Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year to all my blog readers

I am taking advantage of a temporarily quiet house (the family are out visiting my mum in law) and I have been able to get on with a couple of work tasks prior to the (no doubt) riotous New Years Eve we have planned (actually we are all going round to my wife's sister and her family to see in 2014 so it will hopefully be restrained although alcohol will be involved in moderation).

I also wanted to take the opportunity to put up one last blog post of 2013 which saw the re-launch of Localventure as my primary voice on the internet and thank everyone who visited (18,000 hits to the blog since February 24th 2013).

Please keep coming back and reading about my business and other exploits and I will be looking forward to updating you all in the New Year.

Best wishes to you and yours from Localventure !

Thanks and hears to an excellent 2014.


Friday, 27 December 2013

Working more closely with my IFA introducers

During the gap between Christmas and the New Year I am working on plans and strategy for 2014. One of the areas I am really keen expand and work on a little more is my relationships with my IFA and other introducers - people who pass me their clients to advise them on medical insurance.

I have many really good introducers and many more with whom I would really like to work more closely and in some more depth. I think one of the problems that I have had in the last couple of years is being busy simply 'doing' business rather than planning or expanding. Offering the service rather than increasing its scope if you like. So at the moment I am looking at ways of getting the message out better to my contacts and how I can be of even more assistance to them and their colleagues and of course clients moving forwards.

With this in mind I think the activity I will put into my introducers in 2014 will increase markedly and I will use this blog, LinkedIn and my podcast (PMICast on iTunes and at www.pmicast.podbean.com) far more to both support my introducers and increase the scope of support and information I am able to offer.

So please keep coming back here and to my other on-line resources if you are one of my current introducers or if you are interested in working witha specialist health insurance adviser in the coming year year. You can contact me via the podcast email : pmicast@gmail.com or use Twitter - DM me at philknightPCH or localventure1 or just be old fashioned and call : 07792 075748.

Here's to a busy and profitable 2014.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Apple OS issues

I'm using iOS 7 on all my mobile devices and Mavericks OSX on both my Apple Macs (one iMac and a MacBook Air) and I'm having massively different experiences.

On my iphone 5 the battery life varies widely but as I've gotten into a routine I am now consistently finding that an urgent recharge is required around 3.00pm as power plummets below 20%. This is as a result of using location services which kills power usage. However, given the range of apps I'm regularly using switching off all location using things simply isn't an option. Long story short iOS 7 is less power efficient in everyday usage for me. To be fair though I must say that I use the device constantly each day from phone to email to podcasts and everything inbetween but there is certainly a massive difference from iOS 6.

The bane of my life though at the moment though is OSX Mavericks. It has totally bunged up my iMac and made it virtually unusable. The computer slows down especially using Mail and any MS Office for Mac apps and can be virtually unusable at times. Every other day it requires a total system reboot which in itself causes problems as the damn thing doesn't always reboot successfully and around 25% of the time I have to safe boot and reinstall Mavericks - total nightmare.

Ironically my MacBook is thriving under Mavericks - it's working faster and the battery time (from a six month old newly installed battery) on a full charge has from 90 minutes to over four hours solid working time now.

It's a real hodgepodge of an experience and frankly I'm not that impressed by the consistency of the two new systems compared to their historical counterparts - I'm giving Apple six months to sort out their .1 updates on both iOS and OSX.

Just don't get me started on the new version of Pages and Numbers - what a steaming load of bull poo ! Anything that makes MS Office look good has to be awful.

Christmas episode of PMICast is now live - although it is admittedly totally non festive

Well its taken a couple of weeks but the latest instalment of PMICast (Season 2 episode 14) is now live on iTunes and over at www.pmicast.podbean.com.

Rather than go for Festive overload I have simply gone over some relevant issues that I've encountered in recent weeks and also highlight some important issues for both clients and introducers around medical insurance (and insurance generally) at this time of the year.

Please enjoy and recommend the 'cast to your friends and colleagues.

This is the last episode of the year and we'll kick off 2014 with a round up of 2013 and hopefully some FAQ's from listeners - so if there is burning issue you have around medical insurance please drop me an e-mail on pmicast@gmail.com.

Happy Christmas from all at PMICast and of course Localventure too !!!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Karate Grading on Sunday

Well I now have three full days before my 1st Dan black belt grading early on Sunday.

I have been upping the aerobic training for stamina and kata practice for, well to practice the kata's. Haven't been able to do as much as I would like due to pressure of work for what seems like weeks but I would say I'm 90% fit and hopefully know enough to have a very good go at the grading.

This of course is my second black belt grading. In my previous style I was a senior black belt (style called Tai Sabaki Do - the way of the avoiding body - this club is unfortunately now closed and I re-started in Shukokai karate at my present club in early 2010) and took my first black belt in 1986 at the age of 16 and then a second dan grading in 1992. So its now over 20 years and I'm raring to go.

Perhaps I'm not as fast or as fit as I was in my teens and twenties but what I lack in speed I make up for in power (I'm certainly a little heavier than I was back then) and also a little wiser - now I sit back and watch a little more than I did previously - still expect to be (almost literally) working to the point of nausea on Sunday.

Wish me luck and assuming I survive the experience I will of course report back next week.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Trending on Twitter

For what it's worth, apparently at some stage yesterday a tweet of mine trended in the UK.

I'm not sure what the value of this is either personally or to my business (the tweet referred to a post here on Localventure although it was a brief film review rather than a business post).

So I trended but didn't get any more traffic to the post. It leaves me wondering what the value of Twitter is from a business perspective - you can write the most incisive and relevant 140 character tweets (not that I'm claiming necessarily to be especially one or the other) and even if your tweet receive some public attention what is the value ?

Maybe it's just the ability to write a post like this and say that I officially (at least according to Twitter) trended and maybe over time more people will being to follow me and find out about my business - worth a try !

So, subscribe to the twitter accounts (@localventure1 and @philknightpch) and this blog at www.localventure.blogspot.com - officially a trending content provider !!!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hunger Games - Catching Fire

Seen the second in the Hunger Games trilogy today and was very impressed, clever and well thought out continuation of the original movie. Builds on the premise, which whilst not exactly original (Battle Royale anyone?) was certainly exciting. The sequel takes a more 'grown up' approach with all the protagonists older and if not wiser then more capable killing machines.

Great set pieces once we get into the hunger games proper (the deux ex machina to get the lead characters back into the game isn't necesarily the best thought out but begins to create a head of steam for the David versus Goliath theme that seems to be building for third film) and despite the slight plot hole in how Catnes escapades from the dome and is rescued, the slight twist at the end and off screen destruction of District 12 creates an effective ending and rationale for the trilogies culmination.

When an extra is taken outside in the first 15 minutes of the movie and shot in the head for raising his hand in protest you know you're in for something a little more brutal than average Hollywood fare. Both more thought provoking and exciting in than your average 'children's' movie.

Excellent pace, great acting and characters and enough action to keep the kids happy, except this really isn't a film for kids.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Been another busy week

Well, although I have an episode of PMICast prepped and ready to record I just haven't had the change to get it uploaded this week. Following on from my post midweek about pipelines I'm just too busy with December/January client renewals and prospective cases for the next few weeks to get the podcast done.

Next week is looking fairly stacked too, have a day off with Mrs Localventure on Monday X-Mas shopping and then a variety of urgent client issues to sort next week but hopefully will have time to get the new episode recorded and live - watch this space.

Hopefully some exciting new ideas and developments in business again next year - so 2014 is looking like another hectic and enjoyable year.

Stay tuned !

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

An ode to my pipeline

When you first set up a business you don't necessarily realise that whatever you do : insurance adviser, Marilyn Monroe Impersonator or Ear Wig removal expert that the most important thing you need to do is to find new clients.

Without clients you have nothing to do, no service to provide and of course no income. Most new or immature businesses fail because of cash flow and this is due in no small part to lack of sales and marketing effort on the first six to twelve months.

So whatever service or product you provide you need clients - to locate them, segment them, attract them and of course convert them to new business. One olde worlde but I think invaluable tool is the new business pipeline.

My pipeline follows on from my marketing efforts and lists prospects who have been referred to me or replied to advertising, lists the stage of the sales process and their propensity to buy. My pipeline is the most important thing I work on every day, with the possible exception of marketing work which of course is designed to increase the size of the pipeline.

The pipeline must be constantly fed, worked on, massaged and converted - it is a cruel mistress sometimes but believe me it is a necessary evil and love it or hate it, if you run your own business you need one.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Return on investment (ROI) on medical insurance

I've been thinking about the prospective returns on medical insurance for companies.

Given that (according to a survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper in July 2013) each UK employee takes off 9.1 sick days per annum having some kind of sickness absence policy backed up by a health/medical insurance employee benefit scheme must be a worthwhile investment for a business. Even a reduction of half or a single day created by medical insurance from that 9.1 total figure across the employee payroll will have a massive financial effect. 

Figures from the states (Harvard medical school I think) suggest that for every one dollar spent on health related insurance saves a business $ 2.73 per annum.

When one adds in the the positive effects of medical insurance as a recruitment and retention tool and as a valued staff perk it becomes difficult to see medical insurance as anything other than a definite "no brainer".

For assistance with either new PMI or a review of your existing group plan call me on : 07792 075748 or e-mail : philknight@pch.uk.com


Monday, 2 December 2013

Really thinking through a process

When requesting company medical insurance quotes from UK private medical insurance companies there is a lot of data to capture and present to insurers. Some of them need more or less than others and some have their own standardised versions of quote request forms that mean sending one request to multiple insurers means a fair amount of work on my part.

Every now and then I miss something and need to send an additional bit of data before the figures can be calculated by the insurer. This isn't a problem but if there is a delay when requesting this missing data or in spotting it at all there is a delay (in which I am obviously culpable, but a delay nonetheless) it obviously causes me issues in terms of getting reports over to clients.

One insurer though - BUPA, interestingly seems to check the requests they receive as they arrive in their quote mailbox and not two or three days later when the e-mail finally gets to the top of their 'to do' pile. This is a really simple idea, easy to implement that takes no more time on their part (after all the check has to be done at some point) and means that their figures often arrive much earlier than other insurers.

Really simple, clever idea.