Royal Mail, stunting the growth of SMEs everywhere

2 11 2009

Being a small business in the UK in 2009 is certainly a test of a person’s mettle.  Since I started my own business, only a few months ago, I have joined the masses like me who rely on project work to get by and, by default, rely on the Royal Mail to receive payment where companies are unable to pay electronically.

It’s hard enough winning business at the moment without the added stress of never being sure when you’re going to get paid.  Most companies have been understanding but some, especially big national organisations, have onerous processes to adhere to and still, despite the issues of the last 12 months, prefer to use Royal Mail than process payments in an alternative way.

Try and alternative

Try an alternative postal service

I don’t have the answers but the damage that the postal strike must be having on businesses all over the country must be significant.  I wonder how many of you are in the same boat and whether you have any tips for those of us in the same position?

My view?  Here are a few things I am doing to try and ease the pain:

– Organise e-payments where possible with all your clients / creditors

– Build a ‘just in case’ contingency into your contracts so that you will always receive payment, even if the Mail chooses to strike further

– Encourage the companies that you interact with to look at alternative methods of dispatch – Hermes has been offering some particularly competitive deals on parcel delivery and so it’s worth looking at alternatives

– As a freelancer, the 30-day payment terms enforced by many companies can feel unmanageable – especially when you can’t always guarantee that they’ll arrive on time – negotiate a better payment term.  I usually try for 7 – 14 working days at completion

– Never be afraid to ask to be paid in person, by cheque.  If you anticipate industrial action, ask that you be paid by cheque and that you receive it in person, to avoid delay.


Nokia kinda didn’t come with music….

2 11 2009

I’ve been on about this on Twitter a bit lately as it’s something that is really mystifying me.  We bought a Nokia ‘Comes With Music’ phone a little while ago now, having seen it at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year.  When we got it home we found out that, because we’d bought the phone a week before the advertising campaign started, we weren’t entitled to our free tunes.  And we’re not the only ones.

Nokia fails to come up with much

Tune-free zone

I have spoken to a few people, mainly by accosting people on the street, who tell the same story.  There are others that claim the service is tough to use and increases in price the more you use it.  I don’t know how representative those views are but the figures speak for themselves.  A recent article claims that, although Nokia says it sold 3 million units by end April, only 32,728 had used the service in the UK by the end of July.

It strikes me that a great many of the millions of us that bought a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic or Nokia N96 may have fallen the victim to the ‘ad campaign’ loophole.  The public new about Comes With Music a long while before the ad campaign started, in fact many of us had been waiting impatiently after Mobile World Congress.

The XpressMusic phone was sold on the basis of Comes With Music, regardless of when the marketing campaign began – removing this privilege negates the reason for buying it in the first place.  Or am I being naive?

I’d be very interested to know how many others have been affected in this way!

Welcome to Fierce PR

1 11 2009

I’m Caroline Tarbett, I am a freelance corporate and technology PR specialist living in London.  I help in-house and agency PR teams manage their busy workloads, manage their client portfolios, grow and attract new business.  Having worked in PR agencies for nearly 15 years, I decided to set up my own small but perfectly formed PR consultancy, Fierce PR – and here’s my blog.

I’m forever enthusing about other people’s blogs and, some would argue, have plenty to say for myself.  This is a place for me to share some of the stuff I find interesting, both techy and not, and that I hope you find interesting, too.  I look forward to reading your comments!

What makes Fierce different?  Well, I offer simple but effective, results-driven consultancy and flexibility where many bigger agencies sometimes make things..well…more complicated.  I believe that a company’s requirements change all the time and so I offer a flexible service, based on individual need, at a time that suits my clients.

I offer a range of services designed to help companies and agencies of all shapes and sizes – everything from press release writing to advice on winning new business.  There’s more information about my experience over on the ‘about me’ page and, if you’d rather know what other people think about me then click here.

Thanks for visiting!