Love your Customers

Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing? Love your customers.

Our local Tesco Manager is terrific because he seems to love his customers, the staff, he’s energetic and always walking around the store helping. I know Tesco isn’t American but this chap’s attitude is typical of service attitudes in many US firms. I love the attitude of American companies. I worked for one, the first 15 years of my career. And then after that with others distributing products across Europe. Yes, they can be aggressive, and I learned about lead generation, selling, direct marketing and hitting quotas to make profit. For the good of the company. But also, to love your customers. This can sound shallow, but in 2018 to really love your customer, just like a partner in life, you need to understand them 100%, their buying, and then deliver a service. I thought I would just remind myself a few key pointers in order to do this.

Love What You Are Doing

Like our Tesco Manager, it’s about energy. I could have chosen another example: this time I will name him, Don McQueen, Chairman at Dorset Business Angels. He is packed with energy. And few surprises, he is a serial entrepreneur, chairman of many companies and a successful in many businesses. Doesn’t he have problems? Yes. Does he somehow have an easier time than the rest of us? Of course not. But the trick is to make decisions to do what you want to do, be positive, and you can love what you are doing.

Know Your Customer

You need to know who to sell to. You need to know what their problem is that you can solve. It is hopeless, trying to sell something that people do not want. A heater in the desert or ice to eskimos. Be crystal clear who is your customer. The Buyer Persona is a great tool. The template, prompts you to supply the detail of exactly who is your customer, their background, profile, problems etc etc. You can then tailor your solution, product or services to help them.

The Customer Journey

The customer journey is the path and all the points of contact between a consumer and a brand, a product or a service and includes, all moments of interaction between customer and company. These can be direct such as face to face, phone, in-store and alike. Or they can be online: social, blog, email and reviews to mention just a few. Here is a useful video on how to create a Customer Journey Map.  Here is another example.

Love Your Team

People love people, and the younger workforce, millennials look at a brand purpose as much as just salary, when it comes to who to work for. Customers are not just the people who buy. They are the people who help create the products and services, in our company. So, following the same principle of getting to know the external customer, really work on trying to understand the team. Not just an annual or periodic appraisal but as with any relationship, real-time constant effort to empathise.

What Works Best?

I listened, or “attended” a great CIM Practical Insights Webinar on emailing the other day on Emailing. It made the point that effective emailing is loved by customers. It is wrong to imagine people hate email. Bad emails are unsubscribed. Good messages, which understand our customer problems, feelings and issues will work. And in fact, there is no problem emailing even weekly. I mention this, because the webinar presenter stressed the need to focus on your customer. Love them. To love them, you need to really know them, and fit them into marketing relationships including social media, blogs, events and your whole range of activities you engage with them. In 2018 to really love your customer, just like a partner in life, you need to understand them 100%, their buying, and then deliver a service. I thought I would just remind myself a few key pointers in order to do this.

Contact us if you have any questions

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Marketing

GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing

A few weeks on and we are still all in one piece. A month on, and the key message I am getting from people working in marketing, who aim to engage with customers and markets, is: they are exploring all ways to communicate and listen. This means offline such as brochures, leaflets, magazines, events and so on as well as the more recent focus in recent years on digital which is now under pressure because of data privacy. GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing. Know your customer journey. Create engaging marketing strategies and campaigns.

This is Good Marketing

But hang on a minute, you may be asking?! Isn’t this what every professional marketer learns in the Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate or Diploma…Or indeed what a small business hears at events presented by enthusiastic local marketers preaching at events up and down the country week in, week out regarding “integrated marketing.” The need in other words, to use ever tool at our disposal.

A Simple Reminder

For every customer, there is a journey we or he/she travels to purchase a product or service. Here is very helpful template produced by UK Consultancy Customer Champions, speak to Colin Bates for more information.

Customer Journey Mapping

The beauty of this template is that it starts you thinking. For your business, it will be different. You will not have this identical journey, you will have more, lines across and down in likelihood and probably not the same. But it helps you create a model. And, in a GDPR world, we all think it terms of what data we need in any marketing approach. 

Budget Reallocation 

At a Dorset Business Angels meeting and a Chartered Institute of Marketing meeting recently I heard instances of budgets being reallocated post May 25th. What is happening is that with data privacy rules changing, the reach of marketers to be able to be effective with certain digital tools, means they are looking to reallocate spending. Leaflets and online spend is being re-evaluated, for example. In particular being more effective using existing digital tools.

An Effective Strategy 

Talking of being effective, the customer journey is about putting your strategy into action. Either your overall strategy or a campaign. I’ve used this before, but it works: 

Marketing and Sales Plan

The ICO

The Information Commissioner ICO, responsible for overseeing GDPR always made the point, that the 25th of May was just the beginning. There was no “big-bang”, but I am impressed how the general level of privacy awareness now, means nobody is prepared to put up with receiving or agreeing to send mass emails anymore. Or to allow the mismanagement of private data that ended up abusing all our privacy. But it’s not the rules that excite me. GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing. Know your customer journey. Create engaging marketing strategies and campaigns.


Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Idea - intellectual property IP

The Intellectual Property IP contribution to Company Value can be vital.

As the WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANISATION WIPO puts it: “A crucial point about legal protection of intellectual property is that it turns intangible assets into exclusive property rights, albeit for a limited period of time.” It makes intangible assets a bit more tangible, and assets tradable. You may have created new ideas. But you need to protect them. Protected by IP rights they acquire value. Your ideas then cannot be commercialised without your authorisation. You can include your IP rights on the balance sheet. When? This is something you need expert advice upon – more on this below. You may complete an IP and technology audit. Indeed, that could show your IP worth more than your “tangible” assets! At Dorset Business Angels, our Chairman Don McQueen, Vice Chairman Frank Guinn and expert colleagues in IP have been frustrated seeing young inventors failing to protect their ideas and inventions; they and other businesses frequently lack commercialisation capabilities. By this I mean, the process to introduce new product or service to the general market; understanding IP is part of this. We offer mentoring to try and redress this. And partner with experts to pass on expertise. The Intellectual Property IP contribution to company value can be vital. Of course, some directors maximise IP opportunities: they create, protect and utilise IP. Others are wasteful. You need first class legal and financial IP advice on IP. And a great management team to realise IP and valuation opportunities.

IP on the Balance Sheet

Here is a concise and excellent explanation from Metis Partners, who are a multi-disciplinary IP firm with a proven track record in the assessment, exploitation, monetisation, valuation and sale of intellectual property assets (“IP assets”). “It is often difficult for companies to get recognition for investment in IP assets on their balance sheets, despite the fact that these assets often make up in excess of 80% of the company valuation. Although certain types of IP assets can be capitalised at cost, the accounting rules don’t make this easy – typically, the most valuable IP assets such as the company brand cannot be capitalised on the balance sheet.” more on this here. Metis are also behind the excellent Intellectual Property League Table – you can read the IP 100 top hundred league table and case studies special report.

Company Valuation

If you have Intellectual Property IP it will add value to your business. So on this topic, how do you value a business? For existing businesses there are a number of ways, typically:

Earnings Multiples – a formula for how to value a business based on a multiple of net profits (the Price/Earnings (P/E) Ratio representing the value of the business divided by its post tax profits.). Accountants can usually provide the multiple for your sector.

Equity strategy that will increase the multiplier. Building business assets. But while multiples of earnings can be used as a business valuation method, there is no standard P/E ratio figure that can be used to value every business. Certain sectors, such as IT and technology have higher ratios than retail for example. If the business is reliant on a few products or has one or two key people for example, this creates a higher risk of buying the business which will also mean a lower P/E ratio.

The less reliant on an owner the business, the higher the business valuation.
Other drivers of business valuation include:

 

  • new product range capability
  • Price/margin increase opportunity (for more profits)
  • Expansion of distribution channels
  • Expansion into new markets
  • In fact a marketing mix review, assessing opportunities to leverage the capabilities of the company, this will affect the value

Silicon Valley valuation modelNick Hixson Director of Hixsons shared this with us, a more modern, and more helpful approach perhaps?

Its all about the team – so all employees have shares.

Valuation – 2 bases aggregated: Asset value – what they have created in real assts plus any IP, plus future value, calculated in simplest terms as probability of future earnings. So, if the future value is £100m, and there’s a 1% chance of it happening, value now is £1m.

Critically, release of money isn’t all in one go, nor is it predicated on future milestones. Usually, you get more once sales pass £x, profits achieve £y etc. SV valuations and release of funds are based on learnings. Learnings occur when they get better info on market, customers, whatever is critical and adapt pans fast such that probability improves. Thus is how valuations move. If probability of success becomes 2%, suddenly valuation goes from £1m to £2m.

Value

Our investors at DBA are looking for a good deal. Value. Chairman Don McQueen in a recent interview with Dorset Magazine gave his “Top Tips for a Successful Pitch”. Don is highly experienced with matters IP. Interestingly, whilst he values greatly IP and always asks about it of our presenters. He did not list it as one of the key tips. IP is valuable, don’t get me wrong, and will greatly affect company value – crucial to an investor. “Pre Money Valuation” is the value of the company before business angel investors put money into the company. It’s a matter of opinion. Typically investors wanting a lower price (understandably) and owner/entrepreneurs seeking the highest price. But there appears to be noticeably higher submitted Pre-Money-Values these days that we receive. And perhaps accounts for a good number of rejections! In the end, what is the key thing the investors are looking for? It goes back to what Don McQueen says in his Top Tips, it is ultimately the quality of the management team, that makes the difference. That is the reality. That is the view of investors. The Intellectual Property IP contribution to company value can be vital. Of course, some directors maximise IP opportunities: they create, protect and utilise IP. Others are wasteful. You need first class legal and financial IP advice on IP. And a great management team to realise IP and valuation opportunities.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Brent Hoberman

People Love a Story, so what is yours?

How you can be ready to share your ideas at events, conference, networking, face-to-face then promote this online? I attended the UK Business Angels Association UKBAA Summit at Canada House in Trafalgar Square a year or so ago: there was a real buzz to the UKBAA Summit event. This was a terrific event because each speaker really knew their stuff, the content was relevant and speakers first rate. Many speakers had a great story to tell on investing success and even failures, but still fascinating and helpful to the audience. There were entrepreneurs, people interested in investing, finance and the whole angel, VC and crowdfunding area which is booming in the UK, and in fact globally. Speaker after speaker, individually and in panels gave very focused insights. And in networking sessions everyone wanted to know who was who, and might they help with a deal. Money talks. People love a story so what is yours?

It got me thinking, when I saw speakers such as Brent Hoberman, co-founder of lastminute.com, and Founders Factory; Gerard Grech CEO of Tech City, and Lara Morgan all crackling with energy: people were on the edge of their seats listening to these guys and totally engaged. What I was thinking was how a top performer in their field exudes a confidence and class that is just obvious to the audience? This is similar to higher levels people have associated with certain top sportsmen such as Lionel Messi or Roger Federer. The latter two and the top performers at the conference share a focus, total belief, incredible competence (sure!), but must have worked harder than most and combined skill with honed methods to be good at capturing our imagination.

The Story

Even so, it could be that great conference speakers and succesful business people have just been lucky. Would we have listened to their story or anything they had to say when they first started out? I actually think we would. Not necessarily on the topics they speak about now, but it is pretty well established now in business-thinking, that a strong vision is based on a firm set of values or a clear “why” (see Simon Sinek’s video Ted Talk), which drives a leader’s passion. So an Alan Sugar or Richard Branson would  have been able to deliver a rousing “stump speech” even early on in their careers. People love a story and if you are clear about what is important to you, your company and vision, then it is worth having your stump speech ready.

In the USA they call it a a stump speech is a standard campaign speech used by someone running for public office. The term derives from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town to town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their speech.

And if you are able to prove to people and to yourself you make happen, it isn’t just words. That is powerful.

Clear Pitch, Story and Offer

Why are you doing this? Your reason. And why  should people choose you? What does the market say about your product? And here are a few key marketing questions I always ask myself about a pitch:
  • What is the problem to solve, what is the solution?
  • Who suffers from this/benefits from this? A profile of your target customer “a persona“.
  • Elevator Pitch – overarching message, “one line” + 4 subpoints. Here is a great video to support this.
  • How is it differentiated? cheaper, better, different – or possibly a combination.

If “pitch” is a word you are not used to then, change this for “offer”. What is it you are offering to people.

Support your Story Online

So when you or any of us go off to an event, conference or to meet people face-to-face, have we got something about our story online for people to look at? A website page, case study, or at least some contact details. You need a website, social media business pages ready – LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook, these are probably the minimum online resources you need to share your story. Plus of course some protocols and basic company rules of what is and is not going to be posted – words and design guidelines. A blog is ideal to start sharing your story, articles and helpful content. The picture can be built up with a little thought ahead of any event you attend. Then taking a few photos and posting them online will get you noticed.
Contact us if you have any questions
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited
Peter Eales

Creating with purpose gives value

That’s me, making a sandcastle. Creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, what a joy. It may not look like it! The first picture I have of me. Friends say, “you always looked worried.” Fact was, I was thinking about the next job in hand. Organising a game. Making something else. So not exactly worried, more concerned: how do you make a cracking sandcastle? Or put sticks into wet sand upright for goal-posts or a wicket? Problems. Solve them and you have fun. Or avoid being told off. Or discover interesting things, beautiful places and write stories. These days, creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, for example a new idea, a story, a product or project. How do you do it? It may sound simple, but if you understand the creative business process clearly, you improve innovation and business planning. It’s surprising how people get it wrong, how others do it brilliantly but cannot organise it more formally. Create successful projects or create something from an idea – many people fail to do this, here is how to solve that. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. You can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.

What’s the creative block?

This problem, I see falls into a number of categories at work. The main ones, I find are:

  • People in an established, large business may not be used to innovation
  • Personnel/staff may not be used to innovation, and feel unable to create ideas
  • Poor organisation culture – ideas are squashed
  • The boss does all the thinking
  • Health – shorter term, lack of energy, fitness and sleep
  • Motivation
  • How to do it

I’m not going to deal with all of these now. Let’s look at the essential issue of “creating” in a business.

There’s Nothing New?

I’ve always thought Jeffrey Baumgartner, to be unparalleled in his writing on creativity. Here is an extended quote from him, with his definition of creativity:

“Creativity is combining two or more existing notions in your mind in order to create an all new notion. In other words, creativity is about playing with bits and pieces of information that are stored away in your mind and putting two or more of them together in an all new way to. This is fascinating when you think about it. Every idea we have ever had, from the dawn of the human race until today, has been built on existing ideas. At some point, a very long time ago, a homo sapien found that if she put a chunk of animal on the fire, it tasted better, stayed edible longer and she needed to eat less frequently when she ate cooked foods.”From: <https://www.creativejeffrey.com/creativity/intro.php>

Valuable Tools

It’s debatable how completely new or re-used your creation is. But Jeffrey writes extensively on setting challenges, problem solving and producing creative solutions. What comes out of this is, stepping outside of situations, looking for models, templates, processes and producing answers. Create exciting ways of making ideas, services and products to make things better. Make money, or situations better.

So What? Is there a Problem?

In a previous article I wrote about: The “So What Test” Why wait for someone else to suggest it is “this” or “that way”?  Just remember, ask “So what? Is there a problem? Does it offer the customer a great solution, if not, don’t bother.” It’s the question we ask at Dorset Business Angels, of presentation pitches, asking for funding. Just as the dragons do on BBC Dragons Den. Don’t get carried away creating a business, asking for money, if people will not buy your product because it is not needed. Get creative on your favourite hobby or another outlet for your creativity.

Enough?

Once we create: work, products and so on, the results need distributing and maintaining, plus skillsets of all kinds in addition to creative talents are essential. Analytical, interpersonal, leadership and many more talents are complimentary including less creative aspects of marketing of course, for example in the digital arena. Creativity in itself or non-creative tasks are not per se “good”, it depends on the context. As Peter Drucker, the most pre-eminent business thinker or the 20th century wrote: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” Two things strike me here. First Drucker says create a customer. Secondly innovation is in essence a creative process. In a world fearful of automation the dreaded “ai” or #ai, creativity and innovation is essential for profit, for business, and needs the creative people. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. Remember you can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.

 

 

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM

A Founder Director Dorset Business Angels

MD o i solutions limited

The Wild West

Angel Investment is not the Wild West

I heard Nick Hewer, ex The Apprentice voice-over an advert warning about rogue investment  scams. And wisely advising people of the risks of silly investments. Good advice. However, every business we work for started with investment. Our pensions rely on sound investments. So Nick or any adviser’s warning about risk is about understanding where you are putting your money. It’s why at Dorset Business Angels, we are part of UKBAA – UK Business Angels Association, who work with the Government, HMRC and the FCA to regulate the investment into the start-up and growth business markets – i.e. the angel investment which is certainly not the Wild West! The process experienced angels follow – people who invest into start-ups and early stage growth businesses – is in fact similar to that of a Fund Manager investing in large companies, bonds or other sectors of the market. Let me share some insights.

How a Fund Manager Invests Our Money

If you, like me you have pensions, savings and ISAs then you will have working behind these products a Fund Manager. Investopedia is the largest financial education website in the world.  So first on to the WHO are Fund Managers? Investopedia has a nice succinct definition of Fund Manager Responsibilities: “Primarily, fund managers research and determine the best stocksbonds or other securities to fit the strategy of the fund as outlined in the prospectus, then buy and sell them. At larger funds, the fund manager will have a support staff of analysts and traders who will perform some of these activities.” More. And KAPLAN SCHEWSER (the world leader in providing premier Chartered Financial Analyst exam prep materials), has a useful few words on “What Does a Fund Manager Do?” some key parts echo what I will write about what angel investors do in a while, “A large component of a fund management position is research… companies…meet with investment analysts and company managers to better understand pertinent financial information. They also likely have a team of financial analysts…to do more in-depth analysis on firms, markets, and economic variables. This helps them make recommendations and predictions about future prices and trends.” More.

It’s Not So Different

Fund managers have hundreds of hours experience. Angel investors, have decades of experience in business.
So WHO are business angels?
A typical profile would include:

  • All HNW and / or Sophisticated Investors more
  • Successful “exited” entrepreneurs.
  • Retired senior executives.
  • Family or inherited money.
  • Those who are involved with their own business with access to funds.
  • Those willing to invest time as well as cash.
  • Wanting to “give back” and have fun!

What do Business Angels Do?
Like fund managers, this broadly includes:

  • Research for plans, pitches and companies from networks – in our case this includes accountants, investors, financial services companies and directly from companies seeking investment.
  • Angel networks usually analyse the plans, financials and forecast and sift through before selecting the best for presenting to members.
  • At pitch events, rigorous questioning leaves the better businesses taken to the next stage for investors to do due diligence. Investor angels similar to fund managers and analysts will usually have sector specific areas of skill and experience that they stick to.
  • Angels do not rely on one investment, they usually make several, building relationships, and a portfolio over the years. For more on how this, read the Dorset Business Angels About Us page.

People and Business Investment

So angel investment is not the wild west.  There is a higher level of risk with start-up businesses and those in early growth stages. Equally the opportunities for growth are there too. The process experienced angels follow – people who invest into start-ups and early stage growth businesses – is in fact very similar to that of a Fund Manager investing in stocks, bonds, or securities.  It starts with broad based research, more detailed analysis, numbers, people, due diligence, managing risks and opportunities and creating a portfolio over a number of years. And of course it’s about investing in people and business.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Peter Eales at Dorset Business Angels

It’s about the people they solve the problems

Quick Answer Blog

Question: For Investors is it the people or idea that’s more important?

Answer: It’s about the people they solve the problems.

Angel investors are often asked is it the people or idea you invest in. It looks as if I have given you a simple, clear answer. In a way, I have. It is the people. The reason being, problems change, and you need to know the management team can deal with tomorrow, and future years’ problems. The complete answer is it’s about the people they solve the problems, create value and business models. The key point being, an idea which is fantastic in the mind of the inventor, or today, is of NO VALUE, if nobody buys it, or if it is useless tomorrow.

Great people spot a problem to be solved, choose a valuable idea, solution, business model, strategies, plan and will make it happen. Do their answers add up? Does the story match your understanding? Questions are about people and the business – they are inextricably linked. Especially at the beginning of a business. And when the owner is standing in front of you appealing for funding. Their livelihood literally depending on it. It’s fascinating, life-changing, moving, and we see it happening at our pitches. The situation is clear. For Investors is it the people or idea that’s more important? It’s about the people they solve the problems create value and business models.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Dorset Business Angels and UKBAA Member Benefits for Angel Investors

This a great time to become an angel investor at Dorset Business Angels (DBA), especially with UK Business Angels Association, (UKBAA), where we are a member, doing so much for investors. For example, there will be a new regional member hub opening 22nd March offering a physical focal point from which to build and connect the angel community. As well as free co-working, UKBAA’s Hubs, open to DBA members offers, hot desking and meeting space, and an opportunity for investors to get to know other investors in their region, identify new angel investors, access a programme of training and support and interface with start-ups and scaleups from the local community. The hubs are a new benefit to complement the existing DBA and UKBAA member benefits and bring you some of the best angel investment opportunities both locally and nationally to your door. It can be fun, rewarding, a unique fascinating networking experience with like-minded successful people. Let me share more examples of the work DBA and UKBAA does with members.

UKBAA – their Members and Member Benefits

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow. A wide range of players make up the angel and early-stage ecosystem and UKBAA’s membership services are therefore tailored to suit these multiple constituents – including angel networks, syndicates, individual investors, early-stage VCs, equity crowdfunding platforms, accelerators, professional advisers and intermediaries. There are different types of member including the following.

Individual angels

  • An angel investor, private investor or high net worth (HNW) individual.
  • Can be a member of an existing syndicate, network or fund.
  • Must be self-certified as an HNW or sophisticated investor.

Angel syndicates

  • A small group from 2-50 investors.
  • Investing either collectively or in smaller groups on an adhoc basis.
  • Unregulated or regulated under the FCA.
  • May also have an investment vehicle or sidecar fund.

Angel networks and groups

  • A structured or constituted business angel group.
  • Can be investing through syndicates on an adhoc or regular basis.
  • May be unregulated or regulated under the FCA.
  • May also operate a sidecar or EIS/SEIS fund.

Other Key Membership Types

  • Professional Advisory Firms.
  • Crowdfunding and online investment platforms.
  • Venture capital and investment funds.
  • Corporates – aimed at large leading players in their industry with the capability and objective to play a significant role in the angel and early-stage investment market. Read more on the UKBAA website.

Key member benefits include

  • Events and networking across the UK.
  • Technical support – Guides and tools to support your investments.
  • Tailored introductions – Based on your experience, geography and sector interests – (members only).
  • Exclusive investor events – Network with like-minded investors (members only).

Member Benefits for Dorset Business Angels Investors

Our experienced professional team offer a carefully selected range of high growth companies, all of which receive investment ready training and preparation to aid the investment process prior to our regular company presentation events. We already have a solid reputation for providing access to some of the hottest deals in the UK.

Angel Investment comes in many shapes and sizes. Investments from as little as £5K help businesses advancing their growth, enables you to add value in more ways than in a financial aspect, and is potentially highly tax efficient. By becoming a member of Dorset Business Angels, you join an established, respected and successful network of like-minded business people.

Key Benefits Include

  • Access to four Investor Dinners, book now for the coming pitch event.
  • Networking with like-minded High-Net-Worth and Sophisticated Investors.
  • Opportunities to share in funding rounds from previous pitches.
  • We supply access to investor information via dropbox with member only access. This is managed by our Vice Chair Frank Guinn. Email moc.tenretnitbnull@nniugknarf who manages this for our members.
  • Notification of deal opportunities outside of events that arise via on-line communications.
  • News and opportunities from UK Business Angels Association with 30+ networks, VCs and crowdfunding partners plus links to our network of financial partners.
  • We are partners to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and have access to specific events, tickets and offers.
  • A DBA Facebook page. A LinkedIn Group. A Twitter site.
  • An Investors’ Conference with national speakers, every two years.
  • We are sponsored by Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants tax experts available to advise, Investec Wealth & Investment and Financial Advisers and Laceys Solicitors recent Dorset Legal Award winners for Commercial Team of the Year 2018.

Membership is just £30 per annum with no joining fee. Just contact me, via the Dorset Business Angels contact us page. You will also need to self-certify, please read more below on this. More on this on our DBA About Us Page, speak to me if you need more. It explains how investors need to be High Net Worth or Sophisticated Investors.

Summary

This a great time to become an angel investor at Dorset Business Angels, especially with UK Business Angels Association, (UKBAA), where we are a member, doing so much for investors. DBA and UKBAA member benefits bring you some of the best angel investment opportunities both locally and nationally to your door. It can be fun, rewarding, a unique fascinating networking experience with like-minded successful people.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Startup and growth companies two excellent funding starting points

These are two great website resources, UKBAA member directory and Growth Hubs offering startup and growth companies two excellent funding starting points.

UKBAA

UK Business Angels Association, Member directory.

Filter By:
Choose the elements to filter the search by, or leave a section blank to search all criteria within the section.

So,

Investor type includes:

  • angel
  • venture capital
  • crowdfunders
  • incubators & accelerators
  • grants
  • private equity

Regions of the UK

Investment range – £150k, then up to £10m in bands

Sector Focus

This is also good if you are a potential investor.

Either way, entrepreneur or investor, the UKBAA team will put you in contact with one of their vetted, registered UKBAA members that matches your requirements from across the UK.

About UKBAA

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow

Growth Hubs – Our Second Great Website Recommendation for Funding

Growth hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. There is a network of 38 hubs. You can find the growth hub nearest to you by hovering over the map, and click on the map or click on the relevant LEP area in the list on the right to take you to the relevant growth hub website. Both the www.gov.uk website and the Business Support Helpline also offer advice about starting up a business and can direct business to more support. Businesses can call 0300 456 3565 to speak to a business support advisor (9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday).

These are two great website resources, UKBAA member directory and Growth Hubs offering startup and growth companies two excellent funding starting points.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

New Product

What’s the MVP of GDPR? What to do first, best, quickest

Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a new product or service technique to create sufficient features to satisfy customers. It may not be 100 percent perfect, but you do what’s most important. With the new personal privacy GDPR law for May 25th 2018, let’s adopt this approach for the purpose of this article. Why? Because MVP is great for focusing on putting what is important, practical, what works, and is legally required. I suggest this, for the opposite reasons some may suggest i.e. I may be trying to rush, or be lazy, or even cut corners. No. I think the alternative approach many are following of a slavish line by line, Bleak House style adherence to a frightening rule book, is confusing businesses. And in cases, they end up doing nothing, the worst possible scenario. What’s the MVP of GDPR? What to do first, best, quickest. I would suggest, as the ICO, suggests appoint someone for data compliance, follow the ICO 12 steps, especially focus on your lawful basis for processing and writing a privacy policy. That puts you in good shape. Let me just explain a few points.

Lawful Processing

The lawful basis for processing data is really your starting point. At least one of these must apply whenever you process personal data:

(a) Consent: the individual has given clear consent for you to process their personal data for a specific purpose.

(b) Contract: the processing is necessary for a contract you have with the individual, or because they have asked you to take specific steps before entering into a contract.

(c) Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for you to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations).

(d) Vital interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.

(e) Public task: the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

(f) Legitimate interests: the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party unless there is a good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides those legitimate interests. (This cannot apply if you are a public authority processing data to perform your official tasks.)

With existing customers, businesses often get confused. So, if you have customers, you will probably have a contract, hence you do not need to get consent to deal with them! Or you may have Legitimate Interest to hold peoples’s personal data. For marketing however you can deal with them on the basis of consent. Your prospects or the market you sell to for example a mailing list, you will need to obtain consent from. Any old data, get rid of if it, or get it updated. You can do this by email, letter or even orally. But you need proof, including a date.

Privacy Notices

The starting point of a privacy notice should be to tell people:

  • who you are;
  • what you are going to do with their information; and
  • who it will be shared with.

These are the basics upon which all privacy notices should be built. However, they can also tell people more than this and should do so where you think that not telling people will make your processing of that information unfair. A privacy notice in most cases is a website privacy notice, for an example visit the ICO Privacy Notice. But they may be required on various documents, online and paper such as for parking, ticketing, rent and so on.

Data Compliance Officer (DCO)

You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer. The ICO website will tell you more. Your DCO needs to make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have.

Summary

What’s the MVP of GDPR? What to do first, best, quickest. I would suggest, as the ICO, suggests appoint someone for data compliance, follow the ICO 12 steps, especially focus on your lawful basis for processing and writing a privacy policy. That puts you in good shape. For a comprehensive list of what to do we’ve summarised it in this article.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited