Page 1



New Ashford College

Sector Focus Produced in Kent

Finding the right support

The advantages of outsourcing work to professional services specialists

Big Interview with David Taplin at Argentis

0800 468 1900


Welcome & Contents


Finding success with a little help from our friends

Jo James

Chief Executive

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, one packed as usual with news and views from Kent’s business community. It’s worth pausing to think about that. Flicking through the pages of each edition, I am always struck by the same thought, that there is so much to be optimistic about in Kent. Whereas the newspaper headlines often strike an alarming note about the future for the economy as the politicians wade their way through the murky waters of Brexit negotiations, the story is more positive on the ground. A glance at the news pages in this edition confirms the fact, featuring as they do companies expanding, taking on new people and trying out exciting initiatives, it’s an inspiring story. As is our feature on page 16 in which we examine the importance to the area of the food and drink sector and look ahead to the 2018 Taste of Kent awards, which celebrate the Garden of England. Kent is known for many things but food and drink is perhaps the business sector which is the best known and the awards celebrate the contribution of those businesses, organisations and individuals whose work brings about huge investment in Kent and raises its profile nationally and internationally. One of the other sectors for which Kent is known is financial services and our Big Interview is with a man who knows the business better than most.



Chamber News


6, 8-10 Members News 7

Focus on Finance


Patron Comment


Members News


Sector Focus Produced in Kent

Our Patrons


Big Interview

29 31 32 33 35 36-37


The financial sector has undergone many dramatic changes over recent years and through it all Kent business Argentis has continued to produce truly remarkable growth. So much so that today, the chartered financial planning and wealth management business is one of Kent’s great business success stories with its Chairman David Taplin looking optimistically forward to the years to come. He tells us why on page 20. Of course, no business can achieve success on its own. Even when they are doing well, many businesses find themselves unable to sustain high numbers of employees but still need to carry out highly skilled work. That is where professional services companies come into their own because they can offer the required assistance in areas ranging from financial services to marketing, HR and training. There are plenty of companies that can help and our cover feature examines the options available on page 23. The success of such businesses points to an important message; that we are stronger if we work together. We can achieve great things with a little help from our friends.

Cover Feature Professional Services finding the right support Industry Comment Members News Funding Ask the Expert The Economy & Us Members News

38-39 41 42-43 44-45 47 48 49 50

International Trade 24 Hours with... Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Business News Members Benefits New Members Last Word


Editorial and General Enquiries

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687

Published October 2017 © Benham Publishing




Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Ian Fletcher Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440

Advertising and Features

Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Media No.1522

Production Manager

Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141

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. © 2017 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.

Thinking Business


Chamber News

Night-time vigil leads to breakthrough

Helen Ross, HRP Equestrian with Jo James

Whilst studying for an Equine Science degree, Helen Ross was presented with a challenge when her new-born son Hugo became sick with a lifethreatening multiple airways illness called Tracheobronchomalacia.

The only way Hugo could sleep was if Helen held him upright all night, every night. One night whilst looking after Hugo, Helen decided to set herself the challenge of solving a problem horses have where they have pain or discomfort from the pressure of the saddle pad when being ridden. She started altering old saddles and trailed a variety of designs, which is when she came up with two core ideas, the dual wings and the mono version. These pads have since had validation from equestrian scientist Dr David Marlin from Hartpury University Centre Gloucestershire. Dr Marlin carried out research on the pads and the end results were amazing, showing that the pad eliminated any pressure on the horse’s back. This was something that nobody else had thought of before. Since then the saddle pads have won several awards and has been a breakthrough for the equestrian industry, all thanks to Helen’s dedication, time and care.


Thinking Business

Accolade for RIFT Group at 2017 Chamber Business Awards

Ashford based RIFT Group, have been crowned one of the winners in the Southern region heats of the British Chambers of Commerce Business Awards 2017. Now in their 14th year, the Awards are a highlight of the business calendar, recognising the key role that local businesses play in driving the UK economy. As the Excellence in Customer Service winner, RIFT Group will now go forward to represent the Southern region in the national finals, which take place in London in November. Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Businesses are the backbone and driving force of the UK economy. Even in the face of uncertain times, they continue to show their resilience

Southern Winner Jo James with Bradley & Jan Post from RIFT

and strength – creating opportunities for employment, investment and growth. “Our judges are always impressed by the high standard of submissions, and the calibre of entries this year was no different. The finalists in the Chamber Business Awards represent the best of this country’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and hard-work. “The Chamber Business Awards are the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our business communities’ achievements, to take stock of the outstanding performances of UK businesses over the past year, and to

encourage and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.” Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber said: “As a longstanding member of the Chamber, I am delighted that RIFT have won the Southern Region Award and wish them every success in the national finals. RIFT Group are a key employer in the County and have been working with Kent businesses and national businesses since 1999. Over the years their business has diversified and services range from claiming tax refunds for individuals through to helping small business innovators claim R&D Tax Credits.”

Maidstone United and KIMS Hospital announce Medical Partnership

Maidstone United and KIMS Hospital have announced a medical partnership that will see KIMS Hospital provide medical services, including diagnostic scans and injury treatments, to the club’s professional players. As well as scans and treatments for injured players, the hospital will provide screening services such as ECGs and Echocardiograms in the hospital’s Cardiology department. The screening aims to detect and prevent any underlying health issues and maintain players’ fitness.

KIMS Hospital CEO, Simon James comments, “Supporting the local community sits at the heart of KIMS Hospital’s ethos. We are therefore delighted to be working with Maidstone United to help keep their team fit and healthy. By providing fast access to our services and facilities, we’ll support the team in their success throughout this season and beyond”.

The hospital is just a 10-minute drive from Maidstone’s ground, The Gallagher Stadium. This means that the club is able to get access to healthcare much quicker than they previously could when sending players further afield.

Maidstone United’s Sports & Rehab Physiotherapist, Paul Smith says, “We are really pleased to be working with KIMS Hospital. The partnership has already been valuable this season, with

a number of our players attending the hospital. I’ve been very impressed so far with the efficiency of the service and the speed of access to scan and test results has been fantastic.”

Jack Richards, Forward, Jack Paxman, Midfield, Reece Prestedge, Midfield, Bill Williams, Chairman, Stuart Lewis, Midfield, Johan Ter Horst, Forward Jai Reason, Midfield

Chamber News

In My More companies are choosing Kent – and Ashford Opinion leads the way

Ashford has welcomed a new report which identifies the fast-expanding town as the most improved area in Kent over the past five years, with nearly two thirds of businesses impressed by rising levels of investment, a growing business base and improved rail links.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This latest study proves what we already knew – that Ashford is the number one business location in Kent. It will help us in our efforts to drive economic growth, boost employment and generate greater prosperity for all our residents.”

Almost two thirds of businesses, developers, investors and other property professionals polled by Locate in Kent viewed Ashford as a good or very good place to do business. Positive perceptions of Ashford to emerge from the study include: • 59% view Ashford as a good or very good business location. • Excellent rail links, good road links, proximity to Europe and London, geographic location, available sites, quality of life and a supportive local council were all listed as positives. • 62% say Ashford has improved as a business destination over the past five years – up from 57% in 2014.

• Awareness of the area is high – nearly half know a lot or fair amount about Ashford (even though the 2017 survey had been extended to include more responders from outside the region). • More than three in five (62%) state that Ashford has improved as a business location over the past five years. This is up from 57% three years ago and makes Ashford the most improved district in the county.

The Locate in Kent survey measures the attitudes of key influencers in the South East and nationally towards Kent as a business location and finds that more businesses are choosing to locate to the county. Conducted by leading market research company Facts International, itself based in Ashford, it involved interviews with 238 businesses, developers and investors, property agents, architects and other advisers. Cllr Clarkson said: “The study is an insight into how Ashford is viewed by businesses, developers, investors and others who play a key role in economic development in the UK. It is hugely encouraging to see that our efforts to promote Ashford are continuing to pay off.”

“This latest study proves what we already knew – that Ashford is the number one business location in Kent. It will help us in our efforts to drive economic growth, boost employment and generate greater prosperity for all our residents.”

Louise Wilson Senior Associate Solicitor Private Client

Many self employed people are very successful in protecting their future by running a profitable and reputable business.

However, very few consider what would happen to their business, if they were to lose their mental capacity through an unforeseen accident or illness either on a temporary or permanent basis. If the necessary arrangements are not in place a business may be unable to pay wages, access business accounts to settle supplier invoices or even to sign new contracts, all of which could have a devastating affect on reputation and future profitability. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are not only for personal use and if you are a company director, partner or sole trader, it is in your best interests to make sure you are protected and to consider a Business Lasting Power of Attorney. A Business Lasting Power of Attorney which relates to business property and finances can be used to appoint an Attorney authorised to deal with all your business affairs. Your Attorney, or Attorneys, as you can appoint more than one, will then have the power to deal with the business accounts, service loans/mortgages, invest assets, sign new contracts and also deal with HMRC in regard to tax returns. If you are a sole Director or part of a small private company, any Articles of Association are unlikely to be of any use if you lose your mental capacity. If you are one of several Directors, the Articles of Association will need to be checked and amended if necessary to protect all interested parties. Likewise if you are in a Partnership your Partnership Agreements should be checked and partners should discuss what would happen in the event of a partner losing capacity so that the Agreement can either be amended or Attorneys appointed. Lasting Power of Attorney can be a complex area and legal advice should be taken. In my opinion it is important that business owners protect their business because if you don’t mind your own business, who will? Louise can be contacted on 01227 768374 Thinking Business


Members News

Gravesham New Ashford College launch its own Campus opens its doors business to first intake of Students awards!

Gravesham has launched its first business awards backed by a number of high profile businesses.

The Gravesham Business Awards are free to enter and each entrant will receive a profile in the Gravesend Messenger newspaper. Not only can companies enter the awards, but anyone can nominate one for entry. Also this year apprentices will be given the spotlight whereby they can, not only enter, but can also be nominated for entry. Finalists will be invited to a gala awards evening to be held in Spring 2018 at a venue in Gravesend. Chair of Judges, Keith Mason from Barnes Roffe said, “The Judging panel is looking for something extra, something beyond mere competence, although that is crucial. That something can come in a variety of forms, but usually it boils down to a passion for delivering great customer service!”. Company size and turnover is irrelevant and the only entry prerequisite is the company (should they be eligible for business rates) must pay its rates to Gravesham Borough Council and been trading for one year to 1 January 2017. Independent retailers are also invited to enter the awards.

For details on how to enter and nominate a business can be found at


Thinking Business

The long-awaited facility is founded on a strong business philosophy, with courses designed to meet the demands of local employers.

Adjoining the Memorial Gardens and just a stone’s throw from Ashford International and the town centre, the college, with its distinctive chromatic atrium, is the first of Ashford Borough Council’s ‘Big 8’ projects to reach completion. The 7,135m² campus, opposite the developing Ashford Commercial Quarter, accomodates over 1000 students and over 100 staff. It is being constructed in two phases: The completed Phase 1 – a 4,715m² teaching facility housing the general academic, vocational and creative departments and administrative facilities, whilst Phase 1a will include a 2,391m² sustainable technologies block, providing engineering, plumbing, electrical facilities and motor sport workshops. Phase 2 is set to include facilities for Higher Education students. A week prior to its opening, the College welcomed the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, First Secretary of State and Conservative MP for Ashford, to tour the state-of-the-art £26 million building. Mr. Green visited the new campus with Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. They viewed the modern teaching facilities, including a multi-media learning resource centre, live music production, photography and fine art studios, teaching kitchens and a hair and beauty salon. The tour culminated in a visit to the roof to see the solar panels which provide power to the building. The college has been designed to meet high standards in sustainability, achieving a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating, with energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon emissions paramount. Mr. Green was hugely complimentary about the facilities, saying: “It's great to look round the new building and see not only the great modern

facilities that are here for the extensive range of courses, but also to see how beneficial it will be for the town and community, being so well-placed right in the centre next to the railway station. It also presents great opportunities for local businesses, who will find here a pool of skilled people training to do the jobs of the future – people that we will need to fill vacancies as the town’s economy expands and prospers.”

Jo James added: “The courses on offer satisfy the needs of local businesses and the College will work closely with the business community to help with local economic growth and employment.” The College, part of the Hadlow Group, harnesses strong links with over 1,500 local employers. Rooted in a strong business philosophy, the courses on offer – health & social care, construction crafts, electrical engineering, early years, music technology, fashion, catering & hospitality, photography, hair & beauty and motor vehicle maintenance to name a few are designed to meet the demands of local employers. Students also gain commercial experience in the College’s onsite facilities open to the public: a hair & beauty salon and planned fine dining restaurant. Also on offer are apprenticeships and higher education programmes, as well as support for those not currently in education, employment or training. The college represents a significant step forward in educational provision for the local area. In recent months, employers have consistently cited engineering and technical jobs as most likely to face a skills shortage, with a recent JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealing

that health & social care and construction employers were also expecting a shortage of workers to fill vacancies. The college will be vital in encouraging young people into these local industries through initiatives such as apprenticeships. With a range of apprenticeships offered in construction, catering, light vehicle maintenance and many other areas, the College provides a complete recruitment service to employers looking to recruit an apprentice, from Intermediate to Advanced and Higher Level Apprenticeships. The service includes advertising your vacancy, pre-screening & shortlisting applicants, arranging interviews, advise on upskilling your existing workforce via apprenticeship learning and guidance on managing your recruitment and training to maximise return on levy and training costs. Paul Hannan, Hadlow Group Principal and CEO, said: “The new campus will play a very significant part in ensuring our provision complies with the highest standards. It is a real opportunity for our students and future students to learn and train in excellent new facilities”. Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Deputy Group Principal and Deputy CEO, added: “We are delighted to be enroling our first intake of students. The college is a symbol for the significant regeneration for the town and I’d like to pay tribute to the co-operation, help, advice and support received from the council – a superb example of sectors working together effectively to fulfil a muchneeded project.” To find out more about Ashford College, visit or to discuss apprenticeships, please contact the apprenticeships team on 01732 372888

Increased SDLT and the effect on conveyancing

Focus on Finance

Paul Nixon


01233 629255 (Ashford)

During the Autumn Statement way back in 2015, thenChancellor George Osbourne announced that the Government would be introducing a levy to second homeowners on the purchase of additional property. At the time there were outcries of how this could affect property prices, investment, rents and indeed housing shortages. Two years on, as we have become accustomed to the new legislation, what have these changes meant for lawyers, particularly those in conveyancing? When the Government introduced the increased Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for second homeowners, there was significant concern in the legal sector that this could account for a reduced amount of conveyancing work for law firms, as people delayed, or even postponed, their Buy to Let purchase in view of the increased cost. At the time the Government stated that this levy was not likely to affect property prices and that their aim was to give first time buyers a chance to get a foot on the property ladder whilst fighting off competition from property investors. The figures however tell a different story. Residential property sales increased by a massive 71% between February and March 2016 in the lead up to the changes to SDLT introduced in April 2016. The figures had such an impact that the sale of flats and maisonettes in March 2016 was more than double the average compared to the last five years.

London has seemingly been hit hard by the new tax levy. In the six months from May to October 2016, there was a 60% fall in transactions over £5m and more than a 33% fall in the number of transactions between £1m and £5m. As potential purchasers are faced with a tax of up to 13% of the value of their homes priced at more than £925,000, which in London is not difficult to do, it is hardly surprising that people are stalling their purchase of additional properties. These reasons are also likely to see ceiling prices come down in places like London, but perhaps even for the rest of the country too. However, it might not be all doom and gloom. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the property market has been flat lining for a while overall – since way before the SDLT increases. Actually, RICS has cited a different reason for the recent price stall and that is the current political uncertainty, which was named by 44% of surveyors as the main reason for pessimism by investors. This figure is nearly double the number who blamed Brexit.

Recent research by RICS suggests that property values are actually increasing overall, so there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for property lawyers and conveyancers in the next 12 months – we shall wait and see!

Wilkins Kennedy offers a specialist accounting service for law firms, including tailored seminars via the WK Law programme. If you would like some advice relating to the running of your legal practice, please contact us at our offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Orpington and Sandwich for more information.

“London has seemingly been hit hard by the new tax levy. In the six months from May to October 2016, there was a 60% fall in transactions over £5m and more than a 33% fall in the number of transactions between £1m and £5m.” Thinking Business



Thinking Business

Members News

Good Service as Standard?

By Jake Monk, Service Management Lecturer at The Business School, Canterbury Christ Church University.

It is an often used mantra that ‘People Buy People’. This is on a par with the equally obvious statement that ‘We like to deal with people we like’. So obvious perhaps that they both appear to be overlooked on many occasions. Not overlooked by ourselves of course, but overlooked by others that we deal with, or by those frequent flyers who revel in sharing air travel ‘horror stories’ of service failures. Are we overlooking our own short falls though? According to the ONS (September, 2016) some 79% of the UK’s GDP is accounted for by the service sector. Indeed calling Service a ‘sector’ may be the first mistake given the scale and importance of it.

Providing quality for more than three decades

Eurobond Adhesives Limited was established more than three decades ago in 1984.

Since then, we have continued to grow and develop an enviable reputation for supplying high performance industrial adhesives, foamed acrylic adhesive tapes, UV light curing equipment and dispensing machinery to thousands of manufacturing businesses throughout Europe. We currently employ eleven members of staff whose average length of service is 13 years, a fact of which we are very proud. Each member of the team is highly valued and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that contributes to our reputation. Our product range includes, 1&2-part structural adhesives,

The debates around service have been given more prominence by the Brexit fallout and we can all see the implications both, in some cases, personally and to the national economy with speculation over London as Europe’s financial centre. But what of our everyday service encounters? Are we paying them enough attention? Have we become too familiar with our everyday encounters and the service failures to reflect on them and ask - what we could be doing better?

With failures in the service provided by rail companies and the NHS we are quick to comment with criticism and condemnation, and often rightly so. These are services that can and do affect us on a personal level. In the workplace the impact is often less obvious but can still have serious results. An average restaurant meal can be regarded as decent if the service has been good. Conversely a good meal

can be blighted if the service has been poor. This applies to those ‘hybrid’ services where a tangible product has been supported by a service element. With pure services the perception of good and bad services will be even greater. Paying good money for an entertainment service, the cinema for example, will be excused if we aren’t met with an Oscar worthy performance. Less than, and as a bare minimum, adequate service in other areas will not be so lightly received. This begs the question how well are we delivering our services? Are the small but competitive advantage giving details being observed? The first step is asking, are we doing the small things well? Are we people others like to deal with? If we are not then customers will quickly find another provider that is.

No matter the size of your business, we are here to meet the healthcare needs of you and your staff.

As the largest independent hospital in Kent, we offer prompt access to the most advanced diagnostic and clinical facilities in the county.

high strength acrylic tapes, flexible MS Polymer adhesives, UV light curing adhesives, electrically conductive adhesives and tapes, Instant adhesives & glob tops. Our expertise covers many different sectors including, automotive, transport, marine, aerospace, medical device, architectural metalwork and commercial and retail sign making, glass and acrylic bonding, sheet metal fabrication, electronics, white goods manufacturing, general engineering, construction, scientific,

opto-electronics, structural glazing, IG units, edge bonding/sealing and Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) processing. Two years ago we launched a retail division whereby we took our top selling industrial adhesives, repackaged them under our Multifix® brand and sell them through independent retail outlets, industrial supply companies and the large multiple retail outlets. We are ISO 9001 registered and audited and work hard to maintain our high standards of customer care and excellent technical support.

Find out how your business could benefit from: • Private GP service • Prompt access to diagnostic tests • Access to highly experienced consultants across more than 35 specialties • Self-Pay fixed price guarantees & finance packages We accept private medical insurance, or you can pay for yourself and your staff. Contact us on: 01622

237 727 or email: For a full list of our services, visit:

For more information about our industrial range of adhesives visit or for information on our consumer retail range visit

Thinking Business


Members News

Charity ride raises an impressive £5,000

Taking part in a 100-mile charity cycle ride he described as an “incredible experience” has seen Ashford businessman Clive Gawler raise more than £5,000 for a charity close to his heart. The founder and managing director of security and healthcare firm Red Alert took part in the Prudential RideLondonSurrey 100 to raise the fivefigure sponsorship sum for the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity. “The ride was absolutely fantastic and was matched only by the generosity of the friends, customers and business contacts who donated so enthusiastically to this great cause,” he said. “I left the Olympic Park in Stratford at 8.40am and was riding up The Mall by 4.30pm. It was an incredible experience.

“The weather was kind and the crowds and supporters throughout the towns and villages were absolutely fantastic. The route took in plenty of hills, producing a combined climb of 4,510ft, but it was great to cycle on closed roads with no potholes!” Clive was inspired to join the ride by the story of Alice Byron, the daughter of a family friend, who died of blood cancer at the age of 21 after being diagnosed in her final year at Cardiff University. Kirsty Mooney, head of events at Anthony Nolan, said: “We are delighted that Clive cycled the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 with Anthony Nolan again this year. Pedal by pedal, mile by mile, our team will be saving lives. The funds Clive has raised will enable us to recruit 80 potential stem cell donors to the Anthony Nolan register, any one of whom could be a lifesaving match for someone with blood cancer.”

The fundraising channels are still open. Anyone who would like to contribute should see or visit Clive’s fundraising page at

Making the most of Waste

For more than 35 years, LKM Recycling has been successfully convincing Kent businesses that their waste isn't just a load of old rubbish.

LKM, which employs around 70 people based at four sites in Kent, is one of the UK's leading providers of waste management and recycling services. The privately-owned company buys and sells a range of materials, helping its customers make the most of their waste streams and reduce the amount of waste to landfill. LKM processes a huge range of materials, including metals, UPVC and glass, wood, and plastic, as well as general waste. Services can be scheduled or ad hoc and collections arranged to suit customers' timetables and requirements. Over the years, LKM has pioneered many new technologies to maximise the recovery of waste materials. The company recently invested in a new £1.2 million facility that can process up to 12 tonnes of waste per hour, reducing items to waste particles as small as 20mm. Capable of dealing with aluminium, tyres, and UPVC windows, the company's 22-tonne RS150 four-shaft shredder is the largest of its kind in the UK.

The RS150 also shreds items such as prototypes, computers and telecoms equipment as part of LKM's new S.A.M. (shredding with accountability and monitoring) service. This includes secure collection, transport and storage, and a certificate of destruction on completion of the process. LKM is also investing into confidential data destruction with complete accountability and monitoring. All businesses will need to be confident that they are able to dispose of sensitive materials in compliance with the law when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introduced early in 2018. On-going investment in plant and equipment ensures LKM continues to provide flexible, innovative and costeffective services, helping businesses in Kent and beyond become cleaner, greener and more efficient. For further information contact Natalie Dann on 01795 439393 Email or visit

Site has worldwide appeal

A Kent attraction that pays tribute to the heroes of the Battle of Britain was amazed to find its visitors’ book had notched up signatures from nearly 50 countries in just seven months. The Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, which includes the iconic Wing visitor centre, has welcomed people from as far afield as Israel, Hong Kong, Argentina, Switzerland and Puerto Rico since January of this year. Other visitors’ book entries have come from Qatar, Ireland, Norway, Lithuania, Malta, Nepal and Saudi Arabia, while the number of German visitors has this year hit an all time high. Figures collected by Trustee Andy Simpson show that while UK visitors make up just under three-quarters of the total, overseas travellers are just as keen to see this much-loved tribute to the men of the RAF who came to the defence of the free world in 1940. “It’s remarkable to see where our visitors come from,” said Andy. “We check the visitors’ book each month and there is inevitably a surprise or two in there. I was astonished when


Thinking Business

I counted up the number of overseas visitors in the first half of 2017.” The Memorial, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, is also home to the Christopher FoxleyNorris Memorial Wall, a replica Hurricane and Spitfire and a shop and café.

Chair of South East LEP speaks at Kent Business Leaders Dinner

Christian Brodie, Chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, was the keynote speaker at the Kent Business Leaders Dinner on September 21.

Held at The Mount Vineyard in Shoreham Village the dinner event allowed leaders of Kent’s top businesses and organisations to exchange opinions and ideas in a confidential and supportive environment. Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive said, ’At a time of much uncertainty for business, both economically and politically, I believe there is more value than ever in local business leaders coming together to support each other and to exchange ideas and opportunities. With this in mind. Kent Invicta Chamber along with its Patrons, are staging a series of dinner events to enable likeminded business leaders to gather in an informal and relaxed environment.’ This second event kicked off with Simon Greenwood, owner of The Mount Vineyard welcoming guests. He outlined how he and his team have developed the vineyard over recent years and his pride in winning Kent Wine of the Year at this years’ Taste of Kent Awards. He also gave details of his future plans for guest accommodation and increasing grape yields by extending the vineyard.

Christian Brodie

Dinner guests then enjoyed a sumptuous four course tasting menu with wines from the vineyard paired to each course allowing them to sample the wide variety of wines produced by the estate. After dinner, keynote speaker Christian Brodie gave details of how the South East LEP has successfully negotiated increased amounts of investment funds from the government that will now underpin major improvement projects across Kent. He stressed how important it is that business owners take part in discussions about what the county needs to ensure its economy continues to thrive. A message endorsed by Geoff Miles, SELEP Vice Chair for Kent, who also attended.

Jo James commented,“The LEP operates a fully devolved model with increased reach into local communities through local delivery partnerships in each County. In Kent, our public/private sector partnership which feeds into the SELEP, is the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership. This is made up of leaders from the local authorities across Kent & Medway and business leaders. This structure ensures that the priorities of our County are key to SELEP activity.”

The next Kent Business Leaders Dinner will be held at Eastwell Manor on November 16th. For details contact

Simon Greenwood

Patron Comment

Chartered Surveyors explained

By David Gurton, Marketing and Business Development Director

One of the challenges I have as Marketing Director at Caxtons Chartered Surveyors is explaining the many and various disciplines undertaken by a firm such as ours. It seems most people don’t know what a chartered surveyor does. And whilst the dictionary definition of chartered goes someway to explaining… Chartered: having successfully attained professional qualifications or standards and acquired membership of a professional body that has a royal charter …the definition of surveyor a person who examines the condition of land and buildings professionally - is perhaps not as helpful. Most people will have come across a chartered surveyor if they have bought a house and this probably contributes to the common misconception that surveyors are limited to examining residential property for the purpose of giving reassurance to lender and borrower alike. Our strap line may help: All Your Property Needs. Caxtons is in fact a multidisciplinary firm catering for the needs of a wide variety of clients with diverse commercial and residential property problems and requirements. To do this, we employ more than 100 permanent, trained staff across Kent, ranging from chartered accountants, managing and letting agents, insurance professionals, and, of course, chartered surveyors who deal with rent reviews and lease renewals, building surveying, dispute resolution and other complex property matters. The following two case histories of jobs we have recently undertaken might perhaps help illustrate the diversity of services Caxtons is able to offer: DISPUTE RESOLUTION Arbitration Caxtons was appointed by the President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to act as an arbitrator in a dispute relating to the payment due by a developer to a landowner under an ‘Option Agreement’ in respect of a major residential development site in Kent. After the presentation and exchange of reports, a three-day court hearing ensued.

The case involved some 20 issues under dispute, and resulted in a comprehensive reasoned award determining each issue in turn and settling the dispute as a whole. COMMERCIAL PROPERTY One of Caxtons’ clients acquired a mixed-use commercial property investment with an attractive return. The former owner had neglected the repair and maintenance of the property, and it needed a comprehensive restoration programme. Many tenants were aggrieved by the condition of the building and its impact on their businesses. Our surveyors prepared a schedule of remedial works, and our property managers reviewed the tenants’ leases to ascertain liability for repair of common parts and the structure of the building, and the feasibility of recovering costs. The tenants were consulted about the extent and cost of the works required, their financial contribution was agreed, and a two-phase programme of works implemented. This prevented further deterioration and impact on the tenants’ businesses at the same time as maintaining the integrity of our client's investment. The improved condition of the building made it less of a risk and Caxtons’ Insurance department secured insurance cover at a most competitively priced premium. So why do we hide our multiple talents and expertise under the Chartered Surveyors’ banner? Because Caxtons is proud to be a professionally qualified representative of the property industry, and able to offer sound, expert advice to clients on all property matters. For more information please visit, email or telephone 01474 537733. Thinking Business


Members News

WET Centre offers confidence, consistency, control and cost-savings

Wet Centre Professor Mario Caccamo, Minister George Eustice and Dr Mark Else

Reducing the amount of water needed to grow high quality full flavoured strawberries while at the same time optimising the yield of the crop is now achievable thanks to the work of the new Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Centre, developed at NIAB EMR.

The WET Centre, based at the centre for horticulture and perennial fruit crop research in Kent, has been designed to showcase the latest developments in irrigation management and moisture sensing technologies. It was officially opened by Rt Hon George Eustice, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) when he visited Fruit Focus, hosted by NIAB EMR at East Malling. Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, said: “The WET Centre represents the future of soft fruit production. It brings together applied research, IT and data management, and growers who want to adopt new technologies in order to improve the consistency and quality of what they produce. “Initially, the focus of the WET Centre will be on soft fruit, but the technology has the potential to improve irrigation performance for other crops in the future.�

Agreement – harmony, accord, consensus Doing business is all about agreement - the price, delivery date, quality, components. Get the agreements right - everybody wins - get them wrong, no one does. Don’t hope for the best and perhaps have to deal with the worst - get expert advice at the right time regarding your contracts, terms and conditions and agency agreements. Whitehead Monckton’s Commercial Team can provide you with expert advice and support so contact us today.

Tel: 01622 698047 E-mail

Dr Mark Else of NIAB EMR, said: “Growers need the confidence that they can accurately control the irrigation of their crops and avoid the impact that over or under-watering can have on the consistency of the fruit produced, in this case strawberries.�

The NIAB EMR research has gone from the laboratory to field trials and now into commercial scale demonstration.

HR GO puts on a diamond show

Teams from across the country and overseas gathered in Ashford, Kent, to mark the family-owned group’s diamond jubilee. More than 200 staff joined the Parkinson family to pay a heartfelt tribute to the late Betty Parkinson, who founded the business in Dartford in 1957. Roddy Barrrow, Group Managing Director, welcomed everyone, updating them on company performance and plans. Over 60 years, HR GO has developed from a single branch to a nationwide enterprise with over 40 offices, 300 staff nationwide, and £80 million annual turnover. This has been achieved through high-quality customer service, innovation and joint ventures pioneered by Jack Parkinson.

England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. TB /1

Thinking Business

The PIP system offers real-time monitoring of moisture levels and irrigation performance. It is backed up by a 24/7 alert system, remotely maintained and operated at NIAB EMR which can notify growers of any potential problems.

Hundreds of staff celebrated HR GO’s 60 years in recruitment with a high-powered conference, glitzy masked ball and pledge to do many more “acts of kindness.� Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in


The first commercial application of the applied research undertaken at NIAB EMR is the Precision Irrigation Package (PIP) which provides fully automated irrigation to maintain moisture at precise levels to optimise water productivity, yields and berry quality.

Tom Nichols, Management Accounts, thrilled to be the first Betty P Trophy winner.

Conference guest speakers Professor Richard Scase, a world-renowned business forecaster, and Steve Faulkner, a motivational magician, praised HR GO for adapting to new trends and embracing change, both essential to sustained business growth. Glass trophies shaped like a diamond were presented to staff for performance, achievement, long service and fund-raising. And a new annual Betty P award for the outstanding back office team member was launched in honour of the founder. Jack said: “Our conference and ball were a brilliant celebration of our 60 years in business. I’m sure my mother would have been delighted with both events and what’s been achieved since she started the company. “Our anniversary is as much about looking forward as back. The recruitment industry has seen a lot of change in 60 years and we can expect even more in the years ahead. This provides us with exciting new opportunities. “We have lots of new ideas and I’m confident that the business will continue to develop in many new directions over the next 60 years.�

Growth on the agenda for HR specialist

Human Resources expert Simon Morgan has taken on a new colleague and moved into new offices as he celebrates a decade since setting up his own business. To mark the occasion, Mr Morgan was joined at a recent celebration by some of his long-standing clients at which he thanked them for their historic and ongoing support. Mr Morgan set up The HR Dept South East London and North Kent in September 2007, to provide high quality yet affordable outsourced HR advice and support to SMEs in the area.

Why Health & Safety matters

The move to set up on his own came after 30 years working in corporate HR, in various private sector roles heading up HR and training departments. Now, after a successful decade running his own HR business, he has established a client base of 50 local firms. Half of those clients have been with him for more than five years and five of the businesses he works with

have been using his services for almost the full decade. High profile clients include the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup and mobile crane firm Bronzeshield Lifting, in Crayford. With his sights set on further business growth, Mr Morgan has moved to new offices in Basepoint Dartford in Dartford Business Park and has appointed John Quigley,

With significant changes in the law over recent years relating to H&S offences and fines, businesses and their owners are more at risk than ever before for failings in Health & Safety at work. For many years, the commonsense approach has ‘got us through’ or has been seen as ‘sufficient’. However, are we all totally compliant if things don’t go to plan? It has never been more relevant to invest in improving standards to protect staff and business owners for the future. At Sophus Safety Solutions protecting us all from the risks of the modern work environment has been key to its growth and success. Offering sound advice and solutions to its clients ensuring your moral responsibility and genuine care for staff wellbeing is maintained is just part of the process and a small element of their offering. Owner Andy Owden said: “We look at bespoke business solutions and work on practical core issues, not an exercise to install red tape.

“It’s so important we don’t lose sight of what safety is really about. Nationally we have seen a decline in both fatal and non-fatal injuries and we just want to develop our reputation by helping businesses improve on this positive statistic. “We have the knowledge and expertise across a range of sectors and a package to cover Safety, environmental and energy solutions to really benefit our clients.” Whether your business is new, growing or well established, expert help and advice to ensure your future success is vital. As a new Chamber member, Sophus would love to support your business needs and show you the value and benefits of an investment in this critical area. If you would like further information or advice please email Andy on

Members News

an experienced employment lawyer and qualified HR professional, to help him grow the business further. Mr Morgan said: “It is great to have John on board. The size of my client base now is making things rather busy so having an extra pair of hands will help manage my current workload and also help us plan for future expansion.” Visit


Drum'n'Basement began in the summer of 2014, providing rehearsal facilities for local bands, musicians, theatre groups and anyone with the need for an independent creative space.

The owner, Andrew McGuinness is a professional session musician with 30 years of music business experience. The idea came after his return to his birthplace of Folkestone, where he noticed the absence of rehearsal facilities in the area. Initially, Drum'n'Basement was a drum shop. This has now developed into a complete drum restoration workshop, repairing both old and new drums. D'n'B is one of only 6 restorers in the country. Andrew's international high profile music contacts enable him to manage and coordinate productions, musicians and contract artists for any size event. Be it 4 piece bands or a 20-piece orchestra. Andrew is franchise owner of the Baltic Soul Orchestra, which has branches in the UK and Europe and who have worked with over 120 major artists over the past 10 years.

Drum'n'Basement plans to expand their operations in the near future, providing a onestop shop for: full production rehearsals, recording studio's, catering, accommodation, van rental, technicians, merchandise and print media, inspiring local businesses to join in and provide these services, under one banner. Drum'n'Basement's aim is to provide the ultimate creative hub for musicians and artists of all genres from all over the world, bringing long term commerce to the S.E. The Drum'n'Basement offers sound proof rehearsals, a drum recording studio, satellite recording studio's, 24hr access, kitchen facilities tea and coffee.

Thinking Business


Members News

New road at Kent Medical Campus officially opened

A new road opening up access to more of Kent Medical Campus has been officially opened by the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Malcolm Greer.

The £1.5m road, called Gidds Pond Way, links Newnham Court Way with the next phase of the campus to be developed, and connects to the site of the £18m Cygnet Health Care development, where construction is already well under way.

Gidds Pond Way will provide access to the eastern part of Kent Medical Campus, which forms part of the 1,000,000ft2 development. One of the sites on the new road is earmarked for the 75-bed stepdown care home that recently received planning permission from Maidstone Borough Council. Cllr Greer said: “Kent Medical Campus is a vital part of Maidstone’s future, providing a home for thousands of future high quality jobs and helping to create a stronger local economy.”

Gary Watson of JLL, the property agents and advisers for Kent Medical Campus, said: “It’s great to see the new road officially opened as it demonstrates our commitment to bringing health, science and education jobs to Maidstone. Investment in new roads will continue to help us reach our target of making Kent Medical Campus home to up to 4,000 new jobs. “In the last few months we have seen an increase in potential enquiries as awareness of what Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, offers. We are very optimistic about the coming year.”

The ambition is for the 30-acre site to be the county’s first Academic, Health and Science Centre by providing 98,000m2 of accommodation for medical and life‐science companies, specialist residential and rehabilitation care, as well as higher education training facilities for the medical and healthcare professions.

Kent Medical Campus was granted Enterprise Zone status by the Government and came into operation at the 30-acre site is located at Junction 7 of the M20 earlier this year.

The first phase is the recently‐opened Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS), the 92 bed independent hospital.


Thinking Business

National Lottery funding success for Victoria Park

Ashford’s historic Victoria Park has been awarded a £167,000 development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund. The funding will support an exciting project that aims to place Victoria Park at the heart of the local community, improve local knowledge of the site and make the area around the park a better place to live, work, visit and enjoy.

The HLF and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People grant programme supports projects that restore, conserve and transform historic public parks. Ashford Borough Council has adopted an ambitious masterplan that aims to create an attractive destination that boosts local civic pride, promotes wellbeing and celebrates the rich heritage of the site. The Kent council applied to the programme to help support delivery of the masterplan which includes four themed zones for enhancements; Adventure,

Heritage, Sport & Recreation, and Riverside. The National Lottery funding provides an excellent opportunity to develop these areas in more detail and engage the public on a wider scale.

The development grant from HLF and Big Lottery Fund will help the council to reapply for the next round of funding where the project to shape Victoria Park into a 21st century park, and create an exciting flagship destination for Ashford will hopefully receive capital funding of £3.2m. Victoria Park has one outstanding architectural feature, the iconic and exuberant Hubert Fountain. The funding will support timely and beneficial repairs to the Grade II* Listed fountain and improvements to the surrounding piazza area.

Other works will include replacing the existing play space with sensory gardens, extending the popular community orchard, restoring the secret garden area and creating a paved path into the park. There are also plans to expand activity and recreation within the park with bike ramps and additional play facilities, which will enrich the quality of resident’s lives and contribute towards a healthy lifestyle. Providing the community with a pleasant environment to visit and enjoy is important to the council and the new funding will help create a well-maintained space for much loved local events such as the Create Music Festival and other cultural activities.

What next following ‘momentous’ decision on tribunal fees?

The recent Supreme Court decision in R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor that makes employment tribunal fees unlawful raises important questions for affected claimants and employers, says Andrew Masters, a Partner and Head of Employment at leading South East law firm Furley Page. The immediate effect is fees are no longer payable and those paid in the past four years, amounting to £32 million, must be reimbursed by the Government. It is, says Andrew, ‘a landmark and momentous decision’ and adds: “Simply put, the Supreme Court determined that society loses out if access to justice is blocked. It again demonstrates an independent judiciary will, in specified circumstances, intervene to challenge decisions of the executive and defend principles of common law.” But, Andrew says, however welcome the decision may be for employees, the practicalities are unknown.

It is likely the number of claims in the Employment Tribunal (ET) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) will increase following a significant reduction triggered by the fees. However, the Acas Early Conciliation Scheme has had some success in resolving disputes and will remain, so numbers may not increase to pre-July 2013 levels.

In theory, the Government could come up with another system, perhaps one that puts a greater cost burden on employers rather than simply being placed on employees. However, it appears unlikely, at least for the time being, given the decision of the Supreme

Court, the practical difficulties and priorities of the minority Government and relative crossparty support for the abolition of fees.

Andrew said “Where barriers are erected to enforcing workers’ rights, such rights are effectively worthless. If employers know claimants are unable or unwilling to bring claims, the whole system of employment protection is undermined. “Employment Tribunal fees have been abolished and we now need robust answers for claimants and employers affected by the barriers erected by the Fees Order.”

Sector Focus - Produced in Kent

Flavours from the Garden of England

By Stephanie Durling, Produced in Kent 16

Thinking Business

Sector Focus - Produced in Kent

Kent’s Food & Drink sector has a lot to shout about these days and rightly so. The county’s food heritage goes back to Henry VIII when many of the orchards were planted for our apples, pears, plums and cherries in particular. Having said that, it will not have escaped your notice that more vineyards have been planted across Kent in recent years together with the meteoric rise of gin which has also found a home in Kent with at least six distilleries so far. Kentish wines in particular, enjoy a well-deserved high profile these days, especially for their sparkling wines, all of which are so different suiting everyone’s palette with many of the vineyards offering tours and tastings boosting Kent’s food tourism industry along the way. Elsewhere in the sector, our producers and manufacturers are developing their product ranges, expanding their businesses and with that of course comes increased employment opportunities. Produced in Kent works with around 280 businesses in this sector providing services and support in a range of ways through networking, training, as well as through promotions and marketing. We hear about the highs, and sometimes the lows, of running your own business, the trials and excitement of a branding refresh and as this year is showing, the worst that nature can throw at our farmers at

the wrong times. The effect of frosts back in the late spring on the fruit and horticultural sectors and more recently the rain with the arable harvests will undoubtedly find its way to our shopping baskets in due course. Though the effect of these unwelcome frosts were experienced as far as the South of France and even into Spain, so we are not alone. Despite all this though there are new products coming to market using Kentish ingredients with businesses collaborating and increasing choice for consumers. A new range of salad dressings and mayonnaise from one supplier to air dried fruit crisps from another. We have seen them grow from little more than start-ups with a seed of an idea, through to established and growing businesses gaining major contracts and establishing themselves on the world stage in some cases. Many of these benefitting from support from the Chamber as well. We work with many of Kent’s food businesses encouraging and supporting them getting involved in export and some have sealed significant contacts overseas both in Europe and worldwide.

With support from the GREAT Food from Kent campaign 12 businesses were taken to various European trade and consumer shows as well as some trade missions which were also available to Mexico and Dubai, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of orders coming through. These opportunities were invaluable and with the support of the

Department of Industry & Trade, provided many small businesses with trade and insight rarely accessible to small businesses due to the cost involved. Kent's food and drink sector is celebrated in the annual Taste of Kent Awards, which recognise the finest produce and the cream of retail and hospitality businesses. Cont. page 18

“Produced in Kent works with around 280 businesses in this sector providing services and support in a range of ways through networking, training, as well as through promotions and marketing. We hear about the highs, and sometimes the lows, of running your own business, the trials and excitement of a branding refresh and as this year is showing, the worst that nature can throw at our farmers at the wrong times.”

Thinking Business


Sector Focus - Produced in Kent

Cont. from page 17

Taste of Kent Awards 2018

Produced in Kent’s prestigious Taste of Kent Awards 2018 are now open to public voting, following the recent launch reception at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden. The awards launch reception, sponsored by Hadlow College brought together previous winners and sponsors to celebrate the launch of the awards, now in their fourteenth year. The Taste of Kent Awards, organised by Produced in Kent, aims to showcase Kent’s finest food and drink products and provides the general public with a unique opportunity to nominate and vote for their favourite producers, retailers, restaurants, pub/bistro and drinks. Simply visit before voting closes on 2nd January 2018. Victoria Symons head of the Food & Drink sector at Cripps, comments “Cripps is proud to be the main sponsor of the Taste of Kent Awards for the seventh consecutive year. Kent has a fantastic and flourishing food and drink industry and we’re delighted to be able to support successful local businesses.” Stephanie Durling at Produced in Kent, comments: “Over the years, these awards have benefitted Kent producers of all sizes. It is free to vote and if you can’t see the producer on


Thinking Business

the list, you can be the first to nominate and vote for them. If you have had a good meal or enjoyed some delicious Kentish produce, then show your appreciation and cast your vote. Stephanie continues: “We are really lucky as a county to have such a vibrant and innovative food and drink community and these Awards are a great big thank you and it gives many businesses much needed publicity and public endorsement to help them to grow and succeed.” Following the all-important initial public vote, three finalists in each category will then go forward to be judged by mystery shoppers, mystery diners or an expert judging panel. The Kent Tastiest Juice of the year will be judged by a tasting panel from sponsor AC Goatham & Son, Kent’s wine, beer and cider or perry are then judged by a separate panel of experts and sponsors with Kent’s producers and manufacturers being invited to submit their products to a panel of experts in the selfnominating category the Kent Food Product Classes. Full details are available on In addition to the online voting at, voters will be able to download a voting form from the website or request one directly from Produced in Kent, tel. 01732 853170.

The awards presentation dinner will take place on Thursday 8th March 2018 at the Kent Event Centre. This year’s categories open for public voting, are as follows: • Kent Butcher’s Shop of the Year • Kent Beer of the year, sponsored by EurostarUK • Kent Wine of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual • Kent Cider or Perry of the Year, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy LLP • Kent Tastiest Juice of the Year, sponsored by AC Goatham & Son • Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Opies • Kent Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by Shopper Anonymous • Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Thomson, Snell & Passmore • Kent Pub or Bistro of the Year, sponsored by University of Kent Other awards, not open for public voting, are: • Kent Food Product Classes, sponsored by Shepherd Neame

• Best Kent Food Product of the Year, sponsored by HSBC • Kent Countryside Award, sponsored by Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs This stand-alone award gives farmers, rural businesses using local produce and food and drink producers, the opportunity to enter their businesses directly into the competition visit awards/kent-food-farminglandscape-award/ for more information. • Garden of England Champions – Cherry & Soft Fruit, sponsored by The Kent County Agricultural Society Three categories: Cherry, Strawberries and Raspberries • Garden of England Champions – Top Fruit, sponsored by BTF Partnership

10% off

day delegate rates throughout the months of October and November and quote: TBM10 when booking.

Our Café is open for lunch from 12pm – 2pm

The Orchards East Malling

surrounded by 200 hectares of orchards, is a purpose-built event venue in Kent

Situated in a perfect location to escape the hustle and bustle of the office environment, allowing delegates to be more focused and meetings more productive. • Competitive rates you can afford • Versatile rooms for 2 – 200 • AV Equipment included in rates

• • • • •

FREE Wi-Fi Dedicated events team On-Site Catering FREE parking for 200 cars Team Building Activities Email:

Telephone: 01732 523781

Big Interview

Thriving in a changing financial landscape

The financial sector has undergone many dramatic changes over the past decade but throughout the rollercoaster ride Canterbury-based Argentis has continued to produce truly remarkable growth.

By sticking to its core principles of offering transparent and independent financial advice, the business has seen the amount of client assets it is responsible for increase a staggering ten-fold in just ten years. So much so that today, the chartered financial planning and wealth management business is one of Kent’s great business success stories with its Executive Chairman David Taplin looking optimistically forward to the years to come. Argentis was formed in 2006 in Canterbury by David and colleague Martin Marsik, who became Managing Director. They wanted to do things differently than the financial advisers who were tied into specific companies and products and found themselves restricted in the options they could offer their clients. David, who has a long and successful history of working in the financial advice sector, said: “We wanted to create a business that did things in a different way than much of the industry, one that was transparent and customerfocused. “We wanted to take our lead from what the customer wanted and as an independent business we did not have any preconceived ideas of what was required, which was an approach that you did not always find in the industry at the time.”


Thinking Business

That they were ahead of their time was evidenced six years after Argentis was established when the eagerly-awaited Financial Services Authority’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR) of 2012 was published.

Representing one of the biggest overhauls of financial regulation since the Financial Services Act was introduced in 1986, RDR set out to ensure that clients of financial advisers were offered a transparent and fair charging system for the advice they received, with no hidden charges or commission payments. It was an approach immediately recognised by the team at Argentis. David said: “When the RDR was published, the model which was recommended was pretty much what we had been offering since 2006. We had always believed in transparency.” The success of the Argentis approach means that the rate of growth since 2006 has been rapid. Having been founded with the aim of providing clients with the highest quality of independent and professional advice that was not tied into products, commission or adviser charges, by the end of 2007 Argentis was responsible for more than £300m of clients’ assets. By the end of 2012, it was responsible for more than £1.1bn of clients’ assets and today the figure tops £3bn. The business, which is now part of a larger group, has

grown to employ 170 staff and operates from a number of offices, most of them in the south, including London.

However, it has not all been plain sailing and no interview with someone working in the financial sector can take place without mention of the global financial crisis of 2008 when banks collapsed and consumer confidence plummeted. Argentis was still in its infancy when the crisis struck and the disaster came at a time when the business was expanding and opening new offices. Although the crisis heralded dark days for many financial organisations, Argentis found itself more in demand than ever before. David said: “We had just opened offices in Salisbury and Surrey when it happened. Suddenly, people were no longer confident if their money was safe in the banks or building societies and they needed to find other ways of investing and, above all, needed professional advice.

“The system was crumbling around their ears and they were worried what would happen to their money so what we actually saw during the crisis was an increase in our business. “Some people had seen their investments reduced to half or three quarters of what they had been and they wanted the high-quality advice which we could offer.” The crisis of 2008 is just one of the changes that the business has witnessed in what has proved a tumultuous twelve years since its formation, transforming the market place. David said: “Many people have now changed their thinking when it comes to investing for their retirement. “The crisis of 2008 was one of the things that saw them thinking in new ways. Before 2008, many people were happy to leave their money in a building society, picking up interest rates of four or five per cent, but with interest rates now down at just about zero that is no longer possible. “The result is that people have had to explore other options to guarantee themselves an income in retirement. “I think that things like the increased freedom in the pensions market and the effect of the Retail Distribution Review means that we now have investors who are much more educated about the options open to them.

Big Interview “Confidence has returned after the problems of 2008 and I am confident for the future of the business.”

David Taplin Executive Chairman Argentis

Big Interview

“Representing one of the biggest overhauls of financial regulation since the Financial Services Act was introduced in 1986, RDR set out to ensure that clients of financial advisers were offered a transparent and fair charging system for the advice they received, with no hidden charges or commission payments.� Thinking Business


finding the right support Don’t let late payers add pain to your cashflow headaches

Cover Feature

Jay Sahota recently became Owner and Senior Partner at Jarmans Solicitors, a long-established and growing law firm in Sittingbourne. He is stepping up civil and commercial litigation services, including debt recovery and resolving company/shareholder/partnership disputes, which are critical issues for many small businesses.

Late-paying clients can heap

cash flow problems on their suppliers and, in extreme cases, threaten their survival. Apart from the ethical and moral issues surrounding late payment, tardy payers have a detrimental impact on all businesses, but smaller ones in particular. Knowing what to do when a client reneges on a payment agreement, or delays payment beyond a reasonable time, is crucial to any business. Jay offers these top 10 tips to any business worried about slow-paying clients, urging them not to wait until that unpaid invoice starts flashing red but to think about it well before taking on any work with a new client. 1. Carry out a risk assessment. 2. Carry out credit checks with Companies House and credit reference websites. 3. Make sure you know whom you are dealing with (eg company, sole trader, partnership, individual?). 4. Make your Terms and Conditions robust and have a comprehensive credit policy in place. 5. Look carefully at the customer. If you suspect they pose a high risk, take that into account when formulating your T&Cs, or the way you are going to trade with that particular customer (for instance, consider agreeing direct debits to help with liquidity and certainty). 6. Consider other forms of protection such as personal guarantees by directors (and of course insurance). 7. Ask for a deposit or advance or for someone to be a guarantor. 8. If the counterparty looks as though they have trouble paying, take immediate action. Address the situation as you go along.

He offers tips on both.

Send reminders; try to find out why the payments are late; perhaps tighten your terms. 9. Be proactive in debt collection or you will be seen as soft. 10. The longer you leave chasing the debt, the more they will think they can get away with it.

Expect the best for a business partnership - but prepare for the worst

Jay has extensive experience of legal work in the context of business partnerships and also when shareholders set up a new company. Partners, for example, start out with the best of intentions, but sometimes things go wrong with the relationship, the business or both. These tips will help avoid the pitfalls. 1. You need transparency and honesty at all times. 2. Be candid with each other at the start, including discussions as to expectations, funding, work to be done, share of profits, roles and responsibilities. 3. Get the drafting right (otherwise you may be entirely at the mercy of the unwieldy Partnership Act) and check that the agreement is reflected across the business and at Companies House if dealing with a company. 4. It’s not comfortable but you need to plan for the worst scenario from the outset, like a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage. Talk the horrible stuff at the beginning. 5. Think about a potential exit. What would happen if things went belly up? 6. When deciding the level of investment, establish who is doing the work and who is in charge. Include that in the agreement, giving weighting to the relevance of each factor.

7. Consider a tiered bonus or remuneration scheme. 8. Include a deadlock provision such as a commercial arbitration mechanism. 9. Ensure the agreement document reflects what you have discussed and what is actually happening in the partnership. 10. Don’t see things through rose-tinted spectacles.

Jay’s brief takes Jarmans in exciting new directions

When it comes to business and corporate advice, few legal experts have more relevant experience than Jay Sahota. After working for leading London firm Allen and Overy, the law graduate from Trinity Hall, Cambridge and former pupil at Chatham Grammar School joined Jarmans at the start of this year. He became owner and senior partner in June, teaming up with experienced salaried partner Barry Bond. The firm’s origins go back more than a century, but Jarmans has been in its current form for 30 years. This respected solicitors’ practice in Sittingbourne embraces most types of legal work – corporate, commercial, commercial property, commercial and civil litigation, employment, wills and probate, lasting powers of attorney (LPA), trusts, conveyancing, licensing and family. Jay has begun a transformation to reflect radical changes in the legal world, developing services in commercial property and litigation, and handling social media defamation and intellectual property claims (as well as catering for the growth in debt recovery – often complex – and company/ partnership/shareholder disputes).

“We are re-positioning for a new era,” he says. “We can’t afford to sleep, we must be proactive. It’s a balance between combining tradition with moving forward.” Jay is stepping up the use of social media and marketing. “Many people don’t know we do such large-scale corporate and commercial work. I’m trying to ramp up the business. I looked at the market both in terms of geographical and market advantage. We are between Canterbury and Medway with nothing in-between. “We have the advantage of having been in Sittingbourne a long time and enjoying a good reputation. We’re well known and do a good job.” Jay’s longer-term plan is to push into new areas of law and open offices in Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and London. Jay, who lives in Meopham with his wife and two children, has boosted total staff numbers from 15 to 25 by attracting new specialist solicitors. “The team is fantastic, have been really supportive and bought into my vision. I want people to enjoy working here and for that feeling to rub off on clients.” Jarmans is about exceptional service, Jay says. “We are different because we think outside the box. Many firms look at A to B whereas sometimes you need to look at C for a solution. It’s that combination of being commercial whilst being friendly. We punch above our weight, offering London standards at provincial prices. We have some very large clients and clients on every continent.” He loves working in Kent. “It’s a fantastic place to do business. I don’t see why legal work should be focused in London any more.” Thinking Business


finding the right support

Cover Feature

Finding the right support

Even when they are doing well, many businesses find themselves unable to sustain high numbers of employees. However, the work that those people would have done still needs to be carried out. 24

Thinking Business

finding the right support Cover Feature

That is where professional services companies come into their own because they can offer the required assistance in areas including financial services, design services, marketing, HR and training. The advantages of outsourcing work to professional services specialists for SMEs are many, including the fact that such companies are often prepared to negotiate advantageous terms and conditions, perhaps based on a job-by-job basis or a fixed price project cost. That means that, rather than employing a full-time member of staff, a SME can sign a deal that is specifically tailored to its needs which can work out more cost-effective. Another big advantage is that SMEs can pick and choose the kind of services they require. For instance, they may already have a selection of specialist skills in-house and require additional support on only a few elements of a project. Going out of house to specialist companies allows them to bring in those skills as and when required. Many SMEs are tempted to provide everything themselves in-house and sometimes it can work. However, very often a small business does not have the in-depth specialism in all the disciplines it requires and battling on in-house can turn out to be a false economy. Professional services support businesses of all sizes and in a wide range of sectors. People working in professional services help their clients to manage and improve their business. Accountants, management consultants and lawyers all provide professional services to their clients as do training companies. Take HR, for example. Workplace legislation changes at such a rapid rate, a SME needs specialist support to ensure it does not fall foul of employment law. Very often it can be the issues which they never

even considered that can cause problems if left unaddressed. That is where a specialist HR company comes into the picture. Take marketing as another example. Companies can try to do the work themselves but it often makes sense to bring in professionals who can write compelling copy, source professional images, communicate with the media and harness the power of social marketing platforms. Good marketing experts realise that the companies who fare best in this hothouse of creativity are those who think outside the box. Very often, SME staff working hard to keep their businesses on track simply do not have the time to do that in every field of their operation. Outsourcing also provides a boost to the local economy, creating and preserving jobs. Professional services are critical to the success of the UK economy, representing 15% of UK GDP, 14% of employment and 14% of exports. Done well, outsourcing allows companies to concentrate on what they do best, freeing up their teams to be more creative and focus on the job in hand. In addition, it can help them save money, become more flexible and manage growth. Increasingly, businesses have seen the sense in such an approach. There are plenty of established companies that can help and, with the reduction of the public sector and cutbacks by many companies, the area is seeing the creation of new enterprises run by skilled practitioners who, having lost their jobs, are striking out on their own. They bring an immense range of expertise to the table and it makes a lot of sense to tap into it.

“Outsourcing also provides a boost to the local economy, creating and preserving jobs. Professional services are critical to the success of the UK economy, representing 15% of UK GDP, 14% of employment and 14% of exports. Done well, outsourcing allows companies to concentrate on what they do best, freeing up their teams to be more creative and focus on the job in hand.�

One such company who can assist in this sector is Smile While You Dial.

Louise Carter, is a sales training professional with experience in training and coaching teams and individuals in sales, customer service and telephone skills in a variety of business and industry sectors. Louise can also assist companies with specific projects by providing business/marketing support including events/exhibitions, client surveys, account development, and mail shot follow up. With personal experience working as a sales professional in high profile and fast paced customer service environments for both corporate businesses and SMEs where meeting tight deadlines is essential,

Louise understands the needs of business owners. Operating on a freelance basis providing bespoke sales, customer service, and customer care excellence training to a wide range of clients, Louise can assist companies gain the skills they need to get the most out of their staff and their business. For further information visit:

Thinking Business


finding the right support

Cover Feature

Duty of Care when Performing Gratuitous Services By David Brown, Gullands Solicitors

It isn’t always a good idea to mix business with friendships. When things go wrong, it is important to have the right team behind you and the recent case of Burgess and Anor v. Lejonvarn should serve as a warning. Mr and Mrs Burgess wanted to have some substantial garden landscape work done to a high-level design. Having been quoted a price of £150,000 their friend Mrs Lejonvarn, an architect and project manager by trade, said this was quite expensive and she offered to organise a team to carry out the work at a lower price. For the early stages of the project she would not charge for her services as project manager. The project was a disaster and costs significantly overran. Even though no contract existed between the parties, the Judge concluded that a duty of care was owed in Tort as the Burgesses relied upon Mrs Lejonvarn’s professional expertise and she had accepted responsibility for a significant project. The relevant standard was that of a reasonably competent project manager and architect. The case went to the Court of Appeal and was reported in April 2017. The professional consultant appealed on six grounds, but the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the first instance decision. The Court decided that the assumption of responsibility test was appropriate in cases involving a relationship similar to a contract. The professional in question had chosen to perform services in which case she must act with reasonable care when doing so. Whilst a building contractor may be liable for defective work as a matter of contract law, it is not generally liable to third parties for pure economic loss in tort which is why the construction industry makes use of collateral warranties and third party rights. Mrs Lejonvarn argued that it was not right for a professional consultant to owe a duty of care when the builder that actually carried out the work did not. However, the Court of Appeal noted that there is a distinction between a builder and a professional and quoted from a previous case; “It is perhaps understandable that professional persons are taken to assume responsibility for economic loss to their clients. Typically, they give advice, prepare reports, draw up accounts, produce plans and so forth. They expect their clients and possibly others to act in reliance upon their work product, often with financial or economic consequences.” This case still remains a cautionary tale. Pure economic loss is a particular danger for those involved in construction projects where damage to the structure itself is not usually recoverable if there is no contract with a party responsible for the defects. David Brown can be contacted at


Thinking Business

Why use a Chartered Surveyor? By Richard Stafford MRICS

As with any major decision in life, it is always best to get professional advice and dealing with commercial property is just the same. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, redeveloping, seeking a valuation for any number of purposes or faced with a rent review on a rented property, seeking advice from a chartered surveyor is paramount. More importantly, insuring that the surveyor is local to the area and knows that particular market place inside-out and is based in a regional office and not trying to cover too large an area. As with all subjects, there may be times when you need a surveyor who deals with a niche sector which may be as broad as the ‘agricultural’ sector or a ‘building surveyor’ or something more specialist i.e. rights of light, however 9 times out of 10, a locally based, general practice commercial surveyor will be able to assist you, or direct you a more specialist practitioner. When it comes to straightforward valuation advice, the local surveyor will be au fait with a wide range of recent transactions that would be applicable to your property and would be aware of any market trends having a specific impact on value, imperative for achieving ‘best value’ if one is looking to sell or let a property, or insuring accuracy with regards to a valuation for lending purposes or, at the end of the day, a probate valuation. Your local surveyor will know all the local investors, builders and developers who are in the market place for particular types of property if one is looking to dispose of it either on a freehold or leasehold basis and similarly will be in the loop to be able to acquire premises on your behalf that may not even come to the market place in the conventional manner, enabling retained clients to benefit from this local knowledge. A well established local chartered surveyor will have contacts with all the local banks, building societies, accountants, lawyers, architects and planners and will have previously worked with these members of the ‘property team’ in the past and can accordingly advise clients on the best practitioners for their own project. Early discussions with a well-established local general practise chartered surveyor can make your commercial property project run far more smoothly and swiftly and ultimately more profitably than might otherwise be the case. Most local surveyors are happy to give their time freely in the first instance to discuss a project before perhaps meeting onsite and taking matters further. Remember, always check that your surveyor is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and also make sure that he/she has a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the area in which your property is located. For further information call 01233 613900 or visit

The role of Business Analysis in small business growth

Business Analysts help businesses to change, adapt and grow. They identify business’ needs and put in place practical solutions.

This often means digging to find the cause of underlying problems. Business Analysis also bridges the gap between what businesses need and what technology can deliver. The benefits to small businesses are clear, so why aren't small business using them? Smart businesses use Business Analysts to find better ways of working, to save time, and to increase effectiveness. Large companies may have many full-time analysts, each as part of a project team. Small businesses face unique challenges. In smaller businesses resources are scarce. The “project team” working to improve the business may be one man on a mission, or a one-woman army. Time and money are critical. Smaller businesses also have less in-house expertise to fall back on. And generally, have less formal management— just because they are small. Every sale is important: Small businesses cannot afford to miss opportunities. They don’t have the margins and buffers that large businesses enjoy. Small businesses also have differing priorities. Large organisations can focus solely on profit or share value. Small business owners must consider their personal goals too. Things like: accomplishment and pride,as well as achieving a work/life balance or their desired lifestyle.

The solution: Business Analysts

This is where an independent Business Analyst can be invaluable—in providing tactical support where needed. All without increasing overheads. The unique challenges that small businesses face, make the work of the Business Analyst even more valuable, even more relevant. A good Business Analyst will introduce technology and process changes to save time and money in any small business. A great Business Analyst will find solutions that give the small business owner the lifestyle they desire. For a free consultation with an independent business analyst, call Terry Hopper on 020 7859 4875, email or visit

finding the right support

Cover Feature

Ashford’s Local Commercial Surveyors Currently Carrying Out:• Rent Reviews • Planning Applications • • Lease Renewals • Acquisitions • • Sales and Lettings • Property Management • • Probate Valuations • Pro Bono Advice • Across Ashford and the Romney Marsh

Phone today and see if we can help you.

01233 613900

MAIDSTONE HOUSE Affordable, flexible office space, centrally located

Starting your own business? Outgrown your office? Or need a home for your charity/social enterprise? We can help you!

As a charity, we also offer ongoing Enterprise Grants

• Free monthly meeting room Other benefits include: allowance • First month FREE!* • All-inclusive price - even the tea • Prices from £60 per month and coffee! • Business surgeries, training and networking events • Furniture and printing facilities available • Variety of space options to suit all • Free WiFi with options to upgrade * Subject to availability - Contact us for details Why not join our vibrant and collaborative community Contact us for further information or a tour.

• 01622 808781 •

• • • Enterprise England Maidstone Enterprise Centre Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6AW

Thinking Business


Your office is our business Albion Office Interiors Limited Specialising in making the most of your business premises. Whether you’re a one-man band or a multi-national corporation, aoi has a solution to suit. Let us help you create a place you’ll be pleased to show to clients and somewhere your staff will actually want to come and work! Large or small, aoi can do it all! • • • • •

Specialist decorating • Mechanical and electrical services Partitioning systems • Health & Safety upgrades Bespoke joinery • Warehousing & storage facilities Flooring and wallcoverings • Systems office furniture & seating Property Maintenance - both planned contracts and reactive Tel: 01227 281281 Albion House, Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3PS


Thinking Business

Industry Comment

The Office Kitchen: A Physical and Social Health Hazard?

Office kitchens are notoriously unclean. Employees rarely consider the upkeep of the kitchen their responsibility, instead seeing it as the responsibility of the company for which they work. Thus, come 5pm, the office kitchen is in an abominable state – dirty cutlery and plates strewn about, sticky surfaces, clogged sinks and tea stains galore. It is easy to see how bacteria breed in this environment. A dirty office kitchen is an obvious, physical health hazard. It can also have detrimental effects on the social wellbeing of employees by creating hostility and invoking stress.

Some Coliform with Your Tea?

It is unsurprising that office kitchens are breeding grounds for bacteria, including the particularly unfavourable coliform. A study carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene, found that, ‘half of surfaces in workplace kitchens are contaminated by dangerously high levels of coliforms – the bacteria present in faeces which can lead to outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease’. Let that digest. You may not prepare your lunch on the bare work surface, yet you may put down your fork – just for a second. Or, you may wash up

your cup, doing your part to reduce the mess, and then innocently place your clean cup onto the drainer. This may not seem worrying, but the same study also found that drainers hosted four times the safe level of coliforms. Really makes you fancy that cup of tea, does it not? Especially upon consideration that, ‘75% of kitchen work surfaces are home to more bacteria than an average feminine sanitary bin’. These horrors come before we even begin to contemplate the bacteria on dish cloths and tea towels that are not regularly replaced. So, what’s the big deal with all of this bacterial transference? Well, according to a study commandeered by Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, the average desk hosts 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. When you leave the kitchen, you take its bacteria with you; your desk becomes host to bacteria that cause gastrointestinal disease. Bacteria transference increases the likelihood of employee sickness, an inconvenience undesired by any employer. Furthermore, the idea of this cyclical spreading of bacteria, from employee, to

kitchen, to employee, to desk, to employee, to kitchen, etc., hardly creates an appealing work environment.

Who Didn’t Wash Up their Fork?

Now that we have considered the physical transference of bacteria from the kitchen and its consequences, we must consider the implications on the social wellbeing of office employees. Firstly, employees will be reluctant to use the kitchen. Whilst this may reduce timewasting and office chatter, it could have long-term impacts on the workplace dynamic. People will not use a traditionally communal area to socialise and get to know each other; they will thus be less likely to develop friendships or a sense of office unity. Secondly, the presence of mess will cultivate hostility as employees attribute blame. Remarks will fly: “They’re so inconsiderate.” “How hard is it to clean your mug?” “Who didn’t wash up their fork?” Think about how bitter an employee can become if they are not included in the tea round. Now, imagine the bitterness expressed by a colleague who cannot locate a clean mug for their morning brew. Whilst a business can benefit from a bit of healthy, office competition, it will not benefit

from hostility amongst employees. Effective communication and, as cliché as it may be, team spirit are critical to an efficient working environment. A lack of colleague camaraderie may be of little concern for the boss, until it affects business productivity. Hostile colleagues are less likely to ask for help, listen to advice or offer assistance. Thus, they are more likely to miss deadlines and produce poor quality work that could damage your business reputation.

What To Do

There are a variety of options for the employer. The most convenient is to hire a cleaner. This way, the kitchen is never overrun with filth, is kept organised and is properly sterilised. Or, employers could produce a kitchen cleaning rota to ensure fairness amongst employees. A thoroughly and regularly cleaned office kitchen will have positive, long-term impacts on both the physical and social working environment. Telephone: 0800 468 1900 Email:

Thinking Business



Events Away @ The Campanile

Dates available : Friday 24 November Saturday 25 November Friday 1 December Saturday 2 December Friday 8 December Saturday 9 December Friday 15 December Saturday 16 December Thursday 21 December

Time: 7:30pm-Midnight

Price : ÂŁ37 per person

Price inclusive of a three course Christmas meal and entertainment.

Bookings: 01322 278 925 The location is :

Campanile Hotel Dartford, Crossways Business Park, Clipper Boulevard West, Dartford, Kent .DA2 6QN


Thinking Business

The View Hotel & Cliffe Restaurant

Nestled in the heart of Folkestone, our hotel is perfectly situated on the famous Leas. The View Hotel is a 4* high quality boutique hotel that has been passionately restored to it's former glory.

Wake up to stunning views of the English Channel from any of our 44 modern, stylish and comfortable bedrooms. If you are looking for corporate accommodation, we provide tailor-made corporate rates to suit you and your business and we do our utmost to ensure your stay with us is seamless and hassle-free. Dine with us at The Cliffe Restaurant & sample our carefully designed menus to showcase the Best of British food, using local sustainable suppliers and fresh Kentish produce. With our modern and newly decorated function room, we can accommodate all kinds of corporate events, providing a meeting space and in-house catering.

The View Hotel, 30-32 Clifton Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2EF

7 Hotel Diner The authentic retro American Hotel & Diner

Members News

Bookkeepers on the move

Live the American Dream, here in Kent, where the warmest hospitality is guaranteed and the Steaks, Ribs and Wings will delight. 7 Hotel Diner is a very special venue that offers businesses something a little bit different. As a new Chamber Member, Cheryl Leadbeater, Managing Partner shows genuine passion for the family businesses that her father started back in 1980. All involved property, hospitality, and cars, foundations that are very apparent today. “The heritage and legacy that my father gave us has meant that 7 Hotel Diner has been a success from the day we opened,” said Cheryl. “We have built our reputation on the highest quality and

service, ensuring guests at both the hotel & diner enjoy a fun, relaxed 1950’s atmosphere. My brother Michael, our dedicated colleagues and myself, have worked hard to ensure the business delivers fantastic accommodation and authentic American food at all times.” The boutique Hotel boasts 26 modern rooms, all with the comforts you would expect from a 4 Star (AA ranked) establishment, including ensuites and room service. They offer members 10% off their competitive room rates, if you quote “Invicta Chamber”.

Commercial acumen is essential, says new CEO at Golding Homes

Golding Homes’ new Chief Executive, Gary Clark, paid a visit to the new Tolhurst Way development in Lenham; the housing association’s first joint venture with local developer Akehurst Homes Ltd.

This development is testament to how housing associations are playing a major part in building new homes in a landscape that has had to adapt rapidly with central policy on how new affordable homes are funded. Gary said: “Modern day housing associations have to operate very differently to how they did ten years ago. Government funding for new affordable homes has reduced at a time when demand remains high and the cost of land and construction has increased. Combine this with a real term reduction in affordable rent levels and social landlords have had to become more adept at operating more commercially in order to provide the country

with much needed extra new housing supply. “The recent government reforms including the 1% rent reduction over four years and changes in the regulatory landscape, have created a more fluid operating environment. Housing associations have to operate more efficiently and in some cases be a little more ambitious with new commercial activity.” The Tolhurst Way development, which is due for completion in November, comprises 24 homes, of which 14 homes will be sold privately through Akehurst Homes Ltd Gary joined Golding Homes in June and was previously Operations Director at mhs homes.

Call the hotel team now to discuss corporate rates. The establishment at the top of Polhill in Halstead, near Sevenoaks, offers businesses comfortable space to meet and enjoy breakfast, coffee, lunch or dinner. The 7 Hotel Diner team love to entertain, with themed party nights, classic car meets and custom built corporate events, which are ideal for entertaining colleagues or clients alike or why not book a Christmas party at one of the Elvis, Michael Bublé or Olly Murs tribute music nights?

Precision Bookkeeping have moved their offices from Ashford Town Centre to the more scenic surroundings of Wye.

With an expanding client base, and growing team, their Ashford home was getting a little too small, so they have jumped at the chance to move to a larger office, with views of the Wye Downs. Simon Edwards, Director of Precision Bookkeeping, said ‘It’s a shame to leave the old office, it has served us well for a number of years. “However, I am very happy with our new surroundings, and the team are really enjoying the change. It is also a much better location for our clients, with a designated meeting area, and ample parking. Being next to the station also means we shouldn’t be late for any trains to visit our London clients!’ Precision Bookkeeping are a specialist bookkeeping firm, that offer a professional service, on a fixed fee basis. These services include day to day bookkeeping, VAT returns, payroll, and a fully managed finance department for larger clients, and those who want to offload the burden.

Helping those in need

Therapy Partners are a team of accredited, multi-agency professionals offering therapy, training and counselling.

The recent launch of Rewrite Your Story has enabled our continuing charitable work, supporting the health and mental well-being of children and young people, in particular, the early intervention and treatment of eating disorders. Our website, launched in August, providing support and information for eating disorder sufferers and the professionals and loved ones who are also affected. Our fundraising efforts currently include a 5K Fun Run/Walk around Mote Park, ticket sales of a Medway Little Theatre performance and Rewrite Your Story merchandise. Therapy Partners offers bespoke training, through seminars, workshops, workplace training and school assemblies. These can be delivered on a range of themes including eating disorder awareness, nutrition and mental health and wellbeing. In partnership with Connect 5, we offer training and seminars with a specific focus on workplace

wellbeing, mindful management training and addressing mental health in the workplace. We offer assistance for those going back into work and support business owners and managers, ensuring their mental health and wellbeing is being cared for. Our therapy and counselling services include face to face, online and telephone therapy. We pride ourselves on our short referral to treatment time, our respectful and confidential services, and the training and support we offer to clients and professionals alike.

Thinking Business



Scale Up Ashford Launches

A funded programme of support for businesses that have the capacity and ambition to grow.

September saw the successful launch of a new business support programme being offered through the Chamber on behalf of Ashford Borough Council, as part of its continued commitment to developing economic prosperity across the borough. Scale Up Ashford is the first of its kind in Kent and adopts the core principles of the wider national initiative conceived by the Scale Up Institute. The key principle is that businesses that have access to tailored, intensive support and expert networks have a greater potential to deliver growth, jobs and prosperity. Initially, six businesses will be able to access the fully funded programme of support that will include; • The opportunity to take their business from good to great with the support of an experienced and highly successful growth coach.


Thinking Business

• Unlimited access to a localised team of experts specifically chosen to help address and overcome the key barriers to growth. Including international trade, finance, HR, property and legal. • Grant and funding application support to enable them to access the appropriate local, regional and national government funding schemes • Exclusive membership to a network of likeminded business owners enabling them to share common challenges, best practise and collaboration opportunities. • A unique platform to promote, showcase and celebrate their business success locally, regionally and internationally.

The Chamber is delighted to be working again with Simon Teague of New Level Results who will working with the six businesses. Simon Teague is an accomplished entrepreneur and business coach based at Discovery Park, near Sandwich. Having come from a background of 26 years in the Financial Services industry, he started his first business in

2007 as a High-Performance Coach and has worked with senior executives and teams in organisations such as Mitsubishi, Walt Disney, Sir Robert McAlpine and Philip Morris International. His main passion is working with fellow entrepreneurs to grow their business and lead more fulfilling and successful lives. He has worked with The UK Government Business Growth Programme and KCC, supporting 17 companies in Kent to access funding on the East Kent Expansion Loan Scheme. He has been instrumental in supporting dozens of local companies to grow their business, win awards and realise their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Their detailed case studies showing secure growth achievements of up to 35% per annum and most clients having their best ever year in their company history. We are delighted he is heading up the Scale Up programme here in Ashford which is only open to 6 ambitious company owners based in the Ashford area, who want to take their business to a new level, overcome barriers to success and access proven methodologies to build a scalable, valuable and sustainable business.

If you’re interested in being considered for the programme please visit and submit an expression of interest.

Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert

Why should I pay to use an agency when I can do it myself?

Sam Bambridge BSc (Hons) Recruitment Manager Artemis Recruitment

Some companies are adverse to paying recruitment agency fees and believe that they are able to do just as good a job recruiting for themselves. However, what they fail to take into consideration is that recruitment companies are professional organisations that spend all of their time specialising in, finding and qualifying the best people for their clients, so endeavour to only send the very best candidates hence saving valuable time. Time is money, and when a company seeks to hire they need to put together a job and person specification which takes time, advertise their vacancy on various print and digital media which costs money and can be very expensive, and then dedicate and devote their time to sifting through all the received CVs, whittling them down, inviting candidates to interview, interviewing candidates, maybe 2nd interviewing candidates and sending out unsuccessful/rejection letters and taking references. It is essential to acknowledge all candidates and deal with the human resources administration correctly as all people that apply for a company’s job are also potential customers and need to be treated with respect.

If a company calls a recruitment company they save themselves all the hassle, time and cost of advertising the position as your Recruiter will advertise for you and will have greater coverage due to the extensive buying power they have due to volume recruitment. The recruitment company will not only do all the pre-screening for you but will also access their existing database of candidates, built up over years and may already have a relationship with the perfect candidate for the role. Recruitment companies conduct checks including, skills testing, criminal checks and reference checking on request from the client again saving time. Candidates put forward by Recruiters will already have been pre-screened so a company’s time isn’t wasted. The ideal situation is to receive 3 or 4 good CVs from your Recruiter and just choose between them with minimum fuss.

Who shouldn’t I hire?

If you really can not afford to hire the professional services of a good Recruiter and you have to recruit yourself then here are some warning signs that you should be aware of that will help you in your hiring decisions. Below I’ve listed 10 points to consider. 1. Job Hoppers Mostly these people don’t get beyond the CV screening stage. Anyone with several years work history that hasn’t managed to stay anywhere beyond 6 months will in most cases have an issue with commitment, and are not likely to stay with you either.

2. It’s not me it’s them Generally speaking if a candidate speaks unfavourably of all or most of their previous employers it’s probably only a matter of time before they are saying those things about your company. These people have an inability to claim ownership of their challenges. 3. Not prepared for interview If someone hasn’t taken the time to research your company before coming to interview it is likely they will work in the same lack lustre fashion. 4. Late for interview I personally find it extremely disrespectful if someone is late for interview and unless they have a very good excuse I will not work with them. If a candidate is late for interview it also suggests a lack of time management and organisation skills. 5. Inappropriately dressed This can be very much environmentally dictated, but we can hope that a person going for a banking job doesn’t turn up in their gym gear, or an interviewee for a Reception position doesn’t turn up in ripped jeans for example. Each company has it’s dress standards and I believe people should present as well and appropriately as possible. 6. Uncourteous to Reception staff A good indicator of a candidate’s nature and how they will treat you and your

clients can be ascertained by their treatment and interaction with your reception staff. Polite people will be courteous, impolite people can be abrupt and aloof. 7. No direction or goals It’s a good idea in an interview to ask candidates what their overall goals are professionally. Those with no goals or direction can often lack drive and are more likely to be less achievement orientated. 8. Salary, holidays and break time Be wary of candidates that seem more interested in asking questions about the salary, holidays and breaks than the company vision and goals as they are more likely to be just in it for themselves. 9. Unexplained gaps in CVs It’s very important to ask candidates what they have been doing in periods when they haven’t been working to protect yourself. 10.No professional references Those candidates that have had several jobs and can not produce any professional references for you to contact may have something to hide.

Thinking Business


HMRC Software Glitch – overcharges tax payers

calculation of the tax liability. This issue does not just affect people who use HMRC’s own software to file their tax return. It also affects all commercial third party tax return software as they have to produce software which agrees to HMRC’s format in order for tax returns to be accepted by them.

If a paper tax return is submitted after the end of October 2017 an automatic £100 late filing penalty will be issued by HMRC regardless of the reason and so an appeal letter will need to be filed within 30 days of the penalty being issued in order to overturn the penalty.

As we enter the autumnal months of the year the work of accountants and tax advisers starts to focus on the filing of tax returns for individuals and trusts ahead of the traditional 31 January filing deadline.

This deadline is only applicable for tax returns which are filed electronically and in recent years this method has been used to file the bulk of all tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Historically, they have actively discouraged the filing of hard copy paper returns, which require HMRC staff to process, by imposing a shorter deadline of 31 October.

However for this up coming tax season, which deals with the filing of returns covering the tax year to 5th April 2017, glitches

in HMRC’s tax return software will force large numbers of people who ordinarily submit their return on-line to submit their return on paper to ensure that they don’t overpay their tax. The problems stem from the changes to the legislation in respect of the taxation of dividend and savings income that were introduced for the 2016/17 tax year. HMRC’s tax return software developers were unable to produce computation software that could correctly calculate the tax liability in all scenarios. This has meant that the software released has an exception list of scenarios in which the tax is calculated incorrectly and it is recommended that a paper return is filed with a manual

People with the following income types and amounts will be particularly affected by this issue:

• Those with total income made up of savings and nonsavings income over £32,000 of which the non-savings income is between £11,000 and £16,000

• Those with non-dividend income of £27,000 to £32,000 plus dividends which take their total income to more than £145,000 The error in the tax calculation software for these cases can mean that the taxpayer is overcharged by up to £1,000.

Taxpayers that file their own tax return will have to negotiate an even more complex than usual manual tax computation if they fall into one of the exemption scenarios and file their tax return after the end of October 2017.

As a consequence of the significant increase in filing paper tax returns, HMRC are currently taking several months to process the paper version which is very frustrating for tax payers due a tax refund. If you believe that you may be affected by this issue I would recommend that you take a look at your tax return in good time to ensure you have plenty of time to file a paper version.

For further information or advice please contact:

Stuart Chipperfield, Senior Tax Manager

MHA MacIntyre Hudson

03330 100221

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.

The Economy & Us: “Safe as houses?”

The Economy & Us

Nick Rowell

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

UK corporate investment is in long-term decline, see chart. Thirty years ago some 70% of cashflow went into Fixed Assets but, since the crash, dividends have taken pride of place over such essential investment. Worse, since 2001 cash is even going into savings, including share buybacks that boost bosses’ incentives…

Meanwhile, many workers’ pay continues to fall in real terms.

Thirty years ago Chief Executives were paid about 20 times the salary of the average worker, yet CEO pay in the FTSE is now around 150 times; and between 2010-15 median pay for directors in FTSE 100 companies rose 47%. So, for example, General Motors – and closer to home BHS – failed after those in positions of power bled them dry for short-term gain. Now UK PLC faces the same predicament. This cash-grab endangers our common wealth: we see widening market failures in (e.g.) health & social care, education & skills, housing. Consider housing, arguably less amenable to lifestyle choices than the other two. Bloated UK house prices precipitated the crash – but have since risen 25% in 10 years (33% in Kent, due to the get-out-ofLondon effect). Meanwhile median incomes have stagnated. This is to say: a minority of UK and foreign ‘haves’ are pricing the majority out of the local housing market; our children can’t compete. What options do we have – individual, collective and political – to turn this around? Individual:

• Build your own, or pay someone else to. Modern, cost-effective techniques and materials already exist; and you gain from tax breaks and big energy-efficiencies. • Make the most of government subsidies such as the Lifetime ISA. • Shared ownership, where you initially buy 25%-75% of a long lease, with the option to buy more whenever you’re ready. Accessible via Councils and Housing Associations.


• Bank of Mum & Dad. • Better still, with your extended family form a mini-mutual ‘Building Society’ – smaller and much more flexible – that’ll support all your young adults to put down a deposit on their first home. This works on trust: on making promises and keeping them. Political:

More far-reaching is another kind of mutual: human society, our common wealth. Attention has shifted lately from the PM’s pledge to “make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.” We need a commonsense government that takes action to mend markets that are broken, such as housing. Mr Corbyn and Momentum are waiting in the wings. Politicians necessarily depend upon common awareness and can’t run too far ahead of people’s mood. Britain is a wonderful place to live, and even – especially? – those enjoying wealth and power can see that belonging means contributing, too.

We need courage for a top-to-bottom renewal of our human values: release from the oppression of ‘greed is good’ and permission – not to say outright encouragement – to believe in taking proper care of one another.

Otherwise, who will be left, in ten years' time, to buy your products and services?...

“We need courage for a top-to-bottom renewal of our human values: release from the oppression of ‘greed is good’ and permission – not to say outright encouragement – to believe in taking proper care of one another.” Thinking Business


Members News

Getting the word out

Brave Little Tank is a Digital Marketing Agency based at The Joiners Shop, Chatham Historic Dockyard. We specialise in developing tailored strategies for our clients, helping them leverage the full potential of digital for their business.

We understand that every company has their own unique goals and objectives, so we take the time to really get to know our clients, often visiting their business and meeting the whole team. This personal level of service ensures we know how to tailor our products to best suit your brand and reach your target audience, getting your company in front of the people that matter most.

Safety first at Kings Hill with help from former Chief Constable

A Speedwatch scheme has been introduced in Kings Hill with the aim of helping reduce excessive speed on the community’s roads, coordinated by a former Chief Constable of Kent Police.

Drivers’ speeds will be monitored and anyone travelling at 35mph or more will be reported to the police. If that vehicle is caught speeding again within 12 months anywhere in Kent and Sussex the driver will receive a letter of advice from the police. The equipment was bought by Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust and development partner Kent County Council for

At Brave Little Tank, we’re proud of the fact that we do things a bit differently, placing a significant focus on building long-term, ongoing relationships. But, we’re not ‘Yes’ men! We’ll challenge you to make sure you’re making the best decisions for your business.


Thinking Business

“We have a rapidly growing population at Kings Hill and the safety of those living, working and visiting here is of paramount importance,” said Liberty’s property and estate manager Susan Davies.

Orchard Awards for AC Goatham & Son

AC Goatham & Son won a number of awards in the East Kent Fruit Society’s annual Top Fruit Competition with two of its farms at Eastry and Sutton Valance. • Orchard of the year 2017 – Griffins Farm, Sutton Valance

• Pears – V-System at Shrubbery Farm, Eastry

Brave Little Tank offers three core services; Email Marketing, Social Content Marketing and Website Optimisation. We’re experts in these areas, so we know we can deliver impressive results. We follow an ethos of ‘Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat’ reflecting the ongoing pursuit of excellence in all things, and a willingness to continually improve the services and offerings provided to ensure the very best results for our customers.

use by the community volunteers with the support of the parish council. It will operate in the main thoroughfares including Tower View, Gibson Drive and Discovery Drive. The Speedwatch scheme has the support of the police and has been proven to make drivers think more carefully about their speed. It is an education scheme and not one where people are prosecuted.

Nigel Stewart, Technical Director at AC Goatham & Son, said: “We are delighted to have won so many awards at this year’s competition. We consistently strive for uniformity and perfection across all of our orchards and this year both of these farms have been a real showcase for the individual varieties of apples and conference pears. The hard work and commitment shown by the whole growing team throughout the year helps to achieve these excellent results.” It scooped first prize in the following categories: • Class B Dessert – Gala at Shrubbery Farm, Eastry • Class D Dessert – other (Zari) at Griffins Farm, Sutton Valance) • Most commercial orchard – Griffins Farm, Sutton Valance • Best orchard over 1000 trees/acre – Shrubbery Farm, Eastry • Best orchard under 1000 trees/acre – Griffins Farm, Sutton Valance

• The first ever Goatham’s Great Kent Cycle Ride saw amateur cyclists start and finish in Medway, cover 220 miles across the county, raising over £45,000 for Kent Sports Trust and Help for Heroes.

The ride, organised by Kent Sports Trust, was started by Olympic Gold Medalist Charlotte Evans MBE at AC Goatham & Son’s Flanders Farm Hoo. Led by Dame Kelly Holmes, the riders covered around 70 miles on the first, reaching Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and finally Brands Hatch.

Day two saw the ride head south towards Maidstone, before swinging north to Canterbury, where they were joined by former Kent and England wicket keeper Geraint Jones MBE. They then headed down to Hythe, pausing on route to Dover for a short act of remembrance at the Battle of Britain Memorial. Day 3 began with a steep climb out of Dover before the riders headed north via Faversham before reaching the finish in Hoo around 5.30pm. Main sponsors AC Goatham & Son has confirmed it will continue to support the event, which attracted 75 riders over the three days.

Members News

Kent’s creative industry enjoyed a prosperous summer, with two of the county’s leading cultural industries achieving recognition from the industry’s thought leaders in art and design.

Leading Kent and Medway attraction and one of Britain’s most popular maritime heritage destinations, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, has been shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for their new Command of the Oceans project and building.

The news comes just a few weeks after the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate was selected as the host venue for the famous Turner Prize in 2019. Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive of Visit Kent, said: “Kent is so often celebrated

for its rich history and glorious gardens, but its cultural offer is also of national significance. We’re delighted to see that the county’s contemporary art and cutting-edge design is being given the recognition that it so greatly deserves.”

SEK uncovers unprecedented customer feedback

Social Enterprise Kent (SEK), a community interest company training provider, has published a raft of stakeholder feedback, and it is overwhelmingly positive.

From feedback based on the questioning of almost 4,000 trained delegates, the organisation has achieved a highly commendable 99.7% approval rate. The finding is based on a simple 'yes or no' question which was included on a feedback sheet circulated to delegates: "would you recommend SEK?" Information was gathered between January and August 2017 from delegates who attended an

open course delivered in Ashford or Herne Bay. Among the most impressive findings was that, of 476 delegates who participated in basic or accredited first aid training offered by SEK, an astounding 99.6% would recommend this course. SEK also set up an account on Trustpilot to receive more qualitative feedback and were heartened with the reviews which were posted,

Brownfield site being developed

including this from Bonnie Vasconcelos of Geerings Ltd: “A first class experience. I have used Social Enterprise Kent for many training courses, both for myself and my colleagues. I find them to be extremely efficient and informative; right from booking through to completion of the course and required follow-ups. Very good value for money. I would highly recommend their professional and friendly service.”

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, owned by the Hadlow Group, is working to redevelop Betteshanger Colliery, one of the largest brownfield sites in Kent, into a landmark destination.

The project will champion the unique heritage of the site and showcase the best of sustainability. It will promote health and wellbeing; inward investment; employment; and education. Betteshanger Sustainable Parks will develop a new profile for Kent as the first UK destination to connect past energy heritage and the new energies of the future.

The project is working across the two sites of the former colliery: Betteshanger Park An international eco-tourism destination, celebrating Kent’s coal mining heritage and green energy future within an outstanding 250acre country park environment. Work on a £8m new Visitor Centre, encompassing the Kent Mining

Museum and a Green Energy Centre, is now underway and due to open in 2018.

Betteshanger Business

A bespoke green technologies park of exemplary low carbon buildings for companies in health and wellbeing; food security; environmental technology; life sciences and green technologies.

BoConcept is an international furniture and design company, with more than 250 stores in more than 60 countries worldwide, and is fast becoming the leading retail brand in interior design offering a complete collection of Danish furniture and accessories. Rachel Sanders, a founder of the construction and property consultancy firm Westmount Partners Ltd, has recently taken the Kent franchise for BoConcept, and opened her first Kent store in Canterbury in September. BoConcept Canterbury is housed in the beautiful 18th century Theatre House building in Orange Street, set in the heart of Canterbury’s historic city centre.

The new Visitor Centre (artists impression)

Celebrating Kent’s art and design accolades

BoConcept store opens in Canterbury

With a supported programme of work-based learning, apprenticeships and training, Betteshanger Business will nurture the growth and development of small and micro businesses. The first phase ‘Health Care Enterprise Incubation Hub’ is planned for development in 2018 and due to open in 2019. Thinking Business


Mexico ranks top in Latin America for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ according to the World Bank

International Trade


turning the opportunity into reality for your Business By Laura Atkinson, BritChaM Commercial Section

When identifying new export markets, British companies do not immediately consider Latin America. This may be due to historical “horror stories” of bad and undemocratic governments, poor fiscal and monetary management, safety concerns, as well as perceived cultural differences and unknowns.

Often, individuals generalise across the whole region, which can lead to misinformation about specific countries.

Building up a relationship with your Mexican partner and creating trust is essential for doing business in Mexico.


Thinking Business

While some of Mexico’s Latin American neighbours may be facing political instability, Mexico is a democratic economy with steady GDP growth (2.3% in 20161), singledigit inflation since the year 2000 and is currently opening up traditionally governmentdominated sectors of energy, utilities and telecommunications. The country is very much open to trade and, being the second-largest population of Latin America after Brazil, can offer huge rewards for companies serious about doing business there.

Culturally, there is more shared history than one may think. The UK was the first European great power to recognise Mexico’s sovereignty following its War of Independence in 1810. Just 15 years later, 130 Cornish miners

sailed to Mexico to work the main Hidalgo mines bringing with them the latest technology and culture – along with pasties and football. British technology is still held in high regard today and both countries enjoy an extremely amicable bilateral relationship. Ministers from both countries have publicly stated on numerous occasions that they are committed to establishing a new FTA when Britain leaves the European Union2.

Fears of Trump Effect Subside

Earlier this year, there were serious concerns over the impact of proposed protectionist policy and “dialogue” (read: tweets) from the newly elected President Trump.

Mexico’s growth has been fuelled by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that encouraged the country to establish itself as a manufacturing powerhouse, especially in the automotive, aerospace and white goods sectors.

NAFTA has since been complemented by a FTA with the EU, amongst others, and Mexico now has FTAs with 45 countries, however 82% of Mexican exports still go to the United States3. In spite of these concerns, GDP has been growing. The Mexican government even revised their growth forecast for 2017 upwards in May4 after having given more conservative numbers at the beginning of the year due to Trump's presidency.

International Trade The manufacturing sector has been behind much of this growth. Using the automotive sector as one of the most illustrative examples of renewed optimism in Mexico, earlier in the year Ford Motors cancelled the construction of what was to be their second plant in Mexico5. This appeared to be a political move to appease Trump and a potential disaster for the Mexican economy if other carmakers followed suit. However, months later, these fears have not been realised and Nissan with Daimler, KIA, Toyota and Nemark are now expanding their operations in Mexico, while Volkswagen, BMW and Audi have publicly committed to maintaining their investments in the country. Production for 2017 (up to July) reached record numbers of 2,170,732 vehicles manufactured – a 10.8% increase on the year before. These figures were complimented by a 13.1% increase in exports (1,756,390 vehicles.) The story is similar in the other manufacturing subsectors with aerospace exports anticipated to grow by 12% this year.6 The Mexican government also understands that there is a need to reduce dependency on the United States7. They are currently renewing and modernising the existing FTA with EU and there are talks of a new FTA between Mexico and China8.

The Opportunity

There are opportunities available in Mexico at every level and beyond manufacturing. In the energy sector, we have seen British Chamber members win

Queues for the BP petrol station in Mexico City – the first international station and now third-best selling in the country

important tenders for exploration and production as well as retail in oil and gas, thanks to the 2014 Energy Reform. The same reform, combined with the Mexican government’s commitment to source 35% of power from clean energy by 2024, has also expanded opportunities in power generation. In this sector, British Chamber members are winning some of the 5,000 MW of power granted to solar and wind power companies to supply to the grid. There are therefore opportunities available to companies who can supply into these important sectors, as well as second- and third-tier suppliers. Education reform is also revolutionising this sector, with a new English National Strategy to dramatically improve the standard of English spoken in the country9. Given the time lags for these strategies to bear fruit, parents and executives also depend greatly on the private sector. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities in construction and infrastructure as well as healthcare, given the size of the country and its strong growth ambitions.

Accessing the Opportunity

The good news is that British products are well perceived in Mexico, that Mexicans are very friendly and easy to talk to, and value their relationships with business partners. This does mean that Brits need to build a relationship with their Mexican allies if they want to do business. A gentle approach is required and not a hard, upfront sales pitch. Many British companies choose to manage their business in Mexico through a local distributor. It is important that British companies are fair and appreciative of their distributor. Finding a distributor can be difficult and there is plenty of competition from other international companies in the Mexican market.

BMW remain committed to its Mexican plant in San Luis Potosí

This means that British companies need to consider carefully the price sensitivity of their products. The current offer in the Mexican market may make price competition extremely challenging. At the beginning stages, identifying appropriate partners and establishing contact can be difficult. Emails can be ignored completely and it can be hard to reach the right person by phone, although often this is necessary to secure a meeting. Establishing a meeting in person is often the only opportunity for real feedback and discussion of your product and so ensuring this meeting goes well is essential. This means dressing appropriately, using the correct title of the person you are meeting with and preparing adequately. While most Mexicans make an effort to be punctual, traffic and other factors may mean this is not always possible. It is therefore important to be patient and to try not to seem annoyed if the person you are meeting with arrives up to an hour late! However, you still need to remember that not all Mexicans are unpunctual and so planning enough time and factoring in heavy traffic is key to making the right impression. To secure business from any meetings, companies need to be persistent with follow up and patient when awaiting responses.

World Bank 3 Forbes 4 5 1 2

The British Chamber of Commerce can help you in establishing contact with potential partners and clients. Discussing your options and readiness to export to this market with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is a good first step.

While Mexico ranks well in terms of ease of doing business, it is not usually advisable for first time exporters. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce can also put you in touch with the British Chamber in Mexico (BritChaM) who can support you on the ground. BritChaM can provide advice and guidance on your sector in Mexico, help you find appropriate suppliers and make first introductions so you can get your foot in the door.

Given the outstanding opportunities available in Mexico and the support available, there has never been a better time to explore what could be in store for you.






Thinking Business


24 Hours with ...

24 Hours with ...

A working day that never ends

Michael Lawson Director GServe

For Michael Lawson, the working day is as varied and unpredictable as they come because it relies on an ability to respond to emergencies. Michael is a Director and co-founder of GServe, which was founded three years ago and carries out a wide range of tasks for its clients. Now employing ten people, the family-run business offers facilities solutions, providing a wide range of property services tailored to specific building needs. Supporting customers across the South East, including in Kent, they work with the owners of commercial and residential properties and

provide clients with everything from maintenance and cleaning to pest control service. Whether they are changing lightbulbs in a let property for one of their landlords or servicing commercial boilers for the BBC, all customers are managed and co-ordinated through their 24/7 helpdesk team. Michael said: “We are very much a reactive company so it is not as if we sit down first thing in the morning and look at a schedule of contracted work for the day ahead. We do not work that way and the day depends very much on what work comes in. “I tend to start work about 8.30am – my brother who runs the company with me will be in earlier - and the first job is to talk to our helpdesk co-ordinator to see what has come in overnight and who is being allocated to each job. “The jobs can be very varied and range from the large to the small. It can be everything

Our vision is simple

from repairing a heating system or carrying out cleaning for a facilities management company to replacing a lightbulb for a lettings agent. “As directors of a small company, myself and my brother do a lot of the jobs ourselves so during the working day I can be doing everything from sorting invoices to carrying out jobs related to my role overseeing our pest control and specialist division. “I like to get out of the office whenever I can, either meeting existing clients or talking to prospective new ones. “Because we are a small business, we take the view that everyone has a responsibility to seek out new work whenever they can. “We are growing very quickly and estimate that turnover has gone up by 600 per cent. The early days were difficult but we are expanding now and looking towards our first annual one million pound turnover.

“Through it all, we retain the feel of a family company – my father is also part of the business - and one of the things I do with my brother is help with the out of hours service. “Although we operate the main working hours that our clients keep, between 8am and 6pm, we are available out of hours as well as part of our 24-hour service. “My brother and I divide the out of hours duty between ourselves so some nights or weekends can find me at home dealing with emergency calls that come in and allocating people to deal with the emergency. “Because we run a small businesses, the working day never really ends and sometimes in an evening I will take a look at things like Linked-In to see if I can find any opportunities to bring in new work.”

To deliver everything we do with professionalism, integrity and with our customers always at the forefront of our minds.

GServe Facilities Solutions…. The only call you need to make. Thinking Business



Kent Invicta Chamber Events

Visit Email Call 01233 503838

International Events

(National Accredited Trade Training)

Part of the 10 core courses accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce. Candidates achieving pass or merit in any of the courses will receive a certificate. Those who pass 6 courses will receive a nationally recognised Foundation Award in International Trade. Chamber Members £75.00 + VAT Non-members £90.00 + VAT 8:30am – 12:45pm Tea/Coffee & Light Breakfast included in cost.


Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Breakfasts Join us for a KCFG meeting where future plans and developments in Kent are discussed with businesses involved in the construction industry. This event is only open to those in Kent and in the construction industry. 7th November & 5th December

Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 7:30am – 9:30am

KCFG Members

KCFG Non-members

£15.00 + VAT

£25.00 + VAT

Full English Breakfast included in cost.

Kent Manufacturing Focus Group (KMFG) Information Session Come along and stay informed about the latest legislation, funding opportunities and future developments.

Only open to those based in Kent and in the manufacturing industry.

9th November Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH 8:00am – 10:30am FREE to attend

Light Refreshments will be served.


Thinking Business

Muesli Mafia Networking

Come along to these informal business 2 business events in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere. Local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest.

12th October Royal Wells Hotel, 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE

26th October Sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Ashford International Hotel, Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, TN24 8UX

23rd November Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

6th December Sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Ashford International Hotel, Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, TN24 8UX 7:30am – 9:30am Chamber Members Non-members

£20.00 + VAT £21.50 + VAT

Full English Breakfast or muesli alternative included in cost.

This course serves as a complete guide to all eleven INCOTERMS. The course gives a complete description of risks and responsibilities for both buyer and seller. 17th October Innovation Centre Medway, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9FD

Letters of Credit Demystified – Advanced

This course will cover a wide range of issues that can occur with documentary letters of credit. The course will run to a more advanced / detailed level than previous letters of credit events, and therefore would be a good opportunity for those who have previously attended to further their understanding. 16th November Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH

ISE Project EU –

Future Global Trends and Applications in AR & VR Technology

Kent Digital & Creative companies are invited to this workshop focused on Video and Augmented and Virtual Reality Techhnology. Hear from experts from Belgium and the Netherlands and find out how the ISE project can help your business to connect with new contacts in France Belgium and the Netherlands. 12th October Brandshatch Place Hotel Fawkham, DA3 8NQ 3:30pm – 7:30pm FREE to attend (includes networking & canapés)


Employment Law Update 2017-18

Leading regional law firm Furley Page will be delivering this interactive workshop on changes and developments in employment law. Topics covered include the new government’s employment law programme, new protection proposals following the ‘Taylor Review’ and more. 18th October Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9SF 8:30am – 12:00pm (registration from 8am) Chamber Members £66.67 + VAT Non-members £75.00 + VAT Tea/coffee and bacon rolls included.

Talking Tech

at Maidstone Studios

In association with Custodian Data Centres, Kent Invicta Chamber are launching ‘Talking Tech’ events for senior IT professionals. This first event will discuss ideas and future planning for the forum moving forward. The event will be hosted by Damien Turner, Head of IT at Holiday Extras and a keynote talk will be delivered by Damian Kinney, Head of Security for BT Security Professional Services on GDPR meets IT. 19th October Maidstone Studios, New Cut Road, Maidstone, ME14 5NZ 8:00am – 11:30am FREE to attend (includes breakfast)

East Kent Economic Development Group Update Business Lunch

Join us for a business networking lunch in the Elizabeth Room at The Hythe Imperial Hotel for a fabulous 2-course sit-down lunch of: Chicken breast in white wine and tarragon sauce, served with vegetables and potatoes followed by Home made apple crumble with custard. (Vegetarian option will be available.) Hear from speaker Ray Johnson – Chair of the Chamber’s EKEDG (East Kent Economic Development Group) for information on local developments. 25th October Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa, Princess Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm Chamber Members £19.20 + VAT Non-members £25.00 + VAT

AGM and Networking Lunch (Members Only)

This event is an opportunity for members to have their say about who represents them on the Board and to raise any relevant issues. Also covered at this year’s AGM will be the results from the Chamber’s recent research project, ‘Project Mirai’. Tudor Price – Deputy Chief Executive will be sharing the results with you, as well as giving you the chance to feedback and help us shape your Chamber moving forward. 27th October Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH 12:00pm - 2:00pm FREE to Chamber Members

Kent B2B Medway

Kent B2B is coming to the heart of Medway this November. The event will bring you top speakers, a spacious exhibition zone with dedicated exhibitors, a delegate networking hour, skills workshops and more! 7th November Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, The Sail & Colour Loft, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, ME4 4TE. 8:30am – 4:00pm All information on the event available at

Annual Christmas Luncheon This year the event will take place at the amazing Lympne Castle.

This will be an excellent opportunity for you to entertain both clients, staff and partners, as well as network with existing members, in a the perfect surrounds. 12.00pm – Registration along with arrival drink served in the West Wing. 12.30pm – Guests will be seated followed by a three-course Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Seating arrangements are informal, so if you have any special seating requirements, please contact us. (Tables of 10 can also be booked). 19th December Lympne Castle, The St, Lympne, Hythe, Kent. CT21 4LQ. 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm Chamber Members £33.50 + VAT Non-members £37.50 + VAT

After Hours Club

Come along to one of our popular ‘casual’ networking events. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people.

FREE to attend & no booking required.

Just turn up!

6:00pm – 7:30pm

11th October Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa, Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE

12th October Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR 12th October The Business Terrace, Maidstone Borough Council, King St, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ

17th October Sittingbourne & Milton Regis Golf Club, Newington, Sittingbourne, ME9 7PX

18th October Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 24th October Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 2nd November K Sports, Cobdown Station Road, Maidstone, ME20 6AU

7th November Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre, Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA 7th November The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR

9th November Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR 15th November Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ

21st November SPECIAL – KIMS Hospital, Clydesdale Bank Building, Newnham Court Way, Maidstone, ME14 5FT 5th December Hotel Campanile Dartford, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, DA2 6QN

5th December The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR

5th December Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE Thinking Business


The MAKING Purplebricks Family


For more more than than 35 35 years, years, LKM For LKM Recycling Recycling has has been been successfully convincing Kent businesses that their successfully convincing Kent businesses that their waste waste isn’t just just aa load isn’t load of of old old rubbish. rubbish. LKM processes a huge range of materials, LKM processes a huge range of materials,including: including:

• Metals • UPVC • Glass • Metals • UPVC • Glass• •Wood Wood••Plastic Plastic••Cardboard Cardboard and Paper • General Waste • Confidential & Paper • General Waste • ConfidentialShredding Shredding Our confidential shredding service complies with the new

Our confidential complies the new General Datashredding Protectionservice regulations (GDPR)with in early 2018 General Data Protection regulations (GDPR) in early 2018

Over the years, LKM has pioneered many new technologies to Over thethe years, LKM of haswaste pioneered manyThe new technologies to maximise recovery materials. company recently maximise theinrecovery of waste The company invested a new £1.2 millionmaterials. facility that can processrecently up to 12 invested a newper £1.2hour, million facility items that can process up to 12 tonnes ofinwaste reducing to waste particles as tonnes hour, reducing waste particles as small of aswaste 20mm.per Capable of dealingitems with to aluminium, tyres, and smallUPVC as 20mm. Capable dealing with aluminium, and windows, the of company’s 22-tonne RS150tyres, four-shaft UPVC windows,shredder the company’s 22-tonne RS150 is the largest of its kindfour-shaft in the UK. shredder is the largest of its kind in the UK. On-going investment in plant and equipment ensures LKM On-going investment in plant innovative and equipment ensures LKM continues to provide flexible, and cost-effective continues providebusinesses flexible, innovative andbeyond cost-effective services,tohelping in Kent and become services, helping businesses Kent andContact beyondus become cleaner, greener and moreinefficient. today! cleaner, greener and more efficient. Contact us today. DELIVERING DELIVERING NEXT NEXT GENERATION GENERATION TOTAL TOTALWASTE WASTE MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT

LKM Recycling,Booker BookerHouse, House,Symmonds SymmondsDrive, Drive Eurolink Industrial Industrial Estate, Estate, Sittingbourne, Sittingbourne, Kent Kent ME10 ME10 3SY 3SY

Call Natalie on 01795 435566 439393 Email: Email:


Thinking Business

Working with Purplebricks is a family affair for the Hunts. Julien, wife Sarah and daughter Joanna have teamed up to represent the new style estate agent as Local Property Experts in Ashford and the surrounding area.

Some 20 years ago Sarah was working in travel and experienced how that industry changed. Holidaymakers who had picked up glossy brochures from high street shops were going online to check out resorts and arrange their own flights and accommodation. She left and joined the property arm of an insurance company in Kent where she met her husband-to-be Julien. They have worked together ever since, running agencies in Ashford and Tenterden. Julien, a fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents, has been involved in the property business since the age of 16. A few years ago they felt the same trend happening in the way people were looking to buy and sell their homes. The internet, not the town centre window display, was becoming the first point of call for those searching for a place to live. Always on the lookout for an opportunity the couple registered a website “propertyonline”, thinking that one day they might launch their own customer-driven internet operation. Others were thinking the same. “I had watched one industry change from being on the high street to one that embraced the internet and technology and it seemed natural that estate agencies would go the same way,” said Sarah. “People want a 24/7 service, where they have access to information and can check on their property sale at any time.”

Sarah, 53, and Julien, 51, saw Purplebricks had developed an idea similar to their own, offering an alternative service to those selling a home, combining great people with cutting edge technology. “We sat down one night and discussed what was happening in the market. The following day I sent Julian’s CV to Purplebricks, 20 minutes later they were on the phone and one month later he was engaged as a Local Property Expert, covering the area where he grew up, went to school and has lived all his life.” Exactly one year on they were back working together as the workload burgeoned. In the meantime daughter Joanna, who had already spent five years learning the business also switched to work with Purplebricks, making theirs a truly family run operation. “People like the way we work. It’s like Amazon and Woolworths. Once everyone went to Woolworths but then Amazon came along and because of the convenience everyone started using it. All industries change and the way houses are sold has changed too.” Instead of asking for a percentage commission of a house sale, Purplebricks charges a flat fixed rate of £849, or £1,199 in London and surrounding areas. Julien, Sarah and Joanna cover postcodes TN23-TN31, TN17, TN18. They can be contacted on 07825 605237 or through

Dover Sea Wall Project named best infrastructure project

The restoration of the Dover Sea Wall has been recognised at the Best Infrastructure Project at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South East England Award ceremony.

Received by engineering firm Costain and Tony Gee and Partners the Best Infrastructure Project in association with ICE recruit is given to the project which most beneficially impacts residents in South East England. The award was presented to the team by past ICE President Professor Jean Venables and Maggie Philbin, TV personality; President of the Institution of Engineering Designers and cofounder and CEO of TeenTech. The team received the award due to the high level of complexity involved within the project and the immediate call to action following severe storm damage caused over the winter of 2015. The judges were impressed that the railway line was opened 3 months ahead

of programme, minimising delays and disruption to the community. Suzanne Moroney, ICE London Director said: “I am delighted that the Dover Sea Wall Project has received this award. The project ticks all the boxes, in terms of minimal impact on the community and environment and was delivered to the highest health and safety standards despite the challenging location and conditions of the site. The £36m project is great example of how local collaboration and expertise can solve local challenges with Tony Gee and Partners design project team based in Ashford, Kent and by Costain’s construction management team based in Tonbridge.”

Whilst the initial emergency stabilisation works progressed the team reviewed options for a longer term solution. To protect the existing wall, the team created a ‘rock armour’, which consisted of a new 240m long reinforced concrete piled raft structure to support the railway, and a new Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) footbridge to maintain a right of way over the railway onto the beach. The collaboration on this project allowed the railway between Dover and Folkestone to be reopened in record time with minimal disruption to residents. The Dover Sea Wall Project also received a highly commended during the event in the Brassey Award (Kent and East Sussex) for Engineering Excellence category.

SELEP welcomes Government review

The Government has announced it is to review the work of all 38 LEPs across the country during the summer, a move welcomed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

Jake Berry, Minister for Local Growth at the Department of Communities & Local Government described LEPs as an essential part of Government’s plan for driving local growth and the Industrial Strategy. He added: “This review reflects our ambition to strengthen the role of LEPs during this Parliament. It is testament to our belief in your institutions and the tangible difference that you have been making on the ground. LEPs will continue to be critical to our future economic success.” SELEP was created in 2011 to help identify local economic priorities, lead job creation, enable house building and promote a stronger skills agenda for the combined economy of

East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “The time is right, given Brexit and the Government’s emerging Industrial Strategy, to properly recognise the important role of LEP’s and the future opportunity created by our inclusive publicprivate partnerships in supporting businesses and communities in our areas. “Promoting business growth, improving skills, strengthening our key trade links to the rest of the UK and keeping international markets open for business are at the heart of what SELEP is focused on achieving. “To do this it is important that SELEP and all of our partners in

our robust federal model continue to present a strong aggregate voice to Government.” SELEP has recently been given approval by Government for the investment of a further £102.6m in employment and skills, new transport and infrastructure to support business growth, which will unlock £141m of private investment, and will create or safeguard 33,000 jobs and allow the development of 6,000 new homes. Adam Bryan, Managing Director of SELEP, said: “The last six years has seen SELEP go from strength to strength, with the public sector working closer than ever with the private sector to deliver on the needs of residents and businesses.”

Business News

Ashford Truckstop on track for another record year

The award-winning Ashford International Truckstop is recording its highest ever occupancy rates, highlighting the ever growing need for its expansion.

Figures for June and July this year show the site to be operating at 97 per cent capacity, 8 per cent higher than the same period in 2016 and 10 per cent more than in 2015. The year-on-year rise is partly the result of the success of the truckstop’s app,, launched in January 2017, which enables drivers and transport managers to reserve overnight space at the site in advance, knowing it will be available for them on arrival guaranteeing them safe and secure parking. One in eight visiting drivers now use the app to book their spot at the truckstop. The increased occupancy is also due to the rise in the amount of trucks passing through Kent. More vehicles are arriving through the Eurotunnel and Port of Dover and using Ashford as a stop-off point after arrival and before departing the country. With more drivers wanting to stay overnight, the truckstop is now turning away around 200 HGVs each week. Darren Smith, General Manager of Ashford International Truckstop, said: “These are exciting times for the truckstop and the recent figures evidence the need to expand it. “Increasing the stop’s capacity would not only strengthen the local economy, but also reduce the number of lorries illegally parking on Ashford’s roads. “What we face is a supply and demand issue. We currently have the demand for spaces, but not enough spaces to match that demand. “We are close to submitting plans to expand the truckstop to accommodate 600 trucks.” Plans to open a new 600 space truckstop are included as part of the Waterbrook development project. This would also include the construction of up to 400 new homes and a business park on the site close to Sevington and Junction 10 of the M20. Darrell Healey, Chairman of GSE Group, the owners of the Ashford International Truckstop, said: “The data showing the number of lorries coming to the site each week and the significant increase in these figures over the past year demonstrates the expansion is urgently needed.” Thinking Business


Four member services for your protection and peace of mind Member Benefits

Did you know? As a member you have FREE access to FOUR essential business services

Advice Line

One number giving unlimited access to experienced advisers offering practical advice on HR, employment law, health & safety, legal issues plus tax and VAT matters.


Access to over 750 free template documents covering HR, employment law, health and safety and legal matters. The website also includes HR and H&S Health Checks. You need to manage your employment affairs; there may be consequences if you don’t. This is why you need HR support – whilst the threat of financially crippling employment tribunals has diminished there are still many pitfalls facing employers and they can have serious financial consequences. All employers should be aware of these threats and if you need advice on how to avoid the unpalatable results please call the Advice Line and get practical advice from the HR advisers.


Thinking Business

Why should a Sole Trader use these services?

• Access to advice on any legal matter affecting your business including contract disputes, licence protection and more • Advice on your rights and what you can do to help get money from clients who are slow at settling your invoices • If you are having any issues with your landlord you can access all the advice you need to get the resolution you need • If you are ever considering employing or working with someone you can access the advice and documents you need • Access to advice to help you deal with any disputes with your clients

Why should a smallto-medium business use these services?

• Advice to help with a wide range of subjects including absenteeism, disputes, recruitment, annual leave, legislation plus a HR health check • Advice on any business legal matter including contracts, company law, property director or client disputes • Advice on tax or VAT matters including HMRC investigations, property, VAT registration, exemptions and more • Access to over 250 free documents covering risk assessments, policies, regulations plus a H&S gap analysis • Access to free documents you can use to create your own contracts of employment and employee handbook.

Why should a Large Company use these services?

• In the complex world of employment law and HR the advice line enables you to sense check you are doing the right thing • A resource library with over 750 free templates to use and keep your own documents up to date • Keep updated with latest news and changes in legislation • If you need help with complex cases then the enhanced services can help you with things such as difficult disciplinary issues • If you are thinking of outsourcing any elements of your HR system then the team of experts are able to help you

For more information visit or call the Advice Line on 01455 852037 or Client Services on 01455 852128

New Members

Welcome to our new members

7 Hotel Diner

Sevenoaks 01959 535890 Hotel & American Diner

Absolute Action Ltd

Meopham 020 3021 8000 Design & Manufacture of Fine Lighting Equipment

A-Z Animal Care Ltd

Ashford 01233 822411 Pet Grooming

Bourne Engineering

Canterbury 01227 832743 Agricultural Engineering & Agricultural Machinery Sales

Brown Cow Audio Visual Ltd Rochester 01634 311657 Audio Visual Video Installation

Bruce K9 Ltd

Ashford 01233 626669 Security Services

Burtons Solicitors

Tunbridge Wells 01892 824577 Solicitors

Business Asset Finance Solutions Ltd

Chatham 01622 528175 Asset Finance

Cameo Nightclub - Ashford

Ashford 01233 885839 Nightclub

Canon Garth Ltd

Sevenoaks 01732 449536 Service Provider to Peanut Growers, Processors & Consumers

CTCS Group Ltd

Sevenoaks 01732 743434 Service Provider and Partner to Suppliers & Manufacturers in the Coffee, Peanut and Edible Seeds Industries.

Darcy Products Ltd

Sevenoaks 01732 764702 Manufacture of Environmental Spill Prevention Products


Folkestone 07756 099116 Computer/Software/Internet

Direct 2 Communications Ltd

Rochester 01634 263626 Sales & Marketing Databases

Fellgrove Ecological Consultancy

Faversham 01795 228758 Ecological Project Management

FORZA Industries Ltd

Ashford 0845 5196010 Manufacturers, Retail and Wholesale of Food Supplements

FuelBox UK

Deal 07724 062241 Motivational Trainer

Holiday Inn Express Folkestone 01303 298450 Hotel & Event Centre

Hospitality Finder Ltd

Hypo Hounds

Tenterden 07542 670027 Registered Assistance for Dog Charity

IEC Services Ltd

Wrotham 01732 820437 Commercial Cleaning

Inclusion.Me Ltd

Tunbridge Wells 01892 704065 Occupational Therapy

Rochester 01634 710872 Restaurant

Precision Bookkeeping Ltd Ashford 01233 812345 Bookkeeping, VAT, Payroll, Accounts

Purple Parenting Ltd

Longfield 07956 194777 Parent & Staff Coaching

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Jascom Electrical Contractors Ltd Sittingbourne Chatham 01634 880880 Electrical Contractors

07816 239594 Membership Organisation

Maidstone 01622 815679 Manufacturer of Specialised Chemicals for Automotive, Marine and Aircraft Industries

Singleton Barn

Jewelultra Ltd

Kaicom Ltd

Maidstone 01634 563120 Manufacturing Cosmetics & Personal Care Products

Kent Country Parks

Shorne 03000 417711 Country Park

Kent MS Therapy Centre Canterbury 01227 470876 Charity for People with Multiple Sclerosis

Margate F.C.

Maidstone 0844 2478998 Corporate Hospitality

Margate 01843 221769 Leisure Providers Sports Bar & Stadium

Chatham 01634 825580 Employment Agency for Driving

Whitstable 07501 165328 Marketing for Small Businesses

HR Go Driving South Ltd

Powder and Magazine Ltd


Simms International PLC

Maidstone 01622 852823 Memory & Storage Distributor Ashford 01233 629379 Public House & Restaurant

Sophus Safety Solutions

Ashford 07895 617602 Safety Consultancy & Provider of Health & Safety Services

Stagecoach South East

Canterbury 01227 828118 Coach & Bus Operators & Hire

Syntegro Business Solutions Ltd Ashford 01233 621165 Certification & Legal Compliance

The Roofline Specialist

Maidstone 01622 431791 Quality Guttering Services

Therapy Partners Limited Maidstone 0845 5274809 Psychological Services & Psychotherapy


Portsmouth 07825 609221 Commercial Waste & Recycling Thinking Business


The Last Word Name: Simon Edwards

Company: Precision Bookkeeping Limited Job title: Director

After six years working in practice at a top twenty accountancy firm, Simon decided there was a better way to bridge the gap between businesses and their accountants and set up PBK in 2009. The company’s formative years were spent growing a client base in London but more recently returned to home soil in Ashford. Simon specialises in Computerised Accounting and is keen to show businesses of all sizes how it can help reduce their day to day workload.

What was your first job and what was the pay packet? I have only worked for one business other than my own and I started at Finn-Kelcey & Chapman in 2005. My starting salary was £8k per year!

What do you always carry with you to work? My mobile phone, office hours are rarely nine to five.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Changing the way people view their finances – it’s not just a box ticking exercise but can really help a business be more efficient and more profitable.

If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Offer more support to small businesses to help them grow. There are too many financial burdens on SMEs that discourage people from taking a chance. What can you see from your office window? A picturesque view of the Wye Downs.

If you could do another job what would it be? I think I already talk enough about football that I could be a football commentator!

As a business person, what are your three main qualities? I am hardworking, embracing of new concepts and willing to take a chance.

What was your biggest mistake in business? Fortunately I haven’t made too many big ones, just a few poor supplier choices over the years.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? If you have an idea or an opportunity then take it, be ambitious and be brave. Make sure you know where you want to go and that you are moving in the right direction. Who do you most admire in business? Two young entrepreneurs that I have worked with on my business journey, Ben Atkinson-Willes of Active Minds and Ben Allen of Oomph!. Both have amazing ideas and do not let their age hold them back.


Thinking Business

Movers & Shakers

Cripps Director of Innovation becomes Law Society Vice President

Christina Blacklaws of law firm Cripps has been appointed Vice President of the Law Society of England and Wales and will become its president in July next year.

Her main focus is to support the President to deliver the key priorities for the society and the profession, in this crucial time of significant change and challenge. The role will also involve a range of activities from large-scale public speaking and media work to engagement with the highest echelons of government and international bodies on behalf of the Law Society. “One of my priorities is to help practitioners prepare for the future. We should not underestimate the impact

that technology is continually having on the delivery of modern legal services and it is essential we stay ahead of the game. “It will be an exciting lead in to my presidential year when my three themes will be around innovation and the future practice of law, women in leadership, and pro bono and access to justice. It will be a busy time combining my work for Cripps with my new role.” Clare Hyland, senior partner at Cripps, said that Christina

Partner appointment boosts private client team at Cripps

Law firm Cripps has expanded its private client team with the appointment of a new partner, David Semmens. David has a wealth of experience across a range of private client matters, with particular expertise in the drafting of complex wills and trusts, advising on UK and international succession and tax planning, and administering the UK estates of overseas domiciled clients. Myles McIntosh, head of the firm’s private client division said: “David’s appointment further strengthens our offering to both UK and international clients. He is a great addition to our growing

team and helps to reinforce our first class reputation across the country.” Previously, David has headed the private client teams at a number of large, well respected London law firms, including Gordon Dadds. His clients include entrepreneurs and business people, entertainers, sports individuals and other professionals. He also acts for UK ex-pats living in Europe (mainly Switzerland) and the USA.

is “very forward thinking, dedicated to the profession and will be an excellent vice president and president”. Oxford-educated Christina, who is a family lawyer by background, is Director of Innovation at Cripps and is responsible for taking forward new strategies and developments, with the primary focus being on improving the delivery of client service. Cripps has offices in Tunbridge Wells, London and Kings Hill.

David’s media profile includes speaking at numerous seminars on a varied range of subjects and writing on private client issues for the broadsheets, including The Times and the Daily Telegraph. David said: “I am delighted to have joined Cripps which has one of the largest and most highly regarded private client practices in the South East. I look forward to being able to continue to serve my existing client base and to contribute to the firm’s strategic growth plans.” David, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, is married with three children and enjoys gardening, travel and all types of music from jazz to Beethoven.

Local solicitor defends lasting powers of attorney

Local solicitor Kerin Speedie from Whitehead Monckton in Maidstone has defended lasting powers of attorney (LPA) after Denzil Lush, the former Senior Judge of the Court of Protection, warned they may leave elderly people open to abuse. An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about care and finances on their behalf, in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness such as dementia. In the foreword to a new book on the subject, Mr Lush raised concerns about the “lack of transparency” in how appointed attorneys manage older people’s finances. The former judge went on

to criticise the Ministry of Justice as being “disingenuous” in its promotion of the legal document. However, Kerin Speedie a member of national organisation Solicitors for the Elderly - said LPAs are effective safeguards when created responsibly: He said: “Senior Judge Lush’s comments have given rise to fears that LPAs are a direct avenue for financial abuse. However, his comments must be put

into context, as his 20-year career at the Court of Protection will have presented him with the very worst cases of financial abuse. “An LPA can be a positive and effective legal tool, which ensures your wishes are respected should you ever lose capacity. Senior Judge Lush’s comments should highlight the clear need for professional advice when considering powerful legal documents of this nature.”

SAY HELLO TO FREE TIME... with smart accounting, that helps redefine your work-life balance

We offer fixed-fee bookkeeping services that help you stay in control, saving you time and money

LET’S TALK! TXT PBK to 88802 for a no obligation callback

A: Unit 2a, Briar Close, Bramble Lane, Wye, Kent, TN25 5HB T: 01233 812345 E: W: @pbkltd

Thinking Business October 2017  
Thinking Business October 2017  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine October 2017.