Trophy Blog #79 – Part 1 – In the last few weeks, the Governments Chancellor, George Osborne has announced his budget plans for us all the UK. He says that Small to Medium sized businesses will be helped more, with less paperwork and more financial assistance. Sometimes the money and help is available, we just don’t know how or who to talk too to get it. It doesn’t matter if you are a Blue, Red, Yellow or Green voter, This is a step in the right direction for us all attached to the overall economy. Good news for the people who live and work at the brewers in Tadcaster as the Alcohol escalator is to be scrapped and a Cut of 1p in duty for a pint of beer. Current production levels will hopefully increase with this news. Our national roads will have an extra £200m fund for councils “to bid for” to fix potholes. Hopefully the North Yorkshire County Council will already be applying for this extra money to sort out the dreadful Bypass and Abbots Road road surfaces. An extra 1.5 million new jobs have been forecast in next five years and Support for more than 100,000 new apprenticeships in the UK. Great news for the students who are about to leave school or who are currently studying at our local colleges. High street retail owners have a few reasons to be happy as well, stores will get £1,000 off their current rates, and from 2015, the amount of corporation tax will drop from 21% to 20%. Also the current Business rates discounts will be extended for another three years. Trophy & Engraving Help – With the current football season beginning to come to an end, football managers and committees are beginning to think about Presentation nights. Has last years trophies been engraved yet? How many awards do we give out? How much do we have left in the kitty? Don’t worry, we can help you. First of all we can send you our FREE catalogue to your home or work address. We have a number of trophies on display in our showroom to view. If you are further afield we can email some photographs if need be. We will also be in phone or email contact to help you along the way. We know how busy managers lives are, so to save you the hassle, If the club or venue has it’s own silverware, we can come and collect it, engrave as required and return it back for you. We can also bring some samples to your committee meeting and deliver the completed order. We can be contacted by all the usual forms of communication and social media. The huge bonuses paid to bankers has again been in the national news. The shocking practice of paying employers millions of pounds when the actual bank has made a loss for the year. Some news stories say that the bankers may have to return their bonuses, but if they have have spent the money, they could be let off. They should be forced to pay back every single penny. I suspect most of them will have spent it. The whole banking system has been under the spotlight after many banks were bailed out by billions of pounds of taxpayers money. The government should not allow these huge bonuses when the taxpayer effectively owns them. These are the same banks that charge huge fees to its everyday customers for going over a few pence overdrawn. The Royal Bank of Scotland has been the most recent bank to award its bankers bonuses despite reporting a loss. They recorded a £8 billion negative figure, but had already set aside over £500 million for staff bonuses in 2013. Out of that sum, over £200 million went to investment bankers. How can they be rewarded for doing such a poor job? In the real world you would loose your job for a poor performance on that scale. A few miles for the London financial headquarters are some of the people highlighted on the recent BBC Sport Relief programme Famous, Rich and Hungary. These people live on a few pounds a day and go without food so their children can eat. Perhaps these bankers should try doing that for a few weeks. In April we will be celebrating our third year of trading in Selby. 2014 is our make or break year as hopefully we are now fully established and people now know about us. Thankfully, the majority of our customers have returned to us each year, so we must be doing something right. One of my daily roles is to take the company forward and explore expanding into new areas, but at the same time, still cater for our existing customers. One of the main things I do is try and be on top of the new trend of communicating. I research how people make purchases. I have had customers place orders via phone, text, email, eBay, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, esty, LinkedIn, google plus and Instagram. Many ‘Selby Times and Post’ readers will have never heard of these buying platforms, they attract millions of account holders all around the world. Facebook has recently purchased Whatsapp for billions of pounds. I had a long email conversation with a customer in Western Australia who found us via ebay. To break the ice he purchased one trophy from our stock and was happy to spend three times as much getting it to him via Fedex. He lives miles away from a town or city so regularly pays extra for a company who will deliver to his door. I have sent him a catalogue and he promises to use us in the future. I try to keep on top of all these different types of social media, but it takes up a lot of time. We still welcome walk in customers, and sometimes I prefer having a real life conversation to establish their exact requirements. Online purchases are so easy for the consumer and businesses have to react to this. Trophy Blog #76 – Good news on the high street at last. According to the latest national business news, the UK has just had the fastest growth in retail sales since 2004. Small and medium sized retailers across the country have reported a vast improvement in the run up to Christmas. The reports are showing a 2.6% increase during December and the UK annual increase has grown by 5.3%. Interestingly it is showing that smaller stores had outperformed their bigger rivals. Hopefully this will continue during the rest of 2014. We all know that November and December are the ‘Christmas shopping’ months for everyone, so retailers expect and plan the whole year for this. They stock up on the popular goods they hope people will buy. The marketing departments of the national retailers love to tell the shopping world how good they have done over the peak Christmas trading period. It is even better for them if a business rival has suffered. The big winners in 2013 look to be Primark, Argos, Halfords and Next. They have all increased their sales, but at the other end of the scale, stores such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have struggled compared to their high street neighbours. Another thing retailers look out for is to try and guess what customers want to buy. In the run up to Christmas, Consumers have been searching for the very latest gadgets, but also cheap fashion has shown to be the big winner. Online shopping has increased by 11.8% compared with the same month last year, with average weekly spending online now standing at a massive 675.4 million pounds.