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Garden of England offers venue haven Also Inside: • International Trade • Spotlight on Maidstone • 24 Hours with ... • Big Interview with BSR Bespoke • Chamber B2B Events







Investing in young talent so important £16m Ashford College Campus. Additionally, East Kent College are investing £3.7m on improvements to their Folkestone campus. Investing in our young people has to be a priority for us all. The government has set some very ambitious targets for apprenticeships across the UK. Yes, they might be taking on some directly, but the target is for us businesses to achieve.

A warm welcome to this edition of Thinking Business; one which is packed with celebration, opportunity and information. Firstly, I would like to offer my congratulations to Malcolm Trotter and the team at the International Association of Book-keepers based in West Malling, for winning the British Chambers of Commerce Southern Region Award for Export Business of the Year. They now go forward to the national finals being held next month. I am sure you will all join me in wishing IAB every success. Whilst on the subject of business success, on page 5 we have details of the Kent Invicta Business Awards 2016 which we will be launching on the 9th November. It’s through entering our Awards that your application can go forward to the national awards, and who knows, next year I could be congratulating you!

In Kent we are fortunate to have additional public sector financial support to help achieve this. There are grants from KCC, as well as some individual local authorities further adding to this. You will read on page 4, the additional support available from Shepway District Council, who is clearly striving to support both business and their young people. The focus for this edition is on Conferencing and Facilities and we certainly do have some fantastic venues here in the County. Without being biased, you could have your meeting or conference in a business environment, like here at your Chamber Head Office, or somewhere more traditional like Brabourne House; if it’s excitement you are after then look no further than Buckmore Park. I will leave it to you to read through the pages and see what venue suits your next meeting. Enjoy reading this edition of Thinking Business. Kindest regards.

For any business to succeed, irrespective of size or sector, the one thing we do need is good quality people to enter into our workforce. With that in mind, I was delighted to finally see that work has now commenced on the new

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Members Corner Business News Members News Focus on Finance Members News Members News International Trade Spotlight On... Members News 24 Hours with Cover Feature Big Interview The Economy & Us

Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published October 2015 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

Members News Invest in Dover Policy Members News Ask the Expert Business Centre Getting Started Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Members News New Members The Last Word Movers & Shakers

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1427 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2015. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Front cover image courtesy of The Leeds Castle Foundation

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Members Corner from

Linda Marsh Director of Membership Services

Reflecting on the summer, or should I say what summer; its been a time of change here at Kent Invicta Chamber. We have said good-bye to three staff members. Colin Davies, Maidstone Membership Representative who has decided to hang-up his Chamber pin badge for pastures new. We all wish him well after 9 years with the Chamber. From the Ashford office, we wish David Durrance a well-deserved retirement after 8 years with the Chamber and Sarah Douglas who has left us for a career change. So new staff, Roger Keech, he will be replacing Colin in Maidstone. Roger will be contacting all Maidstone members over the coming months and will meet you all at some time soon. Janet Liptrot replaces David in accounts and Angela Pearmine joins us in membership. So what’s been happening across the County of Kent; a new event, an international wine challenge sponsored by Breakthrough Funding. Look out for the coming events, you will be sure to learn about and taste some great wines, and of course make some interesting contacts too. As you can see from the photo below, not much was wasted! So come along to the next one, it’s a great networking event.

International Association of Book-keepers triumphs at 2015 British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Awards

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this Award which I believe is due recognition for the innovative and creative approach we have taken towards internationalisation and exporting, supported by the whole IAB team.” Malcolm Trotter, Chief Executive, International Association of Book-keepers

International Association of Book-keepers, who provide high quality, relevant financial and business qualifications for students, financial professionals, owners or managers of small businesses worldwide are celebrating after being crowned one of the winners in the Southern Regional heats of the BCC Awards 2015. The Chamber Awards, now in their 12th year, are a highlight of the business calendar, showcasing the pivotal role local businesses play in the UK’s continuing growth story. Having won the Export Business of the Year Award, International Association of Book-keepers, based in Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, will now go forward to represent the Southern region in the national finals, which take place in London in November. Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber said: “The Chamber Awards are the perfect opportunity to take stock of the outstanding performances of UK businesses over the past year - something made all the more impressive by the continuing global economic headwinds they are facing. “The creativity and determination that has been shown by each year’s entrants never ceases to impress me, and it is a source of encouragement knowing that

Jo James and Malcolm Trotter of the International Association of Book-keepers

our economy is being driven by such hard-working and talented professionals. “It’s important that we recognise and celebrate these businesses, and ensure that we can provide the support and assistance they need to help them realise their growth ambitions, as well as sharing their experiences with their peers to help us to continue to develop a balanced and prosperous economy.” International Association of Book-keepers provides high quality, relevant financial and business

qualifications for students, financial professionals, owners or managers of small businesses. Established in 1973, the IAB now has many thousands of students and members worldwide and is considered the leading international membership body for professional book-keepers. It is unique in that it is both a professional body for bookkeepers and an awarding body recognised and regulated by the relevant government authorities in England (Ofqual), Wales and Northern Ireland.

Apprenticeship scheme under way

Folkestone-based company also named as finalist in the Customer Service category

Coming up, “Get Social” being held at Canterbury College. This event promises to be bigger and better than the last! With a free mini bus provided from the “Old Dover Road” Park and Ride you cannot afford to miss this event, 29th Oct 9am to 3.30pm, so look forward to seeing you there. If you want more information about any of our events, contact us or check out the website


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Shepway District Council is offering grants of up to £1,500 to Shepway businesses to employ local people as apprentices. Any Shepway business can apply, although the focus is on businesses which are in priority sectors and which are located in our key employment areas. Grants offered are: • £1,500 per apprentice - to businesses in the priority sectors and located in a key employment area.

• £1,250 per apprentice - to Shepway businesses that are either in one of the priority sectors or located in a key employment area. • Up to £1,000 per apprentice - if your business is not in a priority sector or located in a key employment area. Up to three apprenticeship grants may be offered at any one time per business. However, hair and beauty businesses are limited to one apprentice per business, due to high demand from this sector previously.

The scheme is only open to businesses in Shepway and is for apprentices who live in Shepway District, are not in full time education, are aged over 16, and are able to work in England. Apprenticeships must run for at least one year and the training must be given by an accredited apprenticeship Training Provider. The apprentice must be working and studying for a combined total of at least 30 hours a week. For more information, please contact Richard Murrill on 01303 853506


Kent Invicta Chamber In My Opinion of Commerce - Annual Business Awards 2016

Joanna Duncan

These prestigious awards are for all types of businesses across Kent, from sole trader, micro-business to large corporate company, all are welcome to enter.

Senior Associate Solicitor Corporate & Commercial Growing and nurturing a business takes more than just skill and ambition – additional investment is often required.

These awards allow you to share your successes and get the recognition you and your staff deserve for all the hard work over the past year. It’s a great opportunity to show your clients, customers and competition how successful you are as a team. By entering these awards it’s a powerful PR and marketing opportunity for your business.

These awards boost staff morale, reward their dedication and aids further recruitment for your business. The winners of the Chamber awards 2016 will be announced at a Gala Dinner on 17th March 2016. The launch of these awards will be 9th November 2015 on our website, look out for more information. Join us in promoting Business Excellence at its best across Kent.

Applications for the awards will be available on the Chamber website from 9 November 2015 For an application form visit: or call 01233 503838 or email:

However, while big brands and established businesses find little challenge in raising funds, small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) and start ups alike have a much tougher challenge. Some business owners may be able to rely on their own personal bank accounts and credit cards and the generosity of family and friends, but this is not always enough – big changes require serious money. As the UK begins to emerge from the financial gloom of the greatest recession in living memory, 2015 has seen the banks slowly start to lend to SMEs again – according to BTRC Continental’s latest SME Finance Monitor report, more than 60% of new loan/overdraft applications from SMEs are now successful. This figure masks a growing trend: an increasing number of businesses in the SME space are gravitating away from bank loans and overdrafts as a source of funding. The SME Finance Monitor report found that 49% of SMEs are classified as ‘permanent non-borrowers’ with 28% of those polled saying that they would not borrow from a bank in any circumstances. Not to mention the fact that first time borrowers still struggle to secure loans compared to repeat customers, with those without a previous loan history around 25% less likely to receive any financial support from their bank. Both of these groups seem to be assessing their options. While more and more businesses are content to drive down debt and eschew growth for stability, others are looking to alternative finance, such as crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a means of raising money, quickly and cheaply, from large groups of small investors via the internet often (but not exclusively) for incentives, whilst simultaneously kick-starting a viral marketing campaign. Crowdfunding is a great option for many small businesses; it is not suitable for all, however – there are a number of legal and practical issues to consider for any small business thinking of venturing into crowdfunding which will require both careful consideration and professional advice. In my opinion the role of traditional funding sources such as banks and private equity are nevertheless being and will continue to be challenged by this new method of raising capital.

For further information contact Joanna on 01233 664711

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Planning Applications submitted for £75m transformation of Elwick Place, Ashford Almost 90% of respondents support mixed-use proposals for Kent brownfield site

Want to increase productivity? Take a break!

By Rosemary Williams

When starting my business someone told me to book a holiday before anything else. ‘’What!?’’ I thought. ‘I am too busy wearing so many ‘hats’!’ No matter what your role at work, or the nature of your business, you might think the same. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes ‘time out’, a day off, or even a quiet moment for a moment to think and a drink of water to help your brain function better. All of these short pauses will help release endorphins and make you more relaxed. Find a space away from your desk. Go for a walk outside. Chat to colleagues or meet friends and family. Those who over-work want to be seen as busy in order to gain recognition, promotion and satisfaction. But actually they are often overlooked because they are inefficient. Energy naturally rises and falls during the day. You should ensure that you and your employees take the breaks to which you are all entitled, in order to reduces mistakes, illness and absenteeism. Productivity is increased after a break and the brain becomes more creative when relaxed. Taking regular breaks, including your full holiday entitlement, can link to increased fitness and greater job satisfaction. Unsatisfied staff are less productive, affect others or may leave, causing a drop in productivity as new staff are interviewed, recruited and inducted. There is legislation in place and guidance available to help, plus processes and procedures can create a happier, healthier workforce. If you are feeling tired from juggling all the hats you have to wear at work, maybe a ‘holiday hat’ would boost the creativity, productivity and health in your business.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Stanhope’s vision for Elwick Place, which represents more than £75 million of investment into Ashford town centre, has taken a step closer. The developer has submitted the second of two eagerly-anticipated planning applications for the site to Ashford Borough Council. The submission follows Stan hope’s public exhibition held over two days in July this year, which attracted more than 1,000 visitors keen to learn more about the mixed-use proposals. Analysis of over 200 written feedback forms received during the public exhibition revealed almost 90% of respondents are supportive. The planning applications, which include a new six-screen boutique cinema, a 60-bed family hotel, restaurants and cafés, homes, car parking and a space for events and community uses, promise to transform the brownfield site in Ashford town centre, which lies empty. Hundreds of new jobs are set to be created through the development, both during the construction process and in the long-term.

Councillor Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted that proposals are coming forward for this important site in the town centre, which shows further evidence that investors are seeing the potential of Ashford. We need to improve what the town can offer for residents and visitors therefore multi-million pound private sector interest to help this happen is very welcome. The details of this application will be carefully considered by the Planning Committee and, of course, we are very keen to hear local people’s views on Stanhope’s proposals.” Gary Bourne, Director at Stanhope, said: “This important milestone

represents the fruition of over four years of work by a dedicated team, which has worked closely with Ashford Borough Council. We have met hundreds of local people and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The main message we hear is that people in Ashford want to see this happen, and we are absolutely committed to meeting - and exceeding - the justifiably high aspirations of the local community to deliver a truly outstanding development.” Stanhope’s community information e-mail address, for those who would like to know more, is

Noted in Style win KITA Growth Award

Folkestone-based company also named as finalist in the Customer Service category Noted in Style, a leading creator and supplier of premium customised and branded products, has been presented with the prestigious Growth Award at this year’s Kent Independent Traders Awards (KITA). The results were announced at an awards ceremony on 10 September at the Great Danes Hotel near Maidstone. Noted in Style was also named as a finalist in the Customer Service Category. Co-founded by a designer with more than 15 years' experience in the creative industry, the Folkestone-based company, which launched in 2012 now employs eight members of staff.

As part of the company’s continued plans for growth, it is currently on the hunt for an apprentice production assistant to work in the manufacturing side of the business. This new role will see the candidate working alongside the production manager to learn skills, all underpinned by a college education course. Commenting on the award, Laura Turner, Business Director at Noted in Style, says: “We’re thrilled to have been recognised with this award. We have always been motivated by the opportunity to offer highly creative

and customised solutions to companies and this remains our primary aim.” KITA is an independently run organisation, currently in its fourth year. For more information visit: For more information about the apprenticeship role at Noted in Style, or for more information about apprenticeships in Kent, please visit: www.findapprenticeship. For more information about Noted in Style, visit:


Dispensations: the end is nigh Rick Schofield Tax Partner 01233 629255 (Ashford) 01689 827505 (Orpington)

From April 2016 dispensations will be abolished and replaced with a series of statutory exemptions for specific payments. This follows a review by the Office of Tax Simplification which recommended that legislation be introduced to remove employer P11D reporting obligation for specific business related expenses. As these were the expenses which routinely would have been included within a dispensation it means that the need for a dispensation notice from April 2016 will become obsolete. It does not however lessen the employer’s compliance responsibility.

What is a dispensation? It is an agreement issued by HM Revenue & Customs which essentially simplifies the employer P11D reporting process by allowing the employer not to report certain employee expenses on the form P11D. Typically this will include business expenses such as travel, related accommodation, subsistence, business entertaining, professional fees and subscriptions. The agreement allows the employer to dispense with the need to report such items on the basis that they will not ultimately be taxable as expenses have been properly incurred in the performance of the employment duties. The dispensation mechanism

therefore reduces the reporting burden for employee and employer alike and is therefore extremely useful.

application will now only be agreed for the current income tax year, it may prove a useful mechanism for two reasons;

Employer policies

• It will ease the P11D reporting burden for the 2015/2016 income tax year

On applying for a dispensation it is usual to set out to HMRC that an employer has robust review procedures, a detailed expense claim form and a policy which demonstrates that those items covered by the dispensation are properly considered and that it can be seen that they meet the business purpose test required by HMRC. The extent to which employers are compliant has long been the subject of review during PAYE audits carried out by HMRC and this will remain so. However the emphasis will now shift.

Going forward Where a business has a dispensation for the current income tax year (2015/2016) this will remain in place up to 5 April 2016 and policies should continue to be followed to ensure the terms under which it was issued are adhered to. Many employers may not of course have a dispensation. Whilst any

• It will provide an opportunity ahead of the new regime to review current practices and policies. Putting proper systems in place now, or refining those already existing, will significantly help when the post dispensation era commences. It will allow current systems to be reviewed to ensure expenses are being dealt with correctly and that employees are aware of their responsibilities.

The new regime The new statutory exemptions provide that no income tax will arise in respect of expenses payments paid or reimbursed to an employee if an amount would be allowed as a deduction from the employees earnings. It is imperative that the employer operates a system for checking that the employee is incurring expenses which are properly incurred and meet the business requirement conditions.

What should employers be doing now? We believe a more detailed level of attention will be adopted by HMRC going forward. Where in the past employers have relied on a dispensation they will now have to be satisfied that the conditions laid down in statute are being met. Whilst in part these are formalising the terms under which dispensations have been issued in the past, it seems clear that HMRC will take the opportunity to adopt a more rigorous approach in ensuring compliance. It follows that employers should look at current policies and procedures, improving these and considering introducing a programme to refresh employees of their responsibilities. This will go a long way to ensuring the correct level of compliance and help to reduce risk of HMRC intervention. It is clear that this is a key interest area for HMRC and employers should act accordingly. If you need any help with this then please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team at Wilkins Kennedy and we’d be delighted to assist you.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews Comprehensive services Hawksafe provide a comprehensive range of health, safety and environment services to employers across all business sectors in order to reduce risk, improve safety and wellbeing for employees and to ensure that your organisation is legally compliant. Acting as your “Competent Person” or on an as required basis, we ensure everything from everyday compliance and support through to audits, assessments and inspections. We are also able to provide Online Training solutions around Asbestos Awareness, Manual Handling, Legionella Awareness, Fire Safety, Fire Marshall Training and Food Safety, where all training is appropriately certified. Our specialist team can help you create a safe and healthy place of work by providing a wide range of bespoke services and solutions across the commercial, industrial, construction and government sectors by helping to meet individual company and regulatory requirements for health, safety and environmental issues. We are also registered Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) training providers and would be happy to offer places on the IOSH Managing Safely 4 day course at a discounted rate to any Chamber members. Hawksafe are based at the Medway Innovation Centre in Rochester ensuring easy access to all clients across the whole of Kent.

Littleworth fits out a Bakehouse Littleworth Ltd, commercial refurbishment and fit out contractors, have completed work on a 16th Century timber framed building in Tonbridge to create artisan bakery and coffee shop The Bakehouse at 124. Over a period of ten weeks, all electrical and plumbing services, partitions and old shop fittings were removed from the Grade 2 listed building, followed by the installation of new services, toilets, kitchens and joinery. Electrical services were upgraded to provide supplies for the bakery equipment, including the deck ovens. At the same time, the interior of the listed building was sympathetically maintained to conserve its historical attributes.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Airbus creates history at London Ashford Airport

First ever electric powered Cross Channel flight Airbus recently successfully completed the first cross-Channel flight of its prototype E-FAN electric powered aircraft, crossing from London Ashford Airport in Lydd, Kent, to Calais.

International media and VIPs were welcomed to the event by Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer Airbus Group, before they witnessed the E-FAN’s final preparations and take-off. Guests were then able to monitor the progress of this aeronautical first, which was broadcast live on-site and online, until its landing in Calais, France.

This flight follows in the footsteps of Louis Blériot, who crossed the Channel in 1909. It will pave the way for future electric powered aviation and will be an important milestone in the development of the E-FAN aircraft, say Airbus. Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of London Ashford Airport, said: “From royal visits to setting traffic records in the 1950s, the airport has witnessed some extraordinary moments in

its long history. Today’s historical event is a proud moment for Lydd.” For more information about E-FAN and today’s crossing visit vation-environment/airbus-e-fanthe-future-of-electricaircraft/Cross-channel-flight.html For further information about the airport visit

Making your money work for you Castlerock Wealth Management are here to help business owners, trustees and individuals protect their wealth. Our aim is to help our clients reach their financial goals and aspirations by creating a structured financial plan; ensuring mitigation of income, capital gains and inheritance tax, within the parameters of our clients’ individual circumstances. By meeting one of our Advisers and taking time to get to know each other, we can build trust and help to establish a long-term relationship with you. It may take several conversations before we

know enough about you to advise on the appropriate course of action and before you know enough about us to want to become a client. When we fully understand your requirements, we will recommend options that will help you achieve your goals. We will also consider whether additional planning, for example tax planning or the use of trusts, could help you to arrange your investments more efficiently.

Our areas of expertise include: • Long Term Care Advice • Trustee Investments • Auto-enrolment and company pension planning • Pension freedom advice and retirement planning options • Life assurance • Inheritance tax planning and deed or variations • Whole of market mortgage brokerage


Manufacturing unique products Arawak is a Kent-based life sciences company which manufactures unique, handmade 100% pure cacao products, aimed at improving health and wellbeing, whilst offering you an intense, rich cacao flavour. We create natural, synergistic, nonrefined products, pride ourselves on ethics and transparency, and are set to be ahead of the competition in terms of quality of product, company standards and research. Our future on the health and wellbeing marketplace, is strengthened by increasing consumer self-education and decreased trust in pharmaceutical drugs. The emphasis is now on the individual to lead an active and healthy life-style, and manage their health through diet and exercise.

Many countries have long been using nature’s non-prescribed produce, as an approach to helping with modern health problems such as, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, cardio vascular disease and diabetes. Cacao has also long been used as a preventative measure and can be very effective when consumed alongside a healthy and antiinflammatory diet. Our mission is to offer unrivalled product satisfaction through choice, quality, honesty and service.

Let’s get up close and personal people We will achieve this by helping to educate and offer informed choices that will be synonymous with our brand. We work closely with professionals in the nutraceutical sector to ensure complete transparency in all our products and any outgoing research.

£16m Ashford College Campus moves a step closer Demolition work has begun to pave the way for a new state-of-the-art college campus right in the heart of the fast-expanding Kent town of Ashford. Plans for a new £16 million Ashford College that is fit for the 21st Century came a step closer to fruition last week when bulldozers moved in to demolish the old college building, Kent Care House and Swanton House on Elwick Road. The ambitious project is one of Ashford’s key development aims and will play a major part in the town’s future growth and prosperity. Ashford Borough Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson says: “At last we can realise our vision for a further education and higher education college right in the heart of the town at Elwick Road, adjacent to the International Station. A highly skilled workforce is fundamental to the success of our versatile economic growth and this will make a vital contribution to rejuvenating the town centre.”

The first-class education and skills provision is being provided by the highly-regarded Hadlow Group, which also runs Hadlow College and West Kent College. Earlier this year Hadlow Group secured £9.8m from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills Capital Fund to help deliver Phase 1 of Ashford College by creating 5,112m2 of floorspace as the first stage of the new campus. The improved learning environment will support more than 900 additional students. The campus, which will be completed in early 2017 and open from September that year, will focus on providing skills for the manufacturing, construction, technology and service sectors, linked with a strengthened role for employers. Paul Hannan, Hadlow Group Principal and Chief Executive, says: “The commencement of the

demolition at Elwick Road marks a new and very exciting development in the Ashford College story. The new campus will play a very significant part in ensuring our provision complies with the high standards we set ourselves.” Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Hadlow Group Director Finance and Resources, adds: “The new campus is designed to fulfil the current and future needs of students, staff and our many stakeholders. Celebrating the demolition marks the beginning of the real work. The long wait will have been worthwhile. I would like to pay tribute to the co-operation, help, advice and support received from Ashford Borough Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson, and Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, and his team.”

Rubber Dam specialist ten years of success Dyrhoff Ltd is celebrating its 10th year of successful operation at its base in Folkestone. Recognised globally as one of the leaders in the rubber dam and pneumatic gate field, Dyrhoff Ltd has in that time designed, supplied and supervised the installation of 94 rubber dams and spillway gates on 57 sites around the world. The company’s installations can be found in 25 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

In more recent years Dyrhoff has expanded its range of products by becoming the European agent for the Obermeyer Hydro pneumatic spillway gate. The Obermeyer gate was developed in the US in the late 1980s as a bottom hinged, pneumatically inflated spillway gate. As one of the world leaders in this highly specialised engineering field, Dyrhoff now employs a team of ten at its headquarters in Folkestone’s Shearway Business Park, with

associate offices in the USA, Norway and France. A number of projects are in development at any given time, ranging from small rubber dams, designed for urban water treatment projects, to multiple span structures on large rivers. In the past year, Dyrhoff has worked on projects in the USA, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, Singapore, Italy, Romania, Latvia, Turkey and Bulgaria.

How well do you know your customers? Are you actually making efforts to understand and map a customer’s journey? Do you provide them with relevant content that fits with what they actually want to see, read or feel? If you have answered in the negative to any of the above, read on. A recent report* discovered that of the 2,000 digital marketers surveyed this year, only 17% undertake customer journey analysis. The process helps steer an integrated approach to cross-channel marketing and by ignoring it, you could be restricting how much you find out about your customers. You may not be servicing them as you should. Plotting a customer journey map is relatively simple to do and is a brilliant way of plotting the highs and lows of customer interaction. Depicting the customer experience from start to finish, the map acts as a storyboard between you and your customer, from the time they first contact you (or you, them), through engagement and ongoing. One of the benefits of looking at this from the customer’s perspective is that you can determine their expectation of you as an organisation. Drilling down, you can deduce if you have pain points in either the digital experience or your offline interaction. Present each user journey as a visual representation so it is easy for everyone to interpret and understand. Consider these questions as you build your map: • Is there a seamless experience between devices, your departments and the channels with which you communicate? • Is the design of your website/email/newsletter making it easier or harder for people to find what they need? • Should you adapt your copy so your messaging resonates and encourages dialogue? • When users make contact, are you responding quick enough and with the right channel? At mso, we don't just build websites, we offer consultancy that is based on plain speaking and cuts through the digital jargon. Give us a call to find out how we can help you. Source: *eConsultancy Sarah Pooley Digital Marketing Consultant 01474-704400

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBusiness August - September


Why should you join Rotary? Are you up Are you the sort of person that wants to give something back to the community but doesn’t know how? Do you want to enjoy life but at the same time feel a sense of purpose? Are you looking for a more fulfilling way of serving the community on a voluntary basis? Are you looking a fresh goal in life – a new sense of achievement? If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes” then maybe being a member of Rotary will help you with these ambitions. Whether it’s helping a local good cause or project in your local area, a wider national campaign, or even having the opportunity to venture overseas and take part in Rotary’s international programmes like “End Polio Now” or individual club’s international projects – the scope is endless. With our range of activities your level is involvement is up to you, whatever you do we know being a Rotarian will be a rewarding experience.

That’s why you should consider being a member of Rotary! – but don’t just take our word why not come along to one of our club meetings that take place at breakfast, lunch or in the evening throughout the South East and see for yourself! You’ll meet a whole group of like minded men and women all dedicated to serving those less fortunate than ourselves. We’re looking for people like you men and women who want to connect with other leaders in the community to use their distinct expertise for good and whose sense of responsibility inspires them to give back to their communities. With Rotary, whilst socialising and doing fun things with like minded friends, you’ll change your community and change the world.

Furley Page workshop will guide you through the maze of changes

Interested? Want to know more? Simply e-mail us at or website and click "contact us" button.

New Chairman for Locate in Kent

A former Group Vice President of BP plc and experienced nonexecutive director has been announced as the new Chairman of Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency. David Fitzsimmons, from Tunbridge Wells, succeeds Warwick Morris who spent three years in the role. Born in Bromley, David has held numerous non-executive director roles, largely with companies operating in the energy sector, including four years as CEO of Novera Energy, an AIM-listed UK renewables company. He is also a governor of the Skinners Kent Academy in Tunbridge Wells.

Speaking of the challenges ahead, David said: “A key one currently is the view people have of the throughway to the continent. “To outsiders at the moment, what they are seeing are reports of Operation Stack and the issues Eurostar and Eurotunnel are having with migrants in Calais. The challenge is to get people to understand the benefits that we in the county know so well the excellent and quick connections to the continent that benefit businesses based here.” David added that he was keen to foster even closer links with the many other organisations that seek to promote Kent and Medway and its economy, such as the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). “While I don’t have a huge commercial property background, I find the idea of being closely involved in the promotion of Kent as a great place to do business along with the county’s other development organisations an exciting one.”

to date on Employment Law?

Away from business David is a keen sailor and has taken part in three legs of the Clipper Round the World yacht race. He is married with two grown up children. “We are very pleased to have someone with David’s considerable experience as a nonexecutive director heading up the board of Locate in Kent,” said Chief Executive Paul Wookey. “His undoubted business acumen and leadership qualities will prove invaluable in helping drive Locate in Kent forward, and in promoting the county to business from home and overseas. “Warwick Morris enjoyed a very successful three-year term as chairman and finding a worthy successor was always going to be quite a challenge. In David Fitzsimmons, I am sure we have found the right man.” To find out how Locate in Kent can help you invest, grow or set up in Kent, visit

The new Conservative Government’s programme for employment law is set to bring in some significant and important changes, from the introduction of a National Living Wage to major trade union reform - but what impact will all this have on employers in Kent? The wide-ranging proposals and their implications for businesses will be explored during a seminar presented by leading south east law firm, Furley Page. The interactive workshop, run in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, will be held on Thursday October 22 and is open to Chamber members and non-members whatever the size of their workforce. Furley Page’s popular workshops are always oversubscribed and people are advised to book early to ensure they secure their place. Leading the workshop will be Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page. “These events are vital to help employers and HR professionals keep up to date with the fastchanging complexities of employment law,” says Andrew, who is recognised as a leading expert in this field. “We’ll be offering a comprehensive review of current and future developments so that employers are fully prepared for the changes the Government is introducing. As well as practical guidance, there will be a question and answer session so there’s plenty of opportunity for delegates to raise issues of concern.” Andrew will be joined by Amanda Okill, an Associate who specialises in employment law. The workshop will be held at Bridgewood Manor Hotel, Walderslade Woods, Chatham, from 8.30am to noon. Registration is from 8am. As well as advising delegates about the Government’s employment law programme, the workshop will consider recent case law and employment reforms, offer practical guidance on how to prepare for the changes, and the effects these will have on HR policies and procedures and people management. The workshop will also consider the possible employment law and HR implications of a ‘no vote’ in the forthcoming EU referendum. Workshop costs, including bacon rolls (or vegetarian option) and tea or coffee, are £80 (inc VAT) to Kent Invicta Chamber members and £90 (inc VAT) to non-members. To reserve your place, call the Chamber’s booking hotline on 01233 503838, email or visit the events section at For more information about Furley Page visit You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and LinkedIn.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS




Proof - Networking Works!

Who would think that after an hour spent networking with fellow Chamber members at the Conningbrook After Hours event in Ashford, three new Chamber members would be working together on a project shortly afterwards.

Kent Healthy Business Award

Credit Limits International Ltd (CLI) was one of a few SMEs to pick up a Kent Healthy Business Award in July 2015. CLI is continuing to build his reputation for commitment to best practice in health, safety and wellbeing. With our committed team on board, we have introduced a number of measures which have been added to our Staff Handbook because we strongly believe that healthy people are happier people and that they generate better results! We already had a lot in place like our famous nonsmoking breaks; but underwent an interesting journey with Swale, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils who helped us introduce new policies which really place wellbeing at the heart of our business and make us healthier in everything we do.

Onwards and upwards for local law firm Herne Bay favourites Employment Law 4 U have relocated to larger premises to accommodate their expanding business; a move that owner Mike Arnold believes will allow the company to offer their services to a larger audience: “When I started the company I was running it from a home office, but the response from local businesses and individuals has been so positive that I’ve had to relocate and take on extra staff” Offering free initial consultations to both employers and employees, Employment Law 4 U are a firm favourite in Kent, and this latest expansion looks set to be the first of many for this up and coming business.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Video production experts BRD Associates put together a corporate video for The Stop Hunter to help promote their Core Trader Training Programme. The video forms part of the sales and marketing strategy put together for them by Super Agency Capricorn Twelve. All three companies are Chamber members this year and were unknown to each other before meeting at the recent After Hours networking event. The image above was taken just after shooting testimonials from students who had recently spent 2 days learning to trade with The Stop Hunter. The training took place at their new head office at the Canterbury Innovation Centre, on the University of Kent Campus. All three companies agree that networking is a fantastic way to

meet new contacts and build the collaborative relationships so essential in today's business world. Kent Invicta Chamber

events provide the perfect platform for companies to come together in an informal relaxed environment.

Tax benefits to end for SMEs?

Changes in the recent budget will make it much less attractive for small businesses to convert to becoming limited companies. With little fanfare, the Chancellor introduced two new measures that significantly decrease the tax benefits many business have been able to enjoy. The ability to set goodwill against profits – an advantage enjoyed when incoprorating a business – has been abolished with effect from 8 July 2015. Meanwhile, an overhaul of the dividend regime is likely to reduce the post-tax profits of many SMEs. Darren Rigden, Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, the national audit, tax and advisory firm with offices in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, said: “Even now, several weeks after the budget, companies are only just realising the implications of the Chancellor’s announcements. Small, owner managed businesses could really suffer.” Individuals with dividends less than £5,000 will benefit most paying no dividend tax at all; higher rate tax

payers are better off until their dividend income exceeds £20,400; and additional rate tax payers will gain until they hit an income level of £25,000. Darren Rigden continued: “It appears that, purely from a tax perspective, it may not be worth incorporating if anticipated profits are expected to be less than £40,000, especially given the additional administrative and compliance costs involved. “However there are still other advantages of incorporating including the added protection that a limited company gives to the business owners. The Corporate tax rates will also be reduced to 19% from 2017 and 18% in 2020 which is good news for business in the UK. “Initial calculations show that the tax savings between incorporating or not are minimal. However, due to abatement of the personal

allowance those with incomes around £125,000 gain the most from incorporating.” The changes to dividend taxation will need to be considered when businesses are considering incorporation and professional advice should be taken.


£3.7m improvements unveiled Apprenticeship is launched at Folkestone campus The new facilities at East Kent College’s Shorncliffe Road campus in Folkestone have been revealed, following a £3.7m investment. At an event to celebrate how far the campus has come since it was acquired by East Kent College in August 2014, local politicians and businesses were given the opportunity to see the facilities for themselves. Nick Sansom, East Kent College’s Folkestone Campus Principal, said: “The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the last 10 months so it was wonderful to see people’s reactions when they saw the new facilities for the first time. The transformation has been incredible and our students not only have a fantastic environment in which to learn, but they’re also using the very latest equipment. “We’re very pleased that the Leader of Shepway District Council, David Monk, was able to join us and see how the Council’s £500,000 contribution to the campus has been spent.” Guests at the launch event were given a tour of the training facilities on site, which include a commercial hair and beauty salon;

(L-R): Nick Sansom, East Kent College’s Folkestone Campus Principal and Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College, try out the new pedicure facilities in the beauty salon.

a large training beauty salon; ‘The Edge’, the new School of Business and Creative; and a new sports pitch. East Kent College has also reintroduced early years and health and social care courses - including the HNC

in health and social care extended the construction training on offer to include brickwork and plastering and improved the general facilities with a new student centre and coffee shop.

Business Services at MidKent College, in partnership with the Sales Academy, has announced the launch of a 12-month "Sales and Telesales Apprenticeship

• The apprentice will gain two industry recognised qualifications from the ISMM to demonstrate their sales knowledge and competency - the 'Certificate in the Principles of Selling' and the 'NVQ Diploma in Sales' • Work-based learning provides apprentice with the opportunity to develop their sales skills in the context of their own sales environment • Tailored 1-2-1 sales coaching allows the apprentice to receive tactical guidance related to their specific role, not generic training in a classroom • Flexible around work/personal commitments over 12 months with no time out of the office • Suitable for all sales roles - telemarketing, telesales, business development and account management • Sales Simulation available from any desktop or mobile browser (includes Safari, Chrome & Internet Explorer) In addition, the college is offering a mobile learning and sales coaching package as the most flexible way to gain a Level 3 Sales Diploma qualification. With content delivered in bite-sized modules from any desktop or mobile browser, this flexible approach to sales training allows you to learn "any time, any place". A face-to-face selling skills video tutorial demonstrates real-life examples of good and bad sales meeting techniques.

Sync-box success in the Dragon’s Den

Entrepreneurs Steve Noyes and Duncan Summers of technology company Eyestones, based at the Enterprise Foundation’s Maidstone Enterprise Centre, secured anoffer of £55,000 from investor Deborah Meaden on the BBC’s Dragons Den. In the episode of the show broadcast on Sunday 26th July, the duo pitched their innovative SyncBox socket which allows TVs to be flush fitted against the wall. It has widespread application and is already being used in luxury housing developments, hotels and high end offices. Deborah’s investment will enable the further development of business channels across international markets. Staff from the Enterprise Foundation, a not-forprofit organisation supporting start-ups, and Live and social, another Enterprise Centre user, assisted the Sync-box team with ‘dry-run’rehearsals and preparations for their day behind the cameras.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS




ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015


October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Maidstone truly open for business

With its strategic location in central Kent, competitive costs and strong communications links with UK, European and World markets the county town remains the powerhouse for growth and innovation in Kent alongside maintaining its position as: • The largest economy in Kent • The largest employment centre in Kent • The largest office market in Kent • The largest traditional retail centre in Kent • The largest workforce in Kent But that’s not all, with nearly 7,000 businesses if you think you know Maidstone, think again. It is home to innovators in the engineering, manufacturing and medical services sectors

alongside its strengths in Business & Professional Services; Creative & Media and Retail & Leisure. And the Borough Council intends to keep it this way with a number of new developments and initiatives to support businesses of all sizes to create a real buzz in the area and a sense of confidence for the future. Its new economic development strategy designed to support the borough's growth and prosperity to 2031- has been fully endorsed by borough councillors with five critical areas for action: • Retaining and attracting investment supporting existing businesses to grow and to attract new employers to the borough

• Stimulating entrepreneurship - creating a more entrepreneurial and innovative economy, supporting new business start-ups and those with high growth potential to move up the value chain • Enhancing Maidstone town centre – promoting the regeneration of Maidstone town centre as a high quality retail and leisure destination, and as a place to live and work • Meeting the skills need - working closely with partners to ensure residents are equipped with skills for work and that the skills needs of businesses are being met • Improving the infrastructure - investing in infrastructure by working closely with partners, most critically Kent County Council.

Maidstone is home to innovators in the engineering, manufacturing and medical services sectors alongside its strengths in Business & Professional Services; Creative & Media and Retail & Leisure.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015


But it is not just words - among the many initiatives already under way or in the planning stages are: • A new emerging business park at junction 8/M20 • A new vision for the town centre • A strengthening of strategic partnerships – not least the Maidstone Economic Business Partnership led by Maidstone Studios Chairman Geoff Miles • Renewed agreements with Parish Councils with an emphasis on sharing information and • A cross-council department Business Charter to ensure the Borough’s communications with businesses is coordinated • A new website with a renewed focus on Starting, Growing and Locating Business in Maidstone at Another major initiative is The Business Terrace, which has opened in Maidstone town centre to support start-ups, home-based businesses and entrepreneurs across the borough.

Maidstone Borough Council has funded the facility, which offers the latest in flexible workhub facilities, a ‘work space when needed’, ranging from desks by the hour to offices on easy-in, easy-out terms. The council’s economic development team hope to benefit upwards of 1000 entrepreneurs a year through a combination of affordable workspace, flexible time-based and virtual memberships, peer to peer business support and collaboration underpinned by high quality, bespoke mentoring, events, seminars and workshops and informal networking. Young people and new businesses using the facility will benefit from a Membership Model offering a range of highly flexible entry tariffs, enabling members to move gradually from the more affordable options up to the more expensive tariffs as their businesses grow and allow space for expansion as their ideas develop. The Business Terrace is in the centre of town opposite King Street surface level car park, next to the Bus Station (with Park & Ride) and The Mall Shopping Centre.

You can find out more from: Economic Development Team Maidstone Borough Council Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME16 6JQ 01622 602392

The council’s economic development team hope to benefit upwards of 1000 entrepreneurs a year

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS


Budget changes for buy to let investors: Furnishing you with the facts!

Company changes

The following points will be relevant to those adopting a Limited Company structure for holding their rental properties.

Changes from 1 April 2017 and 2020 for Companies

The rate of corporation tax will be set at 20% for the two years starting 1 April 2015. It will then be cut to 19% for three years starting on 1 April 2017, and to 18% from 1 April 2020.

Dividend tax allowance from 6 April 2016

Following on from Chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 Summer Budget announcements, this article summarises the tax changes that Buy to Let (BTL) investors need to be aware of.

Changes from 6 April 2016: Relief for furniture and fittings

At present, a wear and tear allowance is given at 10% of the net rents received in respect of fully furnished let properties. This will be abolished from 6 April 2016. In its place all landlords of residential property (whether fully furnished or not) will only be able to claim the actual cost of replacing furnishings. As a result of this change it is worthwhile considering the deferral of capital expenditure until after 6th April 2016 to optimise tax relief.

Changes from 6 April 2017: Relief for mortgage/loan interest for BTL investors

Currently individual landlords receive tax relief at their highest rate of income tax on all of the interest they pay to finance their letting business.

From April 2017 the amount of interest that will be eligible for tax relief at the higher and additional rate (40% & 45%) will be restricted to the following: •

75% of the interest paid in 2017/18

50% of the interest paid in 2018/19

25% of the interest paid in 2019/20

The balance of the interest will be eligible for 20% tax relief in each case. From 6 April 2020, only basic rate tax relief will be available for interest for higher or additional rate tax payers.

These rules do not have a bearing on tax payers that pay income tax at the basic rate (20%) only. However, both property partnerships and members of Limited Liability Partnerships (‘LLPs’) are caught by the new legislation on a just and reasonable apportionment basis. Interestingly these changes do not apply to Limited Company structures. It should also be noted that the new restrictions apply to ‘costs’ of a dwelling-related loan and not just interest. They extend to any return that is economically equivalent to interest, which includes sharia-compliant arrangements and incidental costs of obtaining loan finance.

The taxation of dividends will be reformed from 6 April 2016. The 10% dividend tax credit is abolished. In its place, individuals will have a £5,000 dividend tax free allowance per tax year. An individual will pay no income tax on dividend income received up to the £5,000 amount. However, dividend receipts in excess of £5,000 will be taxed at: • 7.5% for basic rate taxpayers (previously 0%)

• 32.5% for higher rate taxpayers (previously 25%)

• 38.1% for additional rate taxpayers (previous 30.56%)

Structure choice

It is increasingly popular for landlords to incorporate their property business and in many instances this should remain the case. The Limited Company will not be affected by the proposed restrictions to mortgage interest relief and also provides several other opportunities from a tax perspective, including:

1. The low rate of corporation tax means higher post-tax profits can be retained for reinvestment or used to repay borrowing. When the corporate rate is 18% for every £100 of profit earned by a company, there will be £82 left after tax to reinvest compared to £55 for an individual who pays income tax at the 45% rate. 2. There is still the opportunity for tax efficient remuneration from the Company despite the increases to dividend taxation set out above.

Property investors should start planning now to ensure they have the correct structure for their property rental business in anticipation of the new legislation changes.

Stuart Chipperfield Tax Manager MHA MacIntyre Hudson Cornwallis House Pudding Lane Maidstone Kent ME14 1NH Tel: 01622 754033 E-mail:

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Maidstone the attraction for arrivals old and new For many of the companies old and new who are based in Maidstone, location is a key factor.

James Gransby, Partner at leading accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson says… Our firm, through it’s different guises over time, has been in the same office in Pudding Lane, Maidstone, since 1957. We are not immune to the wave of offices being converted to residential accommodation but we look to maintain our Town Centre presence for the benefits this brings to our clients and staff.

James Gransby, Partner at leading accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson says…Our firm, through it’s different guises over time, has been in the same office in Pudding Lane, Maidstone, since 1957. We are not immune to the wave of offices being converted to residential accommodation but we look to maintain our Town Centre presence for the benefits this brings to our clients and staff. Think Telecom, for example, is a recently established, Maidstone-based telecoms business. The office is strategically placed in the heart of the market town, offering excellent transport links for both staff and providing easy access to London. The location has enabled Think Telecom to attract and recruit talented individuals from all over Kent to help deliver the company’s ethos. Think Telecom have devised simple solutions to fulfil customers’ communication needs, including


a straightforward switch, expert UK-based customer service and by far the lowest business rates available. Every day, Think Telecom help SMEs cut costs on their line rental, calls, broadband, mobiles and merchant services. Think Telecom pride themselves on providing completely unlimited business broadband for their customers as standard, from as little as £10 per month. Think Telecom specialise in Cloudbased telephony, allowing businesses to benefit from the features of a fullyfledged phone system, without the associated costs; “Smart Extensions” can be rented from £15 per month and offer a full suite of call control features compared to normal phone lines. With little or no upfront costs and the ability to keep your current numbers, Cloud Telephony is the ideal solution to add extra value and functionality to your business. Think Telecom are happy to assess your current infrastructure free of

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

charge, providing a full network topology, business continuity plan and recommend simple improvements to enhance your growth. Darren Leipnik, Think Telecom Director, said: “We pride ourselves on delivering quality products and services to our customers. We have a passion for supporting SMEs and providing best-fit solutions to accelerate growth, whilst forging excellent trading relationships in the Kent business community.” One of Maidstone’s longer established companies is independent insurance brokers MPW, who believe they have the edge in the industry with their prominent county town location. Based in Maidstone since 1986, the company have built a strong association with the construction industry and for many years, arranged insurances for a number of Kent house builders, building contractors and allied trades.

Maidstone has a great deal of successful construction companies within the area, providing excellent opportunity for MPW. Accessibility to clients and being central to Kent is essential. Not only can the company forge strong links with construction and other local industry, with London being an hour’s travel time there are even more business opportunities. The town also has the benefit of producing a skilled local workforce. Many of MPW’s staff members live locally to the office and they have not had to search beyond Kent to obtain a high pedigree of staff. Transport links with other parts of Kent are strong; with nearby links to high speed rail, their office in Turkey Mill is just minutes from the M20. The area’s chamber links with the Kent Construction Forum Group have strengthened the company’s standing, helping them to support quality trade and industry in Maidstone and beyond.

Our ethos is to ensure we provide a client-focused, face-to-face, holistic advice service providing security now, prosperity in the future and the highest level of client care in the rapidly evolving world of financial markets. • • • • • • •

Corporate Pensions Personal Pensions Investments Life Protection Inheritance Planning Later Life advice Tax Saving Strategies

Tel: 0203 330 0940 Fax: 0203 330 0949

Email: Website:

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Beanstalk working to support 300 children in Medway schools Medway Council’s Medway School Challenge and Improvement Team, and Beanstalk, a national children’s literacy charity, are working together to support 300 children in Medway who have fallen behind with their reading. Beanstalk will recruit, vet, train, place and support 95 trained reading helpers in Medway schools by December. These reading helpers will deliver the Beanstalk core model to support year 2 and year 6 students. Beanstalk will work with local schools with the aim to raise SATs attainment in the Medway area, which once again fell below the national average. Research shows that nationally illiteracy is closely linked to unemployment, poverty, ill-health and involvement with the criminal justice system. It is crucial therefore to improve literacy as a means of boosting economic growth and quality of life for people and businesses across Medway. By working with Medway Council, Beanstalk aims to ensure that each and every child in Medway has the ability and confidence to reach their true potential.

Leading event equipment hire company celebrates 5th birthday

Leisure King has celebrated their successful journey in the events industry since 2010. Since their humble beginnings in 2010, the business has seen major changes. Husband and wife Team Steve and Sarah, started the business from home with one employee but have grown significantly and now occupy large unit in Northfleet where they now employ 30 crew and office staff, and stock a vast range of products. The success story is due to a mix of Sarah’s attention to detail and Steve’s love of creativity which has allowed the company to boast a 98% customer satisfaction rate and continued innovative product development. Steve and his crew work hard to ensure all equipment, including Candy Floss Machines, Popcorn Machines, Rodeo Bulls and Bungee Runs, are delivered and operated to guarantee quality

service and happy customers who come back time and time again. These include: Google, The Army, Sainsbury’s and ITV. To celebrate this milestone, the Directors will be using their skills combined to put on a fundraiser for local charity, The Parents’ Consortium. The event will showcase the company’s new casino tables, their classic Photo

Doing what's scary can be the most rewarding


us and for our clients. We are learning all the time about trust, commitment, humility and courage. Working with people on their business challenges, helping them love what they do and making their workday worthwhile has been at the heart of it. Our top tips for working with other people: 1. Intention - be clear on how you want to be and what you want to achieve 2. Plan - anticipate successful outcomes 3. Commit - decide and take action 4. Reflect - learn lessons from every day 5. Connect - give and get

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Leisure King is proud of their recent successes and is excited about the future.

Excellent small office space for hire

Gooding and Wood reflect a year on from creating their business... It's been an amazing first year. How are we feeling now? Still a bit like a fledgling - let's face it, we'll never stop learning yet confident we are delivering terms of quality and impact. Right from the get go we knew we wanted to play a new game. Like so many people, we knew we had considerable experience, breadth of skills and deep insight to offer but were prevented by the 'daily grind' from doing our best work. The game as we saw it was to also bring our instincts, our feelings, our humour and our hearts into the workplace - and to translate that into something people want and need. Let's face it - helping organisations develop and grow, perform more effectively and shine is a worthy endeavour but it hardly has F-U-N written all over it! And yet that's exactly how we do it - with humour and a lightness of touch that brings clarity and creativity for

Booth and Ice Cream Trike, all combined as a Bond themed ‘Casino Royale’ Night. This event is open to all with tickets on sale now, and local businesses can get involved by donating a prize to the raffle.

Singleton Environment Centre

‘The Yew Room’ based within Singleton Environment Centre, Ashford, Kent is a light, airy office space, 13m2 in size, suitable for up to 4 people for meetings, interviews, consultations, 1:1’s. The Yew Room has many benefits including: Free Wi-Fi, outside phone line, some cupboard storage, sink area with drinking water, private and secure. The Centre itself has: Free parking, full disabled access on one level, on-site Café/Bistro - “Footprints”, good transport links, unique location, emphasis on being environmentally friendly. Please contact us for more details or to arrange a viewing on: Tel: 01233 666 519 Email: Website: The Singleton Environment Centre, Wesley School Road, Singleton, Ashford, Kent. TN23 5LW.


24 HOURSWITH Communication is key at fast-growing company

The Ashford-based RIFT Group is one of Kent’s outstanding business stories and driving its remarkable growth over recent years has been founder and managing director Jan Post.

Jan Post

Key to her daily work is overseeing the many demands associated with a rapidly growing business which has clients across the UK

Having been formed 15 years ago, the Group has grown to become one of the UK leaders in tax refunds and accounting, and that makes for busy days for Jan. She said: “On a typical day, I get into the office between eight thirty and nine but I will have answered my emails over breakfast so that by the time I arrive at work I will know what needs to be actioned. “Once the emails have been sorted, I can get on with the rest of the day. My days are divided between the office or out meeting clients or prospective new clients. “Depending on what kind of a week it is I will be in the office two or three days a week or vice versa out of the office. “I do go out to a lot of meetings because I think that it is so important to meet people face to face. We do a lot of our work online but I think that the old adage holds true – people buy from people.”

Key to her daily work is overseeing the many demands associated with a rapidly growing business which has clients across the UK, with Scotland a particular growth area at the moment. Supporting that growth is the fact that already long established as the UK's leading tax refund experts, the company has now diversified into Capital Allowances, Research & Development tax credits, Will writing, and Accounting services. Jan said: “I used to do a lot of travelling all over the country but have done less of it as the years have passed. “We employ almost 160 people now and one of the things on which we have worked hard is ensuring that we have a good management structure so part of my time is spent liaising with managers and team leaders.

“Communication is so important to us and we work hard to make sure that happens. One of the reasons we need good communication is that we are growing very rapidly. “We have been growing 40 per cent a year over recent years, partly because more and more people are becoming aware of the need to claim their refunds, so communication between departments is important.” “I finish work earlier than I used to in the early days of the business and I like to be away by 6.30. Once I am at home, I will relax for a little then answer some emails or read reports with one eye on the television. “The reports are important. We are a fast-moving business and I need to keep up to date with what our teams are doing.”

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015


Garden of England offers venue haven

Kent has the hallmarks of a top event destination, with great locations and efficient transport links from London.

Modern businesses now look for alternative ways to engage with their personnel in more interesting and exciting environments and Kent certainly doesn't disappoint in this arena.

Depending on what you want to achieve with your conference and events, Kent offers great easy to reach locations with a diverse range of eye catching venues. The county is packed with inspiring spots for all manner of events. You can choose from conventional purpose built facilities, distinguished schools and universities which offer a practical approach to accommodating large numbers of delegates, with the traditional academic format to the more discerning, characterful offerings of the luxury country house hotels with their idyllic settings and superb business and catering facilities. However, modern businesses now look for alternative ways to engage with their personnel in more interesting and exciting environments and Kent certainly doesn't disappoint in this arena. With its array of historic, cultural venues such as museums, castles, cathedrals, art galleries and even breweries and exotic wineries are now entering this vibrant market sector, businesses have an abundance of venues to

choose from to wow conference and event guests. The new facilities at the Spitfire-shaped Wing building located at Capel-le-Ferne, make it an ideal location for meetings and evening corporate events. The new building, which features stunning views over the Channel from the balcony of The Wing, can be hired for corporate events. For the more competitive and extraordinary experience Karting, motorsports and funfair facilities offer adrenaline rush, thrill and high-energy packed away-day challenges. Whatever the venue choice or location, remember it is all about the lasting 'feel good' factor and creating an impact, so ensure you have considered the cost of supplying good quality corporate branded gifts for the delegates.

Laura Turner, Business Director at Noted in Style, says: “Promotional products are a great way to keep your brand name at the forefront of delegates’ minds at a conference or event, but there’s an art to creating a gift with impact. Longevity is key, so make sure you give people something meaningful to keep and use repeatedly, such as a notebook or diary. It’s also important to select a

premium product to mirror your brand and underpin the quality of your offering. A personal touch can make all the difference, delighting delegates and making you memorable. If you find yourself a good supplier, they will be able to advise on selecting the right item and customising a product in line with your brand in ways that you might not even have thought about.”

For business away from the office in Kent, meeting rooms available at Chilston Park Hotel

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



It’s more than business to us

The unique aspect of LAT Enterprises is that it exists solely to raise income to enhance the education of the students within Leigh Academies Trust (12 Academies serving 7000 students) through the hiring of premises, several buildings less than six years old.

Bradbourne House

If it’s quality you seek, Bradbourne House is a stunning grade 1 listed period house set in beautiful parkland in the Kent countryside. While normally closed to the public, it’s available for conferences and business meetings and corporate events, catering for 2 to 100 delegates. The house originally dates from Tudor times and was upgraded in the early 18th century. It was the former home of the Twisden family before being bought by the East Malling Trust just before World War II. Located in an idyllic setting in 20 acres of parkland with a lake, waterfalls and ancient trees, the house is only five minutes drive from junction 4 of the M20. The parkland is a conservation area managed day-to-day by East Malling Trust. You’re spoiled for choice with five conference and meeting rooms steeped in history with features like oak panelling, watercolour paintings and a gold decorated ceiling. Rooms with different seating capacities can be combined. Room rates and hire costs vary depending on the number and style of rooms, length of hire, catering choice, the number of guests and type of event. The house is licensed for up to 200 guests standing at an informal event. A new crafted Oak Bar and modern kitchen were installed in 2009 and all food and drinks are managed in-house. The venue also offers exquisite fine dining tailored to your tastes. For more details, visit For corporate events enquiries, contact 01732 897436 For conferences and meetings contact 01732 523781


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

LAT Enterprises is able to offer such a variety of venues including Lecture Theatres, Theatrical Space, Boardrooms, Halls, Hydrotherapy Pool, Sports Halls, Classrooms, Fields, Floodlit Artificial Playing Surfaces, Tennis Courts and much more. With premises in Dartford, Longfield, Wilmington, New Ash Green, Paddock Wood and Maidstone, the opportunity to hold your event, function or exhibition at a venue of your choice is only a phone call away. If the spaces are amazing (check out our website at then the hire charges are even better, competitively priced with discounts for community and long term bookings. Each school is unique and our services range from a simple hire of space for meetings or sport, to fully serviced events. Whichever service you require, you can be confident that you will benefit from our desire to ensure your hire needs are handled by our fully professional venue management service. With many repeat clients who have benefitted from our venues for years, we know it’s about establishing a relationship. If you would like to have an initial conversation we would be delighted to hear from you, our contact details are below. Email: Website: Telephone: 01474 700 719

Social Enterprise Kent - Conference Centre Facilities

Social Enterprise Kent are offering their new meeting rooms and training facilities for the local community to hire. Social Enterprise Kent have recently relocated to new offices and training facilities in Herne Bay, and are now offering a range of newly refurbished meeting rooms for other organisations and the local community to hire.

The facilities on offer are located in Herne Bay close to the A299 with easy access from London, Thanet and Canterbury. They include two large training rooms that can be hired separately, or combined to form a large conference room with the capacity for up to 70 people. In addition to this, there are two smaller meeting rooms. Space within this conference centre will be available 7 days a week, and additional facilities include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, refreshments and free parking. Social Enterprise Kent is a multi-disciplinary social venture, which actively creates trading profit for re-investment into socially-beneficial activities. This conference facility has been designed for use by the local community, and income generated will be reinvested into activities in line with their founding charter of “Improving lives, supporting communities”. More details of the facilities, including photographs, can be found online at Organisations wishing to enquire about availability of the facilities, or to make a booking, should in the first instance contact the marketing team on or via 01227 469970.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Getting the planning right

Anyone in business will tell you that, despite the rapid advances in communications technology, face-to-face contact remains the best way of bringing in new contracts and retaining existing ones.

Email and hand-held communications may be transforming the world in which we live but the human touch remains important. For many business people, the place to create and cement those personal contacts is at conferences; humans still have a fundamental need to look each other in the eye when communicating despite the rapid growth of the Internet. The conferences and event sector is booming at the moment, creating jobs and bringing investment to a wide range of venues. An industry which employs more than 550,000 people, the UK events sector is estimated to contribute more than £36 billion to the UK economy each year with the Business Visits and Events Partnership having forecast that the figure will grow to £48.4 billion by 2020. The main reason for the sector’s success, according to industry experts, is its ability to constantly try out new


things while never losing touch with the needs of its clients, including providing the human touch. The key to making such events a success is spending a little time choosing the right venue and making sure that you get the right support from its staff. Even if that may mean paying a little extra, it is money well spent because it does not make sense to cut corners when such an approach could make your event less than effective. There are few things more embarrassing for

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

an event organiser than to see it unravel in front of them because they skimped on the planning - and a cheap venue will inevitably look cheap, presenting a poor image of the organiser’s organisation. When assessing the venue you are looking for a number of other important factors. Can the venue cope with the numbers expected to attend, has it got a good meeting room, will it provide equipment like projectors and Internet access, are the staff friendly and flexible in helping you meet your needs? If the answers to those questions are yes then the event is likely to be a success. The good venues are the ones that can tailor themselves to providing the exact needs of the event organisers and are prepared to be flexible, be it for a conference, event or exhibition. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce meets all these criteria because it has excellent conferencing and training facilities that can accommodate small meetings to large conferences, from 2-100 delegates. Various room layouts are available including boardroom, theatre and cabaret and the purpose-built facility is the ideal location for all your business events both large and small. The facility is ideally situated just

south of the M20 Junction 10 and just two miles from the Ashford International train station. Facilities include: • Rooms to accommodate from 2 - 100 • A comprehensive catering and refreshment service • All audio and visual equipment available to hire • Ample FREE and safe car parking • FREE Wifi • Air conditioning (Conference room/Lille room) • A friendly and welcoming ambience

Room hire prices start from £115.00 for smaller rooms up to £335.00 for the largest room for a full day hire. Half day or evening event prices are available on request. Refreshments and catering are available, prices starting from £1.45 for tea and coffee. All our prices exclude VAT. Discounts for Chamber Members and regular users For further information, including prices and availability, please call 01233 503838 or email

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce meets all these criteria because it has excellent conferencing and training facilities that can accommodate small meetings to large conferences, from 2-100 delegates.


Wesley School Road, (off Cuckoo Lane) Singleton, Ashford, Kent TN23 5LW Tel: 01233 666 519 Website: Email:

Kent venue offers a good conference experience Let’s face it, who actually looks forward to going to conferences?

Singleton Environment Centre

Unless, of course it is an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas most delegates face a day in some generic hotel followed by a tedious journey home on some rush hour crowded motorway. However, there is an alternative and it’s in Kent. A conference at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit offers all the facilities that you’d expect of any well respected conference venue but with the bonus that it overlooks the iconic woodland race circuit on which Formula 1 stars like Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button cut their teeth as youngsters. Add an exclusive karting session to your conference and your guests will not only queue up for invitations to your conference but also talk about it for weeks afterward. This need not break the budget either as costs for a simple kart race for up to 35 drivers will cost little more than an evening meal in a reasonable hotel or restaurant.

Insurance giant AMLIN have held events at Buckmore for many years and Alistair Morris of that multinational company says: “It’s a venue that works well for a range of activities from small groups through to corporate days and is fantastic for hosting networking events. The organisational support is top notch and helps ensure our guests always have a great time. “For the past five years the venue has successfully hosted our annual charity karting day. It’s a tremendous success and we find the competitive nature of the event helps ensure we raise a healthy sum for the charities we support.” With a variety of suites available, all the peripherals you need for a successful conference, full catering facilities plus a great location just off the M2 and M20 motorways make Buckmore Park Karting the ideal venue for your next conference.

It’s a venue that works well for a range of activities from small groups through to corporate days and is fantastic for hosting networking events.

The Singleton Environment Centre is built with sustainability at its core and everything about the centre is eco-friendly. It is managed by The Conservation Volunteers, the UK’s leading environmental conservation volunteering charity, in partnership with Ashford Borough Council. The award winning Singleton Environment Centre offers your meeting, function or event the chance to be as environmentally friendly as possible with prices that don’t cost the earth and offers a truly different venue for your event. Singleton Environment Centre is conveniently located close to Ashford town centre with excellent transport links. All the rooms are on a single level with full disabled access, natural daylight, low energy lighting, natural ventilation and bio-mass heating systems.

Hornbeam Room & Rowan Room are supplied with tables and chairs which can be laid out in various configurations depending on requirements • Hornbeam Room dimensions 57.5m2 max. capacity 60 • Rowan Room dimensions 47.5m2 max. capacity 20 • Hornbeam and Rowan combined 105m2 max. capacity 100 • Yew Room dimensions 13m2 suitable for up to 4 people Our room hire rates are very competitive and the Centre is available for bookings all the year round - we will be happy to advise you for your specific event. Room hire is VAT exempt but VAT will be charged on additional services. Additional facilities available include free secure cctv monitored car parking, high speed wi-fi throughout the building, data projectors, screens, flipcharts, lectern, laptop, colour copying service. The on-site caterers “Footprints Café/Bistro” offer a high quality local and seasonal produce. The café is open through the day, Tuesday to Sunday for delegates to purchase their own food and drinks if required, as well as to the Public. We are a member of the Kent Conference Bureau, Ashford & Tenterden Tourism Association and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and provide a regular venue hire to the County Council, NHS and host of other public and community sector organisations. Visit our website for more information and to submit an enquiry or call in for a visit and see for yourself. We look forward to welcoming you soon to the Singleton Environment Centre.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS





ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

25 years of success and counting for accountants! When Ian Steadman left university in 1981 having excelled in economics, he seemed set for a career in the City.

However, within a decade he had become joint founder of an accounting practice in Kent and this year it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Right from the beginning, we decided that we wanted the business to achieve controlled growth. We did not want to adopt a risky or aggressive strategy in competing for larger corporate clients, we wanted instead to build long-term relationships and goodwill.

Ian, a founding partner of BSR Bespoke Chartered Accountants, began his journey to businessman when he graduated from the University of Wales in 1981 with a joint honours degree in Economics and Accountancy, having also won the university’s economics prize for that year. Having previously gained a year’s experience in a small accounting practice in Sevenoaks between A-levels and his degree course, he decided to take up an offer of a training contract with global company Deloittes in London.


Our experience is that businesses need their accountants even more during hard times and that clients will always benefit from expert financial and taxation advice.

Keith Buckland on the left, receiving a gold watch from Ian Steadman as a retirement present last month at the 25th anniversary celebration at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel.

Ian recalled: “My mindset at the time was that I wanted to seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being trained by one of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms. “I was aware that I needed to acquire experience of how big companies operated, though as time progressed I changed my mind about working in the city in the long-term. “I was still living in Sevenoaks at the time and, after commuting into London for several years and enjoying getting back into the countryside at the end of each day, I decided to find a smaller, rural practice to work with.” That decision eventually led him to help establish a new practice in September 1990, based in The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells. Ian and fellow partner Keith Buckland have been at the helm throughout, with Andrew Roberts joining in partnership in 1998, followed by Stephen Pocock in 2000 and Neil Looseley in 2008. However, at the recent 25th birthday celebrations, Keith stood down as senior partner to retire into a consultancy role.

Ian said: “Right from the beginning, we decided that we wanted the business to achieve controlled growth. We did not want to adopt a risky or aggressive strategy in competing for larger corporate clients, we wanted instead to build long-term relationships and goodwill. “That approach remains important to us. For instance, if we have clients who hit hard times but who have been loyal to us and will recover with our assistance, we will do everything we can to support them through tough times because we want to have them and their families as clients for years to come.” BSR Bespoke’s growth has been based mainly on its reputation for looking after the requirements of family and owner-managed businesses, helping them to realise their financial potential by providing proactive business and taxation advice. Specialities include international taxation, management consultancy, business and share valuations, developing efficient information systems, succession planning, personal taxation planning and even probate work.

Ian said: “We are seeing confidence returning to the economy now but we maintained our growth during the recent recession as well. “Our experience is that businesses need their accountants even more during hard times and that clients will always benefit from expert financial and taxation advice.” Another growth area is the provision of tax advice for non-UK residents and overseas nationals residing in the UK. Ian said: “Ex-pats tend to hold on to financial interests in the UK, typically properties which they rent out, and our role is to help them keep their tax affairs straight and efficient in this country as well as advising on how UK taxation interacts with the tax regime in the country where they live. It’s interesting and rewarding work.” BSR Bespoke remains ambitious. Ian said; “We are seeking to grow further and are increasing our profile accordingly. This involves more marketing and particularly more networking, which is why we have just joined the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.

“Some of my partners, like myself, are in their mid-fifties but we still have the desire to grow and we are bringing through younger people, including Jonathan Parsons who has just become an equity partner in the practice. “Jonathan, who initially came to the firm as a graduate and who trained with us, is a dynamic person who wants to help us to develop the business. We have other talented young people coming through and our future looks very bright indeed, particularly as we have a high quality loyal client base, many of whom have been with us for a great many years. Indeed, a significant number were with us on day one 25 years ago! “We will continue with our ethos of providing highly professional services to business and private clients alike at a fair mid-market price, with an emphasis on building long-term relationships in which a high level of understanding and mutual trust ensures that our clients obtain the maximum benefit of our expertise and care.”

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



The Economy & Us: Short of Know-How? As the UK struggles to regain its precrunch productivity level, throughout 2015 we’ve seen a record number of Kent businesses struggle to find suitably skilled job applicants. This matters because in the latest three Quarters of the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey, half the members polled have tried to hire staff. The chart on the left shows a rising trend. Quarter 1 saw 75% of those who tried to hire report difficulty finding suitable applicants already a record: then 79% in Q2, followed by 84% in Q3 (fieldwork September). If 50% try to hire, and 80% of these experience difficulty, then 4 Chamber respondents in 10 are struggling to hire staff (50% x 80% = 40%). Among these would-be-hirers the greatest difficulty has been in sourcing the right skilled manual/ technical and the right professional/ managerial applicants. This means that this year, 1 in 4 Chamber respondents are struggling to bring these value-adding skills into their business.

More immediately, make time to approach the institutions that teach the skills you want to hire. If they understand and trust you they may well recommend suitable jobseekers, from previous years’ cohorts as well as today’s. The good news: MidKent College are now offering level 3 and 4 qualifications, and already offer some recruitment help to prospective employers. Medway UTC should increase the skilled labour pool, too.

Is yours one of the 50% of businesses trying to take on more staff? Then what can you do? It's certainly worth joining the current clamour of City notables telling the Government that the UK can’t afford to bar skilled foreigners from coming/staying here to work. And, when consultation starts in a few months on the Government’s two options for a new Lower Thames Crossing, lobby for the option via Rochester (not Dartford!) so we can extend our catchment area North of the Thames into Essex/ East London/ East Anglia.

Perhaps the most important change, however, needs to be in ourselves. In a world where many youngsters are too cool to learn much of practical value, where schools are financially incentivised to hang on to their students after GCSE – including those who might do better to leave and learn job skills – our own example is paramount. We have to be open to the uncomfortable truth of our own limitations, finding advisers/ teachers whom we can trust, not just to adapt to the shifting present but to anticipate the shifting future.

Seeing us develop ourselves for the uncertain future is what will best awaken the thirst for know-how in our children, our colleagues and our friends.

Nick Rowell Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email:

MidKent College are now offering level 3 and 4 qualifications, and are ambitious to expand their footprint; already they offer some recruitment help to prospective employers. Medway UTC should increase the skilled labour pool, too.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Get your business off on the right legal start To become your own boss and starting a new company is a very exciting time. Once you have your business ideas and objectives, it is important not to get carried away and overlook the key legal steps you need to take when setting up. Firstly, you need to consider how your business will be structured. Do you intend to operate as a sole trader, a traditional partnership, a limited liability partnership or a limited company? If you are going it alone, setting up as a sole trader may seem the easiest and most straightforward option. However, in the long run it could leave you vulnerable and if decide to grow and expand you will be personally responsible if your business is sued or goes bankrupt. The great advantage of being a limited liability partnership or a limited company is that your personal assets are unlikely to be called upon to satisfy any of the business liabilities. You will, however, have to comply with the legal formalities of running such entities, which will have cost implications, and there will also be tax considerations to be addressed. Take notice of trademarks. Before naming your business, do a quick Internet search to make sure that no one else is using the name and that it will not be infringing on someone else’s trademark, as this can prevent potential disputes over who has rights to the name in the future. Equally, make sure you trademark any unique products or services to prevent others from supplying them without your consent. Find out if you will require a licence. Whilst most are aware that a licence is required to sell alcohol, taxi firms, pet shops, hairdressers, food outlets, tattooists and child-minders will also need to ensure they have appropriate licences before they can start running. Finally, if you are going into business with someone else, you should always enter into an agreement with them setting out matters such as how the business should be run, how the finances should be dealt with and what you may withdraw from the business. It is import to decide these matters at the start while you are still friends because, if things go wrong, it may be costly to extract yourself and your finances. For further advice or information on setting up a new business, Sarah Astley can be contacted at or visit


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Providing a fitting commemoration Conceived as a simple place of remembrance for the heroes of the Battle of Britain, the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-leFerne in Kent has grown in importance over the years and is welcoming increasing numbers of visitors. This year’s opening of The Wing, which includes a high-tech audiovisual ‘experience’ telling the tale of the Battle, is the latest development at what is rapidly becoming one of Kent’s leading tourist attractions. The new facilities at the Spitfireshaped Wing building make it an ideal location for meetings and evening corporate events. The Memorial, a carving of a stone airman looking out across the Channel, sits on top of Kent’s famous White Cliffs just outside Folkestone. Since being unveiled in 1993, the airman has been joined by other features, including full-sized replicas of a Hurricane and Spitfire and the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists the names of the fewer-than 3,000 men awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp.

In 2010, as the 70th anniversary of the Battle drew to a close, the Trust came up with the idea of building a new visitors’ centre that would tell the story of the Battle long after the veterans – the men Churchill called ‘the Few’ - were no longer here to tell it. The late Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC, then life vice president of the Trust and chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, used a mechanical digger to begin

work on the centre, which opened this year and features a classroom area as well as The Scramble Experience. The new building, which features stunning views over the Channel from the balcony of The Wing, can be hired for corporate events. The Memorial is open every day and is free to visit, although there is a charge to visit The Scramble Experience.

Excellent results for Team SEC It’s been a busy couple of months at SEC Signworks as the summer draws to a close, everyone wants to get their new signage whilst the weather is still fair. Here are just a few of the projects we’ve been working on...

The first primary sign goes up at Club Chemistry in all of its built-up aluminium, powder-coated glory. Also, the panel behind the logo is a 2.5 metre wide x 3.5 metre high, digitally printed ACM panel, one of twelve that we have made for this phase of the project. Bring on Phase 2!

& returned the finished unit 2 days later. The customer said: “Looks great. Thanks for the fast turnaround. I will have some more of these to do soon”. As much as we love new customers at SEC HQ, we love returning customers even more!

At Team SEC we like happy customers, especially those that return with more work for us. We This new customer gave us a PopUp ‘Taster’ Counter & wanted it vinyl also like businesses that are happy wrapped including the top & bottom to give us a chance to use our inhouse creative skills & experience. tray panel, which were white moulded ABS plastic. They also gave ARA Environmental Solutions just us the artwork & we printed, matt ticked all of these boxes & we think sealed, applied the graphics that the results are just excellent!

A-board signs with weatherproof poster holders? Not a problem, thank you for asking! We can provide these with A1 & A2 poster holders (594mm wide x 840mm high & 420mm wide x 594mm high). Here is a nice A2 example for Regency Independent Financial Advisors.

Please remember you can find details of all our services at or by visiting our Facebook page secsignworks


Bewl Water to get new lease of life thanks to Markerstudy Group

As part of Markerstudy Group’s strategy to create a substantial leisure division and an enduring legacy in Kent, it has acquired the lease to operate at Bewl Water Country Park. Announcing the decision, Louise Clark, Managing Director of Markerstudy Leisure, said: “Bewl Water is a hugely exciting project, and complements our existing portfolio of leisure activities in West Kent. “We are keen to maximise the potential of the beautiful 1,000 acre site, and ensure it maintains its position as one of the most idyllic and versatile ‘go to’ locations. As the largest stretch of open water in the South East, Bewl attracts families and friends to enjoy time together and participate in a host of exhilarating recreational activities, on land and on water.” Contracts were exchanged on 11 September, with completion agreed for January 2016. Louise Clark added: “We will be developing our plans over the

coming months and given the substantial investment that will be put in place, Markerstudy Group will be working closely with visitors, clubs, residents and the borough council to ensure that Bewl Water prospers and continues to play a key role in boosting the West Kent economy.

The acquisition will see Bewl Water Country Park join Markerstudy Leisure’s portfolio of Salomons Estate, One Warwick Park Hotel (formerly The Brew House Hotel), Next Dimension Gymnastics Academy, ‘So’ Magazines Tunbridge Wells, Times of Tunbridge Wells and Zenith Aviation.

Take control of your overdue debts with Debtchaser Ltd Debtchaser Limited is run by seasoned debt collection professionals in conjunction with experience accountants and law firms. We collect your problem debts while you concentrate on running your business - leaving the problem of chasing your cash flow to us! Using recently introduced powerful legislations brought in across Europe, we can now leverage your debtors to pay quickly using our polite but firm credit control techniques. The only cost to your company will be agreed and fixed in advance of us taking on the task recovering your undisputed debt on a no win no fee basis. We can offer you support, training and advice on all matters for effective credit management, helping you reduce your ‘debtor days’. Two regular questions we ask are; are you struggling to keep your debtor days under control and are your accounts team spending too much time chasing unpaid invoices? If you answer yes to either question, you can consider outsourcing these tasks to Debtchaser Limited. NO WIN NO FEE We are working hard to change the perception and experiences you may have had with other debt recovery companies. We are so confident that if a debt is collectable, we will collect it without upfront fees, letter writing fees, call charges or yearly contracts – so when we say no fee – we mean exactly that. On this basis, we collect the vast majority of all debts that are assigned to us without the need for costly legal process.



Take control of your overdue debts with Debt Chaser Limited. Debt Chaser will collect your undisputed debt on a No Win - No Fee basis and the only cost to your company will be agreed in advance coming from the monies collected only. We offer

• commercial debt recovery

• genuine no win no fee

• free debt approval

• no upfront fees

• tracing

• credit reports

• director reports

• terms & conditions

• litigation services

Debt Chaser collects your problem debts while you concentrate on running your business - leaving the problem of chasing your cash flow to us!

Debt Chaser Ltd Sun Pier House, Medway Street, Chatham, Kent. ME4 4HF T 01634 650048 •


October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Come and see what’s happening on Britain’s Enterprise Coast!

Invest in Dover at MIPIM UK 21-23 October 2015 (Stand E25)

The Enterprise Coast – Dover, Deal and Sandwich – is being transformed with multi-million pound investments in town centre and waterfront regeneration, a major development of Dover’s Western Docks, a Master Plan for further development of the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich, and the creation of the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks near Deal. Alongside plans for 10,000 new homes it represents the biggest investment in a generation, all just an hour from London by highspeed train! Nowhere is closer to European markets with the Port of Dover handling £100bn worth of trade and over 13 million passengers annually. With ferry services to Calais and Dunkerque operating 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, more and more companies are choosing to relocate to the Enterprise Coast. Multipanel UK reshored its high-tech manufacturing operation from China to Dover in 2012 thanks to its excellent transport links with Europe and the rest of the UK. The company’s £12m factory at Eythorne near Dover has recently moved to 24 hour production to meet demand. The Port of Dover is expanding too, with a £200m capital programme including £80m to transform the Eastern Docks ferry terminal, and £120m plans to redevelop the Western Docks to provide new cargo berths and a port-centric distribution facility. Creating over 600 new jobs, there are also plans for a new


ThinkingBusiness August - September

marina and waterfront development. Dover Harbour Board is working with Bride Hall Real Estate Partners on a mixed-use waterfront development, with plans to link up with the £60m St James’s town centre scheme being developed by Dover District Council and its development partner, Bond City Ltd. Work is underway on the demolition of Burlington House in Dover town centre to make way for the St James’s development. Demolition of the 1950s tower block is symbolic of the town’s regeneration. In its place will be 120,000 sq. ft. of new retail and leisure space, including a 6-screen Cineworld multiplex cinema and a 108-bed Travelodge hotel. Retail and restaurant tenants already signed up for the development include M&S, Next, Bella Italia and Frankie & Benny’s. The development will create over 500 new jobs. Investments in skills and training are also being delivered to match employers’ needs. Construction of a £6.5m Maritime Skills Academy is currently underway in Dover. Developed by Viking Recruitment, the facility will feature state-of-the-art training facilities for maritime employers, including a survival pool, bridge and engine room simulators, hospitality training, and conference facilities. East Kent College meanwhile has invested £2.9m in their Dover campus to support vocational training in engineering, construction trades, and tourism.

East Kent College is also developing their science curriculum from their new HQ at the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich. Europe’s largest science and technology hub, Discovery Park is home to over 115 companies and 2,200 employees. Alongside major pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, are a myriad of life science and biotech companies, supported by an ever growing business services community in an innovation cluster. Facilities include research and development laboratories and specialist niche manufacturing facilities, commercial office space and warehouse solutions. Genea Biomedx of Australia chose Discovery Park as its European HQ and the first ever IVF media manufacturing facility in the UK. A Master Plan for the further development of Discovery Park is expected to be submitted to Dover District Council in Autumn 2015. Science and technology of a different nature will be a core part of the development of the 121 hectare Betteshanger Sustainable Parks by the Hadlow Group. This unique £40m project on the site of a former coal mine will combine a 21st century environmental complex providing

office and micro-business incubation units for food technology, agriculture, and sustainable energy, with education, eco-tourism and heritage. The first phase is currently under construction with the creation of a Visitor Centre, incorporating the Kent Mining Heritage Museum, Green Energy Centre, café, conferencing facilities, and cycling centre at the Betteshanger Country Park. Dover District Council is the first local authority in East Kent to have a full Local Development Framework following adoption of its Land Allocations Local Plan (LALP). Together with the Council’s Core Strategy this gives developers certainty about land identified for potential development for the next 20 years.

For more information on doing business on the Enterprise Coast, visit: or follow us on Twitter @InvestInDover


The truth behind Operation Stack 1. What is Operation Stack? Operation Stack is an emergency procedure implemented by Kent Police to ‘stack’ coast-bound cross-Channel freight traffic on parts of the M20 motorway. Stack is activated when there is a significant blockage to the flow of cross-Channel freight traffic beyond the control of the Port that results in demand for space at either the Channel Tunnel or Port of Dover Ferry Terminal outstripping their parking capacity, resulting in traffic backing up onto the surrounding road network. It has been needed during times of stress such as:• Strike action in Calais • Extreme weather conditions • Channel Tunnel problems (e.g. migrant incursions, line failure etc) The events of June and July 2015 represent a unique set of circumstances (a combination of strike action in Calais relating to the demise of MyFerryLink and significant mass migrant incursions into the secure area of the French side of the Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles in France) that forced an unprecedented number of implementations of Operation Stack in a short period of time. The implementation of Stack in July 2015 required the closure of the M20 for a combined length of 36 miles both coast bound and London bound in order to hold up to 7000 freight vehicles for up to 36 hours. The disruption was so severe that a further two phases of Operation Stack had to be conceived to accommodate the sheer number of freight vehicles. 2. What has the Port of Dover been doing to help keep traffic moving during the recently challenging period? During Operation Stack, the Port has had staff members at Stack labelling and dispatching freight vehicles to the Port. The Port of Dover Police have been at the Eastern Docks and other local roundabouts keeping traffic congestion to a minimum for the local community and sending unlabelled ferry-bound freight vehicles to the back of Stack to maintain Stack’s integrity. The Port’s operations team remained in very close contact with Kent Police to ensure that Stack and the Port were operating as efficiently as possible. The Port’s comms team was in regular contact with Stack partners to coordinate and issue regular information via its

website (, dedicated Twitter feed (@PoD_travelnews) and through the media. The Port has also been working closely with Kent Police, Highways England, trade associations and Kent councils as part of a strategic group to put forward a unified approach on solutions and alternatives to Operation Stack. 3. How is the Port working to improve the situation going forward? The Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel are the gateway to Europe from the UK; in 2014 almost 2.4 million cars and over 2.4 million freight vehicles passed through the Port of Dover and almost 2.6 million cars and over 1.4 million freight vehicles passed through the Channel Tunnel, giving a combined total of almost 4 million freight vehicles making this journey per annum. In terms of average daily flows this is the equivalent of over 10,000 freight vehicles per day, all of which passes through Kent on the Trans-European Network (TEN-T). Over the last 20 years, the number of goods vehicles travelling from the UK to mainland Europe has increased by 83%; this growth is expected to continue with predictions for the average daily demand for freight movements passing through Kent to increase from 10,000 vehicles per day currently to between 14,000 and 16,000 per day in the next decade. These are average figures and flows at peak periods could be even higher. In addition to its on-going operational commitments and in response to anticipated traffic growth, the Port has been investing heavily in projects that will help improve the capacity and efficiency of the Port and keep traffic moving. Traffic Management Improvement (TMI) Project TMI will improve the resilience of the Port operation and reduce congestion on the external road network through a new holding area at the Eastern Docks Ferry Terminal for up to 220 freight vehicles (equivalent to almost four kilometres of traffic). TMI has received European funding in recognition of its importance and is due to be completed at the end of 2015. Dover Western Docks Revival By developing the Western Docks, the Port can move its general cargo operation out of the Eastern Docks and as a result create a dedicated ferry

terminal. This provides opportunity to create around six kilometres of additional holding capacity for freight vehicles within the Eastern Docks, thereby delivering 10km in total along with the existing TMI project. An increase over existing capacity of some 50%, this shows the lengths the Port is going to in order to provide adequate capacity to handle growing freight volumes and provide further headroom at times of operational stress. The Port has already committed £85 million to the upgrade of the Eastern Docks and the revival of the Western Docks has seen the Port commit a further £120 million, its biggest ever single investment. Recently, the Port received further EU funding to help deliver this key project.

handle over 1,000 freight vehicles. The A2 scheme could extend from the Lydden Hill junction (the last section of dual carriageway) northwards to the Bridge junction and could hold 640 LGVs. Both options directly feed Dover and would be particularly beneficial for local hauliers who currently have to travel some 40 miles to join the back of Stack. Keeping the Port’s traffic closer to the intended departure point reduces lorry miles, air pollution and is more efficient. Whilst the Port will continue to work positively with partners in operating the new Manston scheme as and when required, it believes other options may have considerable benefits for local hauliers, the Port, Stack, and the residents of Dover and Thanet.

Alternative Stack idea for the Port As part of its positive participation with partners looking at alternative Stack solutions, the Port conducted its own detailed examination of options that could work for the Port and Kent. Two options worthy of further exploration were identified; either utilising a section of the A256 dual carriageway or the A2 at Lydden Hill. The A256 has a substantial section of under-utilised dual carriageway that runs between Dover and Eastry and could

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Creating opportunities Growth Rings is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to wood. As a fourth generation saw miller, Mike Managh grew up in New Zealand and worked in the family business established by his great grandfather.

Experts in recruitment

APOS Recruitment is a specialist recruitment agency based in Kent placing candidates in to Accountancy, Payroll and Office Support roles on a Permanent, Contract or Temporary basis and Full Time or Part Time.

Having worked in various industries including Recruitment, Insurance, Media, Construction, Travel, Transport and Education APOS was established in January 2014 by Rob Clewley, a qualified ACCA Chartered Accountant. It was decided to specialise in the roles that Rob had either carried out himself or worked alongside people that had carried out these roles. The entire Finance function is covered by APOS from the Office Junior to the Finance Director and also includes roles such as Purchase/Sales Ledger Clerks, Credit Controllers, Management Accountants and Finance Managers etc. The Audit areas of Finance are also covered including Audit/Tax Managers, Seniors, Semi-Seniors, Bookkeepers and Trainees. As well as Finance and Accountancy roles APOS also recruit for Payroll and HR roles including Payroll/HR Managers, Assistants, Advisers and Clerks. Office Support staff are also placed in roles including PA’s, Secretaries, Receptionists, Admin Staff, and Office and Facilities Managers. Placement fees are very competitive with Permanent and Contract fees starting at just 10% and only rising to a maximum of 12%. Temporary staff fees are also reasonably priced at just 15%.


Growth Rings is a Community Interest Company set up to create beautifully crafted quality wooden products while providing training and employment opportunities. From handcrafted oak flooring, furniture and decorative homeware to a range of garden furniture, benches, picnic tables, arches, gazebos, screens and planters to chef boards and sharing platters, the range is all carefully designed and beautifully crafted. Growth Rings recently acquired a 260mm wide Weinig planer moulder machine with which they have expanded the services that they can offer. They can provide contract machining for hardwood and softwood,

long production runs and small batch runs, standard and bespoke profiles, etc. They can add value to your operations and activities with timber selection and specification, sawing to order, machining to a fine finish and accuracy, offer a quick turnaround service, all with competitive pricing. Growth Rings “social purpose” is to provide an opportunity for people who have been unemployed for long periods, ex-offenders, the homeless and ex-substance abusers to learn skills and to find work. They provide training and employment opportunities for people experiencing barriers to work or learning in East Kent, but in particular Folkestone, Hythe and on the Romney Marsh.

Improving Financial Inclusion for future generations Let’s help young people Figures show that 84% of adults felt they left full-time school without the skills and knowledge to manage personal finances. Isn’t it time to make financial education the norm? At Dom Education, we believe that when you empower one young person with the right financial capability, this knowledge will extend to their family, friends, colleagues, and future generations. With our financial training courses are fun, interactive, pitched at the right age groups, you can. Our aim is to arm young people with the financial knowledge and capabilities to avert financial exclusion and build a financially stable future. Two sisters – One idea Dom Education Group is Diana and Debbie – two sisters with some big ideas. It was Debbie's son who first embedded the concept of financial education into their minds. As a professional football player he needed some good advice on his income

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Making the case for the case study

Businesses looking to attract new clients should battle the British reluctance to blow one’s own trumpet.

Client case studies are a great way to do so, writes Simon Robinson, Account Manager at Quantum Public Relations. Simple and well-structured client case studies can provide businesses with an incredibly effective marketing tool. That’s because they enable businesses to convert the often sales-heavy information usually contained on the ‘about us’ and ‘services’ pages of their websites into real-life, practical examples.

– quickly. It seems that school didn't teach this stuff. By taking control, Debbie was able to secure his future. Domeg was born; beginning its life as an advisory service for young sports-people. Debbie soon recruited her sister Diana. Diana was a compelling credible course developer and trainer. Together they have built on Domeg's beginnings and developed courses to suit everyone from primary school aged children through to those entering retirement. Our ethos Our long term aim is for debt among the young to be unusual. We want older people to enter their retirement with a clear picture of their pension income and how they will survive.

This can help assure potential customers that the high quality services you profess to provide are being delivered as promised to other customers. Here are five ways in which a case study can help you win new business: 1 They allow you to demonstrate your business’ experience and USPs in a clear, concise and relatable way. 2 Case studies give you the opportunity to further demonstrate the intangible strengths of your business. This can be achieved through detailing how you went above and beyond or managed an unexpected issue to achieve or exceed the agreed result for the client. 3 They provide you with a platform to maximise the effectiveness of a client testimonial or endorsement. 4 By placing a range of case studies on your website, visitors will be able to quickly understand the various sectors you work in and the services you provide. 5 Case studies make excellent additions to business credential documents and can be tailored for each potential new client either by industry or discipline.


Ask the Expert Q

Can the land owned by our business be made to work harder for us?


Tim Allen



Company: Peter Brett Associates Web:



07771 820732

We come across business owners all the time who are unknowing property speculators. Their businesses have invested money in owning premises or land, and most of them have effectively written it off as a necessary cost of running the firm. This can mean serious capital tied up in an essentially illiquid asset. It probably has a book value which can be helpful on the accounts, but even then can catch out the unwary. Tesco suffered the biggest loss in UK corporate history when reality kicked in and they had to write down their property portfolio to more realistic levels. But for most businesses the book value is probably set at the purchase price, whenever that was, and the land is effectively overlooked as a workable asset. It’s just the place where we all come to work! However it is viewed, it is a reality that land is a finite asset, and there are lots of people hunting for it in the south-east of England. So how should business owners who own their own premises view this potential asset and just how difficult is it to turn it into cash? Land can be a tricky beast to manage. The trouble is that you can do things to it that adversely affect the value like contaminating it with noxious substances. And some of these

things can be done all too easily - or even inadvertently. Some of them might be legitimate by-products of the business itself! Conversely, trying to add value to land is time consuming, risky and can be expensive. Tackling the planning system can be a minefield for the unwary and inexperienced, and is usually too onerous for busy business owners to contemplate. And even if success can be achieved with the planning process, how does this fit into the wider business planning if the site is the base for operations, or manufacture or is otherwise operational? We reckon that including the land and property portfolio of the firm as an inherent part of business planning is important. Getting the strategy right for the way land assets are considered and managed by a business no matter what the business does, can be crucial to releasing funds and resources. Done well, in sympathy with business objectives, it can open the way to businesses taking control of their futures, allowing them to expand, re-locate or diversify and potentially generate their own resources to do it. There can be a range of approaches to dealing with the premises issue, and understanding what the business is usually quite literally sitting on.

This is about de-mystifying the site by finding out if it has inherent opportunities due to location, land quality, likelihood of contamination and so on. On occasion we have come across sites that have been made ripe for development by the impenetrable planning system, but unknown to the owner. Whatever the state of the site, having a current valuation is only ever the starting point. Establishing the real value to the business in terms of hope and opportunity in the future needs an understanding of planning and specialist technical issues, set in a business context. Adding value to the land asset can be an enlightening experience for business owners. The prospect of an asset that they considered to be impossible to make liquid being crystallised to the benefit of the Business Plan can be eye-opening. At PBA we have worked with all sorts of businesses over the years to enhance their land asset base, and help the owners to understand it better. We suspect that there are numerous other businesses across Kent and East Sussex who own premises, but have never thought of making their land assets part of their strategic business planning. It would be fascinating to be able to talk to them and understand why!

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Quality office services

We currently have 31 centres across Southern England, Midlands, East Anglia and Wales, five of which are in Kent, which provide over 102,000 sq ft of flexible workspace to local businesses in the area. Basepoint Business Centres provide a wide range of quality, cost-effective, managed and serviced offices, alongside different types of flexible office space designed to suit all companies. All offices are available on our Easy In Easy Out flexible 2 week rolling contracts and we can also offer longer term commitments from 6 month contracts to 5 year leases. However, we also understand that physical workspace is not always required, so at Basepoint we also offer a range of Virtual Office products to suit all types of businesses. With some Virtual Offices services are limited to a business address and a phone number, with perhaps an answering service but at Basepoint our Virtual Offices also provide a range of additional services that give you access to break out areas, WiFi and discounted meeting room rates.


Our serviced meetings rooms are available from just £10 an hour and can accommodate 2 to 100 people depending on the Centre. Meeting rooms are available for booking by managed office and workshop licensees who may require extra meeting space, users of our virtual offices whenever they need a physical space to meet clients, or other individuals and businesses on an ad hoc basis. In addition to our range of business services, at Basepoint we aim to provide the right infrastructure and environment which encourages and nurtures business growth not only within the centres but also in the local community. All our centres go beyond simply ‘housing’ businesses by actively encouraging intercompany development and trading, as well as holding regular free networking events for licensees and the wider business community.

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

Basepoint also takes corporate social responsibility very seriously, and through its centres and licensees, supports charities in the local community. This is further supported with match funding from The ACT Foundation

(, a leading UK grant-making charity, meaning 100% of its profits are put back into charity and helping those who need it most, such as the disabled and the disadvantaged.


Getting Started Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? My Working Life provides career management and development support to individuals and organisations. We do this by providing up-to-date tools to motivate people to take responsibility for their career development and make sense of the world of work. We focus on three areas: personal development, interpersonal skills and understanding the business environment. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? Most career services help people find out what career they want and how to get the right job. My Working Life takes over at the point that people have a job to help them proactively manage their career

development. We give them practical steps to take that will improve their employability skills, job performance and career prospects. We also enhance in-house training programmes for organisations that want to invest in their employees and support their development. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? The idea for My Working Life was sparked off by a conversation with a young mentee about his actual experience of work compared to his expectations. Despite having some work experience he felt unprepared. His confidence faltered a few months into the job when he realised the gap in his knowledge and a lack of understanding of the working environment. What made it more difficult was not knowing who to turn to for advice. I decided to find out more and realised that whilst people could easily get help and support to find a job, many needed somewhere to turn to when they were actually in work.

Name: Company Name: Start up Date: Website:

Jayne Gould My Working Life 1 October 2013

They wanted to know how to build on their existing skills and deal with issues and problems when they arose. We created a service to provide the necessary tools and information on line. Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? No two days are the same and I have developed skills in areas that I would not have experienced when I worked in the corporate world!! I also enjoy the autonomy when it comes to making decisions although this can be nerve-wracking as well! Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? Gaining my first business client who used the resources at My Working Life to support an in house training programme. That was a very exciting moment! We now work with individuals and organisations to enhance the career management process and are developing new initiatives such as webinars, video-tutorials and podcasts.

Q6: What has been your lowest moment? When my original website couldn’t handle the membership process I wanted and I had to rebuild it. This set me back several months just as I was about to launch in 2014. Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I obviously want My Working Life to be successful and known as the go-to place for career development. In my ideal world the members will create a supportive and engaging community and we have to run to keep up with their demands.. Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Talk to people! My best move was to take a desk at The Workshop in Folkestone. Having worked from home for a while it was refreshing to meet people who were happy to chat about business. I’ve had so much help and advice from my co-workers plus some great networking and social activity!

Starting a new venture?

Reinvigorating your existing business? Choosing an accounting system is probably not your first priority but you need to ensure it isn’t the weak link that absorbs your time and doesn’t supply the information you need. One way to do this is to choose a system using a checklist such as the one below: • Easy to use, intuitive entries • Minimal input • No confusing menus or entry rules • User guide and query service • Controls Receivables and Payables • Produces VAT & Company returns • Produces draft accounts • Produces Budget comparisons • Acceptable by your accountant • Acceptable to HMIT

Telephone: 01732 832 479 Website:

In the broader context, does it provide everything simply and clearly in a way that you immediately understand? Does it involve minimal effort to maintain? (after all, you’ll be busy running the Company) Can you obtain a free trial? Do you want “in-house” or “the cloud? If you are an International, multimillion pound enterprise that deals with similar entities on a daily basis and need a seamless database structure between you and your clients, there is an advantage in being able to regard the data of each component company as one. The “cloud” could be your answer. If you just want to access your own records, in-house technology could be preferable. You’ll know where your data is and who else has access to it - no one! If that’s your thinking too, contact us and we’ll organise a no-risk, no commitment, no cost trial for you.

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops Kent Healthy Business - FREE Business Breakfast “Improving economic performance through people and environment” (In partnership with Kent County Council)

13 November 2015 Time: 7:30am - 10:00am

Business Breakfast Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 8:00am - 9:30am Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. 21 October 2015 Guest speaker: Linda Garcia from Alluxi Consulting Ltd Heart of Flavour Kingstreet, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BA 22 October 2015 Discovery Park Innovation House, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9FF 11 November 2015 Guest speaker: Linda Garcia from Alluxi Consulting Ltd Thistle Brands Hatch Hotel Brands Hatch, Longfield DA3 8PE 12 November 2015 The Grand Hotel The Leas, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2XL 19 November 2015 Guest speaker: Ben O'Toole from Crisis Mitigation Solutions The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Rd, Kennington, Ashford TN24 9QR 25 November 2015 Breakfast Networking Special Canterbury Golf Club (includes use of the Driving Range) Littlebourne Rd, Scotland Hills, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1TW


Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne,

According to research, UK employers pay an annual bill of £9billion for sick pay and associated costs. Workplace health and wellbeing programmes can increase employee job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover between 10 and 25% Kent Healthy Business Award is Kent County Council’s free self-assessment framework. By demonstrating commitment to wellbeing and sustainability, your business could reap the rewards of a healthier workforce and automatically qualify for eligibility for the government’s Health at Work Award being launched in 2015. Working towards the standard gives you access to:

Maidstone, ME17 1RE

• A Kent Award linked to a nationally recognised award scheme • A local health at work advisor • Expertise in health and wellbeing programmes • FREE resources for a healthier business


Networking Lunch 27 October 2015 Guest speaker: Linda Garcia from Alluxi Consulting Ltd Bridgewood Manor Hotel Walderslade Woods, Chatham, ME5 9AX

These lunch time events slot neatly into the business day and provide the ideal opportunity for you to meet fellow professionals, grow the profile of your brand and to build new business relationships. Join us for a delicious hot buffet lunch, PLUS lots of networking Time: 12 noon - 2.00pm Non Members: £25.00 + VAT Members: £20.00 + VAT

The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful 'casual' networking event. The informal atmosphere and Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat FREE to members and non-members to fellow business people.

After Hours

6 October 2015 The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR 6 October Guest speaker: Daniel Knowlton from KPS Digital Marketing Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA 13 October 2015 Mercure Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 14 October 2015 The Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE

ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

20 October 2015 The Abbots Barton 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU 20 October 2015 Guest speaker: Adrian Kearney from AK Pet Service Dickens World Leviathan Way, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, ME4 4LL 3 November 2015 Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA

This event is open to Members and non-members. Come and join us for an evening of networking. Complimentary Tea and Coffee will be served. A Cash Bar is sometimes available.

3 November 2015 The Conningbrook Hotel Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR 10 November 2015 Mercure Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 17 November 2015 The Abbots Barton 36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU 17 November 2015 Dickens World Leviathan Way, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, ME4 4LL


Chamber Member Lunch 16 October 2015 Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH ••• 6 November 2015 Innovation Centre Medway, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, ME5 9FD 11.00am - 2:00pm Time:

FREE Event Are you using all YOUR benefits? Join us for an informal buffet lunch and network with the membership team. Come and say hello to your local representatives.

Free Lunch and AGM (Members only) 23 October 2015

Time: 12.00pm - 2.00pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH This event is an opportunity for members to have their say about who represents them on the Board and to raise any relevant issues. The Company's Audited Accounts will be issued on the day, however should you wish to receive a copy prior to the meeting these will be available to download from the members area of the Chamber website soon, along with the minutes of the 2014 AGM and the Chairman’s report. Should you wish to nominate a Member to play a role in the organisation, please email to obtain a Nomination Form. The written agreement of the Member is required, together with a Proposer and Seconder, all of whom must be from separate Member companies.

The Winning Bid 28 October 2015 Time: 9.00am - 4:00pm Canterbury College, New Dover Rd, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AJ

FREE Event The SME Procurement Exchange will be the first in a series of comprehensive meet the buyer events that will include workshops, opportunities and training. £millions are spent every year across Kent & Medway by public sector organisations and large institutions buying in services and equipment and yet only a small % reaches the businesses within the County. This initiative is the way to access those opportunities. Buying categories will include construction, food & beverages, public services and much more……..

The Wine Challenge

Rising Stars

FREE Event for members and non-members 8 October 2015

18 November 2015

with Breakthrough Funding Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm Innovation Centre Medway, Maidstone Road, Rochester, ME5 9FD •••

11 November 2015 Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm The Royal Wells Hotel, 59 Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE

Join us for an evening of networking with a difference. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to chat to fellow business people will tasting some different wines. There will be an opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight your products and services. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people.

Get Social Kent 29 October 2015 Time: 9.00am - 3.30pm Canterbury College, New Dover Rd, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AJ

FREE Event The BIGGEST Social Media Event in Kent! Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and ZC Social Media bring together a day packed full of Social Media content, expert advice, tips and strategies for you to take and use straight away in your business. The ‘Get Social’ Kent event will have a variety of ways in which you can learn: • Keynote Speakers will provide you with an insight and practical ways on how you can start being more social, get more engaged with your online community • Expert Q & A Panel will bring together Kent’s Social Media experts to answer your burning questions and challenges from the social media world • Social Media Clinics will enable you to get hands on experience in a workshop environment and start putting some ideas and tasks into place • The Social Media Exhibition Room will be full of Social Media and Digital experts where you can ask away your questions and find out more about their services and products • All you need to bring is your notebook, pen, plenty of business cards for networking and motivation to take action!

Time: Non Members: Members: Includes:

6.00pm - 8.00pm £20.00 + VAT £15.00 + VAT Tea, Coffee, Juices and Buffet Dinner.

Best Western Manor Hotel, Hever Court Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5UQ "Rising Stars" is the networking support forum for rising stars in professional services within the Kent Invicta chamber of Commerce. Rising Stars is aimed at non business owners and directors in the professions such as accountants, bankers, financial advisors, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and surveyors. This forum aims to help those destined for future leadership roles to develop their management and interpersonal skills, expertise and contacts so that they have the skills and peer group when they break through that glass ceiling!

Chambers Exporters

Networking Lunch 27 November 2015 Time:

11.30am - 2:30pm

Non Members: £15.00 + VAT Members:

£10.00 + VAT

Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Kent TN24 0LH Join us for an informal buffet lunch to network with fellow exporters, raise technical questions and update yourself on the current initiatives running both nationally, regionally and locally.

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Dartford Valley RFC The rugby club was founded in 2009 and in just six years, has taken great strides forward. In the early days, DVRFC just about managed to field one mens' senior team; after a few years this became two teams, with the 1st XV now competing in Kent League 2 and the 2nd XV in the Shepherd Neame Merit League, which they won this year. DVRFC now runs an extremely successful Youth Rugby section, a Ladies' team and the beginnings of a Wheelchair Rugby team, set to start this Autumn. The club is currently “homeless”, playing its matches and holding training sessions at The Leigh Academy, Dartford. However, a state-of-the-art clubhouse and pitch, or pitches, is planned to be fully operational in Dartford by Winter 2016/2017, enabling the club to grow further and to ensure its long term future. The club has enlisted the support and sponsorship of eight local businesses and Dartford Borough Council. DVRFC supports three charities; Ellenor, The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and Wooden Spoon. The club is committed to enhancing community life in Dartford, enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits of rugby as a sport and as a way of instilling in people respect, discipline, teamwork, personal fitness, friendship and, most importantly, having fun. If you would like to join, support or sponsor the only rugby club in Dartford, then please contact: or find us on Facebook: Dartford Valley Rugby Club

Payroll for Now Auto Enrolment is affecting thousands of businesses across the county. Make sure you are ready. Eclipse Payroll is a personal and flexible payroll bureau service, dedicated to helping businesses run as smoothly as possible in all payroll-related matters. They offer a range of bespoke products; from a fully outsourced solution which manages payroll and auto enrolment on your behalf, to simply helping set up a compliant scheme for a business, with the option of employee training and education workshops. For those employers in the construction industry they are

We also offer an extensive range of standard display products under the Trim brand name ranging from brochure & menu holders to memorabilia display cases. The flexibility that we offer in both our service and product ranges means that our customers come from a vast assortment of industries and diverse backgrounds including schools, hospitals, government departments, well known high street retailers, restaurants and also a wide variety of manufacturing companies. This often means that we may be producing a highly technical engineering component at the same time as an eye-catching brochure display unit. Under the Woodcon & Silvercases brand names, we also manufacture a high quality range of external menu display & poster cases, pavement boards and chalkboards which are widely used throughout the UK by many hotel & restaurant groups.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

latest knowledge, technology and systems. They also reduce the risk of fines and penalties by ensuring all payroll deadlines are met, so clients can be confident that everything will be done on time, every time.

Our small family of dining pubs

Elite pubs is a small family of dining pubs, now counts 6 lovely pubs, each with their own character, located in the beautiful Kent & East Sussex countryside. 2015 has been a very bust year already with the opening of the Poacher & Partridge new extension, the outside bar & grill & and a children’s playground: a very welcome new set up as welcomed 1200 people during our Beer & Live Music Festival back in July. Also on the map, a new concept, a Juice & Pizza shack, in the courtyard of the Farm House in West Malling, freshly prepared pizza, cooked in a Tuscan wood fired oven, what’s not to like!

Quality on display Display Developments, formed in 1956, are based in Erith, Kent and were the first fabricators of rigid thermoplastics in South East England and are also now one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of purpose built point of sale display products.

also able to assist in CIS scheme management. The company is led by Andrew Brown. Andrew is a member of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals with over 11 years experience working in the payroll and pensions profession. Key to the way Eclipse Payroll work is being flexible with their clients. This enables clients to spend more time running and growing their business, while saving them time and money by having on-hand access to the

On the people side, Aline, who has been with the company for over 6 years as Events Manager has recently been appointed Business Development Manager. All pubs offer a variety of private rooms, suitable for meetings and the team has also launched a business loyalty program, The Be Business Active Card, aimed at rewarding local companies, and make the most of the facilities.

Keep updated and win yourself Free Fuel Each weekday, the KM Group pings a free newsletter to inboxes across Kent with all the day's top business stories. It’s a perfect way to keep yourself updated on what is happening in business across the County. As well as keeping yourself informed, every subscriber will be entered into a draw to win £100 of free fuel, enough to drive to Paris and back nearly three times!

To register for your daily digests and your chance to win visit Closing date: Sunday, November 1. One winner will be randomly selected from all subscribers

For more information on Kent Business contact Chris Price Business Editor DDI: 01622 794680 Ext: 2194 Email: Twitter: @TheChrisPrice


New forum supports food producers in the Garden of England Food manufacturing and production business leaders joined industry experts from the University of Greenwich at Medway to share the challenges and opportunities they face in meeting the needs of the 21st Century food supply chain.

The launch event of the Kent Food Forum was organised by the university in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and promoted by the Enterprise Europe Network. A second meeting of the forum is planned for November. Linda Nicolaides, a Food Safety &

Quality Management Microbiologist at the university’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI), said: “We have tremendous expertise and facilities on campus to support all aspects of the food industry and we want to share these more widely to benefit the

food producers and manufacturers of Kent.” University speakers at the launch event, Solutions for the Food Sector, included Nicolaides, Dr Debbie Rees, Dr Nazanin Zand, Professor Mike Bradley and Dr Satya Shah.

The march of the mobile continues

A major mobile milestone was passed last year when digital media consumption through smartphones and tablets overtook desktop usage for the first time, writes Craig Francis, Studio Manager at Quantum PR. Since August 2014, more consumers have been accessing online media through mobile devices than traditional desktop and laptop devices. It won’t be long before mobile purchasing - or m-commerce becomes the most popular route for online sales transactions. This provides an incentive for businesses to ensure their online offering is mobile-friendly. A study carried out by Oracle Mobile found that 48 per cent of young people questioned said a poor mobile experience would make it less likely for them to use a business’ other products. So what can businesses do?

Responsive websites are becoming a must for all businesses. This ensures that your online presence retains its effectiveness - striking the right balance between functionality and design - across all platforms and devices. The same care should be given to targeted e-mail marketing activities. We often find that e-newsletters designed exclusively for desktop viewing do not work effectively on other devices as text can appear too small and images can be displaced.

With more users choosing to access marketing materials through mobile devices, this could lead to a significant decrease in previously recorded click-through and sales conversion rates.

New Business Hub for Startups in Shepway

Joanna Strickland, local business

woman and Director of Strickland Accountancy Ltd, has set out on a new venture in Folkestone to create a business incubator with a difference. The Folkestone Business Hub, to be fully operational in 2016, is a not-for-profit business incubator designed to accelerate the growth of companies at the startup and pre-startup stages of development, as well as to equip unemployed individuals in Shepway with employable skills, with a particular focus on young people aged 18-24 years old. Situated in the heart of Folkestone with stunning views across the Channel, The Hub aims to encourage and facilitate the evergrowing entrepreneurial spirit of the community. Joanna is being supported by many prominent local business figures, both private and public sector, that can all see the benefit the Hub will bring to the startups, the local community and the economy. The range of activities and facilities The Folkestone Business Hub provides include Hot Desk workspaces, mentoring & guidance, training & conference rooms for hire, employability workshops and premium office spaces.

Success for Ashford’s RIFT Group

An Ashford firm has been listed on to the Megagrowth 50, a prestigious business league table, which recognises the 50 fastest growing businesses in Kent.

Now in its 14th year, Megagrowth 50 is compiled based on the average turnover growth of privately owned businesses that have a minimum turnover of £1m. It is staged by the Kent Messenger Group and sponsored by Lloyds Bank, asb law and Kreston Reeves. RIFT Group appears on the Megagrowth list for the first time this year. The UK leader in tax refunds was founded in 2000 by Jan Post. In its 15 year history it has continued to diversify and has grown a reputation for excellence in Research & Development Tax Credits, SME Cloud Accounting Services, Capital Allowances and Will Writing. The company boasts some impressive success statistics with turnover growing by 255% in four years, and in addition staff numbers have grown from 44 to 152 people. Jan Post said, “Becoming a Megagrowth 50 company is a fantastic accolade and it is a real achievement to be considered amongst other leading Kent businesses.”

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS



Welcome to new members Accounting Connections Limited Chatham 01634 540340 Accountancy

Battle Of Britain Memorial Trust West Malling 01732 870809 National Memorial to the Few

First Recruitment Services Ltd Maidstone 01622 327007 Recruitment

Active Enrolment Westerham 020 3004 0601 Workplace Pensions Auto Enrolment, Compliance for Small Businesses

Bigjigs Toys Ltd Folkestone Wooden Toy Wholesaler

Growth Rings CIC Romney Marsh 01797 344197 Historical Restoration Supplier Specialists

Admin Angel Folkestone 07767 880612 Freelance Office Administrator and PA APOS Recruitment Ltd Chislehurst 020 3397 9839 Recruitment APS Legal and Associates Folkestone 01303 891509 Will Writing & Estate Planning Arawak Pure Cacao Ltd Ashford 01233 650199 Manufacture Hundred Percent Pure Cacao Avenue UK Limited Bromley 020 7729 2857 Procurement Consultancy and Avenue Purchasing Group


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

01303 250400

Castlerock Wealth Management Chatham 020 3330 0940 Financial Advice, Mortgages, Long Term Care Chauffeur Your Car Ramsgate 08081 787575 Chauffeur Debt-Chaser Ltd Chatham 01634 650048 Commercial Debt Recovery - Credit Control Dom Education Group Gillingham 01634 505200 Financial Training Company Eclipse Payroll Limited Rochester Payroll Bureau

01634 812212

Expense Reduction Analysts Folkestone 01303 760877 Management Consultancy

Heritage Plastering & Conversions Ltd Maidstone 01622 910002 www.heritageplasteringand Heritage Lime Plastering/Rendering, Skimming Hydrotech Systems Europe Ltd Hoo 01634 252265 Power Station Repairs Infinity Technology Solutions Tunbridge Wells 01892 577000 IT & Telecommunications Kent Entertainment Ltd Tonbridge 01622 872068 Leisure & Corporate Events & Entertainment KPS Digital Marketing Margate 01843 292681 Social Media Marketing Training/Management, Email Marketing Training/Management.


Maritime Skills Academy Dover 0300 303 8393 Maritime Short Course Training

Sinclair & Rush Ltd Maidstone 01622 620202 Dip Moulding Manufacturer

The Right Step Dance Company Chatham 07850 644633 Dance Company

Marshalls Consulting Ashford 07771 714221 Business Mentor, Implementation of Systems and Processes

Spectrum Paint Worx Ltd Newington 01795 844600 Specialist paintwork vehicles, planes, etc

Think Telecom Ltd Maidstone 01622 538500 Telecoms / ICT / Broadband / Merchant Services / Mobile

NEXUS Property Solutions Ltd Brentwood 020 3397 6868 Business Relocation/Moves and Changes/Specialist Relocation/Furniture Supply and Installation/Storage NVW Solutions Tunbridge Wells Business Coaching Phantom SG Limited Folkestone Private Security

01892 521871

01303 298245 Brands Hatch 01795 843396 Hospitality and Event Management Recruitment South East Ltd Eastbourne 01424 830000 Recruitment

Tarvos Wealth Ltd Canterbury 01227 761177 Financial Planning for Industries and Business Techsultant Ltd Chatham 01634 565232 Telecons and IT Consultancy The Accommodation Shop Dover 01304 226666 Residential

TimelessTime Ltd Haywards Heath 01444 810454 Management Consultant - HR & Organisational Level Vision Security Services Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 434930 Security Provider

The Bradley Group Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 599989 Risk Management Training and Consultancy

We Do Social Media Limited Maidstone 01622 726716 Social Media Management, Marketing and Training

The Document Warehouse Sittingbourne 0844 826 4686 Document Management Solutions

Young Start Up Talent Crawley 01293 817248 Help for young entrepreneurs + education

October - November 2015 ThinkingBUSINESS




The Last Word Name: Gerald Glover Company: Noted in Style Limited Job title: Creative Director Q. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A. My first full time job was as a Graphic Designer at an agency in London and the pay was £8,000 a year. I started the day after my graduation - straight off to the bright lights of the big city!

Think Telecom welcomes new team member Think Telecom would like to introduce Sam Beautridge, Key Account Specialist. Sam has an extensive background in telecommunications and delivering tailor made solutions for small to medium sized businesses, whilst always ensuring best products and best price.

Sam comments “I’m delighted to be working in a role that allows me to focus on delivering truly exceptional experiences to our customers. Think Telecom pride themselves on delivering more than just great value and I’m incredibly excited to be part of the team.”

New Challenge for Elle

Q. What do you always carry with you to work? A. A notebook and pen, my laptop and phone. Q. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A. Currently our biggest challenge is premises. The business needs more space, as we want to invest in more equipment to allow us to offer further products and to have more in-house production capacity, but there is nothing available within our location. We need a mix of office and light industrial. There are small or very large units available but none of a medium size - we’re looking for 3-4000 square feet ideally. If we cannot find somewhere soon it will start to become a real problem for the business and will prevent any further growth. Q. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A. That’s a tricky one as I’m not sure I’m qualified enough to answer that! But I think I’d look at ways the government could ensure that low cost funding is available to viable businesses that want to grow, perhaps with the government underwriting the scheme itself. Q. What can you see from your office window? A. From where I sit I can see the sky and clouds. Q. If you could do another job what would it be? A. Helicopter pilot. Q. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A. I’d like to think that I am (i) a good listener (ii) hard working and (iii) creative. Q. What was your biggest mistake in business? A. In my last business (a graphic design agency) not capitalising on opportunities that arose and taking a risk to expand. Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A. If an opportunity presents itself, grab it and run with it (although do some initial research to make sure it is a viable opportunity first!) Q. Who do you most admire in business? A. Sir Richard Branson. Not just for what he has achieved in business himself, but because he continues to try and push technological and creative boundaries and to inspire others in business. I’m a big advocate of those who achieve great success giving something back and helping to create a new generation of creative entrepreneurs, which Sir Richard does in my opinion.


ThinkingBUSINESS October - November 2015

At just 17 years old Elle Cloke joined We Do Social Media in Kent and is now well into the flow of her new role of creating social media training programs. Company Director Elle started working at We Do Social Media in April 2015. The company had already enjoyed great success

within the Maidstone area and so Elle decided to take the plunge and start networking to build the company's reputation as a leader in the Social Media Management and Marketing field. Linda, We Do Social Media’s founder and Managing Director said “Elle’s passion and enthusiasm have brought a fantastic, positive vibe to an already energetic company. People are immediately struck by her maturity and knowledge when they meet her and so are often surprised to learn her age, but she’s been welcomed into the company and is already a big hit with both staff and customers”

Elle joined two apprentices employed as part of the KCC training program by We Do Social Media, along with a graduate who has been researching and posting for We Do’s current client base. Elle said, “I’m loving being a part of We Do Social Media. I recently did my first presentation to a group of thirty business people and I was pretty nervous, but the positive response has been overwhelming and it’s given me an amazing confidence boost. I really hope that in 10 years’ time I’ll be telling my story to young people at the start of their exciting career.”

New Associate for Girlings Girlings Solicitors is delighted to welcome Senior Associate Louise Purcell to its employment department, based in Ashford working with head of department Carl Vincent and assistant solicitor David Morgan. Louise has specialised in employment law since 2005 and brings with her a wealth of experience of advising and representing businesses in respect of human resources and employment law issues. Louise’s previous firms include Irwin Mitchell, Thompsons and Capsticks where she acted for

a broad range of clients including retailers, nursing homes, breweries, schools, charities, IT companies, NHS Trusts, contractors, care / nursing homes, GP’s, publishers, builders, insurers, SME’s and PLC’s. Louise is an experienced Employment Tribunal advocate and is able to advise businesses in respect of all employment issues including contracts, handbooks, day to day HR / employment issues, settlement agreements, disciplinary issues, problem employees, redundancies, employee sickness, grievances,

dismissals, disputes, discrimination claims, Tupe, restrictive covenants and employment tribunal proceedings.

Matthew joins business KVM Permanent Recruitment has made a new appointment. The company works with clients who are employing staff in Kent and London and specialises in permanent vacancies with a diverse client base including Construction and Consulting, Manufacturing,

IT, Senior Appointments, Sales, Finance and Insurance and Motor industry sectors. Matthew Meager has joined the business to help grow the client services portfolio. He has had a successful 21 year career within the motor industry, with the

last 12 years working for the prestige brand BMW as a Business Manager. Client Services Partner Matthew brings his sales expertise and client liaison skills to KVM Permanent Recruitment to drive the business forward and manage client relationships.

Thinking Business October 2015  
Thinking Business October 2015  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine October 2015