Autumn Newsletter

Autumn Newsletter 

Check out our Autumn Newsletter! Many exciting things happening this season!

 

For more information on any of the articles featured in this newsletter, please contact us on 01621 859853

A Closer Look: Rhiannon

"A Closer Look" is a chance to get to know each of our employees more closely. This is the first in the series of our monthly installments, and we start with Rhiannon.

At barely 23 years old Rhiannon is younger than the office vacuum cleaner and is of Welsh descent. A Chelmsford girl, Rhiannon has served some time in Brentwood but now lives in Mayland. She attended Anglo European School where she gained her GCSE’s and A Levels before moving on to Southend College to study health and social care. The plan was to go on to study Psychology at university but she decided instead to get some work experience first.

 

After a number of temp roles in the Corporate Finance sector, – including large corporate environments such as IFDS – and having formed some idea of what she would ideally want from a permanent role, Rhiannon approached The Lightbulb in Basildon. The Lightbulb specialise in providing apprenticeships and commercial training across a wide range of sectors and it was they who steered Rhiannon towards Meakins. We had identified a need to bring an apprentice into the Company to focus on building our social media presence and bringing structure into our overall marketing approach.

 

Rhiannon was the youngest and least experienced of the interviewees but impressed us immediately with her appetite to learn and strong interest in the use of social media. She was initially attracted to the apprenticeship scheme as it combined learning with the real world of full time employment, which of course in turn allowed her to earn money and gain a qualification at the same time. Coming from a corporate environment to a small family business was a big change, but something which Rhiannon to her great credit has taken to very readily. The main reason for this she says is a feeling of being more invested in and part of a small family business. Her role at Meakins offers her more ability to make changes and get involved with strategic and process change which is something she was never given the opportunity to be a part of in her previous corporate environments. We tend to think she also enjoys her time at Meakins as it gives her first hand insight into some lively human psychology scenarios …….. but that’s a family business for you!!!

 

Following an initial induction period and some fairly mundane office admin tasks Meakins Director, Andrew, appointed Rhiannon as our very first full time Marketing person and he has proceeded ever since to pile lots of new and exciting things into her workload!! This has included how to operate a digital printing press, creating regular content for client promotions, website and Facebook use, plus monitoring and reporting to the Company on our on-line google performance. She is clearly very happy in the role which leverages her core skills in social media and related computer and IT technology.

 

Not content with all this she is now also spreading her wings further, and has started to go out and meet new customers. Scary certainly at first, but as she herself now confesses – it is very exciting to get out of the office and meet both existing and new prospective clients, identifying leads and getting that all important sale!

 

Probably the best way to summarise Rhiannon’s position is to quote her own words…

 

“I am looking to be with Meakins for a long time to come - I love working for a small local business and being an integral part of something that’s truly meaningful”

Summer Newsletter

Summer Newsletter

Welcome to our latest seasonal newsletter! We hope you enjoy reading.

Any further information about any of the articles in this newsletter can be found on our "Meakins in the Community" Page!

Stationery Uses That Will Blow Your Mind!

 

 

Hi, I'm Rhiannon, and I am part of the Meakins team. This is my first blog on the Meakins website, so I hope it can be of some use!

When it comes to Stationery, not everyone sees the potential uses of everything in the office. This blog is here to show you how you can re-use rubbish, recycle your old stock into useful stuff, or buy new supplies to create an easier place to work!

 

Cup Speaker

This is ingenious. When I heard about this I thought, wow so simple, I bet it doesn't work! But it really, really does. All you need is 2 plastic cups and a toilet roll. Simply cut two holes in the side of the cups and jam a toilet roll in them. Cut a small slit for your phone and place in the holder, speaker down.

There you have it, your own workplace concert! Almost...

Cable Organizer

I certainly never knew my bulldog clips could be this useful! Do you ever find yourself in a mess of cables and wires when trying to plug something back into the back of your computer that's fallen out? Yep, everyone else too. This is why this is such a great idea. When clipped onto the edge of your desk behind your computer, you can thread each cable through to separate and organise. You can even go a step further and colour code depending on the function of the cable!

Alternatively, use a bulldog clip as a headphone/charger organiser. Simply clip the bulldog clip onto the edge of a surface and wrap the headphones around it. Easy!

A Cord Maintainer

Do your chargers end up frayed and broken through time? Well this is perfect for just that. Grab the spring from that broken clicky pen, open it out and wrap it around the charger in the weakest spot (usually for Apple chargers is below the plug in piece). This helps the charger to maintain its shape and, to not be bent too far. Thus, preserving your chargers life!

Laptop Cooling

Laptops can easily overheat, which can be dangerous for you and bad for the laptop. In order to stop this from happening, the vents at the bottom of the PC need to be open and able to receive air. By sitting your laptop on top of an open egg box, you can help the air to circulate in and out of the laptop and stop any dangerous situations arising!

Keyboard Beauty

Bored of your standard black keyboard? Try this! Simply cut some patterned masking tape (Washi Tape) into a square fit to the size of the buttons, and stick down. Its that simple! and you'll always stand out in the office!

Charger Organisers

Using Masking tape, simply cut a piece the size you need it to be (I would suggest leaving yourself enough room to write a label) and wrap it around the base of the cable near the wall plug. Then write on it the gadget that the plug belongs to and you are done! Organisation is key when you have lots of gadgets plugged in, especially when the cords all look the same.

That's all from me on the tips front today. All products you have seen listed in this blog are things that Meakins can provide you with. So if you feel like being the organised employee, give us a call! 01621 859853.
Hope you enjoyed my blog, any other tips and tricks you have are welcomed in the comments section.

Welcome to the Machine: Part 2.

Tip 2: Cold Calling

Whether you are “old friends” of ours or have only today found us – welcome!

 

My name is Colin Morgan, but I sit just yards away from, and work with, a group of people, mostly called Meakin. For most of their adult lives Jenny Meakin and her family have put their all into building what has grown over the last 30 years to be a very successful, family owned and run, company based in Maldon in Essex. Whether as printers or as stationery and office suppliers Meakins is known for its exceptional customer care, reliability and competitiveness, but then so are most of our competitors. So why should you read one more line of this blog?

 

Well because we have a great story to tell you….so please grab a tea and read on….

 

If you already have a picture of an office with three generations working in close family harmony, where everyone drives each other forward and seldom a cross word is heard then LOSE IT!. This is EastEnders, Coronation Street and Dallas on a mixture of testosterone and raw meat …… but out of this “oven” comes massive energy and pig headed determination not to be beat……

 

……that’s why I work here and more importantly why, in what we all accept as the most challenging market conditions in a lifetime, Meakins is a company on the move. Whether you measure turnover, profit or numbers of customers WE ARE GROWING!

 

How?.....well I may be new to the art of blogging but I have already got the message not to give too much away too soon, so here is the first Meakins tip for growth:

Cold Calling – Two words which strike terror and loathing into the heart of many who like to call themselves salespeople. Only if you have done it can you sense that sick dread which fills the gut as you approach the door of reception for the first time…..and the complete shutdown of your ability to speak and/or breathe when asked to explain why you have called…

….. I well remember my first ever cold call. I was an Englishman selling industrial maintenance chemicals in the West of Scotland (Stranraer to be precise). I had just finished my sales training and was out on my first day flying “solo”. I swear I thought my legs would give way as I lurched, shiny new samples bag in hand, towards the reception of Dukes Transport. I made it to the door and managed to blurt something resembling a sales intro out…. I did not get the business but I did shed my cold call “virginity” and have to say have never looked back since.

Cold calling is very much one of our growth strategies at Meakins and at a time when many have retreated behind tele-sales operations and on-line ecommerce solutions, we are making cold calling work. Our customers respect the fact that we are getting off our backsides and trying to make something happen, “putting ourselves about” and reminding this part of Essex at least that Meakins is very much alive and kicking. Our customers know how much their business means to us, they know our faces, they know our stories……and as we all know people buy from people….

 

Welcome your thoughts and stories on the joys of the cold call…..

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Machine: Part 1.

Tip 1: Networking

Whether you are a first time visitor, or a weekly reader, its great to have you hear for my newest instalment on the Meakins website.

For the benefit of those of you who are newcomers this is a weekly instalment blog in which I try to pass on “sales stuff which works” ……based on nothing more than my own personal experience …… and encourage all of you to chip in with thoughts and experiences of your own.

 

And so to this week’s topic – Networking. Now I don’t know about all of you but Networking seems to me to be something all sales people have always done! The whole process of selling is about building and leveraging a network of contacts, establishing trust and demonstrating reliability, so to me it’s not a new thing. In recent years of course Networking has become a product in its own right and there are any number of organisations out there vying for your time and membership fees…. I have networked both overseas and at home ….and I currently support 4 local groups ….. but over the last 25 years of selling a range of products and services I have a found a number of (common sense) principles hold true Here are just a handful:

 

  • Try before you buy – don’t jump into the first group you hear about. Look for well organised groups which are growing and whose membership profile suits your target sectors.
  • Look for structure – somewhere between the highly regimented and detailed structure of BNI and “a few beers at a local pub” are the groups who offer the right blend of structure and informality to deliver business benefit without stripping out all of the enjoyment of meeting with fellow business folk. It is a difficult balance to hit.
  • Commit – when you have sampled a few groups and identified the one which you believe is right you must commit. Unless you show your commitment to attending every meeting, following the structure, responding quickly and professionally to any leads put your way and taking a role within the group how can you expect to establish the level of trust which underpins any benefits you are ever likely to derive from your membership?
  • Networking Is Not A One Piece Sales Strategy – I have seen lots of companies join networking groups in the (mistaken) belief that this will eliminate the need for basic sales development such as cold calling, telesales, website and other social media based promotion. This is a huge mistake. Networking is only one strand in a strategy which should join up all of these elements.
  • Give It Time – whether in business or personal life we all take time to trust. Networking groups are no different. The general view is that it can take up to 18 months – and certainly a year – to build the level of trust which will be needed with your fellow networkers for them to start to open up their customer database to you. Don’t get into Networking as a quick fix for sales shortfalls
  • Enjoy It – I genuinely look forward to meeting up with Networking colleagues at the various groups I attend. It is NOT a chore – on the contrary it gives me high value return for my time. It provides an extremely useful “weather check” on what the local market is doing and most importantly WHO is doing it.I know there will be many more views on this and I welcome all of your thoughts and stories on the value and approach to Networking…..Tip No. 3 follows next week so do please come back….. who knows we might even meet at a local networking event!!  

Don’t be a Harold!

Don't be a Harold, by Colin Morgan

Hi all and welcome to my first blog on the Meakins website. I was at a local agricultural show over the weekend, and while trying my arm at archery a vision of Harold at Hastings flashed into my head. This then reminded me of the old salesman’s story:

 

Picture if you will King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. It is towards the final phase of the battle and Harold is surrounded by the last few of his personal bodyguard - his faithful House Carls - all of them fighting for their lives. Swinging and slashing his broadsword at the advancing Norman horde, Harold becomes aware of a tugging at his tunic. He looks down to see one of his pages…….
“sire” pleads the page, “there is a man here who would crave an audience with thee” ….. the page continues…. “He says he is a purveyor of machine guns” ……
Harold throws the page a disdainful look and replies…. “tell him to go forth, I am busy!!”

 

Now there is a pretty straightforward moral to that tale – don’t go up against the French without a machine gun……but there is another more business related message which I should like to get across to you….

 

Many of you will view the subject of office supplies and stationery as a very low priority area of spend. If I asked you to look into what you are currently buying and at what cost you would probably say you “did not have the time”. However from our experience office supplies is typically a very undisciplined area of spend – one where your costs are very much higher than they need to be…..and sometimes shockingly high. Very often a look at the stationery cupboard will reveal a trail of all the special offers there have been over the past year or so and the personal preferences of all of your past employees. The problem for your business is that the cuddly toys and chocolates which came with all the special offers have all “gone home” and you are left with a bewildering array of pens, folders and other office supplies which are simply stranded spend .Our approach at Meakins would be to rationalise what you buy down to what you need and control at least that area of your costs ….. and all at the most competitive prices.

 

So the real moral of this story and my message to all of you for this week is…..

 Don’t Be A Harold!

 …. call Meakins today for all your printing, promotional and office supplies needs.

The Meakins Loyalty Scheme

We have started a new Loyalty Card Scheme to reward our customers!

For every £100 you spend in one order, we will give you one Loyalty Card point. This will kick - start your pathway to your prize. You need 10 points to win your prize...
Its that simple!

Email us at info@meakins.co.uk for more information on how this works. In the meantime, wet your loyalty appetite with the pictures of previous loyalty prizes!

A strange start to Spring…

Meakins had a strange start to Spring...

Around early February, Colin and Andrew got called to a meeting by Robert Hayward, the owner of TEXO Scaffolding & Construction. Thinking it was to do with ARC Promotions & Events Management's Boxing Event, (the company they started in January with Rob Bowyer) which was being held at Five Lakes on April 9th (check out ARC Promotions Facebook page for more information), they left with their events management hats on.

As TEXO were the main sponsor for the evening, alongside JD Contracts, they were just expecting some details from them. However, there was a huge shock in store, as Mr Hayward broke the news that he was the main Sponsor for the Anthony Joshua World Title Fight at the 02 Arena on the same night! When we reminded Rob of the date, he was a little upset, but being the gentleman that he is, he left his sponsorship money in the ARC Event.

Happily for Meakins, TEXO decided to use us for all their merchandise (T-Shirts & Jumpers) and his vehicle graphics! (Pictures below). Rob Hayward needed someone he could trust to give him the best quality at an affordable price. Under the harsh time constraints, he knew who to call!

Meakins achieved everything required of them, with time to spare and to top everything off, when AJ knocked Martin to the canvas, he only sat down on the end of the TEXO logo!

ARC's event went off fantastically and Rob was even kind enough to pay to have thee AJ fight on in the Crowne Plaza hotel to the delight not only of our boxing guests but the rest of the hotel.

Its not everyday you get to produce for a world title fight, so we were proud to deliver, just like AJ on the night!

Thanks again to Texo's Rob Hayward, and JD Contracts.

For more details on TEXO Scaffolding  go to www.texoscaffolding.co.uk

Danielle Raises Money for the Marathon

Danielle Raises Money at Five Lakes - Colchester

ARC Promotions put on a Boxing Event at Five Lakes, Colchester on April the 9th (blog about this will be up shortly.) Danielle brought along her St John Ambulance bucket, and managed to raise a whopping £287.61 for her cause!

We will now begin the two week countdown to the day...

If you haven't had a chance to sponsor Danielle, her JustGiving Page can be found by clicking the link below.

Danielle's JustGiving Page

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