Get motivated to take enthusiastic action that will help you turn that dream into reality. One step at a time and you will surely achieve anything.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Business Consultancy Overview

Be successful with your Business.
Use our range of services built up over more than 35 years. Whether you are looking to:
  • gain new selling skills
  • market your business successfully
  • need a health and safety review, inspection
  • have a disability access audit
Do listen to this short podcast
MikeLeahypromo1 by MikeLeahy

Braille and other media for visually impaired people

Hi Guys

Have you seen those pages with massed of little bumps? Braille was devised in 1821 by Louise Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two columns of three dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the six positions to form sixty-four possible subsets, including the arrangement in which no dots are raised. For reference purposes, a particular permutation may be described by naming the positions where dots are raised, the positions being universally numbered 1 to 3, from top to bottom, on the left, and 4 to 6, from top to bottom, on the right. For example, dots 1-3-4 would describe a cell with three dots raised, at the top and bottom in the left column and on top of the right column, i.e., the letter m. The lines of horizontal Braille text are separated by a space, much like visible printed text, so that the dots of one line can be differentiated from the Braille text above and below. Punctuation is represented by its own unique set of characters.
Almost two million people are suffering from sight loss to one degree or another. That's about 1:30. And the majority have gradual sight deterioration through Age-Related Macular Degeneration. But there are many guiding aids now around to help. Braille is just one of these. Unfortunately there are only about 100,000 people who can read Braille and fewer who write it.
The Access Audit Company have carried out street audits and feel not enough has been done. Possibly through lack of understanding. It certainly isn't due to financial restraints because most aids are low or no-cost, just a bit of clever thinking.
There is some help out on the street including at traffic lights. Put your fingers under the control box and when the lights show red you'll feel a revolving bar,. This is particularly useful for people who can neither see or hear.
You'll notice that it is customary for street furniture, that is signs, lamp-posts, other signs, waste bijns and so on to be close to the kerb or buildings so that there is a clear pathway down pavements. It is now usual now for tables and chairs put out by cafes etc to be cordoned off, usually with cloth or metal panels. Just a bar or rope between bollards is insufficient and in fact I know of a local cafe that has just added the panels as a blind person stumbled over the rope they had in place. With the smoking ban in pl;ace most places now have an outside area so there are more pavement tables and chairs. Unfairly, I think, some councils introduced a ban on tables and chairs to make a clearway for visually impiared people: then they introduced a charge to cafes for putting chairs and tabes back out. Some people might suggest this is a cash-cow!!
There are also tactile slabs with dimples that denote a  crosingg place, such as flush kerbs for wheelchairs and buggies, traffic lights and zebra crossings. Take a look when you are ouit and you'll notice some are light coloured and some dark. The darker ones show safe crossing places.
Interestingly there have been local navigation systems around for some years now and these are improving year on year. Local systems usually work with a hand-help unit that receives from transmitters attached to street lamps and signs. They tell the informer about shops they are passing, road crossings and points of interest. The latest run of satnav technology. And of course these are getting more accurate all the time, now with some down to just a couple of metres.
Shop signs are also often recognizable by shape or colour by us all. This is particularly useful to partially sighted people. Think about  pharmacies with the green cross, the post office symbol which is so easy to recognise.
This still doesn't help many people who have a severe sight loss and I noticed a guy with a white stick standing on the edge of the pavement the other day whilst several people just passed by!! It takes but a couple of seconds to stop and help. I'm sure you do so keep on. When you do don't grab the person by the arm and pull them along, just offer an arm they can hang onto and guide them, talking about any obstacles or problems ahead. Try it and you'll feel good afterwards too. Remember we all need help sometimes in our lives and it's often the small things like taking an extra 30 seconds to help someone cross a busy road or direct to a shop.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Snow in Sketty

We thought the snow and ice would never end. Small hills that would have us cruising up were sheets of compacted snow frozen to ice. Pavements became danger zones.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There are approximately 10 million disabled people in Great Britain covered by the Disability Discrimination Act: about 18 percent of the population. There are over 6.9 million disabled people are of working age which represents 19 percent of the working population. Only 50 percent of disabled people of working age are in employment compared to 81 percent of non-disabled people of working age. 76% of disabled people with a higher education qualification are in employment compared with 90% of non-disabled people. Of those with no qualification, 23% of disabled people are in employment compared with 60% of non-disabled people. Disabled people are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualification at all. Disabled people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be out of work and claiming benefits. Of the 2.4 million disabled people on state benefits and not in work nearly a million would like to work. The incidence of disability increases with age. Whilst 9 per cent of adults aged 16-24 are disabled, this increases to about 33 per cent in the 50 to retirement age category. In 2004 40% of the English population are over 45, the age at which the incidence of disability begins to increase.

 And here is the rub.
One in every three people either has a disability or has a close relative or friend who is disabled. Office of National Statistics, Census 2001 The estimated annual purchasing power of people with disabilities is £80 billion. Family Resource Survey 2002/2003
That means that the chances are that either you or a friend is disabled, so it's very close to all of us. AND if you have a business then there is around £80billion worth of purchasing that you might be missing out on.
And if they aren't good enough reasons then you have a legal responsibility. So what is holding businesses back from making access better? It seems that many businesses think the work would be too expensive. Others think that it doesn't matter. What do you think?
I believe that you can improve access for most businesses and properties

Visually impaired people often just need a guiding arm

Just back from a trip to Liverpool to carry out a disability access audit for a company before they sign the lease on their office.
While travelling I sat next to a lady who was blind and we had a most interesting discussion. Well, actually she answered some questions I had in the back of my mind.
Most people just associate disability with wheelchair users: they forget those who can't hear or see to well, have learning difficulties, arthritis, are very short or tall, have no feelings through nerve loss or the many other impairments.
Some disabilities are not obvious and some that you think will be, aren't There are also different levels of disability. For example most people who are registered blind can actually see to some degree. They may just be able to see shapes and colours: might only be able to read at a few inches away from their face. I remember a friend who had a guide dog but could read at very close quarters. When she read the paper on the train she'd get comments - so she stopped reading in public. But on one occasion I recall her almost falling over on the beach when she just couldn't see a large piece of driftwood.
My co-traveller told me how difficult it was recognising steps and stairs. and that she'd fallen down a couple of times.There are special slabs that are used to tell blind people when they are approaching steps and stairs. These are called tactile slabs and the one for steps has a corduroy pattern. These are often used in the wrong place which could lead toreal problems. Only last week I saw the corduroy slabs running along a railway platform. This could be mistaken for a step with dire consequences.

Happy Christmas but do we really want a white one now?

And so we run up to Christmas. The snow and ice has certainly had an effect.
Difficult to get out to the shops so will there be a last minute rush with panic buying? Will the snow stop us in our tracks?
Buying on-line has been attractive for many but the goods aren't getting through as fast as they should be and I understand that some online retailers have stopped accepting orders for Xmas. So that's going to have an impact on the high street.
Another factor, of course, is the recession. Some are forecasting a record breaking Xmas because many people can't see the point of saving with the low interest rate. Sales are started even earlier this year, some began a week ago or more, whilst others start  tomorrow or Thursday. So if there is a record-breaking sales will they be profitable? It's no good thinking turnover if the profit has gone. 
Profit pays wages, rent and business tax, new stock and all those other business expenses. Without adequate profits how will some retailers manage? Banks continue, day on day to damage businesses by reducing overdraft facilities yet seem to get away with So let's hope there won't be major losses on the face of the High Street after Xmas.
I noticed many shops closed on Saturday, Sunday and yesterday. These have been mainly smaller shops who may only have a limited number of staff. So it can be impossible to travel. But banks closed too? Surely these guys are earning enough from us all to be able to keep branches open. Sadly not. In fact I know one of the local banks to me where the staff are truly stretch - I guess in the name of profit.
And trains, airports and major roads seem to have ground to a halt. Rail passengers waiting over 5 hours for Eurostar to travel to France and I guess those coming back too. Heathrow just closed with no movement at all. And no communication either, so passengers don't even know what's happening. Living in a world of fast moving technology and the most advanced personal communications systems such as I-Phone it doesn't make sense that airports can give passengers good information
So lets have a really good Christmas and forget our worries and troubles. And let's try and make 2011 a great year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Loyalty Cards

Customer Loyalty is ranked as the foremost issue faced by business owners. There is usually no loyalty in today's market. Many customers move away because they see a cheaper price, are enticed with a special offer or forget about you and the busineess they have placed with you previously.
And who are the best people to make into future customers? Why! Existing customers of course. They have already bought from you so they know the quality of the service you give and the products. They need less persuading than people who haven't bought from you before.
So what can you do to encourage them to come back time and time again? How about a loyalty scheme that would reward them every time they bought.
Want to know more? Click here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Here's what they said

                                                                                                                                                                         I thought you might like to see this short video. These business people came on courses I have run and here's what they said.

If you feel you could benefit from a little help in getting more sales then call me. You will be pleased you did.