about your company. Social media is a pay to play game, but it’s not all bad. Paid targeted campaigns can give you data-driven insights to help you pinpoint who your audience is and how best to market to them. An experienced marketing manager will have paid social media experience and can help guide this process.

Creativity
Marketing has always benefited from creative types using their gifts of coming up with campaigns and slogans which make the masses laugh, cry, think, and most importantly, purchase.

One of the biggest challenges today in creative marketing is standing out in a saturated market. Your marketing manager won’t always have new products or updates and so a bit of creative thinking is required to re-market and re-introduce existing content or ideas in new and interesting ways.

An eye for design is always beneficial and if they have the technical design skills, even better! They can turn content around quickly and independently. This is especially useful in social media, to piggyback on trending topics or news stories.

A Clear Communicator
A marketing manager needs to be able to communicate effectively and start with asking what is going to be the end goal of a project. It often involves gathering lots of information from several departments.

Avoiding miscommunication online and offline is key, and there will be many times your marketing manager will be required to explain a strategy or plan that might initially feel quite alien to other key stakeholders. A great marketer will be able to get the rest of the team/company excited about the campaign helping to excel employee advocacy.

Resourceful
We cannot stress the importance of this skill. If you’re a business owner or senior leader, you are going to need your marketing manager to be resourceful. Their work may often involve making something out of nothing depending on the size of your organisation. They need to be able to make the most out of the tools available to them and where additional resource is required, make their case for additional marketing tools or team members.

Multi-tasker
Any marketer can attest to multi-tasking being a necessity. Having thirty tabs open at any given time, flicking between programs and projects is often second nature to experienced marketing managers, who are trying to cram a lot in during their working day. With so many platforms and technical processes, a seemingly simple task can actually take a lot of time. As well as multi-tasking we would also add highly organised with excellent time-management to this point. 

Data-Driven
If you’re looking to hire marketing manager, it is important to consider a candidate’s analytical skills. From social platforms to email and website insights to CRM systems. Marketing is as much about the numbers as it is about something looking good.

Data-driven marketing bases brand communications on information that has been gathered through research or previous campaigns. Testing and optimising will form the basis of many marketing strategies, great marketers will need to be able to read the data and adjust accordingly. Marketers need at the very least, to have a knowledge of what their benchmark is and know what impact their campaign is having. Marketers who are naturally curious do well in this area of the role.

Marketing managers are a great asset to a company. They ensure that the business they work for gets noticed by consumers and consumers can communicate directly with them if they have any questions or concerns. It is a job that requires persistence, intelligence, discipline and patience among all of the skills above. No doubt there are many more we don’t have room for in this article, but if you take one thing away from this blog post, it is that some of the top marketing managers can bring a tremendous amount of value to your organisation.

At Designated, we have sourced some of the best marketing talent to save you the time. So, if you’re looking to hire a marketing manager for 5 hours a week or 35 hours a week, we can provide the best person for the job based on your specific requirements.

We don’t pretend to know your business; you know your business, but we will ask questions and push for answers through our business review/discovery sessions. This will ensure we have a full understanding of your goals, what your market looks like and how we can position your message clearly, to give your brand value in the marketplace and ensure you are a consideration for your target audience.

If you’re looking for support in the areas of Marketing, Accountancy, Bookkeeping or PA we’d love to talk.

 

 

 

 

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