First Impressions Count

80% of callers going thorough to voicemail will hang up*

First impressions of your company make an initial, and lasting effect, on your clients, and quite often their first contact is via the telephone. In our busy life’s we don’t have time to be hanging on the phone, following up unanswered calls and following up voicemails we have left.

Less than 1% of callers hang up if the call is answered by a person*

If you work in industry and spend time on the shop floor, call diversion is not always the best option, so what do you do? Missing one call could have a massive impact on your business – important information not passed over, new enquiry missed, client placing an order with another company because they answered the call.

It may not be necessary to employ a full-time member of staff to answer calls, but at critical times it may be necessary to have a call service for your office. There are several types of service available with a variety of pricing structures. Some companies offer a wider service to include telesales and database cleaning, as well as offering wider business support services.

This is a service which can be easily outsourced and gives a professional, proficient and welcoming first impression. I recently met with Clare Cross, from Professional Call Minders Limited, and was impressed with her knowledge and understanding of how important that initial contact is for the company and the client.


If we can help in business development or introduce you to outsourced suppliers

please give us a call on 01562 881019, or contact us at


*Stats from Forbes


Development via TED talks

Hi, thanks for reading. Hope you find the following information useful, and please let us know some of your recommendations.

In today’s fast-paced society, reading a book may seem like too long a commitment, but we often can grab a few minutes, or hours, to watch a program or video. Thanks to YouTube and Ted talks we can access self development in quick and easy chunks and spend a few minutes a day being inspired, intrigued or fascinated. Here are a few suggestions to start you on your journey.

Got a wicked problem. First tell me how to make toast – Tom Wujec

Making toast doesn’t sound very complicated — until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step. Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work. Learn how to run this exercise yourself, and hear Wujec’s surprising insights from watching thousands of people draw toast.

Try something new for 30 days – Matt Cutts

Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

How great leaders inspire action – Simon Sineck

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …

8 secrets of success – Richard St.John

Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

Self Development – Book Recommendations

Remember the days when you had time to sit and read? Remember the days when you wanted to sit and read? Remember those things with covers and pages?

You may of answered yes, no or maybe to the questions above, but many of us still use reading as a method of self development, either in our personal, or professional lives. You may have a stand out book, that changed how you felt about business, that made something inside you click or gave you the strength and knowledge to pursue your dreams. Or, you might not!

Here are some recommendations that we find useful to recommend to our clients to read, and some are suggestions following a discussion on LinkedIn

In no particular order,

Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again?In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it.

The motivations behind today’s most successful leaders and entrepreneurs come to a simple yet decisive explanation: there are people who give, people who take, people who match, and people who fake. Our world is filled with these givers, takers, matchers and fakers. Amazingly, those who succeed (not only personally but for their clients and companies) don’t take or match. They give. (Although they’re not necessarily philanthropic.)

Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead.

How to enrich your life and destroy doubt in 5 seconds. Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing “how” to push yourself?

No gimmicks. No Hyperbole. No Magic Bullet. The Compound Effect is based on the principle that decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. This easy-to-use, step-by-step operating system allows you to multiply your success, chart your progress, and achieve any desire. If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want.

Back to school

It’s that time of the year when we mourn the passing of the Summer Holidays, and begin to look to the next few month’s leading up to the dreaded Christmas. Our office is an office of parents, and the juggling and military plans of childcare are beginning to come to the end. New shoes, pencil cases and uniform have been bought and everyone is ready for the routine of term time.

It is at this time of year that many of us feel that we are going back to school, too. It’s a great time of year for goal setting and planning, whilst we still have the light nights and warmish days. Many of us find setting goals at New Year stressful, and bound for failure. January is not always conducive to anything much – no money, no motivation and not much sun. No wonder our Danish and Norwegian cousins adopt Hygge.

So rather than wait for 2018, set some goals now.

  • Will they be for business, or personal?
  • Make them as big as you want, but be aware you may need to make smaller goals to achieve them
  • Research what books may hep you – self help, mindset, autobiographies of people you admire
  • Make a regular time to attend to these goals – add it to your diary and make yourself accountable
  • If you struggle with accountability, team up with a friend or colleague. Share your goals and become accountable for each other
  • Watch Ted Talks – brilliant archive for amazing talks on anything and everything
  • Buy yourself some new stationery – pencil case, pens, notebook – whatever floats your boat


Good luck, and enjoy

Employee Induction is important

Starting a new job can be an exciting, nerve wracking and overwhelming experience. The first day in a new job will be the first impression of that company, and it can be a positive or negative experience depending on how it is managed.

If you are a large company, then your HR department will have this one covered for you, but if you don’t then these few tips may help you focus your mind on what is good practice.

  • Ensure they have your new employee has their job offer and contract, as soon as you can. This ensures that you are both clear on what is expected of the role and the employee
  • When a new member of staff starts ensure that you have booked time in your diary to welcome them to the company and the team
  •  It is important to familiarise your new employees with basics such as toilet, kitchen and breakout areas which they are able to use and utilise
  • Ensure that they have time in their first week to speak to their main contacts within the business. This may be with IT Support, Accounts, Warehouse or any variety of departments. This will ensure good communication through the company and employees have the opportunity to build great working relationships
  • It is important that fire practice and health and safety processeses have been discussed
  • Give your employee time to discuss any procedures for signing in and out, breaks, the protocol for notification of sickness
  • Remind the employee has passed the relevant information to payroll


If you need an induction checklist, or any support on employee induction

Contact us

01562 881019

Interviewer Questions

When you arrive for an interview, do you think about the pressure the interviewer is under?Of course not! You are too busy worrying about the interview and what questions they are going to ask!

Here are a few questions that are good to have in your interview, that are open ended and allow you a greater insight into your candidate

  • Why are you looking for a new job opportunity?
  • What motivates you?
  • Describe a difficult situation that you dealt with at work, and how you dealt with it
  • What do you know about this company?
  • Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
  • How do you manage your tasks and prioritise your time?
  • What did you dislike about your last job?
  • How did you hear about this job opportunity?

For more ideas look at Acorn Support Pinterest – Interview Tips 

If you would like support in specific questions for your candidates, or interview tasks for during the interview we’d be happy to help.

Contact us

01562 881019


Tips for recruiting staff

Recruiting staff, whether it’s the first one, or one of may, can be stressful, nerve wracking and expensive. It takes time, money and patience, so maybe we can help a little with some things to thinks about

  • Check your finances – are you in a position to pay for the costs associated with a new member of staff, not just their wage, but recruitment costs, equipment, training, increase in insurance, travel …
  • Assess your needs – what is it you need your new employee to do? Be very specific when thinking of what you and you company needs
  • Ask where you need help – you can’t do all of the jobs in your company, however much you may want to. Are there areas that you can give up happily to your staff member/s
  • Compliment your skills – you may be an amazing salesperson, but not so good in office processes, or in the numbers department. Ensure that the person you employ fills the gaps that you may have in skills and knowledge
  • Ask your network for recommendations – this may be within your physical network, social media contacts or LinkedIn
  • Ensure you are covered with your insurance to take on more staff, and increase it, if necessary
  • Be specific and focussed in your job description, this will help when writing an advertisement for your job and in the interview process
  • Think about what you need to find out in the interview, and prepare questions and tasks to highlight and observe these skills


If you require additional support, please get in touch.

Contact us

01562 881019

Managing staff absence

Be prepared: Looking after your staff and your business

People are going to be off sick from time to time. Most employees feel bad about letting down their colleagues and most employers are reasonably sympathetic about their staff’s welfare.

But absence because of sickness, or another unexpected reason, can put your business in a tricky situation, particularly if you have no policies in place for dealing with it.

  • You need to know why staff are off, when they will come back and how you will deal with:
    • short-term sickness absence which lasts less than a week
    • repeated short-term sickness absences which may follow a pattern
    • long-term sickness absence lasting several weeks or more
    • unauthorised absence for other reasons.
  • Sickness absence can be caused by a mixture of:
    • an employee’s general physical condition
    • working conditions including health and safety standards, levels of stress, and harassment and bullying
    • family or emotional problems, or mental health issues other than stress
  • Managers and employees often appreciate clarity and honesty about how such personal issues will be managed.
  • There are some legal issues to take into account, but making sure your staff are well, happy and working effectively is largely a matter of doing the right thing and using common sense

If you require additional support, please get in touch.

Contact us

01562 881019



Original information received from ACAS

Holiday Entitlement Advice

Your company may have different entitlement for staff, but these are guidelines for statutory annual leave, if you need support in this area please get in touch.

Key points for holiday entitlement

  • Most workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year (this is known as statutory entitlement).
  • Part time worker are entitled to the same amount of holiday (pro rota) as full time colleagues.
  • Employers can set the times when workers can take their leave – for example a Christmas shut down.
  • If employment ends workers have the right to be paid for any leave due but not taken.
  • There is no legal right to paid public holidays.

Once an employee starts work details of holidays and holiday pay entitlement should be found in the employee’s written contract, where there is one, or a written statement of employment particulars given to employees by their employer.

Note: The written statement is required by law and must be given to employees by the employer no later than two months after the start of employment.

Most workers – whether part-time or full-time – are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave. Additional annual leave may be agreed as part of a worker’s contract. A week of leave should allow workers to be away from work for a week – i.e. it should be the same amount of time as the working week. If a worker does a five-day week, he or she is entitled to 28 days leave. However, for a worker who works 6 days a week the statutory entitlement is capped at 28 days. If they work a three-day week, the entitlement is 16.8 days leave. Employers can set the times that workers take their leave, for example for a Christmas shut down. If a worker’s employment ends, they have a right to be paid for the leave due and not taken.

Public holidays

There is no legal right to paid leave for public holidays; any right to paid time off for these holidays depends on the terms of a worker’s contract. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks of holiday.

Carrying leave over from one leave year to the next

Workers must take at least 4 weeks of statutory leave during the leave year, they may be able to carry over any remaining time off  if their employer agrees. So if a worker gets 28 days of holiday, they may be able to carry over up to 8 days. Workers who receive statutory leave don’t have an automatic right to carry leave over to the next holiday year, but employers may agree to it.

Workers who are entitled to contractual leave may be able to carry over time off  if the employer agrees, this agreement may be written into the terms and conditions of employment. For example if an employee gets 35 days of leave the employer may allow them to carry over up to 10 days as part of the terms of employment.

When workers are unable to take their leave entitlement because they’re already taking time off for different reasons, such as maternity or sick leave, they can carry over some or all of the untaken leave into the next leave year. An employer must allow a worker to carry over a maximum of 4 weeks if the worker is off sick and therefore unable to take their leave.

If an employee chooses not to take statutory annual leave during sick leave, they can carry forward the untaken leave for up to 18 months from the end of the leave year in which the leave arises. This means that if a leave year ends on the 31 December the worker would have 18 months after that date in which to take the annual leave for that year.

If you require additional support, please get in touch.

Contact us

01562 881019

Information via ACAS