Ten Years Old!

SK Chase is ten years old this week!

To celebrate we’ve created this video, where the two founders of SK Chase (Kaye & Steph) reflect on ten years in business, share their thoughts and talk about what’s next for the business.



This is the first of our new guest blogs.

We are delighted that Fergus King of Shirlaws will be writing a series of business blogs for us over the coming months.

Over the last 14 years and now in 11 countries, Shirlaws has helped more than 3,000 business owners build more profitable, more valuable and more enjoyable businesses. Fergus is our Business Coach.

What is the value of your business?

Do you know what your business is worth? Is it enough? What could it be worth? How do you increase its value? Does it matter to you?

I observe that most entrepreneurs wake up each day and think “How can I sell more stuff to more people?” And why not, profitable income growth is very important. Yet, it is only one side of the coin. If you owned a buy-to-let flat you would know the rental income for sure, but I bet you’d also know the flat’s value too. Most business owners are not so conscious of the value of their business. At least not until they are thinking about some form of transaction/exit, at which point it is generally too late to affect its value.

Imagine you had a two-bedroom home in a sea of other two-bedroom homes and they go for £300,000. Trouble is your retirement wellbeing needs £500,000. The estate agent can tell you various tricks: repaint the walls neutral colours, de-clutter the place, do up the garden etc. and you might get £320,000 with a bit of luck, but never £500,000. But what if you had spoken to an architect and built an extension with two more bedrooms? Suddenly your home is repositioned as a “family home” in a sea of two bed “starter” or “retirement homes”. Family homes due to their rarity in your neighbourhood go for £500,000 and the extension only cost you £50,000. You have created additional value of £150,000. What is the equivalent of this for your business? Are you an estate agent or an architect?

So how do you know what your business is worth? There are different ways to value a business, of course, but the usual formula is Value = Profit x Multiple.

As a Business Coach, I always ask business owners: Who determines your  profit? and they say “Us”. Then I ask: Who determines the multiple? and they say “The buyer/market”. Of course this is true at some level as anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay. But the question is: Can you influence their willingness to pay? Most will doubt it. But the answer is yes you can and in our experience more than most business owners realize.

A multiple is just an expression of anticipated future profitability. The starting point is to understand your current industry benchmark multiple – what a normal business in your sector might get. The process is then exploring the things that enhance that industry benchmark and eliminating things that discount it. There are broadly six things that can enhance the multiple/value and six things that can discount it. SK Chase has, among other things, taken two key steps in this regard.

If the business is dependent on it owners, then the multiple and hence the value of the business is reduced by around 50%. In devolving responsibility and setting their management team free within a Functionality framework, Steph and Kaye have eliminated this dependency. One of the other areas they have also done extremely well is developing their Talent & Culture. This alone can enhance the value by 20%. The whole team don’t just understand their culture they live and breathe it day to day and use it to guide the development of their strategies, plans and behaviours.

To some this whole topic will sound very commercial and money isn’t everything some will say. So let’s look at the personal impact of it too. Let me illustrate that personal element with this question: If you doubled the value of your business and sold it for that amount, what could you then do differently in your life?

Fergus King is a Partner in Shirlaws. Over the last 14 years and now in 11 countries, Shirlaws has helped more than 3,000 business owners build more profitable, more valuable and more enjoyable businesses.

Email Fergus.
Follow him on Twitter @Fergus_King

Welcome to infographic #2

This infographic looks at the male / female buyer percentage split.

We have included a preview of the infographic below, but it’s best to view it in full by clicking onto this PDF.

Male vs Female_framed

As you can see, women purchase the most gift vouchers!

Although not a huge surprise that women are the predominant buyers, what is interesting is how high the split is.

Different approaches to online shopping

Being aware of how (in general) men and women differ in the ways they purchase online can help our clients market their gift vouchers to the right people at the right time, for example in promotions on their websites, targeted mailshots or via social media channels.

Men buy, women shop?

Online shopping research shows us that in general:

  • Men tend to stick to their mission when shopping online (taking less time to complete a purchase), while women view shopping as an experience and spend more time browsing, looking through categories and items, considering the possibilities.
  • Female shoppers tend to start their shopping (for an event such as Christmas) earlier than men, with men making more last minute purchases.
  • Men are bigger spenders. One study shows that men tend to spend 31% more on average on an online purchase than women. It may be a case of men simply buying more items all at once to minimize virtual shopping trips, but maybe they are just more generous! Maybe….

SK Chase are excited to announce that we are in the process of recruiting for three new roles within the business. These roles are Service Manager, Client Support Administrator and Training Manager.

Both the Service Manager and Client Support Administrator roles are full time roles based in our Edinburgh office, whereas the Training Manager role is a part time role (2.5 days a week) and will be based in the London/South East area.

Before you jump in and look at the job descriptions please take a moment to browse our slideshare on our culture here.

And if you like what you see then please read each job description and how to apply on the recruitment section of our website.

We look forward to hearing from you.


All in the mind

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks, struck by what someone has just said? It happened to me the other day.

I had just turned on the radio in the car and what the presenter said hooked me straight away.

Which is really saying something because my two seven year olds were in the back and they are usually a) fighting, b) singing some inappropriate lyrics at the tops of their voices (think Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven or c) giving me driving ‘instructions’ (incidentally you don’t actually need to scream ‘STOP – RED LIGHT!’ when there is a red light 50 metres to the right of you).


The programme that caught my attention was called ‘All in the Mind’ (Radio 4) and the topic was ‘Neuromyths’.

In a nutshell, the programme looked at how the latest brain research can be put into the classroom to help children to learn; it discussed the idea of how children may have one preferred style of learning; for example, they may be someone that gets things better if it’s:

  • Visual (they look at them)
  • Auditory (hear them)
  • Kinaesthetic (things that are moving)

Myth busting

While it’s true that children can have a preference for one of the styles above, it’s just not true that it makes any difference to how they learn, if you go with their preference. There is no convincing evidence to show that there is any benefit in teaching to any particular learning style for learners. It’s a myth. And in fact some psychological studies have shown that there is some advantage to some people in receiving information that is not in their preferred learning style.

And that’s what stopped me in my tracks…

It got me thinking – if there is an advantage to receiving information that is not in our preferred learning style, as the programme highlighted, could there be an advantage in receiving something that is not in our preferred communication style too?

At SK Chase we use ‘Think – Feel – Know’ to help with communication.

Effective communication brings many advantages: we get where we’re choosing to go faster and more efficiently.

This particular tool helps us to understand how each member of the team prefers to process information and express themselves using the different communication styles that we all use. Therefore any communications we have, both internally and externally, we try to ensure that it appeals to each of these different preferences:

  •  Think: focus on fact, data, words and numbers, detail
  •  Feel: energy, use stories and anecdotes and will ‘paint a picture’
  •  Know: use their instinct and intuition

In recent projects I’ve worked on, such as creating a gift voucher best practise guide, I have tried to ensure that I have appealed to all styles:  the knowers (the headlines), the feelers (visual representation) and the thinkers (facts, more detail).

If we appeal to all three styles, each time, as much as we can, there’s no missing information. And everyone benefits from this.

I’m a ‘knower’, but I believe there is huge benefit to me receiving all the information both in a visual way AND backed up by data and words too. It’s a complete picture.

Another neuro myth? We only use 10% of the brain. Not true – we use it all  🙂


News in June…

Visiting JEM Marketing

Jon and Linda took a trip to visit JEM Marketing, our fulfilment partner. After a drive through the leafy lanes of Cranleigh, they arrived at their impressive warehouse. Before having a look around, they met their lovely team who consistently deliver outstanding service to us, our clients and our client’s customers. Having watched their batch print in progress, they accompanied them to the warehouse where they witnessed the vouchers being carefully and meticulously packaged. The warehouse stores clients stationery and merchandise and there is an impressive array of different and amazing voucher wallets, gift boxes and ribbons, not to mention the merchandise. Watching the team in action was so impressive because they seem to do everything so effortlessly. Just goes to show how easy life is when there are good processes in place to support you. Thank you to all at JEM. Jon and Linda are looking forward to their next visit already!Gift Vouchers

Streamlining the Setup Process

We are currently focusing on streamlining the set up process, making it easier for our clients to get set up on our system and start selling gift vouchers through their own website. Our hope is that the set up process will be more of an experience and by having the set up process online, that our clients find it easier and more accessible to access forms and keep track of their progress and the next steps.

Strategy Workshops

Steph has created some material for a Strategy workshop that will be shared with the team shortly. It shall go into the detail of ‘what’ strategy is and ‘how’ we do it in our business.

Best Practice Guide

Our marketing function is currently working on a ‘Gift Voucher Best Practice Guide’ for our current and future clients, which will be full of tips, ideas and best practices to ensure they are optimising their gift voucher sales.


We hope that our first infographic was of interest to you; it’s great to know ‘Birthday gift’ is the top reason for purchase, as it is an occasion our clients can optimise the whole year round.

If you missed it you can view the infographic here. And remember to watch out for future ones for more interesting gift vouchers facts.

And on a personal note…

We would like to congratulate our colleague Catharine who has bought her first home! With a move in date of next week, she has been busy packaging and getting prepared to move. We wish you a very happy new home.

Welcome to the first SK Chase Infographic post!

Each month, we’d like to share information, data or knowledge about gift vouchers with you in a visual way. We’ll be using the data we’ve stored over the years to create these to share with our clients and other people interested in gift vouchers and SK Chase.

Not only do believe the infographics will be interesting, they will also ultimately help our clients optimise their gift voucher sales, now and in the future.

Infographic #1 – Reason for Purchase

Our first infographic looks at why people are buying gift vouchers i.e the reason for purchase. The more we understand the reasons why people are buying gift vouchers, the better we’ll be able to create, market and sell them.

We have included a preview of the infographic below, but to view in full, please click onto this PDF.


As you can see ‘Birthday Gift’ is the top reason for purchase!

We find this so interesting, as whilst Christmas is the busiest period of the year, Birthday’s are the top reason over the course of the whole year. We believe this data can help our clients’ optimise their gift vouchers sales in a number of ways including:

1. To assist with their online gift voucher markeing  i.e. SEO:  consider the key words typed in for their gift vouchers to be found on different search engines for birthday gifts.

2. Plan an email / social media campaign to market ‘birthday gifts’ to their clients around the busiest birthday months of the year (there are a differing views, but August and September consistently appear top).