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Robert Zarywacz presents award

Robert Zarywacz presents Pluss Employer of the Year Award

Robert Zarywacz was delighted to be invited by Pluss, which supports people with disabilities into employment, to present its Employer of the Year Award in his capacity as Business Editor of the North Devon Journal. Robert is pictured (right) presenting the award to winner Ryan Brend of Brend Hotels with Marise Mackie, cluster manager at Pluss.

 

Judging 2016 newspaper business awards

Robert Zarywacz is delighted to be one of the six judges in the 2016 North Devon Journal Business Awards.

A veteran of these awards, Robert is particularly pleased that one award category – Made in North Devon – was created as a result of his suggestion for a Made in North Devon campaign to raise awareness of all the manufacturing and innovation that take place in the area.

Robert Zarywacz, a judge in the North Devon Journal Business Awards 2016

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Organiser of OPEN FOR BUSINESS 2016

OPEN FOR BUSINESS 2016

We are very pleased to be one of the sponsors and organisers of OPEN FOR BUSINESS 2016, the business conference and exhibition hosted by COMBEbusiness for the Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe business community on Friday 4 March 2016 at the Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, North Devon.

Along with co-organisers Flint Hosts and Hashtag, we are arranging the business exhibition and organising the programme of speakers for the day-long conference.

The event is free for business visitors from North Devon and beyond and businesses can book exhibition space now at combebusiness.co.uk.

We look forward to a successful event and hope to see you there as an exhibitor or visitor.

 

Let’s get out of our heads

Lately I seem to have spent too much time in business meetings and on committees, discussing and making plans.

Now planning can be valuable – it helps us identify what we want to and can achieve, recognise our limitations and spot possible risks and how to deal with them – but it can also be a powerful excuse for putting off action:

“We can’t do that until X does this, Y does that and Z has been completed.”

Planning takes place inside our heads, a comfortable environment where we control the results: A leads to B, which leads to our goal of C. Once we take a plan out of our heads and put it into the real world, F, G, H and Q can intervene, some of them completely unexpected.

It’s much safer to run a plan in our heads than risk it all going wrong when put into action, but this means we won’t achieve our objectives.

I’ve never been happy just to sit on committees as I like to see action. So that’s my focus at the moment: getting plans out of my head and into the real world to achieve what I want and maybe encounter adventures along the way.

How about you?

Posted via email from z2zine

Why every business needs to go back to school

Recently I received an invitation from Devon Education Business Partnership to participate in Bideford College‘s Enterprise Day for its Year 7 pupils. The idea is to give students:

“a chance to really focus on working in a different way. They get a taste of adult working life where the day is not broken up into timed chunks and it also allows them to develop a real understanding of the particular activity that they are focussing on.”

Not knowing what to expect, I bowled along on Wednesday 25th March and, after a welcome cup of tea in the staff room, my fellow business partners and I were ushered into the assembly of 300 (I think) where the timetable for the day was explained.

Next we were assigned to classes where we assisted groups of pupils in meeting the challenge of developing a new range of greetings cards, which included budgeting for production, calculating profit, designing, producing and advertising the cards.

There were many creative ideas flying around, as well as lots of glue and glitter. It was interesting for me, with my marketing sector experience, to see how the pupils viewed the different tasks they had to complete simultaneously: team leadership, card and balloon design, advertising and budgeting.

When you handle these in your business every day, it’s easy to forget that you had to learn these skills and disciplines just as the pupils were doing. A fair bit of prompting was needed to switch the focus from the glue and glitter to the accounting sheets on which they had to work out how many cards they would produce with their budget and how much profit they would generate.

Each group presented its card, banner and balloon designs to the rest of the class with an explanation of the reasoning behind the range and how they had spent their budget. The winning group from each of the 11 forms then went on to present to the whole year with the five business partner judges watching X-Factor style from behind a table.

It was a tough job judging as there were some very original ideas and it was a shame that a certain amount of shyness held back some of the original enthusiasm that went into each of the projects. Think about it: how confident would you be presenting to an ultra-critical audience of 300 12-year-olds?

The scream as the winning team was announced was ear-piercing and it was impossible not to share their excitement.

Children and young people are the future of business and I was deeply impressed by the creativity, energy and enthusiasm they exhibited. Innovation is a key quality for business and so it was heartening to see not only ideas but action as pupils prepared their card designs and explained their reasoning.

It’s all too easy for business to criticise schools and colleges and I found the day challenged my pre-conceptions and taught me a thing or two. The enthusiasm of the teachers, the discipline employed and the pupils’ behaviour were all a credit to the college.

My own belief is that a broad education is essential for innovation – the mind is its own creature and creates ideas from many sources – so giving pupils a flavour of business can’t be a bad thing.

Would I encourage other businesses to get involved? Yes.

Would I do it again? Yes.

I’d like to thank the staff and pupils of Bideford College for giving me such a warm welcome.

Robert Zarywacz

Using social media in business to win new clients

If you’re not sure about how to use social media for business – web sites and services such as twitter, LinkedIn and ecademy – today we were commissioned by a new client partly as a result of blogging.

Getting the mix of personal and business right is important, as people dislike blatant sales messages but also want to be reassured that a supplier they use is professional.

We generate most of our business through our web sites and it is good to see that both our business and personal blogging is reinforcing this.

Remember that many social media services are free or offer free entry-level membership, so all that you’ll be investing is your time. If you think of it as one more marketing tool to promote your business, it could provide the extra boost you seek to increase business or offset any effects of the downturn.

You can follow me on twitter @ robertz

What does your software NOT do?

Oh, the joys of upgrading computers. For every opportunity to improve efficiency there is a corresponding incompatibility that requires sorting out. A new machine probably also means a new version of the operating system, which subsequently means a new version of most of the software you use. Without this the IT industry would probably not exist.

Another problem is that, when evaluating new software, the marketing material and web sites often tell you what a system can do but not what it can’t. One option is to download a trial version and test it, but this only increases dissatisfaction when you find it does 99% of what you want but not the vital 1% you need. Then you have to start checking out the uninstall instructions, if there are any.

So, while it’s nice to see fancy graphics, screenshots and videos, it’s important that software companies balance the fluffy, exciting feel of using a new system with essential details of its capabilities and practical operation. While I dislike getting underneath the bonnet of my car, I need to know that occasionally I have to fill it up with a specific type of fuel.

Get it right and, if the software is as good as the developer says, more people should buy it because they will be more confident about what it can do for them.