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Welcome to Handy Croissant

Oct 26, 2014

Staying competitive


At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, Tony Thomson of Third Wave Business Development Specialists gave an absorbing presentation aimed at helping members understand how they can become and stay competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.



Staying competitive – know your OWC from your OQC!

At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, Tony Thomson of Third Wave Business Development Specialists gave an absorbing presentation aimed at helping members understand how they can become and stay competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.

Tony described how a business would typically begin its strategic planning by doing an environmental scan to assess the state of the external macro-environment in which they are operating. This could be through a PESTLE Analysis, which looks at political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and environmental factors. Additionally, a Porter’s “Five Forces” analysis could be carried, along with a range of other analyses.

Then Tony suggested following this up with a twist (literally) on the well-known SWOT analysis, turning it into a TOWS analysis. This reminds us to look at the external threats and opportunities before assessing the strengths we have that we can use to exploit the opportunities and the weaknesses we need to address to minimise any threats. Tony recommends looking at the strengths and weaknesses of: the individuals in your team, the team itself (its complementary strengths) and your competitors.

Measuring ourselves against the competitors

When comparing ourselves our competitors, Tony described how we can look at order-qualifying criteria (OQC) and order-winning criteria (OWC). Order-qualifying criteria are the characteristics your product or service or company have to have to even be considered by a potential client. For example, gas engineers should be Gas Safe registered. Without this, they will not even be considered, but it doesn’t differentiate them from all the other Gas Safe registered engineers. Order-winning criteria are characteristics, preferably unique, that differentiate your business from your competitors. For example, if two products meet all the order-qualifying criteria, then price or quality are often order-winning criteria. In small owner-managed businesses the personality and competence of the owner can be the order-winning criteria.

Marketing – accentuate the positive!

When it comes to marketing, you want to try to convince the client that the features that differentiate your product or service are the most important features to position them as the order-winning criteria in the mind of the client. Your competitors will be trying to convince potential customers that their differentiating features are more important and that your differentiating features are less important. You will also want to try to explain why their differentiating features are less important. It is important to keep reviewing the external environment and your competitors because order-winning criteria become order-qualifying criteria over time as competitors catch on and start to imitate.

It is also important to be able to communicate the key benefits of your product or service to potential clients, not just the features. One way to dig down to the core benefit is to keep asking “So what?” until you get something concrete; preferably something that can be used to create a numerical comparison. Take for example the case of a car salesman trying to convince a potential customer of the benefits of airbags:

“All of our cars have air bags” (feature) “So what?”

“So you have better protection in event of an accident” (advantage) “So what?”

“Well in 95%* of minor accidents involving cars fitted with air bags, occupants are likely to get at worst minor injuries. Whereas 45%* of occupants sustain more serious injuries in cars involved in accidents where no air bags are fitted” (Benefit).

* Not actual figures.

Contact Tony Thomson for more information

For more information about Third Wave Business Development Specialists contact Tony Thomson MBA,info@thirdwaveweb.co.uk, mob: +44-(0)7785-363-502, tel: +44-(0)1628-487-912,www.thirdwaveweb.co.uk.

News
Oct 28, 2016
We've got a visitors' day on Friday 18 November. Come along and meet the members of our business development group. Join us at the Holiday Inn, Handy Cross (J4 of the M40) from 07:15 - 09:00. It's FREE to attend. If you're interested in attending, email us at info@handycroissant.com.
Dec 24, 2015
Handy Croissant member Tony Thomson of Third Wave Business Development recently presented a five-step business planning process to members. This will be followed up in the new year with an interactive workshop to help members review and augment their plans for 2016.
Oct 16, 2015
Recently, Handy Croissant member Matt Simpson of Ingenuity IT outlined the essential elements you should look for when you’re assessing an IT support company. When some of the highlights in this summary.
Oct 7, 2015

Recently, Handy Croissant member Theresa Marks of AddHR spoke to the group about the importance of accurate and reliable data for the HR function and the potential costs of not getting this right. She illustrated the subject with some case studies.

Sep 23, 2015

The Members of Handy Croissant would like to invite you to a Business Breakfast at The Holiday Inn High Wycombe (J4, M40) on Friday 9th October 2015, 7.15am – 9am.

R.S.V.P to Jerry Hughes, Chairman. Tel: 07973-749176. Email info@handycroissant.com.

Jun 29, 2015

Recently, Handy Croissant member Steve Gunn of Steve Gunn & Associates described a process to help members develop a unique and powerful value proposition. The process builds on previous strategy sessions for Handy Croissant members that have examined the Business Model Canvas and Strategy Canvas, and was prompted by a value proposition development project Steve had carried out for a client.

Jun 14, 2015
Lindsay Horler, Marketing Director of Excel Office Supplies Ltd, visited to explain to members the relationship the Company is developing with the Better Schools Project, a schools procurement partnership that aims to deliver best value on a full range of products and services for schools by using its specialist knowledge to source suppliers who offer exceptional value and service.
May 19, 2015

Recently, member Rita Adams of A.R.M. Credit Control explained how managing cash flow and customers is the key to credit control success. Rita said that the critical elements for success were to ensure you have the:

  • Right customer.
  • Right terms.
  • Right process.

Rita went on to explain each of these elements in detail.

May 9, 2015
Recently, member and marketing consultant Steve Gunn, of Steve Gunn & Associates, presented to members on how to get maximum benefit from their “marketing toolbox”.
Apr 25, 2015
Handy Croissant member Steve Groves of Take One Business Communication recently outlined some of the ways in which you can use video to promote your business.
Mar 20, 2015
Phil Stebbings of Flackwell Financial Services, who joined Handy Croissant recently, used his first spotlight session to tell us about his business and also explore the benefits of ISAs.
Mar 12, 2015
Recently, Handy Croissant member Matt Simpson of Ingenuity IT outlined some enhancements to the Company's service package which ensure that it has a laser focus on helping its clients achieve worry-free business benefit from their IT.
Feb 21, 2015

Handy Croissant member Theresa Marks of Add HR recently used a range of case studies to illustrate how her professional HR services add value to the businesses she works with. Add HR provides practical, no-nonsense HR support and works with customers to develop a  service package precisely tailored to their needs.

Feb 1, 2015

Handy Croissant member Steve Gunn, of Steve Gunn & Associates Ltd, recently presented an interactive session entitled “A beginners guide on how to approach media interviews”. This interactive session included a couple of practice interviews with Handy Croissant members, along with hints and tips on how to prepare for and conduct yourself in media interviews.

Jan 20, 2015
Join Handy Croissant member A.R.M. Credit Control and MinistryForGrowth, for ‘Cash Control – Growth without tears” An evening event at Metro Bank High Wycombe on Thursday 12th February 2015. Sponsored by Growth Accelerator and Handy Croissant member Metro Bank.
Dec 31, 2014

Handy Croissant member Phil Holliday, of PH Cleaning, recently gave a very interesting presentation about carpet cleaning. You may think this is a simple, straightforward task, but Phil revealed the tips of the trade concerning how to keep your carpets looking and feeling great for many years.

Dec 29, 2014
Join Handy Croissant members A.R.M. Credit Control and Metro Bank, along with MinistryForGrowth, for ‘Cash Control – Growth without tears” An evening event at Metro Bank High Wycombe on 12th February 2015. Sponsored by Growth Accelerator.
Dec 6, 2014

Handy Croissant member Tony Thomson of Third Wave Business Development recently presented a practical approach to carrying out SWOT analyses. He noted that most people start with the “SW” portion of a SWOT analysis – the strengths and weaknesses, which are internal factors. Tony suggested reversing this practice and starting with the “OT” portion – the opportunities and threats, which examines external factors.

Nov 28, 2014
Handy Croissant member Matt Simpson, Managing Director of Ingenuity IT, recently presented an overview of “the cloud” and its pros and cons to members. He reminded us that anyone who has used webmail has actually made use of the cloud.
Oct 30, 2014

Update: Postponed until the New Year. See update here.

Join Handy Croissant members A.R.M. Credit Control and Metro Bank, along with MinistryForGrowth, for ‘Cash Control – Growth without tears” An evening event at Metro Bank High Wycombe on November 6th.

Oct 26, 2014

At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, Tony Thomson of Third Wave Business Development Specialists gave an absorbing presentation aimed at helping members understand how they can become and stay competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.

Sep 14, 2014

Handy Croissant member Steve Gunn of Steve Gunn & Associates Ltd recently presented on the topic of effective planning of communications activities with the aim of helping the members to make their communications activities more successful and cost-effective

Jul 4, 2014

At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, group member David Banes gave a presentation entitled “It’s only email”. Drawing on his experience in the IT industry, where his work encompassed IT security and anti-spam technology, David outlined:

  • Some of the ways in which people, especially in small business, abuse their business email accounts when sending marketing emails, and how to improve the situation.
  • The dangers posed by incoming email and some ways in which you can mitigate them.
Jul 2, 2014
Handy Croissant are delighted to have been asked to run a networking session at the Wycombe Business Expo, which takes place on 21st October at Adams Park, home to London Wasps and Wycombe Wanderers.
Feb 25, 2014
Seymour Taylor, accountants in High Wycombe, Marlow and the Thames Valley have been named the number one medium size firm of accountants in the country.
Apr 30, 2012
A.R.M. Credit Control team grows with the arrival of Tamara and Emma to ensure greater capability, improved service and even speedier money collection for clients.
Oct 28, 2011
Handy Croissant today exhibited at the Wycome Expo, the second of what hopefully will prove to be a regular annual event. Excellent visitor levels show the enthusiasm in the Bucks area for new business opportunities.
Oct 11, 2011
Handy Croissant, one of High Wycombes oldest breakfast networking groups, are delighted to welcome Jerry Hughes of Auditel as a new member.
Sep 14, 2010
When local business networking group Handy Croissant held its annual charity golf day recently at Hazlemere Golf Club it raised £740 for its chosen charity which this year is the Ian Rennie Hospice.
Sep 14, 2010
Excel Office Supplies, which is run by long-standing Handy Croissant member Ian Horler, has won a major industry award in the face of stiff national competition.
Sep 14, 2010
A group of 15 business people from The Handy Croissant, High Wycombe’s leading business networking group, recently had the privilege of being given a tour of the Palace of Westminster, including the House of Commons and the House of Lords.