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Email marketing proves its worth amid postal price hikes

Forward-looking marketers throughout the UK are focusing their attention on the power of email marketing as they review their direct marketing budgets following Royal Mail’s shock price hikes. While many businesses were left reeling from the news of the forthcoming increase in the cost of First Class stamps, we have already noticed an increase in the number of enquiries from companies and associations keen to embrace the benefits of targeted email marketing campaigns.

Email marketing remains highly cost-effective and consistently proves its worth as a primary means of engaging directly with members. Additionally, with explosive sales of smartphones and iPads recorded over the past year, email is being accessed more regularly than ever before, providing a golden opportunity to target core audiences with highly tailored messages.

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Budget: Health & Safety regulation review

The Government are introducing legislative change in 2012 so that health and safety law will no longer hold employers to be in breach of their duties in civil law where they have done everything that is reasonably practicable and foreseeable to protect their employees;

  •  giving the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) authority to direct all local authority health and safety inspection and enforcement activity, in order to ensure that it is consistent and targeted towards the most risky workplaces. A code based on existing powers will be introduced in April 2013;
  • amending the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to remove the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel. Revised guidance aimed at small business will be published by May 2012, and provisions repealed by October 2012;
  • amending the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation (RIDDOR) and its associated guidance to provide clarity for businesses on how to comply with the requirements by October 2013. This is in addition to the legislative change being made in April 2012 to extend to seven days (from three) the period an employee needs to have taken off work before an injury or accident needs to be reported;
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A new national programme launched to help SMEs

A new national programme which will focus on helping small and medium manufacturing businesses to grow has officially launched, Business Minister Mark Prisk and the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium (MAC) announced recently.

The new Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is now available to all manufacturing businesses across England. It will be delivered by the MAC, which is comprised of Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium Ltd and SWMAS Ltd. It has been estimated that the new MAS will help to generate £1.5 billion in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 jobs.

Businesses interested in finding out more about the programme can find out more by visiting www.mymas.org or by calling an advisor on 0845 658 9600.

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New intellectual property support for SMEs

The package forms part of the Government’s Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth, which has been published today. It sets out plans to boost growth through substantial investment in research and innovation across the UK.

 Key actions announced today by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) include:

  •  A new online business advisor training tool that will give advisors the skills and information they need to help businesses protect the value of their intellectual property.
  • An online register of advisors to help businesses find the right advisor for them quickly and easily.
  • Consulting businesses, business advisors and IP specialists about how lower cost IP legal and commercial advice can be provided.
  • Offering free intellectual property audits to businesses through routes such as the Technology Strategy Board.
  • Enhancing existing schemes such as mediation to provide a more efficient dispute resolution service that can prevent potentially costly legal cases.
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Apprenticeships: Cable guarantees quality, slashes red tape and delivers cash boost for firms

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced new measures to ensure more young people benefit from an apprenticeship, and to help employers gain the skilled workers they need to grow.

As part of the Government’s plan for growth, Ministers are taking action to make it easier for companies to take on apprentices, and ensure that the quality of apprenticeships is continually improved. He told businesses in Londonrecently that the Government would slash the red tape that can deter hard pressed firms from taking on apprentices, and provide a financial incentive to help the smallest firms recruit their first young apprentices.

The following measures to further strengthen the UK’s world class apprenticeships programme were recently announced:

· To encourage thousands of small firms that don’t currently hire apprentices to take on a young apprentice aged 16 to 24, the Government will offer employers with up to 50 employees an incentive payment of up to £1,500. This will support up to 20,000 new apprenticeships in 2012/13. An initial payment will be made two months after the individual has started their apprenticeship; the balance will be paid after the apprenticeship has been completed and the trainee has progressed into sustainable employment.

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Government introduces deregulatory measures

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, has announced that two deregulatory amendments to the EU Prospectus Directive have been brought into effect a year early by the UK to help small businesses access equity finance more cheaply and effectively. By bringing these measures into force now, the Government is demonstrating its commitment to helping small UK businesses access the finance they need, in an announcement welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses. The new requirements come into law on 31 July 2011, allowing businesses to take advantage of the measures from 1 August 2011.

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The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2012

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are highly prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion is awarded to individuals.

The deadline for entries for the 2012 Awards is 14.00 on 31 October 2011. Winners are announced on 21 April 2012.

Apply for a Queen’s Award with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

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How should small charities handle communications work?

Ann Nichols of the Guardian writes ‘ small organisations are adopting a range of techniques to get their message across’  CJAM specialises in supporting Association, Charity and Business clients with Marketing Communications.

Managing communications for a small charity requires multi-skilled people who can create marketing and PR campaigns, engage with stakeholders, produce e-bulletins, develop websites, deal with journalists, manage events, as well as being a whizz at social media. Most of the bigger charities have large communication teams of 30 staff or more who collectively posses these skills. But for small charities the picture is very different.

About 85% of UK charities are classified as ‘small’ or ‘micro’, with an annual income of less than £500,000 a year. I wanted to find out how these small charities manage their communications. Do they employ staff with skills in marketing and public relations? Do they rely on volunteers? Or do they manage with no communications support at all?

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