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The Business Clinic Organisation - For Healthier Profits

Independent and thought-provoking, The Business Clinic delivers the
strategy, skills and support you need to develop and grow your business

Gender Pay Gap 

pay gap 2

by Sarah Petrie - Forbes Employment Department

A current topic on everybody’s agenda this year is the Gender Pay Gap reporting procedures coming in for April 2018.  The Gender Pay Gap is different to Equal Pay in the sense that this is the comparison between men and women on average within an organisation, regardless of job role and work carried out by those individuals. This has been introduced as a tool to assess levels of equality within the workplace to deal with the complex issue of unequal levels of pay, opportunities for progression, divided labour markets and discrimination within the workplace.

Read more: Gender Pay Gap

The BCO Welcomes Forbes Solicitors

Logo Grey and Orange

Leading law firm Forbes Solicitors has enhanced its backing for companies across Lancashire by becoming a Consulting Practitioner for The Business Clinic.

The move will allow Forbes to work in collaboration with businesses and share its expertise and knowledge to help them develop and grow.

Read more: Forbes Solicitors

Weighing up the odds, start your own business or invest in a franchise?

By David Nelson of Mr Franchise

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Management consultant Joseph Juran originally suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896.images

121 years later the rule can still be seen in many aspects of business, 80% of sales coming from 20% of customers etc. Well another “rule” is that whilst 80% of new start businesses may be deemed to fail while 20% succeed, when investing in a franchise 80% of new starts are likely to succeed whilst 20% are likely to fail.

Read more: Weighing up the...

Have they got the message?

By Ged Henderson of Henderson News and Media


It’s the question everyone in business has been asked: “What exactly is it that you do?

”You’ve probably asked it yourself at a networking event and, ten minutes later, staring blankly into the eyes of the person as they continue with an answer, wished you hadn’t.

Telling potential customers what you do is central to business success, obviously. But how clear are you when it comes to getting your message out there?

Read more: Have they got the...

The Business Clinic’s Very Own Money Saving Expert Shares Her Tips With You For Healthier Profits in 2018

Nicola Taylor, local champion of all things energy and telecoms related (well we think so anyway) has put together some useful tips to save you time and money.

The New Year always sees the domestic market in particular, reviewing their energy and telecom bills, and where savings can be made; whereas the commercial market look more to their marketing budgets and when their commercial contracts are due for renewal. Whether you are a homeowner, a tenant or a business, 2018, with rising interest rates and the cost of living, will see more people thinking carefully (as they did in 2009) about what they spend, how they spend it and very importantly, how to budget for the nicer things in life like holidays and home improvements.20604175 1921915588095926 4734337741345038364 n

With this in mind here are some top tips to plan into your diaries:-

At home:-

• When are your contracts due for renewal?

• Phone & Broadband (usually 12 month or 18 month contracts)
Remember: if you make a call and change a service, you may inadvertently get tied into another contract so be careful!

• Gas & Electricity - don’t get caught out - make sure you get a like for like comparison quote

• Mobile Phones - a great way to save, unless you are a latest technology geek, is to go onto a SIM only contract at the end of an 18 month or 2 year deal

• Mortgages - a specialist area, but really important to speak to an independent broker to get whole of market advice

• Did you know that 71% of homeowners have TV packages for channels they never watch - is this you? - there are lots of opportunities to get the channels you want without the need for contracts

Ways to save energy:-

• Don’t leave devices i.e. mobiles, Ipads etc. switched on at night - charge them up during the evening, and then switch the sockets off before going to bed

• Only boil a kettle with the water you need not a full kettle

• Switch off radiators and shut doors for rooms that are generally unused (but remember to air them occasionally!)

• Have your boiler serviced and see if it’s time to change your boiler and if there are options available

• If your heating is on, do you need to use a tumble dryer - or could you dry clothes around the house on radiators or airers?

Ways to save money:-

• Have you looked into cashback card options available?

• Do you have a credit card debt? Check out 0% opportunities and transfer balances, to make regular payments to get rid of the debt

In Business:-

• When are your energy contracts due for renewal?

Whatever the date, check your documentation and look for the amount of notice you have to give a supplier, to avoid being rolled over into another contract
*Did you know in some cases you can give a termination notice, on signing a new contract - please do this in writing so you have a document trail

• Phone and broadband - are you paying too much for the services you receive?

Rental systems can appear cheaper but check them out as other providers can provide phone and broadband with call packages at lower prices
Diary when your contract is due for renewal and start researching/making enquiries about 2 months before for a smooth transition.

• Stationery: check your prices regularly - don’t get caught out by special headline deals, and pay more in other areas. Ask The Business Clinic for a print free audit.

Ways to save time- both at home and in business:-

Ask for an independent free of charge review of your bills to see if switching really can save you money instead of trawling through the comparison sites. Did you know that companies pay to appear on these sites so who do you think that charge is passed on to! The cheapest deal available may not be there so why waste time looking?

We hope that you found these tips useful and that by implementing those that apply that we have assisted you in saving time AND money.

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How Risk Averse Are You and Does It Even Matter?

Bhavick Chauhan, of Pinnacle Business Management Solutions, is often asked “isn’t risk management just for larger companies?”

The answer to this is a resounding NO!risk 1080x675

Any business wishing to benefit from proactive business solutions would be well advised to look at their risk management processes.

So what is risk management and how does it benefit businesses both large and small, and those just starting out?

Many business owners are so focussed on return on investment that they fail to evaluate and monitor the return on investment of time. We all fall victim to working IN the business as opposed to working ON it.

Risk management put simply is the process of looking at different functions within a business so as not to cause risk to property, reputation or a person.

Risk management allows a business owner to be proactive and to prevent rather than cure.

Read more: How Risk Averse...

This month The Business Clinic would like to introduce Fiona Castela of Castela Consulting Ltd

Fiona specialises in grant, tenders and investment plan writing and has agreed to share her tips on how to make a successful funding application.Fiona

With extensive experience, gained managing numerous transnational EU projects within the public and private sectors, she adopts a confident and proactive approach. Along with complex project management expertise she has an in-depth knowledge of corporate business and small business development structures, grant funding, EU methodology and programmes. In these times of uncertainty, particularly with the onset of Brexit, her network reach of over 6000 professionals across all sectors within Europe has generated over 13M Euros of grants to North West companies and charities.

Fiona’s top tips for success in securing funding are:-

• Show real innovation, prove you know your product and the science behind it
• Ensure that your opportunity does not duplicate anything already on the market
• Show your company skills and ability; why are you are more likely to succeed than a competitor
• Describe in detail the business opportunity and the business risk
• Illustrate a thorough understanding of the target market, including routes to market and competitor analysis
• A vital component is to build an effective, strong delivery team, via communication and diplomacy.

The ability to effectively manage financial reporting, create annual budgets, deliver financial targets, monitor impact and achievement against qualitative and quantitative targets under robust internal and external control is crucial in order to appraise, evaluate and recommend action on high risk projects.

Fiona can also advise on COSME, Horizon 2020, ERDF and ESF complex European funding.

Once you are confident that the above recommendations are in place Fiona goes on to offer more tips in the pursuit of a good funding application.

Applications for funding far outweigh the funds available that funders can distribute. The main aim is to give money to Companies that can evidence the impact they will make and where the greatest innovation is. There is much competition and in order to succeed, any application needs to stand out and show that you are well-managed and have sufficient people with the time and skills to manage the project. You must evidence successful project management and have good financial management along with financial accountability.

Fiona’s Top Funding Tips to Make Your Application Stand Out!

1) Understand your motivation – will it help you get to market quicker, develop a new prototype, ensure it matches your business
2) Check the closing date carefully before application completion - late applications will almost always be ignored by every funder
3) Develop a relationship - contact the potential funder; ask questions; any contact prior to application submission may give you valuable information. Help them to help you
4) Understand the criteria and funding objectives - no matter how good your project is, they won't fund it if it doesn't meet their priorities
5) Make the application form clear and concise – but still tell the story
6) Above all – answer the questions that are actually being asked
7) Do your numbers add up? – check and double check
8) Include all of the additional information/documents requested
9) Critique - ask a friend/family to review

Finally, if you fail, get feedback. Don’t be dis-heartened, you can always re-apply.

Sponsorship - that which seeks to establish a deeper association and integration via marketing collaboration

It is often said that collaboration is a good thing and here at The Business Clinic we believe this to be the case.

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However it does often feel that running a small business means going after the same pool of clients as the competition!

So how do you tackle the challenge of making those very clients aware of your product or service, and remember you for years to come?

Given that 64% of people feel appreciated when receiving promotional gifts, and that the average person keeps a promotional product for 2.91 years, we thought that it made sense to offer an opportunity for local business owners to get their message out to their prospects.

We are giving you the chance to promote your business via our events. You benefit from having us source and produce your gift at a wholesale price; from us putting your target audience in the room; from us delivering your message to our clients and our network; and we benefit from helping you to achieve healthier profits by raising awareness of your business.

True collaboration benefits all concerned so please do get in touch to explore ways in which we can assist you in raising the profile of your business here in Lancashire.

O1772 367 367 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What do dandruff shampoo, ethical chocolate and fragrance all have in common?

By Carmen Parkinson28378077 10156686741992565 7166223504043180181 n

That is a very interesting question and one which was considered, among many others, at the latest open Clinic hosted and presented by The Business Clinic Organisation’s very own David Nelson.

David intrigued his audience further by stating that tomorrow is a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.

Read more: What do dandruff...

Who Do You Think You Are?

By Carmen Parkinson21766616 10156250660877565 6860172067558505591 n

This was the title of The Business Clinic’s open event in September hosted by Ged Henderson of Henderson News & Media.

Henderson News & Media is a leading, independent, multi-media consultancy. Ged is a multi-award winning former regional newspaper editor and national newspaper journalist with a wealth of experience both in print and online.

During his career he has covered major news events, including the Hillsborough disaster and the Lockerbie air crash and has travelled extensively, filing stories from the Falkland Islands, East Africa and Asia.

Surprisingly Ged opened proceedings by focussing on the “why” as opposed to the “who”!

It is often said that people buy people so it makes sense to have a good understanding of why you do what you do and why your customers should buy from you.

Buying is after all based on emotion, we have all heard of the concept of retail therapy! Most of us will not buy from someone that we just don’t like or don’t have anything in common with.

Relational communication as opposed to transactional engenders loyalty and repeat business and is just a much more pleasant experience all round.

Knowing your own “why” helps you to connect with your customer and understand THEIR “why”.

When you have clarity as to your why you can then begin to focus on making your service or product all about your customer; what’s in it for them, how do you solve their problem or challenge, save them time, save them money....?

Once you make it about them you are not so much selling as offering solutions.

22046441 10156250663257565 7299985878692433391 nKnowing what’s in it for them also makes the “so what” factor much easier to deal with. There are others out there who do what you do, sell what you do so why YOU?

Having an appreciation of the ‘who’ and the ’why’ that lies at your core is the essence of who you are and is what gives you your true USP. You are after all your own brand and while your message may not be quite as memorable as the famous chocolate bar that helps you to work, rest and play you can be authentic and do exactly as it says on “your” tin.

So “just do it” because “every little helps” when it comes to truly understanding what you and your business stand for, and how that message is communicated to your target audience. You never know your customers may just start to think that you are “possibly the best ****in the world”!

For further information on any of our upcoming events or bespoke services please contact us on 01772 367 367 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Conquering the GDPR by Stephen Gibson

By Stephen Gibson


It seems no matter where you turn at present all you seem to hear is the impact that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will have on all businesses.

With this in mind the BCO decided to host a Clinic covering this highly topical area to help firms prepare for the regulations that come in to effect on the 25th May 2018.

Suzanne Gibson, Managing Director of the FCA compliance specialists Ecompli presented on the evening alongside Daniel Milnes, Head of Commercial from Forbes Solicitors.

The key theme / title of the night was ‘Giving you the confidence to conquer GDPR’ and following the comments made by the attendees it certainly did just that.

Suzanne started the event by introducing what the GDPR is and how it will affect her customers in the Financial Services sector, Daniel then followed this by going into real thought provoking detail on what areas all businesses will have to cover from the initial ‘Data Mapping’ through to the consequences of breaching the rules post May 18.


Like most changes to regulation there always exists a lot of scaremongering from media outlets concentrating on what will happen when firms get it wrong, but the way Daniel and Suzanne delivered on the evening, left many attendees with the confidence that they are already doing a lot of what is required, its just now left for them to evidence how they are prepared for the changes.

A key pointer to add is that the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) have still not finalised the rules, and we are of course still around six months from the date the changes come into effect, so we all have time to get prepared, however we need to be conscious that making a start sooner will make things easier for when the deadline approaches.

Such was the popularity of the GDPR topic, the event was fully booked up, but don’t worry if you couldn’t make it as the BCO are now taking bookings for a follow up GDPR clinic which is taking place on Tuesday 30th January 2018 (6.00-8.00pm). Again Suzanne and Daniel will be presenting on this area and will provide any ICO updates that are worth reporting. Daniel will again take a seat in his Mastermind chair so be sure to come armed with as many questions as you can!


To book onto this event click here

For further information on any of our upcoming events or bespoke services please contact us on 01772 367 367 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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  • Please accept this with my sincere thanks for all the support and understanding you all have shown me since I joined The Business Clinic. I get such a large... View More..
    Adele King - Owner, Ladyking Locksmiths.

    Please accept this with my sincere thanks for all the support and understanding you all have shown me since I joined The Business Clinic. I get such a large amount of support from within BNI and I wouldn’t be without it, however what the Clinic has brought to me in just a few weeks has shocked me!!!

    Yes you have brought me laughter, headaches, additional work and tears but most of all you have brought me vision to which I can now see where I am taking Ladykings. I know with your peer to peer support you will give me all the tools I will need including a kick when I need it to get me through the tough times. I would have no hesitation in recommending any of my contacts to attend The Business Clinic and gain the support, guidance, knowledge and also the opportunity to help others through testing times. I would also like to thank you sincerely as not only from within my business but as a friend for the support you give me unconditionally.
  • My business R.P. Safety Services has recently received mentoring from Helen and David of the Business Clinic Organisation. The mentoring was tailored to fit my... View More..
    Robin Dobson - MD, R.P. Safety Services (N.W.) Ltd.

    My business R.P. Safety Services has recently received mentoring from Helen and David of the Business Clinic Organisation. The mentoring was tailored to fit my business needs and has helped me to make significant beneficial changes to my aims for business growth and development and the way that I will achieve and retain those aims. The business sense and experience that Helen and David have ensured that the mentoring was right for me and instead of being a repeat of tired clichés and “facts” was a mixture of needs analysis and sensible, practical solutions. Although the mentoring was exclusive to me it was typical of the help and guidance that is given during Business Clinic Organisation surgeries and clinics. I recommend that any business large or small that wants a more sustainable business talks to Helen and David and finds out if the benefits of the Business Clinic Organisation could be available to them.
  • David Nelson has provided our organisation with consultancy and business facilitation and has assisted in the growth and development of our business in the... View More..
    Andrew Walmsley - Operations Director, Concept Building Solutions.

    David Nelson has provided our organisation with consultancy and business facilitation and has assisted in the growth and development of our business in the numerous different ways. As a successful franchisor in operation for 15 years we greatly appreciate the importance of having high calibre successful franchisees within the Concept Building Solutions network.

    We have now worked with David Nelson and his team for over four years during which time the services of franchise recruitment, training, business development and franchisee development have been provided professionally and above our expectations.

    David and his team have managed our franchise recruitment and business development on an outsourced basis and have developed on average 20 new franchisees per year always delivering in excess of our targets.

    The franchisees David has recruited and brought into our network have been first-class and long-standing and he has also had a direct involvement in the training and their ongoing development and support.

    We would highly recommend any franchisor or business looking to strengthen or grow their organisation or network to utilise David and his team's expertise and skills.
  • I would like to thank you for the help and support that the Business Clinic has provided for me over the last 18 months. Being your own boss is an exciting,... View More..
    Alison Wilson - Financial Consultant, Mac Financial

    I would like to thank you for the help and support that the Business Clinic has provided for me over the last 18 months. Being your own boss is an exciting, but sometimes daunting and scary place to be. The Business Clinic, provides a friendly and professional forum to discuss, in confidence, with people from different professions, issues and challenges that you may have within your own business. Having the opportunity to interact, and get advice from people who are specialists in a variety of professions including, marketing, networking, legal, and social media, can be invaluable in helping you get to the solution or see a clearer way to approach and resolve your challenges and concerns. The monthly surgeries that are also available to members, help develop personal skills, knowledge and focus, for being a successful business owner. Although my business has changed direction since I joined the Business Clinic I recently had the opportunity to raise a challenge and benefitted greatly from the discussions and solutions that were offered. It made me refocus on why I joined in the first place. I was also incredibly touched by the efforts that members were prepared to go to, to help me out and make me not only resolve my challenge but make it a success. I would highly recommend the Business Clinic to other Business owners and people in my networks that may be considering starting their own business and wish you every success for the future.
  • I just wanted to send you quick email to say how I just loved the business clinic session this morning. I got way more than I expected and everyone was just... View More..
    Clarissa Jordan

    I just wanted to send you quick email to say how I just loved the business clinic session this morning. I got way more than I expected and everyone was just great, very welcoming with excellent advice, I will definitely be putting the advice given today to use. It just goes to show how much being around like-minded professionals can really help move you forward and to be honest; it's a great start to the day. I'll be back next month as I currently have to take time off work to attend but when I get the business is up and running I'll definitely be a fortnightly presence.

01772 367 367


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