CATCH THE WAVE IN UK FRANCHISING

A new franchise survey has shown that the UK’s franchise sector is now worth over £17bn to the economy; up over £2bn since 2015.

Suzie McCafferty

Suzie McCafferty

Leading UK and international franchise consultancy Platinum Wave has welcomed the findings of the 2018 Franchise Survey produced by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest bank. Some 700,000 people are employed in the sector with just over 50% in full-time employment.  The number of women and young people (under 30) engaged in the sector has risen significantly.

Suzie McCafferty, managing director of Platinum Wave, said: “Franchising is a fantastic business sector to be involved in and the latest bfa survey shows that it is growing exponentially with ever more opportunities to either franchise your business, become a franchisee or even be employed by a franchise. There has never been a better time to get involved in franchising”

She added: “Franchisees across the country are reporting 93% profitability and 6 in 10 franchised units turn over more than £250,000 and I think this proves that the franchise model, if followed properly leads to successful, sustainable and profitable businesses.  It is a fact that less than 1% of franchise businesses close due to commercial failure. Over the past 20 years we have seen the sector go from strength to strength and as a consultancy we have helped hundreds of UK businesses get more from franchising, including expanding into international markets.”

Platinum Wave works with a wide number of leading brands helping with franchise development, franchise recruitment, network performance and marketing.  The firm has also recently launched a brand new franchise recruitment agency called Franchise Moves offering two distinct services to the franchise industry.  It recruits experienced franchise professionals on behalf of brands across every business sector, from support roles up to MD and CEO.   It also offers a discreet service helping those already in senior positions plan and make their next career move within the industry.   Franchise Moves is headed up by highly experienced franchise recruiter Steve Lampshire.

Platinum Wave has won a host of awards for its service, most recently winning the Best Customer Service award at the bfa HSBC Franchise awards.

For further information please visit www.platinumwave.co.uk or www.franchisemoves.co.uk

MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Forget about dropping a dress size or cutting a few inches from your waist, the most important change you could make in 2019 is improving your mental health.

 

 

This is the message from health and well-being experts Better Humans, who believe far too many of us take our mental health for granted. Their advice for 2019 is, yes, exercise is very important but it is essential to make other changes to your daily routine if you are to keep your mental health in tip top condition.

 

 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to other humans, and make choices.

 

 

Victoria Anderson, clinical director at Better Humans Technology, explains: “Mental health concerns are often not clear-cut and often people do not realise that they may have a problem. This is why it is vital to look after your mental health at all times. Mental health issues are more than just receiving a diagnosis and then going for treatment – they involve a lot of ups and downs, learning, growing, and a lot of hard work.

“So for 2019 I urge everyone not to take their mental health for granted, as we all need to do better. As a practising physio, I see lots of people who want to get fitter and more toned at this time of year. Exercise is undoubtedly good for us, it strengthens our bodies, including our vital organs such as heart, lungs and brain, and releases happy chemicals into our blood stream which help us to feel more relaxed and content.

 

 

“However, this is only a 'part' of our overall wellness. Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as working long hours, or even checking emails when out of work hours, means that we don't give ourselves a chance to switch off and get the much needed rest that our body and mind needs. Being constantly busy and not taking the time to relax has a significant impact on our mental health and can push us into a 'flight or fight' state which has dire consequences for our body and brain health. 

 

 

When in this state, stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, rise which inhibit the function of our immune systems, digestive system and reproductive systems - literally we're in survival mode and anything not essential to help us survive is suppressed.  As a consequence, tissues don't heal as quickly and are more prone to damage, we can get gut pain and digestion issues and are more susceptible to picking up infections. We are also more likely to suffer from 'brain fog' where concentration and decision making is more difficult.

 

 

“There are lots of tell-tale signs that you may be struggling, such as not being able to get out of second gear and feeling like everything is struggle. We all know that lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and dehydration make this downward spiral more likely, but most of us do not realise that being in a constant state of distraction is also a major contributor to poor mental health.  Being unable to sit still without doing something else such as constantly checking your phone, surfing the net, watching TV, or not being able to stay in the same place for more than 5 minutes is a sign that we're disconnected from our inner voice and mental state.

 

 

Anderson adds: “I would recommend small lifestyle changes alongside exercise to help with our overall well-being: making sure we drink more water, getting at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, eating green vegetables, reading, going for a walk outside, having a bath and giving ourselves 'permission' to have a rest!  Quite often, going for a 20 minute walk outside in nature can be more beneficial than an intense work-out in the gym for an hour. Similarly if you’re chair-bound at a desk all day, persuading a colleague to have that 20 minute meeting with you, whilst you walk around the block will stimulate free-flowing conversation, help you connect with the outside world as well as incorporate some active time. 

 

 

“Our unique REACH programme is example of how employers can take a proactive approach to help ensure their employees stay fit and healthy. REACH is a unique blend of tests and digital training using the latest developments in neuroscience, motor imagery, visualisation and brain training. If followed the programme is proven to create healthier, happier and more productive employees; lower absenteeism; improve engagement and retention rates; and ultimately enhance the performance of the company overall.”

 

 

Victoria Anderson is responsible for the physiotherapy operation and new product development. She is a MSK advanced physiotherapist, and previously held the CEO position in an established city centre physiotherapy clinic. Victoria has prior experience in the digital health sector, and is passionate about adopting technology to make skilled physiotherapy practice more widely available. She is also a member of Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), and the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).

 

 

For more information about Better Humans and the Reach programme please visit https://www.betterhumans.co.uk/.

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FOLLOW THESE TOP TIPS FOR BUMPER PEAK ONLINE SALES AT CHRISTMAS

Christmas is almost upon us, and more than ever before a lot of the gifts which will appear under the tree this year will have been bought online. But how can online retailers make themselves stand out to the last minute shoppers, and thereafter moving into 2019?

 

 

E-commerce experts Optiseller have been on a mission to help online retailers achieve a bumper Christmas this year.  CEO Craig MacCallum gives his top tips to maximise sales in the Christmas peak season and on into the January sales.

 

 

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  1. Focus on the right things:  You need to be clear on where your store is performing well and where there is room for improvement.  There’s no point wasting time working on listings if they’re already in great shape.  Make sure you get a good view of the areas holding you back by having a negative impact on search results or conversions.  If you have a good handle on the pulse of your marketplace business you’ll be able to make the right decisions for growth.
  2. Attract buyers ready to purchase:  You’d be amazed how many sellers don’t spend the time on optimising their listing titles.  You have up to 80 characters to capture the buyer’s attention so make the most of them.  Your titles should read well and contain all the relevant keywords to help with search visibility.  Be smart with your keywords and don’t use acronyms that people won’t immediately understand.  Your focus should be on capturing those people who are ready to buy.
  3. Make sure your listings are found: Item specifics are there for a reason, so use them.  This is especially true for the fashion sectors as eBay states that buyers looking for fashion items are 65% more likely to use filters to narrow down their search results.  They’ll filter on things that are important to them such as colour, brand, style and so forth.  So it’s important to include as many item specific values as you can. That way your products will be included when the buyer uses search filters.
  4. Don’t get hit by duplicates: This year eBay has really started to crack down on duplicate listings by enforcing its Duplicate Listings policy more strictly.  Sellers who have fallen foul of the policy have found themselves suffering lower search rankings. This has resulted in lower conversions and sales. It can be difficult if you’re listing hundreds or thousands of products to spot which listings are duplicates and which should be removed.  But time spent addressing this issue is time well spent.  You don’t want to be penalised and lose out in peak shopping times.
  5. Reassure buyers your products are genuine:  With the increase in counterfeit products, buyers are becoming more cautious especially when purchasing higher ticket items such as jewellery and watches.  By adding the correct GTINs on your listings you can reassure buyers that your products are both genuine and authentic.  Moreover, as eBay increases its focus on the shopper’s experience, using GTINs will help to increase the visibility of your listings both in the marketplace itself as well as the offsite promotions eBay runs.

 

  1. All this can seem pretty daunting when you’re dealing with a large inventory. Thankfully help is at hand.  With Optiseller, you can get to grips with your data quickly. Our suite of online tools can scan all your listings, identify issues such as duplicates, missing or incorrect item specifics, incorrect GTINs and a whole host more. You can then update your listings fast, so you don’t miss out on those potential customers on the last couple of weeks in December and on into 2019. 

  1. For further information please visit www.optiseller.com

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Digital PR…. Are You Clicking the Right Buttons?

Digital PR uses expert content to get businesses more clicks, more visits, more interactions and ultimately more sales.

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Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used to enhance your online presence. It is achieved by producing high quality content and then using this content to network with journalists, bloggers and influencers to gain high-quality backlinks from key websites and online publications, social media mentions, positive customer reviews, and to improve SEO. Digital PR is an evolved form of PR. Instead of only targeting print publications, Digital PR focuses on online publications and brand awareness. 

What a Digital PR campaign should achieve for your business:

1 - Create engaging, high quality content that is SEO-friendly.

2 - Build brand trust - a digital PR campaign ensures your customers only see positives when they type your company’s name into a search engine.  

3 - Boost website traffic -  more people reading about your business and sharing your content via social media, means more people will be visiting your website.

4 - Improve SEO and rankings - content is king!

6 - Increase sales - the more people reading about your products and clicking through to your website, the more leads you will generate. 

“Without Digital PR, any SEO campaign you’ve been running will not get you top on Google.”

What is PR???

“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising.

 

If the young man tells his date she’sintelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing.

 

If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.” – S. H. Simmons

 

 

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