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B4

Magazine

ISSUE 14 WINTER 2010

PROPERTY

ADVICE

www.b4-business.com

NETWORKING

CONFERENCE

H E A LT H

TRAVEL

R E C R U I T M E N T • L E I S U R E • O F F I C E • A C C O M M O DAT I O N • C O M P U T I N G • E D U C AT I O N

ViSibLe One of Oxfordshire’s Leading Commercial Property Consultants, VSL

Feeling Blue? David Cameron MP tells B4 where the country can improve

The New Ashmolean Following extensive refurbishment, B4 takes a look inside one of Oxford’s leading attractions

B U I L D I N G

B R I D G E S

B E T W E E N

B U S I N E S S


Selling or Letting? A comprehensive practice covering Oxford and the surrounding villages. Offering expert advice on: • Residential Sales • Land and New Homes • Residential Lettings • Property Management • Design and Refurbishment • Acquisition and Development


Sales HEADINGTON: 01865 759500 SUMMERTOWN: 01865 759507 EAST OXFORD: 01865 759508 LONDON: 0207 4675330 sales@scottfraser.co.uk

Lettings HEADINGTON: 01865 761111 SUMMERTOWN: 01865 554557 EAST OXFORD: 01865 244666 lettings@scottfraser.co.uk


A 14% BENEFIT-IN-KIND RATING. SO LOW YOU CAN TAKE THE TAXMAN FOR A RIDE. The new full hybrid RX 450h delivers a breakthrough 299 DIN horsepower, with 148g/km CO2 emissions thanks to the advanced full hybrid system which switches seamlessly between electric and petrol power. The electric motors work in tandem with the 3.5 litre V6 engine to deliver maximum efficiency and performance. Together with a luxurious interior with sophisticated Remote Touch technology, this makes the new RX 450h a car to be desired by everyone, even the taxman.

For more information or to arrange a test drive call Lexus Oxford on 01865 566283. Cumnor Hill, Oxford OX2 9PL www.lexus.co.uk/oxford

299 DIN hp

148g/km CO2

44.8 mpg

WELCOME TO FORWARD LIVING

THE NEW FULL HYBRID RX 450h RX 450h prices start from £41,600 OTR. Model shown is RX 450h SE-L Premier priced at £56,085 including optional metallic paint at £580. Prices correct at time of going to print and include VAT, delivery, number plates, full tank of fuel, one year’s road fund license and £55 first registration fee. Certain components within the hybrid drive system have a five-year or 60,000 mile warranty, whichever comes first.

RX 450h fuel consumption figures: urban 42.8 mpg (6.6 L/100km), extra-urban 47.1 mpg (6.0 L/100km), combined 44.8 mpg (6.3 L/100km). CO2 emissions combined 148g/km.


www.b4-business.com Contacts If you want to contact B4 Magazine Telephone: 01865 742211 E-mail: info@b4-business.com Publisher B4 Magazine is published by Designs On Ltd, The Firs, Headington Hill, Oxford, OX3 0BT Chairman Colin Rosser E-mail: colin@designs-on.co.uk Editor Richard Rosser E-mail: editorial@b4-business.com Art Editor Keith Simpson E-mail: artwork@b4-business.com Editorial contributors Sarah Wiseman Debbie Rushton Proofreading Shani Farrant Advertising E-mail: sales@b4-business.com Administration Sue Edwardson E-mail: admin@b4-business.com Studio Photography Studio 8 Telephone: 01865 842525 Field Photography Andrew Parsons B4 Partners Apartments in Oxford B-Line Conference Centre Oxford Darbys Oxford Innovation Oxford Airport Oxford Castle Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network Studio 8 VSL and Partners Wenn Townsend

Subscriptions For free Subscription, please contact: Telephone: 01865 742211 E-mail: info@b4-business.com

Welcome to B4 If we’re not digging ourselves out of the economic turmoil surrounding us, then we’re digging our cars out of the drive. As we limped past the finishing line in 2009, the signs were still mixed as to whether we were in or out of a recession.

Inside

But, as Paul Avins tells us in this issue, ‘let’s be positive’. Oxfordshire’s a great place to do business in and 2010 is going to be a good year, albeit hard work. Working well together has always been a key element to business growth, and I was delighted to hear from Carolyn Woodcock of Newtrim UK who told me that she met Jill Treloggen through B4, and went on to work with her on the stunning Hope House Hotel refurbishment, which we feature in this issue. Getting through 2010 won’t be easy on your own, so take some advice from leading accountants Wenn Townsend and read their article entitled ‘A Trusted Guide’. Matt Wistow of Shaw Gibbs also introduces himself and his new role at another one of Oxfordshire’s most respected accountancy firms.

22. Rewarding Excellence Frank Webster of Finders Keepers on awards success

On the property front, we congratulate Finders Keepers who have been cleaning up on the awards front, Commercial Property consultants, VSL, invite us to find out more about their business (sadly some of the more humorous ‘Did You Know’ facts had to stay on the cutting room floor), and we also hear from Headington based letting agents, the letting centre. I was privileged to have a chat with David Cameron on the occasion of the Witney Big(ger) Breakfasts’ 5th Birthday, who answered questions about the problems facing the country and how we can plan for a brighter future. Mr Cameron’s constituency, Witney, is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment with the recently opened Marriott’s Walk Shopping Centre, and we speak to Rodney Hartnell, of The Woolgate Shopping Centre, about The Woolgate’s proposed expansion and imminent arrival of retail giants, Next.

29. Starting A Business Katherine Dales talks to B4 about her experiences

Don’t miss our interview with Nick Wheeler, founder of gentlemen’s shirt retailer, Charles Tyrwhitt, and if you are a golf enthusiast, don’t forget to enter the B4/MGroup Cup in 2010, qualifiers for which will be staged at a number of Oxfordshire courses. Make sure 2010 is a great year for your business, and you could do worse than sign up for the new B4 website, which, after a lot of careful planning, is just about ready to launch.

30. Feeling Blue?

Have a great year and enjoy B4.

Each business with an Oxfordshire postcode is entitled to one free copy per issue. For additional copies and for businesses outside of Oxfordshire, there is an annual subscription charge of £25.

Richard Rosser Editor

Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, talks to B4

Put Together in Oxfordshire B4 is all about Oxfordshire. Designed, produced and printed in Oxfordshire.

© Designs-on Ltd and B4 Magazine. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure that the content of this publication is accurate and correct in every way, the publishers cannot be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies or errors within the publication. Information reproduced from this publication is permitted with the express permission of the publisher and the advertiser, where relevant. All information is correct at time of going to press.

About

B4

Magazine

B4 Magazine was established to provide Oxfordshire businesses with a clear voice to raise their profile and to help businesses connect. Direct mailed to three thousand business decision makers in Oxfordshire every quarter, B4 is widely regarded as one of Oxfordshire’s leading business publications. B4 stands for Building Bridges Between Business, and that is what we have done and will continue to do, aided by the development of a first class website launching in 2010. B4 is funded by paid for display advertising and editorial, although some editorial is granted without charge at the discretion of the Editor.

68. The Sharp End Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt, on growing a retail success


B4 Contents B4 LEAD

B4 OFFICE

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16 ViSibLe: Commercial Property front-runners VSL lead the way in Issue 14 with some home truths and valuable commercial property insight.

B4 PROPERTY 22 Rewarding Excellence: Leading local letting agents, Finders Keepers, and their incredible awards success.

“B-line’s latest Brother

offering is a range of compact high-speed colour printers for the busy office”

B4 NEWS 9 67 79 83 87 95 99

B4 News Oxford Innovation Finders Keepers And Sobell House Nominet OTCN Business Link Charitable Funds

BROTHER FOR

MAKES A

B-LINE

OXFORDSHIRE BUSINESSES

B-line business supplies in Oxford is celebrating a successful 10 year partnership with global office technology manufacturer, Brother. What better way to mark the occasion than with the launch of a new range of high speed compact colour printers – ideal for businesses in Oxfordshire looking to get ahead. B-line business supplies in Oxford is celebrating a successful 10 year partnership with global office technology manufacturer, Brother. What better way to mark the occasion than with the launch of a new range of high speed compact colour printers – ideal for businesses in Oxfordshire looking to get ahead. B-line’s latest Brother offering is a range of compact high-speed colour printers for the busy office. The HL3040CN and HL3070CW are available from £189 and utilise high speed LED print technology to give laser performance at a lower price. B-line has been supplying businesses in Oxfordshire with office equipment, hardware and software for the past 23 years. Working locally has allowed the company to build up a loyal customer base and keep its carbon footprint low.

B4 SPOTLIGHT

For the past 10 years, the company has been helped towards this goal by its partnership with established office technology specialist, Brother. Together, the two companies have supplied Oxfordshire businesses with reliable and

sustainable office machines, from printers to multifunction machines, label printers to fax and everything in-between. B-line and Brother share the same values of providing excellent customer service and support coupled with a strong commitment to lowering their negative environmental impacts. B-line runs consolidated deliveries in specific areas on specific days, to cut its fuel consumption and decrease its carbon footprint. The company has also invested in making its offices as green as possible, including downsizing to cut energy use. Brother is well-known for its dedication to making a positive impact on the environment. It’s the only technology manufacturer to have scored 100/100 three years running in the Ethical Company Organisation’s Good Shopping Guide. More recently, Brother has started sponsoring the CoolEarth project, in a bid to protect rainforests from being cut down by working with local communities in forested areas. For service you can rely on that doesn’t cost the earth, call B-line on 01865 594550 or visit the website www.b-line.co.uk.

www.b4-business.com

30 Feeling Blue?: Conservative Party leader, David Cameron MP, speaks to B4 about solving Britain's problems. 64 The New Ashmolean: Sarah Wiseman visits one of Oxford's headline acts. 68 The Sharp End: Charles Tyrwhitt founder, Nick Wheeler, traces his career from University to a multi million pound retail success. 72 The Science Of Innovation: Successful yet innovative ways of attracting the leading innovators to Bicester.

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50 The Year Ahead: Positively Speaking: Leading Business Coach, Paul Avins, on staying positive in 2010. 56 A Trusted Guide: Tackling the mountains in business can be difficult without a good guide. Article by local accountants, Wenn Townsend. 63 Considered Debt Collection: There's debt collection and then there's Clive Taylor - respected, professional and considered.

B4 CONFERENCE

84 Raising Jericho: Giving one of Oxfordshire's most independent areas a new profile.

45 Lady Margaret Hall: Wonderful grounds, first class facilities, close to the heart of Oxford. What more could a conference organiser want?

B4 ADVICE

80 Kassam Stadium: Making a success out of events off the pitch at The Kassam.

21 Future Potential: Matt Wistow of Shaw Gibbs tells B4 what the future holds.

101 Fly & Meet: Destination Oxford launch a novel new conference package at London Oxford Airport.

B4 SPOTLIGHT “We have seen an increase in the rate of corporation tax, rather than a cut. I know there is quite a lot you can do to get credit moving, to get deregulation going again to help the wealth creators to create wealth and have a permanently low tax system with more visible and simpler taxes.

FEELING BLUE?

“I think in terms of a cure that there is much more the government should be doing to try and buy from small and medium sized enterprises. You constitute about 50% of the economy, but when you ask where the government contracts go, only a fifth of the money goes to businesses at your level, and most of it goes to the big players. I need to change that. I think we need a specific target, getting more government money into the hands of small businesses, and we also need to simplify the process for actually bidding for government contracts, whether it is local government or central government.

Five years ago, Witney MP and Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, helped launch The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast Club, Witney’s foremost business networking organisation. Mr Cameron recently returned to Witney’s Masonic Hall to help the club celebrate its 5th Birthday Party, where he delivered a rousing speech prior to answering members’ questions and, afterwards, a selection of questions put to him by B4’s Richard Rosser.

Sharing anecdotes which include the likes of Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow on the one hand, and distressed children at the annual Combe School Christmas card competition on the other – the child in question was apparently devastated that Mr Cameron wasn’t the ‘star’ name he had hoped for – Mr Cameron demonstrated that he does possess an abundance of natural wit and humour. Using the five year celebration of The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast as a stimulant, Mr Cameron was keen to see what lessons could be learned to help us all get through what will undoubtedly be a difficult year ahead. “What I would like, most of all, today is to hear your questions and try and answer your points about the small business environment. It has been, and still is, an extremely difficult world we live in. If you look back over the last five years, I think we should have learned a very important lesson about our

“That would be my agenda. Tax regulation, stimulate credit and get government procuring at your level.”

empower institutions, and judge on the results they produce, rather than trying to measure every single process that they do. Above all, it is not all about money. Of course you need lots of money to run a good school, a good hospital and a good police service, but, actually, it is not all about money.

“With regards to the economy, we should by now have learned that you should never expect the good times to last forever. It is biblically simple. You should put aside money for a rainy day. With a 14% budget deficit, twice as big as Dennis Healey had in 1976, we went into the recession not having put aside money after ten very good years. I think that is the biggest lesson I have learned. “The lesson we have learned with our public services is simpler. If we want to improve the performance of schools, hospitals, policing and probation, and all of the public services we rely on, then just thinking in terms of extra spending is not enough. You do need to have proper structural reforms that actually empower the head teacher in schools. You need a health service to have greater choice between different hospitals, and choice between GPs. We need to make sure we empower those who work in these organisations and, most importantly, judge them on their results rather than by endlessly trying to check every process they go through.

At the recent CBI conference (as reported in the Financial Times on 23rd November) business leaders thought that only a few of the "building blocks" for recovery were in place. How would you, as Prime Minister, and your newly formed government, ensure that the building blocks were the correct ones, and that they gave UK businesses the strongest possible foundation for growth?

“It is truly horrific when you read the story about the Basildon hospital where death rates are a third higher than they should be. Many people go into that hospital to be cured and are dying from a hospital acquired infection. Yet that particular hospital had ticked, according to the regulators, all the boxes. This is the really big lesson for us to learn. We need to trust our professionals more,

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David Cameron: “I am well aware that any Conservative government is going to be judged on whether we build lasting and sustainable growth and on whether we deal with the record budget deficit. The Emergency Growth Budget we have promised within fifty days of taking office will plan to deliver both.

“We have to learn from the harsh lessons of the past five years. We have to put aside money during the good years; we need to reform the public services properly, rather than just thinking it is all about money; and we have got to get to the heart of the social problems, particularly the causes. Of course, the symptom of poverty is the shortage of money, but the cause is normally something else, the persistently out of work, going to a poorly performing school, having a drug or alcohol problem. Those are the causes. If we get to the causes, we might cancel some of the problems.” Given that Mr Cameron was addressing a wide range of SME businesses in the room, he then turned his attention to the difficulties we all face, on a daily basis. “I recognise how tough it is for you. I appreciate the huge problems that credit shortages cause. I have run out of room in my surgeries for business people who come in with particular complaints about banking situations, credit lines not being there, overdraft charges going up, arrangement fees increasing, and loans which are simply not available.

“There are actually more people living in poverty, severe poverty, than there were ten years ago”

“I know that red tape is causing massive problems and that those that are trying to get the engine of the economy going, are hitting perpetual brick walls. I understand that it has become more difficult to employ people, more difficult to meet the regulations, more difficult to fill in your tax return, more difficult to comply with legislation. We are putting so many obstacles in the way of getting the job done, that we are stifling the very lifeblood of the economy.

www.b4-business.com

37 VSL: Commercial property news. 40 Hope For Networkers Everywhere: A stunning example of businesses in Oxfordshire working together to create Hope House, a wonderful boutique hotel in Woodstock. 88 Witney Expansion Of The Woolgate Shopping Centre: Witney is booming and B4 brings news of further plans to bolster this thriving Oxfordshire town.

B4 OFFICE 49 Engineers With Vision: Part 3 - Information On-Hold & Real Time Stats, with Orange Stripe. 53 Brother Makes A B-line for Oxfordshire Businesses: B-line and long term partner Brother launch a colour printer to help your business get ahead.

B4 COMPUTE 59 Servers: Does Your Business Really Need Them Or Are You Being Over Sold?: Oxford Home IT Support on what you really need.

B4 ACCOMMODATION 25 Struggling At Home?: A focus on Richmond Letcombe Regis retirement home. 96 Short & Sweet: We visit Calico House in the heart of the City of London

B4 LEISURE

Mr Cameron then answered questions from the floor, and privately responded to additional questions put to him by B4.

“There is a similar lesson with our society. We have had ten or twelve years with a considerable amount of extra social spending, but, actually, what we find is that poverty and our social problems have been incredibly tough to cure. There are actually more people living in poverty, severe poverty, than there were ten years ago. The very poorest in our country are now actually poorer. The actual divide is the persistent social problems we have, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, family breakdowns or teenage pregnancy. We are not actually cracking these things, which are the real causes of the poverty, so I look forward to the next five years when I hope we are going to actually start to achieve as a country.

“we went into the recession not having put aside money after ten very good years” economy, a very important lesson about our public services and a very important lesson about our society.

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26 Letting Everything Run Smoothly: B4 visit The Letting Centre in Headington to find a firm which values the customer and tenant in equal measures.

“And those two aims go hand in hand. We are now heading for a hole in the government finances which is almost twice as large as when Britain nearly went bankrupt in the 1970s. It’s vital for economic recovery that government gets to grips with this. The CBI have said as much themselves. So have organisations like the OECD. “I think we’ve shown real leadership in this area – putting forward policies like freezing public sector pay for a year apart from the million lowest earners, cutting the costs of Whitehall by a third, reducing benefits for better-off families, and bringing forward the planned increase in the state pension age. If you look at Opposition manifestos in the past, I doubt you’ll find they contain too many policies like those. But unique circumstances call for unique solutions. “Specific policies we have put forward to help enterprise include cutting the small companies rate to 20p and the main rate of corporation tax to 25p

www.b4-business.com

continued on page 34

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38 Growing Up Fast: Oxford Castle reviewed and preveiwed. 76 Frilford Heath Golf Club: One of Oxfordshire's leading golf clubs welcomes B4 to hear about its plans for the future. 92 A Home For The Stars: Local boys club, Summertown Stars, aim for a new home.


B4 PROPERTY since become a very good friend. She came to see the house when it was originally being rented out as three apartments. We were getting about £500 a month from each as they were just one bedroom flats, but great value for the tenant as they were huge.

Hope House into a boutique hotel / short let property, despite previous promises he had made to himself. “Like the rower said, ‘if I ever get back in a boat, shoot me’, after opening hotels of over four hundred bedrooms, I never wanted to get involved in a project like this again, albeit on a smaller scale.

“working together with other local business, on good recommendations, can help achieve the perfect outcome.” But I was hooked and genuinely excited. “I began to think that if I put them on as short lets, as Wendy was suggesting, I might be able to generate some income to get the roof and the bay windows repaired. But Wendy had other ideas. She could see the history, which I suppose I took for granted, and realised that I had a masterpiece lurking beneath what was then a property in need of some urgent attention.” With extensive experience handling shortlets for The Old School in Woodstock, Wendy could see Hope House had an abundance of potential, as she explains. “My jaw literally dropped when I saw Hope House. Despite the obvious need for some serious work, I could see the potential immediately

“Wendy introduced me to the interior design team at Jill Treloggen Interiors. They also saw the huge potential in the property and came up with lots of ideas of how we could transform the shell into first class accommodation. We set about putting a local team together to renovate the property - I couldn’t believe I had gone from lick of paint to a complete re-wire and renovation!.” Wendy knew Jill through her company's extensive work in the Oxfordshire lettings market. Jill was able to draw on a number of her local contractors and also introduce a new one, who B4 magazine helped her to find, as she explains. “We worked

HOPE FOR NETWORKERS

EVERYWHERE

B4 has been delighted to learn of a group of local businesses, networking and working together to turn a simple property refurbishment project into a thriving bed and breakfast receiving rave reviews. B4’s Richard Rosser has been talking to the key players from Hope House, Jill Treloggen Interiors, Penny and Sinclair, NewTrim, and Deborah Reynolds Soft Furnishings to find out how the project came to fruition and become first class accommodation in the heart of Woodstock. B4 is all about businesses working together, recommendations and raising the profile of local businesses to enable them to win business. The project at hope house epitomises all that B4 stands for. Hope House, a Grade II listed building, was built circa 1708 for maltster Miles Parker, a local councillor and mayor of Woodstock from 1711-1715, who, as Receiver General of Taxes in Oxfordshire, collected the taxes to pay for Blenheim Palace. Constructed at the same time as Blenheim Palace, Hope House is one of two grand houses in Woodstock designed in Vanbrughian style with baroque architecture, and it is easy to understand why it has been described as a sister property to the Vanbrugh-designed Blenheim Palace, as Paul explains. “There is much debate as to whether the house was indeed designed by Vanbrugh

himself, as there are many similarities in the style. The stone is from the same source – you would have to ask the Blenheim site manager how it got here!”

and told Paul that it would be a fantastic shortlet property, as I knew from experience that there was demand for expensive shortlets in Woodstock. I had previously dealt with a wide range of clients who demanded premium accommodation, from the Saudi Royal Family to Argentinian polo players. I knew what they expected and what they were prepared to pay.

Paul has spent all of his life working in the hospitality industry, most recently as owner and operator of the Fardell Group of Hotels, where he ran an acclaimed restaurant, and prior to that, as a General Manager opening hotels for the Oberoi Group in the Far East between 1994 and 1999. “When I returned to England from working abroad in 2007, the property had become seriously run-down. As our former family home, I didn’t want to see it deteriorate any further. It was in desperate need of a lick of paint and some basic work from local tradesmen.

“We also have good links with the film industry, having accommodated the cast of Lady Godiva at The Old School House.”

“By chance, I had a meeting with Wendy Sinclair of Penny and Sinclair, who has

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www.b4-business.com

Paul quite quickly warmed to the idea of converting

closely with Paul as soon as Wendy introduced us and we set about putting together the rest of the team. I had previously run an article with Nicola Stapleton (Beechwood Solicitors) in B4, and was contacted by Carolyn Woodcock at NewTrim as a result to see if they could be a supplier of ours. We used NewTrim to provide all of the upholstered footstools, headboards, cubes and blanket boxes throughout the property.” As Jill mentioned, her connection with NewTrim came about through B4, as NewTrim’s Carolyn Woodcock explains. “We first ‘discovered’ Jill, quite simply, via B4. As Newtrim UK Ltd, our business is

www.b4-business.com

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40 B4 HEALTH

B4 NETWORK

B4 TRAVEL

60 Private Healthcare: A look back over the past three issues of articles in B4 to remind readers what first class services are available on our doorstep.

54 B4 Website: A sneak preview of B4’s new profile-raising website.

46 A Personal Approach To Business Travel: Chiltern Railways takes the hassle out of travel.

91 Private Healthcare Vulval Disease Service: Leading consultant, Sue Cooper, talks to B4 about the latest Private Healthcare service.

B4 RECRUIT 29 Starting A Business In A Recession Shrewd Or Stupid?: The Career Boutique's Katherine Dales takes the plunge. B4 TRAVEL

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B4 RECRUIT

“My choice has been a determination to be different; to offer an alternative approach within the recruitment industry”

A PERSONAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS TRAVEL

STARTING A BUSINESS IN A RECESSION

SHREWD OR STUPID?

Chiltern Railways is the award winning local railway for Oxfordshire, providing regular, reliable train services along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London, serving Banbury, Bicester North and Haddenham & Thame Parkway stations.

The beauty of the service is that, although it is run by Chiltern Railways - a reliable, local name that you can trust

Just over a year ago when I first discussed the idea of starting my own business with friends and family, they didn’t beat around the bush, they all categorically thought it was ‘plain stupid’. “Who starts a business during the worst recession the UK has ever experienced?” They heralded.

notice bookings. We always receive a quick and professional response to any requests, and the staff are always very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.” Nicola Cowee at The National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield agrees. “We opened a Chiltern Railways Business Travel account in January 2000 and use this account for all of our train travel in the UK. This is an enormous timesaver for our accounts department who no

Granted setting up a business at any time can be a daunting prospect and certainly during economic downturn I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I’ve always been someone who likes to think slightly outside the box and my take on the situation was that this could possibly be the best time to start a business – especially if your business is fundamentally based on wanting to help people and other businesses to succeed.

“It puts an end to the hours spent online searching for train times and competitive fares” - the team are committed to providing free, impartial advice so that you get the best deal for where and when you want to travel, regardless of which train company you may need to use. They just want to keep you on the rails and off the roads! It puts an end to the hours spent online searching for train times and competitive fares. Upon opening a free business travel account, a dedicated adviser is allocated to your company to book the best, and most cost-effective, tickets available. Sofia Micklewright from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, is an advocate of the Chiltern Railways service. “We have been using the outlet to arrange all of our business rail travel requirements since April 2008. Having a single point of contact for all our rail travel requirements has made the process much more straightforward, as well as ensuring we get the best fares possible. We have always found the service to be speedy and efficient, even when making short

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longer have to deal with expense claims for travel each month.”

We spend the biggest chunk of our lives working. In some cases carving a worthy career for ourselves, yet for many our day to day working lives and career choices are not necessarily fulfilling. Surely our career should be a fundamental component of the aspirational lifestyle choice that we make for ourselves? If we have an entrepreneurial spirit and a burning desire, even in the fledgling stages of our career, to take a leap of faith in our own abilities and be our own boss, then why not?

Tickets are dispatched via a free postal service, meaning the days of queuing for tickets and filling in expense forms will be a distant memory. In addition, frequent travellers to London can take advantage of the Chiltern Carnet package, which offers twelve ‘Anytime’ return journeys to London Marylebone, for the price of just ten. The tickets are valid for six months from the point of purchase and can be used by anybody – colleagues, friends or family, and they are only available from the Business Travel team. To discuss your company’s needs and how the service can add value to your organisation, telephone the Business Travel team on 01494 420177, open 9.15am-5.00pm Monday-Friday, or visit www.chilternrailways.co.uk/business.

www.b4-business.com

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29

Age and experience do not determine business success or failure. In the words of famous business guru and adviser Michael Gerber; “…experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.” This past year my thirst for knowledge has been www.b4-business.com

unquenchable and I have approached my venture with drive, enthusiasm and genuine passion in order to build a reputable brand that is already enjoying success. My choice has been a determination to be different; to offer an alternative approach within the recruitment industry. My brand values are based on quality and style. I have helped people to examine their career choices and to successfully capitalise on their strongest assets, as part of a complete lifestyle choice. I have worked with companies to reassess their HR requirement and find them the key people they need to consolidate and grow their businesses. In my opinion it is wildly misguided to suggest that the success or failure of a business in any industry sector, is solely determined by the economic stability of the UK. Intrinsic to my business philosophy is the need to have realistic expectations and be prepared to make brave decisions! I have been bold and invested in good people and in return their commitment and skills are sprouting saplings of success. We set out to be a vibrant, dynamic and stylish organisation and I believe this, too, has contributed

to our success. Young entrepreneurs are often labelled as ‘naïvely optimistic’ and I have certainly been on the receiving end of that tag and if I’m brutally honest, I’m also guilty of being an accuser – particularly when sat on the sofa watching BBC TV’s Dragons Den! However, as 2010 begins, I raise my half- full glass (I’m certainly not a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of girl!) to a possibly bumpy, yet thrilling ride ahead. We have set, what some might say are optimistic forecasts for the year, but we consider them to be totally realistic, building on the successful foundations that we solidified in 2009. I am certainly not naïve, but of course I am totally optimistic. My advice to any budding entrepreneur considering this as ‘their’ year to boldly go forth and start their own business, is that without optimism there really is no point! During 2010 The Career Boutique will be hosting a series of informative Business Seminars in partnership with leading Oxfordshire solicitors, Withy King. For further details visit www.thecareerboutique.com Katherine Dales is founder of successful Oxford based recruitment consultancy, The Career Boutique and she is an Ambassador of B4.

Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

Amongst the team at Bicester North station is a small, dedicated group, committed to providing local businesses with a highly personalised ticketing service for travel anywhere across the whole of Great Britain’s National Rail network, including First Great Western and Cross Country.

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For all contacts see page 112


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SALE NOW UP TO 65% OFF

Shirts from £60 £19.95 – SAVE £40 Visit www.b4-business.com and click on the Charles Tyrwhitt link Sale ends 31st January 2009

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B4 News David Cameron MP, talks to B4 B4’s Editor, Richard Rosser, was invited to the 5th Witney Big(ger) Breakfast in November to listen to David Cameron give an informative summary of 2009 together with his predictions for 2010 and beyond. Mr Cameron also took questions from the floor and, following the event, from B4 directly. Read the article and subsequent interview in full on page 30. Mr Cameron concluded his hour long visit by cutting a cake and wishing The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast the very best of luck for the next five years. Mike Leggett, Organiser of The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast Club commented. “We are delighted that David Cameron accepted our invitation to our birthday party. He’s a strong supporter of local matters and local business in particular, and this was a chance for as many business people as possible to talk to him about any issues they have or about the growth of Witney’s economy in general.” The club, which normally attracts around forty people, was formed in 2004 by local companies wanting to help each other develop business interests within the local community. The Club holds weekly meetings where guests are welcome, but not pressured, to participate. The Club also hosts monthly Big(ger) Breakfasts at the Masonic Hall in Witney with guest speakers. For more information about the club please log onto www.witneybbc.co.uk or call Mike Leggett on 01608 811533.

Professional Advantage – A systematic approach to client development. It doesn’t matter what you call it – Client Development, Practice-building, or Marketing – everyone sells. But not everyone is comfortable selling. Many professionals perceive traditional selling strategies as exploitative and even manipulative behaviour. It goes against their grain to think of themselves in the role of a stereotypical salesperson. Sell doesn’t have to be a bad word; it should be used in the offices of solicitors, accountants, architects and other professionals. It’s a necessary skill in today’s competitive marketplace and a

necessary function of marketing and growing your business. Sandler’s Professional Advantage is specifically designed to address the attitudes and behaviours essential to productive business development and intended to help develop a sales awareness, without the stereotypical salesperson image. Professional Advantage is a CPD accredited course. To determine if it is suitable for your organisation, Sandler will be holding taster sessions in January and February contact us on 01608 611 211 or visit our website www.oxford.sandler.com for more details.

Are you ready to join the professionals?

Know where you stand and your business will benefit! Are you a company managing director, personnel or HR director or manager interested in learning more about the ever changing rules and regulations within the vast number of topics associated with company law? Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

If so, leading recruitment consultants The Career Boutique and established Oxfordshire solicitors Withy King, have joined forces to bring you a series of informative and valuable seminars throughout 2010. Attendance to all the seminars is free of charge and will include discussions on topical issues relevant to all businesses in the current economic climate. For subject details, schedule of dates and locations visit www.thecareerboutique.com or telephone 0845 5204010. See article on page 29.

www.b4-business.com

9


B4 would like to thank the following Ambassadors who have generously given their backing to the new B4 Website, launching soon. The site will be an essential networking resource, great for circulating offers to fellow members and crucial for issuing press releases to help you shout about your business. Make sure you are listed by calling us on 01865 742211.

BLENHEIM PALACE www.blenheimpalace.com

ALLEN ASSOCIATES www.allen-associates.co.uk

COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK & GARDEN www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

Reggie Heyworth Managing Director

Kate Allen Managing Director

APARTMENTS IN OXFORD www.oxstay.co.uk

THE PROFITABLE HOTEL COMPANY www.profitablehotelcompany.co.uk

Fafar Watts Director

OXFORD & CHERWELL VALLEY COLLEGE www.ocvc.ac.uk

VSL www.vslandp.com

Richard Venables Director

Sally Dicketts Principle

John Hoy Chief Executive

“Blenheim Palace has a strong and wide ranging relationship with B4 Magazine and The In Oxford Group and we interface with their various publications throughout the year. We enjoy their positive ‘can-do’ attitude and we respect their high standards of service and delivery. Their range of titles creates fantastic reach across the county and their influence within the county grows stronger year on year. We certainly intend to maintain our relationship with the group going forward and to build upon it wherever we can.” John FD Hoy FRICS, Blenheim Palace B-LINE www.b-line.co.uk

OXFORD AIRPORT www.oxfordairport.co.uk

David Beesley Chairman

BRECKON & BRECKON www.breckon.co.uk

Greg Barnes Director

TREVOR OSBORNE PROPERTY www.topgroup.co.uk

Trevor Osborne Chairman

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Stuart Harrison Owner

OXFORD RADCLIFFE PRIVATE HEALTHCARE www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/ privatehealthcare

Nick Maynard Surgeon

TORPEDO GROUP LIMITED www.torpedogroup.com

James Dillon-Godfray Head of Marketing & Development

MALMAISON www.malmaison.com

Andrew Creese General Manager

WENN TOWNSEND www.wenntownsend.co.uk

Tony Haines Partner

LUCY PROPERTIES www.lucyproperties.co.uk

Ian Ashcroft Property Director

NOMINET www.nominet.org.uk

Iain Lewis Director

SHAW GIBBS www.shawgibbs.com

Peter O’Connell Partner

CONFERENCE CENTRE OXFORD www.conferencecentreoxford.co.uk

Roger Watts Managing Director

Lesley Cowley CEO

BOTTLE PR www.bottlepr.co.uk

Claire Cairns Managing Director

IN OXFORD MAGAZINE www.inoxford.com

Colin Rosser Managing Director

www.b4-business.com


B4 News One swallow does not make a summer … … and it would be a foolish person who claimed the good times are back. However, here at Crusader Sponsorship Management & Events we are sensing a more positive attitude to the future. As specialists in sporting hospitality and sponsorship management we are busy working on projects in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and have a healthy order book for the 6 Nations Rugby fixtures and the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. On the sponsorship side we have a full and exciting programme of cricket hospitality and events to coordinate for the sponsors of Middlesex CCC, Ignis Asset Management. We are also delighted to have

been awarded the contract to find a sponsor for the Orchestra of St John’s, based near Oxford. A highlight of our summer could be the Afghanistan Trust Challenge at Lord's where we are planning to organise a fund-raising day for the Parachute Regiment. The chance to see Australia play Middlesex and watch the Red Devils ‘drop in’ to Lord’s will be a not-to- be-missed event! If you would like advice on developing your corporate events and sponsorship programmes, or would like to receive a FREE copy of our Sporting & Social Calendar for 2010, please email callen@csmltd.org.

Carter Jonas set to benefit from growth 2010 is likely to be another roller coaster ride in the property market, however Carter Jonas have laid foundations to secure their continued success. The company completed their merger with Dreweatt Neate during 2009 and as a result now have a nationwide service with 31 multi-disciplined offices, in the process becoming the largest privately owned property team in Oxfordshire. Locally the Summertown based team now offers an unrivalled range of services with a combination of residential, commercial, rural, planning, building

surveying and architectural services all being under one roof. Jon Silversides of the firm’s commercial team comments. ‘Despite the obvious challenges in the market, there remain opportunities and with a growing improvement in occupier sentiment, we hope fortunes will continue to improve during the year.” For further information on Carter Jonas’ wide range of services visit the website on www.carterjonas.co.uk or contact Jon on 01865 404458.

London Oxford Airport scoops Best Business Aviation Airport Award from AOA London Oxford Airport scooped the accolade of Best Business Aviation Airport 2009 from the Airport Operators Association (AOA) at their annual conference. The AOA praised the airport management’s vision and commitment for successfully building an attractive business aviation facility within just 18 months and its owners for their ongoing commitment to investment in the facility. The award was presented to Oxford Airport’s Managing Director Steve Jones during the Association’s Annual Conference Dinner at London’s Hilton Metropole Hotel by Simon Calder, Travel Editor of The Independent and Guy Lachlan, CEO of the British Business and General Aviation Association. The award follows the selection this summer of Oxford’s business aviation facilities as one of the top ten such facilities in Europe with the luxury lifestyle publication, Altitudes Magazine.

Shaw Gibbs VAT Surgery – 23rd February Shaw Gibbs VAT experts will be holding 20-minute private consultations to help answer any questions your business may have relating to VAT. Please call 01865 292200 to make an appointment for 23 February at our

www.b4-business.com

Summertown office. (Please note a non-refundable charge of £15 is required upon confirmation of appointment). Please visit our website to find out more: www.shawgibbs.com

11


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B4 News Eynsham Hall launches Health & Fitness Club Eynsham Hall is a magnificent setting for the newly opened Health & Fitness Club. The Club has a fully air-conditioned fitness suite, exercise studio for classes, heated indoor pool, mixed use sauna, and floodlit outdoor tennis court - plus the X factor provided by the Club’s atmosphere and location. Members have access to the Eynsham Hall grounds, Gun Room bar, and restaurant. Membership, which is limited to avoid overcrowding, is £35 a month or £60 for a dual membership, with no long term contract. Tel: 01993 885207, email fitness@eynshamhall.com or visit www.eynshamhall.com/club

Whose business is it to put enterprise into education? WHY NOT MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS? Each year more than 350,000 students aged 4 to 24 participate in Young Enterprise business-education programmes. Often the students volunteer because they want to find out more about business and enterprise, they want to develop their skills and they can see that the experience will help to improve their

employment prospects. But in order to do this they desperately need the help of volunteers from the local business community. To volunteer email Young Enterprise South East at enquiries@yese.org.uk and an Oxfordshire Young Enterprise Representative will contact you.

Get business buzzing in 2010 To encourage businesses to take a fresh look at how PR can create a buzz and improve business prospects for next year, PR and communications consultancy, the Buzzworks, is offering a free PR plan for 2010. While times are still tough, effective marketing is more important than ever. PR is a very cost effective marketing tool, and can manage the reputation, influence opinion and improve the visibility and profile of the business as well as

launch new products and services. Money spent on good PR can be worth its weight in gold – literally! So, if you are currently working on your marketing plan for next year, or would simply like some creative ideas, arrange for a consultation by contacting Sarah Airey by email sarah.airey@ thebuzzworks.co.uk by phone on 01993 813848 or visit www.thebuzzworks.co.uk

Environmental Awards for Riach The Oxford Preservation Trust has presented an Environmental Award and plaque to Riach Architects for their 'enlightened approach' to the conservation of the former Wharf House pub. The Trust's aim is to preserve and enhance the historic city of Oxford and it's green setting and runs the annual Environmental Award scheme in recognition of projects making a significant contribution to the conservation and improvement of the built and natural environment of Oxford. Douglas Riach said of the Awards, “We are very pleased that the Oxford Preservation Trust have recognized the contribution that this building is make to our historic city. As a local Oxford based practice we endeavour to design buildings which both enrich and conserve the landscape for which Oxford is world-renowned.” Further projects can be seen at www.riacharchitects.com

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13


B4 News Scottfraser win at The Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year Awards Scottfraser Estate Agents received an industry accolade in November. They were awarded the Silver medal in the Best Small Estate Agency category at The Sunday Times 2009 Estate Agency of the Year Awards. The Scottfraser Lettings business was short listed in the Small Lettings Agency category.

behalf of Scottfraser, was delighted to receive the award. “This is the first time we have entered the competition, we did so at the suggestion of a number of clients and we have been delighted by the response to our entries. It is always pleasing to have your achievements recognised but it is even more gratifying in a competition judged by top industry experts and professionals.”

Managing Director, David Blythman, speaking on

Jeremy Mogford receives two awards from Condé Nast Johansens At the end of 2009 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Annual Awards for Excellence, Jeremy Mogford was presented with the Condé Nast Johansens Award for the ‘Most Excellent City Hotel 2010’ for the Old Bank Hotel, and the award of the evening for ‘Outstanding Excellence and Innovation’ for Gee’s restaurant, the Old Bank Hotel and the Old Parsonage Hotel. “None of this would have been possible without everyone who works for the businesses and the people of Oxford and beyond.” Commented Mr Mogford.

New Identity for Jericho In our sister publication, In Oxford Magazine, we launched a new section for Jericho as part of a new initiative to give areas outside of Oxford exposure. We will also be launching similar sections for Summertown, Cowley and Headington, backing these up with 30,000 standalone maps for each area in March to help raise their profile. We have already published 60,000 copies of the Witney map. On page 84, we feature comments from local traders in the area inviting you to visit Jericho, and we also launch the new Jericho logo. Business owner James Salter, of James Hairdressing, is

glowing in his reference of Jericho. “Jericho is something small, with a large heart. Jericho still has history and still has a soul. It has local shops, a cinema, a school, a meadow, a canal and pubs and is full of people that have lived here their whole life, as well as others that have discovered Jericho. It is a place of so many wonders, and sights that you don't have to go very far until you bump into a friend. Jericho, still has a community. Jericho is a place where the walls have come down and where old and new can grow together. It's still the heART of oxford. See article on page 84.

Great Auld Time at Malmaison

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Helen Fisher of St John’s College was the winner of our fantastic Malmaison New Year’s Eve competition. Helen wrote the following entry as to why she should win the tickets (to the tune of Auld Lang Syne):

Helen commented. “We had a wonderful time. The food was fantastic, especially the crustacean bar arranged on ice sculptures. The live band played everything from Sinatra to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the piper brought the New Year in with style.

“Should auld expenses be reclaimed, from people too self-serving, Re-dis-tri-bute some dosh to us, cos we are more deserving.”

Thank you very much B4!”

15


VISIBLE

VSL are certainly visible, in terms of their boards, their identity and their presence in Oxfordshire’s professional circles. Known for their professionalism and integrity, VSL and Partners have built a solid reputation on doing their job, and doing it with a keen sense of humour. Richard Rosser meets the partners who reveal the true character of, arguably, Oxfordshire’s leading commercial property agents, who like to do their business with a smile.

VSL’s Kidlington based commercial property agency team deal with office, industrial, warehouse and retail instructions throughout Oxfordshire, as well as providing acquisition advice to companies throughout the country. VSL also offer supplementary professional commercial property services, such as bank and accounts valuations, business rates appeals and asset management advice. The last eighteen months have been a testing time for anyone in property related businesses, none more so than commercial property. Yet the partners at VSL retain a passion for their business and the experience to acknowledge that, whilst things may be tough in the commercial property world, ‘worse things happen at sea’. Gathered at the VSL offices in Kidlington, the partners are an engaging yet focused bunch who reflect on their beginnings and position of prominence in the commercial property world, not just in Oxfordshire, but beyond. Richard Sherrott and Andrew Lockhart focus on the professional side of the business, incorporating all landlord and tenant advice, professional valuations of commercial property, and business rate assessment. That’s not to say that Richard Venables and Tom Barton specialise in being unprofessional,

Between them, the partners have amassed significant experience, as Richard Sherrott points out. “I have been in the business for over thirty years. My first ten years were spent in the Oxford valuation office, doing rating assessments. I then moved to Chesterton, where I first started working with Andrew. Our desire to start our own business began to formulate at Chestertons, and this was also driven by a desire to move away from the big corporate environment. Richard (Venables) and Tom between them have significant experience both in and out of Oxfordshire, and it was also their preference to move to an environment where the client would have one contact rather than lose continuity with a number, as Richard explains. “We had all experienced the bigger firms who we felt could offer a better service. It’s not a direct criticism of the larger firms, it is more often than not a natural product of being bigger. Large firms require more clients which require more people, and it would probably be virtually impossible for a firm of a reasonable size to provide their clients with one contact. “That’s why we got together in 2002 because we all shared the common vision that size didn’t matter. We all felt that small and perfectly formed would suffice, and it has done so ever since. Our

ourselves on. “We strongly believe that, actually, it is quite nice being small. When people call they speak to us, they don’t get passed onto someone else who deals with their work. There is continuity and that is vitally important for a lot of companies. They can pick up the phone to me or one of the other guys and we are the same person they spoke to two years ago, just a bit greyer or weaker in the knees.

far from it. They focus their attention on the actual disposal and acquisition of commercial property.

clients have one point of contact, and they know the job will get done, professionally.

“One of our clients is Buildbase for whom we conduct ratings across the country. They like our focus, the fact that they have one contact, and that we provide an excellent service. Other corporates like Buildbase will retain the services of a larger commercial property agency, who will send the leading lights to the initial meeting with the client and then graduates or junior staff will end up doing the work. There is no continuity in that, and that only serves to destroy a relationship rather than give it the chance to develop.

In addition to the four partners, Vivienne Spurge acts as a consultant for VSL on the acquisition of properties and property management, and Mike Brierly, who’s focus is on investment opportunities, both locally and nationally.

“This is all part of our unwritten mission statement if you like. We want to be different, we want to stand out. Our boards are purple for a reason – we want to be noticed, we want to be visible. We stand out for our service and that is something we pride

“I would argue whether you actually get the quality you are looking for and I would regard that environment as a breeding ground for corporate graduates. We have to react quickly, and can only do that if we know the history. I would challenge a

“We want to be different, we want to stand out. Our boards are purple for a reason”

16

www.b4-business.com


B4 LEAD

nurtured, and, quite simply, they trust us implicitly to do a great job for them.” A vital part of the VSL team are the secretarial staff

VSL have had their chances to expand. Courted by potential suitors to sell or join up with other agencies, the position has always been the same, according to Tom. “We have had offers to sell or join forces, but we have made a conscious decision to retain our own identity and maintain the size of business which we started out with.” The decision to locate in Kidlington was also part of the original plan, according to Richard (Venables). “The business is built around our lives. Our location isn’t the prettiest or the liveliest, but it suits our lifestyles. We all get on very well, the location is within striking distance of our homes, so we are all in agreement that, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.” VSL is very much a personal service with some fairly sizeable clients. Miele has been a customer for over twenty years, as Richard (Sherrott), explains. “We have just purchased a site in Manchester for them, and have assisted with the acquisition of a central London showroom, and work all over the UK on their behalf. It has been a relationship which has been cultivated and

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“A strong network of links with other professional organisations in Oxfordshire..” who, according to Richard, help seal the bond of trust with the clients. “We have got three extremely capable secretarial staff and they know all of our clients pretty well. Liz has worked with me for fifteen years and Annie has worked on and off with us for about the same amount of time, so that ensures continuity.” Client relationships clearly play a huge role in the VSL process, but Tom is keen to stress that there is a good deal of humour mixed in with the

professional service. “We are serious about what we do, but we like to have a bit of fun at the same time, which is very important in these transactions. Yes we know how to conduct ourselves when the time is right, but we have built our success on knowing when to relax, and that, in our experience, is a great way to build client relationships. We have been going for seven years, and our approach has only served to help us grow.” A strong network of links with other professional organisations in Oxfordshire has helped reinforce VSL’s position as a market leader. Being part of initiatives such as Oxford Inspires and Pro-Oxford has certainly helped to raise VSL’s profile, and this is all part of the team’s concerted networking effort. It is an approach which has reaped dividends for VSL. Richard (Sherrott) is now an established fixture acting for tenants in many transactions at Milton Park, and this symbolises VSL’s general proficiency in hi-technology buildings. VSL were also instrumental in what is widely regarded as the single largest office acquisition in Oxford, the 85,000 sq ft Oxfam building. VSL now also act for Oxford Business Park in Cowley.

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

graduate to pick up the phone and recommend a course of action if they have had little or no exposure to a client.”


TORUS Abingdon Business Park TO LET 3,400 Sq ft – 43,500 Sq ft Newly refurbished headquarters office building with energy efficient features.

Units 1-5 Oxford Industrial Park, Yarton, Oxford TO LET 9,000 – 54,000 sq ft Refurbished modern industrial/ warehouse units

LINACRE HOUSE Jordan Hill Business Park Ground floor Office suite TO LET 9,980 sq ft First floor now let. High quality ground floor suite now available

ROWAN PLACE Oxford Business Park High Quality Office Building TO LET 25,274 sq ft Landmark Office Building on Oxfordʼs Premier Business Park

unrivaled local and regional expertise Richard Venables Tom Barton

rvenables@vslandp.com tbarton@vslandp.com


B4 LEAD On the professional side of the business, Andrew Lockhart explains how VSL have successfully negotiated some substantial rate savings for clients such as Biomedica. “We are now helping our clients restructure their assets and get more out of them, and this will include rate reviews, looking at gearing and adjusting terms to attract tenants to sign longer term deals to provide landlords with maybe less annual rent, but fixed over a longer term.”

Compared with the recession of 1993, when there were a lot of bank foreclosures and surplus property, to date we haven’t seen many bank foreclosures, so it is very difficult to predict what will really happen in 2010. “We do know that public sector spending is going to be slashed, and as the public sector has been a mainstay of demand over the last year or two, that is clearly going to come to a halt and

“....Oxford is unqiue and should be able to withstand any downturn better than most.” The new buzzword in estate agency or commercial agency is asset management, as Tom explains. “Everyone wants to be an asset manager, but what, exactly, does that mean? Management in the true sense of the word is collecting the rent and dealing with rent reviews. Asset management is actually looking at your property and thinking a bit more laterally. If a landlord isn’t doing deals in this climate, and not many are, we are helping them to manage their assets and make them work better for the landlord.” So what do VSL foresee for 2010? Richard Venables gives his predictions. “Demand in the past eighteen months has been fairly shaky. There is no point pretending that rents haven’t plummeted and investment values haven’t dipped, because they obviously have. There has been some recovery, but, going into 2010 / 2011, it is very difficult to see vast improvements on the horizon. The only people who are moving at the moment are those who have a lease termination coming up or a break clause. “Even then, they are thinking very hard about whether they move or not. It is a big expense. We have to put forward very good reasons to move, super deals. We are trying more marketing initiatives as well to try and tempt people out of space. We have got to do more, you can’t just sit on your backside, send out a few brochures and wait for the phone to ring, you have to be working at it and making deals happen. “The other concern is that because nothing new is being built, there could be a scenario where we get a continual take up of space, albeit slow but sure, and we get to a position where there is a dearth of space. We then get a situation where rents rise because of supply limitations, and we can see that happening in Oxford city centre at the moment, where people are chasing properties. “Another possibility is that next year is really tough and results in a significant amount of business failures resulting in a market which is swamped with receivership properties. www.b4-business.com

have a massive effect. We think it is going to be a pretty tough market in the next couple of years. Having said that, compared to other areas, Oxfordshire is a pretty stable market, and nothing really affects the overall levels of business significantly year on year, even in a recession as fierce as this one. “Being positive, there are some really interesting requirements at the moment coming forward for next year. It’s still early days, but we know of a couple of larger office needs in 2010 which would be good to get our teeth into. In our opinion, we feel that the local authorities aren’t as pro-active as they could be in attracting new business to the area, and we are trying to address that. If a company is looking at relocating, Oxford isn’t that attractive simply because of the cost of living in the area. “Having said that, with the vibrant technology industry combined with centuries old education, a dynamic publishing sector and a burgeoning health sector, Oxford is unique and should be able to withstand any downturn better than most. The spin-offs from the University reach extraordinary levels and are a real asset to the local economy. Of course there are casualties, especially in this climate, but the positives easily outweigh the negatives and the momentum which Oxford has won’t die out overnight – even the most diehard of pessimists won’t tell you that!

D ID Y OU K NOW ? SMALLEST DEAL

...150 sq ft office letting in High Street, Oxford – not quite a broom cupboard but pretty close.

BIGGEST

DEAL ...85,000 sq ft office

HQ acquisition for Oxfam GB.

OPERATIONS ...The Partners of VSL

have shared 3 knee operations in the last 12 months.

HERITAGE

...VSL has a rich Oxford heritage. Venables Guns were made in Oxford since the late 18th century. Liz used to work at the Cowley plant fitting door window winders to Montegos.

ACTIVITY

...VSL was awarded most active Local Agent in Oxfordshire in 2009.

UNUSUAL ...Most unusual letting....letting a

factory to Pizza Express for the production of dough balls.

SPEEDING

...Quickest deal...24 hours

(honest!).

SLOWEST

DEAL

...one property has just let after 7 years of marketing in challenging conditions.

“There is a culture of innovation here which acts as a fantastic stimulant, and although there are pockets of Cambridge which Oxford plays second fiddle to, Oxford has a wider range of positives, not least its central location which is an unquestionable plus. Don’t forget the industry in Oxford, with BMW going from strength to strength. “It is the considered view of all of us at VSL that Oxford is only going to get stronger in the future. It’s a fantastic place to do business.” www.vslandp.com

19


The

tenners

Play lunch or dinner your way. One note, two notes or three notes.

£10

Two courses for one person (no wine)

£20

Two courses for two people (no wine)

£30

Two courses for two people with wine

Mal life. After the huge 2009 hit ‘Two thousand and Wine’ Malmaison have announced their much anticipated encore. ‘The Three Tenners’, bringing divine dining to a whole new audience and more than a touch of flexibility to the table in 2010. Play lunch or dinner your way, one note, two notes or three notes. We dare you. That’s Mal life. See website for full terms and conditions.

To book call in or call

01865 268 400 or email: oxford@malmaison.com

For the best rates GUARANTEED visit malmaison.com

OXFORD

Hotel | Bar | Brasserie

Oxford Castle, 3 New Rd, Oxford, OX1 1AY


B4 ADVICE

FUTURE POTENTIAL Matt Wistow, a familiar face around the Oxfordshire banking scene, made the move to local accountancy firm, Shaw Gibbs, in late 2009. As Director of Business Development, Matt has adapted to the unfamiliar environment of the accountancy world with ease, and if his first months in post are any indication, the future looks exceptionally bright. Here Matt Wistow tells B4 why he is full of confidence. “I have been really impressed with the practice since I arrived. The range of services is perfect for owner managed SME’s. The team here has a wide range of technical competence, and I have been brought in to demonstrate to potential clients how Shaw Gibbs can help to develop their business.” Having built up a wide network of contacts in his banking days, Matt is getting out into the Oxfordshire business community to win new business for Shaw Gibbs, as well as generate completely fresh business through existing contacts and the leads other Partners in the practice generate. “My role is twofold in that I have to convert new business from my leads and from those the other Partners generate, so that they can concentrate on what they do best.” Matt’s role is essentially that which he performed

underestimated the level of opportunity that Shaw Gibbs can generate. “When I first looked at the role, my only real reservation was whether there would be sufficient opportunities to generate the level of new business I was expected to. However, in just three months, between us, we have generated in excess of fifty potential new accounts. This isn’t basic tax advice, this is full audit business with the ancillary financial services which go with it.” Matt is very focused in which businesses he is targeting. “We enjoy working with dynamic businesses, businesses which will benefit from our proactive approach and gain real value from our full range of specialist services.” It is not only Shaw Gibbs’ ability and range of services which have impressed Matt. “Simply by appointing me, the firm has shown it is committed to growing the business. We have also just

multitude of different scenarios and that is where we get the opportunity to add value.” If Matt has any criticisms of his new employers, it’s that he wishes they weren’t quite so good at business development as they are. “The Partners are very competent at developing new opportunities but, developing a new client takes a lot of work and, if you aren’t careful, it can detract from the service that you give your existing customers. There is little benefit in spending a lot of time and effort on a new client that may or may not happen, whilst in the meantime letting your existing customers slide out of the back door. Hence, I have been appointed to coordinate and manage new client work, whilst allowing the Partners to focus on delivering the excellent level of service which our customers expect. “This is a really exciting opportunity and I am

“...Our aim is to be our clients’ trusted added value professional business partner.”

“Our aim is to be our clients’ trusted added value professional business partner. We know our clients aren’t going to be tempted by lower basic fees offered by our competitors because we have an added dimension which is invaluable to their business.” By

his

own

admission,

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Matt

has

totally

recruited a new marketing assistant, who is proving to be a shrewd appointment, and we also use an external marketing agency and telemarketing to generate leads. We are very organised and committed to business development, and to developing this practice. We live in a society where everything is more transparent, and firms won’t get away with providing the bare minimum for much longer, just because they always have done so. “Our clients expect value for the money they are spending, and they also want access to our specialist services, to our pro-active teams and to somebody who understands their business. When they have issues, they need suggestions and the benefit of our broader experience which we have cultivated from dealing with a range of different businesses. A lot of owners of businesses lead a very isolated existence and have nobody to turn to when they need advice. We have experience of a

delighted to be here. The first few months have gone fantastically well and all the surprises have been good. We have got a great market proposition and we have got a great market opportunity. It is the leveraging of that opportunity to help our clients achieve their goals and to help this practice achieve its own goals that I am here to accelerate.” Managing Partner, Graham Henley, added. “I was delighted to have persuaded Matt to join us. He has bought with him a new dimension to our practice development programme. I was aware that we lacked day to day focus on developing new client leads, and Matt has already set up a professional, efficient and focused approach to our client expansion programme. We are all excited about what we can achieve going forward.” www.shawgibbs.com

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

during his near eight year stint at RBS. “My role has really changed only in so far as I am promoting accountancy and related services instead of banking. The target audience is the same, so, it is perfect for me. Where I like to think Shaw Gibbs are doing things differently to other accountancy firms is adding value to the core product. If you are not getting the basic services provided, then you can’t expect your accountant to add value. Our clients expect the basic services, but they also get terrific added value in terms of financial modeling, tax restructuring or management strategy.


B4 PROPERTY

REWARDING EXCELLENCE In 1972, Mary Channer established Finders Keepers, now Oxfordshire’s leading property rental company, with eight offices and one hundred staff. With a clearly defined foundation built on honesty and integrity, strong property management, maximising income, the best staff with the best training and a commitment to continue ‘reinventing renting’ and always improve their service, it is little wonder that Finders Keepers have surpassed themselves, year after year. This culminated in a flurry of awards in late November which recognised Finders Keepers for their diligent pursuit of excellence. Director Frank Webster and Associate Director, Dan Channer, talk to Richard Rosser of B4.

AWA R D S THE SUNDAY TIMES ESTATE AGENCY OF THE YEAR 2009 Best UK Lettings: Gold Award – Finders Keepers. Judges’ Report: “The sheer volume of ideas and innovations demonstrated and actioned by every member of the team shows a quality, well run firm offering a fantastic service to landlords, tenants and their team.” Medium Lettings: Gold Award – Finders Keepers. Judges’ Report: “Their attention to detail means they attract high quality tenants which makes the whole lettings process easier and in turn leads to satisfied landlords.” Training & Development: Silver Award – Finders Keepers. Judges’ Report: “This company has stuck firm to their strong belief in individual training and development with a lot of effort put in to bespoke training plans designed in response to feedback from staff.” THE NEGOTIATOR AWARDS 2009 Employer of the Year: Winner - Finders Keepers. Judges’ Report: “Judges referred to the submission as ‘tremendous’, with one claiming to be able to vision themselves working at the firm because of its focus on staff support. The firm’s emphasis on teamwork was also praised.”

THOUGHTS ON 2010 22

Some might say to win one Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year Award is fortuitous. Two awards? Well, that’s impressive. But three? That’s incredible. Add ‘Employer of the Year’ Award at The Negotiator Awards and you begin to realise that what the firm set out to build, almost forty years ago, has developed into a seriously professional, well principled and clearly ambitious company. Finders Keepers started out as a search and acquisition service for people who needed help buying property. Fairly swiftly, the company was asked to manage property and find tenants for it, evolving into a specialist lettings operation. It has added services including furnishing, building and project management. With a strong presence in Oxfordshire, Finders Keepers has also expanded its reach into Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, with plans to continue this growth in the future.

These are national awards and we are just a regional firm, so it’s been very surprising to have our expectations pleasantly shattered.” The awards aim to assess the business as a whole, as Frank explains, “The submission and interview assesses your financial performance, as you would expect, but the financials appeared to play less a part than you might think. This helped us as our margins, while respectable, are lower than others as we don’t manage property from a call centre miles away to cut costs – it cuts service too funnily enough. The Judges wanted to understand how you operate: how you reference applicants, inspect property, build landlord relationships, train your staff, and how you innovate.”

With a desire for excellence taken as read, the company wanted to do a bit of market research on itself, as Dan Channer explained, “The main reason for entering these awards was to benchmark ourselves. We work very hard at what we do and we thought it would be interesting to stick our heads above the parapet to see how we really stack up against our peers.”

“Estate and letting agents love saying how different they are, but what we think is irrelevant: the market decides what ‘different’ means. So it was good to get positive feedback from the Judges about how our staff handle the tenant emergency line 24/7, about our new Club FK discount card for tenants, our Quarterly Market reports and our ability to buy, refurbish, furnish, let and manage property seamlessly. The interviewer seemed surprised at our client retention rate and asked how we do it, as if there was a magic ingredient. Sadly there isn’t, it goes back to those easy-to-say, harder-to-deliver factors of hard work, good people, good training, and actually caring.”

“We were in shock for days after the awards, as we had no real expectations – bronze was probably about as good as we felt it could get.

Frank recognises that the firm’s fantastic successes are not without thanks to a number of key partners. “We feel extraordinarily grateful to our

1. The supply of private rental stock is diminishing, and so at this rate, rents will hold or increase due to demand. There is little new build coming on-stream, and the quantity of ‘buy-tolet’mortgages is still relatively low.

2. The recession has hit the timetables of several large Oxfordshire developments, for example: Central Bicester’s £70m project should have started in 2009; the earliest completion date for the New Westgate Centre is now 2014; and many of the other thirty eight projects under the ‘West End Development’ banner are going to be delayed.

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customers and staff of course, but also all the contractors and suppliers who choose to work with us. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to continue to develop.

don’t over-sell. When you fly with Virgin Atlantic, the service is first class, even in economy! Now, we have a lot to learn still but we aspire to give the same quality of service as these firms.”

Frank expands on the importance of staff at Finders Keepers. “When Dan and I first discussed the possibility of entering the firm for awards, we had to make sure we were entering awards which were

“The Finders Keepers aim has always been to find good people and treat them well, rewarding performance in a meritocratic way. Again, lots of companies say this don’t they? We invest heavily in training, we offer sabbaticals, good bonuses for good performance. We recognise long service and continually monitor how we can improve the company at regular directors’ meetings.”

“The afterglow of any award is about 15 hours, then you have to challenge yourself to improve” right for Finders Keepers. We are a people business and we felt very strongly that we should enter awards which focused on our staff. A lot of businesses talk about the importance of their staff but they are so often neglected. We firmly believe that the happier our staff are, the better service they will deliver. It’s common sense.” Dan continues. “Frank’s right. When you go into Prêt a Manger you are generally blown away by the contagious enthusiasm. If you go into The Orange Shop the staff know their products, they listen, they

3. Unemployment has been the big question mark in terms of affecting tenant demand – this will be the case for 2010. Post-election, it will be crucial to assess the effect on public sector employment, if and when the winning party starts trying to tackle (a euphemism for ‘cut’) public sector costs.

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“But, now the focus is on 2010 and we are looking forward now. The afterglow of any award is about 15 hours and then you have to challenge yourself to improve, you have to get back to business. We want to take the energy and the momentum of the results and continue to evolve and improve our operations. That will be against the backdrop of another complex market. Frank says “The lettting industry is changing and perpetually evolving, and we need to establish how Finders Keepers can stay at the forefront of the industry now that we have made such an impact. “Technology has changed lettings dramatically and legislation is also a massive factor. You have to change with it, and try and anticipate some of the things that are happening. For example, it is obviously very difficult for younger generations to get on the housing ladder, so will we move towards

4. The UK will likely see large institutions trying to move into residential investment, for example, the Olympic Village may be sold with private sector renting in mind.

the French and German trend of renting rather than buying our property, simply because a huge element of the population can’t afford to buy? We have to be prepared to react to new legislation which may well come in allowing a tenant to rent for a period more like five years. If we need to make that happen, we will do so.” With a mushrooming population, shortage of land and property and shrinking opportunities for raising sufficient finance to buy property, Frank believes that the private rental market has an important role to play for whichever Government is to lead Britain out of recession. “The private rental sector is possibly one of the routes to economic recovery in the UK. There are estimates which suggest that private rental property accounts for 14% of all housing stock in the UK, and that by 2026, this figure could reach 20%. Ours is an unregulated industry, but we can foresee the growing significance that the lettings industry will have in the future, and, as a firm, we are investing in putting virtually the whole of our staff through an NVQ course. This would mean that, by 2011, all of our staff will be qualified in all the aspects of letting management and health and safety.” Playing a leading role, not only locally but winning national recognition for running an efficient and effective organisation, Finders Keepers can not only be rightfully proud of their recent achievements, but incredibly confident that in a changing and ever expanding lettings industry, they will be the pioneers who will continue to set the pace. www.finders.co.uk

5. Oxford Council is launching self-certificate landlord accreditation to try and improve standards. Many local authorities in the UK have launched such schemes. This contrasts with central Government’s lack of action on the Rugg Review’s recommendation concerning agent and landlord licensing.

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B4 ACCOMMODATION

STRUGGLING AT HOME?

Retaining independence as we grow older is a major factor. Assisted Living Apartments could well be the answer. To find out more, B4 Magazine spoke to Elizabeth Parker, Manager of Richmond Letcombe Regis, which is a brand new ÂŁ60 million Retirement Village opening in Oxfordshire early this year. What is Assisted Living? Assisted Living is a philosophy of care and support services that promote independence, dignity and well-being. It is now firmly established as an alternative to residential care homes, and is an ideal combination of having your own front door, but with the reassurance that care and support is available on site, 24 hours a day as required.

events, plus having our own full time driver and fleet of vehicles means there are daily trips to local towns and places of interest. Our on-site facilities include an arts and crafts room, library, IT suite plus a Wellness Spa which includes swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym, hairdressing salon and treatment rooms. The village also has a bowling green as well as a nature reserve and lakeside gardens.

Is Assisted Living all about promoting independence? Absolutely! By providing supervision or assistance with activities of daily living, people who are finding it difficult to live independently in a private residence, but do not need the 24 hour care provided by a nursing home, are able to enjoy prolonged independence in a safe, caring, socially active and supportive environment.

What happens if my care needs increase? As much as possible, we will provide care through our domiciliary care agency in your apartment. However, if your needs require nursing care, then we would provide this within our on-site care home.

Do people own the apartments? We are still very much a nation of home owners, and the majority of people do prefer to purchase the apartments. What does the Assisted Living Package include? The package is designed to take away the daily chores and allow people more quality time to enjoy the things that they prefer to do. This means that we prepare all meals, which can be taken either in the restaurant or brought to the apartment, a daily maid service and laundry. All utility costs are also included within the package.

“...enjoy prolonged independence in a safe, caring, socially active and supportive environment.�

Where people require additional care and support, this is arranged to meet the individual needs of that person.

Do you cater for those with a dementia? People with early onset dementia would be able to live within an Assisted living Apartment, subject to assessment. Should their condition worsen, then the care home is registered for residential and nursing dementia care.

One of the most important parts, however, is social interaction with like minded people. Our activity co-ordinators ensure there is a full diary of activities and

For more information on Richmond Letcombe Regis, telephone 0845 125 5878 or visit www.richmond-villages.com

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B4 PROPERTY

LETTING EVERYTHING RUN SMOOTHLY

As a letting agent, the letting centre, based in Headington, are a well run, independent agency, focused on service, service and service. Proprietor Darren Hazell and his team talk to B4 about what makes their proposition so attractive, and why the letting centre are the number one choice for a growing band of landlords.

the letting centre is proud to have built a successful property portfolio since taking over Headington based tlc in 1999. Darren’s vision was to create a small, independent agency to focus exclusively on Oxford lettings, and to develop long term relationships with his clients through first class service and attention to detail. With a detailed and personal knowledge of every property, landlord and tenant, Darren and his team excel at finding the right tenants for every property via their fair tenant vetting process, as he explains. “We negotiate competitive rents and charge fair fees for what we believe is an excellent service.

their portfolio of managed properties for experienced or first time landlords looking for a team which can support them. With premises in central Headington, Darren is ably supported by Janet Sharp together with Claire Whiteside. The business, like all forward thinking residential sales or lettings agencies today, is heavily reliant on the web for its business, which has proved a fantastic source of new business for the letting centre.

scenarios, like the project management of a block of flats, or assisting with the initial investment in a property, which we may subsequently help modify and manage if it is, for example, converted into flats. My overall involvement is basically project management, using a team of property maintenance associates who I can call on for a wide range of property related maintenance issues. I have a good support network of people that support the letting centre and are also willing to get involved with the projects that I may well take on.

Darren’s personal involvement in property started when he was 21. Initially dealing with his family’s portfolio, Darren was asked to take over property

“This year I have refurbished a Summertown property comprising twelve flats. I initially got involved with all of the leaseholders, I then

“We negotiate competitive rents and charge fair fees for what we believe is an excellent service” Once the lease is signed, we work really hard to ensure the tenancy runs smoothly. We strive to renegotiate terms for our landlords year on year and ensure a regular income with minimal void periods.” With a large percentage of the company’s new business coming from referrals or existing landlords, the letting centre are seeking to expand

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for friends who knew he was more than capable looking after his own portfolio. Since winning a sizeable contract with a local developer, Darren has not looked back, and with a recent re-branding, he is ready to expand the business with an excellent track record and growing portfolio of satisfied customers, as Darren continues. “New customers come to me with different

tendered for the work, won the contract and saw it through to completion.” Personal attention and customer service rank very highly for the letting centre. Either Darren, Janet or Clare will see a prospective client from the outset, and if they win the business, the client will have them as a contact throughout, which is just how they want it.

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

Operating predominantly within the Ring Road, the letting centre do branch out into villages such as Faringdon, Kidlington, Tackley, Bicester and Woodstock. Wherever the property, however, Darren strives to maintain a consistently high standard for his prospective tenants. “It’s important that we have the right property. I won’t take on a sub-standard property just to boost our stock, because it invariably means we will be running around tending to problems and not providing a service to our other tenants. A poor property reflects the landlord and we want to attract landlords who have the best interests of their property at heart and want the property to be a valuable asset in the long term. That means not neglecting it, maintaining it as and when it’s necessary to do so, and we need to find the right tenants who we know will give the property the respect it deserves.” With extensive experience in all aspects of property, Darren can assess the value in engaging with a particular property fairly quickly, and once he has the stock on, it’s all about maintaining a happy ship for everyone. “We all want things to run smoothly, for the tenant, the landlord and for us. Where problems occur, we will do everything we can to resolve them, to the satisfaction of all parties. The relationship between the letting centre, the landlord and the tenant has to be one based on

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open communication so that everyone works well together. We make sure the tenant is right for the landlord’s property and that the tenant, once in occupation, is given a premium service.” The proof is in the pudding. Darren has some landlords who he hasn’t had so much as a phone conversation with for two or three years. “It just runs. There is no need to talk when things go to plan. We are doing what we are paid to do and the landlord is happy. Having said that, Janet is fantastic back up, and she will do things without my knowledge, just letting the landlord know what is going on, that we are still there if they need us. That is a great asset to me and the company because people are being responded to immediately or at least kept informed. “Our tenants tell us that our service is first class, and not what they have been used to. All I would say is that if you don’t feel you are getting value for money, try us. We know there are people letting properties who feel let down and neglected – I would hate for any of my tenants to feel that way about the letting centre. I am also a landlord in my own right, so I know what service I would want.” With satisfied customers like these below, it’s fair to say the letting centre are certainly practicing what they preach. How refreshing!

TESTIMONIALS “A firm is only as good as the people that work in it. This is clearly evident at letting centre. So often is the case in business today where the left hand doesn’t know that the right hand is doing. the letting centre has an extremely cohesive team that really does provide a personal service. Put quite simply, they provide a first class service.” Philip G Robinson, Managing Director, Christopher Wren Properties “I am writing to thank everyone at the letting centre who helped me secure my new flat. The service I received was excellent. Moving can be stressful, especially when you have changed job. Moving to a new area can be equally stressful, but the letting centre made the whole process much easier than it could have been.” Mr Malhi

www.thelettingcentre.com

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B4 RECRUIT

“My choice has been a determination to be different; to offer an alternative approach within the recruitment industry”

STARTING A BUSINESS IN A RECESSION

SHREWD OR STUPID?

Just over a year ago when I first discussed the idea of starting my own business with friends and family, they didn’t beat around the bush, they all categorically thought it was ‘plain stupid’. “Who starts a business during the worst recession the UK has ever experienced?” They heralded.

We spend the biggest chunk of our lives working. In some cases carving a worthy career for ourselves, yet for many our day to day working lives and career choices are not necessarily fulfilling. Surely our career should be a fundamental component of the aspirational lifestyle choice that we make for ourselves? If we have an entrepreneurial spirit and a burning desire, even in the fledgling stages of our career, to take a leap of faith in our own abilities and be our own boss, then why not? Age and experience do not determine business success or failure. In the words of famous business guru and adviser Michael Gerber; “…experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.” This past year my thirst for knowledge has been www.b4-business.com

unquenchable and I have approached my venture with drive, enthusiasm and genuine passion in order to build a reputable brand that is already enjoying success. My choice has been a determination to be different; to offer an alternative approach within the recruitment industry. My brand values are based on quality and style. I have helped people to examine their career choices and to successfully capitalise on their strongest assets, as part of a complete lifestyle choice. I have worked with companies to reassess their HR requirement and find them the key people they need to consolidate and grow their businesses. In my opinion it is wildly misguided to suggest that the success or failure of a business in any industry sector, is solely determined by the economic stability of the UK. Intrinsic to my business philosophy is the need to have realistic expectations and be prepared to make brave decisions! I have been bold and invested in good people and in return their commitment and skills are sprouting saplings of success. We set out to be a vibrant, dynamic and stylish organisation and I believe this, too, has contributed

to our success. Young entrepreneurs are often labelled as ‘naïvely optimistic’ and I have certainly been on the receiving end of that tag and if I’m brutally honest, I’m also guilty of being an accuser – particularly when sat on the sofa watching BBC TV’s Dragons Den! However, as 2010 begins, I raise my half- full glass (I’m certainly not a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of girl!) to a possibly bumpy, yet thrilling ride ahead. We have set, what some might say are optimistic forecasts for the year, but we consider them to be totally realistic, building on the successful foundations that we solidified in 2009. I am certainly not naïve, but of course I am totally optimistic. My advice to any budding entrepreneur considering this as ‘their’ year to boldly go forth and start their own business, is that without optimism there really is no point! During 2010 The Career Boutique will be hosting a series of informative Business Seminars in partnership with leading Oxfordshire solicitors, Withy King. For further details visit www.thecareerboutique.com Katherine Dales is founder of successful Oxford based recruitment consultancy, The Career Boutique and she is an Ambassador of B4.

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

Granted setting up a business at any time can be a daunting prospect and certainly during economic downturn I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I’ve always been someone who likes to think slightly outside the box and my take on the situation was that this could possibly be the best time to start a business – especially if your business is fundamentally based on wanting to help people and other businesses to succeed.


B4 SPOTLIGHT

FEELING BLUE?

Five years ago, Witney MP and Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, helped launch The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast Club, Witney’s foremost business networking organisation. Mr Cameron recently returned to Witney’s Masonic Hall to help the club celebrate its 5th Birthday Party, where he delivered a rousing speech prior to answering members’ questions and, afterwards, a selection of questions put to him by B4’s Richard Rosser.

Sharing anecdotes which include the likes of Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow on the one hand, and distressed children at the annual Combe School Christmas card competition on the other – the child in question was apparently devastated that Mr Cameron wasn’t the ‘star’ name he had hoped for – Mr Cameron demonstrated that he does possess an abundance of natural wit and humour. Using the five year celebration of The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast as a stimulant, Mr Cameron was keen to see what lessons could be learned to help us all get through what will undoubtedly be a difficult year ahead. “What I would like, most of all, today is to hear your questions and try and answer your points about the small business environment. It has been, and still is, an extremely difficult world we live in. If you look back over the last five years, I think we should have learned a very important lesson about our

empower institutions, and judge on the results they produce, rather than trying to measure every single process that they do. Above all, it is not all about money. Of course you need lots of money to run a good school, a good hospital and a good police service, but, actually, it is not all about money. “There is a similar lesson with our society. We have had ten or twelve years with a considerable amount of extra social spending, but, actually, what we find is that poverty and our social problems have been incredibly tough to cure. There are actually more people living in poverty, severe poverty, than there were ten years ago. The very poorest in our country are now actually poorer. The actual divide is the persistent social problems we have, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, family breakdowns or teenage pregnancy. We are not actually cracking these things, which are the real causes of the poverty, so I look forward to the next five years when I hope we are going to actually start to achieve as a country.

“we went into the recession not having put aside money after ten very good years” economy, a very important lesson about our public services and a very important lesson about our society. “With regards to the economy, we should by now have learned that you should never expect the good times to last forever. It is biblically simple. You should put aside money for a rainy day. With a 14% budget deficit, twice as big as Dennis Healey had in 1976, we went into the recession not having put aside money after ten very good years. I think that is the biggest lesson I have learned. “The lesson we have learned with our public services is simpler. If we want to improve the performance of schools, hospitals, policing and probation, and all of the public services we rely on, then just thinking in terms of extra spending is not enough. You do need to have proper structural reforms that actually empower the head teacher in schools. You need a health service to have greater choice between different hospitals, and choice between GPs. We need to make sure we empower those who work in these organisations and, most importantly, judge them on their results rather than by endlessly trying to check every process they go through. “It is truly horrific when you read the story about the Basildon hospital where death rates are a third higher than they should be. Many people go into that hospital to be cured and are dying from a hospital acquired infection. Yet that particular hospital had ticked, according to the regulators, all the boxes. This is the really big lesson for us to learn. We need to trust our professionals more,

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“We have to learn from the harsh lessons of the past five years. We have to put aside money during the good years; we need to reform the public services properly, rather than just thinking it is all about money; and we have got to get to the heart of the social problems, particularly the causes. Of course, the symptom of poverty is the shortage of money, but the cause is normally something else, the persistently out of work, going to a poorly performing school, having a drug or alcohol problem. Those are the causes. If we get to the causes, we might cancel some of the problems.” Given that Mr Cameron was addressing a wide range of SME businesses in the room, he then turned his attention to the difficulties we all face, on a daily basis. “I recognise how tough it is for you. I appreciate the huge problems that credit shortages cause. I have run out of room in my surgeries for business people who come in with particular complaints about banking situations, credit lines not being there, overdraft charges going up, arrangement fees increasing, and loans which are simply not available. “I know that red tape is causing massive problems and that those that are trying to get the engine of the economy going, are hitting perpetual brick walls. I understand that it has become more difficult to employ people, more difficult to meet the regulations, more difficult to fill in your tax return, more difficult to comply with legislation. We are putting so many obstacles in the way of getting the job done, that we are stifling the very lifeblood of the economy.

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“We have seen an increase in the rate of corporation tax, rather than a cut. I know there is quite a lot you can do to get credit moving, to get deregulation going again to help the wealth creators to create wealth and have a permanently low tax system with more visible and simpler taxes. “I think in terms of a cure that there is much more the government should be doing to try and buy from small and medium sized enterprises. You constitute about 50% of the economy, but when you ask where the government contracts go, only a fifth of the money goes to businesses at your level, and most of it goes to the big players. I need to change that. I think we need a specific target, getting more government money into the hands of small businesses, and we also need to simplify the process for actually bidding for government contracts, whether it is local government or central government. “That would be my agenda. Tax regulation, stimulate credit and get government procuring at your level.” Mr Cameron then answered questions from the floor, and privately responded to additional questions put to him by B4. At the recent CBI conference (as reported in the Financial Times on 23rd November) business leaders thought that only a few of the "building blocks" for recovery were in place. How would you, as Prime Minister, and your newly formed government, ensure that the building blocks were the correct ones, and that they gave UK businesses the strongest possible foundation for growth? David Cameron: “I am well aware that any Conservative government is going to be judged on whether we build lasting and sustainable growth and on whether we deal with the record budget deficit. The Emergency Growth Budget we have promised within fifty days of taking office will plan to deliver both. “And those two aims go hand in hand. We are now heading for a hole in the government finances which is almost twice as large as when Britain nearly went bankrupt in the 1970s. It’s vital for economic recovery that government gets to grips with this. The CBI have said as much themselves. So have organisations like the OECD.

“There are actually more

“I think we’ve shown real leadership in this area – putting forward policies like freezing public sector pay for a year apart from the million lowest earners, cutting the costs of Whitehall by a third, reducing benefits for better-off families, and bringing forward the planned increase in the state pension age. If you look at Opposition manifestos in the past, I doubt you’ll find they contain too many policies like those. But unique circumstances call for unique solutions.

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Photography: Andrew Parsons

people living in poverty, severe poverty, than there were ten years ago”

“Specific policies we have put forward to help enterprise include cutting the small companies rate to 20p and the main rate of corporation tax to 25p continued on page 34

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Cantay Ho use, Pa rk End Place,Oxfor d OX1 1JD t: +44 (0)1865 797979 f: +44 (0)1865 797980 w: www.conferencecentreoxford.co.uk e: info@conferencecentreoxford.co.uk


- paid for by scrapping complex reliefs and allowances.” Do you think that the recession will herald a new era of both personal and corporate responsibility that will provide the UK with a more durable economic base from which to build long term growth? David Cameron: “Yes I do. I don’t think we have any choice, actually, because there isn’t any government money left. Whoever wins the election, a 14% budget deficit is truly horrific. In 1976, we went to the IMF and we were virtually bust. The budget deficit then was 7%. Whoever wins the election will have to make some very painful public expenditure decisions. “This sense of responsibility won’t happen automatically, but it needs to happen because one of the problems is that things had got very unbalanced. The economy – and people’s sense of economic well-being – became much too dependent on rising house prices, the financial sector, and government spending. So when these three areas were all hit, we were bound to suffer more than other countries. “Instead of encouraging irresponsibility, government should be encouraging responsibility. That includes setting an example on government debt. It also includes restoring proper oversight on the overall level of debt in the country – public and private together - which had got far too high. And to give a wider range of businesses the engineering and technological skills they need, we would take action to develop skills, with 200,000 new apprenticeships and training places, and new technical schools. “Waste has to be cut, and you have to get rid of the bureaucracy, and all of the things that politicians like talking about but, inevitably, you will have to do difficult things like public sector pay freezes, asking people to retire a bit later, difficult things that won’t be popular. Because this is going to happen, we do need to make sure that, as a country, we step up to the plate and make our country fairer and more responsible. We can’t do that with government money,

“We are now heading for a hole in the government finances which is almost twice as large as when Britain nearly went bankrupt in the 1970s” so we do need more corporate responsibility, more personal responsibility. We need people to come together and do more things themselves. It’s a bit like what you do here, you organised this because it is a good networking opportunity, a good way of getting ideas from other people, meeting people you can do business with. It is your version of a free Business Link. And I think we are going to have to ask companies, ask people, to do all sorts of things and take on all sorts of responsibilities. “They will build that stronger society without always having the government. There is the opportunity to do this, but, above all, there is a need. I think, actually, there is an enormous desire from a vast portion of the population to take part in this. There is a longing that companies and people want to do more, they want to be more responsible, they want to play a part in building a stronger society. They need a government that understands that it’s not Victorian charity, it’s not out of date, it is actually a thoroughly modern and good thing to do.” You live in Witney and work in London. How do you maintain a genuine sense of what is important to those people living and working in other regions of the UK - regions that could possibly be more scarred by recession, and take longer to recover than those you are familiar with? “If you had a look at my diary, it wouldn’t always be apparent that I ‘work in 34

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B4 SPOTLIGHT

“I’ve also done more than 50 Cameron Direct events in every part of Britain – local meetings where we go out of our way to invite people, who aren’t Conservative Party members, from all walks of life. They can ask whatever questions they like, and it’s a good way to gauge the issues that are important to people. As might be expected, the recession and economic worries have dominated a lot of the questions in recent months.”

“we do need to make sure that, as a country, we step up to the plate and make our country fairer and more responsible.” As an Oxfordshire MP, what do you think are the important local and regional issues which give you an insight into the wider issues at national and international level? “I do get to see an incredible number of small and medium-sized businesses in Oxfordshire, not least because of the science and skills base here, and have become familiar with the challenges they face day by day, especially over the last few months. “On a more general level, there is a great sense of pride in the local community here, and people want to do all they can to help their immediate area, their city, town or village. So you get everything from ‘buy local’ campaigns to communities rallying together when hit by floods. Part of the challenge of government is to help foster a sense of social responsibility towards our neighbours, our country and our planet – and living here you often see what can be done.” For anyone considering setting up in business themselves having, perhaps, lost their job during the last eighteen months, what hope would you give them that they will receive ‘your’ government’s backing as they venture into, what will be, something of an unknown in a tough economy? “It’s precisely those kind of people – entrepreneurs, business people, wealth creators – that our economic fortunes are going to depend on. “We are on their side 100 per cent, and will put that commitment into practice. For a start off, there’s the issue of red tape. Any Minister in a government of mine who wants to bring in a new piece of regulation will first have to find an existing one to get rid of. “Then there’s tax. We have pledged to scrap employer national insurance contributions on the first ten jobs new businesses create during the first two years of a Conservative government. I can’t think of a better way to show new fledgling businesses that we are on their side.

goal for the future of our country. “But on spending specifically, I’ve already talked about the dire state the government’s finances are in at the moment. So I’ll give the answer I’ve got quite used to giving when asked about most areas of spending, I’m afraid I really can’t make any promises at this stage.” Will the Conservatives put in place an economic stimulus package like Obama has done in the US and most other countries have followed? The UK stands out as having effectively done nothing, except bailed out its ineffective Bankers at the expense of the true wealth creators, namely manufacturing industry and our ‘knowledge economy’. “I think it’s important to separate out those parts of the government’s approach which have been on the right lines and those which haven’t. “I’ll start with the second category. The temporary VAT cut was by all accounts an expensive flop – derided by many of the very retailers it was intended to help. The difference between Britain and most other countries is that we entered the recession with virtually the largest deficit in the developed world. So we really can’t afford any more mistakes like this. “But measures to get credit flowing and to help businesses stay afloat are very important. The problem is that the government’s policies in this area have been too little, too late. After three bank bailouts and an injection of over £70 billion of capital, it is incredible to think that lending to businesses is actually still falling. “Over a year ago we set out plans for a big and bold National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite lending from banks to British businesses. More recently we’ve called for government action to stop retail banks paying out profits in significant cash bonuses at Christmas. Instead, the money should go into banks' balance sheets to support new lending. “Unlocking credit now, helping credit lines stay open in the long-term, supporting companies with the tax measures I’ve set out, and getting to grips with the deficit so investors have confidence in the economy – these are some of the ways to stimulate sustainable economic growth.” Mr Cameron concluded his hour long visit by cutting a cake and wishing The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast the very best of luck for the next five years. Mike Leggett, who runs The Witney Big(ger) Breakfast Club with Martyn Stacey, commented. “We are delighted that David Cameron accepted our invitation to our birthday party. He’s a strong supporter of local matters and local business in particular, and this was a chance for as many business people as possible to talk to him about any issues they have or about the growth of Witney’s economy in general.”

“ I can’t think of a better way to show new fledgling businesses that we are on their side.”

“We have also set out how we can start to get to grips with the infrastructure – the transport, energy, planning – that new businesses need so they can plan for the future.”

The club, which normally attracts around fifty people, was formed in 2004 by local companies wanting to help each other develop business interests within the local community. The Club holds weekly meetings where guests are welcome, but not pressured, to participate. The Club also hosts monthly Big(ger) Breakfasts at the Masonic Hall in Witney with guest speakers.

Will the Technology Strategy Board be retained and strengthened (in monetary terms)?

For more information about the club please log onto www.witneybbc.co.uk or call Mike Leggett on 01608 811533.

“We’ve welcomed the arrival of the Technology Strategy Board and I look forward to seeing how it develops. Promoting innovation is an absolutely vital www.b4-business.com

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

London’! I’m almost always out of London on a Friday – either in the constituency, or on visits elsewhere – and, as much as possible, bearing in mind Parliamentary business, I am trying to schedule visits on other days too. So I get to meet a lot of people who work in businesses and elsewhere, up and down the country.


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news Life in the market, Just... 2009 was a difficult year for commercial property with transaction levels down 50%. Landlords are prepared to negotiate hard and very attractive rent free offers abound. The New Year has seen interesting larger office enquiries appear and there are currently four active requirements for between 15,000 and 80,000 sq ft. The City Centre market remains strong with limited opportunities. Business rates continue to be a burden on empty properties. The Chancellor announced in his pre-budget reports that rates exemption on vacant buildings

will be increased from RV £15,000 to RV £18,000 from April 2010 bringing some relief to smaller properties. The new Rating List has now been scrutinised and in general rateable values in Oxfordshire have remained constant or reduced slightly. This is good news when combined with the fact that the rating multiplier has decreased from 0.485 to 0.414 from April 2010 which should mean a reduction in rates. As ever, the affects of transitional phasing mean these savings will not be as large as the reductions in rateable values suggest. Please contact VSL & Partners if you wish to discuss your rating assessment.

Deals, Deals and more Deals….. Here are a selection of deals VSL & Partners have completed in the winter of 2009….

Pipe House, Wallingford – Letting of three suites of 1,900 sq ft each to TV CAMBAC, The AdPlain and Atrium Innovation.

Unit 2, Avonbury Business Park, Bicester – 3,100 sq ft sold to Fleet Claims.

Milford House, Summertown, Oxford – 5,900 sq ft let to Magna Carta College.

4440 Nash Court, Oxford Business Park – 5,818 sq ft let to Oxfordshire County Council.

The Glenmore Business Centre, Grove – Four units of approximately 1,200 – 1,400 sq ft sold.

Unit 5, The Terrace, Harwell Business Park – 1,900 sq ft sold to AML.

Lime Tree Mews, Headington - 1,200 sq ft let to Medel UK Ltd.

A1 Barton Mill, Abingdon – 4,900 sq ft let to HiQ Tyres & Exhausts.

B5 Telford Road, Bicester – 14,500 sq ft let to Serco.

www.b4-business.com

www.vslandp.com

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GROWING UP FAST

Time has literally flown by in the life of Oxford Castle. Since its opening by the Queen in May 2006, the Castle has staged a wide range of events whilst cultivating a reputation as one of the city’s growing focal points for entertainment and a great venue for eating out. B4 looks back at some of the highlights witnessed by the Castle and looks towards 2010 as a year in which the Castle will, once again, build upon the successes of years gone by.

December saw Oxford Castle come into its own as a first class venue for the whole family. Witnessing families enjoying the Winter Lights parade, with snow billowing from the top of Oxford’s leading hotel, Malmaison, it was hard not to get in the festive spirit as the band played and the ice sculptors worked their magic on huge blocks of ice, transforming them into an array of festive characters and incredible works of art. Where else could parents join in the fun with their children in such a safe environment? Founder of Oxford Castle, Trevor Osborne, was one of the enthralled crowd present. “That was Oxford Castle at its finest. That was my vision and it really sent a tingle down my spine to see everyone so happy. I wish we could do it every weekend! It just goes to show that the people of Oxford love it here at the Castle as a venue to bring the children. Of course we want families to visit our restaurants, but nights

Castle. The year started with ‘Earth From The Air’, a photographic portrait exhibition of our planet towards sustainable development was a massive success. Offering free admission to the general public, this proved a great way to allow those who had not been to the Castle before an engaging experience. Oxford Castle’s very own Castle Market began in May and has been an ever-present since, every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The Market has 20 stalls with local traders selling hand made unique goods, such as jewellery, wire sculptures, original paintings and prints, hand knitted items, bespoke jewellery, silk scarves and more. Whatever the occasion, you are sure to find something different at the Market. The summer saw a series of ‘Summer Night Outdoor Concerts’, including a memorable series of Jazz concerts. In September, it was the turn of

“On a warm summer’s evening, the music concerts are incredible……” like that give us the opportunity to showcase the Castle for what it is, and if it means families come back another day, then we have done our job.” Estate Manager, Jean-Pierre Morilleau, admitted that he breathed a huge sigh of relief after the event, but said the weeks of hard work had been worth it. “I think you know when an event has gone well if you can enjoy it. I loved every minute of it. The children looked happy, the parents were smiling and the atmosphere was quite magical. It shows what a great venue Oxford Castle is and in 2010 we will be putting on more events like that for the family to enjoy.” 2009 was certainly a bumper year for events at the

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the silver screen as the Castle showed favourites ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ on consecutive nights. These proved a massive success and similar nights are planned for 2010. The year concluded with Christmas Carols and the first ‘Winter Wonderland’ at the Castle where market stalls converted Malmaison’s Exercise Yard into Oxford’s very own Prague equivalent. Perhaps the snow can decide to come before Christmas next year to really give the market a festive feel! So that’s 2009 in a nutshell, but don’t forget the stunning O3 Gallery, Oxford Castle’s very own gallery open to the public, and the events at Oxford Castle Unlocked, developing into a must

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B4 LEISURE see for tourists visiting Oxford. The individual restaurants and Malmaison have staged their very own themed evenings, parties and special events to ensure that there is always something going on at the Castle. “We have been delighted with the progress the Castle has made in 2009.” Commented Jean-Pierre. “We have had to try different things in the early years, we have had no choice. In many respects it is a very difficult venue to work with, because there are no huge open spaces, but, conversely, that is a blessing as it means everything is self-contained and there are natural restrictions to events sprawling out of control. “For 2010, we have some special events that we are working on, but we will certainly be building on the successes of 2009 and years before that. The outdoor music concerts, the cinema and the market have certainly worked for us and the public, and we will be developing these in 2010. I was very pleased with the Winter Wonderland and feel this could easily mature into an established winter market destination.

“I have no doubt that 2010 at the Castle will be our best year to date

“Getting an event to work in its first year is never easy. You have so many variables which you just can’t control, but when everything comes together, I firmly believe you would be hard pushed to find a better venue in Oxfordshire. On a warm summer’s evening, the music concerts are incredible, and as we saw at Christmas, the cold winter night was the perfect compliment to the Winter Light parade and really added to the festive atmosphere. “I have no doubt that 2010 at the Castle will be our best year to date and can’t wait to reveal some of our exciting surprises soon. Keep an eye on www.oxfordcastle.com and sign up to our e-Newsletter on the website to make sure you hear about our latest news as soon as it is out.” With a wide range of restaurants including La Tasca, Pizza Express, Malmaison, Prezzo, The Living Room and Carluccio’s, Oxford Castle has something for every taste and budget. New arrival, JD Wetherspoon (The Swan and Castle), offers visitors to the Castle a great place for a celebratory drink, and Krispy Kreme is the place to go for fresh donuts. Make 2010 a great year by keeping abreast of events at Oxford Castle. www.oxfordcastle.com.

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Pictured left to right: Jill Treloggen, Deborah Reynolds and Paul Hageman

HOPE FOR NETWORKERS

EVERYWHERE B4 has been delighted to learn of a group of local businesses, networking and working together to turn a simple property refurbishment project into a luxury boutique hotel receiving rave reviews. B4’s Richard Rosser has been talking to the key players from Hope House, Jill Treloggen Interiors, Penny and Sinclair, NewTrim, and Deborah Reynolds Soft Furnishings, to find out how the project came to fruition in the heart of Woodstock.

B4 is all about businesses working together, recommendations and raising the profile of local businesses to enable them to win business. The project at Hope House epitomises all that B4 stands for. Hope House, a Grade II* listed building, was built circa 1708 for maltster Miles Parker, a local councillor and mayor of Woodstock from 1711-1715, who, as Receiver General of Taxes in Oxfordshire, collected the taxes to pay for Blenheim Palace. Constructed at the same time as Blenheim Palace, Hope House is one of two grand houses in Woodstock designed in Vanbrughian style with baroque architecture, and it is easy to understand why it has been described as a sister property to the Vanbrugh-designed Blenheim Palace, as Paul explains. “There is much debate as to whether the house was indeed designed by Vanbrugh

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himself, as there are many similarities in the style. The stone is from the same source – you would have to ask the Blenheim site manager how it got here!” Paul has spent all of his life working in the hospitality industry, most recently as owner and operator of the Fardell Group of Hotels, where he ran an acclaimed restaurant, and prior to that, as a General Manager opening hotels for the Oberoi Group in the Far East between 1994 and 1999. “When I returned to England from working abroad in 2007, the property had become seriously run-down. As our former family home, I didn’t want to see it deteriorate any further. It was in desperate need of a lick of paint and some basic work from local tradesmen. “By chance, I had a meeting with Wendy Sinclair of Penny and Sinclair, who has

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B4 PROPERTY since become a very good friend. She came to see the house when it was originally being rented out as three apartments. We were getting about £500 a month from each as they were just one bedroom flats, but great value for the tenant as they were huge.

Paul quite quickly warmed to the idea of converting Hope House into a luxury boutique hotel, despite previous promises he had made to himself. “Like the rower said, ‘if I ever get back in a boat, shoot me’, after opening hotels of over three hundred bedrooms, I never wanted to get involved in a project like this again, albeit on a smaller scale. But

“Working together with other local businesses, on good recommendations, can help achieve the perfect outcome.” “I began to think that if I put them on as short lets, as Wendy was suggesting, I might be able to generate some income to get the roof and the bay windows repaired. But Wendy had other ideas. She could see the history, which I suppose I took for granted, and realised that I had a masterpiece lurking beneath what was then a property in need of some urgent attention.” With extensive experience handling shortlets for The Old School in Woodstock, Wendy could see Hope House had an abundance of potential, as she explains. “My jaw literally dropped when I saw Hope House. Despite the obvious need for some serious work, I could see the potential immediately

and told Paul that it would be a fantastic shortlet property, as I knew from experience that there was demand for luxury shortlets in Woodstock. I had previously dealt with a wide range of clients who demanded premium accommodation, from the Saudi Royal Family to Argentinian polo players. I knew what they expected and what they were prepared to pay. “We also have good links with the film industry, having accommodated the cast of Butterfly Tattoo at The Old School House, and the cast and crew of Lady Godiva in and around Oxfordshire.”

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I was hooked and genuinely excited. “Wendy introduced me to the interior design team at Jill Treloggen Interiors. They also saw the huge potential in the property and came up with lots of ideas as to how we could transform the shell into first class accommodation. We set about putting a local team together to renovate the property - I couldn’t believe I had gone from lick of paint to a complete re-wire and renovation!.” Wendy knew Jill through her company's extensive work in the Oxfordshire lettings market. Jill was able to draw on a number of her local contractors and also introduce a new one, who B4 magazine

helped her to find, as she explains. “We worked closely with Paul as soon as Wendy introduced us and we set about putting together the rest of the team. I had previously run an article with Nicola Stapleton (Beechwood Solicitors) in B4, and was contacted by Carolyn Woodcock at NewTrim as a result to see if they could be a supplier of ours. We used NewTrim to provide all of the upholstered footstools, headboards, cubes and blanket boxes throughout the property.” As Jill mentioned, her connection with NewTrim came about through B4, as NewTrim’s Carolyn Woodcock explains. “We first ‘discovered’ Jill, quite 41


simply, via B4. As Newtrim UK Ltd, our business is fabric and textile, cut and sew. Our core business is car interior trimming, but over the years we have diversified to supply and make textiles for many different products and applications.

“It is refreshing to find another local company with the same philosophy and ideals as ourselves. We look forward to working with Jill to help her achieve similar milestones within her chosen field, and to a long and successful business relationship in the future, thanks to the B4 introduction.”

“Upon reading B4, I realised that our services would be an ideal complement to Jill’s interior design business. Part of our business is dedicated to the manufacture of a range of modular cube seating, branded as The Funky Cube Company. This furniture can be made totally bespoke if necessary, to whatever size,

With regards to the soft furnishings, Jill works extensively with Deborah Reynolds Sof Furnishings - in fact they share the same offices in Witney. Debbie was naturally the first port of call for the fantastic curtains which adorn the bedrooms and communal rooms at Hope House, as she explains. “Jill engaged me, as she has done on many projects, so we knew how well we worked

than any other property I have worked on because of the intricate nature of the job. “Together with my team of assistants, we made the curtains for the dining room, the main communal room and two flats with two bedrooms in each. It was certainly a testing project but incredibly satisfying once we had completed it, and I know Paul is delighted with what we have achieved. Hope House has been a great experience for me.” The brief for Hope House to designer Jill Treloggen and her team was to create a luxury boutique hotel style in what is a very traditional Cotswold town.

“Jill and her team made clever use of fabrics, wallcoverings and furnishings to create an opulent look.” shape or style required. We also have an upholstery department, Edward George Upholstery, which offers a wide range of furniture upholstery services. “Jill's team is able to specify and source the fabrics required, and we then make the cube seating or furniture to her specific requirements. This gives them total control over the design and look that the team wants. It also gives the client a unique product, especially designed and manufactured for them. “I contacted Jill directly after reading the B4 article, and upon meeting Jill, I immediately felt that we could work jointly with her to produce the types of furniture items she uses within her projects. “We are both local companies, who specialize within our respective fields. The vast majority of our work at Newtrim involves working within a team, and our clients include such prestigious names as BMW Mini Oxford, Rolls Royce Motor Cars, and University of Oxford colleges and departments. We are always working to client driven delivery schedules, so felt totally comfortable working alongside Jill and her team to provide furniture to her specifications and timescale demands. Jill knows what looks right for her client, and we have the knowledge and facilities to make the finished product.

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together. Approximately half of my work is on projects Jill has engaged me, and the remainder of my business is for private clients. I focus on soft furnishings and offer a full fitting service. “Paul actually came to the office to meet me, which was great as I don’t often get to meet the customer. This immediately told me that he had a great emotional attachment to the property and wanted to know exactly what I was proposing, alongside Jill’s ideas. “Following our initial meeting, I visited the property and had to make some changes to our initial plans because of the status of the walls and the fabrics chosen. Given the property’s Grade II* status, there were a lot of factors to overcome and I probably visited Hope House more

Paul wanted Hope House to have a real wow factor that would make it stand out from the competition, but he did not have an unlimited budget, so the team at Jill Treloggen Interiors had to make clever use of fabrics, wall coverings and furnishings to create an opulent look. The generous proportions of some of the rooms allowed Jill and her team to put together some bold schemes. The entrance hall was designed to give a flavour of what the rest of the hotel has to offer – understated and yet with opulent touches - a palette of duck eggs and gold were used to create a classic feel, but at the same time the fabrics gave it an elegant and opulent touch.

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B4 PROPERTY The ground floor suite mixes old and new; Jill and her team have used antique furniture from the original house, teaming it with a touch of glamour. The colour scheme majors on warm red tones with accents of other jewel colours which feature in buttoning detail and the soft furnishings. The Churchill suite on the first floor has wonderful panelled walls and high ceilings and can take a really bold scheme. A simple palette of black and cream, with textures such as flock wallpaper, velvets, silk, crystal lighting bring the scheme to life. The Marlborough suite on the top floor is more

Sinclair, and my subsequent introduction to Jill, Debbie and Carolyn, the project has given me a massive buzz throughout. I feel incredibly lucky to have met Jill, who has told me what I should and shouldn’t do from day one, as I had no concept of what would work. Having grown up with the house being my family home, Jill made me look at it completely differently, detaching me from my emotional involvement with the property. “I have to admit that I wasn’t very comfortable with flock wallpaper on the chimney, but it works and that is what is in vogue, so I am very glad I left Jill to it. “I must also mention some of the other key personnel

become reality is now reaping rewards. “We have been receiving incredible reviews since we opened, from a wide range of individuals. We have had three lawyers from San Diego and a politician from New Zealand who have all been knocked out by the property and the service they have received. “Our unique selling point is undoubtedly the size of the rooms, but having a private car parking space, air conditioned rooms and the highest quality finishes throughout is obviously a massive benefit. We have the best of everything, and this is the first time in my life I

Wendy Sinclair

have been able to do that. We have taken the hotel room to another level. “We know all of our guests by name and what they want to achieve during their stay. We make sure their name is on the reserve car park space and we ask what sort of milk they want in their fridge – we believe the small touches like that make a difference. We have an excellent relationship with the Palace – I can arrange trout fishing or afternoon tea for our guests. For the Palace to have a hotel of this standard is a real bonus, and we hope to secure a good amount of wedding business this year.

cosy, with its lower ceilings and smaller windows. These smaller proportions have been complemented with a lighter colour scheme of green, gold and creams. Again the theme is of grandeur and opulence – with gilt furniture, silks, velvets and mirrored pieces of furniture, the Marlborough suite has a spacious feel and a warm glow – especially wonderful in the evening light. Once the property was ready to hand back to Paul, Wendy was engaged to market the property exclusively and to help find clients staying in Oxford on short lets, so the project has come full circle from that initial meeting, as Paul explains. “Everyone has worked really well together. From the initial meeting with Wendy from Penny and www.b4-business.com

involved. Kevin Eddington, a genuine artisan, was my roofer. I stumbled across Kevin, a Stonesfield roof specialist, who spent a rainy week cutting all of the tiles so that we could then re-use the original slate. Nicholls building merchants in Kidlington were also extremely helpful. With little or no knowledge of building work, they helped me through m the construction.

“I am proud of what we have achieved as a team and it shows how working together with other local business, on good recommendations, can help achieve the perfect outcome.” www.hopehousewoodstock.co.uk Penny and Sinclair: www.pennyandsinclair.co.uk

“But had it not been for Wendy, none of this would have happened, so my most sincere thanks go to her.”

Jill Treloggen Interiors: www.jilltreloggen.co.uk

Hope House is the culmination of huge amounts of passion and enthusiasm, hard work, an element of good luck and some great business networking. Providing a luxury boutique hotel in the centre of Woodstock, Paul concludes that his dream which has

New Trim: www.newtrim.co.uk Deborah Reynolds Soft Furnishings: 01993 777897 43


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B4 CONFERENCE

FACILITIES AT A GLANCE • Excellent presentation and seminar rooms for 15 to 160 delegates • Full range of AV equipment • 300 single delegate bedrooms (185 en suite) • Ethernet access available in all rooms and wireless in most • Elegant reception and dining rooms • Beautiful grounds • Car parking • College Bar • On site catering

LADY MARGARET

HALL

The recently refurbished conference centre at Lady Margaret Hall, just a fifteen minute walk from the centre of Oxford, boasts state of the art facilities in a superb location. Combined with ample on site parking for delegates, this is truly one of Oxford’s most suitably equipped conference venues. Conference Manager Gemma Sedgwick tells B4 more about this impressive venue. Less than an hour from London, Birmingham and Heathrow, Lady Margaret Hall has already established itself as one of Oxford’s preferred venues for visiting conferences. Benefiting from the proximity to key transport links in terms of road and rail (it is located just over a mile from Oxford Train Station), whilst retaining the tranquillity of a location bordering the city

the key factors attracting conference organisers, aside from the conference facilities themselves. 2010 is a particularly exciting year as the new Pipe Partridge building will be made available for the first time, complementing the existing facilities. This will bring on stream a fully equipped ‘raked’ lecture theatre for 160 stunningly, designed in the neo

Colleges history, and the character of these buildings is reflected in the style and interior design. Where required, coffee and tea, pastries or biscuits can be made available in seminar and function rooms at any time during conference hours. For more formal events, the majority of meals are

“Lady Margaret Hall is gaining a glowing reputation with conference and events businesses” centre, this is a unique venue set amidst beautiful grounds. The facilities themselves allow for anything from a small meeting or seminar up to a large AGM or conference, all supported by excellent on site catering, leisure and accommodation.

classical style, a beautiful dining room with French windows overlooking new gardens, a seminar room and the Junior Common Room suite suitable for a range of functions. These facilities are in addition to the existing Talbot and Eleanor Lodge lecture and seminar rooms and other meeting / reception rooms.

As one of Oxford University’s Colleges, Lady Margaret Hall is gaining a glowing reputation with conference and events businesses, large and small. The spacious gardens are often quoted as one of

In terms of accommodation, Lady Margaret Hall will now be able to offer over 300 bedrooms on site, almost two thirds of which are en suite. Rooms are available in buildings from different periods of the

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served in the College Dining Hall, a traditional setting wit a capacity of 250 delegates. Dinners and reception entertaining are also possible in various elegant function rooms, including the Old Library, Committee Room, Deneke Common Room and Jerwood Room. We feel Lady Margaret Hall is now, more so than ever, the perfect venue for your conference requirements. www.lmh.ox.ac.uk/Conferences.aspx 45


A PERSONAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS TRAVEL Chiltern Railways is the award winning local railway for Oxfordshire, providing regular, reliable train services along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London, serving Banbury, Bicester North and Haddenham & Thame Parkway stations. Amongst the team at Bicester North station is a small, dedicated group, committed to providing local businesses with a highly personalised ticketing service for travel anywhere across the whole of Great Britain’s National Rail network, including First Great Western and Cross Country. The beauty of the service is that, although it is run by Chiltern Railways - a reliable, local name that you can trust

notice bookings. We always receive a quick and professional response to any requests, and the staff are always very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.” Nicola Cowee at The National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield agrees. “We opened a Chiltern Railways Business Travel account in January 2000 and use this account for all of our train travel in the UK. This is an enormous timesaver for our accounts department who no

“It puts an end to the hours spent online searching for train times and competitive fares” - the team are committed to providing free, impartial advice so that you get the best deal for where and when you want to travel, regardless of which train company you may need to use. They just want to keep you on the rails and off the roads! It puts an end to the hours spent online searching for train times and competitive fares. Upon opening a free business travel account, a dedicated adviser is allocated to your company to book the best, and most cost-effective, tickets available. Sofia Micklewright from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, is an advocate of the Chiltern Railways service. “We have been using the outlet to arrange all of our business rail travel requirements since April 2008. Having a single point of contact for all our rail travel requirements has made the process much more straightforward, as well as ensuring we get the best fares possible. We have always found the service to be speedy and efficient, even when making short

46

longer have to deal with expense claims for travel each month.” Tickets are dispatched via a free postal service, meaning the days of queuing for tickets and filling in expense forms will be a distant memory. In addition, frequent travellers to London can take advantage of the Chiltern Carnet package, which offers twelve ‘Anytime’ return journeys to London Marylebone, for the price of just ten. The tickets are valid for six months from the point of purchase and can be used by anybody – colleagues, friends or family, and they are only available from the Business Travel team. To discuss your company’s needs and how the service can add value to your organisation, telephone the Business Travel team on 01494 420177, open 9.15am-5.00pm Monday-Friday, or visit www.chilternrailways.co.uk /business.

www.b4-business.com


B4 TRAVEL

47


B4 OFFICE

ENGINEERS WITH

VISION

PART 3 – INFORMATION ON-HOLD & REAL TIME STATS

The topics covered in issue 13 of B4, particularly the ability to record a telephone conversation and to receive a voice mail message in Outlook, have instantly reaped benefits for a couple of local businesses. So we continue in part 3 with the theme of promoting a few more key attractive features of a modern telephone system. Whether your business requires a small 9.5 inch system or the full 19 inch chassis version, the feature set is identical on both systems. Very often a small business won’t need to install a full size system when a smaller chassis with 3 card slots is sufficient. Information on-hold is great for increasing revenue. It is the ability to inform your callers of company or product information and any current offers you may want to promote. This extra system functionality has been added free of charge with every version 3 NEC system to create your own information on hold messages and select the one you want the caller to hear. If your business utilises an automated attendant to handle incoming calls, you can also create your own system greetings heard by the caller when the system answers. To benefit from this functionality previously you would have been obliged to subscribe to an expensive external third party service. MyCalls is a suite of call traffic reporting applications, the entry level version is provided free of charge* with every version 3 NEC system. Reporting on inbound & outbound call traffic provides a wealth of management information - in particular, a ‘real time’ snapshot of call activity in an easy to view screen display and report formats. Essentially, it’s the most cost effective manager your company will ever employ! Recent changes in business laws have also seen call recording become a necessity for many businesses. Call recording is part of the MyCalls suite of applications. The NEC digital handset is UNIQUE in design and its green credentials are good for your company’s carbon footprint. The modular design and interchangeable keypads between handsets for upgrades and repairs to suit each user makes it one of the ‘greenest’ handsets available. Simply add another keypad to an existing user to increase functionality rather than buy another

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complete handset. Another UNIQUE design from NEC is the necklace or wrist watch style audio device, ideal for healthcare & hospitality environments. It can be dialled direct from any outside caller or internally from any extension for a two way conversation. Set up five preset memories to call internal or external numbers. This device can also be used for location detection. We want to show you how we can help you improve your telecommunications and we would be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation, consultation with or without a system demonstration, to see where we can make a difference.

“…real time view of call activity in an easy to view format.” Orange Stripe Telecommunications are direct partners with NEC. So our advice is to take full advantage of a local supplier supported by an industry leading manufacturer in NEC, with a product range that is taking the market by storm at the moment. We can also start to make some significant savings to your line rental and call charges. Take a look back at the previous two issues for a reminder of Parts 1 & 2, and look out for another ‘engineer’s vision’ in the next issue of B4 Magazine. Find our contact details at the back of B4. * Subject to conditions. www.orangestripe.co.uk

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Paul Avins knows both sides of business: the pain and the glory. He has worked with business owners in 79 different industries and coached companies who have gone on to generate over £100 million in Sales and Profits using his strategies. An award winning business coach and international speaker, his latest book Business SOS: 173 Proven, Fast-Acting Strategies to take your Business from Surviving to Thriving, was written as a direct result of strategies he realised his clients needed to get them from Surviving to Thriving in the present recession as well as growth in 2010. Local to home Paul is responsible for the phenomenal success of The Oxford Wealth Club which now has over 50 members. Here he talks to Richard Rosser about how businesses can get the most out of 2010 and beyond. Paul has not been discouraged by this recession - the worse it has got over the past year, the greater Paul believes the opportunities are. When you are as enthusiastic about the day ahead at 7 o’clock in the morning as Paul Avins is, at his fortnightly breakfast meetings there are regular quips of ‘I’ll have whatever he’s having’!, you transfer that energy into your business. “I think people are generally fed up talking about the recession. I’m no guru, I’m always learning, but I tell my clients and Wealth Club members to think positively at all times, particularly during a recession when there are, in my opinion, more opportunities than ever for small and medium sized businesses to thrive and prosper.”

“What would you do in 2010 if I could guarantee you wouldn’t fail?” A keen student of business, Paul often speaks alongside respected orators such as Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and, more recently, James Caan, of BBC’s Dragons Den. “If only business coaches were around when my Dot com business was failing.” Laughs Paul. So what are Paul’s tips and advice for 2010, on what many believe will be a rockier road for us all than 2009? Think Positive “A large part of 2010 is going to be an active choice for business owners to go out in this market and make money. People are limited by their belief of what is possible, so I ask a lot of people, ‘what would you do in 2010 if I could guarantee you wouldn’t fail.’ That has to be the way you approach 2010. “Look at your business and ask yourself what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what would you do differently. Ask yourself what have you learnt in 2009, what would you do more of and what will you stop doing. Look at all of your activities and say to yourself, ‘if I had to justify this to a board of directors, would it stack up?’” Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Main Clients? “Having a much more clearly defined sales funnel is going to be vital in 2010. We have to be more content with clients spending £50 than reaching for the £1,000 sale on day 1. We have to get people on board, build a relationship with them that shows them value and gradually

50

THE YEAR AHEAD: POSITIVELY SPEAKING


B4 ADVICE up-sell them. “In many businesses, 80% of your business will be coming from 20% of your customers. That is the reality. Yet ask yourself how much of your time as a business owner is spent servicing than 20%, and it isn’t 80%. So, consider doubling the amount of time spent with your leading customers and consider how much business they could be doing with you.” Plan Your Year “Sit down and plan out a communication strategy with your existing customers. Plan what you are going to be saying to them, what products and services you are going to be pushing. “60% of a small business owner’s time should be spent on sales and marketing. In reality, it is less than 10%, and that’s what kills most small businesses. My clear message is that if you do not plan 2010, it will be tougher than 2009. “Profit from the core of your business is where the focus should be. Scale that part of the business before you go and start other parts of the business.” Thing Big, Act Small and Do Smaller “When I work with the MD we end up creating a one page strategic map. If you have a one page document which identifies the top five targets of the business this year, then the MD’s job is to drive those top five things forward. We then look at ninety day goals and what we are going to do in those ninety days and then break it down to what we are going to do this week, and then on any given day. “The key line is, ‘Think Big, Act Small and Do Smaller.’ Another key thing to do is the ’15 minutes of focus’. Do it every day. Sit down with the team and look at what has got to be achieved today. Ask, ‘what needs to get done today, who needs help, who is expecting information from someone else’. “Assign everyone goals which then creates an accountability loop. It also creates focus for the group on the specifics that need to be done.” Nurture Your Staff – They Are Your Biggest Asset “I also train sales teams, and only recently I learned that a sales team member who was on the verge of being sacked in July landed a deal worth £330,000. We looked at him and could see he had potential – we just had to work on drawing that potential out of him. “Your staff are one of your biggest assets in the business and not getting the most out of them is a massively missed opportunity. “I was addressing a conference recently and told motor dealers to invest in their people. Someone said to me, ‘what if we invest in them and they go?’ My reply was what if you don’t invest in them and they stay?” Make A Friend Of The Web “In terms of trends for 2010, the internet is set to play a bigger role in business development than ever. You have to be getting your site optimized and using the right sales copy to attract custom through your website. If you are not integrating your on and offline strategies then it is a real www.b4-business.com

missed opportunity. You have to do both. It is no longer OK to be good in one and not in the other.” Be Creative “Be creative. Use interns – there are plenty of keen students and young people out there just looking for work to help build their CV’s. Take advantage of it. Or how can you joint venture with

is key. In the past, if you had an unhappy customer, they would tell ten friends. Now, they can tell the world. Customers will therefore end up focusing on companies they can trust.” Trust Is Golden “Trust will be huge in the future. This is where information plays second fiddle to trust. Information is widely available, but it is the

“Your staff are one of your biggest assets and not getting the most out of them is a massively missed opportunity” another company to sell each other’s products. Do things for low cost or no cost. “This is good for small companies as in the past there has also been a tendency for bigger companies to appoint the bigger agencies just because it looks good. However, now everyone is looking for value, everyone is looking at what they are paying and what they are getting for their money. “As a result, I am seeing smaller companies in Oxfordshire winning business from larger companies who would normally deal with big London firms – PR, marketing, legal services, accountants etc… – just because it looked good and satisfied the shareholders. All of that has gone out of the window now.

application of that information where we need to find someone we can trust to help us. “We are almost going full circle back to the time where the trusted brands we all relied on were the only ones we dealt with. We build a relationship with someone and we trust them. B4, for example, is a trusted magazine. People run articles in the magazine and they know it works because they get feedback. This builds and builds and you get more people going in B4 so B4 is already a reliable and trusted name.”

Information Revolution “We are now moving from a manufacturing based economy to an information lead economy, where ideas, creativity etc… are the most valuable commodity. People’s ability to think differently is going to be key for the next ten to twenty years. Knowledge is all important. “In my opinion, it’s as big a quantum shift as we had from the agricultural to the industrial age. The value is in minds and ideas – no longer in ‘stuff’.” “Social media is also going to be vitally important.

“One of my big tips for 2010 would be to make time to study and grow your own personal skill set. Train yourself. Learn new skills. Whether that is through joining the Wealth Club or one to one mentoring with me, learning new skills, new strategies and generally being better at business. Read books, watch DVD’s. We give away a training CD to anyone who contacts my office on 01869 278900 - all part of the information that is available out there from trusted sources.

“A shocking fact – 90% of people never read a book after they leave school!”

Develop Your Own Skill Set “A shocking fact – 90% of people never read a book after they leave school!”

Conclusion “Stay focused on the fundamentals. Stick to what you are good at. Manage costs aggressively. Demand a strong return out of your marketing. Invest in your people in terms of training. Problems will be with you no matter how successful you are. You have to address problems, but don’t make them your focus – the only people who don’t have problems are dead. Make 2010 a year of focus on growing your business, and if you need help staying focused, let me help…or buy my book!” www.paul-avins.com www.Business-Coach.me

You need to understand how it is going to integrate in your marketing mix. Because now, the playing field to compete with the big boys is becoming increasingly level. “The barriers between businesses and their customers are coming down. And if businesses don’t want to communicate with their customers, they will struggle. This is where the power of social media 51


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B4 OFFICE

“B-line’s latest Brother offering is a range of compact high-speed colour printers for the busy office”

BROTHER FOR

MAKES A

B-LINE

OXFORDSHIRE BUSINESSES

B-line business supplies in Oxford is celebrating a successful 10 year partnership with global office technology manufacturer, Brother. What better way to mark the occasion than with the launch of a new range of high speed compact colour printers – ideal for businesses in Oxfordshire looking to get ahead. B-line business supplies in Oxford is celebrating a successful 10 year partnership with global office technology manufacturer, Brother. What better way to mark the occasion than with the launch of a new range of high speed compact colour printers – ideal for businesses in Oxfordshire looking to get ahead. B-line’s latest Brother offering is a range of compact high-speed colour printers for the busy office. The HL3040CN and HL3070CW are available from £189 and utilise high speed LED print technology to give laser performance at a lower price. B-line has been supplying businesses in Oxfordshire with office equipment, hardware and software for the past 23 years. Working locally has allowed the company to build up a loyal customer base and keep its carbon footprint low. For the past 10 years, the company has been helped towards this goal by its partnership with established office technology specialist, Brother. Together, the two companies have supplied Oxfordshire businesses with reliable and

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sustainable office machines, from printers to multifunction machines, label printers to fax and everything in-between. B-line and Brother share the same values of providing excellent customer service and support coupled with a strong commitment to lowering their negative environmental impacts. B-line runs consolidated deliveries in specific areas on specific days, to cut its fuel consumption and decrease its carbon footprint. The company has also invested in making its offices as green as possible, including downsizing to cut energy use. Brother is well-known for its dedication to making a positive impact on the environment. It’s the only technology manufacturer to have scored 100/100 three years running in the Ethical Company Organisation’s Good Shopping Guide. More recently, Brother has started sponsoring the CoolEarth project, in a bid to protect rainforests from being cut down by working with local communities in forested areas. For service you can rely on that doesn’t cost the earth, call B-line on 01865 594550 or visit the website www.b-line.co.uk.

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THE NEW B4 WEBSITE EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE INVOLVED IN EXCEPTIONAL BUSINESSES With on line communication a vital part of our lives, we have been working hard at B4 to develop what we believe will be an invaluable addition to your on line communication strategy. Building on the success of the printed Magazine, the new B4 website is poised to play a growing part in helping you keep in touch with Oxfordshire’s business landscape and enable your business to maintain, or, if the case may be, raise its profile.

BASIC CONCEPTS Ease of Use: A simple and consistent format to enable visitors to the site to locate the information they need, quickly. Built on Integrity: Over the past three editions of B4 Magazine, we have been introducing our B4 Ambassadors to you, people we work with who make their businesses tick. They have given their backing to the new site and we 54

hope you will want to add your business to this growing network. Ambassadors and Members: The key distinction between these groups is that the Ambassadors are our bedrock of existing supporters – see pages 10, 75 and 90. We will be adding new Ambassadors each year, denoted by the year they joined. For example, we are currently signing up 2010 Ambassadors. www.b4-business.com


B4 ADVICE Ambassadors to date will be known as Founding or 2009 Ambassadors. Ambassadors receive additional profile, but pay a premium for this. If you want a company membership, this is based on your employee numbers – see rates right.

The B4 Code: The site will be governed by The B4 Code. Essentially, this will protect existing members and monitor their conduct to ensure the system is not abused. There will be a clear code which members and Ambassadors should abide by to protect the integrity of the site.

Page 1 – Company Information: About Us: A brief introduction to your company and what products and services it offers. Company Video (Optional): We are offering companies the opportunity to upload their own company videos or take advantage of our video service through our friends at Studio 8. B4 Articles: As a matter of course, we will be uploading any B4 articles your company has had featured in B4. These will be viewed as a normal text document with a few frills, so that your article can easily be linked to, shared or printed off. Contact and Ambassador Information: Basic company contact details and Ambassador information will be contained on this page, with links to your website. Page 2 – Update Information: You will be able to update both of your pages, but this is the ‘engine room’ of your presence on the B4 site which will update onto the home page – for a limited period, and also onto specific pages where noted:

Press Releases: Issue latest news through your own page which will update on home page and specific Press Release Page immediately – ranked chronologically.

B4 Magazine is the place for your business to be seen, and the B4 website will be a crucial site for your business to be on. Endorsed by some of Oxfordshire’s most influential business leaders, we are looking to build on this network of Ambassadors with businesses of good standing and calibre. We don’t want lists of businesses we don’t know. We want businesses who are recommended to us, so that we achieve a standard, a given level of service, product and attention to detail.

www.b4-business.com

All rates are exclusive of VAT at 17.5%:

Non Corporate Memberships: As for Events, Job Board and B4 Offers: List events to keep the B4 community aware of what you are doing. Upload Jobs to our Job Board and save money on your current job advertising spend – job board will also be promoted on our sister site, www.inoxford.com and in In Oxford Magazine to help generate more traffic.

Primary & secondary level academic organisations £75 Charity membership (<100 staff and UK registered charities only) £75 Individual Membership £75

Corporate Memberships: B4 Offers – offer deals to other B4 members to help engage the B4 community with your business. Testimonials from other B4 Members and Recommendations for other B4 Members: We like this! You will be able list testimonials from other B4 members in a clear format with their logo – great for them as it provided a link through to their pages also. Similarly, you can sing the praises of other B4 members in this section and you will get presence on their pages. The only pre-requisite is that everyone listed is a member and there must be agreement between the parties to allow this entry – IT’S THE B4 CODE!

SO WHY JOIN UP? ‘It’s just another directory site!’ Fair enough. Essentially, it is, but with more substance to it than a bland list of contacts without any personality, heart or soul.

All rates are per annum and will give members their own business page, access to this page for updates, access to a members only e-Newsletter with special offers and news releases. All members will be able to upload unlimited Press Releases, Jobs, Offers and Events, although unreasonable and excessive use of these facilities would be reviewed under the B4 Code.

SITE FUNCTIONS B4 Directory and Individual Company Pages: A clear company directory accessed by business type or name. Once in the directory and your preferred section, you will be able to access further company details as follows on the individual company’s pages, in a clear and consistent format:

RATES

Putting a ‘face to a name’ and encouraging business by ‘word of mouth’ will never have been easier than through the B4 site. Eliminate the risk in your business choices by getting involved in the B4 network and find other business who share your values, who can help grow your business. Position your business alongside some blue chip names in Oxfordshire business. Make the new B4 website your number one priority for 2010, and don’t forget, the sooner you get involved, the higher up the rankings your business can stay. Contact a B4 Ambassador today to get an introduction.

Staff Numbers 1–5 £150+VAT 6 – 20 £250+VAT 21 – 50 £375+VAT* 51 – 100 £600+VAT* >100 £850+VAT* * Please Note: B4 Member will be able to nominate a charity, primary or secondary level academic organization, or business with staff numbers between 1 and 5 a complimentary annual membership. B4 Members will be able to nominate a charity of their choice or one of our chosen charities to receive 10% of this fee as a donation

Ambassadors: 2010 Ambassadors (maximum 100) £500+VAT Ambassadors will receive a 25% discount on their company membership, hence, an Ambassador of a company employing 60 staff will pay £950+VAT.

Additional Rates: We will also be publishing rates in due course for: • Premium jobs on the job board • Company videos • Web banners

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B4 ADVICE

A TRUSTED

GUIDE When they finally reached the bottom, they were surrounded by the international press who had come to cover the historic event, but on hearing about the amazing rescue by Tenzing, they were quick to label him a hero. Being a modest man, Tenzing's only response was, “Mountain climbers always help each other. After all, we are tied together.” All business owners have their own Everest to climb, and they choose whether to climb it on their own, or whether they take a guide – or guides with them. But choosing the right guides to take with you can be as challenging as the climb itself. It wasn't too long ago that services such as Banks, Accountancy Practices, Legal Firms, Marketing Agencies, HR Consultants to name but a few, were seen by many business owners as the guides to help them reach the top of their Everest. It was a time when the advice given by these businesses was regarded as being in the best interests of the client concerned, and true working relationships were established. Today, many businesses appear to have lost their 56

In May 1953, Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper, and his guide Tenzing Norgay from Nepal, made history and became the first to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. On their way down, Hillary slipped and began to fall to a certain death, but quick-thinking Tenzing quickly jammed his ice pick into the ice wall creating a temporary brace for the rope – just long enough for Hillary to re-establish his hold.

way when it comes to customer-focus and looking after the customers' wants and needs. Every day you come across examples of where a customer or client has been let down by the company in a significant manner. For example, the man who was let down by his Bank of 25 years. Even though he was in credit by thousands of pounds, they froze his account and cancelled his direct debits and demanded he return his card and cheque book, all because he went over his agreed overdraft limit by £200 – despite having warned them before hand. Up to then, in 25 years, he had never had a problem... Or how about the Internet Service Provider (ISP) who created a new package which offered a Broadband connection which was twice the speed of the previous one, and nearly half the price, yet made NO effort to inform their existing customers that this option was now available, leaving a significant number of them paying over the odds for an inferior service... Or what about the Accountancy Practice that regularly quotes a competitive price to win the business, but when it comes to the final invoices,

they are significantly higher than quoted because everything is charged as an extra – but without explaining that adequately to the client in the first place... Or how about the high street mobile phone provider who, during a conversation about an upgrade, told one customer that they “must be lying” because their 'system' didn't show the information they were looking for. Yet when they found the record 2 minutes later, failed to see that calling a customer a liar was a problem... Or the owner of a business which was selling franchises, where the person buying the franchise was taken to court for failing to pay under the terms of the agreement – yet they didn't receive the manuals, the training or the skills they needed to be able to run the franchise in the first place... There are plenty more and I am sure we all have heard, or have experienced our own horror stories. But the point is that we as business “guides” have a responsibility, indeed a duty, to make sure we are giving our clients the best advice we can in a proactive, not reactive way. Anybody who goes to a www.b4-business.com


business does so because of their lack of knowledge or experience in that area and the perceived ability of that company to solve their particular problem - they expect that person to be a specialist in their field. But they will only accept so much before they vote with their feet. Far more people than ever before are reacting to their experiences, and those of their friends, colleagues and associates, to make sure

approach has been supported in the results of a recent Client Satisfaction Survey which was carried out on our behalf by an independent company on a random cross-section of our clients. People want and expect the best advice – they want VALUE. But now more than ever before, businesses need to be constantly looking at the service they provide

make sure they have the best possible advice to equip themselves for the journey. When you do, you find that something amazing happens... everybody wins. The client wins because they get the best advice, which benefits them. You win, because you keep the client for longer; they actually WANT to stay with you and are more likely to bring referral business.

“All business owners have their own Everest to climb, and they choose whether to climb it on their own, or whether they take a guide” they are getting a fair deal, and the best advice, but surely this is what they should be getting in the first place? Now I'm not saying we are perfect – I don't believe any company can be – but we do strive to be proactive for our clients and look for ways they can save money, whether business or personal. This www.b4-business.com

to their clients. Competition is more fierce, customers are more discerning, and it is no longer realistic to assume that a client or customer will stay with you simply because they have previously. Businesses need to go back to being that “guide” to help their customers and clients to climb their Everest, whatever that may mean for them, and to

Just take a moment to think about your clients. What is it that you know now that could make a major difference to them? It might even be something you regard as small and insignificant, yet to the client it means the world. www.wenntownsend.co.uk

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B4 COMPUTE

SERVERS DOES YOUR BUSINESS REALLY NEED THEM? ARE YOU BEING OVERSOLD? This month we'd like to shed some light on the need for servers for SMEs and whether they're really as essential as some IT companies will tell you. Technology has changed and the need for having servers in your own premises, with the cost and maintenance implications that involves, is now much reduced. In the last B4 Issue (Issue 13) we gave you some practical tips on how to save money on your IT. We're going to continue with that and talk about two areas that can make your business systems more robust and usable. Many IT suppliers will not even consider whether you need a server in your office, they will just assume you will have one, usually involving a high cost setup, then high maintenance costs. It's often then just left running in the office, with everyone assuming it's being looked after! Very few like this are properly maintained and up to date. They can be time bombs just waiting to go off when they fail. What are these servers used for? Most are used for storing/sharing files and email. Unless you have a large company and IT department they are rarely as useful or practical as having your email handled by full time email providers, such as Google for example. These companies will handle all your email services, using your own company domain names, with security, backups and support being provided on those servers 24 hours a day, something you could never achieve in your own office.

Another option for file storage and sharing, which requires no equipment, is a service called "DropBox". This removes the need for any file servers at all in your office and allows for files and documents to be securely shared and used anywhere in the world. You simply install the DropBox software on any of your PCs (Windows, Mac and Linux) and create a free account. It will create a folder on your PC into which you put the files you wish to backup and share. Any file that is dropped into this is automatically synchronized over the internet to the DropBox servers, so you then have a backup. Change any files in this folder and they will be synchronized with the server, so you have a secure copy off-site. Any folder you have in your DropBox can be shared with other DropBox users. This makes sharing and collaborating on documents with anyone in the world very easy indeed. Change any documents in the shared folders, and everyone will get the latest copy synchronized to their PCs automatically.

“More and more business is done using email and having a system that is reliable and accessible is vital”

Having all your email running from a server in your own office can lead to a number of disasters. If your office internet goes down, you have a power cut, or worse still your server crashes, you won't be able to send or receive any emails at all, which is very bad for business. If your email is hosted on commercial servers, your emails will still arrive and could be accessed from any PC on the internet, or your smartphone. More and more business is done using email so having a system that is reliable and accessible is vital. Having it all on a single mail server in your office does not make business sense.

The benefits of having your email hosted externally are enormous and allow for much more productive use of email, without the worry of having to maintain it and look after it yourself. It's well worth considering all the options available to keep your business robust, productive and cost effective. To discuss further, just ring us on 01865 594020 and we'll talk you through the options. The second reason for a server in the office is for storing/sharing files. Again, there are many lower cost, lower maintenance solutions for this, which don't require IT technicians to use and maintain. One option is a stand-alone file server. These can be purchased off-the-shelf and can be setup and active in minutes and can be a lot more robust than a traditional server. They are small and a fraction of the cost of a full Windows server requiring little or no maintenance. They start from as little as £200.

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In addition, you can install your own account on as many PCs as you like, giving you access to all your files whichever PC you are working on. Have your documents available on your desktop, laptop and at home, even on your iPhone. You can even access your files from someone elses PC via the web. Work offline with your documents, for example on the train, then when you get to the office simply connect to the internet and everything is brought up to date automatically.

Used effectively you can remove the need for a file server completely. Try it for free with 2GB of storage, enough to handle hundreds or thousands of documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can pay an annual fee to upgrade to 50 or 100GB. It's a very effective service providing secure backups and global sharing for your vital business documents. Download the free software at www.dropbox.com. We hope you have found the information above useful and makes you think, "do I actually need a server?". Oxford Home IT Support like to think outside the box and we understand business as well as IT. If you'd like to know more then just give us a call on 01865 594020, we'd love to hear from you. Look out for more money saving and productivity advice for your business in the next issue of B4. 59


B4 HEALTH

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE In the past three issues of B4 Magazine, we have gained a fabulous insight into a wide range of services offered by John Radcliffe Private Healthcare. As we conclude the current series, we throw the spotlight on the service in its entirety to reinforce the message that first class private medical services are available to everyone, in familiar surroundings.

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It’s human nature, preconceived ideas that is. We are all guilty of it and we are almost impossible to change, to re-educate once the foundations have been laid. You don’t expect world class ballet in a Village Hall, and you don’t expect first class golf on a pitch and putt. Although these analogies are wildly exaggerated, they are not in all ways dissimilar to the preconceptions residents of Oxfordshire have with regards to private medial healthcare in their county.

F ACTS

The John Radcliffe has evolved as a leading NHS hospital, and that is what it always will be to many who are unaware of the services offered by the Private Healthcare arm of The Oxford Radcliffe Trust. Most will regard private healthcare as something which is offered by Oxfordshire hospitals dedicated specifically for that type of healthcare. The dilemma which Alex Barnes as Assistant Director of Private Patients faces is that the services he is trying to promote are housed in a public hospital, and how do you convince a patient that the private service is better than the NHS service, with the obvious implication being that the service provided on the NHS is sub-standard?

2. The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals is one of the largest NHS teaching trusts in the country, with a national and international reputation for the excellence of its services and its role in education and research.

“It is a mightily difficult proposition for us to communicate without devaluing the excellent services offered to NHS patients.” Confirms Alex. “It is not the quality of the procedures which vary, it is more the route to that service and the environment in which that service is provided which differ. Simply due to the pressures exerted on the system, there is at times an unacceptable waiting period for procedures to be booked in, which does not always suit the patient. This can lead to anxiety, a deterioration in a patient’s lifestyle and a build up of stress which affects the whole family. “What the Private Healthcare service can offer is a more convenient service in private surroundings. We have suites dedicated to the provision of the same services available on the NHS. For example, in one of the twenty two en-suites in the new Whytham Wing, or in the private maternity suites in the Women’s Centre.” Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare benefits from the clinical excellence of its surgeons and support staff, in addition to the leading edge advanced medical research which takes place within the Trust and at Oxford University. “As part of a major research centre and teaching hospital, we are continually driving forward changes in medical practice. Although we work within a huge organisation, there are interlinked specialties with teams of consultants working jointly throughout the organisation treating NHS patients, and these skills are transferred to the private healthcare side. Practically every service and treatment provided under the auspices of the NHS can be obtained under Private Healthcare.” Alex can see Private Healthcare’ reputation bearing fruit. “It is quite clear that the message is getting through. We can see patient numbers increasing, the range of services widening and the geographical distances our patients are coming to us from expanding.” One of the key messages to get across to prospective Private Healthcare patients is that all income received by Private Healthcare is ploughed back into the Trust for more research and development. Therefore, by using Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare, patients are supporting their local healthcare system. It is as simple as telling your GP that you want to be treated by Private Healthcare within The Oxford Radcliffe. For more information about the services provided by Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare, visit the website at www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/privatehealthcare/home.aspx Private Healthcare in B4: Issue 11: Nick Maynard, Consultant Surgeon Talks to B4 about surgery of the esophagus, or the gullet, and stomach, as well as gastric bands. Issue 12: Oliver Cassell, Plastic Surgeon Discusses plastic and reconstructive surgery with B4. Issue 13: Jane Upham, Ward Manager in Private Maternity Wing Outlines how women can give birth privately and Dr Suzie Anthony and Dr Raman Uberoi Outline endovenous laser treatment to B4. Issue 14: Sue Cooper, Vulval Services Introduces the new service she is offering under the Private Healthcare banner (see page 91).

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1. Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare is part of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust

3. Some private services are performed using the same equipment and facilities as NHS treatments, as it is not clinically desirable to separate the two. Certain procedures or investigations requiring specific clinical expertise, or the use of highly specialist equipment, are best performed using staff or equipment shared by all patients. Examples where this is the case include access to specialist intensive care, specialist imaging and emergency cardiac arrest teams. 4. Whether you are cared for in a dedicated private patient facility or using a facility shared with NHS patients, private healthcare staff will always endeavour to give you the best clinical experience. Making the best use of our resources in this way means that any surplus income generated through our private patient activities is ploughed back into supporting all of our services. 5. Being a large institution provides Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare with economies of scale, which allows the department to provide the highest level of care at competitive prices. 6. Private Healthcare prices match or better those of other private hospitals. If you find a cheaper price elsewhere, Private Healthcare will always try to adjust their price accordingly. 7. The department knows that financial anxieties prevent many clients from using their private medical insurance or from 'going private', so they ensure that patient payments are covered by their insurance, or, wherever possible, are set at an agreed level prior to the patient’s admission. 8. As befits an international institution, every important clinical service is provided at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals. This means that all private care is provided seamlessly in the same institution. This is particularly important for patients with more than one disorder, or who have serious illnesses or complex and rare disorders, or in the unlikely event that complications occur during the course of treatment. 9. Having the resources and staff of a large and multi-skilled hospital service immediately behind patients gives peace of mind and confidence in their private care, under all circumstances for all conditions.

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B4 ADVICE

“Clive’s approach is very much softly

Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

softly. Conducting research, looking to achieve the best outcome for all parties”

CONSIDERED DEBT COLLECTION

Cash is the lifeblood of any company. Sales mean nothing unless a cheque comes through the door at the end of the process. Clive Taylor, Managing Director of Total Credit Management, knows the world of credit management better than anyone in Oxfordshire. His client retention approach to debt recovery ensures his clients not only recover their money, they can also retain a client. B4 find out more about Clive’s impressive services. Clive started his credit management career as a field based recovery agent for Thames Water, progressing to becoming a Team Manager. Clive has been awarded MICM status from the Institute of Credit Management, and holds an Office of Fair Trading Licence. “I then looked after billing policy and became an adviser to Thames Water on debt recovery, ending up as Thames Water’s Arrears and Collections Manager. “In 2003 I started up a company called Total Debt Solutions and offered outsourced debt recovery services to businesses of all sizes. I was working for agricultural suppliers, children’s nurseries, and other small businesses in the area. I realised at that point that there was a demand to become more pro-active and look at the wider issues companies were facing. I felt there was much I could do to help, particularly on the credit referencing side. “I looked at who my clients were working with to try and prevent them from dealing with businesses I knew were risks and also by looking at their payment history with my clients. “After that, I would look at the billing policy, the types of letters that were being sent out and the frequency. I would get on the phone to chase debts in myself and train staff to make sure they were adopting best policy when it came to chasing www.b4-business.com

arrears. At all times I was offering an outsourced debt recovery service where I was working on a no collection, no fee basis.” Clive works on the basis that he agrees a fixed percentage or fixed fee depending on the size of the debt. He works a lot on referrals and, as far as he knows, is the only company offering debt recovery and outsourced credit control services in Oxfordshire. “I am a credit management specialist. There are companies whose idea of chasing debts amounts to a letter sent out purporting to chase in debts, but I have known cases where a client has been charged for a letter sent to an empty industrial unit. I will make field visits, establish the debtor is still in business and set to the task of recovering the arrears. If they have moved, I will trace them. “Once the debt has been recognised, I will sort out a suitable payment plan with the debtor and the client, or, if necessary, revert to the courts if a suitable solution cannot be agreed upon. And this is all on the basis of no collection no fee, so I could end up incurring a lot of time to establish a debt is unrecoverable.” If a debt has to go to the courts, Clive will prepare court documentation, attend court on behalf of his client and advise on the best method of enforcement.

him particularly busy is outsourced credit control. One of his clients suffered from high debtor days but didn’t want to upset its clients. Clive’s approach had to be particularly sensitive to client goodwill. Clive got on the phone, talked to the slow payers in a very constructive manner, and has managed to bring the debtor days right down. Not only can Clive’s clients benefit from a healthier bank balance, there is another, less tangible positive to come out of Clive’s work, as he concludes. “The difference to a company’s outlook that getting it into the black can make is quite phenomenal. I have seen companies running at just £5,000 or £10,000 in the red who have brought me in to address their debtor days. By turning their bank balance into a positive £5,000 or £10,000, the psychology of the business shifts from one which was quite negative to a ‘we can make money’ business.” Clive knows the lie of the land in Oxfordshire. He is familiar with many of the slower payers in Oxfordshire, and, more importantly, they are aware of him. They know that he will be respectful and compassionate when he gets on the phone to request arrears on behalf of another client, but they will know he means business and will not stop until he secures the debt for his client. www.totalcreditmanagement.co.uk

The other part of Clive’s business which is keeping 63


THE NEW ASHMOLEAN

The new Ashmolean presents us with a ‘new way of seeing our past’ and the city of Oxford gets a ‘world class’ museum that gives us an opportunity for a new way of seeing our city’s future.

Sarah Wiseman has been to visit the museum and discover more about its amazing transformation, and to consider the enormous benefits that the makeover will bring to the city. The excitement over the £61 million renovation of Britain’s oldest public museum has been huge and well deserved. From the front the building retains a familiar look as the original Cockrell building has been left untouched. It is not until we walk through the new glass doors that the story of the transformation starts to unfold. Architect Rick Mather’s new building has doubled the exhibition space; creating thirty nine new galleries, presented around a full height light filled atrium. The effect is spectacular, with glass walk ways and viewing points guiding and pulling you around the building, giving visitors teasing glimpses of the treasures that lie beyond. Conceptually it has become a museum with a new view in more ways than one. The curators and exhibition designers, Metaphor, have taken full advantage of the opportunity to re-display the collections, by developing the strategy “Crossing Cultures Crossing Time” for the new galleries dedicated to their collections of ancient and non-western art.

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The display strategy is based on the idea that objects can be understood in many different contexts, from their conventional historical settings to cross-culturally as objects with universal functions, the strategy aims to stimulate an enquiring and reflective attitude towards the cultures and civilisations that have shaped the world in which we live. This journey through culture and civilisation changes the way that we understand and appreciate these rare and beautiful objects, and it maximises the relationship between the building and the collection harmonising the old and new. ‘It gives the museum a new heart and lungs’, one critic wrote, calling the makeover a ‘great achievement’. As a department of the University of Oxford, education lies at the heart of the Ashmolean; not just serving as a resource for scholars, but seeking to awaken a lively interest in our cultural history in all visitors. The new development will allow them to fulfill that role more effectively with a new education centre, study rooms and new conservation studios, increasing access to the collections and opportunities to expand the scope of the education programmes on offer.

So what does this all mean for the city of Oxford? Most importantly, we need to embrace fully the fact that history and culture are major drivers for tourism. In a recent article in Arts Professional, Munira Mizra, Advisor on Arts & Culture for the Mayor of London, detailed how London’s role as a cultural metropolis was stronger than ever despite the recession and was a significant contributor to the economy of London. Even though corporate sponsorship was down for the arts, individual giving and box office incomes were buoyant, indicating that people are craving uplifting cultural experiences. Therefore, having a world class museum at the centre of the city’s cultural activities will act as a catalyst, encouraging people to make Oxford a destination city for a weekend break, or as part of a longer trip to the UK. This will have general positive knock on benefits for many of the city’s shops, restaurants, theatres and hotels. Early indications are positive. During the first month that the museum was open, it was averaging 6000 visitors per day. Looking into 2010, the Ashmolean will inaugurate their temporary exhibition space with the exhibition

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B4 SPOTLIGHT

‘The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy’ opening in September. The exhibition will be a new opportunity to build on the press interest in the museum so far. Temporary exhibitions are visitor and income drivers for most museums and galleries worldwide and are a vital part of their annual programmes. They offer unique opportunities to bring together art works and artifacts that time and ownership has spread across the world into public and private

stuck in my mind, whilst he was reviewing the new Ashmolean he could not help but marvel at the fact that this was ‘FREE’ to the visitor; of course, the US has many major public and private collections, but they do not have the luxury of free public access. In the UK we do and this is a vital part of every museum in this country and means that they need to be supported through other income streams as well as public funding. The major project of redeveloping the Ashmolean

institution through sponsorship or by simply holding a company event are immeasurable. My own gallery, Sarah Wiseman Gallery, successfully held our 10th Anniversary party at the museum, delighting our customers and artists by celebrating in such spectacular surroundings. The new Ashmolean has opened to amazing near universal acclaim, heralding the start of an exciting new era for the museum and the city of Oxford. There is plenty to build on with this positive start.

“ So what does this all mean for the city of Oxford? Most importantly we need to embrace fully the fact that history and culture are major drivers for tourism.” collections. Bringing these objects together in an exhibition offers an amazing opportunity to see items that may not be on general public display in context and for new academic study. This creates an important draw for visitors and the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition will not disappoint as it will bring art works to Oxford that have never before been exhibited in England. An article in the Los Angles Times by Henry Chu

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was funded through private donations and The Heritage Lottery Fund. The project is part ‘Oxford Thinking: The Campaign for the University of Oxford’. However, on-going support will be key to the museum’s continued success, and the Ashmolean has developed a number of innovative ways, from Corporate Sponsorship packages, to being a licensed wedding venue and general event hire for the galleries, café and restaurant. The benefits to being linked to such a prestigious

With the Ashmolean leading the way, combined with the wealth of Oxford’s history and inherent culture, there are plenty of new opportunities to explore to make Oxford a world class destination for culture and history. If you haven’t visited yet, make it one for your New Year’s Resolutions! www.ashmolean.org 65


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news Lord Drayson Marks Success of Oxfordshire Innovation Centre Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, visited Milton Park Innovation Centre, near Abingdon, on November 19 to mark the key role played by the £6 million facility in providing support for entrepreneurs and innovative start-up companies during its first 12 months of operation. The 39,000 sq ft, environmentally efficient Innovation Centre was built by MEPC Milton Park, one of Europe’s largest multi-use business parks, and is managed by Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of Innovation Centres. Milton Park Innovation Centre provides a range of high quality offices on flexible terms. Companies in the building also have access to support provided by Oxford Innovation, including funding assistance, networking events and mentoring. Lord Drayson said, “Milton Park Innovation Centre is an Oxfordshire success story. It supports the next generation of hi-tech companies, which are crucial to our economic growth”. Since opening for business last December, the Centre has attracted 32 start-up and growing technology companies. 24 businesses occupy office premises and eight have taken up an associated professional virtual office service. They include: • Enigma Diagnostics, which develops portable diagnostic testing instruments used in on-site testing by medical healthcare staff and veterinary professionals as well as military and security personnel. The diagnostic instruments deliver accurate results in around 45 minutes eliminating the need to wait days for results from central laboratories. Enigma has recently signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to develop a point-of-care diagnostic system to identify specific influenza strains. • Claresys, a company developing optical lens products for uses such as surveillance and optical inspection.

• Tidy Graphics, a creative company specialising in innovative graphic design whose clients include Didcot Railway Centre, Experience England Tours and Elfin Productions. The Minister officially marked the first anniversary of the Centre by releasing 99 balloons in the branding colours of the building, which is located at 99 Milton Park. He then mingled with around 100 guests at the event who included Ed Vaizey, MP for Didcot and Wantage, and senior representatives from leading businesses in the country, including Sir Martin and Lady (Audrey) Wood, co-founders of Oxford Instruments plc, Europe’s first university spin-out company which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Also present were senior representatives from the two Oxford universities, scientific research establishments and public sector organisations. James Dipple, Managing Director of MEPC Milton Park, said, “We financed the construction of this building and chose Oxford Innovation to run it on our behalf in order that innovative flexible businesses can enjoy the benefits of high quality accommodation at one of the country’s top business estates. We hope they thrive in this positive environment and grow on to occupy bigger buildings on the estate where we keep a stock of suitable premises that are available to lease on very competitive terms.” Dr. Phillip Leo, Director and Head of Innovation Centres at Oxford Innovation, said “We are delighted with the success of this flagship Innovation Centre - it has become a hub of entrepreneurial activity for early stage technology companies on Milton Park.” John McKinley, Chairman of Enigma Diagnostics said, “The Innovation Centre provides the perfect environment for our rapidly expanding science-based business. We benefit from high quality offices in a great location on Milton Park, right in the heart of the Oxford-CambridgeLondon science hub. We are close to our partners and have access to a highly skilled workforce and a

Lord Drayson (pictured, centre) releases 99 balloons to celebrate Milton Park Innovation Centre’s first anniversary

network of larger companies specialising in science and engineering.” Andy McLeod, Chief Executive Officer of Claresys, said “We chose to locate at the Innovation Centre because it offers flexibility - we can take the space we need depending on how our business model and the market progresses.” The future is looking good for Claresys. McLeod added, “We have started the design work for a new range of lenses for long range surveillance and we’re also doing some small scale assembly of optical prototypes using our new lab space here.” Lea Chapman, founder of Tidy Graphics, moved into the Centre shortly after he started his business in April 2009. He said, “I moved into the Centre from home because I needed to work in a professional environment as my client base grew. The Centre provides a good range of offices that we can grow into and a major factor in our growth so far has been the support from the Centre staff that really makes life easier for a start-up. The aesthetics of the building also help to present the right image for a design company!”

About Oxford Innovation Oxford Innovation manages a network of Innovation Centres that provide flexible office and laboratory space to over 300 technology, knowledge-based and creative companies. Innovation Centres are different to business centres: they provide companies with a professional environment to grow along with a range of support services. Oxford Innovation also manages three

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highly successful Investment Networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from £20,000 to £2 million. During the last five years, the Investment Networks have helped over 90 companies raise over £19.5 million. Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Europe’s leading technology business angel network, and 2009 Angel Network of the Year

winner, has recently announced results showing that it has enjoyed a record-breaking year of helping innovative companies to secure funding. A range of Innovation Services are also available to ambitious businesses, including investment readiness, raising finance, networking, mentoring, protecting IP and new business opportunities. www.oxin.co.uk

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I doubt I have ever been more concerned about what I should wear to an interview. Knowing I was coming face to face with Nick, I knew I had to be at my smartest. By his own admission, being smart wasn’t one of Nick’s strong points when he started his business back in 1986. Having gambled the profits of an Aston Martin DB1 sale on £70,000 worth of stock, Nick had to learn fast that there was more to running a successful business than luck and circumstance. “That was just a massive mistake. Tying my money up in stock was not the smartest move, and I had to learn fast that growth couldn’t be achieved so flamboyantly.” One of Nick’s first ventures whilst at Bristol was to import custom-made shoes from India. “My order system wasn’t the most sophisticated. I thought it couldn’t fail, but tracing around my customers’ feet and subsequently faxing the ‘design’ to the factory was a recipe for disaster. None of the shoes came close to fitting. Perfect for pixies and clowns, but not for the customers who had ordered them.” As if shoes weren’t complicated enough, Nick turned his attention to shirts. “My second cousin married somebody who had been an officer in 17/21st Lancers. We were at lunch one day and I told him that I wasn’t particularly good at organising my business. He came to stay with us in Shropshire and offered me a list of ex officers from his regiment.”

“…the bank will give you an umbrella, but when it rains, they ask for it back.” Nick sourced a Lancashire mill factory to make the shirts and personally typed out six hundred A5 leaflets on his archaic Amstrad PC and sent them to his newly-acquired database. “Within weeks I had thirty responses, which just made me hungry for more lists.” By the time he left Bristol, Nick was turning over £12,000 a year. It was then that he took his huge gamble on stock, but he was caught in a catch 22. “I had to sell shirts just to buy more fabric, but that was a simple business fact that I had to deal with. Cashflow was tight but I was attracting more and more custom because the quality was good and the prices were competitive.” Nick quickly tapped into cheap late space in The Daily Telegraph and The Times which yielded more customers and valuable additions to an already burgeoning database. Nick’s year two turnover was £250,000 which saw him break-even, and in year three he made a small profit on a £750,000 turnover. The first Charles Tyrwhitt shop opened on Jermyn Street, central London, in 1997, and this proved a smart move, recalls Nick. “The idea was to give customers a belief in the brand instead of an odd address in north London, and it performed exceptionally well.” Delegation is often a barrier to so many good businesses fulfilling their true potential, and Nick found this to be the case in his business. “One of the big things in growing a business is learning to delegate, because you simply can’t do everything yourself. I felt that because I started the business, I had to do everything from answering the phones, packing boxes, ordering the shirts, merchandising, and even deliveries. I knew how to do everything in my business, but that wasn’t the way to grow. When you start to delegate, you see a different side of your business and you can start to realise the potential. “I quickly found out that the right people could do things a hell of a lot better than I ever did – it was bloody marvellous! The truth was I could do everything, but to a fairly mediocre level, until I learned to delegate, which I have become reasonable at!” Choosing the right person to delegate to is the trick, and Nick found out the hard way that entrusting the business to the wrong Managing Director was a costly mistake. “Delegating is great when it works, but I admit I got it seriously wrong with a former MD. I was naïve to think I could appoint someone to 68

replace me. It has definitely taught me that a prospective employee’s reference is much more important than the interview. It is vital to get the right person for the job in terms of skills, but the character is almost as important as the ability.” This time around, Nick has been reassured that he has made the right choice. “My MD now has a proven track record as an MD, not a salesman, as the last MD made his name. Managing three hundred and fifty people is different to getting sales on the board. Running a business is all about putting the right team in place and it’s about choosing the right person for the right role. It was down to me to make that one simple choice and I called it wrong. A good business owner will find the right team of six or seven people around him to run the business properly whether they are in operations, finance, merchandising, buying, and, hopefully, I am getting there having made mistakes along the way.” The one saving grace for Nick is that this error of judgment was timely. “Thank goodness this was all before the economy took a dive, otherwise it could have been disastrous for the business. The old cliché is that you know the bank will give you an umbrella, but when it rains, they ask for it back, and our bankers proved to be no exception. We were sent straight into the special lending services department or ‘the naughty boys club’ to you and me. It’s not a good place – they are ferociously aggressive. We had breached a covenant and they offered to renew our facilities, but wanted to take 35% of the business. Absolute daylight robbery! If it had happened a year later, they would have just pulled the plug completely and that would have been that.” One of the delights of running his own business, according to Nick, is that no matter how he performs, he is not answerable to anyone, and this is something he would never change. “The worst that anybody can do to me is to refuse to buy my shirts or refuse to supply me.” However, there is another type of pressure extremely close to Nick which he cannot escape. His wife, Chrissie Rucker, is the founder of the incredibly successful retailer, ‘The White Company’, but Nick is quick to point out that business is the last thing on their minds when they are under the same roof. “Where there are advantages to be derived from cross-selling, strategy and marketing, we do get involved in each other’s business, but there is a clear line. Chrissie and I aren’t competitive, but there is definitely an element of competition between the two companies, which can be interesting. We do, however, have a strict ‘no poaching’ policy.” Nick Wheeler has certainly achieved a great deal in a relatively short period of time, and he is only just into his forties. Acclaimed as a retail expert and invited to give talks to a wide and growing range of audiences, it is his natural entrepreneurial flair which drives him on. “I don’t think as an entrepreneur that you are ever satisfied with what you have achieved. I remember about ten years ago we were turning over about £5m. I met the owner of Champneys at a Point to Point in Shropshire, and he had passed the £50 million mark which I just had to emulate. When you get to £50m, you don’t feel as though you have achieved anything, you just wonder why it took you so long!” The passion and the drive of Nick Wheeler have certainly propelled him past his personal targets with ease, but the anomaly about selling a shirt with your name in is that Nick isn’t promoted as the man behind the brand. Nick reveals that this is an ongoing issue in the board room. “I feel a bit awkward about this as I am not a great self publicist, but I think we have got various competitors on Jermyn Street who certainly trade off their history. I suppose as each year goes by, it increasingly dawns upon me that one of the benefits we have is that I am Charles Tyrwhitt, and to have a living and breathing Charles Tyrwhitt can have its advantages.” Having weathered an economic downturn in 2009 with sales up 40%, the recession has been almost an irrelevance for Nick. “We are doing well, but we have some excellent strategies in place, like four shirts for £100, which has been a massive success. However bad it is, you have to work and you have to wear a shirt. And wearing a decent shirt can make you look the part, just make sure it has my name in it!” www.ctshirts.co.uk www.b4-business.com


B4 SPOTLIGHT

THE SHARP

END

Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, meets with B4’s Richard Rosser, and literally traces the steps of how his business has grown from faxing shoe templates whilst a Bristol University student, to one of the country’s most successful retailers, with nine UK stores, two in New York and one in Paris, three hundred and fifty staff and a turnover in excess of £50m. www.b4-business.com

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PUTTING THE SHOW BACK INTO BUSINESS. Meetings and private events at the Mal Oxford.

Mal life. In these times your business needs an edge. That daring difference that speaks volumes to your client or your competitors. At Malmaison, we put the show back into business.This is no glitzy display with no real depth, but a collection of glamorous meeting and private dining rooms, each with a deep-rooted love for style, ultra tasty cuisine, outstanding wine and an undying dedication to providing amazing hospitality. It’s pure theatre, with absolutely no dramas. Add some show to your business. We dare you. That’s Mal life.

To book call in or call

01865 268 400

or email: events.oxford@malmaison.com For the best room rates GUARANTEED visit malmaison.com

DAY DELEGATE RATE

£35 FROM

PER PERSON

OXFORD

Hotel | Bar | Brasserie

Oxford Castle, 3 New Rd, Oxford, OX1 1AY


New Year, New Look

Let B4 Corporate Rewards help bring your home to life. Engage Jill Treloggen Interiors for a private consultancy in your own home to find out what Jill would recommend you do to spruce your home up for an impending sale, or just for you to live in more luxurious surroundings. We have negotiated ten consultancies with Jill at £75 each reduced from £150. This represents extraordinary value and is a great opportunity to get fantastic tips from Oxfordshire’s leading interior designer. Also a great ‘thankyou’ to a valued member of staff!

Visit www.b4-business.com and click on the B4 Corporate Rewards logo for this and other fantastic vouchers to incentivise your staff or just to spoil yourself!

B4CorporateRewards


THE SCIENCE OF INNOVATION Encouraging growth of innovative businesses has always been the aim of Oxford Innovation, using innovative means to encourage that growth is proving a success in Bicester.

Cherwell Innovation Centre is managed by Oxford Innovation Ltd and comprises two buildings on the site of the former RAF Upper Heyford base near Bicester, providing a home for approximately forty companies in just over 20,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space. The Centre was originally developed by Oxford Innovation in 1998, and now has a dynamic mix of technology and science-based companies operating in a variety of sectors, with a strong focus on healthcare. The Centre is also the home of the DiagnOx Laboratory, which provides specialist incubator services to companies in the diagnostics sector. Oxford Innovation has headquarters in Oxford, and its network of Centres across the UK provides

established companies and start-ups. In addition, it provides a supply of tenant companies and a sector focus, although not exclusive, for the Innovation Centre.

active in one sector adopting or transferring technologies, for example a waste remediation company is now using diagnostics to investigate its starting materials.

The DiagnOx Laboratory model was developed through a partnership brought together by Oxford Innovation and aimed at creating a new generation of diagnostics companies – which would result in real healthcare improvements, with wealth and jobs for the region. The DiagnOx Laboratory is further supported by the DiagnOx network, which includes researchers, new businesses, established businesses, organisations and professionals with an interest in the UK diagnostics sector. The DiagnOx network is a member of BIVDA (British In Vitro Diagnostics (Trade) Association); OBN (the

The unique attractions of the facility are underlined by the distances companies will drive to access the facility – up to three hours driving in one case! Its success is marked by the fact that all twenty five of its user companies to date are still in existence, and remain part of its alumni. Some have graduated into incubation space of their own elsewhere within the Innovation Centre where laboratory and Centre staff have assisted in the expansions. In excess of £20m of funding has been raised by the Lab clients whilst based in the facility. If it were possible to track funds raised after graduating, this figure would

“The unique attractions of the facility are underlined by the distances companies will drive to access the facility” flexible office and laboratory space to over four hundred technology, knowledge-based and creative companies. Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful Investment Networks that link investors with entrepreneurs. What makes Cherwell Innovation Centre unique is the DiagnOx Laboratory; a managed and equipped 3000 ft2 laboratory and office micro incubation facility located within the Centre. It consists of twelve laboratory bench and office work stations, each accommodating one person, and aimed at businesses in the diagnostics sector. It is this micro incubation laboratory and office facility which sets Cherwell Innovation Centre in a league of its own. Essentially, the DiagnOx Laboratory is a facility supporting the transfer of research ideas into commercial products, without the need for significant capital expenditure, as it enables some of these ideas to be carried forward and eventually taken to market as new products through 72

Oxfordshire Bioscience Network), SEHTA (South East Health Technologies Alliance) and is associated with many other organisations locally and nationally. DiagnOx networks on behalf of many of the clients, who find little time to network themselves, and these interactions can bring further benefits to the DiagnOx Laboratory community. The DiagnOx website is the portal and focus for the activities of the DiagnOx network, offering news, events, networking, contacts, partnering opportunities and specialist advice, in technical, commercial and financial areas to its membership, strengthened by a regular newsletter to members. Some of the more innovative activities associated with the lab have included the setting up of shared laboratory technicians, placement for a foundation degree student who has since been employed, and the transfer of knowledge between sectors – businesses based in the innovation centre and

be substantially higher. Despite the current economic outlook and the relatively isolated location of the Cherwell Innovation Centre, occupancy levels are high and the 3rd phase of the successful DiagnOx Laboratory was opened in October 2008. The success of the DiagnOx facility was highlighted recently as it was shortlisted in the UK Business Incubation Awards: Achievement in Business Incubation 2009. It was credited as being highly commended in this category which is designed to recognise those environments that have introduced innovative services as well as demonstrating the application of best practice and ultimately impacting on their local and regional economies. Each year, UK Business Incubation awards its members who have shown excellence in providing the right environment for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish.

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B4 SPOTLIGHT

The DiagnOx facility was recommended for the award by another company based in the Cherwell Innovation Centre, Microbial Solutions. Microbial Solutions (MSL) has recently made business news headlines, as it launched its new bioreactors for toxic waste disposal in engineering firms. Made to an innovative design, the bioreactors can be enlarged or reduced in size to suit the very different requirements of engineering companies for disposal of hazardous metal working fluids and associated oil contaminated materials. MSL has developed award-winning ecologically friendly bacterial technologies to dispose of metal

to be built to the new design. Metal working fluids are used during precision cutting of metal – they are cooling lubricants sprayed during the machining process to ensure a clean cut. After use, they contain toxic chemicals and hazardous biological compounds that must be rendered less harmful before the used fluids can be disposed of. MSL’s Microcycle™ Technology uses a bioreactor unit and ‘friendly bacteria’ to turn toxic exhausted metal working fluids and oils into grey water that is safe to dispose of directly into the sewerage system. The Microcycle™ Technology replaces

reassurance that we can deliver the design which meets their needs - and with ever improving performance characteristics. These are just the first in a series of new technologies which we will be developing during 2010.” In September 2009, MSL was a finalist in Oxfordshire Bioscience Network’s Best Early-stage Biotech awards, whilst earlier in the year, the Company was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 accreditation by NQA, the leading assessment, verification and certification body. Microbial Solutions is a spin-out company from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, a research

“It is this micro incubation laboratory and office facility which sets Cherwell Innovation Centre in a league of its own” working fluids. The launch of the new bioreactors comes hard on the heels of MSL’s successful pilot of a commercial scale bioreactor with BAE Systems, the global aerospace and defence systems manufacturer, at its facility in Brough, East Yorkshire. The trial was recognised with a BAE Systems Chairman’s Award for Innovation and negotiations are proceeding with BAE for the construction and installation of a permanent thirty tonne bioreactor, www.b4-business.com

costly and energy intensive disposal processes, such as vacuum evaporation and ultra filtration which produce toxic oily waste residues, still requiring treatment and then disposal in landfill. Prof William Pope, CEO of MSL, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to launch these new bioreactors which fulfil specific clients’ requirements, giving our customers the

centre owned by the Natural Environment Research Council in the Oxford University Science area. For more information about MSL and Oxford Innovation, visit www.microbialsolutions.co.uk www.oxin.co.uk

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P M £3 ack ee £1 0p age ting 20 p D s f 24 DR rom HR & *

Delivering Deli ivering on ou our ur pr promises om mises at yo our ev vents! your events! One of the th he regions regions lead leading ding four star venues, v ideally located for meetings, meeting gs, events and private functions functio ons in modern, modern, bright and airy facilities fa acilities – all backed bac cked by our MeetBarceló Me eetBarceló guarantees. gua arantees. 9 Dedicated Confer C Conference ence Centr Centre e

Outdoor area 9 Outd oor teambuilding and event activity ar ea

meeting 9 Over 20 me eeting and event rrooms ooms

Conditioning throughout 9 Air Co onditioning thr oughoutt

9 For 2 - 320 delegates

Broadband areas 9 WiFi and Br oadband in all ar a eas

from Oxford Centre 9 Just 2 miles s fr om Oxfor d City Cent tre

modern bedrooms 9 168 moder m n bedr ooms

A34 9 Adjacent A3 34 and A40 Secure FREE cars 9 Secur e FRE EE parking for 250+ ca rs

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Industry Indu ustry leading g dedicated meetings website w

Book Bo ook online e at meetb meetbarcelo.co.uk barcelo.co o.uk Godstow Roa Road ad I Oxfor Oxford d I Oxfor Oxfordshire dshirre I OX2 8AL Tel: T e el: 01865 489988 489 9988 I Fax: 01865 489952 4899 952 oxford.mande@barcelo-hotels.co.uk Email: oxfor d.mande@barcelo-hotells.co.uk www.barcelo-hotels.co.uk www .barcelo--hotels.co.uk

*Rates *Rat es valid until 31st Mar March ch 2010 2010. 0. Subject to availability


B4 would like to thank the following Ambassadors who have generously given their backing to the new B4 Website, launching soon. The site will be an essential networking resource, great for circulating offers to fellow members and crucial for issuing press releases to help you shout about your business. Make sure you are listed by calling us on 01865 742211.

DARBYS www.darbys.co.uk

SCIENCE OXFORD www.scienceoxford.com

Amanda Nolte Head of Research and Innovation

PENNY & SINCLAIR www.pennyandsinclair.co.uk

Wendy Sinclair Director

FRILFORD HEATH GOLF CLUB www.frilfordheath.co.uk

Alistair Booth Director Simon McCrum Managing Partner

“As Managing Partner of one of the largest law firms – indeed one of the

THE OXFORD WEALTH CLUB www.oxfordwealthclub.co.uk

largest professional services firms – in the region, I value my relationship with B4 Magazine greatly. They are professional, business-like, and very influential. They have become our business partners and we wish them well with this initiative which can only be good for Oxford businesses.” Simon McCrum, Darbys

THE M GROUP www.theMgroup.co.uk

OXFORD AIRPORT www.oxfordairport.co.uk

CUSTOMERS REALLY MATTER www.customersreallymatter.co.uk

Mike Jennings Managing Director

www.b4-business.com

Stefan Wynne-Jones Chairman

ORANGE STRIPE TELECOMMUNICATIONS www.orangestripe.co.uk

James White Managing Director

Bob Harris Club Manager

JENNINGS OF GARSINGTON LTD www.jennings.co.uk

OXFORD HOTEL ASSOCIATION www.stayoxford.co.uk

David Surley Head of Customer Services

Gary McHale Partner

NORTH OXFORD GOLF CLUB www.nogc.co.uk

Paul Avins Managing Director

Nigel Pursall Managing Director

LIVE OXFORD www.liveoxford.com

MANCHES www.manches.com

Richard Smith Managing Partner

RICHMOND VILLAGES www.richmond-villages.com

David Reaves Marketing Manager

PENNY & SINCLAIR www.pennyandsinclair.co.uk

James Penny Director

CHARITABLE FUNDS www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk

Graham Brogden Head of Community Fundraising Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Charitable Funds

FINDERS KEEPERS www.finders.co.uk

Frank Webster Director

JILL TRELOGGEN INTERIORS www.jilltreloggen.co.uk

Jill Treloggen Owner

FOUR PILLARS HOTELS www.four-pillars.co.uk

Chris Green Group Marketing Manager

THE OXFORDSHIRE GOLF CLUB www.theoxfordshiregolfclub.com

Richard Quartermain Proprietor

Tim Pettifer General Manager

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FRILFORD HEATH GOLF CLUB As one of the South of England’s Premier Golf Clubs, and, arguably, Oxfordshire’s leading golf club, Frilford Heath boasts a reputation for excellence which is indisputable. From the first tee to the last green, any visitor coming to Frilford will be hard-pressed to find fault with this immaculate golf club. Far from resting on its laurels, the club is still striving to improve, as Executive Director, Alistair Booth, explained to B4’s Richard Rosser.

Frilford Heath is Oxfordshire’s Augusta. It oozes class and demands respect from the moment you enter the ample car park. As one of only a handful of clubs in the UK boasting three championship courses, means that playing any one of the three courses is sure to challenge the sharpest of golfers, but the joy of Frilford is that despite the fact that it is well run and incredibly well maintained, it is a welcoming, friendly club which places the emphasis on enjoying the experience of Frilford above everything else. Throughout our chat, Alistair stressed that enjoying Frilford

“Currently, we enjoy member numbers in excess of eleven hundred, but with three courses at Frilford, we can comfortably accommodate another two hundred. Our aim over the next five years is to hit thirteen hundred members, and we will be carrying out an active campaign to drive these numbers.” Amongst the club’s various initiatives is a scheme whereby new members can pay the £2,500 joining fee over five years, thus taking the pressure off the initial commitment to the club. There is also an incentive driven ‘cadet’ scheme

“Frilford has gained itself an excellent reputation for attracting some high profile tournaments in previous years” was the club’s number one aim, and elaborated as to how that enjoyment will be enhanced over the next few years. “We have just recruited a new General Manager, Jimmy James, who has joined us from Goring and Streatley Golf Club. He is a very accomplished golf club manager with a wealth of experience, and Jimmy’s brief, working alongside me, will be to develop the day to day business of the golf club in terms of the facilities for the members, corporates and societies. Jimmy is, effectively, our Operations Director.

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for the under thirty’s, as Alistair explains. “Anyone under thirty can join now but will not have to pay their joining fee until they reach thirty, at the 2010 rate. In addition, we only charge under twenty’s 20% of the annual £1,500 membership fee, so for anyone under twenty interested in saving £3,700 from their initial outlay to join Frilford, this represents an excellent incentive to do so. We also offer sliding scale discounts off the annual membership for joiners over twenty, with the discounts reducing for each year over twenty.” In his new role as Executive Director, Alistair is looking at three, five and ten year strategies for the club. As the key liaison between the board and the club itself,

www.b4-business.com


B4 LEISURE

B4 MGROUP

GOLF CUP Frilford Heath is one of our B4 / MGroup Golf Cup venues for 2010, the 4th year of the competition. Call us now on 01865 742211 to book your team for this year’s date on Friday 4th June. With only 36 teams, we expect spaces to be filled up quickly. Teams of two £150+VAT including green fees, bacon sandwich on arrival and two course presentation meal.

Alistair is genuinely excited at the club’s potential development prospects for the future. “The courses are being developed further, including the greens and bunkers, over the next two years. In addition to increasing the membership numbers, we are looking at upgrading the facilities. Amongst other projects, we are examining the viability of providing accommodation, possibly a driving range, and even an Academy Course. Frilford has gained itself an excellent reputation for attracting some high profile tournaments in previous years, including the Euro Pro Tour for the past four years, and the England v France fixture in 2008. As Alistair explains, 2010 is set to be a bumper year for more prestigious tournaments and qualifiers. “The Euro Pro Tour is back again in April, we also have the Army Open and the final qualifier of the Southern half of The Brabazon Trophy, the premier amateur tournament after the English Amateur Championship. We also welcome one of the Faldo series qualifying tournaments. Beyond 2010, we have secured a major EWGA tournament in 2012 and will be looking to secure additional major amateur tournaments in the future.”

www.b4-business.com

The club also operates as a first class venue for weddings and conferences, with the recently built Skelton Room offering a growing number of weddings and conferences a picturesque setting. The restaurant area is also undergoing refurbishment and will widen the interest in the club as an events and conference venue further still. The appearance of the courses at Frilford is key to the club’s appeal, but a fundamental part of the course, and something the club is very proud of, is the thriving wildlife and some very rare species of plants and insects, as Alistair expands. “As a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI), we are working with Natural England to protect and develop the environment at Frilford. We have a five year plan to enhance the appearance of the course and bring back some of its heath and fen land aspects, whilst at all times maintaining the delicate balance of the environment and the golf course, and retaining our SSSI status, which is immensely important to us.” The ‘Frilford Experience’ is the culmination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes which the privileged members are able to enjoy all year

round. By offering societies, groups and corporates greater opportunities to play at Frilford, the club is hoping that it will be able to extend this experience to a wider audience. The EGU recently announced that 72% of golfers (defined as people who play at least twelve times a year) are not members of a golf club. If you are one of these unattached golfers or you are looking to join a new club, why not contact Alistair to find our more about the club’s excellent facilities, as Alistair concludes. “We will never be the cheapest club in the area, but we are a premier club, offering a premier product at competitive prices. Because we have three courses, we have tremendous flexibility and accommodate large numbers of golfers without neglecting our core customers, the members. Our members remain and will always be our main focus. They are pre-eminent in whatever strategy we, as a club, decide upon. We would never do anything to undermine them or compromise their ‘Frilford Experience’. Why not come and play, eat and enjoy Frilford and become a member?” www.frilfordheath.co.uk

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Begbroke Centre for Innovation and Enterprise The Begbroke Centre for Innovation and Enterprise offers high-tech start-up companies a unique environment in which to grow. Located only five miles from central Oxford, the CIE offers an entrepreneurial atmosphere where companies can interact with academics, many of whom are internationally renowned in their fields of science. Centre for Innovation and Enterprise Phone: Begbroke Science Park 01865 854800 Sandy Lane Fax: Yarnton 01865 854801 OX5 1PF Email: www.cie.ox.ac.uk cie@begbroke.ox.ac.uk

Begbroke Science Park

Where Science and Industry Meet The Centre offers serviced accommodation with: r r r r r r r r r r

A range of office and laboratory spaces across the ground and first floors Service risers which allow easy installation of specialist equipment to wet and dry laboratories Flexible agreements with one month notice period Staffed reception which includes telephone answering and support services High-speed broadband internet and telecom access Structured cabling throughout 24 hour, 7 days a week access control and independent security for each unit Parking (pro-rata) In house centre manager On site security patrols

Conference Facilities and Meeting Rooms

Whether you are planning a conference, exhibition, product launch, workshop or simply looking for somewhere to hold a business meeting, Begbroke Science Park offers you the right venue and an excellent standard of service to ensure that your event is a success. Set in the peaceful Oxfordshire countryside, yet only 5 miles from the city centre, and with easy access to the A34, M40 & the Oxford ring road, Begbroke Science Park offers comfortable, well-equipped conference facilities and meeting rooms for 5 to 60 delegates.

All rooms are equipped with audio/visual equipment including: r HD Data projector, screen and laptop PC r Video/DVD player and Public address system r Hearing Loop system r Wireless internet connection r Interactive whiteboard r OHP, whiteboards and flipcharts r Conference Phone facility Air-conditioned rooms are also available.

Catering and Hospitality

Begbroke Science Park Sandy Lane Yarnton OX5 1PF

A high standard of food is produced by the resident Chef and team in the on-site restaurant, which can be delivered to your meeting room any time throughout the day. This can be anything from a simple sandwich lunch right through to a hot fork buffet as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks.

Phone:

www.begbroke.ox.ac.uk 01865 283700

Email: enquiries@begbroke.ox.ac.uk


news

Nigel Griffith, manager of the Finders Keepers Banbury office, takes a donation

Oxfordshire letting agent raises over £17,000 and donates 61 man-days of time to help Sobell House Hospice. The team at Finders Keepers, a family-run company with eight offices throughout Oxfordshire, voted for Sobell House Hospice to be their Charity of the Year for 2009. The firm wanted to choose a charity which was a) local, b) suitable for volunteering time as well as money.

have been very enthusiastic, flexible and pro-active. Their support has been invaluable to us.”

The latter saw 61 staff volunteeering a day of their time to take part in activities such as: gardening at Sobell House’s site in Headington: serving in the charity’s seven retail outlets; stewarding at the Christmas Fayre at Radley College; manning the phones at the Jack FM telethon; and helping out at the Lights of Love.

For some of staff it was an eye-opening experience, as Julie Gardener from Finders Keepers’ Central Oxford office explains: “I spent some time gardening in the courtyard of the hospice. I also had a tour of the hospice and saw exactly what they do in order to make each individual’s stay as comfortable and rewarding as possible. It is just an amazing place with so many people giving so much time and effort to make everything possible – a very humbling experience.”

Kath Morris, Head of Fundraising for Sobell House Hospice says: “We were delighted to be chosen as the Charity of the Year for 2009 and the Corporate Partnership has been a really lucrative one. The company and its employees

A majority of the funds came from sponsorship for a 35 man team for the Midnight Stroll around Oxford in July, and by many clients of Finders Keepers donating ‘a day’s rent’. See more at finders.co.uk/charity.

Moonlight Stroll Team photo

www.b4-business.com

Putting in the hours at Sobell House

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B4 CONFERENCE

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www.b4-business.com


KASSAM STADIUM When we last profiled The Quadrangle Conference & Exhibition Centre in B4 Magazine, the venue was finding its feet in an already competitive local conferencing market. Having now established itself with a proven and glowing track record, General Manager Rachel Harwood talks to B4 about how one of Oxfordshire’s principal venues has matured into one of the county’s foremost conference and events venues. “First and foremost, we are incredibly flexible. We have an abundance of space, facilities and capabilities. We tell our clients to look at the venue and ask them what they want out of it. We don’t pigeon-hole events – all events are unique and have their own specific requirements.” The Quadrangle is the largest meetings and events venue in the county, and is rightfully proud of what it has achieved in a relatively short space of time. “I have been here for nearly three years, and before I came I was at The University of York where I established York Conference Park. I looked after twelve hundred bedrooms and one hundred and fifty meeting rooms, so coming here, I wasn’t phased by the size of the operation. My previous experience taught me not to be afraid of volume and I learned a huge amount about getting the most out of a venue, helping York to a turnover, before I left, of over £5million. “I left York because I wanted to be based in the South, as I am originally from Worcestershire, and when this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. Having said that, my knowledge of football certainly didn’t help me get the job!” Working closely with the other businesses in the immediate vicinity, Rachel has worked hard to make The Quadrangle one of Oxfordshire’s most dynamic and attractive venues. “We have first class facilities here and the opportunity to put on a wide range of conferences and events. The infrastructure is now excellent with wi-fi anywhere in the building and isdn lines to facilitate conference calls. We had a company in recently who wanted a conference call between five hundred delegates here and one colleague in New York. The picture was incredible – just as if the gentleman in New York was speaking on stage. “There is also more than enough parking to satisfy demand, a hotel on our doorstep and wonderful leisure options with the gym, bowling and cinema less than two hundred yards away.” Rachel has put together some incredibly good value packages for delegates, including a £99 package for delegates comprising hotel stay at The Express By Holiday Inn, entrance to the conference or event, dinner at Frankie and Benny’s and access to the gym. Demand is excellent for space at The Quadrangle, not only from beyond Oxfordshire, but in the local vicinity, as Rachel explains. “With so many businesses at Oxford Science Park, we are often used to take on surplus demand which the science park cannot cope with, which is great exposure for us. www.b4-business.com

“We have twenty eight executive boxes which make for ideal meeting rooms – in fact, given their usage during the week, they are great meeting rooms which work well as executive boxes for the football.” The Quadrangle is attracting quite a following when it comes to customers, counting Homebase and Venturefest amongst a growing list of satisfied and repeating clients. Putting ‘work and play’ packages together for their clients is certainly working for Rachel and her team. “The meeting and working parts of conferences and events need some light relief to help maintain the level of enthusiasm. Some delegates are expected to keep fresh and alert for up to five consecutive days, and it is our job to make sure the conference organiser has given their delegates a good time. That doesn’t just mean an informative conference or event, it means they have enjoyed their time here in Oxford. That’s where we can help. If we think putting the delegates on a coach over to Heythrop Park (our sister property) for dinner will help inject some life into a five day conference, that is what we will do. “We have one client coming here soon who has asked us to organise bowling over the road for one afternoon and a trip to the cinema in the evening. Making sure the delegates enjoy themselves is our responsibility, and that is just as important when it comes to the other activities we can lay on as it is to the standard of food we serve during a conference or event.” Rachel and her team are all about making the conference or event go without a hitch. “The venue is heavily signposted, so we rarely have flustered delegates arriving here late in a bad mood because they couldn’t find us. I can have up to seventy staff supporting an event. The one thing I never compromise on is staff because there is no point running an event for somebody and saving money on staff, because that is where it will go wrong. We also make sure that events and conferences are priced sensibly. Having said that, we are extremely good value for money and consistently deliver a high level product. “Working alongside the football club is also a very positive thing for us, especially when they are winning! Working in an environment where everyone is positive and hungry for success is very healthy and good for business.” www.thekassamstadium.com

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Studley Wood . . . more than just a golf club Studley Wood can provide the perfect setting for conferences, exhibitions or simple business meetings.

Our hospitality co-ordinators will deal with your requirements, be they business or pleasure.

Set in 177 acres, our clubhouse offers a welcoming environment within magnificent views across undulating Oxfordshire countryside.

Our experienced party planners will organise your entertainment requirements from DJ’s to live bands and variety acts whilst our chefs will put together a menu to suit your needs.

Conveniently situated close to the M40 and Oxford City Centre, Studley Wood is the ideal venue for any event. We can help you to create a relaxed and personal atmosphere for your guests.

Check out our website or call our office on 01865 351144 and speak to one of our friendly members of staff to discuss your needs.

“The perfect choice for all your corporate events”

Oxfordshire’s Hidden Gem The Straight Mile, Horton-cum-Studley, Oxon OX33 1BF. Telephone: 01865 351144 Fax: 01865 351166


news Preference for .uk domains at an all time high proving that the world's connected consumers are becoming more familiar and trusting of localised domain names. They are also increasingly expecting businesses to have a site with a domain name appropriate for the region in which they are operating.

Nominet's annual domain name industry report reveals that 77% of British consumers prefer to use a .uk rather than a .com when searching for information on the Internet. Consumers stated they would most likely click on .uk rather than a .com, reinforcing that .uk is a relevant and trusted environment that presents the most appropriate and local information. Findings for the report also showed that despite the current economic climate the global domain name industry has seen an 8% growth with 187.6 million domain names registered worldwide. Generic top level domains (gTLDs), such as .org and .com, have grown on average by 6% whilst the country code

Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) including .uk and .de (the German registry) fared slightly better and together generated a 10% average growth. ccTLDs that have achieved significant growth in 2009 include: The Russian Federation, with an increase of 40.5%, Poland with 29.1%, Brazil with 25%. The .uk domain registry also scored highly with 10.7% growth and strong market penetration with more than 100 domain names per 1,000 inhabitants. This strong growth is enabling country code domains to close the gap between the more well-established Top Level Domains (TLDs) and

It's encouraging to see that despite market saturation and the global economic recession, the .uk registry and other ccTLDs have remained strong. The report demonstrates that both consumers and businesses are willing to invest in 'local' domains because they are seen as reliable, relevant and trusted and will give them a direct route to their target audience. The findings show that businesses must now pay attention to Internet brand awareness and marketing strategies that are in line with consumer expectations. We look forward to working closely with the Internet community next year to uphold this trusted reputation and continue to make the Internet a safe place for all. Please see the full copy of our report at www.nominet.org.uk/digitalAssets/38597_ domain_name_industry_report2009.pdf

Nominet helps Metropolitan Police take down fake web sites In early December Nominet and its .uk registrars worked with the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) to take down around 1200 .co.uk domain names. These domain names had been under investigation for criminal activity.

failed to supply any goods to the consumers who placed orders.

As part of Operation Papworth, the PCeU targeted web sites run by organised criminal networks that purported to sell designer items - clothes, jewellery and electronic goods. Many of the sites involved supplied counterfeit goods or in some cases simply

Nominet is committed to making the Internet a safe place for all users. The vast majority of .uk domains are legitimate, but where there are investigations about improper or illegal activity, we work with law enforcement bodies such as the Metropolitan

We worked closely with the police and our registrars to quickly carry out the instruction to shut down access to these sites.

Police, to help identify and remove .uk web sites linked to criminal activity. Always our aim is to take fast, effective and responsible action to protect consumers and end users. You can find out more on this specific take down operation at: http://cms.met.police.uk/news/ policy_organisational_news_and_general_ information/mps_e_crime_unit_takes_down_ scam_websites

Shaping the future of .uk Last year, the Department for Business (BIS) said that if self-regulation within the domain name industry was to continue, Nominet needed to update its constitution in order to more closely reflect the current needs of all Internet stakeholders. Following an independent review and an initial consultation, we developed a statement of commitments outlining how we can work together with our members to shape the future of .uk. Related to those commitments is a set of proposals to bring about a number of important changes to enable Nominet to continue to prosper into the future and present a united face and approach to the Government that is considering imposing regulations

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on the industry in its Digital Economy Bill. Our final consultation www.nominet.org.uk/go/consult closed on 15 December and we will soon be finalising the proposals and new constitution that our members will vote on in early 2010. Nominet remains a strong proponent of industry self-regulation as it promotes innovation and allows us to respond quickly to market conditions, yet we recognise the need to retain the Governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trust and confidence in our industry. We will work with our members to ensure this remains the case.

www.nominet.org.uk

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RAISING JERICHO Jericho was originally an industrial area which grew up because of the presence of the Oxford canal in 1790. The Eagle Ironworks, now Lucy Properties, and Oxford University Press, where our photograph took place, helped nourish a blossoming local community of workers. With backstreets of nineteenth century terraced housing and a rapidly developing range of shops, restaurants and bars, Jericho has become an increasingly popular residential area. In the early 1960’s, there were plans to literally flatten Jericho and replace it with light industrial units and new housing. However, many locals objected and campaigned to save this historic area, rallied by local city councillor Olive Gibbs and the Jericho Residents Association. As a result, the plans were changed. Although the houses beyond repair were demolished, many were upgraded in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the help of council grants. This

who’s colourful owner, Rose Lyburn, has provided one of Jericho’s focal points. Oxford University Press stands proud on Walton Street, a wonderful building which, as archivist Dr Martin Maw explains, has overseen Jericho’s evolution. “When Oxford University began to build new premises for its printing house in the 1820s, it selected a site bordering countryside north-west of the city centre. The area, now covered by Jericho, consisted of orchards and fields around the canal. Its houses and streets mushroomed around the walls of the Press throughout Victorian times, a rough and ready urban village supporting many print shop families. Connections with the Press ran deep. St. Barnabas, the church at Jericho’s heart, was endowed by OUP’s Printer, Thomas Combe. “With the end of book printing at the Press in 1989, those ties loosened. There was no longer a necessity for OUP’s work force to live on its doorstep.

“The thriving independents offer Jericho a unique element which the City Centre can’t compete with” encouraged many young professionals and families to move in and subsequently Jericho became one of Oxford's most sought-after areas, a trend which has continued ever since. The first episode of the long running ITV drama series Inspector Morse, called ‘The Dead of Jericho’, was partially filmed in the streets of Jericho, notably Combe Road (which is 'Canal Reach' in the drama). The spin-off show Lewis is also based around the same area. Philip Pullman set parts of his novels Northern Lights and Lyra's Oxford in Jericho. Walton Street provides the spine of Jericho with Little Clarendon Street adding to the independent feel of the whole area. Restaurants such as Branca, Loch Fyne, Al Andalus and Pierre Victoire have grown with Jericho over the past ten years, and other local stalwarts such as The Phoenix Picture house and The Duke of Cambridge are part of the fabric. Lacys and Lizzie James are two of Jericho’s leading ladies fashion shops. Casa Rose is a wonderfully quirky shop

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Nonetheless, many in OUP value Jericho’s distinct character as a quarter of historic streets, small shops, and restaurants and pubs that preserve their own identity. It still has the virtues of a small community in the middle of a modern city.” And so to our assembled traders, to whom we are grateful for braving the cold of a biting December wind to tell B4 why Jericho is so important for their business and why more people should visit. Andrew Duggan of Angels bar in Little Clarendon Street is proud of Jericho’s identity. “If Oxford centre offers the identikit sameness of any high street, Jericho is the artisan Oxford - where the more daring will be rewarded with many excellent and unique bars, shops & restaurants.” Julian Rosser of The Duke of Cambridge has been in the area for thirty years, and he is convinced Jericho works for one reason and one reason only.

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B4 SPOTLIGHT

As part of a series of features on the fascinating areas on the doorstep of Oxford City Centre, we start by looking at Jericho. Not one mile from Oxford City Centre, Jericho has established itself as the centre of independent businesses in Oxford. With a heartbeat and spirit unlike any other area in Oxford, to experience Jericho is to experience Oxford life, with an absorbing mix of professionals, artisans and students which works perfectly. B4 met up with some of the local businesses, and even some of those on the fringes of Jericho, to find out what is so special about one of Oxford’s most enchanting districts, and to help launch the new identity of Jericho which will be used to promote the area in In Oxford Magazine, on www.inoxford.com and in a new map being published in March 2010.

Debbie Swailes of North Oxford Property Services, commented. “Jericho is brilliant place for our business, but living here, I get the best of both worlds. Everywhere is within walking distance. The students love living here for the same reasons we do. There is a character to Jericho which is hard to define yet mesmerising at the same time.” Sue Rosser, of ladies fashion shop Lacys, has been in the area for twenty years. “I love Jericho. We see a huge amount of our custom coming from the immediate vicinity, but the Colleges provide us with a significant amount of custom, as does OUP.” Fellow ladies fashion retailer, Lizzie James, is similarly enchanted. “It is an exciting place, incredibly cosmopolitan with a wide range of restaurants and independent shops. It’s great that we have managed to repel the chains to preserve our unique and independent identity. Long may it continue.” Fraser Lloyd from ice cream and coffee specialists, George and Davies, added. “It is a friendly, upbeat area. The thriving independents offer Jericho a unique element which the City Centre can’t compete with.” Jamals provides one of the key focal points for

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Jericho. A fantastically lively Indian restaurant, Jamals has grown up with Jericho and manager Martin has no doubt that Jericho is expanding. “We do very well from the students in term time, but have a very loyal customer base from the residential areas around Jericho. We have seen Jericho continue to thrive in a difficult economic period, and believe Jericho will grow stronger because of its unique identity.” Rose Lyburn from Casa Rose has her own unique opinion of Jericho. “I regard Jericho as the Notting Hill of Oxford. The area has been transformed in

“I regard Jericho as the Notting Hill of Oxford” recent years with some great new shops opening and some fantastic restaurants. The Colleges provide a great support to the area and some of my best customers visit me regularly from the surrounding Colleges. Jericho is a very individual, beautiful place which appeals to so many different people for so many different reasons. It’s a gem of Oxford.” Rachel Ducker, a local artist, reflects on Jericho’s artistic appeal. “Jericho has always been the art and craft centre of Oxford, nicely tucked away so it is hidden to some extent. That has helped to preserve its identity. It is well contained and will hopefully continue to evolve in that way. I am one of a

number of artists in the area, and we all find it incredibly inspirational to be based here. There is a fantastic community spirit. I display my art at Branca, Cowboy Mod and Liscious, which are great outlets for me, but that epitomises the will to help eachother.” On the periphery of Jericho, traders from St Giles and North Parade are equally dependent on Jericho. Nigel Taylor, who owns St Giles News, offers a different angle on the importance of Jericho for his business. “A lot of our custom is made up of residents who come in from the Jericho area on their way into town, so Jericho is vital to us. We benefit from tourist and student trade aswell, but we have noticed a growing amount of traffic from Oxford City Centre to Jericho, people asking where it is exactly, and that shows the profile is increasing year on year.” Steve Jebbett from The Town Garden in North Parade, is also a fan of the area. “It’s nice to be considered to be a part of Jericho. Although not strictly in Jericho, it is the nearest area to us which we can associate ourselves with, although we do have a decent community of our own in North Parade. Jericho is fantastic for shops, restaurants and there is a great feel to the place.” Douglas Riach, of Riach Architects in North Parade talks of Jericho’s exciting, interesting and eclectic mix, offering a wide variety of individual shops and businesses. He added. “You can be inspired in Jericho.” www.inoxford.com

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

“Jericho is a fantastic, vibrant area, quite bohemian yet cosmopolitan, with great bars, quirky shops, and we attract a decent calibre of individual to the area, people looking for something a little different, something special. It would be good to have a broader appeal without disturbing the balance we have developed over the years.”


Weight Loss Surgery A Long Term, Safe and Effective Solution Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare includes a team of eight professional weight loss surgery specialists with extensive expertise, offering a range of weight loss surgery techniques including gastric banding. A growing number of patients have experienced life changing improvements in their general health as well as improved prospects for the reversal of potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Being part of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, the team are focused on providing the highest standard of clinical care with support from critical care and the support services within the wider Trust.

To find out more Call Victoria Shaw on 01865 235703 For directions or to find out more contact: Victoria Shaw t. 01865 235703 e. Victoria.shaw@orh.nhs.uk w. www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/privatehealthcare part of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust


news Covered Market history uncovered The project will uncover the personal histories and personalities of the Covered Market traders, their customers and other influential people, and investigate how these have shaped the heritage of this unique commercial building. It will have four key elements: an oral history study of the people behind the Covered Market, the creation of a set of photographic portraits of those involved, development of a new Guided Walk to help tell the stories uncovered to shoppers and visitors, and the building of a legacy exhibition, including a new Covered Market website. The project is a joint initiative between OTCN Ltd, the not-for-profit limited company which is the driving force behind the Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network, and Oxford Civic Society. OTCN Director Karyn Buck says: “We would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their very generous support of this project which will allow us to tell the great stories behind the Covered Market in many new ways.”

Oxford’s Covered Market. Picture from The OX1 Image Library

The fascinating stories of the people behind Oxford’s Covered Market will be told to new generations of visitors, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award of £50,000 will help fund a major heritage and history project called ‘WHO is Oxford’s Covered Market?’ See www.otcn.co.uk/coveredmarket

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England said: “Oxford's Covered Market has been a touchstone to city life and business for well over two centuries and this project will delve into the vibrant development of trading and the interaction between the local community and shopkeepers in this historic building.”

OxFocus highlights business success stories A new high profile business speaker and networking event, called OxFocus, launches in 2010. Each OxFocus event will feature as its speaker a senior figure from a business or organisation with a strong story to tell. Leading figures from Vodafone Group, Oxford United Football Club, Zeta Compliance, and biotechnology business OxiTec are among those already signed as speakers. The launch event will be on Monday, February 8th 2010 with future dates planned as March 8th, April 12th, May 10th, June 14th, July 12th, September 13th, October 11th, November 8th, December 13th. OxFocus is a joint initiative between OTCN Ltd and Charles Russell LLP, a leading Oxford law firm (www.charlesrussell.co.uk). Events will be hosted by

The Magdalen Centre at Oxford Science Park (www.oxfordsp.com). William Axtell, a Partner at Charles Russell LLP, says: “We believe this exciting new networking event will contribute substantially to the business community in the region and we look forward to welcoming varied and interesting speakers.” Each OxFocus will include a two course lunch and attendance costs £35.00 + VAT per event. A multi-event discount is available for bulk booking at £300 + VAT for ten events. Bulk bookings can be by company and allocated to a named employee(s). There will be a maximum of 50 delegates per event so early booking is recommended. For more information visit www.oxfocus.co.uk

LtoR Ian Macpherson (Oxford Science Park), Peter Elliott and William Axtell (Charles Russell LLP) with OTCN’s Karyn Buck. Picture by Alison Nicholson/OTCN

Oxford United link is a winner OTCN has agreed a new partnership with Oxford United to help strengthen the football club’s links with the local business community.

• Scoping interest in a new pre-match networking lunch For details see www.otcn.co.uk/oxford_united

The partnership will mean a range of joint promotions, events and activities: • Backing United’s launch of its new Official Membership Club • Offering OTCN member groups and their member businesses the opportunity for joint flyer promotions with Oxford United • Exploring joint advertising and promotions opportunities

The Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network is a communications network bringing together 24 local chambers and other business groups in the county with 1600 member businesses between them, plus 12 events networks with a database reach in excess of 3,000 businesses.

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www.otcn.co.uk

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WITNEY EXPANSION OF T HE W OOLGATE SHOPPING CENTRE Witney has enjoyed its fair share of positive news recently, with the opening of the new Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre by David Cameron in October sparking an abundance of column inches in both local and national press. The example has well and truly been set, but this is only just the start for Witney. Having commenced work on 26th October this year, just before Marriotts Walk was formally opened, The Woolgate Shopping Centre in the heart of Witney is now undergoing a revamp of its own. Rodney Hartnell, Woolgateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Estate Manager, talks to B4 about the plans, with existing traders also voicing their support.

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B4 PROPERTY

“The extension will add 23,500sq ft to the existing scheme. We are delighted that Next have signed to become our anchor tenant. It reflects well on Witney that Next have chosen us as a site for expansion, and they will obviously bring a product which appeals to all ages. The Woolgate Shopping Centre’s owner, Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), welcome Next’s decision to choose The Woolgate. “Until twelve months ago, Witney had a relatively limited range of fashion shops, and although the shops themselves were of a high standard, collectively, they did not help to distinguish Witney from other, nearby shopping areas. I firmly believe that by the time the new Woolgate Centre extension is open, Witney will be the fashion centre of Oxfordshire.” There are now plenty of reasons to visit Witney, and when the likes of Next, Cargo and the other names which are sure to follow suit commit to the development, it is hard not to see Witney attracting a significant amount of new business from the surrounding areas. Summer is the target date for Next and Cargo to take over occupation of their stores, and following an eight or ten week fit out, the new look Woolgate will be ready for business in the autumn. With any development on this scale, disruption to existing business must always rank as a concern, but

approximately six weeks. They will include the provision of 10 additional disabled parking bays located within a new French Square area, taking the total number of disabled parking bays up to 34. These new disabled bays will be close to entrances to the Waitrose store and Woolgate shops.” “The aesthetics of the development have also been carefully considered. The Woolgate Centre is in a conservation area, and the new development will be built in the same Cotswold stone as the existing centre. The northern service yard at the back of The Woolgate will provide most of the space required for the extension, so we are not losing anything other than space which is fairly under-utilised at present.” Not only is this good news for the residents of Witney, but the existing tenants at The Woolgate are delighted with the news, as Rodney explains. “Everyone is buoyed by the plans, at what is a difficult time for retailers. They can see someone like Next backing Witney, and that makes them feel good about their product. It has breathed confidence into The Woolgate, on the back of the new Marriotts Walk development which was good for all of us. I have not had one negative comment - it has been an absolute pleasure to be honest.” Gary Smith of independent music store, Rapture, is overjoyed at the plans. “It is very positive for Witney. The new Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre has been well planned and it is definitely bringing more and

spotlight back on us for a while, but the important thing is that Witney stays in focus, and that has to be good for business.” Colin Johnson of jeweler H Samuel is also in support of the expansion. “It is really good news for the Woolgate Centre and I also think it is very good news for Witney as a whole. With Next coming in as the main anchor store, it is only going to help draw more people in. It is also going to give us a better balance in the town, as the new Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre has taken some footfall away from this end of town – it was bound to, but we also have to recognise that it has attracted new trade in, which The Woolgate will also do when it is complete.” Waitrose Branch Manager, Gill Armstrong, said. “It is great to see the confidence of USS investing in the future of Witney. We are delighted that Next are coming and to the centre and I am sure they and the other new tenants will appeal to our customers and the residents of West Oxfordshire.” Michael Lynes of Michael Lynes jewelers is also delighted that USS have seen fit to invest so heavily in The Woolgate. “I think the fact that the centre has remained full during this very difficult time is a testimony to the quality of the shopping centre we have all helped to create, and that is in no small part thanks to USS. I think adding brand names like Next to it will attract more people to the centre than we have seen so far, and I think that

“it is hard not to see Witney attracting a significant amount of new business” Rodney has reassuring news for tenants and shoppers. “Works to the car park areas are being managed in a manner that minimizes both the extent and duration of disruption to users of the car park. The main car park works will be undertaken in February and March this year over a period of www.b4-business.com

more people into the town. It has put Witney on the map in terms of the big retailers that have come in, but I don’t think it has been to the detriment of the independent retailers. The proposed Woolgate development will only serve to fuel this, which is great news. It will throw the

the profile of Next will help attract a wide range of new shoppers to Witney. This is good for the independents too as a brand like Next will help Witney to showcase itself to new customers who will, hopefully, keep coming back.” www.witneyshopping.co.uk 89


B4 would like to thank the following Ambassadors who have generously given their backing to the new B4 Website, launching soon. The site will be an essential networking resource, great for circulating offers to fellow members and crucial for issuing press releases to help you shout about your business. Make sure you are listed by calling us on 01865 742211.

OXFORD INNOVATION LTD www.oxin.co.uk

CITY SIGHTSEEING (OXFORD) www.citysightseeingoxford.com

Jo Willett Sales & Marketing Director

OXFORD CASTLE www.oxfordcastle.com

David Strainge Transport Manager

CHRIS LEWIS - FIRE & SECURITY www.chrislewisfs.co.uk

Chris Lewis Managing Director

Jean-Pierre Morilleau General Manager

STUDIO8 PRO PHOTOGRAPHY www.studio-8.co.uk

OXFORD UNITED FC www.oufc.co.uk

Clark Wiseman Managing Director

OXFORD RADCLIFFE PRIVATE HEALTHCARE

Kelvin Thomas Chairman

BLINK DESIGN & PRINT www.on-the-blink.com

BOURTON MILL www.bourtonmill.net

THE CAREER BOUTIQUE www.thecareerboutique.com

Katherine Dales Managing Director

Gavin Peck Manager

BEGBROKE SCIENCE PARK www.begbroke.ox.ac.uk

QUEENS LANE COFFEE HOUSES

Professor Peter Dobson Director

SCOTT FRASER www.scottfraser.co.uk

Cem Muldur Proprietor

SCOTT FRASER www.scottfraser.co.uk

David Blythman Managing Director, Residential Sales

TOTAL CREDIT MANAGEMENT www.totalcreditmanagement.co.uk

Andrew Greenwood Group Managing Director

JORDANS www.jordanandco.co.uk

www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/privatehealthcare

Alex Barnes Assistant Director Private Patients & Overseas

THE M GROUP www.theMgroup.co.uk

Richard Clayton Partner

THE OXFORD CENTRE www.the-oxford-centre.co.uk

Andrew Lund-Yates General Manager

STUDLEYWOOD GOLF CLUB www.studleywoodgolfclub.co.uk

Ken Heathcote Partner

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Keith Simpson Senior Designer

Clive Taylor Managing Director

BARCELO OXFORD HOTEL www.barcelo-hotels.co.uk

CONSULTANT www.darbys.co.uk

Sturge Taylor Consultant

THE CAKE SHOP www.the-cake-shop.co.uk

Chris Farren Director and CMTA Chairman

MACDONALD RANDOLPH HOTEL www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk

Michael Grange General Manager

Cormac Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara General Manager

SUREFIRE DIGITAL www.surefiredigital.co.uk

Rob Jones Director

IMAGE AUDIO VISUAL SOLUTIONS www.image-av.co.uk

Andy Fegan Managing Director

Adam Sherman Director

HUNTS www.hunts.co.uk

Aimee Joy Commercial Director

HENMANS LLP www.henmansllp.co.uk

Carolyn Tenholter Head of Marketing

FRONTDOORZ LTD www.frontdoorz.co.uk

Cathy Dunbabin Director

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B4 HEALTH

P R I VAT E H E A LT H C A R E

V U LVA L

Many skin conditions that affect the skin generally such as eczema or psoriasis can cause itch or discomfort in the genital site. Treatment here can be more difficult and a specialist opinion can be helpful. There are also some conditions that usually just affect the vulva for example, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus and are important to recognise as there is a small cancer risk. Sue is a specialist in contact dermatitis, skin allergy and patch testing. Now, under the Private Healthcare wing of Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust, she is pioneering a new vulval disease clinic which she hopes will attract patients who, might benefit from speedy diagnosis and treatment of their problems. The Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare vulval services can now boast one of the UK’s leading lights in its field in Sue.

DISEASE S E RV I C E

“I have a special interest in vulval disease which I have practiced for over ten years, most of which I have spent here in Oxford. I have started a weekly clinic devoted to women who have vulval disease. Many of these women will have symptoms such as itch, discomfort or pain and may have other skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.”

Dr Susan Cooper, Consultant Dermatologist of Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare, is a Council member of the British Society for the Study of Vulval disease and a leading authority on skin diseases that can affect the vulva. Sue talks to Richard Rosser about a new private clinic to help women with these problems

“It is vital that patients don’t ignore vulval symptoms. We carried out a study a few years ago, examining the time it took for women with vulval symptoms to visit a dermatologist. In one case, we had a woman who had had symptoms for over twenty years before she plucked up the courage to seek help”.

“It is very hard for people to know what they are dealing with, and when women experience discomfort in such an intimate area of their body. They usually assume, sometimes incorrectly, that they have thrush (candida). They often feel embarrassed which can delay their seeking of help”

“I regularly see allergies presenting in this area. Every day, we all use a wide range of products which are full of preservatives and are highly fragranced, containing many different ingredients. It is quite common for people to develop allergies to these chemicals, which can show up as itching or eczema in the vulval area, or more simply as eczema on other parts of the body. After allergy testing (patch testing) and establishing the cause of the problem, avoidance of the chemical can make a huge difference to the symptoms.”

“and once they had come to see me, treatment made a world of difference”

Sue believes that most vulval conditions are very treatable. “It is important to see patients early as left untreated problems can be more difficult to resolve and cause difficulty with relationships. I have seen conditions that have caused great distress and once they had once they had come to see me, quite simple treatment made a world of difference.” http://www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/privatehealthcare/home.aspx

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Photography: www.studio-8.co.uk

The existing NHS vulval service offers patients an excellent service, but by providing a private service under the Private Healthcare banner, Sue is confident that patients will now have a better choice. “Patients will be able to self-refer or they can be referred by their GPs. The clinic will offer patients a generous appointment time, in the region of thirty minutes to allow patients time to discuss their condition, any associated issues and plan treatment. An important advantage of the private clinic is that patients will see me, as the concern of being examined by a male consultant is quite a barrier for many prospective patients. Patients will have the benefit of rapid access, continuity of care and will be able to arrange appointments at a convenient time for them.”


A HOME FOR THE STARS Jim White and Jonathan Finnerty, Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively, epitomize all that is good about boys football. Together with a loyal band of like-minded parents, they have taken Summertown Stars, one of Oxfordshire’s longest standing boys football clubs, into new territory, and ensured its long term future. Jim and Jonathan talk to Richard Rosser about how they got there. Although the early history of Summertown Stars can be traced back to the 1930’s, there was a hiatus after this until the 1970’s when two local brothers started the club up again for their sons. “But we are now here to stay.” Exclaims Jim, proudly. “The guiding principal of the club is to make sure local kids have somewhere to play football, and that’s basically it. We want to be a fun part of their lives, for both boys and girls, and give them a great opportunity to interact with kids of their own age.” And it is obviously working, continues Jim. “We have four hundred kids signed up across twenty two teams, ageing from seven to eighteen. It’s a great tonic to see forty or fifty seven year olds chasing around on a Saturday morning, and it shows just how important it is to them. It’s incredible that we have managed to keep on attracting healthy numbers as priorities have changed. “But we have had to get our house in order to ensure we can still accommodate this number of children and make training and games an enjoyable experience. Leisure time for children has drifted away from outdoor activities to being sat on a stool in front of a PC. We have to offer something fairly special to drag them away on a cold Sunday morning. “We have witnessed a massive transformation in the time we have been involved. Boys football is no longer somewhere for parents to drop kids off and have a kick around, it is far more organised and

are you going to get the parents focused on the club and what the club is trying to do? “The club can only do so much, Jim and I can only do so much. We need a support mechanism in there that comes broadly from the parents, through the managers. You then have to look at why we don’t have that in place. The conclusion we have reached is that there is no visible representation of the club. There is no base or nucleus for it. There is no ‘home’. Five Mile Drive is the spiritual home of Summertown Stars, but even though it has a pavilion of sorts, I can confirm from personal experience, as an ex-Summertown Stars player, that it was never anything more than a shelter from the rain. That’s where the new plans take shape, as Jonathan explains. “The club has a broadly middle-class demographic. We are trying to change that. Our pitches are not bad, but we have poor facilities. Jim and I set out on a course three years ago to start addressing these issues. We had to get more parents involved so that we could get greater support for the club’s activities, then attract more children, better coaches and so on. The conclusion we reached was that we needed a new home, a pavilion. “We weren’t able to go to The Football Foundation for funding without a 25 year lease, which we would never get at Five Mile Drive. We were

“We are one of the biggest because we take them with two left feet!” equipped. We regard ourselves as a proper boys football club – we like to do things the right way. We make sure the coaches are properly trained and that they put on proper coaching sessions. It is a wonderful testament to the hard work that Jim, Jonathan and numerous other key players in the club put in, not to mention the continued commitment of the parents who dutifully drop off and collect from training and matches. Without them, the club wouldn’t be where it is today. Jonathan, however, points out that it could be better still. “Jim and I occasionally have the odd moan that the biggest issue the club has at the moment is that we are an elective of twenty two separate teams, but we can’t get managers to embrace the whole club. Just getting managers to turn up to meetings is virtually impossible. That isn’t a criticism. These managers see the team but don’t see the club. If the managers don’t turn up to the meetings, how 92

then offered Cutteslowe Park. The adult football at Cutteslowe had died off and the pitches were therefore under-utilised. There was a desire to see the pitches used, combined with a new drive for more sport in the area. We were embraced with open arms, and the site was more in line with the size of the club. “We were initially concerned about the condition of the pitches, but this has now been addressed. We were also concerned about the state of the existing pavilion and a lack of a decent social space. We have been courting The Football Foundation for three years to secure funding for the new pavilion, and with The North Area Committee and The Friends of Cutteslowe Park behind us, we have commissioned Riach Architects to come up with the plans for the carbon neutral pavilion.”

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B4 HEALTH

The Football Foundation will only back something which proves itself, and Jim and Jonathan have had to jump through a lot of hoops to get where they are today. Quite rightly, the special qualities of the club have been clearly seen, and the merits of investment in this project have been fully taken on board by The Football Foundation. “Jonathan has worked incredibly hard to get us through the process.” Underlines Jim. “Along the way we have become the largest junior club in the City, and perhaps in the County, with over sixty girls signed up also. We have won the South East award for the best community club and all of us are incredibly proud of our achievements.” Jonathan interjects with a wry smile. “We are one of the biggest because we take them with two left feet!” The Football Foundation has now identified this as their priority project in the area, but given the fact that they will only ever supply half of the money required, fundraising is now clearly on the club’s agenda, continues Jonathan. “There are various grant-giving bodies that we are applying to. But we are going to have to do a lot of fund-raising ourselves. The total required is £700,000, and so we will have to raise in the region of £350,000. A not inconsiderable sum for an amateur sports club.” Jim concludes. “The design is first class and we are poised to start the next chapter in the club’s history. Since I joined the club with my son twelve years ago, it has been a central part of our life. This is the case for many parents and children. This is the 38th year of the club’s history since it was started by Colin Rosser and his brother Tony in the 1970’s, together with John Spooner and Bob Hirons. The new pavilion will be a lasting legacy of their beginnings and the ensuing hard work from all involved in the club. It will be a proud day for all of us to hear the clatter of the studs and see the first Summertown Stars team run out from our new home.” To help the club on their way, donations are gratefully received. Please see website for further details. www.summertownstars.org.uk

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news Up to £1000 available to businesses for smarter working Businesses with 5 to 250 employees in Oxfordshire are being offered a new grant of up to £1,000 to assist them in reducing the cost of business travel though a project called Sustainable Routes. Sustainable Routes aims to focus businesses on improved travel choices and provide businesses with a plan and guidance on how to implement smarter travel options. The grant, which will match pound for pound an investment made by the business itself of up to a maximum of £1000, will then be awarded towards the cost of implementing an initiative. The grants could be used for a multitude of options such as consultancy on remote working infrastructures, developing flexible working policies, video conferencing equipment and fuel conversion. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and can be accessed through Business Link.

New Year’s Resolutions with Business Link If you really want to achieve your goals, you need to set specific, realistic targets and write a plan detailing how you will achieve them. The way to remain motivated is to choose achievable targets and celebrate hitting them. However if you have struggled to keep your resolutions in the past, perhaps your first step should be to seek expert advice.

The New Year is a good time to analyse last year’s performance. What worked? What didn’t? You might find it helpful to do this with a Business Link Adviser. Business Link Health Checks are free, impartial, in-depth analysis of your company operations. The meeting produces a comprehensive, practical business action plan, full of ideas designed to improve your company’s performance in 2010.

PLATO: Sustain Puts Green Issues in the Spotlight for Oxford Businesses Business Link partner, PLATO GB is delighted to launch PLATO: Sustain Oxford, one of ten PLATO: Sustain groups launching across the South East region. PLATO: Sustain, a business programme funded by the South East England Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund, aims to support local businesses in all areas of development – with a particular focus on their environmental agenda. The unique peer-group learning programme brings together a group of nine Oxford-based businesses over a two year period. The group is hosted and facilitated by Jonathan Gibbard of AEA and Steve Waygood of RWE nPower. (L-R) Jonathan Gibbard AEA and Steve WaygoodRWE npower - Oxford Group Facilitators

For more information visit www.platogb.co.uk/PLATOSustain.aspx

A Guide to Running a Business from Home For home based businesses, a new guide called ‘A Guide to Running a Business from Home’ is now available from Business Link. The free guide covers key areas such as sales and marketing, IT and communications, improving work/life balance and reducing costs. It’s full of valuable information, practical tips and simple short-term actions, for long-term benefits. For your free copy e-mail info@businesslinksolutions.co.uk (putting the guide name in the subject field) or call 0845 600 9 006.

Contact Business Link by: call: 0845 600 900 6 email: info@businesslinksolutions.co.uk web: www.businesslink.gov.uk/southeast

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SHORT & SWEET With the suits of London’s City safely ensconced in their Home Counties retreats, it was time for a family trip to the heartbeat of the country’s financial district. We were heading for Calico House, one of a number of self service apartments run by The Cheval Group, arguably London’s leading provider of luxury serviced apartments. Trying to find Bow Lane in the pouring rain is one thing, doing it with a Hackney up your exhaust is another, but we made it!

Irate fare-chasing cab drivers aside, I do enjoy driving through the centre of London when traffic isn’t stifling the life out of me and the thousands of other motorists jostling for position. The City is particularly lifeless any time after 9pm on a Friday evening, so getting to St Paul’s Cathedral was relatively straightforward, even though finding Bow Lane wasn’t quite so obvious, especially with an insistent ‘sat nav’ instructor. To see St Paul’s bathed in floodlights was enough to convince us it was a must-see for Sunday’s stroll, and not one minute’s drive was Bow Lane. On a Saturday evening, street parking is permitted, although it is an uneasy feeling leaving your car on a single yellow line anywhere, not least in the car-clamp happy capital! Bow Lane is a charming side street, with a concentration of national and independent shops, restaurants and bars – no good to us on a weekend as they were all firmly shut, but one can imagine the bustle during the week. Calico House is set back from the lane in a side alley, but don’t let that shatter the illusion. Quite how so many luxurious apartments can be squeezed into such a seemingly over-burdened patch of land is beyond me, but they have managed it, to great effect. 96

We were shown to our apartment by an extremely helpful porter who showed us around our new home and even called us ten minutes later to see if we had settled in. Cheval’s reputation is based on offering clients the widest possible choice of impeccably furnished accommodation, combined with tireless individual service that is both attentive and discreet. And that’s exactly how we found it – helpful, but not intrusive. Calico House demonstrates that you can mix business with pleasure as, in addition to St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Tate Modern Art Gallery are all near neighbours. With refined studios, one and two bedroom apartments, plus penthouse suites, this property embodies the City’s unique atmosphere of tradition and modernity. We literally had time for a quick change before we ventured out into a soggy London, with a cab our only choice. Covent Garden was no more than five minutes away, and although we had to try a couple of restaurants due to high demand, we eventually discovered a welcoming but incredibly modern Indian restaurant. Being so close to such a vibrant part of London means that Calico House is a superb base for sightseeing and theatre goers alike, with the added bonus of a plethora of restaurants to suit the most fastidious diner. www.b4-business.com


B4 ACCOMMODATION

We grabbed a cab outside the restaurant to take us home for a relatively early night, and boy did we sleep. We all managed to sleep well past 9.30am, quite a feat for a generally early-bird household, but the beds were luxury personified and we just didn’t want to get out. The well-equipped kitchen

walk of where we started!

speechless, you know you are somewhere special.

That said, we did manage to take a walk around Leadenhall Market – albeit a deserted Leadenhall Market – and even managed to find my wife’s original workplace where we met, and where Trevor

We followed our trip down memory lane and visit to St Paul’s with a visit to Pizza Express, in the shadow of the celebrated cathedral.

allowed us to take advantage of the generous welcome hamper provided by our hosts, and after spending a lazy couple of hours summoning up the courage to face yet more rain, we ventured out. One tip, Calico House is about as close as it gets to parking near St Paul’s, so don’t do what we did and clock up ten miles driving to within a two minute www.b4-business.com

Eve was filming a scene from the forthcoming remake of ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’. Having finally managed to find a parking space, we ventured into St Paul’s and found it to be a true sanctuary from the torrential wind and rain outside. Breathtaking doesn’t capture it, nor does mesmeric, and when your nine and twelve year-olds are

As short breaks to London go, this was brief, but having a great base made the whole experience effortless. Next time, we’ll take Chiltern Railway’s advice and jump on a train. www.chevalgroup.com/CalicoHouse.asp

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Photography: The Cheval Group

“...having a great base made the whole experience effortless.”


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news Bringing colour into young patients’ lives This promises to be one of the most striking pieces of modern art on public view in the South East Many of the Children’s wards currently look out on to this dull 21 metre high wall. Felicity Waley-Cohen, who inspired the project, knows only too well the importance of environment in patients’ lives, having lost her son five years ago. She explains ‘This work of art is going to transform the atrium and more importantly the lives of all those children who look out onto it, sometimes for weeks or even months at a time. It will make the environment as wonderful as the wards and care at the Children’s Hospital.’ In addition, an educational pack about the artist and the value of art in hospitals is being prepared for the Hospital School and local schools in the area.

picture of Michael Craig-Martin C Sarah Lee/ Guardian News & Media Ltd

Exciting things will be happening from February in the Community Atrium at the JR’s Children’s Hospital and West Wing. World renowned artist, Michael Craig-Martin, whose work is in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Tate London, will rejuvenate five storeys of plain wall into a fabulously colourful creation entitled “KIDS”.

This project will be funded entirely through charitable gifts given specifically for this purpose. It is made possible through the generosity of the artist, the Waley-Cohen family, the Alan Cristea Gallery and Carillion, and help is still needed to cover installation costs. If you would like to support this or other arts projects, or buy a limited-edition print of “KIDS” being sold to benefit the project, you can find out more by visiting www.orhcharitablefunds.nhs.uk. You are also welcome to visit the atrium from mid February to mid March to watch the painting in progress.

Going the extra mile Hundreds of people of all ages and abilities came together in October for ‘Its Not Just a Walk in the Park’ to raise over £30,000 for the new Cancer and Heart Centres. Graham Brogden, Head of Community Fundraising said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who helped make the second ‘walk’ happen and especially those who gave up a couple of hours of their Sunday to take part. We have already raised slightly more than last year, which is amazing given the very tough economic climate, so this year we are especially grateful for everyone’s wonderful support.’ Quite literally going the extra miles was Russell Roberson from Thame, who had not managed to walk further than two miles since having a stroke three years ago. The 75 year old said: ‘I have nothing but praise for the team at the John Radcliffe. So when I read about this fundraising walk, I decided to give it a go. Proving that I can walk the three miles has been a real challenge but I was determined to show I could do it and raise some money for the Heart Centre along the way.‘ Thank you to all those supporters who took part.

People of all ages enjoyed It’s Not Just a Walk in the Park

Coming Up: Visit www.orhcharitablefunds.nhs.uk, call 01865 743444 or email campaign@orh.nhs.uk to register for or learn more about:

Put Your Heart into It Our February fundraiser for the Heart Centre with Nexus Leisure Centres and GO Active events taking place across the region.

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The Oxford Mail OX5RUN Sunday April 18, supporting care for children across the ORH Trust. March 28 and May 23 abseils in aid of various hospital causes and the Heart Centre. Why not have us as your charity of the year for 2010? Call 01865 743444 to discuss fundraising ideas.

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B4’s Sue Edwardson was invited to sample a fantastic helicopter ride over Oxfordshire with Capital Air competition winner Judith Walker. The competition and subsequent flight took place to help launch the fantastic packages Oxford’s premier conference and events organizers, Destination Oxford, have put together with London Oxford Airport. Oxford may be synonymous with dreaming spires and aspiring students but it is also fast becoming one of the UK’s top destinations for business tourism. It is to the credit of both city and county officials that they looked beyond the riches they already had, courtesy of the university colleges, and sought to embrace other venues to consolidate and further develop their destination profile. Key to the success of this effort was the creation of Destination Oxford, a free conference and meetings venue-finding service that serves as the official agent of Oxford City Council and commercial partners county-wide. One such partner is London Oxford Airport, the region’s new international gateway with regular airline services now connecting Oxford with Geneva and Jersey, plus conference and charter flights tailor-made from any client destination required. To get your event off to a real flying start, it also offers helicopter shuttles from London’s Battersea heliport, typically a mere 22 – 28 minute ride. The Airport, with its centerpiece Oxfordjet Terminal, is easily accessible from Oxford City and the M40, with 200+ parking spaces. Contemporary elegance is offered in the well appointed public, conference and lounge areas - often used in TV and movie production - with their eye-catching vistas over the runway. Oxfordjet offers an exceptional level of customer service and a unique, sophisticated environment. If you want to build in a little extra something into your conference, London Oxford Airport offers bespoke venue packages, including scenic helicopter flights, flight simulators or private flights. Scenic helicopter trips with Capital Air Services are a fabulous way to add wow factor to any event or conference by skimming over the skyline of Oxford,

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the rolling Cotswold hills and famous landmarks like Blenheim Palace, the UK’s top historic country residence. Rates vary according to numbers of delegates and trips flown, but the first departure is from about £700 + VAT for a 20 min flight in an aircraft seating up to 5 or 6 passengers, while a packaged event arrangement with flight experiences for 32 delegates over an hour in two aircraft would be from £2805 + VAT; for a larger event with 50 delegates all flying within 2 hours on the 2 aircraft, the cost would be from £4000 + VAT. Flight simulators are another unique team-building and personal challenge experience, the ultimate in computer induced reality for something most people never get to do – fly a commercial passenger plane! Choose from a state-of-the-art Boeing 737 airliner or the super-responsive Bombadier CRJ regional jet, and even land or take-off from the airport of your choice! Rates start from £325 + VAT per simulater per hour, with 3 x 20 minute delegate sessions and instructor briefing. Location, quality, variety, character and prestige make Oxfordshire a preeminent choice for successful events. And to assist you with your planning and organization and to help you get the most out of your events, Destination Oxford should be your first port of call. It is so much more than just a free venue-finding service, as it can undertake many extra activities on your behalf to ease the organisational burden, including team building/activity programmes for delegates; partner programmes for those staying with delegates; corporate incentive programmes; optional support services, such as coach transfers and equipment hire; accommodation booking service; and a competitively-priced on-line registration and event management service. It’s a one-stop shop for a one of a kind destination. www.destination-oxford.com

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B4 Contacts ADVICE Accountants Wenn Townsend 56 Contact: Tony Haines E-mail: aehaines@wenntownsend.co.uk Telephone: 01865 559900 Address: 30 St Giles, Oxford. OX1 3LE Website: www.wenntownsend.co.uk Shaw Gibbs LLP 21 Contact: Peter Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell Telephone: 01865 292200 Address: 264 Banbury Road, Oxford. OX2 7DY Website: www.shawgibbs.com The MGroup 66 Contact: Richard Clayton E-mail: team@themgroup.co.uk Telephone: 01865 552925 Address: Cranbrook House, 287-291 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7JQ Website: www.themgroup.co.uk

Solicitors Darbys Solicitors Contact: Jane Reeve E-mail: jreeve@darbys.co.uk Telephone: 01865 811700 Address: 52 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford. OX1 2DN Website: www.darbys.co.uk

Government Organisations Business Link 95 Telephone: 0845 600 900 6 Website: www.businesslink.gov.uk/southeast

CONFERENCE Conference Venues The Kassam Stadium 80 Contact: Rachel Harwood E-mail: eventsteam@thekassamstadium.co.uk Telephone: 01865 337682 Address: Grenoble Road, Oxford, OX4 4XP Website: www.thekassamstadium.com Destination Oxford 101 Contact: Julie Archer E-mail: enquiries@destination-oxford.com Telephone: 01608 731802 Address: c/o Archer Yates Associates, Threshers Yard, West Street, Kingham, Oxfordshire OX7 6YF Website: www.destination-oxford.com Conference Centre Oxford 32 Contact: Roger Watts E-mail: roger@oxstay.co.uk Telephone: 01865 254075 Address: Cantay House, Park End Street, Oxford. OX1 1JD Website: www.conferencecentreoxford.co.uk

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Lady Margaret Hall 45 Contact: Bart Ashton Email: conferences@lmh.ox.ac.uk Telephone: 01865 274320 Address: Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6QA Website: www.lmh.ox.ac.uk

PROPERTY Commercial Property VSL Contact: Richard Venables E-mail: rvenables@vslandp.com Telephone: 01865 848488 Address: 22 Bankside, Kidlington, Oxford. OX5 1JE Website: www.vslandp.com 16

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Carter Jonas Contact: Jon SIlversides E-mail: oxford@carterjonas.co.uk Telephone: 01865 511444 Address: Anchor House, 269 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7LL Website: www.carterjonas.co.uk

Letting Agent Finders Keepers 22 79 Contact: Frank Webster Telephone: 01865 311011 Address: 226 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7BY Website: www.finders.co.uk Scott Fraser 2 Contact: David Blythman E-mail: lettinge@scottfraser.co.uk Telephone: 01865 761111 Address: 77 London Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 9AA Website: www.scottfraser.co.uk The Letting Centre 26 Contact: Darren Hazell Telephone: 01865 759930 Address: Charterford House, 75 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9AA Website: www.thelettingcentre.com Penny and Sinclair Contact: James Penny and Wendy Sinclair E-mail: sales@pennyandsinclair.co.uk Telephone: 01865 318018 Address: Mayfield House, 256 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7DE Website: www. pennyandsinclair.co.uk

Retirement Care Villages Richmond Villages 25 Contact: David Reaves E-mail: david.reaves@richmondvillages.com Telephone: 0845 125 5878 Website: www.richmond-villages.com

OFFICE

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B-Line 53 Contact Name: Kay Thomas E-mail: kay@b-line.co.uk Telephone: 01865 594550 Address: The Green Hangar, Horton Road, Stanton St John, Oxford. OX33 1AG Website: www.b-line.co.uk

Blink Design Contact: Keith Simpson E-mail: art-work@btconnect.com Telephone: 01865 742211 Address: The Firs, Headington Hill, Oxford. OX3 0BT.

Telecoms Orange Stripe Telecommunications 49 Contact: Nigel Pursall E-mail: nigel.pursall@orangestripe.co.uk Telephone: 07775 588 811 Address: Unit 23, 116 Commercial Road, Swindon. SN1 5BD Website: www.orangestripe.co.uk

Debt Recovery Total Credit Management 63 Contact: Clive Taylor E-mail: clive@totalcreditmanagement.co.uk Telephone: 01993 832266 / 07970 871353 Website: www.totalcreditmanagement.co.uk

COMPUTE Customers Really Matter Contact: James White E-mail: james.white@yourcrm.co.uk Telephone: 0845 310 9973 Website: www.customersreallymatter.co.uk Oxford Home IT Support 59 Contact: Richard Hillsdon E-mail: help@homeitsupport.biz Telephone: 01865 594020 Address: Prama House, 2nd Floor, 267 Banbury Road , Oxford. OX2 7HT Website: www.homeitsupport.biz Nominet 83 Contact: Phil Kingsland E-mail: nominet@nominet.org.uk Telephone: 01865 332211 Address: Minerva House, Edmund Halley Road, Oxford Science Park, Oxford. OX4 4DQ Website: www.nominet.org.uk

RECRUITMENT The Career Boutique 29 Contact: Katherine Dales E-mail: contact@thecareerboutique.com Telephone: 0845 5204010 Website: www.thecareerboutique.com

Torpedo Group Limited Contact: Iain Lewis E-mail: laura@torpedogroup.com Telephone: 01865 733710 Address: The Tack Room, Worton Park, Cassington, Oxon. OX29 4SU Website: www.torpedogroup.com

Public Relations BOTTLE PR Contact: Claire Cairns E-mail: ClaireCairns@bottlepr.co.uk Telephone: 01865 882988 Address: 33 Acre End Street, Eynsham, Oxford. OX29 4PF Website: www.bottlepr.co.uk

Photography and Duplication Studio 8 Contact: Clark Wiseman E-mail: info@studio-8.co.uk Telephone: 01865 842525 Address: 8 Oxford Road, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1AA Website: www.studio-8.co.uk

ACCOMMODATION Hotels Hope House 40 Contact: Paul Hageman E-mail: stay@hopehousewoodstock.co.uk Telephone: 01993 815990 Address: Hope House, Oxford Street, Woodstock, OXON., OX20 1TS Website: www.hopehousewoodstock.co.uk

Short Stay Accommodation Apartments In Oxford Contact: Fafar Watts E-mail: based@oxstay.co.uk Telephone: 01865 254075 Address: St Thomas Mews, 58 St Thomas Street, Oxford, OX1 1JP Website: www.oxstay.co.uk

Restaurants Malmaison Contact: Andrew Creese E-mail: acreese@malmaison.com Telephone: 0845 365 4247 Address: 3 New Road, Oxford. OX1 1AY Website: www.malmaison.com

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B4 Contacts EDUCATE Oxford Innovation Ltd 67 72 Contact: Joanne Willet Telephone: 01865 811127 Address: Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell Science & Innovation Centre, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 0QG Website: www.oxin.co.uk Begbroke Science Park 78 Contact: Barbara Allsworth Email: enquiries@begbroke.ox.ac.uk Telephone: 01865 283700 Address: Oxford University Begbroke Science Park, Sandy Lane, Yarnton, Oxford, OX5 1PF Website: www.begbroke.ox.ac.uk

NETWORK The Oxford Wealth Club 50 Contact Name: Angela Beaugeard E-mail: oxfordwealthclub@paul-avins.com Telephone: 01869 278900 Website: www.oxfordwealthclub.co.uk

LEISURE Days Out / Attractions / Events Oxford Castle 38 Contact: Jean-Pierre Morilleau E-mail: jp.morilleau@topgroup.co.uk Telephone: 01865 201657 Address: The Treadwheel, 43 Oxford Castle, Oxford. OX1 1AY Website: www.oxfordcastle.com The Ashmolean 64 E-mail: press.officer@ashmus.ox.ac.uk Telephone: 01865 278000 Address: Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2PH. Website: www.ashmolean.org

Corporate Entertainment CSM Ltd Contact: Charlie Allen E-mail: callen@csmltd.org Telephone: 01451 812277 Address: Cotswold Innovation Centre, 42 A P Ellis Road, Rissington Business Park, Upper Rissington, GL54 2QB Website: www.csmltd.org

Retail Charles Tyrwhitt 68 Telephone: 0845 337 3337 Website: www.ctshirts.co.uk Witney Shopping 88 Contact: Richard Rosser E-mail: richard@inoxford.com Telephone: 01865 742211 Website: www.witneyshopping.co.uk

Golf Clubs

Interiors

Frilford Heath Golf Club 76 Contact: Alistair Booth / Jimmy James E-mail: alistair@frilfordheath.co.uk E-mail: jimmyjames@frilfordheath.co.uk Telephone: 01865 390864 Address: Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5NW Website: www.frilfordheath.co.uk

Deborah Reynolds Blinds Contact: Deborah Reynolds Telephone: 01993 777897

Local Sport Summertown Stars FC 92 Contact: Jim White E-mail: jimwhite@tackley.demon.co.uk Telephone: 07974 086199 Website: www.summertownstars.org.uk

HEALTH Oxford Radcliffe Private 60 Healthcare Contact: Victoria Shaw or Christine Herbert Patients Services Team leader E-mail: Victoria.shaw@orh.nhs.uk Telephone: 01865 235703 / 235700 Address: Wytham Wing, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust Website: www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk /privatehealthcare/home.aspx

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NewTrim 40 Contact: Carolyn Woodcock E-mail: sales@newtrim.co.uk Telephone: 0845 4560589 or 01865 873617 Address: Unit 8, Coopers Yard, Manor Farm Road, Horspath, Oxford OX33 1SD Website: www.newtrim.co.uk

BEYOND Hotels UK Calico House (A Part of The 96 Cheval Group) E-mail: calico@chevalgroup.com Telephone: 020 7489 2500 Address: 42 Bow Lane, London EC4M 9DT Website: www.chevalgroup.com /CalicoHouse.asp Baglioni Hotel Telephone: 0207 368 5700 Address: 60 Hyde Park Gate, London SW7 5BB Website: www.baglionihotels.com

Vulval Services 91 Contact: Sue Cooper E-mail: Heather.Witoszynski@orh.nhs.uk E-mail: Victoria.Shaw@orh.nhs.uk Telephone: 01865 228222 (Heather) 01865 235703 (Victoria) Website: www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk /privatehealthcare/home.aspx

Health Clubs and Spas Bourton Mill Contact: Gavin Peck E-mail: gavin@bourtonmill.net Telephone: 01865 251261 Address: 6-7 High Street, Oxford.OX1 4AB Website: www.bourtonmill.net

TRAVEL Public Transport Chiltern Railways 46 Telephone: 08456 005 165 Website: www.chilternrailways.co.uk

HOME Interiors Jill Treloggen Interiors Ltd 40 Contact: Jill Treloggen E-mail: info@jilltreloggen.co.uk Telephone: 01993 700515 Address: The Coach House, 10 Millins Yard, 99b High Street, Witney, Oxon OX28 6HY Website: www.jilltreloggen.co.uk

If you wish to list your business on this page, the charge is £75+VAT for a basic listing and £100+VAT for a listing including explanation of the business. The rate includes presence in 4 issues of B4. B4 Is Designed by

E-mail: studio@on-the-blink.com Telephone: 01865 742211

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info@magnoliapark.co.uk

www.magnoliapark.co.uk

Communicate through sponsorship

At Crusader we specialise in:

Arncott Road Boarstall 01844 239700



Magnolia Park Golf & Country Club

  

Sponsorship Management All sporting hospitality Bespoke events Ticket sales

If you would like more information on how to develop a sponsorship programme, or to receive a FREE copy of our sporting & social calendar for 2010 please contact:

GOLF TUITION • Indoors or out - at one of the very best facilities in the UK! • Expert tuition by our new Club Professional Pat Flynn • Buy golf lesson vouchers as a gift for any occasion. • Visit www.magnoliapark.co.uk for a tour of the golf academy and information on our latest special offers. FULL MEMBERSHIPS AT £999, INCLUDING: With amazing deals on membership for adults and juniors! Have a look at just a few of the following privileges members enjoy... • 18 Hole Championship Course • 9 Hole Academy Course • Gym with Steam Room & Sauna • Excellent Practice Facilities • Well stocked Fishing Lakes • Exclusive members Tee times at Weekends!

Charlie Allen M: 07540 637261 E: callen@csmltd.org or Piers Lawson M: 07771 794835 E: plawson@csmltd.org Cr usader Sponsorship Management & Events Cotswold Innovation Centre, Rissington Business Park Upper Rissington, Gloucestershire GL54 2QB T: 01451 812277 F: 01451 812201 www.csmltd.org

Magnolia Park is located within 5 minutes of Long Crendon just off the B4011 and is only a short drive from either Bicester or Thame.

Delivering a very reliable and professional service to families and businesses for working parents we really do rely upon Richard and the Live Oxford team. Live Oxford help us to maintain theextremely high standards so necessary forsafeguarding and protecting our children. LiveOxford really are an intrinsic part of our team. Valerie Grady, Director, Willow Cottage Nurseries.

Richard is an organiser and a thinker, so if you have a problem he will help you solve it. He has chosen to apply those abilities to the building and maintenance business, and the package comes with honesty, sincerity and trustworthiness. So I would not hesitate to recommend Richard for any building maintenance or refurbishment work. Mike Jennings, Managing Director, Jennings of Garsington.

I have been immensely impressed with Richard’s work ethic. There are absolutely no surprises when it comes to the cost of the work done – Richard goes out of his way to ensure his customers are fully aware of all cost implications of the work he does well in advance. The only surprises are good ones – a consistently high level of work from someone who quite simply enjoys what he does. Richard Rosser, Managing Director, The In Oxford Group

Don't take their word for it, find out for yourself how Richard now for a free no obligation quote.

Contact us now:

Mobile: 07896 843475 (24 hrs) Tel: 01865 361435 / 0845 472 5888

OXFORD can help you - call Email: richard@liveoxford.com Web: www.liveoxford.com


B4 Magazine Issue 14  

B4 Magazine is the business magazine for Oxfordshire businesses. B4 is about Building Bridges Between Businesses, with features on Advice, C...

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