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25 SEP 2013

INSIDE: WIN DESK SPACE Six months free space at Launch Point for a start-up or micro firm

FUNDING Trailblazing firm with an alternative way to invest in your business



SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL How the small and medium sized companies hold they key to making our economy grow

Advice on what to do when it’s time to finally let go



Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Know how

Top work reaps regional awards

Angus Taylor Partner Bruton Knowles

Renewables... not just about being green



nergy costs are likely to be the biggest overhead for industrial property occupiers in the Bristol area and look set to rise considerably above inflation every year for the foreseeable future. For many businesses energy and fuel spend can account for up to 10 per cent or more of overheads and yet is often ignored in terms of management time and attention. Renewable energy sources, alternative generation, energy management, building and machinery performance are not just about being “green” they can bring real benefit to the bottom line. A combination of grants, incentives and selling energy back into the grid can combine to deliver real savings for many businesses. One West Country manufacturer with a £1m a year utility bill using a combination of management and procurement decisions was able to see a 10 per cent reduction in the first year even before medium and longer term investment in renewables was taken into account. That was a whopping £100,000 straight onto the bottom line. Alternative generation by solar PV or wind turbine for electricity or solar hot water are all now established technologies with track records for delivering tangible benefits. Businesses need to apply the same sound financial rigour to reducing energy spend as they do to any other piece of major procurement. First get an independent view of the whole range of all the available technologies, combined with a proper understanding of what may suit the business needs. Much can often be done by revising existing methods of work before alternatives are bought. It is also important to shop around as sales people tend to push a particular model or manufacturer rather than looking at business needs in terms of cost savings and energy consumption. Accurate, timely and independent financial modelling and feasibility studies of a wide range of alternatives is the key to maximising the cost reduction benefits you can achieve from alternative generation. Combined with a whole business approach you will feel the full benefit of renewables on the bottom line.

● From left, Ben Tarrant, Pack & Send; Benjamin Ballard, Rolls-Royce; Jane Chandler, North Bristol NHS Trust; Hal Willis, Airbus; Tony Rooke, Airbus; Beryl Cains, Brunelcare; Ian Rummels, PES, and Jessica Docherty, PES

A HOST of Bristol apprentices and businesses came away with prizes at the South West stage of the National Apprenticeship Awards. The North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead and Frenchay hospitals, won macro employer of the year, with Filton-based Airbus highly commended. Whitehall-based Brunelcare, which looks after the elderly, took the honours in the Investors in People newcomer category with Premier Employer Solutions (PES), in Stoke Gifford, highly commended. Several individuals were highly commended, including Ben Tarrant, 22, who is on an intermediate apprenticeship in warehousing with Pack & Send, in Victoria Street. Jessica Docherty, 20, learning business administration and law with Premier Employer Solutions and KTS Training and Benjamin Ballard, 21, learning engineering through Rolls-Royce in Patchway, were highly commended in the advanced category. Hal Willis, 19, learning aerospace manufacturing engineering with Airbus and City of Bristol College, was honoured in the higher category.

Access to funding

New way to finance your growth

Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)

A BRISTOL financial firm is blazing a trail with innovative ways to get funding to small business to help them grow. Clifton Asset Management is the leading light in pension-led funding – where business owners use their personal pension pot to invest in their company. The idea has caught the eye of national policy makers, with chairman and founder Adam Tavener, right, recently invited to Downing Street for a summit on innovative ways to get money to SMEs – and in turn helping the economy grow. “This was Downing Street recognising that our little Bristol company is a significant innovator in finance and provision of funding for SMEs nationwide,” said Mr Tavener. The summit saw 30 people from the non-bank lending sector meeting

with 25 top officials and advisers to find out how the Government could help them to get more cash into the hands of businesses keen to grow. The Pill-based company, named Clifton because it was founded in Whiteladies Road, has carved a niche in the market with pension-led funding, which makes up around 80 per cent of its business. “It starts with a business person asking themselves ‘is my business worth investing in?’. You have to be confident and comfortable,” said Mr Tavener. “If it is you have a number of options, excluding angel investment which is largely a myth, the normal route will involve a third party, normally a bank. More often than not is secured against their domestic property. Essentially you are paying the bank to lend you your own money. If it all goes wrong they will get their money back, there’s little risk for them.

“In the national pension pot there is currently £2 trillion and a huge chunk of that belongs to business owners. Our view is that most of that is in the City of London being managed by fund managers called Rupert and Hugo and they are making a lot of money out of it. “The reality is that is your money, the same as your house. HMRC rules allow you to use some of that money to invest in your own business.” The process works by first valuing your intellectual assets, your brand, logo and so on, and then selling those assets to a pension trust using a portion of your personal pension pot. You get the investment, and pay the investment back by leasing the use of the assets over time. Clifton puts the money into its own managed pensions but the valuation of assets is carried out by an independent panel. In Bristol Clifton has helped 38

companies find funding in this way, collectively employing 327 people and with a total turnover of £25 million. Nationally it has funded 1,500 businesses collectively employing 17,000 people turning over £1.6 billion. The average customer is a company employing two to five people that wants to grow to more like 10 and is looking for around £125,000. Like any lending there is a risk, if the business fails the owner could lose the amount invested from their pension pot. But even here, Mr Tavener believes there are advantages to this form of borrowing. “Pension creditors are protected investors so if it goes wrong the pension trust still owns intellectual property and the best way to get its investment back might be to sell that to your new company,” he said. He added: “If you lose £80,000 from a pension that will cost you £80,000 gross to pay back because pensions are tax free. If you lose that from your own money it will cost £120-160,000 to pay back, depending on your tax bracket.”


Discuss those difficult ethical decisions with other business leaders ETHICS in business will be top of the agenda for more than 100 business leaders at the fifth Board2020 conference taking place next month. The event will be led by Midas Group chairman Steve Hindley, who will be giving an insight into ethical choices in business from his experience of growing a small construction firm into one of the UK’s largest property services providers. Board2020 organisers Moon Consulting, the University of the West of England and Strategic Value Partners describe the event as a “participatory conference with a

difference”. It is attended only by board members, executive and non-executive directors and, as well as leading speakers, encourages strong debate on subjects that matter to businesses. Organiser Vanessa Moon, pictured, director of Moon Consulting, said: “This conference will explore business ethics: the difficult decisions business leaders have to make and how this impacts on society. “The Board 2020 Conference allows business leaders across the region to discuss their experiences with their peers and apply lessons learned to

their own businesses and communities.” She added: “We engage world-class speakers, as well as providing a valued interactive learning forum for business leaders through a range of facilitated group discussion platforms such as our World Cafe and Open Space. “The facilitated group discussions during the conference offer excellent networking opportunities as well as strong dialogue

around the issues that matter to you and the business community. Delegates freely interact with leading experts and share experiences and best practice with fellow board members and companies from other sectors.” To register for the event, which takes place on October 31 at UWE Bristol Conference Centre, 8.30am to 2pm, contact Oliver Harrison via or call 01275 371200.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

House building

Online retail

Clifton Voice your concerns on residents’ parking plans ● FIRMS will get their say on a proposed residents’ parking scheme in Clifton Village. Bristol City Council is holding two drop-in sessions specifically to look at the impact on businesses. Concerns might include loading restrictions or where staff or customers will be able to park. Previously Clifton Village and Clifton West were being considered as separate areas but have since been rolled into one. The first session takes place Saturday at the New Hall, Clifton High School, College Road, from 5.30 to 8.30pm. The second is at the same time and venue on Saturday, October 2. Businesses hoping to attend need to register online at www.clifton

● Martin Beard and Bob Burgess

Firm takes pride in two award-winning bosses ● TWO site managers working for Barratt Homes have picked up regional awards in this year’s National House Building Council’s Pride in the Job Awards. Bob Burgess, senior project manager at ND10@TheZone in the city centre, and Martin Beard who is site manager at Hanham Hall, now go forward to the national finals in London in January. Bob was awarded a Seal of Excellence and picked up the top regional award for multi-storey developments. Martin also received a Seal of Excellence and his work at Hanham Hall earned him the regional award for large developments. Barratt Bristol managing director Richard Gregory said he was thrilled with the pair’s success. “To win two regional awards is tremendous recognition for their efforts. “Site managers play a pivotal role in delivering high quality new homes and these regional awards demonstrate their dedication and commitment to building new homes of the very highest standard.”

Sign up here for business news direct to your inbox every day ● Louise Causon’s own experience with a premature baby led to her business idea

● COMPANIES can learn how to get tax breaks on their ideas through a free workshop. The Government this year introduced a patent box incentive, which enables companies to get a lower corporation tax rate of 10 per cent on profits tied to patents. Smith & Williamson is holding an event in association with HM Revenue & Customs to explain the scheme on Tuesday, October 8 at the firm’s Portwall Place office. To book, for free, email rebecca.

Assistant Editor (Business)

A MUM who found it difficult to find clothes to fit her premature baby has spotted a gap in the market and started her own business. Louise Causon, 41, from Portishead, has worked as a nanny, nursery manager and even in a neo-natal intensive care unit at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol. But it was when her third son Leo was born six weeks prematurely that she really got to understand the practical challenges facing mums. “There was just nothing out there at the time, and it hasn’t got much better since,” said Louise. “I am very passionate about starting this business as my personal and

professional experiences have shown me that it can be very difficult to find products that are aimed specifically at premature and low birth weight babies,” she said. “When you have had a premature baby, you want to spend all the time in the hospital with them. All the clothes your friends and family have bought as presents don’t fit. “I feel that providing a single online shop where a wide range of good quality clothing, accessories and gifts can be purchased means that parents can spend more time with their precious little bundle.” What might seem like a niche market, could actually have broad appeal with the Office for National Statistics recording one in 13 births in England and Wales as premature, classed as born before 37 weeks. Two years ago the mum of three was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, an

Best deals - How the numbers stack up Business savings Inflation Business current accounts accounts Bank of India

1.1% Bank of £10,000 deposit Cyprus 0.25% United Trust £1 deposit Bank

Co-operative Bank

Pic: Jon Kent BRJK20130920B-007

Mum finds fitting idea for premature baby clothes Gavin Thompson

R&D Inventive ideas can help you secure tax breaks


0.12% Bank of £1 deposit India

1.75% £1,000 deposit 1.75% £500deposit 1.49% £10,000 deposit

Source: Business Moneyfacts -


Weekly earnings


Corporation tax %

23 20 13 10

Main rate


Small profits rate – below £300,000

Base interest rate Employer NI rates % .8% Ave mortgage rate %

Standard rate on earnings above £148 per week


Employees in salary-related pension scheme earning up £770 p/w

Average national petrol prices .37p

137 142 145 69




.20p Super unleaded

.42p LPG


● ONE small businesses is proving itself a hot proposition after doubling its size since the start of the recession in 2008. Feature Fire has just opened its new showroom in Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare. Owners Richard Atkin and John Cooper put their steady growth down to a focus on high quality, high specification fires and fireplaces. The showroom has been 12 months in the planning and aims to have a “wow” factor as well as a more practical workspace. Mr Atkin said: “The showroom provides real inspiration for how a fireplace could transform a home.”

Get in touch Assistant Editor (Business) Gavin Thompson Call 0117 934 3336 Email gavin.thompson Twitter @gavin_thompson1

Writer Rupert Janisch Email business@ Advertising Robert Rodgerson Call 0117 934 3352 Email robert.rodgerson Advertising Jane Chapman Call 01179 343025 Email jane.chapman Advertising Simon Coy Call 07736 900 705. Email


Unity Trust 0.10% Cambridge 1.45% Bank £25,000 deposit & Counties £10,000 deposit Bank 0.05% £1 deposit 0.25% Melton £0.01 deposit Mowbray Allied Irish 0.05% Building Bank (GB) £500 deposit Society

2.7 0.7 0.5 3.99


illness causing pain and often fatigue, and had to give up her job. Now her condition is more under control, she has decided to launch her online business, The Prem Baby Store, selling premature baby clothes, gifts and equipment such as special pillows to prevent babies suffering flathead syndrome and discreet feeding covers. Mrs Causon’s husband Anthony and older sons Jake, 16, and Toby, 19, are all supportive of the new venture, and her mum – and next door neighbour – Olivia Howard will be close by to help out on days when her health condition makes work a challenge. “With my being ill, my family have had a difficult two years so it’s nice for them to see me happier and doing something new.” The site, www.theprembabystore., went live last week. “We’re all excited,” said Louise.

Retail New showroom follows roaring fireplace success


Office space Homes boom could squeeze office space ● THE city could see a significant reduction in its office stock as landlords convert them to homes – which could cause headaches for small and medium-sized firms looking for space, according to Paul Williams, head of agency at Bruton Knowles in Bristol. Permitted development rights introduced in May this year allow the change of use of buildings from offices to residential use, without the need for planning permission, but subject instead to a prior approval process by the Local Planning Authority. The change was intended to generate activity in the development sector, and bring obsolete office buildings into use. But landlords are looking at the option for buildings they find hard to let. So far most of the buildings under consideration are in the heart of the city centre, where substantial development took place in the 1960s and 1970s, but where many buildings are no longer fit for purpose as office space. “There is a huge demand for new homes to be created in the Bristol area,” said Mr Williams. “Our research indicates plans are being worked up for at least 600,000 sq ft of office space to be converted to residential use, but this could be just the tip of the iceberg.” He said big companies often favoured new offices built to their specifications but for the growing number of small and medium-sized firms the older-style buildings can provide a cost-effective solution. Mr Williams said: “Smaller businesses, who can occupy one floor or part of a suite of offices can find the older style offices perfectly adequate, and able to provide highly cost effective accommodation. “We need to identify the best buildings in Bristol for this use and move the smaller businesses in together to release offices more suitable for residential for that use. “Office owners and small business owners should all be looking at their options at the moment in anticipation of the changes that are likely to happen.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Commercial property Conference offers market advice

● The new Launch Point offices in the Rivergate complex, close to Temple Meads; inset, Virtually There founders Keiran Hart and Jack Head

Win free desk space at new offices for 6 months Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)

A START-UP micro business can win free desk space for six months, thanks to Business West. The organisation which represents businesses across the region has teamed up with Business to offer space at the new Launch Point offices in the Rivergate complex, close to Temple Meads station in the Local Enterprise Zone. The winner will get free desk space for six months, saving the £150 monthly fee. As a tenant, the winner would get a dedicated workstation with wi-fi and broadband, onsite security, with utilities and business rates included. They also get access to Business

West’s support services including onsite mentors and advisers and entry to networking events. For those who don’t win, the site still offers all of the above for the £150 monthly rate. Business West managing director Phil West said: “This centre is the ideal place for businesses to start, develop and grow. Not only is it in a fantastic location with affordable costs, but also Business West will provide all the necessary support to move companies from start-up phase to growth and innovation. “To help overcome the challenges of the first few years of business, our specialist coaches can provide guidance. From producing a solid business plan and identifying key areas for growth, to gaining the right level of finance and fully exploiting innovation, businesses can benefit from specialist advice and practical workshops.

“We have no doubt that businesses will benefit greatly from the range of business support on offer to help them to grow their business.” Virtually There is one of the first licensees to sign up to Launch Point. Founded by Keiran Hart, 27, and Jack Head, 30, the business was set up to make running a small business easy. It offers virtual reception services, business mailing addresses and shared work space. With its head office in Henleaze, Kieran and Jack decided to take two desks at Launch Point to have a base in a central location. Kieran said: “We see Launch Point as an exciting opportunity for us to continue to help small businesses in Bristol succeed. Launch Point represents a great solution for our members to work at a premier Bristol post code at the fraction of the traditional cost.”

● LAW firm Clarke Willmott LLP hosted a conference offering advice for people working in the property industry, as confidence continues to return to the market. A range of topics were discussed including reducing risk on construction projects; an update on new planning laws that are set to come into effect from October 1; key issues associated with putting together joint ventures and; making the most of your portfolio. The conference, which was held at Clarke Willmott’s offices in Bath Street, is one of the largest events the firm has ever run and it will now be rolled out to Birmingham, Taunton, Southampton and London. Louise Brown, partner and head of Clarke Willmott’s real estate and construction sector team said: “With such a wealth of changes to legislation this year, it is important local businesses and developers understand the legal issues associated with the opportunities that are now opening up in the market.” Clarke Willmott will be hosting its annual planning law update seminar in Bristol on Wednesday, October 9.

Economy 300% growth forecast ● POSITIVE noises for the economy continue with Santander Corporate and Commercial’s latest business growth survey. South West businesses forecast 300 per cent growth on aggregate over the next five years – more than four times the 70 per cent projected in 2012 and 123 per cent in 2011. While only 12 per cent of South West-based businesses say they are looking to grow organically, the lowest in the UK, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) report they are turning to acquisitions for growth – twice the size of last year (12 per cent). Julian Alexander, regional director for Santander Corporate and Commercial, said: “For companies that have survived the past few years of economic volatility and are well positioned to seize future opportunities, basics such as effective cash flow management, first-rate customer service and long-term strategic planning remain crucial to realising their growth ambitions.”

WIN DESK SPACE free for six months for your business

at Launch Point, worth up to £900

Launch Point is office space in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone beside Temple Meads station, run by Business West to give a hassle-free and flexible way for companies to have a base without the long-term commitments.


Entrants must be either a start-up business or micro business (up to 10 employees) and have a turnover of less than £1.6 million a year.

Entry Form To enter, tell us why your business deserves to win and fill in the form below. My business should win Launch Point desk space for six months because:

Business name: Your name: Phone number: Email: A judging panel from the Bristol Post and Business West will select best entry as the winner. The closing date is 5pm on Friday, October 11. Entries can be posted to Launch Point Competition, Marketing department, Business West, Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, Bristol, BS8 3RA or filled out online at By entering this competition you agree to take part in publicity around it, including a story about the winner to be featured in the Bristol Post. Winners will be subject to the terms and conditions of Business West’s licence agreement at 2 Rivergate. Standard Local World terms and conditions apply, for a full list visit

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Autoparts and aftercare

Omani visit could lead to future deals for local firms A GROUP of car business owners from Oman is coming to Bristol in the hope of building relationships that could lead to future deals for local fir ms. The government of the Sultanate of Oman wants to improve its aftercare car sector and chose Bristol for its

expertise in the sector. The five day visit will include lectures, workshops and visits to Bristol businesses, arranged between Business West, which represents companies across the South West, Bristol autoparts firm Flying Penguin and Omanbased consultancy Gulf & Global.

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: “What a coup for Bristol that the Government of the Sultanate of Oman chose our city for a cultural and professional learning exchange. We hope this visit is just the start to us building stronger business connections with the Arab world.”

The group will visit Bristol Port, the ss Great Britain and Bloodhound SuperSonic Car project. Business West coaches and mentors will work with the Omanis to develop action plans. It is hoped those mentor relationships could flourish and prove profitable in future.




Children Party firm voted as best in the South West ● A PARTY firm has been crowned the best in the South West by parenting network group Netmums. Parents voted DJ Bags O Fun, based in Bedminster Down, as the region’s top children’s parties entertainer. DJ Bags O Fun run by Paul Robson and Alison Borseti beat hundreds of rival venues from the area to win the award from the UK’s largest parenting site. More than a million parents and childcarers were eligible to vote in the national awards. Mr Robson, 30, said: “I am lucky to be doing a job that I love in the first place, to be nominated for this award was brilliant, to win it absolutely amazing. “I am very grateful to the users of Netmums who voted for me to win the award. Myself and Alison have been running our business for the last seven years and we look forward to many more.” Sign up here for business news direct to your inbox every day

● Designer Phil Bommer with his Hummingbird Corkscrew

Dyson was inspiration for Phil’s reinvention of the corkscrew Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)

WHEN former Dyson designer Phil Bommer needed something to test out his latest creation, he looked no further than his neighbour’s recycling bins. The dad-of-two from Southville was inspired by his former employer’s reinvention of the vacuum cleaner to turn his hand to another household staple, the corkscrew. After two years of intense product development, the 43-year-old needed money to continue his work

“ The journey to this point has been anything but plain sailing. It has taken thousands of pounds and in excess of 2,000 design iterations to perfect the design. Phil Bommer and turned to crowdfunding website Kickerstarter. To Phil’s delight, he reached his initial target of £7,000 in two days, and the total is rising.

“I am excited and overwhelmed by the scale of the response and people's generosity from Bristol and from around the world! “I want to thank everyone who has pledged and shared so far.” He added: “The journey to this point has been anything but plain sailing. It has taken thousands of pounds and in excess of 2,000 design iterations to perfect the design. “There have been numerous technical hurdles to overcome along the way and that hasn’t involved just sitting in a clean white studio dreaming up ideas. “The approach has been very hands on with hours of repetitive and destructive testing as well as night raids of recycling bins to get the hun-

dreds of different types of wine bottles to test and optimise the final design. “ Now it is finally ready for my idea to become a reality. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking.” Phil works as part-time lecturer at the University of the West of England and visiting tutor at the Royal College Art. He looks back on this time at Dyson’s Wiltshire base, which he calls the University of Dyson, as inspirational. “Working with James [Dyson] was the best apprenticeship I could have had. It didn’t just teach me about design but it also encouraged me to take a risk and do something different,” he said.

PR Talking to communities ● A BRISTOL public relations firm has won the contract to handle PR for the National Grid’s regional infrastructure projects. National Grid is planning a range of projects including building connections to the grid for new sources of low-carbon energy, replacing old equipment and dealing with contaminated old gas works. Grayling South West will work with National Grid’s project teams to talk to people in affected communities. Nasima Hussain, head of Grayling South West, said: “We have a strong track record of effectively engaging with local communities.”

Food Delivering direct ● TWO Somerset farmers are hoping to break into the Bristol market with their direct food deliveries. Roger White and Nigel Cox founded Local Food Direct in 2001 after the foot and mouth outbreak damaged confidence in farming methods. Now the pair are starting deliveries to Bristol, hoping to capture the city’s pro-organic consumers.

We understand SME’s - because we are one Lloydbottoms chartered accountants - here to help. Lloydbottoms Chartered Accountants, 118 High Street, Staple Hill, Bristol. BS16 5HH | |


Contact Sue Rickerby 0117 957 3537


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advertising feature

UHY Hacker Young Bristol

● The UHY team who provide expert advice and a wide range of services to SMEs in the Bristol area




T appears that the UK economy is starting to chug back to life, albeit from a low baseline level. During the recent recession, we as a nation and as a region have seen a pronounced increase in the number of new businesses being set up. This was driven by people re-focussing on their priorities, perhaps finding the capital to support new ventures from redundancy payouts. The statistics on survival rates for new businesses in the first five years make gloomy reading, with half of all new start-ups failing in this period. More encouragingly, it seems that for those businesses who can survive the first rocky few years, the chances of longer-term success are much higher. This is partly because their rivals might have fallen by the wayside, but it is also telling that the support toolkit deployed by prospering entrepreneurs focus on one thing: valuing their time. Entrepreneurs are by their very nature inquisitive, impatient and at times petulant creatures. Above all they are creative people who don’t thrive on the hassle of bureaucracy, administration and red tape (or certainly none that we have ever encountered!). Running your own business is all about taking risks, reaping the rewards and getting a sense of satisfaction at the realisation of an idea; effectively creating something from nothing. With this in mind, most small busi-

UHY Hacker Young Bristol is a five partner practice in north Bristol, a brand that brings together a number of experienced professionals to deliver leading edge business consultancy. UHY offers a wide range of specialist services, including audit and accountancy, personal and corporate tax, corporate finance, financial planning and wealth management, and outsourced business services such as payroll and company secretarial. With combined experience of the Bristol market spanning in excess of 40 years the UHY team opened their Bristol office in March 2011 primarily to advise and assist SMEs in the local and surrounding areas.

ness owners fail to realise that time is their most valuable commodity. Time spent on administrative tasks and form-filling is time that business owners cannot use to focus on their goals. As such, it is crucial that the entrepreneur realises this at an early stage by delegating and outsourcing accordingly.

For instance, payroll and management accounts can be outsourced to accountants who will not only provide a value for money service but will also present the information in a legible manner. This is useful when tendering or seeking finance. It’s worth asking the question, where is the business’ growth coming from?

It may be that the SME has been successful and has quickly saturated possible sales in the local marketplace. The next step could be to look further afield for business (both nationally and internationally). It is important that your advisers and experts have this experience and local knowledge. This means not only understanding international legislation and how it applies, but also the softer skills of making relevant introductions into professional and informal networks of contacts. This is often as much of an advantage as the technical expertise, since people ultimately do business with people. We have worked closely with many SMEs to streamline their financial and management information systems to ensure the decision makers have access to the right information at the right time. Providing the right management toolkit is of course the first part of the process; the key stage is understanding that information. Training and management support is a key element to our advisory service, providing the business with the right foundations to support its future growth. What drives entrepreneurs to take huge financial (and often emotional) risks? Some will be motivated by working for themselves and not having to report to a boss. To others it will be the satisfaction of creating jobs and looking after a

“ The SME sector is of crucial importance to the Bristol market and whilst it is often the larger companies which grab the media headlines it is the SME’s which provide the lifeblood of the wider economy.

thriving team of employees. Whatever the driving force, it is important to be aware that without defining this success and effective planning, the pipedream is likely to be stuck in the pipe. The SME sector is of crucial importance to the Bristol market and whilst it is often the larger companies which grab the media headlines it is the SMEs which provide the lifeblood of the wider economy. At UHY Hacker Young, we recognise the key role that SMEs play in the ecosystem of our local economy. Our Essentials suite of services for SMEs and start-ups is tailored around the business because we realise that a “one-size fits all” model is simply not relevant to today’s fast-paced, knowledge-driven economic landscape.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


In pictures Business people out and about Best of Bristol exhibition GALLERIES GALORE

FOR VIDEO AND PICTURES Check out our website at

● Samantha Derrett and Debbie Urch from Kings Ransom Pictures: Jon Kent BRJK20130924A-005

● Justin Cannan, Alyson Eyval and Scott Bladon from Business BRJK20130924A-011 West

● Organisers Jack and Neil Kinnerly, from Business Sorted

● Pete Bangham from Ommec Direct



● Rachel Warren, Michelle Newell and Julie Mitchell from BRJK20130924A-012 Activia

The Institute of Directors networking event at Radisson Blu

Get in the picture

● Alisa Burke, AB Wellness Coaching


● Ray Adair, ONA BRML20130918D-003

Send us photos from your event, with names please, to business

Pics: Michael Lloyd BRML20130918D-001

● Richard Graves, of GWS Media, with business coach Chris Kenber BRML20130918D-007


● Alistair Watson, Science City Bristol

● David Rayfield, independent BRML20130918D-004 consultant


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by THEME SPONSOR’S NAME HERE.

SME focus

SMALLER FIRMS STILL HAVE A BIG If Bristol and the UK are to grow the economy, the small and medium sized firms which make up the vast majority of businesses have a big part to play. Rupert Janisch investigates



T was in 2009 when Baroness Vadera made those now infamous comments about the “green shoots” of recovery. Not many of us will remember tougher times in business than those since then. But there seems no question that the economy is now recovering and in Bristol the situation is more positive than in most of the nation’s city regions, with one of the biggest concentrations of growth-driving small and medium-sized businesses here than anywhere in the country. It’s a quite remarkable statistic that of the 4.8 million businesses in the UK, 96 per cent employ fewer than 10 people and 74 per cent of those are sole traders. In the West of England alone – the area comprising Bristol City, Bath and North-East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – there are, according to statistics from Business West, 36,635 businesses currently operating. Of these, more than 32,000 are micro businesses with fewer than 10 employees. A further 4,000 or so are small businesses, with 10 to 50 employees. Some 525 are medium-sized, employing between 50 and 249 staff. Only 165 companies in the area have more than 250 employees, although national statistics suggest these provide around half of the area’s business turnover. But that’s not to say that the SMEs in the region aren’t making a significant contribution. In fact, there are 685 businesses in the West of England turning over more than £5 million per year, and a further 2,460 annually making £1 million or more. Bristol has around 40 per cent of the area’s companies, although proportionally more of the larger ones are based in the city, with the remaining 60 per cent being split fairly evenly among B&NES, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. And industry breakdowns are broadly split into similar proportions, with a few notable exceptions (Bristol city doesn’t have many businesses in agriculture, for example). Main drivers of our region’s SME economy are in professional, scientific and technical services or products.

our prowess in hi-tech engineering, in creative industries, in low-carbon technologies and in aerospace. We have hubs of intellectual brilliance in our universities, centres of scientific excellence, and a council spending £11.3 million providing the city with faster broadband services. For the past few years, finance provision has been a massive issue for SMEs and, though things are improving, it’s something which seems likely to continue to stand in the way of rapid growth. The Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, recently announced a delay into its entry into SME lending until

Success on the cards for psychologist Case study A WORLD-beating Bristol company is working to achieve international success with a range of unique products. Founded by chartered psychologist Sam Kotadia in 2008, city centre-based Mindsport Ltd produces innovative and accessible tools that help people improve their performance and wellbeing by harnessing the power of positive psychology. The company started with the release of a series of Mindcards, including 52 Ways to Beat Stress, 52 Ways to Improve Motivation in Sport, 52 Ways to Mentally Prepare for Exams and 52 Ways to Improve Public Speaking Technique. From the beginning, Mindsport has been eager to grow its business overseas and now, working with UK Trade and Investment, is accessing sources of funding which have allowed them to break into important international markets. As well as being distributed in most English speaking countries, many of their positive psychology tools have been translated into different languages and are sold across the world. Mindsport has been particularly successful in Italy, where its products are now available in more than 10,000 different outlets. The smart-phone market has become increasingly important for Mindsport and they are now able This sector has double the number of companies of the next biggest sectors. Second biggest is construction, boosted by the 1,365 firms in South Gloucestershire, just behind Bristol with 1,515 firms in the sector. Other major sectors are retail, information and communication, business administration and support services, and arts, entertainment and recreation. So in all sectors, in all sizes of the broad SME bracket, there are more than 32,000 business owners, who have started up companies which are keeping things ticking over and waiting for the chance to see their businesses grow.


This is a region of ambitious SMEs. We have more of these businesses than any other part of England. Their ingenuity, energy and commitment differentiates the South West and allows us to respond to emerging opportunities

Graham Randall, BDO LLP


● Mindsport founder Sam Kotadia to distribute and sell digital positive psychology flash-cards on the iPhone and Android platforms. The Mindcard series has grown to include 20 titles and the company also provides a range of other products and services, including psychology training, educational seminars and an extensive library of psychology articles. Mindsport’s managing director Sam Kotadia said: “To do well in any market, you need to offer

something with real value. Using my expertise as a psychologist, I have developed a range of physical and digital tools – ranging from card decks to goal-setting diaries – to help people achieve their personal development goals. “We have developed a process of packaging content and selling it to the international market which has proved very effective. India is now developing into one of our most important markets.”

There’s a mixture of the old and the new, with almost half of the businesses established over a decade ago. But encouragingly, there are 6,000 new companies which have been started up in the past couple of years. And growth is coming. The latest SME Finance Monitor from BDRC Continental, released on figures from the second quarter of 2013, suggests that, nationwide, 44 per cent of SMEs have grown in the past year. That’s up from 39 per cent in the first quarter. GDP in the last quarter was up by 0.6 per cent and while business confidence among SME owners is still cautious, it is definitely growing. In Bristol, there are ambitious plans afoot to create the environment

required for new jobs and growth over the next few decades. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has signed up for the Gover nment’s City Deal which will see 40,000 jobs and over £1 billion of investment to support local growth over the next 30 years. It will see transport infrastructure improvements – long-awaited – aimed at freeing up the city centre for inward and internal traffic, as well as a new growth hub at the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Of course Bristol is historically a hub of innovation, of skilled labour, of enterprise and trade. In 2013, we excel in four sectors, gaining international recognition for

2016. But with the Local Enterprise Partnership’s £25 million pot of Growth Fund money, given out as part of a campaign with the Bristol Post, and Government programmes like the Chancellor’s recently-extended Funding for Lending Scheme, there are options available. And some businesses are choosing to turn to less conventional sources of cash such as grants, leasing and invoice financing. So the future remains challenging, yet positive. Graham Randall, lead partner at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP in Bristol said: “This is a region of ambitious SMEs. We have more of these businesses than any other part of England. Their ingenuity, energy and commitment differentiates the South West and allows us to respond to emerging opportunities. “It is critical for the well-being of the region’s economy that these businesses are given the support they need to grow. We must ensure they are assisted in identifying and meeting skills requirements, and bringing the best products and services to market. “The Government must work hard to reduce the burden of bureaucracy and red tape they face to ensure that these businesses are best able to market their products and to embrace opportunities both at home and abroad.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PART TO PLAY IN RECOVERY Future looking bright for female forum

Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business) gavin.thompson


● Joni Farthing, who launched Women Outside The Box in Bristol in 2012 media connections we needed, to help promote and encourage female entrepreneurs throughout the South West, to take their business

overseas. “I was invited to speak at Cork Chamber, where the reception was overwhelmingly positive. Our future

is looking equally as bright. We plan to launch our first festival in Cork, Ireland and explore our options in France. Watch this space...”

Preparation and meticulous detail

● Wingman founder Stu Jolley


Making your voices heard

Case study A LOCAL women’s business forum which started last year has established itself in the UK and Ireland and is looking to expand overseas. Women Outside The Box (WOTB), which was launched in Bristol by Joni Farthing in 2012, has now established itself as Britain’s biggest festival of female entrepreneurship. WOTB has taken the forum nationwide and opened the door for business women to network, find potential investors, share ideas and access business opportunities. It is already looking to set up a festival in Cork, Ireland and plans are afoot to launch in France as well. Joni Farthing has received considerable support from Enterprise Europe Network South West (EEN SW) which helped provide inspirational speakers to talk at its festival. Susan Hayes, a speaker from EEN’s network in Ireland, was suggested and the organisation facilitated an introduction between the two parties. The pair of businesswomen are now working on promoting female entrepreneurship and encouraging female business owners to start trading internationally. Ms Farthing said: “We secured a high-calibre speaker who had the expertise, international links and



A SMALL company which recently relocated to Bristol is taking on the big boys in the men’s toiletries market. Wingman, which employs four people from its offices near Temple Meads, has managed to get its three-in-one shampoo, shower and shave gel into 500 Tesco stores, including the branch off the M32. Founder Stu Jolley, 26, said securing the supermarket giant had taken a lot of hard work. “There is so much preparation and meticulous detail goes into it. You have to have a unique selling point, something different from the rest of the shelf and for us it’s the three-in-one aspect. “Next you have to find a manufacturer that can handle the

Case study volume they need. We had investment from King Of Shaves which allowed us to find a top manufacturer. And then there’s the pitching process. We had six meetings with Tesco before they took the product on.” Stu moved the company to Bristol this summer from London, partly to find a better work/life balance “it’s easier here where you have the outdoors on your doorstep” and partly because he was keen to get back to the South West after three years in London. Stu is hoping to get the Wingman brand into more leading stores, then look to expand its range.

MALL is beautiful, at least when it comes to business. That’s why with today’s new Bristol Post Business supplement we are putting small – and medium – at the heart of everything we do. Of the 36,635 businesses operating in the West of England patch, just 165 are classed as large businesses. True, those few businesses do make up a disproportionately huge part of the region’s turnover, and that’s why they remain, now and always, a vital part of our business coverage. But from today we will focus more on the small and medium businesses. These are the businesses who are often less able to shout about their successes, needs and concerns. We will amplify their voices and make them heard. The market has been tough for any business in recent years but many smaller firms have been showing the way, innovating and driving forward thanks to the hard work, ingenuity and dedication of their owners and employees. There are examples of just that in these pages. Wingman, a tiny Bristol-based company, has got its shampoo, shower and shave gel product into 500 Tesco stores. Phil Bommer secured his crowd-funding target for his remarkable corkscrew design in just two days. And Clifton Asset Management has grown from an office in founder Adam Tavener’s back garden to a 100-person strong financial player that’s caught Downing Street’s eye. My mission statement is to champion, inform and inspire Greater Bristol’s business community. The Government is pinning its hopes on small and medium businesses to grow the economy. Bristol is well placed to be the engine room of that growth. We have the skills, drive and – some – of the infrastructure. By championing important, giving businesspeople the information they need, and inspiring them with great success stories, we at the Post will do all we can to nurture that growth.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advertising feature

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Bristol and Somerset

MY BUSINESS NEEDS A LOAN BOOST If this sounds like you, read on to see how Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking is helping businesses in Bristol and Somerset achieve their ambitions. Martin Racher, Area Director SME banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Bristol and Somerset


OING business is challenging at the moment. Accessing funding to consolidate, diversify or grow can feel almost impossible. Yet it doesn’t need to. In the last year (July 2012 to June 2013) we said yes to 80 per cent of requests for loans and overdrafts. We offer a range of funding solutions for businesses including hire purchase and leasing – provided by Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance – and loans and overdrafts, all with flexible funding terms to suit your cash flow needs.

Making the most of Government initiatives As part of Lloyds Bank’s participation in the Funding for Lending Scheme, the interest rate has been reduced by up to 1 per cent on all new approved business loan, commercial mortgage and hire purchase applications. What’s more, if your business turnover is £41 million or less, you may be eligible for funding under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee. This tool allows businesses of all ages – which have a lending requirement but lack security – to raise finance. Finally, Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance’s innovative invoice finance solutions and asset based lending can free up funds tied up in your credit invoices and other assets, helping with cash flow.

Local knowledge supports our funding decisions Relationships matter. Our teams are

based locally to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities facing Bristol and Somerset. Our relationship managers understand the lending requirements of local businesses, and as Bank of the Year for nine successive years, we’re proud of our track record of helping businesses succeed.

Specialist support Our local knowledge is supported by specialists for key industry sectors across Bristol and Somerset, including property, healthcare and manufacturing. Our local International Business

Managers can also help businesses with ambitions beyond the UK. It’s a powerful combination, supported by an extensive range of funding solutions designed to meet business needs across Bristol and Somerset, now and in the future.

Call to action: By supporting your business ambitions, we aim to help strengthen the UK and Bristol and Somerset economies – another way Lloyds Bank is backing British business. Call on 0117 943 3551 to discuss business funding, or visit

Lending commitments that count ● Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking increased net lending by four per cent in 2012 in a market that contracted by a similar amount. ● We’re committed to increasing business lending further in 2013. ● Under the Funding for Lending

Scheme, the interest rate has been reduced on new approved business loans, commercial mortgages and hire purchase applications by up to one per cent. ● We’ve committed £1 billion of funding to the manufacturing sector in 2013.


The legal situation ANY property given as security, which may include your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or other debts secured on it. All lending is subject to a satisfactory credit assessment. Calls may be monitored or recorded. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial

Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Licensed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 under licence number 0004685. We subscribe to the Lending Code; copies of the Code can be obtained from Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending facilities are provided by Lloyds Bank

Commercial Finance. Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance is a trading name of Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance Ltd. Registered office: No.1, Brookhill Way, Banbury OX16 3EL. Registered in England and Wales no.733011. Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance Ltd is part of Lloyds Banking Group and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential

Regulation Authority or the Financial Conduct Authority. Hire Purchase and Leasing facilities are provided by Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance. When using these products and services your agreement will be with a Lloyds Banking Group company whose terms and conditions will apply.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Big Interview

CAPTAIN OF CITY INDUSTRY Nick Wilton was recently selected as the SME representative on the board of the West of England LEP. Rupert Janisch discussed his new role and what he can pass on to other SME owners in Bristol through his success in business.

What you’ve been saying about our business stories online /business

● “So a £5 million investment, along with 30 jobs, business rates and future expansion plans have all moved out of Bristol and George thinks this is a good thing? Plot officially lost.” Smoosername

● Former military man Nick Wilton, who heads Bedminster-based Flying Penguin, a group of vehicle parts suppliers

Thirdly, he mentions business tankers which find it hard to change rates. “Any tax that’s not linked to direction. SMEs are like speedboats cashflow is a problem for business,” which have to exploit that flexibility he says. “If you’re paying a tax whethand agility in the marketplace. Name: Nick Wilton er you’re making money or not, it’s a “It’s very easy as a SME to focus on Age: 50 millstone around your neck. In that the negatives – it’s hard to get an Place of birth: London sense, it’s not a good tax and even the overdraft, business rates are high – School: Box Hill School & people who are tasked with collecting but my message to other SMEs is to Godalming College it will say that their hands are tied. focus on the positives and play to First job: British Nuclear Fuels “The other problem with rates is win.” Hero or inspiration: Lord that they are based on valuAdaptation and innovation Carrington ations which are historical. are significant factors in VIDEO An awful lot has happened the current success of ONLINE in five years and comNick’s own company, way and the practical policy changes mercial property prices Flying Penguin. Having pushing in precisely the opposite dirNICK WILTON have gone down subthe flexibility to meet ection. So that’s an area in which I Why he sees the LEP as a stantially. If I could, I customer needs, even feel there’s an awful lot of scope. bold opportunity, go to: would change it.” when this requires “In fact public sector and So that covers what’s journeys into the unitarian sector procurement are areas wrong. How about what’s known, is a key selling where I’ve done a huge amount of right? What does the fupoint. work and will continue to do so. That ture hold for SMEs in Bris“Our business strategy is pre-dates the LEP but was no doubt tol? Nick’s unsurprisingly very much customer-driven,” part of the reason I was selected.” optimistic about the future, describhe says. “A lot of people use that Other issues facing our city’s SMEs ing it as “pregnant with possibility”. phrase and it sounds very generic but are the commonly-cited issues of He says: “Historically there’s a lot I know exactly what I mean. transport infrastructure, which Nick of data to suggest that with aid of all “I don’t like the term USP because I diplomatically describes as “a bit of a sorts – local, regional, national, EU – don’t think anybody in the universe conundrum”, and access to working that SMEs generally give you a better is unique and we’re certainly not. But capital, on which he says: “I think it’s bang for your buck. what I see in what was our core of absolutely fundamental import“History shows us that SMEs are marketplace is something like us ance that there’s an adequate access much more effective at generating being the corner shop taking on to working capital but also that the economic growth. And I don’t think Tesco and Asda. cost of that working capital is afthat’s a surprise, because it’s much “You’ve got some very big players fordable. We’ve come to a point where easier to be innovative when you are like Euro Car Parts, Unipart Autoeven if you can get funding, it’s at a little than when you are large. motive, German Swedish French and level which doesn’t allow you to com“Primes are very large superAndrew Page – all of whom are pete or allow you to grow.” around the £200 million mark, whereas we turned over £2 million last year. So in that context to get into a price-led competition it can only end You wake up at? 7am one way. What’s your perfect weekend? What do you have for breakfast? “So you have to box clever and work Walking over the Brecon Beacons Grape nuts out what you can do that the bigger (pictures left) What time do you start work? companies can’t.” What’s your favourite book or film 7:30am With its traditions in enterprise or TV show? The Matrix What happens in your typical and innovation remaining present in What are your hobbies (if any)? working day? Everything! Variety is the city today, Nick feels that nowhere Running/outdoors the common theme is better placed than Bristol – culWhat time do you go home? I work turally and geographically – to beall hours (like most owner/operators) nefit from the brave new world of Do you take work home/attend business and become a thriving hub evening functions? Yes – all the time. of SME success.

My working day


Wessex Garages to build new showroom at Cribbs, but says won’t invest in city site due to residents’ parking


ERHAPS unsurprisingly for a former military man, Nick Wilton uses a fair amount of combative vocabulary when he’s talking about business in Bristol. He compares the daily challenges of running a successful SME to the “forward edge of battle”, or life on the African savannah. “When the sun goes up,” he says, “you’d better be ready to run”. But with a languid eloquence, like a more positively charged version of the writer Will Self, and with principles and passion allied to expertise in engineering and economics, there are brains in the cranium to match the business brawn. Nick Wilton is 50, lives in Flax Bourton and his day job is to head up Bedminster-based Flying Penguin, an umbrella organisation of vehicle parts suppliers which turned over £2 million last year. Among his other roles, Nick is Head of Government Relations and Technical Standards for the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation and sits on the Federation of Small Business’ National Trade and Industry Committee. And now he is the newly-established voice of the Bristol SME on the board of the LEP. So what does Nick see as the main obstacles facing SMEs in Bristol today? What does he hope to achieve through his seat on the LEP board? A prime objective is to try to bridge the gap between the Government’s vaunted policy of supporting SMEs and the obstacles facing such companies in trying to win public sector contracts. “The gulf between the rhetoric and what actually happens at the forward edge of battle is really quite striking,” he says. “The MoD for example talks about engaging with SMEs in the supply chain but at the same time there’s steady reductions in head count, which is resulting in pressure to rationalise the supply chain. “And that means you’re aggregating demand into bigger and bigger chunks, which makes the average contract size larger and immediately prices out SMEs. “So you’ve got rhetoric pushing one


● “So the mayor wants to reduce traffic instead of create more. But traffic = business = jobs. That traffic would be people heading there to spend money in Bristol. Traffic is a positive not a negative. The aim should be to invest to ensure that we can maximise the amount of traffic (aka business/jobs) we can handle. Increase capacity, do not deliberately throttle it in order to drive money/business/jobs out of the city.” CM_Punk

Vital statistics

My downtime

Chancellor George Osborne visits the Bloodhound project ● “If he really does mean what he says in this piece, that Bloodhound indicates that science and engineering is important, then he may have been better advised to spend most of his time in Bristol hearing the views of engineering and high tech developers on what needs to be done to generate investment opportunities. Brissleblue New Poundworld store opens, selling goods at more than £1 ● Does the new Bristol Poundworld store accept the Bristol Pound? Ogereon Shoppers queue for latest iPhone model


● “Whatever happened to the days when people talked to each other face to face, used a telephone to make phone calls and didn't have the internet, Facebook, Twitter and 'other' apps as the centre of their lives or universe? My 18 year old Nokia will make just as good a phone call as an Apple iPhone 5S, or any of the other 'smart phones' with less capital outlay.” JohnM_1945


Up and coming

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Movers & shake-ups The future of business


Chance to hear former CBI boss talk about future Gavin Thompson Assistant Editor (Business)

FORMER CBI boss Lord Digby Jones is headlining a charity event for businesses in Bristol – and the Bristol Post is giving young entrepreneurs the chance to attend for free. Lord Jones, pictured, is one of the most recognised faces in British business, having been director general of the CBI from 2006 to 2006 and a trade minister in the Labour Government in 2007, without ever joining the party. The peer will be talking under the heading What Business Needs to Succeed in Asia’s Century. Tickets for the four-course dinner in the Grace Room at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club cost £75, with proceeds going towards the Rotary’s charity work including clean water projects in Nepal. But for up to 10 young entrepreneurs, the evening will be free, and a great opportunity to both network and listen to a respected business figure. Event organisers The Rotary Club of Bristol has teamed up with the Post to offer the free tickets as a way of encouraging enterprising young people in business. Ron Stagg, chairman of the Rotary Club of Bristol, said: “Lord Digby Jones has personal experience of the

seismic change in the balance of the global economy as it tilts towards Asia – by listening to him I am sure that our local entrepreneurs are going to better prepared to meet and overcome the challenges.” One of the Rotary’s main charitable projects at the moment is improving the water supply in parts of Nepal. Mr Stagg said: “I went there in 2011 to inaugurate a fresh water project that we funded and it was a humbling experience.There is now a community, Majh Thum, with 1,000 villagers, 200 boarding school pupils and 800 high school pupils and except for an unreliable standpipe for the school, everyone has to walk up to a mile to the river to get water – and the water isn’t clean. “Working with the local Rotary Club in Pokhara, and the villagers themselves we can have a clean, filtered water supply pumped directly into the village.” To apply for the tickets you must be 35 or under on October 22 this year, and either running your own business or playing a part in the success of a bigger business. Email entries to Ron Stagg at with Lord Jones Competition Entry as the subject line, stating why you want the tickets, and including your name, age and business. The most inspiring or deserving entries will be chosen to receive the tickets. Entries must be in by 5pm on October 10.


● Fancy dress business owner Fran Gore outside the Prime Minister’s front door



NE day, by whatever means, you will exit your business. Preferably you will still be alive and in control when this happens. The most common strategies are: ● Trade sale ● Private equity ● Management or employee buyout ● Transfer or sale to the next generation ● Voluntary liquidation. Trade sales can include customers, direct competitors, or organisations within your industry wishing to expand their product or service range. No one is going to pay you for your business if you make it cheaper and easier for them to poach your employees, steal your customers, or copy your ideas. Creating great value means you need to ensure your business is an investment not a lifestyle option. Profiling would-be buyers and ad-

apting yourself accordingly will certainly make a difference as to whether you manage to sell your business; it may also be a key driver in increasing the value of your business many times over There are ways to manage a staged transition and payment terms, but history is littered with examples of people falling out after the deal. Get some rock solid advice as to how to protect your interests (especially your Intellectual Property Rights) during any earn-out period and always have a plan B. Only some businesses will be large enough to attract private equity, but if you are in this fortunate position, the buyers will usually be looking for a business that has a defendable market position, with sustainable earnings, and is scaleable, with identifiable growth opportunities. Management and employee buyouts have been around a long time; but using the Co-operative structure to facilitate employee buyouts is a more unusual and exciting route.

● INVESTMENT firm Hargreaves Lansdown has appointed a new senior independent director who will oversee decisions over pay. Chris Barling, above, will take on the role after the annual meeting on October 25. He replaces Jonathan Bloomer, below, who is stepping down. Chairman Mike Evans said “Jonathan joined the Board of Hargreaves Lansdown in September 2006 and has contributed strongly to the development of the board and its governance structures.

Fancy dress leads way to No.10 ENTREPRENEUR Fran Gore went to Downing Street to celebrate the success of her thriving business, Fancy Dress Fanatics. Fran started the business based in Gloucester Road with a loan from The Start Up Loans Company, a Government-funded initiative that provides vital support in the form of a repayable loan together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs. To celebrate the success of the scheme, chaired by Dragon’s Den star James Caan, 50 loan recipients were invited to Downing Street. Fran, 30, said: “I was delighted to have the chance to go to Downing Street. I’m am also so grateful to Start

Know how – expert advice

How to make a sharp exit

The latest appointments news, brought in Bristol businesses. Send your news to

Andrew Fisher FCA Executive director AlanBrookes

Co-ops offer financial and operational advantages, are statistically more resilient to economic uncertainty, and operate in an exceptionally benign tax environment. In addition to entrepreneur’s relief on capital gains, business property relief on the transfer of a qualifying enterprise, Co-ops can also be used to hand down a business to the next generation within an overall “family of fice” type structure. Finally, you can follow the route of 18 per cent of privately owned businesses and simply close the doors and cash in what’s left, but get advice about how to take advantage of the rules surrounding capital distributions. You don’t want to be taxed on the resultant cash as if it were income.

Up Loans for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to turn my business dream into a reality.” Fran’s business was inspired by her grandmother, Jo Lindsay, 75, a professional costume maker who has worked with the BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company and Pinewood Studios over the last 50 years. Fran said: “My grandmother has been amazing. She’s made well over 100 costumes for me so far, and is making more all the time to add to the hire collection. But the biggest help has been her wonderful advice and knowledge of the industry. We’ve become quite a team and it’s brought us even closer together.”

Now for a warning – your business may be worth less than you or rose-tinted spectacle-wearing business brokers think. None of the above exits will give you optimum value if the business is wholly dependent on you – it needs to be systemised so that your successors can run it every bit as well as you. Read Michael Gerber’s E-Myth and all will be clear. Running your business is one thing but designing an enterprise which is an attractive investment is where the real wealth is generated. Whenever you get a chance, work on, not in, your business making sure that you and your advisers, especially those with experience of running their own businesses, focus on making relentless incremental improvements, tracking and increasing the capital value of your enter prise. You only get to exit your business once – make the most of it, if only for your family’s sake.

“We have benefited from his extensive experience and challenge as the group has grown into the financially secure, profitable, client focused, FTSE100 business it is today.” He added: “I am delighted that Chris Barling has agreed to become the new senior independent director and chair of our remuneration committee. Chris has now served three years on our board and is well respected. I am sure he will use his experience and business acumen wisely in these new responsibilities.” Mr Bloomer said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the last seven years and feel that the Group is well positioned to continue to prosper.”

● Law firm Foot Anstey has continued its investment in developing lawyers of the future by appointing six new trainee solicitors. Alice Lacey, Laura Smith, Stephanie White, Ben Neville, Kate Gudgeon and Andrew Carter commence a two year training contract with the firm which sees them work in at least four areas of the law with leading Foot Anstey lawyers. Meanwhile, Claire Williams, Mark Searle, Kate Elliot and Laura Scantlebury have joined the firm’s Chambers Tier 1 ranked Commercial, Employment and Dispute Resolution teams respectively.

Business Bristol Post 25 September 2013  

Business Bristol Post, SME Edition, Small is beautiful, How the small and medium sized companies hold they key to making our economy grow