Category Archives: Business

Workers in the Tech industry believe they are the most undervalued employees in the UK amastra

Workers in the Tech industry believe they are the most undervalued employees in the UK

It’s safe to say that most of us would agree we’d like more money and a few extra holiday days. So if it were up to us, and not our employers, how much more of each would we give ourselves?

Professional CV writing specialists Purple CV, carried out a survey of 2,500 British workers and found, on average, Brits believe they deserve a not-insignificant 36.8 percent pay increase (£8,500.43 on top of their current average salary).

UK North Easterners believe they are the most undervalued, and should be paid 45.4 percent more per year (£9,700.16). Those who are happiest with their current remuneration are the Welsh – they would be happy with just £6,298.50 (30 percent) extra per year according to the survey.

Workers in the Tech industry believe they are the most undervalued employees in the UK amastra

British workers believe they should receive 8.3 days more holiday per year, but the majority of workers would prefer more pay over extra holiday

The company also surveyed workers by industry. While lawyers get a bad rep as being shark-like, they’re actually the industry who feel they deserve the lowest pay rise, at only a 30 percent increase. While they may not all be pro-bono, it looks like they might not be that unreasonable after all when it comes to pushing up their hourly rates.

Surprisingly, the industry you might think would ask for the least actually asked for more than the lawyers:charityworkers believe they deserve an increase of 32.3 percent! And despite the high salaries of bankers, they’re still not happy, and feel underpaid; deserving 41.4 percent on top of what they currently earn.

However, workers in the tech industry feel they deserve the highest rise. Despite many tech companies being floated on the stock exchange for gazillions of pounds, they still feel they deserve over 50 percent more money: 57.7 percent, in fact. Workers in Law believe they deserve the least (30 percent) increase.

The most burned-out region is Greater London – Londoners would love an extra 9.8 days according to the survey. The Welsh had a different outlook, only wishing for 5.8 more days per year.

Finally respondents were asked whether, given the choice, they would choose more pay or extra holiday days. And instead of choosing more time off, 63.2 percent of us would prefer to take a higher salary. Almost every region across the UK was in agreement, except for East Midlanders where 56 percent would prefer extra holiday time.

So how easy is it to actually negotiate with your employer over salary and holiday days? Purple CV has put together some key tips, below:


Pick the right time to approach your employer. Chances are they are more likely to say no if you don’t pre-warn them first. Set up a meeting and let them know what you would like to discuss in advance, it will give both you and them time to prepare.

Research Market Value

Know your industry and find out your value before asking for a pay rise. Spend some time looking into how much others in similar roles are earning.

Build your case

Employers are going to ask why you deserve the pay rise, so make sure you come to the meeting prepared with examples of where you have exceeded company expectations.

The power of silence

Don’t be too tempted to just accept their first offer; it would be appropriate to say you will get back to them.

Wrap it up

You may not always get the answer you want, but remember ‘no’ doesn’t always mean there isn’t potential for it to be brought up again at later date.

So when you ask your employer for more cash – think of this. Will this extra money make you more happy? or will you continue to push for more and more unattainable salary goals?

Can an AI business advisor tell you how to run your business Amastra Eileen Brown

Can an AI business advisor tell you how to run your business?

There are over 500 million small to medium business owners (SMBs) on the planet. Only one percent of these owners have access to a business advisor. But that could soon change with this new AI app.

A team of young entrepreneurs and software programmers spread between New York, Cebu, and Sydney have launched the world’s first artificially intelligent (AI)business advisor.

The free app, called BRiN, is an AI chatbot that helps business owners to scale. It uses artificial intelligence to create a customized learning program for every user. It is capable of providing personalized education and human-like support to every entrepreneur on the planet, at the same time.

Early results seem impressive, with over 10,000 business owners signing up for the service within the first 3 months, according to the company.

The company interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, about their preferences for current learning models. It then modelled trends based on these responses.

The app has 1000 business videos over 80 topic categories in video and audio formats. There are titles such as “Should I leave corporate and become an entrepreneur?”, “How to plan out your website in 45 minutes”, and “A five minute tech byte on Mailchimp.”

The app will know the answer to more than 10,000 business questions. The founders expect that later in 2017 users will be able to connect BRiN through APIs to other business applications such as Salesforce, MailChimp, QuickBooks, and Google Analytics.

In terms of business models, the company has a goal to get 100,000 business owners using BRiN over the next 12 months, before the company introduces video ads, in-app purchases, and a monthly subscription for premium features and content.

Founder and CEO, Dale Beaumont said: “Chatbots are great at holding a conversation, asking questions and finding out what a user needs. However, when it comes to the solution, chat-style interfaces are completely inefficient when it comes to dispensing actual advice.”

When asked if their name has anything to do with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Beaumont explains the link is pure coincidence.

“Following in the footsteps of Siri, Cortana and IBM’s Watson, we wanted a name that was personal, feminine, short and easy to remember. So quite simply we searched ‘Four Letter Girls Names’. That’s when we found BRiN and we loved it.

What women really want from their careers

Great inforgraphic from Ghirardelli showing the results of a survey on what women want. 5,300 working women across 13 countries, asked women questions about what they would need in their careers to feel like they "have it all."

Work life balance is more important now that it was 5 or 10 years ago. That might be because we feel we are far more busy than we were 5 or 10 years ago and value our time. Perhaps salary expectations have changed based on salary growth across the market place.

But it certainly is nice to know that 77 percent of us feel that our careers are successful. I know mine has been Smile

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Does social media influence your buying decisions?


You see a tweet. You buy the product. True or False?

False of course. We are not so easily influenced by promoted pages and promoted tweets.  These promotions are just to make us aware of the product.  Then we will decide.

But how many of us would actually buy just based on social media messages alone?

Forrester has done some research showing that less than 1 per cent of sales actually come from social channels. It watched 77,000 consumer orders placed during April 2012 and discovered that:

Although 33 per cent of transactions by new customers involve more than one trackable touch point, 48% of repeat customers visit multiple trackable touch points.  These touch points include searches for the product, pay per click advertising placements onto websites email blasts and newsletters.

Email is important for return business.  If the brand starts the interaction with an existing customer it is likely to turn into a sale. Thirty per cent of sales transactions come from existing customers that have received an email from the retailer. An additional 30 per cent of customers type the retailer’s URL directly into a browser.

Forty-eight per cent of consumers reported that social media posts are a great way to become aware of new products. however less than one per cent of transactions could be traced back to trackable links on social media sites.This indicates that Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers but are valuable for awareness.

If there are trackable links such as and a great analytics engine behind the web site, then social links can be directly linked to sales. But without these processes in place, then the brand needs to focus on awareness and remaining top of mind in its social channels whilst closing sales through other forms of digital marketing, complemented by social feeds.

It is such a shame that many brands still get this wrong…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image credit: Tom Morris

From Employee to Entrepreneur: 10 tips to starting successfully


I left Microsoft three years ago to start my own business. Since I left the world of the salaried worker and created a company, I’ve had many conversations with my ex colleagues who are planning to start up in business too. 

There is no structured formula for success. Setting up in business for the first time is a lonely, scary place. Everything is different to the safe, secure world of the 9-5 worker.  Timescales differ, responsibilities differ. And yes, the buck really does stop with you.

The great thing about running your own business is the sense of control you have with your working life.  If you choose to work 18 hours a day, weekends and holidays, you can.  There is no boss breathing down your neck with deadlines and stress inducing meetings and calls.  

You can choose to work as much or as little as you choose, turn down clients that you do not want to work with, and delight the clients you do want to work with.  It is a very empowering experience – if you can stick through the difficult times and make a go of it.

So at the start of my third year in business, here are some tips that I’ve found useful in making the transition beyond my first three months in business. I’ve taken time to reflect on how I’m doing, and how things are working out and so far, all is good.

But the tips I tell each of my friends who want to follow in my entrepreneurial steps are:

    • Get a  mentor:  Find someone who runs a small business who can give you help and advice and lead you step by step down the road to setting up on your own.  Their advice is invaluable and you will find yourself with a new friend.
    • Ask questions. Other entrepreneurs have successfully gone down this path before. Ask them how they did it and their tips for success.
    • Have a good, recent business plan. Banks and other Financial institutions will be reluctant to invest in your business without seeing your business plan. Update your plan before you go for that all important business meeting.  A scrappy, out of date business plan does not inspire them to believe in you and your success
    • Be prepared to try it and see. If things go wrong, then change your plan, change your approach and try it again.
    • Refresh regularly: Keep your profile image, biography, company biography and capability document up to date. You’ll be able to quickly send it to anyone that asks for the details. Don’t keep customers waiting for the information they need
    • Reuse knowledge: Use the skills you gained in company life to help you writing proposals, web site copy, press releases and external communications.  Create templates to make your life easier
    • Follow up: If you take a business card at an event, contact the person after the event reminding them of the conversation you had at the event.  Making the connection electronically means that you can be sure that they have your contact details even if they have lost your card.
    • Keep in touch: Use LinkedIn to maintain and keep contact with your ex colleagues. If they change jobs, or leave the company, you will still be able to keep in touch with them and continue the relationship.  You never know. Your skills might be just what they need in their new workplace so it is important that you work at the relationships you have
    • Open up new networks.  Don’t go to the same networking events all the time.  Try a new event.  It might just be fruitful.  You will be a fresh face, with fresh ideas and skills.  you will be able to gauge the need for your skills in the market. 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image: TinyTall

LinkedIn now hides your profile details by default

LinkedIn’s settings prevent the use of effective business networking.  Here’s a screen shot of who has looked at my profile recently:


When i joined LinkedIn in 2005, all profiles were open.  if someone looked at my profile, then it encouraged me to get in touch with them and re-forge the connection – or make new connections and initiate conversation.

LinkedIn has been layering extra levels of security and privacy onto its new accounts.  If you upgrade your account to a subscription option, then you will be able to see who has viewed your profile. For users with the basic subscription you will not be able to see everyone who has viewed your profile.

For new users too, there is an issue.  The default setting on LinkedIn is for your details not to be viewed by default.  This raises an interesting question.

Why do you want to hide your details if the whole purpose of your joining LinkedIn is to effectively carry our business networking?

You don’t attend business meetings and refuse to share any details about yourself.  You give our information about your name and job role.  You hand out your business card and chat about what you do – unless you work in the security services of course.

But now, more and more people who have created accounts on LinkedIn find that they are hidden by default from their colleagues and potential new employers.

Here’s how to change the setting and check whether your LinkedIn account is showing the details that you want it to.

Look for the Settings link under your name in the top right hand corner of the home page



Click on the Profile tab on the left – and the link Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile


Choose your display options


Click on Save Changes.

Perhaps you want to be anonymous for a while – as you are building up your profile, or looking at profiles from a company where you might like to work. But many new users of LinkedIn are not aware that their profiles are hidden – and are unaware that they can easily change this setting.

LinkedIn are trading ease of connecting with the desire to earn revenue outside of traditional advertising – and compromising the ethos of the service.

Not good…


Social Business, Social Media for businesses


I often get asked what the term Social Business really means.  Is it the new name for social media?  Is it something else entirely?

Here are the main differences as it applies to business.  I’ve broken the main points down into the top line bullet points and highlighted the main differences between the two.

Social Business

Breaks down organisational silos.  In the social business collaboration enables virtual teams to work together efficiently on projects without the need to send attachments round, keep multiple copies of the same document that gets out of date.

Democratises data.  Project and workflow information is available to everyone in the team that needs the information.  Enterprise search enables documents to be discovered, permissions ensure that the right documents can be seen by the right person.

Anywhere, Anytime working.  Project teams can work remotely. Conferencing tools enable sharing of information, virtual face to face meetings, and synchronous work streams and engagement.

Flattens hierarchies.  In the social business, internal communications tools means that you can communicate with the right person in the company without navigating the hierarchical layers of management.  Work with the person in the organisation that has the skills you need.

Social Data. Keeps communication flowing and knowledge sharing inside the business

Social Media

The earphones of the brand. Listen to what your customers are saying about you, engage them in dialogue, build relationships and solve problems.  Discover nascent brand issues before they magnify to major problems.

The brand microphone. Use your brand advocates to tell your message on your behalf.  With appropriate advocacy programs and incentives schemes in place, your brand advocates will become an extension to your business.

Community Engagement.  Have a relationship with your customers and partners that goes beyond the sales cycle.  Build enduring feedback loops, gain innovation, ideas and change sentiment.

Competitive credibility.  With thought leadership papers and leadership posts you can show your expertise in the marketplace against your competitors.

Search visibility.  With updated, fresh and engaging content, you will be easily discovered and visible in search rankings.

Social Connections.  Keeps two way conversation flowing between the business and its customers and partners

Both social media and social business conversations enable a rich dialogue inside and outside of the organisation.  To be successful in your social media activities externally, you need to have a ‘joined up’ business internally.

Good business practices will deliver excellent customer charters, customer service and customer satisfaction.

It all starts from within.  Is your business a social business yet?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: jasminejennyjen

Bottlenose organises your social media streams


Brands rely on good social media dashboards to filter the ever growing data stream and keep track of competitors and partners.

Its frustrating having so many different feeds of information and subscribing to more feeds can often overwhelm you. 

 Bottlenose is a new social media dashboard that has entered private beta this wee and aims to combat the growing challenge of social media overload giving you a unified stream of information.

It detects what topics are interesting to you and intelligently  personalises your feeds.  Messages automatically categorise themselves.  It automatically learns your interests.

  It can be customised to show you what you want to read, not what the people you follow are broadcasting.  You can surf their stream more easily

All of your social networks are woven into a unified stream so that you can zoom in and out of conversations that are interesting to you.  It has an interesting feature, Sonar, depicted above which organises your streams and tells you what’s trending, and the people involved in the trend.  Clicking on a person person gives you information about them and what they are about.

You can also build rules and alerts so that you only see the topics that are important to you and build your own tags so that the message can be found.  Have a look at the video here:

It’s useful tool for individuals too who are trying to predict what’s hot and what trend is coming next. It’s useful if you’re trying to improve your online brand too.  Bottlenose makes sense of the stream.  It’s certainly worth a look when beta access is opened more broadly.

…Or will it just add to our ever increasing workload?…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for BusinessContact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Google favours large businesses in SEO and searches

If you’re wondering why your small business isn’t getting noticed on Google, then have a look at this infographic from SEObook.  It seems to penalise small businesses who are trying to get presence through SEO and frequently updated pages. 

Google Longtail Infographic.


You can also keep up your own brand presence by keeping up your social activities on sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and your blog – to keep your visibility up as much as possible..

Or perhaps it’s time to change the way you search – or think about change your search provider?

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


Facebook increases character limits to enable longer status updates

Facebook recently announced that they were increasing their character limit on status updates from 5000 characters to a "nerdy" 63,206 characters.  This means that brands will be able to post far more information to Facebook without using 3rd party applications such as Networked blogs or by linking to information stored elsewhere.

Google + posts are limited to around 100,000 characters, so Facebook have upped their status update limit to allow people to write just about what they want to (Working The Crowd has about 377,000 characters  – so I could get it into 6 Facebook updates if I wanted to.. ).

Facebook removed the ability to syndicate  something to your page or profile using Notes in October so this increase in character limit makes sense.  Brands can now post items directly onto Facebook which gives the post more EdgeRank.  Everything in Facebook is called an Object, and when a user interacts with the object then an Edge is created.  Some Facebook Edges have more value than others.  Writing your own post has more value to Facebook than posting via an application such as Twitter, Foursquare or a blog post through Network blogs.

Posting Facebook updates directly into Facebook gives Facebook direct access to a huge amount of information.  They can mine this information and use it to give you more accurately targeted adverts.  They can add to their already huge amount of data in a way that Google+ can’t match at the moment.

But for brands who want to get noticed, posting direct updates onto Facebook — and getting those posts shared will ensure longevity of the posts, and more potential views in a way that links and short updates just can’t do.

So this is a win win for both — brands and Facebook.  And an opportunity for any budding authors out there to publish their stories to their Facebook friends, followers and subscribers.

The challenge now is getting the posts read – all the way to the end…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.