Thursday 5 January 2012

The ONLY resolution you need in 2012!

It's that time of year. We are all making resolutions and setting goals, so its pretty exciting!! 

If you are like me, you have a LONG list of dreams and ambitions, which is great!! However, once we get stuck into the year, we tend to lose that list and forget about the goals we set at the start of the year. 

At the end of last year, READING three books transformed my understanding of marketing my tea business. Therefore I now have two lists of resolutions:

1. My long list of exciting goals.

You might be like me - I find a brilliant book, get all excited, start reading it,  make notes, then get distracted and before I know it, it is propping up my ipad as I play Angry Birds.

No more!! 

1. iPad thou will helpest me at all times to read RELEVANT material on apps like Mashable as well as brilliant books;
2. Kindle, thou might not be as sexy as the said iPad, but at least you cannot DISTRACT me with email missives from all and sundry 
3. iPhone, Facebook and Twitter, I love you all but thou will all be getting switched off (I know, heresy!) when I am READING!

Here are some of the exciting ways in which I will be improving in 2012 through more reading:
I will:

  • improve my vocabulary (cool, so a step up from #hurricanebawbag then!)
  • improve my concentration (I really really need this one.......what am I doing again......?)
  • build my self esteem. Wow! With more knowledge comes more confidence. Or I just become really good at pub quizs. But still, I am keen on this benefit!
  • improve my memory ( need this one - see point above!)
  • improve my creativity!! Hurrah!!!!
  • always have something to talk about.......(if I haven't lost all my friends by boasting about my new vocabulary and winning every pub quiz!)
  • reduces boredom. Bye bye Angry Birds.
Who would have known that reading could give you all that?

In my next blog post, I'll tell you which books transformed my understanding of marketing last year!!

With Kind Resolutions,
The Mama

Thursday 5 May 2011

Maximising Business Growth - RSM Tenon Seminar

Just been to an excellent seminar by John Daly of RSM Tenon, Corporate Finance on how to maximise your business growth. This Mamapreneur is very inspired! The seminar basically contained the key steps to growing your business and achieving the best possible price for your business on exit.

What is your business WORTH?

If you are thinking of exiting your business at some point, you need to think about your potential buyer, who will need to value your business in order to make you an offer. Potential buyers use 3 main methods to value a business:

1.              Net Assets (this is more relevant for property type businesses);
2.              Discounted cashflow (to use this, you identify future cashflow and apply a discount to it) ; and
3.              Earnings based valuation.

The main thing to remember is that accountants are not wholly responsible for valuing businesses. Market forces value businesses; it all depends on what a buyer is willing to pay for a business that matters.

Earnings based valuation

Maintainable Earnings X Price Earnings Ratio = the Business Valuation.

Maintainable Earnings

This is also known as Earnings Before Interest and Taxation (or EBIT). This figure will also take into account the salary of an owner of a business. This highlights a very important point! Buyers are not keen on businesses that are reliant on the business owner. Therefore, buyers are looking for a CREDIBLE MANAGEMENT TEAM. The ideal situation would be for the business owner to almost be a “general manager’ of the business, as the Buyer can replace a General Manager.

Price Earnings Ratio

 This is basically a multiplier of earnings. Trade buyers will typically look at a multiplier of between 4-8. A BRILLIANT TIP is that if your potential Buyer is a PLC, then this is ideal, as quoted companies normally have a higher multiple (average is 15), therefore they might offer a multiple of something like 11 instead of 8.

How do you INCREASE the VALUE of your business?

There is an industry term called MAXIMISING BUSINESS VALUE (MBV). This is the KEY to preparing your business for exit. Between 1 and 5 years from sale, you should be focused on this.

So how to you achieve MBV for your business?

You need an OWNERS PLAN!!

OWNERS PLAN – what do you want to achieve?

1.            Personal Objectives
2.            Business Objectives
3.            Interaction between the two
4.            Timescales
5.            Business vision (definition of success)
6.            Increase business attractiveness
7.            Shareholder agreement needed?

The absolute KEY to creating a valuable business is to define the BUSINESS VISION. Once you have a very firm idea of where you are going and the success you are going to create, this vision then trickles down throughout the business to your management team and staff. It is crucial.

You also have to think carefully about how you can increase your business attractiveness.

How do you do this?

1.              You need a CREDIBLE MANAGEMENT TEAM
2.              You need to create a DEFENSIBLE BUSINESS
4.              WORKING CAPITAL
5.              ACQUISITIONS

With a credible management team, the business should be able to continue without you.

If you have a defensible business, this means that it is fairly difficult for any potential competitor to steal your business or idea. It is a good idea to try to grow your business in this way.

Make sure that you have good working capital for at least a period of 2 years before selling.

Acquisitions is a great way of growing the business however make sure that you don’t do an acquisition in the year of disposal.


1.              Corporate Structure – Buyer/Tax
2.              Legal/Finance – tidy them, especially tax, accounts, contracts, leases, title, licences etc
3.              Be aware of MBO’s – you don’t want to encourage your management team to buy out the business if you have the chance of a trade sale
4.              Trend – manage a sustainable growth trend
5.              Owners – need to have the “Yosho Test” – could the business operate without the business owner for 6 months?
6.              Working Capital – fix it 2 years before exit
7.              Customers – it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that the business is NOT reliant on individual accounts.
8.              Take corporate finance advice if approached
9.              Recognise when to sell
10.           Flex the variables

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Mama Tea Shop on Payvment

It was truly a royal weekend with a happy ending, not just because of a wonderful wedding but because of mama tea being very social at the Scottish baby show! As a part of our social media experiment, we were exploring numerous options and finally found an application on Facebook which blew our tea cosy's off!

Social commerce is the next big thing to happen and before you know it, almost all  businesses will have their own e-commerce platforms on their Facebook fan pages. How cool is that?! Mama Tea decided to do the same and finally zeroed in on one application which best suited our brand. The name of the application is called Payvment and the beauty of the application is that you can set up your own virtual shop within minutes. The user interface is fairly simple even though the navigation links/icons could have been better.

While most other similar applications either charge you on a monthly basis or take a cut from you sales or in the best case, redirect you to their website in the final step of the purchase, Payvment scores above the rest by being totally free. Yes FREE!!! There are no subscription charges, no commissions and the whole transaction takes place on your Facebook page itself.

While the intricate details of how the application works are better left for you to explore, all you need to do first is "Like" Payvment's Facebook page and install the application.

After this, you are easily directed to setting up your shop where you can upload pics for each of your products along with their descriptions. Everything from shipping costs to sales tax can be customized very easily.You can even offer discounts to customers who "Like" your fan page and include option for bulk purchases. With everything said and done, the payment takes place using a secured portal and the customers can actually choose to pay by card or paypal. As and when a purchase is made, you will get an e-mail notification and you can also customize it to redirect through  Payvment's IPN to send real-time notifications about an order.

You can visit the Mama Tea Shop here and explore it in detail. Go ahead and purchase your favorite teas from the virtual shop and let us know what you think about it.


Friday 12 November 2010

Focus - Create Mind Space

Focus. It is the key to achieving anything and gives you great power but how do you get it and keep it?

We are blasted with information all day, from every source, so no wonder it is really difficult to switch everything else off and concentrate. If you need to focus on a project or a job, my first rule of thumb sounds easy, but isn't....

Create Mind Space

To create a space in your mind for focus, you need to do the following:

1. clear your desk and switch everything off that is not essential to the project in hand. Be brutal. No Facebook, no iPhone, no emails. Just you and your project. 

2. Switch off everything in your mind that does not pertain to your project. What I mean by this, is to shut down any thought that is not relevant to your project. You don't need to worry about anything else other than the job in hand. This is really important. Worry about dinner, bills, your night out, later. You need to exercise conscious thinking. This takes a bit of effort but is worth it!

3. Give yourself a set time for the focussed work. I find that deciding to work for an hour or 90 minutes intensively works really well but it is different for everyone. This will allow your mind the freedom to let go of all the other thoughts and worries of the day. It is time out in one sense.

3. If starting from scratch, I would always start with a mind map, to open up your mind creatively and allow it the freedom to think about the project laterally. This really encourages your mind to focus entirely on the project!

Hope this was useful. Feel free to add your own comments!

Friday 29 October 2010


Focus is one of those mercurial things, isn't it? You need focus to have focus sometimes! We all have so much to do and so many people to please that is amazing that we ever have time to concentrate on anything, but we need it so much.

Focus clears your mind of other distractions and allows you the mental space to contemplate problems and work them out. We all have access to amazing resources and powerful minds, but without focus, you are selling yourself short.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to focus on FOCUS. I will research the tools that will help us both to tap into focus easily. Then, let's see what we are going to achieve!

Watch out world!!

Thursday 28 October 2010

Evening News get Ready!

Thanks also to the Evening News for this article. As it was such a well written piece, I sent the team a gift box of Mama Tea. The scoop is that the News Editor's wife who was overdue, went into labour after a cup of Ready Mama. Glad to be of assistance and congratulations on the new arrival!

Article in Scotland on Sunday

A big thanks to Scotland on Sunday for this article! Whilst I do strap my iphone to the double buggy if on the beach with the babies, I do also occasionally wear a business suit and go to meetings! The joy of wearing many hats!