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MAY/ JUNE 2017






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Contents Regular features NEWS 5

Chester Northgate development


New Hotel for Chester business quarter


Can BID's revitalise Cheshire


Chester Zoo secures key staff member


Cheshire based design studio making waves in the creative industry

TAX 19

Share options beat Christmas bonus


Chancellor scraps proposed National Insurance hike


Final spring budget sets the stage for Britian's global future


Sci-Tech Daresbury?s newest addition to the family


BOYD - Bring Your Own Device reducing business I.T. costs


Revealing the hidden power of business SMS


The importance of social media in business


Maximising the value of your business


Conferencing and business meeting facilities


Networking and events



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N EW S Chester Northgate development signs up House of Fraser as flagship store New four-star Crowne Plaza hotel also confirmed as long-awaited scheme takes significant step forward Cheshire West and Chester Council has signed House of Fraser and a 4* Crowne Plaza to Chester Northgate ? one of the most significant city-centre regeneration projects and the biggest retail-led development in the North West in the last decade.

experiences to locals and Chester ?s millions of yearly visitors, drawing more visitors and shoppers into Chester. Construction of the development will commence in late 2018, with phased completions leading up to late 2021.

House of Fraser has signed an agreement to anchor the development. The Group plans to open a new 100,000 sq ft store, offering customers an exceptional shopping environment as well as attracting desirable brands and fashion labels to the region.

The council has already committed ÂŁ100 million into the redevelopment of the city centre, including the creation of a new 850-seat theatre, which forms

The new store is being designed to a high specification and will accommodate a multichannel, modern experience-led retail offering, which will include the creation of a rooftop restaurant with views over Chester ?s historic racecourse and the Welsh hills. An affiliate of MCAP Global Finance Ltd. has also signed an agreement to open a new 167-bed 4* Crowne Plaza hotel, with a spa, and a 600-capacity conference facility, which will be the biggest in the city. The regeneration of the city centre will provide 70 stores, cafes and restaurants, as well as a new cultural centre, 70 homes, hotel & conference centre, six-screen Picturehouse cinema and the city?s largest car park. On completion, Chester Northgate will not only revitalise the city?s evening economy, it will also offer a full suite of


part of a new cultural centre and is set to open in the Spring, as well as the relocation of the bus station. Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: ?I am delighted that we have secured House of Fraser for a major new store in the crucial Chester Northgate development and at the same time, signed a deal with the owners of the existing Crowne Plaza to relocate them on site into a brand new four-star hotel, conference centre and spa, much improving the overall offer of the city. ?Being able to attract brands like House of Fraser, Picturehouse and Crowne Plaza is a measure of the appeal of Chester Northgate to other occupiers and investors and reinforces

our ambition to return Chester to its rightful place as a leading shopping and leisure destination. ?We believe Chester Northgate to be one of the UK?s biggest emerging retail-led city centre developments. The project shows that Cheshire West and Chester Council is pioneering innovative new ways of driving growth and underlines our consistent commitment to steering the big projects that will transform Chester city centre.? Frank Slevin, Executive Chairman of House of Fraser, said: ?We are very pleased to announce that we have signed an agreement to open an anchor store at Chester Northgate. Chester is an exciting location for us, being at the centre of a thriving regional economy. With its modern design, Chester Northgate will rejuvenate Chester city centre attracting more visitors and creating a dynamic retail environment. ?The new store clearly cements our commitment to and vision for the future growth of House of Fraser. The growth of our store portfolio and the further development of House of Fraser ?s multichannel offer provides solid foundations for the ongoing transformation of the business, ultimately driving a great customer experience. I look forward to the store opening in 2021.?

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N EW S New hotel on cards for Chester business quarter Talks ongoing over hotel plan as Chester revealed as number one location for hotel development A deal is on the table to bring a hotel to the city?s new business quarter as Ch est er is ranked number one ?hot spot?for hotel development. The One City Place building is now open next to Ch est er Railw ay St at ion but it was always planned there would be more office blocks, 200 new homes as well as leisure, restaurant and hotel facilities. And Phil Mayall, regional director of Muse Developments, who are behind the ÂŁ100m scheme, confirmed talks were taking place with a potential operator about a 120-bed hotel as real estate advisor Colliers International revealed Chester is the top UK location for hotel development and acquisition. Mr Mayall said: ?Muse is committed to delivering a truly sustainable environment for occupiers and their employees at City Place as well as boosting the local economy. ?The provision of hotel accommodation with associated ground floor, publicly accessible facilities will support this ambition as well maintaining the excellent momentum already generated through the development and lettings at One City Place. Discussions are taking place with a potential operator who would be a perfect fit for this location.?

Muse says the latest hotel plans are ?separate?to planning consent obtained by Waitrose on the other side of the canal for a scheme including a 120-bed hotel and office blocks on land previously occupied by St Paul?s School. Meanwhile, the research by Colliers shows the UK?s top ten hotspots for hotel investment and development with Chester sitting pretty at number one.

Its UK Hotels Market Index uses a series of key performance indicators to score each of 34 locations across the UK from one to five Chester ?s high position is attributed to factors including good occupancy levels, upward revenue per available room trend and 'low active pipeline', meaning there is only a small stock of room supply being developed. Marc Finney, head of hotels and resorts consulting, Colliers International, said: ?The data in our second report reveals the ever-changing nature of the UK hotels market. Cities such as Oxford and Cambridge have really upped their game in the last year to make it into the top five, despite failing to score in the top 15 last year. ?Of course, this is a general market index and site specific factors will lead to significant variances but the data demonstrates that London is not the only city that investors should be watching and offers a credible indication to influence their decision making process.?


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N EW S Can BIDs Revitalise Cheshire? What are BIDs, and why are they so good for the business community? A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led partnership, usually operating within a local authority boundary, created through a ballot process to provide additional services to local businesses. There is no limit on what extra services can be provided, so improvements and projects are varied and wide-ranging, tailored to meet specific needs of the local business community and encourage growth, for example, through: ·

Increased footfall


Improved staff retention


Business cost reduction


Area promotion


Business networking

· Assistance in dealing with the Council, Police and other public bodies. Being part of a BID means local businesses have more influence over issues that affect them and can actually direct what improvements they want to see in their areas. Some BIDs concentrate on town centres, while some are focused on other commercial, industrial and mixed use locations.

Who funds a BID and who can establish one? A BID is funded primarily through an increase in local business rates: a BID levy. Once a BID has been approved, the levy is charged to every business within the BID area (regardless of whether or how that business voted in


the ballot). This is one reason why it is so important for local businesses to stay informed of new and existing BIDs; so that they can make their voices heard from the very beginning. The BID can be set up by the local authority, a business rate payer or a person or company whose purpose is to develop the Business Improvement District area, or has an interest in the land in the area. While there are initial costs to starting a BID, the government set up a £500,000 loan fund in October 2013, which has helped many communities that have created BIDs overcome start-up costs.

Information on setting up new BIDs, the special loan fund, and how BIDs work can be found on the UK Government?s website: mprovement-districts

Cheshire Success Stories: Perhaps the most impressive success story for Cheshire is The Winsford 1-5 BID. Established in November 2005, approval of the first non-retail BID in the UK was granted by a majority of 89% of business voters.

n ew s This led to a five-year investment programme of around ÂŁ480,000 between 2006 and 2011, targeting The Winsford Industrial Estate. According to The Winsford 1-5 Business Enrolment Group, the BID ?dramatically? improved the estate and made ?changes for the better in relation to what the businesses housed there both needed and wanted.? The BID was deemed so successful that another, follow-up, five-year BID was proposed and put to vote, passing with a 92% majority among impacted businesses. Up-to-date news about how The Winsford Industrial Estate continues to prosper due to the ongoing BID is available through the official Winsford 1-5 website: Other successful Cheshire BIDs include The Astmoor BID, a partnership between businesses and property owners on Astmoor Industrial Estate in Runcorn and a range of partner organisations including Halton Borough Council. The BID has led to

improvements such as a 31% reduction in crime, and free training courses. The CH1ChesterBID, which currently represents over 500 businesses, focuses on enhancing the positive experience of visitors to Chester and promoting investment in the city centre. To this end, the BID has been able to increase business savings through group procurement and discount schemes, while also investing in marketing campaigns.

Staying Informed There is currently no central UK Government database of Business Improvement Districts. Such a database would be invaluable to businesses both within Cheshire and across the UK. Especially considering the current government policy of greater business investment in the North, exemplified by the Northern Powerhouse project, such a database would be a relatively low cost initiative promising large return. As BIDs continue to spread and gain

prominence, it may be a new central, government-administrated database will emerge. In the meantime, BID Intel, an independent, volunteer-run website which collects details about BIDs in the UK, is a handy resource for those who wish to stay informed about BIDs in their area: While BID Intel stipulates that users do not rely solely on the data displayed on the site, and that it is always best to check with individual BIDs for confirmation of details, until such a time that the UK Government offer an alternative, this site remains the best first port of call for businesses interested in opportunities in their areas. Business Improvement Districts have certainly done much to increase business growth since the first BID was established in the UK over twelve years ago, and, judging from their continued success, they are on track to do much more.

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n ew s Chester Zoo praises local firm for its role in securing a key member of staff An executive search firm has helped Chester Zoo recruit a key member of staff as the zoo seeks to ramp up its activity around conservation. Experienced fundraiser Julie Platt has joined to lead fundraising for campaigns supporting its conservation projects protecting wildlife around the world. And the zoo has praised Sherrington Associates for helping find the right candidate for a crucial role. Sherrington Associates carried out a highly targeted search to produce a shortlist of specialist fundraising managers suitable for the role. Julie joins Chester Zoo from her role as head of development for the city?s Storyhouse arts centre. She has a background in successfully fundraising with major donors and corporations. The zoo is currently raising funds for research into the virus EEHV which is deadly for young elephants in the wild and in zoos globally, and ?Sing for Songbirds?, which protects songbirds from illegal wildlife trade. Caroline Sanger-Davies, director of marketing at Chester Zoo, said: ?As a major conservation charity, Chester Zoo has always delivered strong fundraising campaigns, but this is a newly-focused role as we embark on one of the most exciting periods in our 85-year history. ?We plan to create extensive new animal habitats, which will engage visitors in our conservation work across the globe. ?We retained Sherrington Associates based on its experience of senior management recruitment and because

we knew it has a fantastic network in Chester and the north west. ?Rob and the team listened well and provided a very strong shortlist. We are very happy with the result." Rob McKay, managing director of Sherrington Associates, said: "As a long term member of the zoo and supporter of its conservation work, it was brilliant to be the retained search partner on this key appointment. ?The zoo came to us after trying out more traditional recruitment methods which had had limited success, so we implemented a bespoke campaign to find it the right candidate. ?We wish Julie every success in her new role and look forward to supporting the zoo again with other senior appointments.? Julie said: ?Chester Zoo?s pioneering conservation work is built on the

enormous generosity of so many wonderful supporters. ?I?m thrilled to be involved and plan to diversify our fundraising, making it as creative and inclusive as possible to ensure our impact is felt even further across the globe.? Sherrington Associates, which was founded three years ago, offers executive search and selection recruitment. It moved into new premises at Booth Mansion on Watergate Street in Chester, earlier this year due to expansion. It specialises in recruiting senior level candidates including executive directors, CEOs, and non-executive directors. For more information visit To find out more about Chester Zoo?s conservation work, visit:

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Share options beat the Christmas bonus The key tax benefit of EMI schemes is that the employee avoids Income Tax and National Insurance

Share option schemes are a terrific way to keep employees happy in a climate where cashflow will not sustain higher salaries

Fin din g n ew an d in expen sive w ays t o r ew ar d good st af f can pr ove t o be ver y ch allen gin g f or m an y bu sin esses. How ever , in cen t ivisin g em ployees in t h e f or m of sh ar e opt ion sch em es can be a gr eat veh icle f or r ew ar din g st af f especially if you ar e a n ew st ar t -u p com pan y an d you don?t n ecessar ily h ave t h e r esou r ces t o m eet you r best r ecr u it s?m ar ket level salar y expect at ion s, w r it es Rober t Jon es, M an agin g Dir ect or , M on ey M at t er s Lim it ed HMRC approved share option schemes, in particular the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) scheme, can provide significant tax advantages to employees. The putting together of EMI schemes is a part of our core expertise. What?s more the cost of actually setting up and administering the scheme will potentially be a tax deductible expense for your company against Corporation Tax. EMI schemes can apply for the benefit of both quoted and unquoted companies. The key tax benefit of EMI schemes is that the employee avoids Income Tax and National

- The company must have a permanent establishment in the UK - The company must be independent and not under the control of any other Company - The company must have fewer than 250 employees

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- The gross assets of the company must not exceed ÂŁ30 million - Certain companies are excluded from such schemes, for example: those involved in leasing, property development and financial activities. Equally, there are certain qualifications for employees to actually qualify to be an EMI option holder:- The employee must not have a material interest in the company (ie not more than 30% of the company) - The employee must work for the company for at least 25 hours a week or for at least 75% of their


Insurance which would normally be charged on the market value of any shares or options granted to them. If the employee is given options under the scheme they are only charged Capital Gains Tax on the increase in value over the option exercise price (ie what they pay for the shares) as long as the price is at or above the pre-agreed market valuation with HMRC. Capital Gains Tax annual exemptions may apply and Capital Gains Tax rates are generally significantly less than Income Tax rates. However, there are certain conditions which apply for the company to qualify:

paid working time - Each employee can only hold a maximum of unexercised options worth ÂŁ250,000 in any three-year period under the EMI scheme (any further options granted to the employee over and above this sum would not qualify for EMI relief). Other considerations are: - Companies are free to set their own option price which may be more or less than the market value of the shares at the date the option is granted. - It is not possible to grant any EMI option over redeemable or convertible shares. - Although the company is free to set its own option period, the options must only be capable of exercise within 10 years of being granted and be exercised within that period. After 10 years the tax benefits of EMI will no longer apply to the exercise of any outstanding options. - Your accountant & solicitor will

need to review your company?s articles of association in order to ensure that the company may buy-back the shares from the employee who has bought shares under their options agreement if they later leave employment. - Option shares may be a different class of shares eg non-voting, accordingly the articles of association of the Company may need to be re-drafted to create the different share classes. Share option schemes are a terrific way to keep employees happy in a climate where cashflow will not sustain higher salaries and in any event provide a great incentive and motivation for your employees to make your company succeed. Contact our expert Robert Jones to create an EMI scheme for your company, or to read our extensive range of articles, visit the website

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TAX CHANCELLOR SCRAPS BUDGET PLAN TO INCREASE NICS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that the government will not now proceed with the increase in Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs) proposed in his Spring Budget The change would have increased Class 4 NICs from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and to 11% in 2019 ? with the stated aim of bringing the contributions paid by the self-employed closer to the 12% currently paid by employees. However, the Budget proposal prompted an angry reaction ? including from some Conservative MPs ? as it appeared to contradict the 2015 Conservative election manifesto promise not to increase certain taxes, including national insurance. In a letter explaining the U-turn, the Chancellor wrote: ?It is very important

both to me and to the Prime Minister that we are compliant not just with the letter, but also the spirit of the commitments that were made. ?In the light of what has emerged as a clear view among colleagues and a significant section of the public, I have decided not to proceed with the Class 4 NIC measure set out in the Budget.? The majority of business groups have welcomed the U-turn. Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), commented: ?The NICs rise, together with the cut to dividend tax-free allowances, was not viewed favourably by entrepreneurs ? so this move and pause for thought are welcome.? The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which lobbied against the NICs rise, gave a broadly positive response. Mike Cherry, its National Chairman,

stated: ?We are delighted for our members and all the nation?s self-employed that the Chancellor has recognised the strong opposition to this measure, admitting it was against the spirit of the manifesto on which his party stood, and has now decided to scrap it for the duration of this parliament.? Responding to the news, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for the Chancellor to now ?look at how self-employed workers can be treated more fairly?. Frances O?Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: ?People who are self-employed should be able to access basic protections like any other worker. That means paid parental leave and pay when you fall sick.

FINAL SPRING BUDGET SETS THE STAGE FOR 'BRITAIN'S GLOBAL FUTURE' Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first - and last - Spring Budget to the House of Commons in belligerent form.

by the business rates revaluation, with a cap on rate rises for those losing existing business rates relief and a £300m local authority 'hardship fund'.

of new 'T-Levels' for 16-19 year olds studying technical subjects from Autumn 2019, as well as funding for 110 new free schools.

Despite revealing upgraded forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Chancellor announced that he would adhere to the government's new fiscal plan, with the stated aim of preparing Britain for a 'global future'. UK economic growth is now expected to reach 2% in 2017, before falling to 1.6% in 2018. Public sector net borrowing has been revised down to £51.7bn for 2016/17 and £58.3bn for 2017/18.

As the government's flagship Making Tax Digital initiative draws closer, there was also some good news for smaller firms, with the announcement that unincorporated businesses and landlords with turnover below the VAT registration threshold will have until 2019 to prepare for quarterly reporting.

The Chancellor also confirmed previously announced measures for individuals, including the introduction of the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme, a three-year NS&I Investment Bond and the new Lifetime ISA.

With Brexit approaching, the Chancellor announced a number of significant measures for UK businesses. These include a £435m package for firms in England affected


However, a less welcome measure for shareholders and directors of small private firms will see a significant reduction in the tax-free dividend allowance, which will fall from £5,000 to £2,000 in April 2018. Keen to address the UK skills gap, the Chancellor announced the introduction

Alcohol duties will increase in line with inflation, while duty on tobacco will increase by 2% above RPI inflation. The main rate of the new Soft Drinks Industry Levy, or 'sugar tax', will be set at 18p per litre. Under the Chancellor 's new timetable, the next Budget will be held in the autumn, followed by a Spring Statement in 2018.


T ECH N O L O GY TECHSPACE ONE - Sci-Tech Dar esbu r y ?s n ew est addit ion t o t h e f am ily Sci-Tech Daresbury completed its latest development, TECHSPACE ONE in January 2017, on the back of a hugely successful 2016 with 34 technology companies locating onto the site. TECHSPACE ONE is a 3-storey laboratory and office building providing high quality accommodation for growing companies in the biomedical, materials, process technology and clean technology sectors with approximately 10 to 50 staff. Situated in a high-profile location alongside the Daresbury Expressway in Runcorn, TECHSPACE ONE is at the gateway to the Sci-Tech Daresbury site. The site hosts 10,000 visitors per year from across the world, including recently Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her cabinet. TECHSPACE ONE is a 46,000 sq ft multi-let building providing wet and dry laboratory units ranging in size from 900 to 2,000 sq ft and grade A office accommodation of 900 to 2,400 sq ft in size. The three individual uses are separated on a floor-by-floor basis, and the building also gives companies access to important infrastructure such as: 路

Fume extraction

路 Supply of compressed air, nitrogen and natural gas 路

Access to centralised liquid waste disposal facility

路 Communal lab area with access to autoclaves, glass washers, drying cabinets etc The ground floor dry laboratories also have high ceiling heights (of 4.5m and large double door access, ideal for the movement of large equipment.


?There has been significant interest in this new facility from growing companies at Sci-Tech Daresbury looking to expand their facilities?, said John Leake, Business Development Manager at Sci-Tech Daresbury, ?but also lab-based companies from across the region looking for larger facilities in a prestigious, high profile technology location.

opportunity to take advantage of 5 years?business rates relief due to Sci-Tech Daresbury?s strategic position as an Enterprise Zone. This coupled with Sci-Tech Daresbury?s business support and funding programme makes it a very attractive location for high-growth technology companies.

?Companies see these facilities as ideal to carry out activities ranging from analytical testing & services, R&D in new products and systems, through to demonstration laboratories for high value equipment.?

TECHSPACE ONE is a very exciting and important next step in the Sci-Tech Daresbury?s long-term growth plans of some 10,000 to 15,000 people working in science and technology on the site over the next 15 to 20 years.

Companies locating into TECHSPACE ONE also have the


T ECH N O L O GY BYOD ? Br in g You r Ow n Device Redu cin g Bu sin ess IT Cost s If you keep an eye on technology news or future IT business trends, then you may have heard the term ?BYOD? (Bring Your Own Device). There is a lot of discussion about BYOD because it has the great potential to drastically reduce business IT hardware costs, simplifying IT management while helping the environment.

In 2016, 82% of adults (41.8 million) in Great Britain used the internet every day or almost every day. This was an increase from 78% in 2015 and more than double the reported estimate of 35% in 2006[1]. Have you ever counted how many computer devices there are in your possession? I consider myself to have typical IT needs for my job and home life: including old unused devices we have 5 laptops, 3 tablets and 5 smartphones in our household. That?s 13 potential ways to access the Internet, which is essential for most peoples?work these days. It would be much better to reduce these devices to an adequate number, saving costs and CO2 through reduced manufacturing. It has been standard practice for many years for an employer to issue their employees with company laptops for their work. They also need to insure them, secure them from viruses, and manage and maintain them either through an in-house team or external IT support companies. In addition they need to replace them when they get lost or stolen, or simply become outdated, not to mention the cost of lost business data. Typically businesses refresh their IT hardware every 3 to 4 years due to them falling behind in the required specification to run the latest applications. This has a direct cost implication, and also ties in with the UK accountancy rules that all IT equipment depreciates to a value of zero after 3 years. With BYOD, the employee would use their


own computer to work on: this would be an amazing disrupter to every business as it would remove a lot of the cost and headache of managing IT hardware. It would allow the business to regain focus on its main functions. So why hasn?t it taken off yet? Well, it causes a few challenges, namely security and integration with current company IT infrastructure - e.g. how does a business ensure it?s protected from viruses brought in by external equipment, or how do they enable access to and protection of sensitive company files and email? There are fairly simple solutions to these on the first point as we have all connected our devices to a guest WiFi somewhere and anti-virus software can be implemented as well. Desk t op as a Ser vice (DaaS) is a solution on a larger scale. This is where the employee uses any standard web browser (on their own device) to log in to their ?work laptop.?Their work desktop and all of the company data that they need is stored in the Cloud, fully secured and can?t be impacted by the local device. File transfer to and from the local device can be managed per user, so if the laptop is stolen, no company data is lost as it never leaves the Cloud. What?s more, you can use any computer anywhere in the world to login to your work desktop. The global BYOD and Enterprise Mobility market is expected to over double from $35bn in 2016 to $73bn in 2021[2]: this marries well with the fact that workstation desktop sales have been falling by an average of 9.8% year on year since their

peak in 2011[3]. There are more people working on laptops and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The increasing demand of w or k in g r em ot ely is also playing a key role in the development of BYOD practices. In 2014 the UK government released a set of guidelines for the implementation of BYOD which are a good starting point but don?t consider all of the technical solutions to BYOD such as DaaS. For example, it states that, ?the legal responsibility for protecting personal information is with the data controller, not the device owner. The Information Commissioner?s Office (ICO) can impose fines of up to ÂŁ500,000 for serious data breaches.?Therefore the business is still responsible for controlling sensitive and personal data, further ratified in the updated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016 through the EU which is now law and has stronger rules and implications on how data is source, managed and protected. If you would like to know more about the contents of this article or about Cloud services, please contact us at Edward Green, Managing Director. Miranex Limited.

[1] Reference Office of National Statistics [2] Reference Marketsandmarkets via Computerdealernews [3] Reference IDC

T ECH N O L O GY Revealin g t h e h idden pow er of bu sin ess SM S You?d be hard pushed to find someone in the UK who doesn?t use SMS. After all, the number of active phone subscriptions is currently higher than the national population and messaging is the most common mobile activity. It?s not just about communicating with friends - SMS also presents a massive opportunity for businesses. It offers the chance to build relationships through instant communication. Whether it?s a restaurant boosting loyalty with special offers, a courier providing tracking information or a dentist delivering appointment reminders; the range of uses is vast. In a world where people are distracted by daily deluges of information, it?s often difficult to reach and engage a target audience, but SMS ? more than any other channel - makes it possible. The biggest of audiences At present, there are around 30 million people in the UK who use Facebook ? that?s approximately 60 per cent of the population. Its closest competitors, Twitter and Instagram, each have a user-base around half that size, according to the latest official figures. The most recent Ofcom data also shows that only two-thirds of adults own smartphones. That leaves more than 30 per cent unreachable through web-dependent OTT messaging

services. Amid all of this, the ownership of SMS-capable mobile phones stands at 93 per cent. And when you consider that the majority of users keep their devices with them throughout the day, it?s clear that texting cannot be matched for reach. A messaging addiction The list of things you can do with a mobile phone is growing, but messaging still takes up the biggest chunk of the average owner ?s five hours of daily usage. It comes ahead of web browsing, email, photography and ? perhaps most note-worthy for businesses ? social media. It?s not difficult to understand why this is. Mobile phones were introduced because people need to communicate, and SMS is by far the most convenient platform. No wonder we?re sending 23 billion texts a day. The cherry on top for businesses So how about engagement? This is the main issue faced by those using email: small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) send millions of emails every day, but the average open rate across all industries is less than 23 per cent. That?s more than three-quarters of all business emails going straight to the digital bin.

SMS, however, is proven to be extremely effective at getting through. More than 99 per cent of all texts are opened, and nine in ten are read within three minutes. You couldn?t ask for much more. A tried-and-tested business tool The businesses that do embrace SMS almost always get results. The vast majority of those that use it as a marketing tool, for example, find it effective, and most are ready to increase spending on it in the near future. These users appreciate the often-overlooked adaptability of this humble technology ? one that allows businesses to send links, attach files and easily monitor responses. The evidence in support of using SMS in business is overwhelming, so its continuing growth is in no way surprising. Jason Palgrave-Jones, Managing Director at Textlocal, explains: ?Companies of all sizes are beginning to understand the power of text messaging as an instant and highly effective communication platform. ?The technology has battled setbacks and misconception due to its misuse, but as an opt-in-only industry, the value of communicating with an audience of people who have chosen to hear offers and alerts from a business cannot be underestimated.? LEADING FABRICATION ENGINEERS Proflo Engineering Ltd has rapidly established itself as one of the leading hygienic fabrication contractors within the food industry. We are an independent, family run engineering company which has grown our reputation for quality and customer satisfaction. Being a family run business means every customer and every contract is personal and very important to us. Services Include: Hygienic Pipework Fabrication - Stainless Steel & Mild Steel Fabrications Gas Safe Registered Specialists Design - 2D & 3D AutoCAD Inventor

0151 548 3247 Company Reg: 4633761 Unit 2, Gillmoss Ind Estate, Liverpool, L11 0EE


T ECH N O L O GY Th e Im por t an ce of Social M edia in Bu sin ess Social media is on the rise, and has rapidly become a crucial aspect to marketing your business. The face of marketing itself is changing rapidly in the digital age that we live in. Linear and print based marketing is being replaced by two-way interactive marketing on social media platforms. It?s clearly important for businesses to keep up to date with social media developments in order to reach new customers and engage with current ones. So, why should social media not be ignored? And if your business has a social media profile, what are the key do?s and don?ts in social media for business? According to Hootsuite, 48% of Americans have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one social network and 40% of UK adults say that it is important that companies they purchase from have a strong social media presence. Facebook, the largest social media platform currently has approximately 2 billion active users (Source: Facebook, 2017). These are simply statistics that, as business owners and marketers, we cannot ignore.

Social M edia f or Bu sin ess ? How t o Do it Righ t · Your first stage should be to complete a social media strategy plan to draft out objectives, social media accounts and tactics. · Ask employees to sign a social media policy that states how you would expect your employees to behave online, particularly if they state their place of work in social media profiles. · Ensure that your social media profile?s have consistent URLs and usernames, and display the correct company branding, including logo. · Resize your logo to fit the correct social media profile image dimensions ? pay a designer if necessary as this will be a strong reflection of your brand online. · Post on your social media profiles regularly ? on a daily basis if possible.


· Use a variety of images, videos, quizzes, infographics in your social media posts to keep your audience engaged. · Use #hashtags and @mentions. These will make your posts or tweets more searchable and help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). ·

Have your content planned out and written in advance.

· Focus on interactions ? like and comment on other people?s posts, Retweet on Twitter, Re-pin on Pinterest. · Consider spending money on Facebook advertising. Facebook is becoming increasingly challenging to grow organically, but ads and boosted posts will increase your reach and can target your specific audience.

T ECH N O L O GY Social M edia Bu sin ess ? Th in gs t o Avoid · Don?t setup social media profiles on every single channel without a strategy plan in place - better to do a few channels well rather than all of them badly. · Avoid over-promotion of your brand or products ? it will be off-putting for your followers. Follow the 80/20 rule (80% social posts and 20% promotional). · Avoid discussing complaints in the public forum - have a policy where you private message people for their phone number to resolve their complaints, and show to the public that it is being dealt with. · Do not ignore or delete legitimate complaints from customers. · Don?t take the troll bait! Some people online are just out to get you (and everyone else too) ? don?t respond to the trolls, simply ignore, delete or block. · Avoid direct messaging people with promotions ? it?s seen as spamming. · Don?t use a follow-unfollow technique. Many people follow accounts on social media, and then unfollow after 48 hours if they do not follow back. However, this can be seen as a spam and underhand technique. Liking their conten works much better.

· Avoid getting involved with political or religious debates online ? this almost always results in negative abuse. · Avoid publishing content with typos and spelling mistakes ? it will reflect badly on your brand. · Avoid giving the social media profiles to someone inexperienced to manage. Ideally, the social media should be managed by a social media specialist or a marketing executive. If you need further help or assistance regarding social media marketing, please do not hesitate to get in touch.




FINA NCE Maximising the value of your business As a bu sin ess ow n er , decidin g t o sell you r com pan y is t h e m ost im por t an t bu sin ess decision you w ill ever m ak e. Af t er year s of h ar d w or k , you obviou sly w an t t o get t h e best pr ice f or you r bu sin ess w h ich is w h y you n eed t o plan you r exit car ef u lly t o m axim ise valu e, w r it es Rober t Jon es. Below are some key factors, in increasing priority, that make businesses more sellable in the eyes of acquirers. - Management team ?Your existing management team may want to explore the possibility of buying the business from you. A complete and experienced team creates options for you whereas an incomplete one either indicates actions prior to sale or determines the need to sell on a synergy basis. - Independence ? your business is not reliant on anyone and independent of others which reduces the risk of other factors influencing the success of your company. - Scalability ? it is critical to acquirers that your business

can grow as they will assume you have managed the business to maximise value in the run up to sale. - Recurring revenue ? receiving recurring revenues from customers whether it is contracted annual revenues such as maintenance, or regular income from recurring customers provides a certainty of income to potential acquirers. It also improves funding status with banks for the buyer which open up potential for higher pricing. - Customer concentration ? It needs to be carefully considered if your top two customers add up to more than 40% as income risk will be higher. - Low market share ? although it sounds

counter-intuitive, low market shares suggest the business has a good potential to grow in new geographies or markets.

down to many factors not least confidence in your offering but also validation by an increasing market awareness.

- Company size ? this is really all about recognising when the business has outgrown you. It can be considered as an opportunity for an acquirer to grow the business to the next level.

- Scarcity/IP ? it doesn?t just mean technology and can be a process, market position, licence to operate as well as innovation.

- Industry growth ? a rising tide lifts all boats but you have to be able to exploit the market advantages that are created. - Profitability growth ? it is an absolute key driver to value. A business with a potential to grow rapidly in terms of profit is always valued more highly than a business with a steady profit year-in-year out. It is

As experts in sell-side advisory, our corporate finance team can help you prepare your business for sale and lead and advise you through the process from early stages to completion.

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